Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Infestations

Fall is my favorite season but there are a couple things about it that I don't like. One of them is mice and the other is ladybugs. They infest my house, each taking a floor. The mice take over the downstairs; while the ladybugs rule the upstairs.

For some reason, mice have an affinity for the electrical cord on the hand mixer. They ignore the ($5) bag of dogfood sitting on the floor and go directly to the drawer than holds the ($20) mixer, where they gnaw off every bit of rubber coating, leaving nothing but bare wire. This is the third mixer that has bit the dust due to mice. They aren't attracted to any other cord - not the coffee pot or toaster or blender. I'd love to talk mouse talk long enough to ask them, "what the hell is it with you people and the mixer cord?"

This year, I've also had to replace pasta, crackers and cereal which got eaten before I knew the mice had staged their annual pilgrimage to the house. Now the cereal is on top of the freezer while the bread and noodles are crammed into the metal bread drawer along with the mixer.

Mom refuses to allow traps in the house. She says she'd be a nervous wreck waiting for the snap that indicated a dead (or even worse, wounded) mouse. If I wasn't home, she'd have to leave until I got back because she couldn't stand to think of a mouse body in the drawer.

So she puts out De-Con or Mouse Kill. She's been doing this for a couple weeks now. Every day she checks and every day, the bait is gone so she puts more down and by the next morning, that's gone too. I think the mice's digestive systems must have mutated, allowing them to flourish on De-Con.

Meanwhile, I go up to bed to discover huge clumps of lady bugs (not really lady bugs like we used to have, the cute little red and black spotted ones - these are bigger, orange Asian beetles and they bite) in the window frame and lady bugs crawling around on the lamp shade, creating monster bug shadows on the wall, and lady bugs wandering across the ceiling and in the ashtray and on my pillow.

I was afraid to spray the room with Raid for fear I'd die of Raid asphixiation so I sprayed them to death with Rave (hair spray) instead, on the grounds that I've been subjecting my respiratory system to clouds of hair spray for 50 years and if it was going to kill me off, it would have happened by now.

Let me tell you, Rave Mega Hold stops the little buggers in their tracks. It is kind of a lady bug equivalent of embalming. I went to sleep surrounded by a thousand lady bug corpses along with the body of one lone moth.

My secretary told me that I could prevent the influx of lady bugs by placing moth balls against the foundation of my house so Mom got some today at the store. I'll let you know if it works. In the meantime, I wish I knew what to do about the mice.