During the heat wave, pestilential pantry moths invaded our cupboards. We had to clean everything out and put all the dry goods into airtight containers.
When I mentioned this to one of the people I work with at the hospital, he nodded knowingly and proceded to tell me about how he lived in a house where the front was covered in ivy. One evening he came home and noticed something moving in the ivy. He looked closer and saw that it was snails--hundreds of snails--"I kid you not, Virgie, it must have been over a thousand snails." So he and the other resident poured salt water all over the legions of snails before they could destroy the plants.
When I mentioned the moth problem to a woman I work with at church, she gave the same wise nod and told about the time her brother wanted to replace a broken tile in her kitchen floor. The night the tile was removed, she noticed the cat acting strangely--jumping around, all agitated--and when she went into the kitchen, the floor was just crawling with termites. It sounded like something from a horrible nightmare.
Does everyone have a bug story, some disturbing encounter with the world of creepy crawlies that they're just waiting for the opportunity to talk about? There's something primal, even archetypal about the horror of seething insectoid masses. Removing a tile, turning over a rock, it feels like uncovering a frightening alien world--a world that feeds on the death and waste of our own kind.
And it's frightening how powerful insects, spiders, scorpions and the like can be. So tiny and fragile, yet capable of sickening, even killing; destroying homes; decimating food supplies; spreading disease. I suppose an intractable enmity is to be expected ...