Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stink Bug Mafia

We are under seige.  Attack. Invasion.  Choose your ominous word.  It doesn't really matter what you call it.  What matters is that it's happening.  Stink bugs have taken over the Washington area with a vengeance. I know what you're thinking: it's just a little bug.  And you're right.  One is just a bug.  But what we've got is a mafia. 


Stink bug
Image by jcantroot via Flickr
 The Washington Post ran a story a couple of weeks ago that was informative and humorous (at least to me).  The story referenced the smell (sweaty feet--though I disagree, more below), ways for homeowners to remove them (suck 'em up in the vacuum), the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Working Group (really), and Congressional action:

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who represents Maryland's rural 6th District, sent a letter Friday, signed by 15 members of Congress, asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to take immediate action to limit damage caused by Halyomorpha halys.
You can't make this stuff up.  Frankly, I fear grave danger (to quote Jack Nicholson, "is there any other kind?") for speaking out against what I am certain is an underground, organized effort.  A mafia.  Think about it.  They get in silently when you least expect it.  When threatened, they release the stink to summon fellow mafiosos.  And just look at them . . . you know they have names like Vinnie, Vito, and Nicky the Nose.  What I haven't yet figured out is what they want.  Are they out for money?  Blood?  Global domination?  My money's on the latter, though I haven't been able to prove it.  But I haven't seen this organized an effort since The Sopranos went off the air. 

The other night, WH and I were watching TV when we spied one of these fellows sneaking across our wall.  Just as we became aware of him and were ready to combat him, he took wing.  Exactly what you'd expect of an enforcer.  I mean, he didn't want to be recognized.  He certainly didn't want to be caught.  But . . . like all of the underlings, they eventually do get caught.  I have perfected my stink bug catching tool (because you can't squish 'em, lest you unleash the stink).  It involves a Swiffer mop (to coax the high-up-the-wall bug down to lower ground), a paper towel (for the bug to crawl onto), and a swift walk (with a modicum of girlish squealing) to the toilet for a forceful flush.  This is my method of necessity, even though I'd really like to hit 'em with a shoe.  What worries me, though, is that some stink bug consigliere somewhere is apprising the rest of the family about my technique and they're getting smarter and organizing a counter attack. 

I'm not sure what I did to anger the Boss Bug, but I'm pretty sure I almost ended up with a horse head in my bed one night a few weeks ago.  Thank goodness I'm a light sleeper.  I awakened to a tickle on my arm.  And then that smell.  Not sweaty feet, as The Post suggested, but something more reminiscent of wet paint mixed with fart.  It was all over me.  But I got the last laugh.  I captured Salvatore the Stink and sent him to a watery grave (minus the cement shoes).  I did a quick clean up that involved washing my arm of the offending smell (so as not to summon additional goombahs to the party) and went back to bed. 

I slept with one eye open that night, you can be sure.  But I've started to be lulled into a false sense of security.  That's just what they want.  Because when I least expect it, I'm sure the mafia will strike.  Maybe I'll be summoned to a sit down over cups of espresso, kissed on the mouth and welcomed to the family.  More likely, my fate will include a trip in the trunk of a car.  So if you don't see me for a while, send out a posse, because I really don't want to end up a stone in the foundation of the next monument to be added to the National Mall.

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