As those of you who listened to my most recent podcast will already know, I have a real issue with killing bugs. A spider was invading my living room while I was recording the episode…and you’ll have to listen to find out how I handled that situation.

I was the primary bug killer of the household for most of my adult life, mostly because I had no other choice. How quickly I got spoiled by having my husband around. But now that he’s out to sea, all of a sudden, I’m thrust back into this role and I’m not happy about it.

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When I lived in NYC, my apartment had a small faction of cockroaches. This was just par for the course in Manhattan– it wasn’t because I was dirty or anything. (STOP JUDGING ME.) Luckily, they always ended up crawling into the butter compartment of my fridge for some strange reason, then they’d freeze to death, so I never had to do much of the dirty work. And it’s not like I needed that compartment for butter. I lived strictly on take out Indian and brie cheese.

In my house in Arlington, we had an ant problem at one point, but that was about it. Ants are child’s play once you’ve lived with regular roach sightings. We put in a sticky trap, and voila: An antless bathroom.

Here in Virginia Beach, I’ve somehow avoided any bug sightings…until now. Either Aaron was really on top of his position of primary bug-killer and forgot to warn me what would happen once he left, or they just recently started showing up. Either way, it’s becomeĀ a real issue. We’ve had two primary invaders: Spider/cricket hybrids (THE MOST TERRIFYING THING IN THE WORLD), and freaking millipedes. Both are vile.

The spider/crickets are obviously the worst, because they move very quickly in a jumpy manner. I almost died when one was in the shower. I do not have the physical or mental strength to even tell you the entirety of that story. Just know that it was the inspiration for #2 on this list.

Ah, yes, the list. Listen, people, killing bugs is not as simple as it looks. If you’re like me and can’t stomach going near disgusting creepy crawlers, may I share with you my techniques:

1. The classic shoe squash and toss

This is my least favorite technique, so I’ll get it out of the way quickly. For me, this is a three day process:

Day 1) Take tennis shoe and slam it down as hard as you can on bug (best if it’s a slow mover, like a millipede or midsize cockroach). Whatever you do, don’t hesitate. Leave the shoe where it is. You’ve done enough for the day. Go have a glass of wine. There, there.

Day 2) Grab two sections of paper towels and layer them for a solid wall of protection. Take the double layered paper towel over to the shoe. Quickly remove the shoe and cover the dead bug with the paper towels. Be absolutely sure that the bug is directly in the center underneath the paper towels. When done correctly, you need not even look at the disgusting, squashed body. Leave the paper towels there. That was scary. No need to strain yourself by taking further action today.

Day 3) Grab one more paper towel, and use it as a 3rd barrier of protection to pick up the corpse. This is why it’s important to know that the bug is in the center of the paper towels on Day 2. With three layers, you won’t need to feel that there’s a corpse in your fingers at all. That’s the way we want it. But God forbid the body is not where you thought it was under the towels, and you don’t manage to grab it when you pinch and lift. Take dead bug to the trash can and release all towels from your hands. Then go grab the empty wine bottle off the counter and throw it on top so you don’t have to see the tombstones whenever you open the trashcan. Today, recycling takes a back seat to your psyche.

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2. 409 Cleaning Spray

This technique is best for fast-moving creatures, like the spider/cricket hybrids. Take a bottle of 409, stand about three feet away from the target, and spray with wild abandon. Don’t stop until the chemicals have completed the job. Think not about how you just used a chemical weapon to torture a living creature, and instead feel grateful that you didn’t have to get near the lil’ mofo in order to kill it. Once the job is done, grab at least three paper towels and deposit it in the trashcan. Don’t ask me why this process isn’t as extensive as #1, but for whatever reason– perhaps it’s the power you feel by using the 409– you’re brave enough to get the shabang complete in one fell swoop.

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3. Don’t ask don’t tell

I am not proud of this technique. However, there are some situations that call for intentional ignorance. This might occur when there’s a cockroach too large for your shoe to kill. Or a small spider that’s floating on it’s web in the corner of your living room. Sometimes, you’ve just got to look the other way. If applicable, come back later and destroy the web.

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NOTE: This is ONLY appropriate if the culprit is not in your bedroom. If it’s in your bedroom, you must take action. That is your safe place. No amount of fear of killing is worse than the fear that a bug is in your bed.

That’s all I’ve got, folks. If you have any better ideas, BY ALL MEANS tell me. I’ll take all the help I can get. And for the record, it’s not like they’re swarming my house. Again, I swear I’m clean. I just see one maybe once or twice a week– but it’s really not okay.