The war on nature – Commencement of hostilities



A significant part of my life is spent engaged in a constant war against nature.  Over the past couple of years, our house has been infested with:

  • mice
  • moths
  • slugs
  • more moths
  • more mice
  • ants
  • more bloody moths

This week saw the opening sortie in the next round of hostilities – I spotted a moth on the wall of the upstairs landing.  This enemy must be crushed, literally and metaphorically.

The little bastards have already made substantial inroads into eating the carpet in my bedroom (though I’m as surprised as anyone to find that the nasty carpet in my rented house is actually made of wool). And as a knitter, finding them in my yarn stash is my worst nightmare. I’ve suffered a couple of nasty moth attacks on precious knitted items, and a beautiful hand-knit fair-isle bag was sent to the Gulag (i.e. the freezer) for a long spell in solitary, plastic-wrapped confinement.

My repsonse has been swift, aggressive and brutal. Pesticide sprayed into the air and on the carpet, strips of paper impregnated with chemicals laid under chests and in drawers. And I have resumed my intense, beady-eyed inspection of the walls and carpet, to the point where Ricky slightly worries about my mental health.

The ants have also invaded this week, marshalling their icky little ranks under the kitchen bin. Again, chemical warfare is the only solution. I will not live as one with nature on my turf. At least the little buggers don’t fly, unlike the moths.

The slugs are a weird invader – an occasional nocturnal slithering invasion across the kitchen floor. More than once, we’ve been woken in the night by a horrific yelp as a bare-footed (and drunk) housemate steps on one. I’m a bit nicer to the slugs – if I spot one before it’s been squished by accident, I pick it up in kitchen paper and throw it out of the door.

No such mercy is shown to the mice. Squeamish readers may wish to look away now. Mice are incontinent, they spread disease and dirt, and they have been running rampant in our crockery cupboard. This will not do.

I’m sorry to say that I believe the only humane solution to mice is this:


Rentokil Mousetraps

Awesomely – and instantly – effective. I personally believe that the allegedly more humane ‘live’ traps cause a lot of distress to the animals, and the little buggers just come straight back in your house anyway. Poison is grusesome, and they just die under your floorboards somewhere and stink the place out. And please don’t ever talk to me about glue traps – an ex-housemate of mine used them once and I firmly think they should be illegal. Horrid.

Currently we have two traps in the kitchen, Doug and Dinsdale, following the retirement of stalwarts Ronnie and Reggie (whose springs eventually gave out).  Between them, they’ve notched up a fair number of kills over the winter, laced with peanut butter and placed in strategic locations in the cupboards.

A surprising amount of my time, money and energy goes into this war on nature, being waged on multiple fronts. I’m all for the natural world in all its glory – just not in my house!

Are you happy to live as one with the natural world? Or is your house a pestilence-free zone  – and how on earth do you keep it that way?

10 responses to “The war on nature – Commencement of hostilities

  1. I had to clear out a kitchen cupboard last year that the moths had made their own. There was reproduction going on in there, it was fetid. You have my full sympathy with the mad wall-staring – I occasionally leap at the wall, kitchen roll in hand, ready to obliterate the innocent-looking brown moth sitting there…

  2. I found that mouse traps didn’t work half as well as cats. We borrowed a friend’s cat for a week after all other interventions failed, then got two cats of our own a couple of months later. Haven’t seen a single mouse since, whereas the little buggers learned to eat peanut butter right off the traps without triggering them.

    • Cats sadly out of the question because (a) I can’t stand them and (b) we live in a rented house (no pets allowed). I’ve just bought a couple of new traps cos I think the springs have finally gone in the old ones

  3. I used really horrid-smelling mothballs after I discovered moths had ruined my favourite Christopher Robin-style dressing gown. Have never been bothered with them since. But my winter coat smelt of weird old lady for a good few months (that chemical stink).
    Can you not put down salt or crushed egg shells at the entrance point for the slugs and ants ? At the door to outside, or on the window sill ? That helped in my house in London (well, with the ants – the thought of slugs in my house – ALMOST as bad as the thought of {{shudder}} snails).

  4. Haha! Hilarious that you name your mousetraps! 🙂
    Good luck in all your battles. I don’t have so many problems up here in Scotland; I think the Arctic conditions are less conducive to life in general. Did see a spider scurrying across the floor last week, but wasn’t too bothered as I tend to view them more as allies in this conflict than enemies. Also noticed a weird ooze on the floor recently, but then realised it was from the shock fork of my mountain bike, so unfortunately I’m the life form to blame for that.

  5. Agree with you on the glue traps. Sick, sadistic devices – had a bad experience with them too, and know of many others. I’m actually part of the effort to get them banned nationally in Australia. Few of the states have already banned them, yay for moral progress.

    • Yay indeed – glue traps are awful.
      And to David, I’m (perhaps surprisingly?) not bothered by spiders as I know they’re the good guys. And that’s also my excuse for not cleaning up the cobwebs…

  6. Pingback: On evolution, or Breeding the super-moth « You do too much

  7. Pingback: Moths *are* wankers | You do too much

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