From Guest Blogger
Mosquito, Tick and Insect Free -Naturally
Driving along my usual route the other day I passed by a sign on the side of the road that said, “Good Stuff Free”. Placed on the lawn beside the sign were several pieces of furniture and other odds and ends. A quick scan of the items and I spotted it, a small armchair with toile design. It would look perfect in my daughters bedroom. It looked a little worn, like perhaps it had been sitting in the corner of someone’s basement for a good amount of time, but I had faith in the sign, this was good stuff and free. With a little TLC, the chair would be given a second life.
I pulled over to take a closer look at the chair. Seeing my interest in the chair, the homeowner soon came out to greet me. After asking the owner if they had any pets or flea problems and being satisfied with his answer, he helped me load my new free find into the back of our Subaru.
Driving home, there was a bit of unease in the back of mind, but I chalked it up to the usual anxieties that bubble up throughout the day. I had done my due diligence asking questions on the chair’s condition so nothing to worry about, right? Well, that came back to bite me in the… arms and ankles.
What was I thinking?! A few weeks later I noticed a few dead hornets in my daughter’s bedroom and small bugs littering the windowsills of our home. I didn’t think too much of it as it was the middle of the summer, bugs are just being bugs. I just vacuumed them up and went on with life. A few weeks went by and my daughter and I started waking up with little red itchy bites on our arms and ankles. My husband was not being bit nor was my other daughter, but if two out four of us were being bitten night after night, those odds just didn’t sit well with me. Something was wrong.
After furiously searching the internet and getting out a magnifying glass we identified the suspect in the windowsill as the carpet beetle. Apparently, these little buggers’ larvae sting, not bite, and set up shop in natural materials like wool, silk, and cotton. Oh no! Our eco-friendly, allergy friendly and very expensive wool bed! They were in it! Gross! My husband was not allergic to the bites so he wasn’t showing signs of being bitten, but I was getting quickly eaten alive and had the red and painful bites to prove it. So I was itchy and grossed out, but also thankful that I was having a reaction to the bites. If I hadn’t, the infestation might have gone unnoticed for quite sometime, causing real and costly damage to our home.
My thoughts darted back to the chair. The timing of bringing that chair home and when the infestation started was not coincidental. The chair was the most likely suspect and it was quickly tossed it out the front door. I watched my husband, not saying a word, tearing the chair apart in our driveway to discover a hornets nest and an infestation of carpet beetles. Whoops. They had spread quickly from the chair throughout the all the natural furniture and decorations in our home! Anything that couldn’t be put into the freezer to kill the larvae would have to be tossed so I began throwing away all our nature collections - birds nests, plants, pine cones, coral. Even stuffed animals, old blankets and material for sewing were not safe from the purge. On the one hand, it actually felt really good to be getting rid of things we didn’t really need. Plus the urgency of the situation helped keep me from getting distracted and wanting to keep things unnecessarily.
With the house emptied of likely bug habitats, my husband, still not mentioning my amateur roadside picker mistake, dusted our house with an environmentally friendly indoor insect powder. Then we waited, uncomfortably, while sleeping on the couch, for things to return to normal. Thankfully the treatment was relatively quick and effective and we didn’t have to give up our bed! I did give up picking things up off the side of the road. Well for now…
Looking back on the situation I could tell something was not quite right with the chair. Its springs were shot, the seat and arms were worn, its time had passed as a valuable piece of furniture. It needed not be given a new life, not in my home, anyway. It needed to be left right there on the side of the road for the owner to deal with himself. Whatever his reasons were, the owners attempt to get rid of things quickly, his little spin on the truth, caused a lot of disruption and stress, a bit of money. I drove by their road several times thinking I might just give them a piece of my mind, but I just kept driving each time I Passed by. This was a lesson for me. Don’t let the sign, no matter how convincing, hide the truth and distract from what my gut is telling me.
The thing is, I still love “Good Stuff Free” and doubt it will be the last time I haul something home in the back of my Suburu. A lot of great finds come from the side of the road or second hand and antique stores. However, it is so important to choose wisely what comes into our home. And trying to see what the truth is rather than how something is being presented is not always easy and takes a bit of wisdom. So next time, I will inspect my secondhand items carefully and look for insects or signs of previous insect damage. And if I at all begin to have second thoughts, I will discard it before it does any real damage.
Notes from Marcia
Renee and I have been friends for about ten years. We met teaching Yoga at the same studio and quickly developed a great friendship. Renee is one of my soul sisters on this planet and I am honored to know her. Thanks Renee for writing this great article and punctuating my new rule, "no upholstered road side finds."
Welcome to Healthy Home & Heart. I am a full-time healer, folk herbalist, and empath. I invite you to share in some of the journeys in this world of ours through my eyes.