Posted: February 20, 2017
Categories: Garden Maintenance
I really don't expect to be attacked in my own home - or anywhere really- but, to be honest, I feel as if I'm currently repelling an invasion by wildlife. And it really isn't pleasant.
A few nights ago, I settled down to a bit of computer writing malarkey when I spotted the most distressing of sights. At first I thought it was the last remains of a muesli bar I'd tucked into as a late afternoon snack. After all, a keyboard is a magnet for all food detritus. But, on closer inspection, the back end of what I thought was a shiny black seed was actually moving. I found a pen and started to poke and delve in between the B, N and H keys and managed to extricate the smallest of slugs. Dis-gust-ing. A slug in the keyboard. I obviously probed it a little bit with the nib, took a picture and then deposited it on the bird table outside. I hope it's joined the food chain.
That got me thinking as to how it managed to find its way in. My desk and keyboard is 2 metres from the outside garden. The table leg is a metre – so that makes a monumental (for a small slug) 3 metres of travelling. And I know they don't move fast. An epic journey. Anyway, I settled down and after cleaning the keyboard by shaking it upside down (and it is interesting to see what falls out – try it) and spraying and wiping clean, I went about my work. Then the second wave of attack arrived.
I knew it was trouble from the minute I allowed it to nuzzle into the corner of the window frame. It must have been warmed by the recent milder air or the heat from me burning the midnight oil (OK- Halogen bulb at 8.30pm). A particularly nasty looking ladybird took off and went straight for my face. 'Go for the eyes, go for the eyes ' were its instructions and it carried them out to the letter (not B, N or H this time). Obviously, I reacted like anyone would do when being attacked by any member of the Coccinellidae family. I screamed in a high pitch voice, knocked the table spilling my cocoa down the wall and flailed my arms around like a windmill – natural reaction I think. But we all know ladybirds are good. After all, they published all those family friendly books so they can't be all bad. It settled. I pounced like a tiger, in its prime, on an unsuspecting wild boar (or aged sloth flicking at a Cecropia twig). I put it back on the window to think about its actions, apologise for its disgraceful behaviour and to wait for spring.
I was proper spooked but things went quiet for a day or two. Then, just as I was relaxing, the final (for now at least) incident occurred. The other Saturday morning just as dawn was breaking, I was awakening from a deep sleep. I was in that '5 more minutes' state of mind when I heard a deep buzzing sound. I thought my ears were playing up again but on glancing around to check the time came eyeball to compound eyeball with a wasp. A big one at that. And it looked angry. Now, if you are of a certain age you will remember a yoghurt advert on telly where the whole family leap out of bed, springing into joyous activity, to consume their vitality giving bacterially-fermented milk product. I did that. Without the yoghurt bit. Or the rest of the family. Or the brightly lit Nordic landscape in the background. Or the laughter and smiles. 'Wasp, wasp, wasp,' I yelled and within seconds it was dispatched.
Everything is now calm. My keyboard is clean. The bedroom window is permanently closed. And the ladybird...isn't where I left it. Just look up 'Inspector Clouseau and Kato' and you'll know what I am going through...it's here somewhere.
Ladybird: wanders about the house now. It's become a family pet. Might be strange to take it out for a walk on a lead though. Going to set up a new house for it in the garden - this will do the job
Slug: no more house slugs. Using Slug and Snail Killer in the garden to keep numbers down.
Wasp: still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about what could have happened.
Ears: phantom buzzing – might be tinnitus.
Yoghurt: not for me.
Cecropia: currently unavailable online (and will be for a long time – the sloths have them all). Other trees will be available.