From the monthly archives: "February 2002"

Dear What’s that Bug,
Last night in yoga class, while doing a spinal twist, I spotted a silverfish darting across the floorboards very near my mat. I broke my pose, grabbed a purple foam block, and squished the silverfish, leaving its mutilated body on the gleaming hardwood floors. I have two questions. First of all, is it bad karma to kill a bug in yoga class? Also, is there any way that I might bring an infestation back to my home?
Thank you,
Lethal Lotus

Dear Lethal Lotus,
Though we here at What’s That Bug? are not practicing Buddhists, we are aware that it is a Zen canon to think of ourselves as one with the universe, and that includes silverfish. Can’t we all just get along? Was the silverfish harming you in any way? I would strongly suggest that you do some karmic retribution.
Regarding your second question, to which former HomeBody of the Month Miss Swanlund will strongly attest, once silverfish become naturalized, they are nearly impossible for even the cleanest homemaker to eradicate. The silverfish themselves do not ascribe to the Zen way of life, hence they are interested in overrunning homes and eating books with little thought of how this might affect the human tenants. War is war. Silverfish are notorious for seeking out cramped quarters and crevices, especially those of the dark moist variety. It is entirely possible to transport one of the wily critters on your person, especially if it should somehow find itself in an environment not conducive to its needs, like a brightly lit room full of contorted bodies where the odds of getting squished are high. It is also possible that one of your fellow yoga enthusiasts transported the victim of your brutal attack, and its siblings, to the site of your encounter.

Dear What’s That Bug,
I have densely planted the "earth" in front of my apartment building. Along with broken glass and mammalian excreta, one of the chief components, by volume, of this earth is earwigs. These can be readily observed with a flashlight after dark, teeming about. Many plants are unaffected. However, some will be set upon at a young age and razed entirely – a four inch high clump of poppies will easily be eliminated in two nights. I don’t know why some small plants are attacked and not others of similar size and age. Just as frustrating is the earwigs’ appetite for flower petals which are quickly riddled with holes and finally eaten to shreds soon after they unfold to the sun. Diatomaceous earth doesn’t slow them down (in any quantity). I don’t want to spray "poison" – What can I do?

Dear m r k n
According to Hogue, no one is sure of the origin of the name earwig (Order Dermaptera) but "one guess is that the early Anglo-Saxons, who named them earwicga (ear beetle or worm) and who lived in sod huts, where these insects also lived, occasionally found them in their ears upon waking from a sound sleep on a straw mattress. The warm and tight ear opening of a slumbering person might well have been a snug hiding place for these crevice-loving creatures." Earwigs are omniverous, and are considered beneficial because they actually devour many insect pests, but like any flesh eater, they
occasionally crave some vegetable matter, and what better than tender young sprouts and flower petals? If you have an aversion to pesticides, we strongly suggest that you clean up the dog shit outside your apartment

Help! I have crabs! Well, at least it looks like crabs… Actually, I’m kidding. I found a tiny little crawler in my shower today and I’ve never seen one before. I’m hoping you might tell me what the heck it is. It appeared to be crab-like, more like a scorpion without a tail but it was only about a millimeter long with two longer "pincer" type arms in the front. Am I being invaded? I live in western Alberta, Canada, if that helps at all…

I was restiching a pair of pants yesterday when out crawled a strange looking bug. It startled me and frightened me because I hadn’t ever seen anything like it before. It was no longer than say 4-6 mm. It was basically yellow, but with other colors on it. It had 2 "thingies" trailing behind it. It was rather flat and narrow and moved fairly fast considering it’s size. I killed it so I’m going by a 5-10 second memory recall. The pants are made of 100% polyester, from Guatemala. I realize that I haven’t given you much to work with , but if you can identify it I’d be appreciative.
Thanks for your time,
Mrs. Irish

It sounds like the dreaded silverfish, a household pest which will devour any and everything in the house. Sadly, and much to our embarassment here at What’s That Bug?, the silverfish is our one big failure story. As much as we tried, it seems we could never figure out a way for Miss Swanlund, former Homebody of the Month, to eradicate the pestilence from her tiny and cozy Hollywood starlet apartment, forcing her to buy a home and leave many of her prized books and possessions behind.