August 19, 2010

Bugs… Identified!

I have finally discovered what the bugs in my apartment are! And I blame them squarely on marathoning. That’s right, I got through 55 marathons without any (serious) injuries… but the consequence of all that was my apartment got bugs. Go figure!

Anyway, the exterminator came today while I was working from home, so I asked him to identify the bugs for me. We had to hunt around the apartment for a while in order to find one (there really aren’t that many; they just pop up here and there if you’re really looking), but when we did, he put it under a little mini microscope and took a close look. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “It’s a flour bug!”

Turns out that my flour bugs are totally harmless – even if they get in your bed or your clothes or something gross like that (ew!), they won’t hurt you. They live in starchy foods like flour, oatmeal, cereal, rice, pasta, etc, so the primary thing is to make sure that all that kind of stuff is sealed in airtight containers. I’ve always done that with my flour, sugar, and rice, but I usually just leave the cereal, oatmeal, and pasta in the packaging it comes in – which is apparently not protective enough against these kinds of bugs.

So why do I think the bugs are from marathoning? Well, they were definitely swarming my suitcase… and now I realize that I had a pack of oatmeal from a marathon in it. So many of those marathons give you free food at the expo, or sometimes I’ll snag an extra packet of oatmeal at the hotel’s breakfast buffet (in case the next hotel doesn’t have breakfast and I need something quick before the race). Darn you, marathons! You have bugged my apartment!

Fortunately, the exterminator informed me that once I get everything all sealed up, they’ll wander the apartment for another few days, trying to find starch, but as long as they don’t find anything, they’ll die. Hurray!

So with that identification and treatment plan putting my mind at ease, I’m now on my way down to Philly for a meeting tomorrow morning, and then from there I’m heading up to my family’s home in Albany. Tomorrow night, the big raucous plan is taking my six year old sister to go see Ramona and Beezus – I’m actually pretty excited about it, as the book series was one of my favorites when I was little.

On Saturday, I’m going a bit further north up to Saratoga for my brother’s barbecue wedding reception, for everyone who couldn’t come down to Punta Cana. Given how well I got to know all the extended family and close friends who came to the Dominican, I’m very excited to see them all again and catch up! Finally, on Sunday, I’m back to NYC to clean out the cabinets and prepare for next week in Chicago for work. Busy, busy… now let’s just hope I can squeeze some workouts in.


7 thoughts on “Bugs… Identified!”

  1. Having lived in Texas (where the roaches are HUGE) I have always been super paranoid about food. I refrigerate almost everything… Glad you figured out what they were!

  2. I don’t want to gross anyone out, but those bugs arrived by eggs that were in the oatmeal (yuck!) I’ve had a couple of run ins with them at my house. I am told that the eggs tend to be in processed grain type foods(like cereals, or rice, flour & such), then they hatch and start feasting on all your other starchy stuff.

    I’ve had a lot of success with a suggestion I read–put your freshly acquired starchy foods in the freezer for at least a week to kill any eggs just in case they’re present. I usually only do this with things I know I may store for a while(like flour or rice). It seems to have broken their lifecycle. I haven’t had an outbreak for a few years now.

  3. I found bugs like that in my pantry going after the pancake mix. Doh! Forgot to put it in an airtight container and into the trash it went.

  4. Adam – I’m in the September issue of Runner’s World.

    Sheri – GREAT suggestion! I think I’ll start doing that, to be on the safe side.ms1

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