Ring Around the Rosy!

Pocket full of posies!
Ashes! Ashes!
We’re all getting The Plague!

-Traditional Nursery Rhyme
(with a slight change by me)

While I probably won’t catch The Black Death from the fleas here on campus, this is just fair warning in case I “disappear”. (It could happen! Last year there was a case of Plague in OREGON! Straight from the CDC even!!)

Here in South Texas, Spring is most definitely upon us. This not only means uncomfortably warm and humid days but it means the return of THE FLEAS! (Not to mention the ever-present mosquito menace.) I’ve blogged before about my adventures at my campus with flea infestations and this year is looking like it’s going to be just as grueling and unpleasant in that regard. Last year it started in April, but this year, with the earlier warmness and all, they are early too.

This year, I am trying out some new techniques in flea killing, prevention and detection. Apparently, because we are a school, we can’t use pesticides in the building, so we are left to our own, non-poisonous devices while they try to catch the culprits (possums, or as they’re called around here “tlacuaches”, in the ceiling) and spray outside (hopefully). My room and the computer lab seem to get it the worst since we are both at the back end of the campus, away from most of the scary activity that would keep flea-ridden beasties from taking up comfortable residence. Plus, this wing has a convenient hole in the roof. Huzzah…

Last year, my arsenal in the battle against The Itchy Ones included hand sanitizer, cheap-o Lysol and my pinching fingers. This year, in an effort to be more cost effective and avoid the use of chemicals (mostly the former), I’ve retired the two cleaners and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve. Of course, nothing (aside from poison) tops the effectiveness of well trained pinching fingers, but they don’t always get the job done.

That, my friends, is where good lung capacity and scotch tape pick up the slack. We have pale linoleum floors all over campus and they’re kept fairly glossy making it difficult for the enemy to execute their usual long jumps. If you happen to look down (which I do a lot now) and see one creeping toward you in little hops, often a mistimed pinch ends with a flea somewhere on you and in the very near future: itching and the distant possibility of the Black Death or Typhus.

Not. Good.

The Enemy Combatant’s biggest weakness is how light they are. Either from exhaustion from the fight or in a sad attempt at camouflage, fleas will often lie still on the floor. But one well timed gust from strong lungs and you KNOW if that black speck on the floor is in fact a flea or if it’s just a black speck. AND if it is in fact a flea, it is now further away from you, which is a definite plus! Then, you simply tear off a small piece of tape and place it over the flea until it’s good and stuck, lift, fold it over and you have a tiny little prisoner and can pinch through the tape at your leisure without worry that it will escape. That little jerk isn’t going anywhere! Or, if you’re having a particularly bad day or are feeling particularly evil, you can just leave it there to die on its own…

And with that lovely image, I must depart. Happy Hunting!


About Melme

Can I have some coffee now, please?

Posted on March 9, 2011, in Gross!, Idiocy, Me, POISON!!, Sadness^Pi, Work. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Eek! I hate fleas. I was scarred as a child by going over to a house that had been empty in the Texas heat for a couple of weeks. My legs were literally black with them. I’m pretty sure I remember running away screaming.

    One thing you might want to try is place a desk lamp on the floor above a bowl of water. You can grease the sides with vegetable oil if you want. Leave the lamp on overnight. The fleas will be drawn to the heat of the bulb (so you’ll have to use a regular bulb not one of the eco-swirly ones) and jump for it. The ones that miss will be trapped in the water.

    It’ll catch a few each night, and the more dead fleas the better in my opinion!

    • Oh Lord! Just the thought of that many fleas on you… UGH!

      I really hate that there’s not much I can do about them here at work. Thank God for flea drops for the cats. Talk about a nightmare otherwise!

  2. I had no idea that south Texas had flea problems. We had issues with fleas when we brought home Gremlin when he was a kitten (he was abandoned and outside), but other than that, I haven’t ever really had to deal with them. Suddenly, I’m very grateful for this fact!

    Hope you come out of the fleastorm intact.

    • We don’t freeze much or for long down here so a lot of pest insects like fleas and mosquitoes never really die off. The fleas aren’t usually too bad in most areas but for some reason my campus is the epicenter of, as you so aptly put it, a “fleastorm”. I hate them…

  3. I’ve decided I don’t want to live in the Lonestar State. The heat was a massive detractor…but fleas?!

    No, thank you.

    Good luck on your war.

    • I wouldn’t say the fleas are a Texas thing, or even a Rio Grande Valley (this area) thing, so much as an evil flea vortex centralized around my campus. But, yes, it is very hot here.

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