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Adele Elliott: Bugged


Adele Elliott



These early summer evenings are punctuated with the small, bright flashes of fireflies. From my porch we exclaim at every sighting. "There''s one! I just saw one!" You''d think there was a reward for the most observed in a single night. 


These glimpses are tiny moments of magic, hopeful endings to tedious days. 


As a rule, most of us are not big fans of insects. A relentless army of ants has paraded through our kitchen lately. They flaunt our efforts to deter them, scattering briefly, only to return, undaunted, to their single-file procession along the countertop. 


The current quantity of mosquitoes seems vast, as well. Our recent monsoon season must have been ideal for them. Incalculable numbers have hatched, buzzing angrily, aggressive and ravenous. 


This week, a giant palmetto bug whizzed across our heads as we watched TV. "Was that a bat or a bird?" Chris and I both asked. Neither. The pest hurtled into a wall and landed with a thud on the floor. 


I suppose living with creepy critters is part of the price we pay for our comfy habitat; even undesirables call it home. However, I am most disturbed by the explosion of the rat population downtown. 


No, I am not talking about human vermin, like criminals. This is the real deal. At night, rodents swarm out of the sewer drain on the corner of Fifth Street and Second Avenue North. They scurry along the grassy patch next to the Civil War Monument, sending chills through my spine. 


The situation is even more confusing, since a dozen or so feral cats are fed right across the street. Surely they are making some dent in the proliferation of one of earth''s most reviled creatures. That is a cat''s job. 


Common wisdom says that for every rat or mouse you see, multiply by 10. This will give you a better idea of their true numbers. 


I suppose a pro-rat argument could be made by a fringe fan club. Man has taken over the world, especially cities. Somehow, rats and pigeons have endured. But, admirable survival skills aside, the majority of us consider them abhorrent. Rat defense is not my soapbox. 


Lots of issues bug me. Most are problems I am powerless to affect (like drivers talking on a cell phone). Perhaps, my distress, and my voice, may influence a change for the small stuff I can impact. 


Do you have a soapbox, a pet peeve? We can''t all fix everything. But, each of us can fix something, one thing. 


Is there a situation that your city councilperson or mayor should hear about? They can''t be everywhere. Our eyes, our attention, are valuable. We all have a phone, or e-mail, or can write a letter. And, most especially, we all have a vote. 


I wish I knew what makes the fireflies happy and more randy. Is there a plant that attracts them? I would like to make my yard more romantic to them, inspiring them to reproduce. I doubt if they would be much impressed by candlelight. 


As for the mosquitoes, I''ll probably just be forced to suffer their pointy little pin pricks. But, rats -- now, there is a project I will take on. Be afraid, you repulsive little disease-carriers, I have you in my sights.


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.


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Reader Comments

Article Comment Sandra Petro commented at 6/9/2009 3:05:00 PM:

Adele, put sheets of Bounty on your counters, No More Ants, worked for me....

I love reading your column, hardly ever miss it.


Article Comment Sandra Petro commented at 6/9/2009 3:08:00 PM:

Sorry, that is bounce softner sheets you put on the counter, not bounty.....


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