Sunday, August 8, 2010

bugs that make even MY skin crawl

Our new home is the oldest home I've ever lived in--it's older than I am--but that was why we bought it in the first place. It's only the old homes that have the floorplans that we like in a townhouse (ie. 2 storey). It's been completely renovated inside, so one wouldn't know its age from the inside.

At the time that this complex was built, land was cheap, so units are spread apart by lots of greenery; lawns, trees, and gardens. As a result, urban wildlife abounds all over. Spiders are the most obvious; each morning, I break several webs just exiting the front door. But older homes also have cracks in their building envelope that allow the wildlife in. I already know of about 5 widow spiders who've permanently made homes. Generally, I let them be, since I know they'll stop any further intruders from calling my casa their casa.

Tonight, as I was about to make my way up the stairs, I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. Bending down to get a closer look, I saw a widow spider making a meal out of a newly caught sowbug. Good for her, earning her keep.

I stood back up, then still saw movement, almost like the ground was moving. Back down for a closer look, when I saw the little yellow dots on the ground, wriggling around. That is the moment my skin starting feeling tingly. What were those things? Did we buy a townhome infested with lice? Are they carpet mites? With my naked eye, I couldn't make them out. Without a magnifying lens handy, I took out my camera, snapped a shot, and zoomed in on the photo:
Eww. I've known sowbugs to give birth to live young (I'd pick a pregnant one up and she'd start shooting them out under distress), but seeing these guys littered all over the floor was just gross, even for me. Note the size of the carpet lint, to get a scale of them. Yes, they're exact miniatures of the parents. I'm not too worried about a new infestation of these in the home; as you can see, most of them are too tangled up in the lint to survive for long.

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