Name Your Pest…Then Throw A Party In Its Honor


Two amorous specimens on the side of my house the other day…

For the past couple of weeks, I, along with the rest of my fellow Central Floridians, have been living with our yearly visitors—Love Bugs. They are so named because they stay…er…”coupled” for days at a time. They even fly around that way, walk around that way, and if you see a single one flying or walking around, it’s likely because he just hatched, or maybe he’s just doomed, like a lot of people, to be unlucky in love.

Love Bugs are more or less harmless, and kinda cute. That is, unless they are in a large swarm around your car on the interstate—literally to the point that they obscure vision and make driving dangerous. That happens quite a bit here in Florida, because the little critters are also attracted to car exhaust so they swarm around the major highways and byways. In droves, they tend to last about 3 weeks, then they mysteriously disappear. Although sometimes they do come back for round two sometime during the summer…

As you can see, the little darlings can make quite a mess…oh, and here’s a tip: if you don’t wash them off right away, their tiny corpses will eat your paint right off!

When I was growing up, I lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our pest was the infamous Kudzu. This vine like plant was introduced from its native Asia, into the southeastern U.S. to be used as ground cover. HA! The joke was on us, because it proceeded to cover the ground—everywhere, and take over small cities, such as Chattanooga.

See what I mean?

We’re a hearty lot, however, with twisted, bawdy senses of humor for the most part, so Chattanoogans celebrated this pesty plant each year with the annual Kudzu Ball, held on the same night that Chattanooga’s social elite hold the Cotton Ball. It was a chance to display that tenacity that keeps all Southerners going through the best of times, and the worst of times…”If you can’t beat ‘em, make a party theme around them.” Oh, and the opportunity to mock our snooty “betters” is just a bonus…

Since I moved away from Chattanooga in my 20’s, I have lived all over…I mean ALL over. And you know what I noticed? Each region of the country, each city and townlet usually has some sort of unique pest to call their own.

For example, in Central and Northern California, you often get smelly and slimy, not to mention loud sea lion invasions….

Southern Oregon, specifically Klamath Falls, has these little guys—neon green Midges, which swarm around during the warmer months, much like our Love Bugs…

Wherever you live, you probably have your own special pest. It annoys you to no end when you live there, but you know what? If you really think hard about it, it (whatever it is) adds character to an area and you sorta miss it when you move away.

Wonder what my current neighbors would think of organizing a Love Bug Ball? Maybe with a Valentine’s Day tie in…hmmm….

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