My house does a pretty good job of keeping outside critters outside.
Mice have chewed away the edges of the rubber strips along the garage doors and gained access there, but thankfully they’ve never managed to make it from the garage into the house.
Stink bugs somehow find access points through my home’s foundation. Of all the bugs that invite themselves into my home, stink bugs are the most unwelcome. After learning the hard way my first year living here to not step on them, pick them up in a tissue, or vacuum them – all those methods of removal lead to them emitting a defensive fog of odor that can take hours, even days, to dissipate – I came up with the glass + paper method of removal. The glass captures the gas they emit when in defense mode, startled by being captured, until I can take them outside and fling them over the fence and into the field grass.
I find occasional spiders (same post as the one about stink bugs). I let them be, unless they try to sleep with me in my bed. Flies sneak in when a door opens, as do (less frequently) bees. They drive me and the boys crazy with their buzzing, trying to get out, flying against the windows, especially at night. Plus, I’m allergic to bee stings, so I try to capture and remove flying insects using my tried-and-true glass + paper method.
Once, in 2015, a tree frog came to visit. Multiple times over several weeks. I never figured out how she found her way inside my house. That was fun, if bizarre. I haven’t seen a tree frog since.
Most recently, a praying mantis flew into me while I was reading on the deck.
Now I can add a praying mantis to the list of uninvited guests inside the house.
Housekeeping is not my thing. I especially hate vacuuming. Between vacuums, small clumps of shed dog hair drift across my concrete floors. Or sometimes I find bits of sticks or plant material the boys’ coats picked up on a run or walk and they’ve pulled out and spit onto the floor after getting home. I’ll pick these bits up as I walk by them, buying myself another day or two before I have to vacuum.
So imagine my surprise when a couple days ago, bending down to pick up what I thought was grass clippings mixed with dog hair in the hallway – a reasonable assumption since I’d mowed the day before – it moved when I touched it!
No, I’m not blind.
I wear corrective lenses when driving or running, but not in the house. And the hallway was in shadow. That’s my excuse.
The mantis – I’ll refer to it as she from here on out – decided to try to remove herself from the scene. She tried climbing the wall in the hall, but didn’t get far before falling back to the floor.
I decided to help her get safely back outside using the glass + paper method.
I gently carried her outside. Rather than fling her into the air as I’ve done with stink bugs and grasshoppers – that seemed rude in her case – I set her on my deck table with the glass on its side so she could escape at her own pace.
Unfortunately, she positioned herself toward the bottom of the glass and kept using her forelegs to try to find a way out.
I realized she could use some help.
I also saw that she had some Conall fluff – wispy strands of undercoat – stuck to her legs. “Welcome to my world, girlfriend,” I said. “You’re always covered with dog hair here!” It was fascinating watching her groom herself, removing – and eating – the dog hair from her legs.
After watching her try to remove all the dog hair for several minutes, I decided to help her out with the worst of it.
Success! Free – or mostly so – of dog hair.
And that was her cue to express her feelings about the entire episode. Or maybe she finally reached her breaking point with being photographed and videoed up close in less-than-ideal conditions. Whatever, I felt like I was filming a cheap horror flick!
Poor girl landed between the concrete apron from the house and the deck, right where oodles of dog hair collects.
She dusted herself off and headed for the house, mostly free of dog hair. She climbed all the way up the sliding door screen (easy climbing surface). At the top, she started climbing on the siding toward the eave (much more difficult, a 5.10 at least). She fell off, back to the concrete apron.
Watching in dismay, I sent her every mental energy message I could to fly away, go find a mate in the field grass and make good use of the last days of her short lifespan. (After mating in the fall, praying mantids do not survive winter, although their eggs do.) I assured her there are no potential love matches hiding in my house.
Maybe she listened because, after briefly going inside, when I came back out, she was gone.