Saturday, August 18, 2007
Some of you remember my apartment's epic battle with Bob the Mouse, ending in his smooshing.
Rogers Park, like any neighborhood in the Midwest, is infested with fairly harmless creatures, hardly able to wrestle me for the last piece of pizza (besides, I would win using my poisoned pincers). Yet they still sneak up on me and can take my pizza then. We learned this last summer.
This summer, we were ready to take them on, and I feel the need to freely pass along our wisdom and hilariously stupid ideas to others. Hopefully you'll make the same mistakes and tell us (in detail).
Our greatest difficulty last summer was the mess of ants that advanced on both sides of the house. They were particularly rude. College students are not going to lie down and lose their Cap'n Crunch to some barely measurable thorax-wielding fiends, so war was the only option.
Get ready for the summer sequel to the summer blockbuster: the sugar ants returned, as critics predicted! They are voracious. For example, a while back, without warning, the ants came for the after-birthday party:
ME: Not my German Chocolate cake!
(I shoo them off)
ME: Not the Guinness cake!
I still ate them (the cakes), by the way.
In the scariest turn of events, flying ants began flitting about the living room. Why this occurred, I don't know, but flying is not something ants should do. They will have to die.
We found many weapons at our disposal: traps, gel, Raid, vinegar solution, human hair (provided by John's haircut), bare hands, etc. None have worked. Even cleaning doesn't work. We even suggested our neighbors upstairs give up, 'cause nothing does it. Just wait for the frost and the ants to be replaced by mice.
VERDICT? Submit to their will. It's the only way to spare your children.
These bugs have been much less of a problem. One might even note that these things kill our other pests, but then one might note that they are still, well, spiders.
They look creepy and sometimes bite. Luckily, they die the same ways as ants: it's just they never come in as large of numbers, so you can kill them fast enough.
VERDICT? Not much of a problem, and if you listen to wives' tales, you would know spiders get rid of a number of the other creatures on this list. But if you listen to other tales, you swallow eight spiders every year while sleeping. So whatever's your preference!
Losing your clothes in college is not an option. All those high school polo shirts, blouses, and t-shirts from the Latin Olympiad 2002 Semi-Nationals held in Reno, Nevada need to be protected. Moths are your enemy, make no mistake.
Some are very small. Some are very large. The smaller ones are more dangerous to your clothes. The larger ones are ickier (fuzzy, scaly, and luminescent... God, what were you smoking?). Therefore, don't distinguish: smoosh them all! Mothballs suck, and they suck to pay for, too!
VERDICT? JESUS, THE CASHMERE!!!
Things with Abnormal Abnormal Numbers of Legs
Everyone sees 'em, no one knows what to call 'em. They've got hundreds of legs, so most call them centipedes. They're striped, so my dad calls them "tigers." They suck your blood at night and can't stand garlic bread, so some call them vampires.
They are alarming creatures to notice. While a spider or ant is pretty small here in Chicago, a house centipede (I looked it up) can be very large. They also move very fast, alarmingly so,
I'm told that if these guys are our only centipedes, we're damn lucky. Centipedes in the Southwest desert grow over a foot long and can poison fairly large mammals. This fact does not make me not want to kill the "small" ones in my house, only making me wish to prevent them from growing bigger.
Mush them with whatever you don't care about and have lying around: an old newspaper, a worn tennis shoe, a broken shot glass, a Vista operating manual... There are no known ways of preventing their presence, but killing them should work. Also, I believe they like damp areas, so watch your towels.
VERDICT? Let the Southwesterners scoff. The centipede I squashed the other day was AT LEAST as big as the penny I threw at it.
Mice and Rats
These are probably the cutest of the infestations you can get, but remember how I mentioned most creatures being unable to wrestle me? Well, that doesn't apply to Chicago street rats. They're big, they're mean, and they have mob connections. Don't mess with them. If you have to, call police reporting your own murder before facing one of these.
Mice are less likely to be able to fight you and are more likely to be found in the house, like our friend Bob. All these rodents are more likely to be found in winter, escaping the cold, but I included them on this list anyway. Shoo them out, use "Tom and Jerry" traps, use humane traps, poison them... I just suggest getting them out. They like to poop.
VERDICT? Drunk mice are fun!
You know who to call.
Bees and Wasps
By far, the most alarming infestation you can find is a nest of some of these guys. If you need explanation, please rewatch My Girl, this time without crying.
We saw a wasp and/or bee (possibly an evil hybrid) going into a crack in our porch. We panicked.
VERDICT? Did you know I've used the word "smoosh" twice in this?
How can I get out of this without saying a thing or two about the true infestation of this summer in Chicago? Brood XIII began making a racket in late May. These creatures are supposed to be extraordinarily slow, stupid, and yet somehow at the peak of their evolution while only living one month after seventeen years of gestation. Nature boggles my mind.
I was disappointed. No cicadas were in Rogers Park. I had to travel out to Forest Park and Brookfield to see them (where they were out in the millions). That's a long trip though. RedEye, where is your integrity? Your depth of reporting?
VERDICT? These guys were the BIGGEST disappointment of an infestation, so don't bother. Also, sorry about the Ghostbusters joke.
Labels: Longer Stuff