Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Join the Beetle Brigade!

It being almost two months out to the wedding, you'd guess that Andrew and I would be whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears and sending love notes to one another.

Instead, here's a look into a recent email from Andrew.

"Look at what I just found at top of the stairs leading into the basement. Do you think it's an Asian longhorned beetle?"

My first thought is "Ewww! How the heck did that thing make its way into our house." I really can't stand bugs, especially those that you know will crunch when you step on them (coming second only to bugs that bite and sting you).

My second instinct was to freak out. For those of you who don't live in Massachusetts, you've missed the recent headlines where the state has been obsessed with finding and eradicating these invasive pests. We're talking tons of stories, tracking maps and even worse, the destruction of massive amounts of trees in an attempt to curb the beetles' spread.

I was alarmed not only because the numero uno icky bug in the state was cohabitating with us, but because I pictured the park that is directly next door to us. As in old, stately, tall, lovely trees that would almost certainly be torn down if this ended up being the real thing.

So I spent the next ten minutes looking at pictures of beetles to see if I could identify "our" bug.  Although you can't tell from Andrew's hastily snapped iPhone pic, our bug also had white spots. Looking at the shape of the beetle, I was almost positive that it was a (non-Asian) longhorned beetle. Luckily, Andrew ended up calling the Asian longhorned beetle hotline number, and ended up talking to a member of the Asian longhorned beetle eradication society (seriously).

Although the lady responded with a horrified "OH NO!" (caps emphasis based on Andrew's description of the ladie's voice) when Andrew said he had found an Asian longhorned beetle in our house (way to calm us down, lady), she was able to get Andrew to describe some key characteristics of "our bug".  She concluded that what we had was a "white-spotted sawyer beetle" which are common this time of year. That stick shape coming out of its butt? She thought it was female getting ready to lay its eggs.  Um, was it possible for me to get even more disgusted?
So, crisis averted. The trees are safe. The beetle is now dead and disposed of (along with its butt stick of eggs). We now know that:
1) an Asian longhorned beetle eradications society exists. They actually have posters featuring the phrase that is the inspiration for my post title, and I consider Andrew and I to be honorary members of their "beetle brigade" and
2) there are a ton of ugly bugs out there that resemble each other.


newlywed said...

Oh boy! So much to worry about in being a home-owner. We are looking at houses now...sometimes I think we should stay in an apartment! But I am glad you don't have the bad kind of beetle.

Jen said...

Bugs gross me out too. Glad it all worked out for you guys!

bcallegra said...

Thanks for the sympathy, bugs suck but weird bugs are even more scary at first, haha. :)

Newlywed, being a homeowner is a lot of work but it's all worth it. Even when you're dealing with nasty creepy-crawlies!