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Black bugs took 'welcome' too literally

Several weeks ago I scribbled my signature on a deposit check and began hauling a lifetime's worth of clothes, furniture and random stuff into my new apartment. After getting somewhat settled, I proudly bought a welcome mat decorated with a pineapple, a symbol of hospitality, at Family Dollar and laid it before my front door for visitors.

Unfortunately, the most frequent guests across my mat are not welcome visitors, but little black bugs--icky, gross, crunchy, nasty, little black bugs. I don't know what these particular examples of insect life are called and I don't care to be formally introduced to them by name.

My unwelcome roommates began to appear in small numbers when I first moved into my apartment. I typically found them roosting in the tub, and killing them before my shower became an early morning ritual. They must have spread the word to their friends and relatives about the luxurious accommodations of my tiny bathroom before their unfortunate demise, however, because the number of bugs in my apartment has steadily grown. The irksome insects now view my apartment as a luxury suite with many rooms for their respite instead of merely a cavernous tub with a scary stream of water that washed them into eternity.

The free-spirited freeloaders enjoy exploring the ceilings, walls and counter tops of my home. Just yesterday I discovered one of the nasty little creatures on the lid of my eye makeup remover. Presumably she (I have to guess at the gender because they all look the same) wished to remove some mascara after an evening out. She got flicked into the toilet instead. Without pity, I might add. Killing bugs has become a part of the daily routines of my life. When I get up in the morning I rub my eyes, look at the clock and begin killing bugs. When I come home from work I kick off my shoes, throw my purse on a chair and start killing bugs before I make my supper.

The worst job comes at the end of the day, though, when the armor-shelled invaders pour into my home for a comfortable night's sleep on my ceiling. Every evening before bed I must climb on a chair and crush the snoozing bugs. This is no easy task as I am short and must stretch myself out to greater lengths than I thought I could in order to reach them with my wad of tissue paper. I search around the room until one by one I press until I hear the crunching sound that signals their end. Some of the insect carcasses fall to floor to be vacuumed up later and others face a watery grave down the toilet, but all the bugs must die before I go to bed.

Squashing bugs has become a very distracting obsession. When I'm not actively killing them, I'm thinking about killing them. I can't sit back and watch a "Friends" re-run without noticing one of the creeping creatures out of the corner of my eye. And other than their tendency to travel to hard-to-reach places, they are fairly easy insects to kill. Most of the bugs pretty much just stand still and wait to be crushed. This is convenient because it takes time to move my chair from one location to the other and it would be frustrating if they moved around in the meantime.

The bugs are disgusting and unwelcome, but I am not afraid of them. They don't bite and they don't seem terribly interested in my food. The excessively hot weather receives the brunt of my accusations for their presence. I recently interviewed a crop expert from the extension office and he said cold, wet summers are disease years and hot, dry summers are insect years. I don't know if this farm fact relates to my bug situation, but I'm willing to blame the hot weather if I can find a reason.

I have tried spraying bug killer, but I have not seen any real results and I don't enjoy filling my apartment with pesticide fumes. The sandy soil of my corner of southwest Wadena seemingly holds an inexhaustible supply of these little black bugs that have decided to take up residence in my home and, for now, I will just have to eliminate them one by one.

I may have to consider removing my pineapple-decorated welcome mat, however. The bugs have taken my gesture of friendliness far too literally and I think I need to send them a different message. If anyone knows of a place where I can buy an "unwelcome" mat, let me know. This frustrated roommate to uninvited bugs is desperate enough to give anything a try.