What Bugs Me About Spring

Not everything that pops up smells like a rose



illustration by mike driscoll

I’m truly enjoying the long-overdue spring weather, but there’s one thing that comes with it I really don’t like. Bugs.

It seems as if every year there is some new and creepier species to contend with. Last summer, for example, these huge bugs with long legs, antennae and grasshopper-like flat bodies on steroids suddenly appeared everywhere. I had so many of them on the outside walls of my house, they looked like some kind of abstract-art decoration. I snapped photos of the invaders and posted them on the Internet, asking if anyone could identify them.

“Oh, those are stink bugs,” came several responses.

I’d never heard of such a thing in New Hampshire.

“Why do they call them stink bugs?” I asked, hoping the answer wouldn’t be the obvious.

“Because they stink,” came the obvious.

I wasn’t about to go stick my nose anywhere near one of those creatures to verify that information.

“They kind of smell like armpits when you squash them,” someone else said.

Great. Just what I needed — my house to smell like a giant armpit. It was bad enough I already had two odoriferous dogs running around.

When a friend from the West Coast came to visit last year, she casually said to me on the day she was leaving, “Oh, by the way, there’s been this really ugly bug in my bathroom all week.”

If there’s one word that fills me with fear, it’s “bug.”  And the word “ugly” in front of it makes it about 10 times worse.

“Um, why didn’t you kill it?” I asked her. I had visions of it peering out from the top of the overhead light where no one shorter than 6’5” could reach it.

 “I don’t believe in killing bugs,” she said. “They are nature’s creatures.”

“So are rattlesnakes,” I said, “but I wouldn’t want to have one hanging around in my bathroom!”

“We have black widow spiders in our house,” she said, shrugging. “We don’t kill them. Sometimes we usher them out the door, but usually we just leave them alone.”

I made a mental note never to set foot in her house.

I really didn’t care about her no-kill policy. And I wasn’t about to usher anything out of the house. No, I was out for bug blood.

Armed with a flyswatter, I hesitantly ventured into the bathroom. I found the offending creature, one of the aforementioned stink bugs, perched on the bar of soap in the tub’s soap dish.

“Well,” I muttered, “at least this one is into cleanliness so it probably won’t stink so much when I squish it.”

I was wrong. My bathroom ended up smelling like a crowded locker room after a football game in 95-degree weather.

So this year, I’m feeling apprehensive about what new or unusual species of insect might decide to invade my property.  Visions of every radiation-mutated, crawly thing featured in horror movies during the past 50 years have been popping into my head.

Now that I think about it, maybe stink bugs aren’t so bad after all.

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