Opinion: A mite-y problem on my hands!

October 17th, 2021 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

I had to admit defeat this week and call in Rentokil to deal with something not so ‘lice.’ I’m wrecked from the whole thing!

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER It’s week 84 and I’ve had to call in the big guns to deal with unwanted visitors who have made themselves very much at home this past while

• RIGHT so I’ve been having a bit of a problem at home for the past while and try as I MITE I absolutely can’t get a handle on it. Crawlies, teeny tiny little mite like creatures have moved in and are getting a bit too comfortable for my liking. Their favourite hangout zones are on the skirting boards and window sills but it seems like no area is off limits to them and they’re not doing my n-anxiety (that’s where my neurosis meets my anxiety) any good at all. Nasty buggers.

• I’ve casually dropped them into conversation with various people over the past few months to suss out if anyone else has them, or can shed any light on what they are. The post man, window cleaner, random people on the street, and just about anyone who makes eye contact with me has been subjected to the story (illustrated with photos and videos). But turns out I’m ‘the chosen one.’ Not even people who are less than particular when it comes to the high dusting and housework in general have them. And what’s worse, their reaction is really off-putting. ‘Oooh, (scrunching up their face), no I wouldn’t like the sound of those at all now. Nasty. What if they got into your lungs? Are they in your bed? Poor you.’

• Google says they’re probably book lice. Or wood lice. Or some sort of lice. Either way they’re not one bit nice. They seem to be completely harmless, we’ve no bites, hives, or rashes, it’s  just my nerves that are suffering mainly. And while they don’t bother my husband in the slightest, I think me talking about them 96% of the time probably is getting a bit challenging.

• My family can’t quite hide the fact they think it’s amusing as I’m pretty fond of the Dettol spray. If I’m not working, I’d average around 94% of an average day wiping/brushing/dusting/more wiping. It’s in my DNA. Funnily enough, though, my siblings must have got different DNA. When I was at peak meltdown having spotted a few having a party in the pantry, my sister jokingly suggested I treat them as extra protein. You can imagine how that went down.

• It’s not like I’m squeamish when it comes to insects. Spiders, I’ve no problem at all with. In fact I encourage them as I hope they’ll eat the mites. Silverfish I don’t like, but they’re pretty rare. I’ll admit to not being fan of those hard backed beatles, or moths. I’ve just made my home sound like the rainforest haven’t it? With the insulation and glazing it feels like it a lot of the time, which I think is half the problem. They’re too flipping cosy to move out.

• I’ve literally tried everything – every type of spray imaginable and the place is permanently doused in peppermint oil which is supposed to be a deterrent. Not for these lads. I’ve tried putting Vaseline on the skirting boards, dusting areas with talcum power, placing chestnuts around the place. Yeah. They laughed in the face of it all. One day recently I even put a shout out to St Anthony. You’d never know! But there was nothing for it but to call in the big guns – Rentokil.  Normally I’d be a bit mortified to call in a pest controller but I’m past the point of caring. Besides my neighbour is my mum, and a bit like my husband, I think she’d be glad of a solution so she doesn’t have to listen to me go on about them any more.

• Part of me is afraid I’ll be responsible for throwing our climate targets off kilter by going down the insecticide route (sprayed around each room and in the attics) but in all honesty, I’d consider a nuclear bomb at this stage if it shifted them. The advice was to move furniture to allow access to skirting boards etc, and to cover eating utensils or anything in a delicate fabric. The treatment wasn’t dangerous to humans, we were told, but it was recommended not to lick the walls afterwards (I’ve never had the urge thankfully!) and also to stay out of the place for around four hours.

• To give ourselves every chance, I went into complete overdrive and spent the weekend more or less emptying the entire house. Like I said, my mum is next door so I asked if I could bring over the contents of the hot press, and then sort of came with everything else in dribs and drabs. It was a bit like when we asked to move in for three months when we were building and we stayed for over a year. The whole process nearly broke me, especially the play room, a favourite hangout zone for the mites. I can honestly say emptying out every last piece of plastic was harder work than giving birth to the person who hardly spends any time in there at all (also made a mental note to have a word with Santa. We definitely do not need any more toys.)

• Then Monday morning rolled around and Mandy arrived. She’s saved in my phone as ‘Mandy Pest,’ but she was more like a pet. I was going to hug her but felt that might freak her out, but through my demented gaze I tried to let her know how much was riding on her. I think she got it. Anyway the first spritz has been done, and there’s two more to go. With the help of God they’ll be gone by December. Or else I will! On the plus side, I’ve the dreaded Christmas deep-clean out of the way. If I did a bit of baking, I’d nearly be ready for the stations.

• I barely had time to pay attention to the Budget, what with teetering on the brink of general madness this week. Anything in it about being able claim tax back on pest control? Didn’t think so. Seriously, if anyone has any advice or wisdom that will help, email me at [email protected]. Oh, also, Mandy said most Irish homes probably have book lice, but people just haven’t noticed them ...yet. Just saying!

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