Hello Missouri: Battle of the Bugs
Written by Laura Prather on July 19, 2019
There are many aspects of Colorado to love and that I miss dearly. One of them is that there are very few bugs. In fact, for the last 20 years I lived Colorado Springs, I rarely saw a spider and can’t remember ever having a mosquito bite. I don’t recall having to clear out spider webs from anywhere. It was quite nice.
In Missouri however…
Mosquito bites send us running for cover after a few minutes, having to enjoy the lake vista through glass patio doors rather than lounging in our chairs. Ticks and gnats keep our skin crawling and kicking at the sheets at night wondering if something snuck into bed with us. Chiggers bite our ankles and manage to find their way into crevices and dark places on our bodies, burrowing deep into areas we didn’t think were accessible to them. (very unpleasant)
And then there are the spiders.
I’ve just come in from finishing one of my morning rituals: removing spiders and webs from our two large decks.
After getting a face full of webs every time I walked outside, I now know to keep some sort of stick or broom in my hand and wave it in front of me to clear my path. I might have even thrown a full-sized shovel at one particularly large spider and web one evening and then ran the other direction. My husband was kind enough to retrieve said shovel the next morning for me.
The evenings are the worst.
If I need to leave at night, I make sure to carry a flashlight and a stick as I make my way to the car. Slow, cautious steps are in order because if you don’t look at just the right angle, you’re liable to encounter a face full of sticky threads even with a light. Of course, my wild imagination panics at the thought of the host of said web somehow caught in my hair or crawling on my body.
It makes for a most unpleasant rest of my evening as I’m slapping my legs and tousling my hair every few seconds as I’m certain there’s an army of bugs crawling on my body.
The first few weeks we were here, I religiously threw back the sheets of our bed every night and inspected it for any type of creepy crawly.
Even my dog goes through a thorough inspection multiple times a day. Makes me think of the NatGeo shows of monkeys making a careful search through the fine hair of their counterparts for a meal of small insects. Except, I’m not looking for a meal – I’m on a mission to seek out and destroy. It’s a full-on war!
My morning and early evening walks came to an abrupt halt a few weeks ago because I can’t see the webs until they’re caught in my face or wrapped around my arms. And then I’m back to creepy-crawly skin the rest of the day.
THE BIG BUG BATTLE
Because our neighborhood is heavily wooded, those ingenious spiders have mastered the art of spinning massive webs across the street. I’m not talking just a single silky strand of nearly-invisible web spanning the distance from one tree to another across the asphalt…
No, we’re talking full-on Charlotte’s Web with a big, brownish-red spider in the middle.
Spanning the entire street.
On multiple streets.
Every single day.
But I think I have a solution:
Stay inside. 😳LOL!
Truthfully, I have opted to stay inside lately because of my intense dislike of spiders and walking into webs, but I also love it outside. Now, if it’s after 10 am, usually the webs are gone because the community of retired folks that live here finally wake up and get out of the house. But for someone who works from home and prefers an early morning walk, I need a solution.
So here’s my idea to tackle my battle with the bugs: take my big, blue Dodge Ram truck for a little drive first thing in the morning to clear a walking path for me! That should work. 👍🏼
To be fair, I’m rather impressed at the skill, precision, and beauty of these webs. Yesterday, I spied a web that spanned a distance and height that was quite spectacular. (Luckily, it was high up in the trees just out of reach of our deck). Spiders are impeccable architects. But it’s a battle – and I take no prisoners. Just saying.
NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN
The good thing is that they haven’t made it inside very much. A few here and there, but I make daily rounds to check the condition of my perimeter, just like a good soldier.
And every night and every morning, armed with a broom or a water hose, I inspect my decks and hot tub area to make sure these Missouri bugs know that this is my territory now. They’ve got an unlimited supply of trees to make their home. They can leave mine alone.
For the most part, my battle strategy is working. The quantity of spiders, ticks, and chiggers we encounter is greatly reduced. But at the same time, if I let my guard down for more than a few days, the big spiders think they can sneak their way back onto my property; and that’s when I call in my husband or son to do a little squashing.
It’s better than throwing a shovel.