‘The insect war at our house’- Battle of summer bugs back in the day!

Do you remember when many house had a barrel under the eves to catch rainwater?  At our house we saved rainwater to wash our hair because it was soft water.

However that rain barrel was a source of entertainment for kids, too. We peaked into it to see many kinds of bugs swimming around, trying to escape. Spiders spun webs across the top, too.

For the most part, bugs were a great bother.  But somehow we met the challenge of the insect war at our house. Varmints and insects were with us daily and kept us in pursuit of peace and comfort.  They aroused our anger and grief, but satisfaction took over when we won the battle.  The creatures tried to rule our world, but we had an answer to every threat—all except one, which I will mention later.

Ants, flies, mosquitoes, wood ticks, bugs on garden vegetables and small varmints were all pest to be dealt with.  When red ants invaded the kitchen, they got into the sugar bowl and climbed up the side of the syrup bottle.

When mom made a cake, she hid it from mice, ants and marauding kids in her washing machine that had a tight cover. She washed the machine out well after doing the laundry to make sure there was no odor.  It successfully fooled the ants and the children too, for that matter.

She liked to have cake to offer with coffee when we had company.  And it was no small matter to make a cake.  It was hard work, which required one to begin by creaming sugar and lard together with a wooden spoon.  The rest of the ingrediance had to be stirred by hand.

When mom heard the squeak of the screen door in the summer, she causations us to hurry and shut the door before all the flies got in.  Fly spray came in a can with a screw cap, and Dad dispersed it with a squirt gun with a plunger like handle, He made fly swatters out of length of wood lath with a square of window screen nailed to the end.  Of course ready-made flyswatters were available for purchase at the general store, but this was in the days of make do or do without.

Dad did buy yellow fly ribbon and some stuff called flypaper from the general store.  Tge fly ribbon came in a piece of  paper cartridge sometimes like a shotgun shell.  When the end was pulled, out came a long spiral of yellow sticky paper that attracted flies.. These swung from kitchen or screen back porches ceilings.. They were bad luck for the flies that landed on them, no matter how hard the struggled they could not pull themselves free. Author unknown

Millie’s thought for today, these methods never solved the battle of the bugs in the hot summer time at our house when we lived on the lane. Yet the memory of the yellow fly paper is a lasting one from back in the day..

Mildred Higgins

russandmill@netzero.net