How We Kill Bugs in the Peace Corps


Last night as I was brushing my teeth and admiring my good looks* I noticed a GFB (that is, a Giant F…ing Bug**) on the wall behind me. More specifically, a GFC (Giant F…ing Centipede).

Now, there are a lot of ways to kill bugs. I believe that some of the more accepted methods are to quickly and painlessly smush them, or to flush them down the toilet.

But if there’s one thing that holds us Peace Corps volunteers together, it’s our sense of creativity. We like to “think outside the box,” as it were, and as such I find it hard to hold to such time-tested methods of killing bugs. Also, this bug was huge and to smush it or flush it down the toilet would have required getting a little closer than I wanted, given my inability to remember from sixth grade science if it’s centipedes or millipedes who are the bad ones.

So, toothbrush in mouth I ran out of my bathroom, kinda lopsidedly since the last thing I wanted was for my head to come within two feet of the centipede. From another volunteer I learned the trick of taping bugs to walls, which effectively immobilizes them and makes clean-up easier than smashing them into my textured walls.

Armed with the packing tape I ran back in the bathroom, cut off a big piece and stood there for about five minutes, repeatedly coming (I swear) within inches of taping the GFC to the wall. “One, two, three… Okay, one, two, three!….Okay, this time I really will…”

But the longer I stared at this GFC the more I realized how big it was. Taping a bug like that to the wall is no easy piece of work. If he made a run for it he could easily touch my hand, or worse.

Toothbrush still in mouth, I ran back out of the bathroom and found a box of band-aids which I dumped out on my coffee table. Armed with this box I ran back into the bathroom and affixed the tape to the box so I could smash/tape the GFC without having to get too close to it.

About this time it occurred to me that this was a pretty large bug and that I might need some additional means of immobilizing it. Lacking Raid, I ran out of the bathroom and got the next best thing, a spray bottle of stove top cleanser.

Take that

Back in the bathroom, after another few minutes of starting at this GFC (sometime in here I did get rid of the toothbrush), I realized that a flimsy band-aid box is no great protection against a bug with so many legs and possibly poisonous teeth, or whatever. So I ran back out, got my dish washing gloves from the kitchen, and thus arrayed returned to the bathroom with my be-taped band-aid box in one hand and stove top cleanser in the other.

With such improved defenses it only took me about a minute this time to actually smash the GFC. But, as is typical of me, I lost my nerve a split-second before hitting the bug and as a result wound up with a few centipede legs attached to my packing tape and a now alarmed GFC landing unnervingly near my foot.

Panicked, I began spraying stove top cleanser after the little f…er (I mean, not so little, but whatever) until I managed to chase him into the depression in the floor where my shower is. I was pretty near to dying myself from all the toxic cleanser fumes I was inhaling, and just as I was beginning to seriously consider that the GFC might not be affected by my attempts to murder him, his motions began to slow.

I think I drowned him.

Armed once more with my bandaid box I smashed him into the tile before throwing away the largest part of his body in my trashcan along with the band aid box and washing his lost legs down the drain.

And that, my dear readers, is how we kill bugs in the Peace Corps. Good thing I am not in Africa.

* I never look better than at 11:30 p.m. while brushing my teeth.

** As part of my effort to be a stand-up sort of volunteer I am trying not to curse on my blog.


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