Here vs. There: Dealing With Pests

by farrah on August 28, 2013 · 16 comments

Last night I was lying on the couch, sucked in to the awfulness that is the Sex and the City movie- when out of the corner of my eye I suddenly saw something black scurry by which appeared to be a spider. Sincerely alarmed- I sat up and my husband quickly said ‘I saw it.’ Heart beating frantically, I looked at the couch and said ‘What the hell! OH MY GOD that was a spider, right?!’ No. It was a mouse and he wasn’t on the cushion but running along the wall underneath the fireplace. Oh. Well. A mouse. Big deal. I can handle mice. You see we’ve had them since… well.. probably forever.

Send one of theseSend one of these, please.

This cavalier attitude hasn’t been acquired easily. The first time I saw a mouse in the house several months ago I nearly had a breakdown. Where I came from- you just did not have mice. And, if for some strange reason a straggler did find his way into your home- you called a professional. Someone who didn’t mess around with eco-friendly chemicals or humane traps. You called someone to get the job DONE.

So here we are- in a house which has at least 50-75 years on our SC one, enclosed by gardens and much, much more mature surroundings. Absolutely they’re beautiful- and I love the solid brick of our home, but the mice thing? Yeah it’s pretty creepy- but I have to say that since they’ve been contained to a) one invader at a time and b) ONLY in the kitchen/living room I can kind of deal with this. Simply put- we have traps.

Since we can’t have a cat (much to the disappointment of the boys) we roll the dice and hide traps here and there behind the tv, under the couch and back in the corner. We have a cleaning lady who comes once a week and cleans everything- so there’s no food to find, no stray cereal loops to entice. They’re coming in through an outside wall due to habit- and now that we know where it is, we blocked it with some cardboard and some bricks.

They aren’t making their way up to the bedrooms, and I haven’t seen a trail of turds- so my assumption is that we kill the ones we see and they’re quickly replaced. I find my attitude very interesting because if this was happening back home I would absolutely be flipping my lid over this and scolding the dogs for not doing their job whilst on the phone with a nearby hotel making plans to set up shop until this was over. Here- it’s just kind of like shrug shoulders/do what we can do and move on.

What I CANNOT handle here are the spiders. I would have my exterminator on speed dial if I could. Back in the US we had a company that I called at least once a month. Rogue scary looking spider on patio? Call. Crazy ass red cow-killer ant in the driveway? On the phone now. Something brown scurry by on hairy legs in the laundry room? You get it. He sprayed the inside and outside of our house every season and came with a guarantee that if we saw pests to call them up and they’d be right out. You know I took full advantage of that.

Here, I’d feel like an idiot asking around for a bug guy. Unfortunately for me- the spiders are everywhere. From under my bike seat to spinning on the patio swing- they are all over the place. I realize that sounds like an exaggeration but they really are everywhere. And these- well, these aren’t just your everyday spiders. They are black, yellow and orange- make elaborate webs and get bigger and bigger and bigger as the season goes on. We arrived late last fall and I wrote about them as the ‘locals’. They’re gross and HUGE and scary. Well, they’re huge by the time you get to winter. Right now they’re about the size of your pinky fingernail- so not as vile as they WILL BE.

I’m sick of doing the spiderweb dance every time we leave the house- they’re all over the patio and now the boys have found the joy in PLAYING with them. Oh save me. Just send me a rope ladder and a helicopter and get me the heck out of the spider-y mess.

And I know screens in Europe aren’t that common. We don’t have any- and I will gladly suffer every single night if it means keeping these creepy-crawlies out of my room. I can’t sleep at the thought of the spiders. I just cannot. When I reached out on Twitter for some moral support my local NL friend replied that they do have a purpose- and otherwise I’d be besieged by mosquitos. I agree. But my superpower is to be anti-mosquito bite. I’m not sweet enough, much to my lack of surprise.

I wish I could recruit the mice to help me with the spiders. I’d gladly keep them around for that.

How do you handle pests where you are- extreme like me, or live and let live?



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux August 28, 2013 at 8:37 am

I’m right there with you!! (& so are my girls!). I hate mice and spiders too. I think Spider more…as they can crawl anywhere! We’ve had a couple of mice in our house here in France – but not too bad – and yes, with traps..and no our almost 2 years here – we have only seen 2 or 3 in the house. Now, Spiders….send in the husband! My girls will not sleep in their bedrooms when they had seen a spider on their wall, unless we get rid of it. My oldest had a friend over once – they screamed at 2 am as they saw a spider – sent my husband and I flying upstairs…as my husband tried to kill the spider – it ran into the closet – and we couldn’t find it….Off the girls went to the guest room at 2:15 in the morning!

