Bugs and TV’s

Officially the buggiest season ever. Highlights – I have an exotic spider living just outside one of the living room windows on the lakeside. It’s about 6” across and has big, swollen knees on each leg. It must be a female because this morning there are two tiny babies crawling over the mama. This is all outside the center window but there’s action in the other two. Wasps have started building nests and steered clear of the center window where the spider is king.

Since all this is going on outside, it’s interesting but something going on inside the house isn’t so interesting. Our back bathroom has been home for swarms of ants the past three days. As if by magic, they just appear with no obvious entry path. I’ve sprayed heavily with some serious bug spray and they all seem to be dying shortly after entering the room but it’s disconcerting, nonetheless. There will be absolutely none and then an hour later, a hundred flying around and quickly dying, mostly in the bathtub. I think they’re attracted to the large windows and are trying to get outside. They hatch in bursts – nothing for 6-8 hours and then hundreds over a couple of hours. We cleaned up the bodies last night about 7PM and checked again about 11PM and found none; but at 6AM there were 100’s dead in the bottom of the tub or the window ledges. It’s consistently happened from 4PM to 7PM. For the life of me I can’t figure where they’re coming from. I’ve sprayed every place I can think of and the fact that they live for only a few minutes after touching any surface or crevice tells me they are definitely making contact where I think they should but I can’t find a definitive source. So I have an exterminator coming. I hate that because the guy will try to sell me a contract and tell me how horrible it is not to have one. A humorous thing is that when swarming they are banging into the big window, trying to get outside. Outside on the window and window ledge are several lizards – I counted 6 one time – going crazy trying to get at the ants. The ants are trying to get out the window and the lizards are trying to get into the bathroom. They don’t get that there’s a pane of glass between them and their prey so they lash out their tongues while jumping from ant to ant. I suggested to Nancy that we catch a couple lizards and bring them in the bathroom but she didn’t jump all over that approach as I’d hoped so I didn’t mention the spider as another candidate. Update – the exterminator confirmed my belief that they are not termites. Termites are much smaller and have only two body parts whereas ants have three. That’s a big relief. They’ll come back tomorrow and do the whole house, indoors and out, with some kind of powder. This treatment will cost about $150 which is less than I expected. I have to be sure to have him avoid my pet spider.

And the week ended on a high note – a very, very, very close lightning strike knocked out our TV antenna amplifier. I’m not sure how much “togetherness” we can handle so this needs to be fixed pronto!!! We had TV antenna service a couple months back to restore our previously perfect signal and in one big boom, we are out of business. I knew immediately that the antenna signal amplifier had been fried so first thing Monday morning I tried to call the TV guy. The phone system kept telling me the call couldn’t go through and to try back later. After an hour of this we decided to go to Deland and visit the shop in person, mostly to emphasize how serious the problem was. The shop was gone, abandoned, no longer in business. We (Joey and I) decided we should try to find a new amplifier and fix it ourselves. Struck out at Radio Shack, Best Buy, Walmart and Lowes. I was resigned to ordering a replacement online and not having much help to install it when the time came and being without TV for at least another 3 days. One last call to ACE hardware in Pierson, literally 5 minutes from the house, scored. It was a different make with some interfacing issues but with Joey up on the roof and me taking the bits and pieces of the new unit and the old, we managed to get it up and running in just a few hours. The acid test was signal strength at night when we experience the most signal drop. No problem at all – in fact better than it has been for quite a while. I have to kluge up some kind of protective weather/bug shield and some minor cable cleanup but I’m labeling it a complete success.

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