I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bugging out.

My father is an entomologist. He's also a virologist. He studied bugs' roles in transmitting infectious diseases. Lyme disease, mostly.

So, of course, I'm bug-phobic. I dislike bugs. Tropical bugs, especially. And I am positively, breathlessly terrified of roaches.

The other day, I noticed a solitary beetle crawling on my computer screen, but didn't give it much thought. He was a little guy, and I figured he'd probably die in a corner of my apartment somewhere, to be vacuumed into oblivion later.

Last Sunday, as I left work, I picked up Monica, who noticed that the interior of my car was swarming with... beetles. Dozens of the same tiny beetle that had crawled across my computer screen...

I had a mini-freak out, but pulled it together, and the beetle infestation of '11 ended quickly, or so I thought, after a couple days of driving around with my windows open and parking my car in direct sunlight to bake the little motherfuckers. I thought the problem was solved.

Until tonight.

When I went to sprinkle PAPRIKA of all things, on my dinner. The paprika had clumped (or so I thought) and after banging the container on the counter, I sprinkled it all over my dinner. Although, it wasn't just paprika I was sprinkling.

IT WAS PAPRIKA AND BEETLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Both dinner and the paprika were promptly discarded, and I checked nearby spices for evidence of contamination (none found).

My first thought was that I need to get the fuck out of South Florida - I'm tired of storing every foodstuff in my kitchen in Ziploc bags, and freezing bags of flour for a couple days after purchase, to kill any creepy-crawlies that may lurk within.

It really didn't help that I saw a two-inch long roach in my trash room as I was tossing my beetle-covered dinner.

I'm at a loss here. The paprika container was sealed shut. I bag EVERYTHING, and keep my spices closed tightly against humidity. And it's not like hot Hungarian paprika is a welcoming environment for bugs... sprinkling it on my food makes me sneeze...

Aside from not keeping food at home anymore (already, when things are open, if they're not already in a gasket-sealed container or in a Ziploc bag, they get stored in the fridge...) and aside from bombing my place (I don't want to throw away my hundreds of dollars of spices...) WHAT THE HELL CAN I DO TO STOP THESE OCCASIONAL UNPLEASANT SURPRISES?!

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears. Because I already go through tortuous routines to avoid scenarios like the one I encountered tonight, and if these bugs are tough enough to live in hot pepper... it's just another reason to want to move back up North, where the bugs are less hardy, and where I'm certain that I'm not going to shake some paprika and have stinkbugs tumbling out...


Anonymous Squathole said...

As an ethnic Hungarian, I assure you that bugs not only like paprika, they thrive on it. Bugs are an integral flavor in many of our cultural staples. Goulash, for example. Lamb, potatoes, and bugs.

If you object to the bugs, lose the paprika.

It sounds like you're doing everything possible -- zip-lock bags, refrigeration, etc. As your father could tell you, bugs are a part of life, and a hearty one at that. The old story about cockroaches and Keith Richards surviving a nuclear winter is capital-T Truth. Some will get through your defenses, no matter what. Sorry.

On the plus side, there are many recipes out there for bugs, which are a cholesterol-free source of protein. My personal favorite is lamb-less goulash, but, well, you know.

4:42 PM

Blogger Rootietoot said...

You and I share a common emotional response toward cockroaches. other bugs don't really bother me. I've been known (well only by me, the family was entirely unaware) to sift the cornmeal to get the bugs out of it, because I didn't want to go to the store. (Now I know you'll never come eat at my house). However, whenever I find a roach in something, the entire package goes into the neighbor's trashcan.

4:29 AM

Blogger Colin said...

The ol' "beetles in the paprika," eh SB? I think that if you add this to the lack of heat in your condo during the 3 sub-60 degree days that we have each year, PLUS the fact that people don't use their turn signals on the driveway, AND the way old ladies are constantly leaving their shopping carts in the way at Publix, it's clear that Dade County is some sort of Hell-on-Earth. (I'm getting a tiny bit depressed too as the weather turns hot and humid here...)

10:21 AM

Blogger Meredith said...

I don't think its Florida, I think its where you live. I haven't had one single bug experience on Brickell in the last 6 years. Just sayin' you should maybe think about moving to Brickell, all the cool kids are doing it :)

10:43 AM

Blogger SuperBee said...

Squattle - They only infested the Szeged Paprika... not the McCormick's stuff... I guess they only go for the good stuff...

But I'm not a terribly adventurous eater - I can do without the cholesterol-free crunch of protein the beetles would add...

RT - I daresay they might bother you if you were about to tuck in, and realized your dinner was crawling. Flour beetles are a nuisance, but generally not worth freaking out about. These beetles, however, were not flour bugs... these were bigger... about the size of a large pinhead.

Colin - I don't bitch about the cold. ; ) I like it when it's cold. Nice things happen when it's cold. Like I go to Church with you and then bring you to gay piano bars...

Mer - 1) You don't cook. ;) 2) It'll be a cold day in Hell before I move to Brickell. And also you've never seen a bug because you live too high up. They don't go past 9 stories, generally...

5:45 PM


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