Our Carolina Bug Story

Rabbit Trails INC.bunny7

Terrestrial invertebrates “Go Home.”  

     Where did this ‘bug anecdote’ take place? In a small town in South Carolina, on my cousin’s resplendent two acre property out in the country.

My husband  Kit and I, along with Grantham, our 125 pound Briard , were staying with my cousin Mike and his family in their large, lovely Pre-Civil War home in the Carolinas. We had just relocated to the area and they had a little two bedroom apartment nestled near the woods in back of their home, they offered to us free of charge, to help us get on our feet financially. We were delighted as we adored the South with all it’s historic charm and were so thrilled to be near all my cousin’s once again.

Beautiful Southern Home

     Before we moved into this warehouse apartment, we had already been reminded of the ‘bugs’ in South Carolina. Several times, while staying in what we all called ‘the big house’ with Mike and his family, scurrying across the shiny hardwood floors, I would see a ‘squirm evoking’ critter making it’s way to the other side of the room. This monstrosity of a vermin was none other than the famous Palmetto bug. Now, they name this bug after their state because…? I can not fathom the reason. It is by far the ugliest bug I have ever seen.  Let’s call it what it is, a large, grotesque sewer roach as we called them in Arizona.

These light weight, pint sized creatures,  would pop up out of nowhere, on the walls, on window shades and believe it or not,  one even crawled up and joined me at the table while enjoying my morning cup of coffee. So I asked my cousin and his wife Ellie calmly;

“When Kit and I move into the apartment out back, (which was connected to an immense warehouse garage), will we be experiencing any Palmetto bugs there?”

“Probably so, but they should not be that bad.” Ellie replied as she knew first hand,  being that she and Mike lived in the apartment for two years as they renovated their historical home on their land.

We began working on our new abode the latter part of August. There was no air conditioning and the humidity was thick, thus the apartment, save the warehouse fan, had no air flowing through it. During this  time of cleaning, painting and fixing up our new little haven , we never saw a single bug.’This is really great’ I thought, as  after all, summer in the South means bugs and since we weren’t seeing any evidence of them, then perhaps they wouldn’t come visit us later.

moving2We began moving all of our belongings into the house the beginning of September and still, no bugs! (A very good sign…)  I can’t tell you how elated we were to have our things out of storage, (from an extended time of travel for 9 months,) and with all the painting and cleaning done, it was our  fervent goal to make this little two bedroom apartment into our enchanted abode. I don’t have to tell you, (as you know by now my love for the seasons, ) :-OS   that it was an  added joy that Fall was arriving. We had more fun buying an array of  pumpkins, lighting our Cinnamon nutmeg candles and unpacking our treasured fall decor to give our new berth a touch of Autumns welcomed charm and enchantment.

By the end of the month our story began to change. Although, our little home began looking cozy and inviting, and it was wonderful to wake up and see our belongings once again, our little haven, slowly began loosing its feeling of ‘home sweet home’.

It wasn’t the little bugs, ( though I saw all kinds of those), that really ‘bugged’ me, it was the honker Palmetto bugs that “freaked me out.”  Whether they were dead, crawling and gasping for their last breath or  quickly scurrying  across our brick floor, they jolted my spirit to the max. Next, came the spiders! No, we are not talking itty-bitty spiders, we’re talking gigantic, ghastly, harry spiders. One morning I knew we were in trouble when I heard my husband scream. (He never screams.)  It was not one, two or three enormous spiders trying to escape him behind our cedar chest, but four. When calling back to him to see if he had succeeded, (as he was running all over the place trying to kill them), he answered;

“Only got three, one escaped.”

Determined, we must have spent a half hour looking for the one that got away, but it was to no avail. Later on in the day, I finally found it or should I say, it found me. I picked up my quilted photo album and it was between two of the pages.  One morning I went to put a candle in my tea light holder only to find a huge, cream colored spider hunched over, covering the entire bottom of the glass.ricebed1 They were crawling on our hutch, running for the garland I had around a decorative Dickens village. (Oh great, a spider infested village). They would climb out of the decorative wreaths onto our walls, they popped up in our bathroom sink and would scamper across the bathroom floor first thing in the morning as I turned on the light. It got so bad, I would stay in bed in the middle of the night even when my bladder was telling me to “get up.” (Great for my health, I tell ya)! You see, because we were connected to the warehouse we had no windows, thus there was no light coming into our little haven, which was pitch black dark. We couldn’t see a thing in the night, only feel and hear them as we crunched one (or two) under our feet.

