“What are you doing!?!” Carol screeched, as I calmly crushed a Box Elder bug under my thumb. “They have life too!”
For the first couple of winters, I just let them crawl around wherever they wanted to. Compassion, I guess. All life sacred. Why needlessly kill something that does no harm?
I first found out what they were from the city inspector when he came to check the insulation.
I pointed to one of the dark-colored, fly-sized insects patiently plodding across one wall. “Do you know what those are?” I asked.
He explained that they were attracted to warm exterior walls in autumn. They sought cracks and crevices to hide in for the winter. In nature, they often ended up in box elder maple trees because those kind of trees tended to rot out in the center and become hollow.
Now, with houses, they often end up indoors.
Other tidbits from the neighbor lady:
“Box Elder bugs? They don’t bite. But they taste bad, and babies won’t eat them.”
I knew their baby. I knew she knew from experience.
So all through the weary months of winter, the harmless black bugs would march. They paced tirelessly up and down walls, across ceilings and floors.
As time went on, they walked slower, incrementally slower. Till finally, in spring, they died.
That was a couple of years ago. Now I have a new policy. I kill them on sight.
As soon as they start appearing in my house in October, I start squashing.
I’ve caulked up cracks, filled in weatherstrip, so fewer bugs get in.
It’s not lack of compassion. Quite the opposite.
An indoor bug is a dead bug, one way or another. They can not find their way out again. Well, maybe one in a thousand might.
By coming in my house, they’ve taken the kiss of death. One way or another.
It’s too warm for them to properly hibernate. So they slowly, ever so slowly starve.
It’s far kinder, with a quick pinch, to recycle their life energy through the compost.
Also, in their endless, tireless walking, they walk on everything. Every single surface in the house.
They walk on the toilet.
Then they walk on the dishes.
It wasn’t exactly the right time to tell Carol that.