And Yes, I think the little beasts are bigger and uglier here in France than they were in the States!! Hang in there – I’m right there with you!!


2 farrah August 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

I know it sounds crazy- but you know what I’m saying! And I don’t blame your daughters. We aren’t talking about a measly daddy long legs here. These things are meaty. UGH!

I know they serve a purpose- but do they have to look so darn terrifying?!?!


3 Christie Tate August 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

Spiders freak me out. I would not like this at all.


4 farrah August 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

No. There are clearly drawbacks to this European way of life 🙂


5 alyson August 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

I spent most of my life living in the UK, suffering my arachnophobia every autumn as the house spiders and garden spiders took over. So what did I do? I moved to Australia. There are FAR LESS spiders in Oz than in the UK, it’s way easier on my nerves. Now we’re travelling full time in SE Asia I don’t even worry about spiders. I don’t give them a thought, not until I hit the UK, that is.


6 farrah August 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I have to admit- I really thought that there would be creatures big enough to carry you off in Oz AND SE Asia! What the heck. Must be the damp climate. These things are seriously, American-Sized-Impressively-HUGE.


7 Joy August 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

So hilarious- thanks for the quirky and honest read this morning. 🙂


8 farrah August 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Happy to please! Especially at the sake of my own misfortune 🙂


9 Chasing the Donkey August 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Isn’t it great when you can not let things bother you that normally would back at ‘home’. I have to disagree though, a mouse is FAR worse than a spider. As soon as I read mouse in your post, I almost jump! Eeeeek.
So far I am free of the as I live on the first floor – BUT come the new house with chickens and vegie garden – I do expect some screams. And not the good kind.


10 Cynthia August 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Okay…now if I found a mouse in the house all H-E Double L would break loose! There would be 1) no way I would be staying in the house and 2) I would without a doubt need a vacation for the mental anxiety it would cause me!!!

I dislike spiders more anything! I have lost sleep over the thought of spiders. See we have very high ceilings in our bedroom and the spiders have the vantage point when they are in the edge of the highest point. My husband just sleep while I lay there just contemplating things and then when I do finally sleep, it’s restless, and then when I check on the location of said spider and its GONE it takes everything in me not to leave the house!! One evening I encountered 4 spiders…3 in my bedroom/bath. I can only imagine my reaction if mice where to appear in our house. Mucky for us we have a cat…so either she is doing her job or she had better. :).

Your post made me laugh though…”locals”.


11 Leighann August 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I would be more likely to call someone over a mouse than a spider. We have plenty of them where we live!


12 Alla August 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

Funny enough ants and spiders (only daddy long legs) I’m totally ok with! But not any other creatures. The only problem is that my husband is the same!!!! so both of us run out screaming into the hallway and then hand a fly swapper to our 2.5 year old and tell him to go “chase that thing out, baby” 🙂 🙂 🙂 – no we don’t do that… yeah we do…
and Hi! found you via IG thursday and now I discover you’re also in NL and you’re part of Ams Mamas!? how small is this world 🙂


13 farrah September 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

Hi Alla! Small world indeed 🙂 and I see nothing wrong with getting your kids to shoo out the bugs. No kidding 🙂 Nice to ‘meet’ you!

And yes, I am in Ams Mamas, but haven’t checked in in ages!


14 KS August 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Woman! I loved this post.
Roaches in our apartment=Me crying, cursing, yelling, doing the ‘EW’ dance, all while I tell my husband I will murder him for moving me here!

We live in a 1960’s garden style apartment building, have an exterminator come twice a month and still are dealing with a stray roach every here and there. My friends in NYC laugh because they say they deal with them everyday AND RATS! City life sure isn’t as luxurious as people make it out to be (that is unless you have a million dollars or more!).

Little by little I am learning that as long as I am doing the best I can that is all I can do. We make sure to keep the problem under control but there are hardly any apartments without some kind of pest here. Bleh!


15 farrah September 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

Sidenote- I learned that we got one last night. Fist bump 🙂


16 Amy September 4, 2013 at 4:39 am

You’re reading my mind lately. I am having spider and ant issues. As much as I think a mouse would give me heart attack, I think ants in my kitchen may be the death of me. (that pic is so cute!)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: