My original methodology consisted of a large, tattered physics textbook, covered in cellophane for easy cleanup. But by the time I had prepared my death-wielding device, the widow had done something interesting: It had captured a cockroach in its web, and was making its way over to the soon-to-be corpse, where it proceeded to grab hold of its underbelly and wiggle its spindle-like legs all around its torso. (Do cockroaches have torsos?) That was it. How could I kill it now? It had just done me a favor. I decided instead to watch.
Eventually, the widow grabbed hold of its prey and dragged it underneath the door, to what I can only imagine was its lair. This was my chance. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the bug spray from underneath the sink—which, according to the package directions, is supposed to be good for warding off roaches, mites, flying insects and, of course, spiders. If I could spray underneath the door before the widow returned, maybe I could prevent it from coming back at all—it would get a whiff of those odoriferous fumes and run the other way.
But I wasn’t so lucky. Apparently, the evil assholes who make the bug spray don’t include a smell-warning feature. The widow came back. She was poisoned. And wriggling around in a truly disturbing fashion. The cellophane book was too far away. So she got the boot. Now I’m the asshole.
The point of my entirely-too-long black widow story is this: It’s spring. The bugs are out. And your house is their vacation. If you’re like me, and the memory of killing a spider is far too heavy a regret to live with, but the idea of toxic bug spray also makes you squirm (I caved last night), here are some useful nontoxic tips for de-bugging your home:
1) Soak cottonballs with mint oil (the purer, the better), and place them in key corners around the house. The smell on the first day will make your eyes water a bit, but it soon dissipates and miraculously repels mice, cockroaches, spiders and other unwanted insects from your home.
2) Line the doors, windows and other insect entrances to your home with baking soda. Guests might look at you a little funny, but pests really seem to hate the stuff.
3) For airborne vermin like flies, place potted mint plants on your windowsills. Flies also hate mint.
4) For a more thorough job, there’s one pest control company in town that I thoroughly recommend. AAA Organic Pest Control (262-1622) works like a charm, and offers the option of using some kind of frouffy African violet oil to spray with. It’s harmless to dogs, cats, kids and full-grown people, lasts for months, and will rid your house of infestation faster than you can say, “Ewww, a centipede.”
That’s all for now. If you have other non-toxic pest control tips, please post them here. I’m off to the store for some mint oil.