When Inconvenience Became Menace.

“In a moment, inconvenience became a menace”

There are rites of passage that belong to each of the four seasons. One of these rites is removal of the Asian Flea Beetle from our homes. This is a fall activity.

The farmer’s wife made steady progress that morning as she vacuumed Lady Bugs from every spot of her home. The Shopvac made it easier as she didn’t have to dump the hopper as often as with a smaller vacuum. Her payload consisted of hundreds of Asian Flea Beetles and the moving, crawling mass creeped her out. After she had finished, the hopper was so full that she could not lift it and so left it for her husband to haul out that night. The dust made by these insects made her sneeze.

The wife’s farmer was out in the field. He was just finishing up combining his soybeans. He was happy with this new variety of soybean which he had planted the spring prior. These beans had been developed hydroponically as part of an experiment on the old nuclear-testing site site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. There would plenty of beans to harvest for the farmer, plenty of beans for the aphids to eat and consequently-plenty of aphids for the Asian Flea Beetles to eat.

The new strain of soybean had no effect on the aphids. One element of these beans did however remain in the gut of the aphid which were eaten by the Flea Beetles. This element made the beetles incredibly aggressive and caused them to gather in large numbers. The farmers was the first human to witness this tendency when he cleaned out the household Shopvac.

All Asian Flea Beetles bite. The Beetles in the hopper of that shop vac had eaten the beans and became aggressive. Their parasitic ways had amplified almost as much as their ability to bite. They inhabited that poor farmer in a most inhumane way and then used their collective abilities to usurp his life force.

Their is no such thing as an outdoor Asian Flea Beetle. Flea Beetles who happen to be outdoors are just waiting to become indoor Flea Beetles. The Beetles who’d eaten the uranium, hydroponic soybeans from New Mexico really wanted to get inside and join the huge mass of hungry beetles just finishing up with the farmer. Their numbers increased the mass by a percentage that was beyond the experience of any 4H entomology project.

The farmer’s wife saw something no loved one should see. She saw the two previous paragraphs but not in the detached way in which you’ve enjoyed them. She exited the house followed by an orange and black mass of aggressive beetles.

She knew of only place to hide. Just this morning, the septic tank had been pumped and the lid was not yet fastened. Inside she found safety from the Beetles, it was not the ideal situation but it would do.

She could hear the mass of beetles as it mashed up against the lid that stood between her and horror. She felt the overhead lid and it flexed convex to concave-over and over. She knew it would soon give ‘way and then her day would end.

The repeated flexing of lid soon created a crack, She could hear the gnashing, greedy dripping maws of thousands of Asian Flea Beetles about to inhabit here in a most humane way. It was all she could hear, ringing in her ears, crowding out all other thoughts until she thought she heard-a sneeze. It was not just one sneeze but so many that it sounded like a collective sneeze. She remembered how the Beetle dust had made her sneeze earlier that day and only now did she realize she had not only a cold but full-blown flu. She had company, the beetles had caught her flu through the transmission of small droplets when the farm wife had repeatedly sneezed. Even now, they no longer posed a threat as they had no resistance to the disease and were becoming less dangerous, less unified, less hungry and less alive.

The farm wife would be safe.

The moral of this story: get your septic tank pumped AT LEAST every three years and always wash you hands thoroughly, it is the cold and flu season. Happy Halloween!

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