Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's The BOMB!

Too bad we can't get DDT anymore. Those Insect Bombs are just that. Every once in awhile they will blow up a house. I thought by now they would do away with the flammable propellants. It's sort of like spilling a a cup of gasoline in your living room and waiting for the water heater to come on, or someone to flip a light switch. DDT was so much safer. It is completely harmless to humans (and eagle eggs). My Mom would spray the dog, spray us, sift it over our sheets like baking flour.

Chlordane, another wonderful insecticide, was banned a few years later. After you sprayed that stuff you wouldn't see a roach for 6 months. The NYC roaches would lift their legs up to bathe in the OTC products like RAID. When you live in row houses bugs are always a problem. Your neighbor paints and they launch the TET Offensive on your apartment. My friend's family were ahead of their time, they didn't believe in chemistry. I only ate at his house once. Roaches were everywhere, on the kitchen table, the couch, walking across the T.V. set, on the towels.

Growing up in NYC I learned to be a proficient ratter. Now Bronx rats are about the size of wood chucks. I had to find out where they were getting into the house. It was useless to put out poison and traps because NYC offered an endless supply of vermin. When the hole was found I plugged it with a mixture of concrete and broken glass. I preferred to use the 1 gallon guinea wine bottles. Then with the border sealed I methodically trapped and poisoned the ones inside (sort of like my illegal immigration solution).

In today's paper there was an editorial about DDT. It made me feel sentimental. Like the new GE light bulbs the new insecticides don't work well and are more toxic to humans. The latter half of the summer has been extremely hot and wet so we are now getting the insect invasion. Once every two weeks the ants mount a reconnaissance in force through our kitchen window. We put the little drops of Taro poison on little paper squares and wait 3 days while the window sill is turned into a grand buffet before all the ants leave for two weeks. A few puffs of DDT would get rid of them for the season. In our tiny back yard we have a spider web the size of a volley ball net. The other night I went out after dark to get Bo and I met the spinner. It was a brown spider about 3 inches long; it looked like a crab. From now on Bo doesn't go out after 8:30.

About 2 p.m on Wednesday at work I got a call from BP about the flea crisis. Yes, the joys of subletting an apartment. Well, as William Bendix would say in the 50's TV program The Life Of Riley, "Anyone can be a landlord, but it takes brains to be a tenant".


M- said...

Aren't you over-reacting there, Babba? We bombed our house a few times 15 years ago. We're fine. Jondale bombed his apartment a couple times within a month and he's fine...well...aahh, I see what you mean, Babba.

Just kidding Jondale!!

Anonymous said...

You make the joy of living in the South not so joyful. Bugs... I had roaches hopping out of my toaster when I lived in the city. They would gas the neighbor's apartment only to move over to mine.
You sure you don't want to trade the bugs for a nice light snow shovel?
Your NYC rats were of the "well fed" Norway variety. At any rate we had them too when we were at Fairfview Ave. in the city. I would be outside getting wood for our wood stove and they would make a run right in front of me to the garage. De-Con was just like a food grainery to them. It wasn't until I was able to get a new variety of poison that the entire rat population gave up the ghost. Four paper dinner plates heaping full of that stuff eliminated the infestation.
I had sealed the house prior to any of this fun. They were running into my garage where we kept the garbage cans. The cans were covered but they still tried to have a fresh garbage plate for dinner.
I do feel your pain. Cold weather and snow does have some advantages... less bugs.