Living with Bugs

Least-toxic Solutions to Everyday Bug Problems 

by Jack DeAngelis 

     This book is very straightforward: an entomologist who worked for the Oregon State University Extension Service for some twenty years, wrote it to inform the general public about bugs. The book identifies the creepy crawlies that are commonly found in homes in the States and tells a little about their life cycles noting which ones are problems to be concerned about, and which you can just ignore because they don\’t really harm anything. Also noting how they all have a useful role in natural ecosystems and so we shouldn\’t just wipe them out en masse because we don\’t like them. When insect infestations are a problem, there\’s information on how to control numbers or eliminate them from the home, with non-toxic methods recommended first and insecticides or poisons used as last resort. In most cases, the advice was simply to keep things clean! Moths in the pantry? throw out the infested flour, clean up spills and seal the food properly. Bedbugs making you itch at night? wash your sheets every week. Holes in the favorite sweaters you only wear in the coldest month of the year? make sure they\’re laundered before going back into storage, and kept in a tight plastic container. And so on. I actually found the little details about the small creatures pretty interesting, although seeing closeup photos of cockroaches and lice and engorged ticks is really unpleasant. I learned some interesting things, such as that silverfish can jump (by flipping their bodies), boxelder bugs feed on maple tree leaves (which is why I have lots in my yard every summer), and the wasps that make a paper nest with open cells are predators useful in the garden that rarely sting people, while the yellowjackets that make large roundish paper nests without visible cells, are the ones that might attack people who disturb it, and should be removed.

In all, I found this book useful and informative- but there is one little aggravation which I must remedy someday. My copy is missing pages 33-64! Not torn or cut out, the book was bound very neatly without them. So I didn\’t get to read about lice, ticks, mosquitoes, carpenter ants, termites, powderpost beetles, horntail wood wasps or carpenter bees. Some of which I have personally encountered so it would have been nice to have this author\’s take on them. Curious how many other copies of this book out there are missing several signatures, I looked for other reviews online. Found just a few- none of them mention absent pages, and one says that the section I\’m missing is the best part of the book! That\’s a bit disappointing. I did acquire my copy used- now I know why someone else discarded it. Maybe I\’ll find another someday, and this time scan the pages thoroughly before bringing it home.
Rating: 3/5                 176 pages, 2009

2 Responses

  1. Fascinating book. I have to admit that our tendency is to wipe the bugs out when we notice them in the house. But living in the South, most of the ones we get are not the ones that you want to live with, that’s for sure. I have friends in the southwest who enjoy the company of gekkos and the like because those little guys control other invaders. I’m kind of a fan of gekkos and lizards myself, so I can totally understand that…but they freak out my wife. 🙂

    1. We have skinks here- and I love seeing them, but my neighbor (a grown man) finds them unsettling. I guess because they skitter around so fast. I think I would love geckos. I don’t mind spiders (I even like the little jumping spiders we have outside) but I have real problems with cockroaches- having once lived in a apartment that had them. Ugh! Silverfish give me the creeps, too. Probably because I know they will eat books!

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