Stinkbug Season


              Like everyone else during corona time at home, I’ve been cleaning and de-cluttering. Above our garage is my studio with three closets, a stack of shelves and a couple of vertical files for photos and paintings. All of these storage nooks and crannies are packed with 40 years of art supplies, books, and with a trillion hiding places. If nothing else, all of this adds up to the insulation of the room above the garage.

              As it turns out, those trillions of small hiding places are perfect stink bug motels. I’ve concluded these noisy, little beasties are not only dumb, but I think they might not have totally evolved into their full potential. Yes, they’ve picked a warm place (probably because of all the insulation), but there’s nothing to eat up here for a stink bug, and all they have to drink is dirty rinse water from paint brushes. Occasionally a stink bug will be floating in my tea but not often. Those few times are usually from a mistaken nosedive miscalculation, like the kind you see in a cartoon.

              So it turns out that my studio doubles as a stinkbug graveyard. I found many dead bugs inside leftover material at the bottom of a bin of fabric. Or they’re in rolled-up reams of paper, in between books and inside drawers. If I move one thing on the floor, like let’s say a box filled with wrapped up paintings, underneath will be no less than 4 or 5 dried bugs. Who knows how many will be inside the box!? Admittedly that one box is pretty big. Is there such a thing as self-vacuuming floors, because that might solve my dead bug problem? I swept the stairs leading to the studio today. Five, overnight, all dead!

              When the weather hits about 65°F, I have a jars ready, all over the house to swipe up the little buzzing things. It’s the first thing that has to happen in the bedroom too. It’s a drag getting dive-bombed by a stink bug just before falling asleep. Or worse, what about when your spouse gives a well-meaning smack in the head in his effort to catch a bug? That happened the other night. He thought I wouldn’t want to deep breathe a stinkbug while I slept, so I was rudely awakened by a swat! He caught it with no passive aggressive intentions on his part, just concern. They hide in the folds of the curtains too and in the blinds. We have a window seat in the bedroom. I’m kind of afraid to look under the cushions.

              When I catch one alive, I always set it free outside.  I’m sure someone will discover that stinkbug stink is the cure to covid 19 and I’ll be dubbed a murderer for my bug-trapping-studio-morgue. It’s got to be a karmic setup, I’m sure of it. An enlightened monk or shaman will come along and tell me that I housed, but did not feed and ultimately killed thousands of stinkbugs that could have saved a million covid patients. Therefore, in my next life, I will probably suffer some horrible, physical malady and the only thing I’ll be allowed to drink is dirty paint brush rinse water and an occasional cup of tea.   

 

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