This Aint No Vodka Stinger

This poor kid has a giant bug for a pet.  He used to have a cat, but the bug ate it.  (Image from themorningstarr dot co dot uk)
This poor kid has a giant bug for a pet. He used to have a cat, but the bug ate it. (Image from themorningstarr dot co dot uk)

I’ve got a problem with bugs.  I always have.  As a youngster, the magnitude of my frenzied reactions were generally proportional to the scale of the bugs.  The bigger the bug, the louder my squeals and the faster I flailed my arms around like a prepubescent girl on bath salts.

Now that I’m all grown up, I’ve learned to suppress my visceral reactions to the insect world.  As the man of the house, I’m expected to dispatch every winged or creeping interloper that comes along.  My wife can sit on the couch with her feet up, sipping a Kir Royale, and direct me to the stink-bug on the curtain or the spider on the ceiling.  I’m obligated to get a paper towel or small caliber handgun and kill the varmint*.  I’ve accepted my role as bug killer with what I perceive to be a kind of stoic grace.  I even managed to convince myself that I’m not so afraid.

Then last year, my wife and I were visiting my son in Mexico.  After a decadent day of tequila for breakfast and sitting on Lover’s Beach for lunch, we returned to his casa to chill out until dinner.  I was getting showered while my wife and son hung out poolside.  Just as my shower was drawing to a close, a millipede came writhing out of the drain at my feet, looking for dry land.  Loyal readers know that I am occasionally prone to exaggeration, so in this instance, I promise to describe this bug as accurately as possible.  It was roughly the thickness and length of a jumbo-size Slim Jim meat snack and had hundreds of churning legs, all trying to get a grip on the slippery tub floor.

This isn't funny!  It's sick!  Does anybody have the number for Child Protective Services?  (Image from scientopia dot org)
This isn’t funny! It’s sick! Does anybody have the number for Children’s Protective Services? (Image from scientopia dot org)

The volume and pitch of the screech which came out of my mouth briefly convinced me that the millipede and I had been joined in the tub by none other than Richard Simmons.  I quickly realized that Mr. Simmons was not in attendance, as I managed to climb wet and terrified from the tub.  I put a nearby trashcan over the millipede and got myself dried off.  Since the house was not mine, I assigned the job of killing the little monster to my son – besides, I needed witnesses of the size and ferocity of this creature to make my son and wife stop laughing at me and calling me the p word.  In the year or so since then, I’ve come to accept that I am still just as petrified of bugs as I’ve ever been.

Now comes news that over forty people have been killed by swarms of giant hornets in China.  The bees are roughly the size of the human thumb (not my exaggeration this time, I read it online).  They can fly up to 25 miles an hour, which is a lot faster than I can run, and as I mentioned a moment ago, their stings can be lethal.  The silver lining to this is that the bees are in China, way on the other side of the globe, far from my home in New Jersey.  I have nothing to worry about.

Nothing to worry about!  This is photo-shopped right?  It isn't?!
Nothing to worry about! This is photo-shopped right? It isn’t?! (Image from slumz dot Bowden dot com)

It’s highly unlikely that killer hornets or their eggs will somehow make it all the way around the world, right?  It should be of no concern that thousands of metric tons of merchandise from China gets unloaded on docks here in the USA every single day.   Surely there are not sufficient nooks and crannies in the average shipping container of radial tires or lead-painted chew toys to accommodate giant bees or their larvae.

Having reread the previous paragraph, I now know that it’s only a matter of time before the killer hornets invade our shores.  I’m taking this opportunity to go on record with the following statement: I hereby resign my position of household bug assassin, effective immediately.  In the event of infestation, it’s every man, woman, child and labradoodle for themselves.  Residents of my home are encouraged to grab themselves a bedroom slipper or badminton racket and start practice-swatting now, before the Chinese hornets arrive.

*I know there are people who insist on never killing any living creature.  For the record, no such person lives in my house.  This is an accepted fact and is well known to my dog, who annoys us regularly, but knows when to shut her pie-hole and curl up on the rug.  I take some small degree of comfort in the fact that her curious nature and lack of intellect will likely make her the first victim of invading hornets, thus providing me with an additional few moments to seek refuge and arm myself with a spatula or lacrosse stick.

55 thoughts on “This Aint No Vodka Stinger

  1. I still can’t breathe after reading this. The thing about the millipede is all those damned legs. The more legs something has, the more it can scurry and the louder I scream.

    Are those hornets in China really that big? that can’t be real! right??

            1. Good news: The giant hornets are happier in tropical climates, so you’re pretty safe up in the frozen north. It’s just as well, because I hear there are mosquitos and black flies up there who would eat those hornets for breakfast.

      1. I still remember when I first read that lobsters and crabs were aquatic insects. I was really…well…horrified and disgusted. Couldn’t imagine eating lobster and crab after that. But now that fact seems kinda cool. In a weird way.

