Wednesday, June 17, 2009

termite sex

It's the annual termite or shiro-ari mating season. Which means, when you live in an old wooden house like mine, an infestation. Last night we were up until 9:30, reading chapters of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in between bouts of termite-killing and generous insect spraying.

They keep crawling out of the walls, out of the tiny cracks in the window frames and behind the closets and even up a gap between the wall and the floor - right by my pillow. We kept squishing them into tissues, and spraying into whichever hole we thought they were coming out of. There was no way we could sleep until we were satisfied that there were just a few were escaping, and those quickly dying from the spray. I wedged spray-soaked tissues into the crack by my bed. After each spray, we opened the windows for ventilation for a few minutes, then shut them again to keep the mosquitos out (the screen windows are frayed).

Usually I run away to the parents-in-law's house for two nights, which is all it usually takes for the annual orgy to be over. The first year, it happened when Amy was a baby, and she just happened to have a fever at that time. So I was not in the mood for 'one more thing'. We had the house fumigated after that, and it seemed to do the trick for several years.

But despite more fumigating, we've had them back every year and the same time - mid June, just as the humidity goes up during the rainy season. I think they must have an instinct to go 'up' and also to head towards the light - of the moon, maybe? I don't know where they originate - rotten wooden piles deep under the house...

I explained the life cycle of ants to Amy, who had started to make up her own ideas about honeymooning termites. We took perverse pleasure in destroying the dating chances of this crop of bugs - by squishing them.

Well, here's hoping last night was the worst night, and tonight won't be so bad...

No comments: