It’s barely eight o’clock in the morning; I’ve just poured my first cup of coffee. Already, I have killed six mosquitoes. They came in with my big dog after her morning constitutional. They bounced around the surface of the sliding glass door as I singled them out and killed them. One by one. I feel no regret.
Every day, the big dog goes on the prowl, searching out garter snakes in the flower beds around my house. She’s pretty good at finding them, and shaking the life out of them. I can’t stop her, not for the sake of the snakes nor for my poor, battered flower beds. But I do feel badly for the snakes. Sometimes, when I find one blatantly sunning himself out in the open, I move him into the surrounding field. Better to have less sunshine, and another day to live, I tell him.
A few years ago, Beaver Island – maybe all of North America – had a severe infestation of Japanese beetles. They look like ladybugs, and did little damage that I could see. Still, they moved into spaces by the millions. People told of entering houses in the spring, only to be showered with masses of the speckled, hard-shelled insects.
At my house, the beetles found a cozy home in the open spaces under my vinyl siding, and continuously migrated into the house. They found cracks around doors and windows, and daily filled every window in the house. I used the vacuum to get rid of them. I’d start at the upstairs windows, then do the windows and doors downstairs. By that time, the upstairs windows would be full again.
Through the course of that year, I filled thirteen vacuum cleaner bags! They were stacked like cord wood along the side of my compost bin, evidence of my daily killing spree. It had to be done. The idea, though, of those insects crowded together inside of those bags still makes me shudder.
Because I live in the country, mice frequently find their way into my house. I keep traps set for them, all year ’round. I use snap traps, which kill them quickly (and most humanely, because, yes, somebody has researched the most humane methods of killing mice!), and I’m fairly accustomed to disposing of their little dead bodies. Still, I often feel a twinge of sadness for the plump little rodent as I take it out to toss it away.
With mosquitoes, I have no shame. I’ll swat mosquitoes all day. I wear mosquito netting, plus a spray that contains 30% deet to keep them away from me. I put mosquito dunks in any open water, to prevent it from becoming a mosquito nursery. I do not wonder about the lives I’m snuffing out; I don’t feel remorse at the one million mosquito eggs that will, now, never have a chance. I have a kind heart. I am not good at the killing or death of almost any living thing. When it comes to mosquitoes, though, I am merciless!