Coming back to the Treehouse after turning the air off and leaving it vacant for three weeks, I shouldn’t be surprised that the ceiling fans look like the chandeliers in Disney’s Haunted Mansion; we all know it’s essentially an eighty-year-old attic. Still, just when I think I’m familiar with the wildlife I’m living with, the Treehouse manages to surprise.
Here’s the tally:
- Lizards: two; one alive, one dead.
- Cockroaches: five, all thirty spindly little legs in the air.
- Drifts of Termite Droppings: one
- Drifts of Termite Wings: one
- Live Termites: three
- Millipedes: four, dead
- Beetles: three, living
- Bees: twelve, dead
- Spiders: eleven, alive
- Unidentifiable remains of bugs: three
If you were searching for the surprise on that list and spotted a dozen bees, give yourself a big fat pat on the back. I also have to admit the number of spiders was higher than I expected.
What brought bees to my bathroom to die? Opening the bathroom window, I found a bunch more in the window sill, so we know they came from outside the bathroom window. Probably the neighbors got scared of the hive hanging under the roof of their shed and - rather than calling a bee specialist to come and relocate them, or create hive for backyard honey – decided to bomb them. Several escaped through a nearby window, but they’d already inhaled fatal doses.
Or they were members of a bee cult who decided to perish together in a suicide pact.
Apart from speculating on why bees came to my empty apartment to die, there was also one fun moment while I was making morning coffee. A small cricket – a new addition itself and not part of my original inventory – hopped into the web between the kitchen window and the dish rack. I got to see the classic battle between predator and prey. The fascinating spectacle was never really in doubt, but it was still a fascinating spectacle; Circle of Life Breakfast Theater in my own kitchen.
Even in death, the cricket got the last laugh. This particular Miami native has extremely acidic blood, not unlike a lovebug. Apart from tasting terrible, their blood can be fatal to smaller spiders. Okay, I made that up. But the spider did become sluggish as he was biting and cocooning the little cricket. When I finally cleaned up, the cricket hung in the web, wrapped for safekeeping, but the spider lay curled on the counter, dead. If science doesn’t explain it, perhaps this is a cricket capable of cursing.
I love alliteration.
If there’s one good thing about how much funk accumulates when the Treehouse is empty, it’s the satisfaction of seeing it clean again. Basking in the smell of Febreeze-laden Swiffer wet (I’m not lazy; I mopped the weekend before I left) and Lysol multi-purpose cleaner, dustbunnies and cobwebs relegated to the trash, I can watch hours of TV on DVD with a glass of wine in one hand and not feel an once of guilt.
Except wishing I’d been able to get all the spiders outside without killing them.