The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

Thursday, or Why My House Smells Like Vinegar, Bay Leaves, and Spic and Span

There is no such thing as a non-harmful bug. Ask me and I'll tell you.So there was this one day that we were going to make pancakes. The mix had creatures in it. The mix was disposed of and life went on.Some time later, we wanted to make something that required flour and it too had creatures in it. The flour also went the way of the mix and life went on.Some other time later, I took down the sugar bin and after putting it on the table and picking it back up, found one of the creatures on my kitchen table.I've read about these particular invaders and some sites suggest they are not harmful to people who might -- gulp -- ingest them. They and their relatives are considered 'important'. Remember what I said about no such thing as a non-harmful bug? Yeah.Today is Thursday and I dismantled every item in the cabinet where the creatures, which I discovered were flour beetles, had taken up residence. It was war. I found a few carcasses in dusty wine glasses in the first part of the cabinet and while I was creeped out, I carried on.I figured the nest of the things was on the top middle shelf where the mix had been. I worked my way gingerly toward it, cleansing, washing, and spraying with vinegar and water all the way. Once the shelves were dry, they got a good sprinkling of crushed bay leaves (which creatures like these mite things and others don't like, so a few naturalist bug experts suggest).I had the bottom four shelves done and chickened out before tackling that top shelf. I moved on to the last set of cabinets, where I found more of the things. Some were carcasses as well, thanks to a spider that had moved in behind a canned good, but others were alive and well, marching about as if they had their own little city in there. Ew.I chucked a bunch of things in the bin and took the bags out straight away. Finally, the only area left was that dreaded top shelf in the middle. They were up there and they were more alive than not. Again, ew.But it was war and I staged many sorties against them. The cabinet is built-in as are the shelves, so I couldn't get behind them, which meant extra spraying. I left it dry and came back -- there were still some moving. I sprayed more.The war will continue until nothing is moving up there. Or anywhere else.It's Thursday, and now my house smells like vinegar, bay leaves, and Spic and Span.Sigh.

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