Saturday, September 20, 2008

What bugs me.

Normally - I kind of like bugs.

They don't creep me out and when there is the tell tale scream of a found spider either by M or Daughter C, I normally try to convince them that it won't hurt them and it will crawl away to somewhere else so just leave it alone. I've saved a few spiders and set them free, some had to be killed unfortunately.

My favorite insect is the praying mantis.

What a beautiful creature that is!

Dragon flies are next up - their wings are like little tiny stained glass windows. Just gorgeous!

I'm not bothered by bees, weirded out by worms, creeped out by cicadas. Mosquitoes and flies are annoying and must die, but I don't panic...just a quick swat and their done. The thought of a tick stuck to me sucking out my blood and giving me Lyme's disease is not pleasant, but I grew up in the woods and we used to just pluck them off of us constantly.

There are a few exceptions to my own rules of course:

Cockroaches, waterbugs, the very fast, very creepy multi-legged THING that lurks in the corners of my basement that I have not been able to identify because I don't want to get that close to it...

and crickets.

First of all I don't like their chirping.

It drives me insane.

It's one thing to be outside and hear the late summer crickets singing away, but it's another thing entirely when one lonely cricket gets into your house and chirps incessantly.
How the hell can one little insect make so much freakin' noise?

First's only the males who chirp.

Technically crickets do not rub their hind legs together to chirp. The left fore wing of the male has a thick rib (a modified vein) which bears 50 to 300 ridges. The chirp (which only male crickets can do) is generated by raising their left to a 45 degree angle and rubbing it against the upper hind edge of the right fore wing, which has a thick scraper (Berenbaum 1995). This sound producing action is called "stridulation" and the song is "Species" specific.

There are four types of cricket song: The calling song attracts females and repels other males, and is fairly loud. The courting song is used when a female cricket is near, and is a very quiet song. An aggressive song is triggered by chemoreceptors on the antennae that detect the near presence of another male cricket and a copulatory song is produced for a brief period after successful deposition of sperm on the female's eggs

To hear the mating call of other crickets, a cricket has 'ears' located on its knees, just below the joint of the front legs. Their auditory sensation is mediated by tympanic membranes located in their knees.

(Thank you Wikipedia)

Did you also know you can tell the temperature by how fast or slow a cricket chirps? To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.

Example: 30 chirps in 14 seconds + 40 = 70̊ F

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature.

Example: 48 chirps in 25 seconds/(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20̊ C

Facinating - but I still don't like them.

Have you ever tried to find one that got stuck in your house and catch it? They hop in the most random freakin' way and then they get stuck in the tiniest corner where you can't reach them and chirp, chirp, CHIRP away.

It's maddening.

One time I had a cricket stuck under my refridgerator for 3 days and I couldn't get to it.
I bought didn't kill it because he wouldn't move.

In an act of shear desperation I made a pot of boiling water and threw it on the floor under the fridge and blanched him out of existance.

And also ended up cleaning my kitchen floor at like 2:00AM - but NO MORE CHIRPING!

I know that they are considered good luck in some Asian cultures, so if anyone wants to come on over my house to get a little pet cricket for your house, you are more than welcome.

August and September must be prime mating season for crickets and my basement (which is where my computer is) must be the cricket love shack because I keep getting them in here.

My daughter who also comes down here to use her computer when she's home is even more freaked out by them than I am and has been known to use almost a full can of Raid bug spray to kill one cricket!

I have tried bug traps and sprays...killed them with shoes and books or rolled up newspaper...but they still keep coming.

And they still keep chirping!

As I type this one solitary cricket has been chirping non-stop behind the entertainment center.
It's about to drive me insane!

I feel a bit like poor bloke in the Raven poem by Edgar Allen Poe:

Once upon a summer day clearly, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious blog of urban lore,
While I munched out, and constantly burping, suddenly there came a chirping
one one small cricket, filled with rapture hopped along my basement floor.
"You will die soon,' I exlaimed, `as I grabbed my can of Raid-ed -I will spray thee til there is no more.'

And the cricket, never hurting, still is chirping, still is chirping
On the crusty dust of carpet just below my basement floor;
And his wings have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the cabinet o'er him shields to the poison he does not yeild;
And my brain from all the chirping slowly leaks its mass along the floorShall be quieted - nevermore!

(My apologies to any Poe fans if I have offended by my horrible bastardization of this great poem)


Poetikat said...

Shaz! You've been hiding your light under the bushel. Your poem is terrific! I laughed and enjoyed your take on Poe.

I find the Yellow Pages dispatch those multi-legged racers very efficiently.


P.S. What about Jiminy?

Shazza said...

Kat - HA! Thanks - but poor Poe must be rolling in his grave on that one!

Cartoon crickets I can handle.

dive said...

Hee hee hee, Shazza, I LOVE the Poe adaptation! Brilliant!
He'll be giggling in his grave with glee.

I must confess to a love of that annoying cricket sound. I only ever experience it on holiday.
Though I'm sure that if I had to live with it full time I would be out there in the garden with a flamethrower every evening.

neetzy said...

I love cricket and cicadas and all those noisy bugs. You are very poetical and thoetical. I'm impressed. Dragonflies are beautiful. Do you remember the golden one D found in Dublin? We have photos.

The Village Carpenter said...

Impressive post and poem! Funny, of all the bugs you mentioned, the cricket is the only one that doesn't bug me.

Maria said...

I'm right there with you on crickets. When we are outside on a late summer night, I find them oddly lulling. When they are in the bathroom right off my bedroom and chirping away at 3 a.m....they need to die.

And catching them is enough to keep your eyes open for hours with horror as they tend to jump in the exact opposite way that you expect and usually just close enough to landing on you that you leap around in fright.

Damn them.

Auntie Mame said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Auntie Mame said...

Shazza if we loose our jobs to the Armagedon, you are all set to be a starving poet!!
In high school we used to get cricket swarms near the bleachers of the football stadium. The "cool kids" had a contest to see how many live ones they could eat. Unfortunately, for my reputation, my boyfriend won the competition. I don't really dislike crickets, but the memory makes me kinda gag when I see them.