The worst experience for me was the Palmetto bug, (in my opinion, the largest roach in the world) crawling through the screen doors and walking across our walls as we were watching a soothing romantic movie on television, or when we held our monthly Bible study. Here we were, having a wonderful Godly time, sharing about the Lord when I’d see one crawl through the screen door and I yelled out, (well, I won’t say which word I innocently said,)  in fear. I was not thinking, obviously just reacting as they totally vandalized my inner peace.  I was embarrassed as no one else seemed to care. (Except Kit, even though he did not show it). (Men can do that really good you know…)  Well, actually, there was another event that was even worse…the roach in our bed. Yes, really. One morning I went to make up our bed and my eyes could not believe it, a roach was in our bed as the covers were open from our restful night of sleep, (which may never happen again). ricebedIt was surprising as our bed was a Rice bed, very high off the ground, but then a friend told me that bugs can actually climb up your bed posts, ( now that really made me feel safe.) You may ask, did you ever have the ‘bug man’ come and spray? Did you ever set bug traps? Yes and yes. It did get a little better as most of the critters were dead or fighting for their last breath as we found them in the morning. My husband and I had our ‘morning bug hunt’ upon awakening and before our first cup of coffee. Which ever one of us did the inquest, (usually him)  would yell out “All clear” or “Hold on, got to do bug control.” Many a times the big ones were dying in the shower, or at the foot of our bed, (how soothing.) Finally, after a 45 day trial of terror, they seemed to subside a little. The count went from 7 a day to 5, then 3. If it was a zero, we would shout a hallelujah began to feel a  renewed hope that our life would finally be ‘normal.’ We had mosquitoes, frogs, green reptile looking bugs and I can’t forget the humongous black flies that filled our shower. Yes, one evening, after returning from a trip to Delaware, no bugs, no dead mice, but a shower full of  dead, (and and a few live,) large black flies. I honestly did not know flies came in that size.mice1  (Oh, did I forget to tell you about our night visitors?) No, we never beheld them personally, only saw the ‘proof‘ that they had been there, all over our kitchen counters and pantry. We also ‘heard’ noises as validity of their existence as one night, upon getting up when I couldn’t sleep, I went into Kit’s study to use the computer and do some E-mailing. I was getting all comfy in Kit’s cozy  chair when suddenly, from the closet came an explosion of loud commotion. I quickly ran out of the room and changed my mind as it sounded like there were dozens of mice in there having a midnight rendezvous.

I will never, (and I mean never) forget the day when the exterminator came and sprayed the warehouse in hopes of killing all the spiders. This man ran, (not walked) back to my door and yelled;  “Shut your door, QUICKLY.”

Yea, I don't like spiders....    He then warned me of what he saw happening, when he began to spray. Let’s just say, if you have ever seen the movie Arachnophobia, you would know what I am talking about.He told us that in all of his days as an exterminator, he had never seen such an infestation of spiders. (Me? I only took a peak and cringed at the thought of how many of those creepy crawlers  we would soon be seeing (the ones that escaped,) in our little abode.


bug1000Now, after we no longer live in South Carolina in our little warehouse apartment, I stop and thank God that it was but only for a season that we encountered these unwelcomed, frightful inhabitants in our home. Yes, we were graced with a few months of (bug free living) enjoying the Carolinas breathtaking autumn season, it’s magical Christmas celebrations and a portion of it’s resplendent springtime. (We moved the end of April.)  :-OS   If ever there are two people who can’t stand creepy crawlers, it is my husband Kit and I. I believe those 45 days with its many “interruptions of our bliss”  strengthened us, conquered some fears, helped us laugh , imparted some new character within us, as well as enabled us to experience and learn more of Gods  wondrous grace, when things we “were not enjoying” did not just quickly go away. :)buttery I am so thankful for our home in Delaware, (Crickets , tiny spiders and a few ants don’t get me going...) However, I do pray that the Lord never sends us to the jungles or some remote island…I can only imagine


OK, I know this story is on the comedic side…and this song I chose is not...BUT its a great song with inspirational lyrics of standing up to your fears, (However BIG or small they may seem.) Be brave and know Jesus will meet you as you, (whether fearful, at times,  shaking your head or laughing, (in your trying to cope,)  will  get you to the other side with RELIEF, SMILES and a THANKFUL HEART!


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