It’s been a summer full of critters at the Miller household.
Some may remember my writing about the frog convention that assembled on our back patio last spring.
The little croakers moved off after just a couple of nights, but since the weather has dried out and turned hot, we’ve had a nonstop parade of bugs paying an unwelcome visit, no doubt looking for water.
It started a few weeks ago with a few unwanted water bugs — some would call them cockroaches. Whatever you call them, they’re large and ugly, and they move way too fast.
The first one showed up in our master bathroom. At least, I was pretty sure that’s where my wife’s scream came from. I came running and saw that big, brown sucker sitting on the wall, antennae waving. I ran to get some bug spray and managed to knock it down, but then it tried to scurry toward the corner. Fortunately, I was able to mash it and flush it before my wife hyperventilated.
A few nights later, my wife spotted one on the outside of our sliding glass bedroom door. She managed to spray it dead, only to have another one charge across the patio in her direction, like a scene from a bad sci-fi flick.
Once the water bug epidemic calmed down, we had to deal with tiny ants that were trying to make their way inside from the garage. My wife tried coating the area outside with bug spray and wiping down the kitchen counters with vinegar, but we still saw a few occasionally.
Finally, we called in a professional pest control company, and we haven’t seen the little boogers since.
Now, it seems we’ve become a gathering place for geckos — much to the cat’s delight and our chagrin.
I don’t dislike geckos — except that annoying one on the insurance commercials. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way in the past to trap them in a paper cup and toss them outside to roam free and do whatever geckos do.
But lately, they’ve apparently been coming in through our fireplace, and my wife and I are concerned the cat might eat one and get sick. Or that one will run across our bed in the middle of the night.
At last count, I think we were up to about a dozen geckos in the past month. So, as much as it pains me, I’ve been doing more flushing than trapping in recent weeks.
Then, Monday morning I was taking the trash to the curb when I noticed something move near my feet as I entered the garage. It was a small frog that apparently had become trapped in the garage overnight. I managed to get him to jump into my hand and I let him loose under a bush, hoping he’d find enough shade to make it through the hot day ahead.
We were just getting used to all the comings and goings by our uninvited guests when our latest visitor appeared Tuesday morning.
Again, my wife shrieked. I’m pretty sure I yelled a curse word.
A 4-inch-long wolf spider was sitting against the return-air vent on our A/C closet. At my wife’s urging, I eased past it and went to grab a can of hairspray (she said it slows them down). I returned to the hallway, took aim and drenched the spider with spray. It curled up into a ball, and I thought it was dead. But when I went to push it away from the wall with a flyswatter, it unfurled its legs and started ambling across the carpet.
A couple of smacks with my shoe put an end to that activity — and to the spider.
That last encounter had my blood pumping pretty good. I haven’t seen a spider that big in quite a while.
By now, we’ve pretty much had it with all the uninvited six- and eight-legged beasties. They need to stay outside, where they belong, and we’ll all get along fine.
Otherwise, we’re going to start charging them rent.
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor / opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7543.