  2. I’m not good with bugs either, I always consider what bugs might be around when I travel abroad. I’ve been freaking out a bit about those chinese hornets too, like you say, it’s only a matter of time before they invade other shores. Have you seen the images of their stings on people? They look like bullet holes! Scary stuff, I get pretty scared enough about the regular bees and wasps you know? What are we to do?!

  3. It’s not the size that counts – it’s the #$% number of legs. Two words for you: House centipedes. The true horror is that they are incredibly fast. And they like the shower. You don’t have time to shriek and grab a broom before they’ve disappeared. At which point, you stop showering for three days until the nightmares go away.

    1. I failed to mention in my post that after my wife got a look at that monster in the tub, I had to stand guard whenever she showered. She was petrified that we’d have another creepy crawly come out of the drain while she had soap in her eyes.

    2. Here’s a horrible tale: several years ago when I lived in Hawaii, I was visited by a centipede in the night, while I was sleeping. It’s hard to believe, but I kid you not, this centipede crawled into my mouth (guess I was snoring!) and stung me. I woke up screaming and spitting out pieces of my attacker. My mouth was so swollen the next day that I had to go to the doctor. It looked like I had been in a fight and I could hardly talk. The attending doctor actually put her hand over her mouth in horror when she heard my story. Ugh! Just relating it here again makes my skin crawl. I no longer live in Hawaii but I sure don’t miss the centipedes there. Those suckers are big, I’ve seen them at least 8″ long! and they have a toxic sting. Not to mention that they are UGLY.

  4. I get your reaction to the millipede. I’m okay with the six-leggers for the most part, but when you get beyond double-digits, that’s when I lose my mind.

  5. Dear Geezus Mary Josephus! I might actually have to buy a gun or a flame thrower! One giant bug with thousands of legs would make me change my flight plans and return home immediately. Why can’t these things stay outside where they belong?? We’ve got morons here worrying about invading aliens from Mexico when there are far far more serious issues like giant wasps that could easily hitch a ride on some shipment of Chinese crap.

    1. Don’t worry about the borders, the government has them under constant scrutiny…oh wait…I just heard they’re off duty just now…something about a shutdown…well…it’s just giant angry bees…nothing to worry about…

  6. In order to combat this Chinese Killer Wasp Peril and Other Insect Horrors, I propose we all watch Hypnotoad! He’ll take care of any insect you care to mention! He’s not just a toad, he’s Hypnotoad!

    1. I’ve been feeding this dog faithfully for years now, she’ll keep those hornets busy long enough for me to make it to the safe room, where there’s enough food, water and Honey-Nut Cheerios to last me a few weeks. By then, the hornets will have either moved on, or gotten really pissed. Ironic on the Honey- Nut Cheerios, right?

  7. Oh, man, I can handle a spider or two, no problem. But a “jumbo-size Slim Jim”? No way. After reading this, I am awash in goose pimples. Thanks for that. I can only hope I conjure this post while I’m in bed tonight and imagine all sorts of creepy crawlies in my sheets… Icky, blicky.

  8. I read about these monsters. Apparently, they are also attracted by sweat and alcohol, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Raid is their most favorite smell.

  9. Ick. Bugs! Why do people touch those? And why is that one on the kid’s head? I think I’m going to throw up.

    No way am I letting Kiefer read this. He needs to continue his reign as bug killer.

  10. you would have hated the Scorpian infestation I once had in a unused drain. I turned the water on after months of disuse and they swarmed up, really angry for the water in their nest. The plumber said that happened frequently, Scorpians nesting in dry drains that is. Now, I run water in all my sinks and tubs at least once a week.

  11. I read an article on those killer hornets. THAT is some freaky Asian horror film in the making right there. Based on a true story! Please don’t let them come here. Hornets can sting over and over, unlike bees. What a cruel way to die. Now about this millipede encounter. I had a close encounter with a millipede. It was in a pile of towels I was washing. It caught me by surprise when it slivered out and under the dryer. Those little moving legs are a tad terrifying. But I went online and read they like to eat ROACHES and are harmless to humans. So now, I embrace my leggy millipede friends. Come one, come all and EAT any roach you see! Now those, I can’t stand.

  12. It’s not bad enough you have to scare us all with this news…did you have to put those PICTURES????? With the thing on the kid’s HEAD??????? And those things on the HAND????? DIDJA????

  13. Oh my gosh how is that even real.
    A lot of people are blogging about bugs, it seems… we all need each other in this season because it’s like all the nasty creatures are trying to invade our warm homes.
    I’m glad you have accepted your manly role of bug killer– I’ve done the same thing to my boyfriend.

  14. I thoroughly agree with your stance of every man for himself. In fact, I’d go so far as to trip that every man and leave him to become the victim while I make my merry escape. I am so not bug food.

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