Monday, January 20, 2014

Meet the Beetles

We don't have any of these.
A few weeks ago my husband noticed a pile of sawdust in a corner of our basement that he deemed suspicious.  This observation was akin to spying a teeny-bopper in a shopping mall since our basement is what you would charitably call "unfinished," but still, notice it he did and, suspecting carpenter ants, he felt it warranted us calling an exterminator, and by "us" I mean me. Since Mitch graduated with a degree in architecture from a prestigious university, and once built houses for a living, and is quite pushy, I did as instructed.

The guy from Modern Pest Services came one day last week. Armed with a flashlight, he descended the basement steps and determined that indeed, the sawdust was "brand new" and the work of something dreadful called a powderpost beetle (see photo). He then helpfully pointed out the tracks they had made in the wooden ceiling beams, which criss-crossed over the entire basement.

Facing me squarely, he delivered the grim diagnosis: We were infested!  We must smite them! Things could only get worse! Here, sign this right here and initial here, and here, and then here, and before I knew what hit me, I was the proud owner of a yearlong contract with Modern Pest Services, who for just $38.00 a month would come every three months and spray for 60 different varmints! Whew, that was close! Oh, there's just these two little things: One, to get out of the contract would cost $200, and two, the powderpost beetle is unfortunately not one of the 60 that are included in our contract, so we'll have to spend even more to get rid of those guys.

Mitch returned from his business trip and was not happy with the way things had transpired. He called foul-- and Modern Pest Services--and suggested they send another guy to discuss the problem. Oh yeah, and by the way, please tear up that contract.

Today the other guy came. He said the sawdust was so old we might be able to interest an archaeologist in it, and that we had no bugs at all, and those rivulets in the basement's ceiling beams were caused years ago by some bugs that had been treated by our home's previous owners. No infestation and no charge.

Go figure.

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