Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt fivegreenacres@gmail.com Poynette, WI
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I’ve got bugs. I’ve got bugs in my room.

I’ve got bugs. I’ve got bugs in my room.
May 5, 2008 Mary Jo

I don’t want to get too carried away with posting YouTube links all the time, but Pearl Jam pretty much summed it up perfectly, and with an accordion, no less. Couldn’t resist.

Yeah, we’ve got a bad, bad case of the creepy-crawlies. Not to be confused with the fun tickle game Daddy-o plays with Isadora. No, we’ve got a healthy supply of creeping, crawling, scurrying, blood-sucking freeloaders that have forced their way into our daily consciousness here, intruding upon our Pastoral Idyll. From that ubiquitous day we called this home “ours”, the Asain beetles and Box Elder bugs have been in possession of too much air and wall space. I’ve mentioned before how it’s not been uncommon to feel a tickle on my leg while tucked into bed and pull out a beetle.

I’ve not yet mentioned the mice, but they were there too, in droves, when we moved in. Vigorous trapping and some not-so-clever poison tactics seemed to put a pretty good dent in the population for several months, but on second thought, maybe it just wasn’t their busy social season. Lately, though, they seem to be getting out and about more, as I’ve seen some mousey calling cards around lately. (Uh, Honey – I keep forgetting to mention that the mice are back. Please trap them.)

And the not-so-clever poisoning tactic? Worked great, except they ate it and then headed to their cozy home inside our walls for a nice, long sleeeeeeeeep. Foul. In those early days here, we weren’t sure what that smell was. Did we have a propane leak? Nope. Just some rotting mice in the walls. Go ahead and file this away in the “let’s not” category.

And now Spring is here, I’m pretty sure, and the bugs have multiplied with a vengeance. We see that our previous populations of beetles and box elders were barely nothing at all. Not to be left out of the Great Mating Frenzy that is Spring, carpets of them now interrupt the clean lines of our wood siding.

But as I’ve mentioned in previous complaints about them – they don’t make noise or bite or transmit diseases. Which is far more that I can say about our latest in the string of creepy visitors. Ticks. (insert Heeby Jeebies here)

We’ve got buckets and buckets of ticks here. And the ones we can see are the less dangerous wood ticks. The ones to be worried about, deer ticks, are too small to be spotted with our modest vision. But if their population is at all correlated with the healthy deer population here, we’re crawling with them, and literally. Now, every tickle on the neck or behind the knee deserves to be investigated. Of course, finding even one tick, on the dogs, on the floor, (god forbid) in the bed, sets off a body-wide alarm of Heeby Jeebies. The Pugs have been banished from the beds, poor things. Nightly tick checks are part of our family culture now, and the results have led us to the Vet’s office as well as the family Doc’s to check out suspicious markings. Our remaining boxes of Frontline for dogs will be burnt in effigy. They will not be getting my testimonial or endorsement.

If it sounds like I’m whining, well, I guess I am a little. I was in fact writing this post when my napping girl woke up from her nap prematurely, screaming and with a fever. Fever + mysterious bug welts = scary. So instead of heading out for our vet appt. to inspect Svejk’s bites, we instead RUSHED into town to see the doc instead, before they close on a Friday for the weekend. She’s fine, it seems.

But whining aside, I started this post to be one of triumph, not complaints. Because help is on the way. In an incubator, not too far away, lies our solution to this crawly problem. Guinea Fowl. 6 of them will be joining our forces in a few weeks. They’ll arrive as keets, (the Guinea version of chicks) and we will be able to indoctrinate them early on with their sole mission: eat, eat, eat. Guineas are notorious for cleaning up ticks, beetles, and box elder bugs, and doing so accounts for 90% of their diet. The measly 10% that is not bugs will be chicken feed. And they will be roosting with the chickens at night, so it seems like they’ll fit in here without a lot of fuss. When campaigning to add them to our happy farm family, I asserted that it’s more hassle NOT to have them than it is to have them. I’ll let you know if that turns out to be the case.

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