insects

The Butterfly House

In the Museum of Natural History there is the Butterfly House.

It is a small exhibit.  Its on the second floor of the Museum of Natural History just after the insect zoo.

It took a lot for Bashert and Yoda to make it through there.

We saw the Butterflies advertised outside, but didn’t know we would have to pay to get in, after all it is one of the Smithsonian museums.  But it has been 12 years since Bashert and I have been to visit so we found some things had definitely changed.

At first we said no, but Yoda asked really nicely and since we were ostensibly in DC to give him the experience, we caved and said yes.  Bashert wasn’t happy with the wait time or the somewhat surly distraction of the ticket girl, but we forged ahead.

We busied ourselves in line by looking at the freaky array of caterpillar and butterfly species on display.  We had to give that up because even that was a bit much for the other two.  Nature can be mightily strange.

Our time finally arrived to enter the realm of the butterflies.

After the obligatory be careful speech, the door was opened and we stepped into a cool spray of mist.  Beyond that were about six or seven separate little raised garden areas and a multitude of butterflies of all shapes, sizes and colours.

We couldn’t help but smile.

Everywhere we looked there was a butterfly either flying about or warming themselves on the garden flowers with slow waves.

Wings that seemed to be dull camouflage would open up to be the deepest midnight blue I had ever seen.  There were red, orange, yellow, blue and mosaic butterflies.  There were wings that swooped in like hourglasses and other that were shaped like sails on tall ships.

                        

We were for a time transported away from everything but the beauty in that small room.

Yoda was thrilled when one landed on him.  At first he was a bit nervous, but then settled quickly and said that the butterflies must really like him.

Bashert ended up supporting a few herself.  One on her arm, one on her head and another took a liking to her camera.

A lovely blue one took up residence on my back for a little while.

There is nothing quite like being a perch for such a delicate and fragile thing.

It was kind of sad when it was our turn to move on.  The smiles that we had stuck on our faces as we stepped out more than paid the price of admission. Funny how small things can make such a difference sometimes.

Maybe the cranky ticket girl should spend a few minutes in the actual exhibit.  It would sure do her heart good.

Enter, the Roach

 

In my home, I am the killer of bugs.

To be accurate though, I should say I am the killer of roaches.  Other bugs and insects often have a second chance in our home, but roaches no.

I have been roused from deep slumber to eradicate an insect that had all my family members screaming and literally standing on furniture.  Yes, it happens in real life.

I admit that I do not relish my title at times.  I have been known to recoil with a yelp when taken by surprise by a shifty bug, as in the other night when I felt something on my thigh and reacted with a sharp intake of breath and a swipe sending the creature sailing across the room.

But for the most part I do my duty with stoic efficiency.

The other day my partner and son were out, she teaching and he attending intellectual day camp, so I was sitting on the sofa reading.  Out the corner of my eye, I saw a flicker of movement.

I turned to look and there was one of the largest roaches I had ever seen in my life crawling sideways across our barrister case.  This was no water bug or palmetto bug, no this was a full grown, beauty of a cockroach.

Now, when one sees a roach of this magnitude, it does give one pause.

First came the thought, “Wow, that really is a big roach.”   The second thought was I was glad my family was not here for this one.

My intellect told me that I was disproportionally larger than the insect.  I knew that it would not come at me with dripping fangs and a hypnotizing stare.  I knew that it had been driven inside by the intense heat of the day and was just looking for relief.  I also knew that it had to die.

I shuddered to think if this giant prehistoric scavenger escaped to roam free and was discovered by any other member of my family.

I am not tremendously afraid of insects. I have a healthy respect for most and can find some quite interesting.

Arachnids on the other hand, I do not tolerate in my general vicinity, at all.  A result of being bitten on the face by, and I quote, “an aggressive house spider’, that sent me to the emergency room and ultimately left two divots in my cheek.  If they hang around outside fine; that’s their domain – just stay off my grill and thresholds and we can live in peace, but come into my house or vehicle; the kid gloves are off.

But once again, I digress.  Back to the enormous roach in my house.

I had to devise a plan of action because as we all know roaches are tricky things.  They flatten themselves out and scoot through the tiniest of cracks.  Once false move and that sucker was going to be inside the barrister case taunting me from behind glass.

The problem was it was on the glass by this point.  My first weapon of choice would not be available for use, although I’m pretty sure I could get away with breaking the glass with my shoe once I revealed the impressive size of the intruder.

No, I had to come with an alternate weapon of destruction.

Did I mention that the living room was in a state of disarray (more so than usual, my smarty pants friends)?  Our a/c was on the fritz having leaked onto the carpet so all of our furniture was pushed into the center of the room making it a bit difficult to navigate.

This was not going to be an easy target.

It was a lose-lose situation. If I moved too fast it was behind the glass dancing and wiggling it’s antennae at me; if I moved too slowly it would meander into the tightly packed heap of articles out of striking distance where it would later pop out and scare several years off my partner and son.

I had to develop some sort of action plan quickly.

My eyes finally spotted a piece of copy paper that could be reached somewhat easily.  Not the best weapon since its not very flexible and has the potential for letting the roach flatten out and escaping, but it was the best I could find in the moment of hunt.

I snuck up on the creature with hand hovering low.  I then did the quick cover and squish move, however as many of you other bug killers know, roaches don’t always squish on the first try.

Headless and one wing cocked at an odd angle, the roach fought back.

Periplaneta americana Linnaeus turned around and came at me.

I confess that I did the ‘ew, ick, gross, watch out’ dance for just a second, hopping from foot to foot.  But then my inner hunter came out and said, “Bring it on!”.   La Cucaracha didn’t stand a chance.

I steeled myself for the final showdown.  My breath quickened and my muscles drew taut.  Determination overtook my being.  I would not be defeated by this germ carrier.

Down came the paper with a mighty thrust and the feisty little creature was literally putty in my hands.  Good had triumphed once again.

My family would never know the danger from which they had been saved.

But, that’s the life of the bug killer.