Saturday, February 02, 2013

Bob: A Story of Immigration.

In 2005 the Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus Occidentalis) arrived at our house with a large extended family. Suddenly the place was crawling with these weird-looking bugs:

We named them Bob. The reason isn't important. It's a lot quicker to say, "there's a Bob" than to use either of the bug's official names.

Bob's story parallels the progression of most immigrant groups. At first we feared and disliked Bob. He looked different. He smelled funny. He had disturbing habits like flying ineptly at us or getting on our pillows or bath towels so that we inadvertently applied him roughly to our faces or bodies. We don't use bug spray and we wouldn't squish anything that gives off such a uniquely pungent odor when disturbed or injured, but we did capture and evict any that we found. The colder the day or night the better, as far as we were concerned. So you could say we started deportation: go back where you came from, Bob.

The Bobs don't quit. They keep crossing our borders, looking for a better life. We've gotten used to their appearance, their odors and their attempts at flight. They don't chew things, suck blood or poison our pets. They're just different. We see their struggle to survive the winter when their search for a hibernation niche accidentally led them to our warm lair. Now when they would be dormant they need water. Maybe they need food, I don't know. They feed on the sap in conifer cones. They won't ever find that in our house.

We've developed sympathy for Bob. No longer is he a lousy stinkin' bug. He's an Insect American.

The Bobs seem just as eager to go back out when the weather warms as they were to crawl in when it froze. We just have to learn to get along while we're sharing the same shanty.

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