Creepy Crawlies

by Sherry Riter in Memory

There is a reason why I only use white sheets and pillow cases.

I’ve been traumatized by something as small as the end of your pen.

The saying is that “Everything is bigger in Texas,” but some things there are very, very small.

I have to go back to my early twenties to recount this story. We lived in a second floor apartment with a bedroom full of furniture and two lawn chairs in the living room. Poor, but young and newly married, so it didn’t matter.

Everything remained clean because the apartment was small, there was only the two of us and I was a clean-aholic. There was a huge walk-in closet which is the reason we chose that apartment to rent. I like big closets more than I like big rooms! His clothes were on one side and my clothes were on the other side of the closet. Everything was neat and organized. We both wore suits to work, so the closet really looked fantastic with all those pretty, starched shirts (which I ironed myself) among his dark suits and my colorful suits. ** Nerd Alert **

One summer evening as we were getting ready to go to bed, I pulled back the bedspread and top sheet and


My bed was covered with ants! Little ants crawling everywhere! Crawling in and out of my sheets and on my pillow! Their trail went from my bed, across the wall, and into my closet. I felt panic. I was going to vomit. ** Wimp Alert ** As I opened the closet door and followed the trail of ants. I watched as they were weaving in and out of all our clothing.

I wanted to run! How could this be happening?!

I hate bugs. I ABHOR ants. It gives me the creepy crawlies to watch them too long.

I cried.

I’m a wimp.

We decided to get rid of all the critters on our bed first and proceeded to destroy the ant highway from the closet to the bed. It took hours.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next day I emptied the closet, shook every piece of clothing and placed it on a big white sheet in the living room so I could watch to see if any ants crawled out of them.

There wasn’t ANY reason for the ants to be in the closet! I didn’t find any dead bugs or food. I soon learned that ants are attracted to body oils that remain in your clothes. Tide laundry detergent made them clean, but there still remained enough “people oils” to attract ants.

It took a whole lot of visits from the exterminator before the critters went away. I was forever scarred. It has been over twenty years and I still can not get into the bed without first looking to see if the coast is clear.

My posting about those totally white rooms is partially based on the fact that white will let me see any bugs that might want to crawl around within the peacefulness of my four walls.

All bugs are uninvited.

I think that contributes to my dislike of camping with the wild things and putting my “bed” on the ground. No thank you!

Eventually we moved into a house. The first time I saw “a bug” I went crazy…well, not literally. In order to keep the wild things outside, this is what we had to do monthly with the exterminator…

  • We emptied everything out of all the cabinets. The exterminator sprayed the base of the house and ten feet into the yard. He also put crystals (sorry I don’t remember what kind) all along the base of the house. He had to do it when it was forecasted not to rain for a few days.
  • Inside he sprayed all around the baseboards, inside all the kitchen cabinets and the bathroom cabinets where the water pipe meets the wall (ants love the moisture).
  • The exterminator visited every month to spray.

A few tips to prevent visits from unwanted creatures

  • In the back of your cabinets, put a row of odorless moth balls.
  • Before you put away the groceries into the cabinets, wash your cans and wipe your boxes with Mr. Clean or a Clorox solution.
  • Keep cereal, sugar, noodles, and rice in big plastic containers that close TIGHTLY.
  • Put flour in your freezer. You can put the flour in large freezer bags and lay them flat in the freezer. This will keep weevils out.

If you like him, you better keep the Itsy Bitsy Spider at your house. He won’t last long at mine.

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah July 22, 2009 at 4:43 am

Ugh, I'm feeling little phantom ants on my arms just reading that. We've been having some issues with ants over the past week or so with the hot weather. Great tips for keeping the bugs out.


2 Nikki @ Euphoria Luv July 22, 2009 at 5:57 am

LOL, we all have something we're not crazy about. Oddly enough I like spiders so i'll keep them at my house for you. Thanks for the blog visit


3 theselfloveproject July 22, 2009 at 10:31 am

good tips…


4 Tammy Howard July 22, 2009 at 11:04 am

I hate the creepy crawlies, too. We are just starting to get rid of June's ants and are definitely NOT looking forward to August's fruit flies. Yuck.


5 blueviolet July 22, 2009 at 11:25 am

I can't stand bugs either! It's the worst part of summer for me. I'm already looking forward to fall just so the insects will go away.

I spray the foundation edges of the inside of my house every few months and in the spring I treat the outside from the foundation out about a foot. It makes a huge difference! They still come in but they die soon after. 🙂

I TOTALLY relate to your fears!


6 glenna July 22, 2009 at 11:39 am

I hate those pesky sugar ants which come visiting this time of the year!
When I see them I bait them with a glaze of boric acid and powdered sugar. They cover the bait for a few days and then the colony DIES. They have a wonderful last meal! LOL


7 Paulette July 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm

ahihii i hate them too!! well i'm okay with ants but i creep out on cockroach!

i also suggest that you get ant chalks because it doesn't smell as bad as moth balls 😉 that's what we put in the lining of our cabinets 🙂


8 Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) July 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

That made me itchy reading…and would have freaked me out if I had seen that action in person, too!

We had to deal with red ants when we were visiting friends in Louisisana – they were everywhere!! And the really sucky part was they aren't really good about keeping their house clean (which bugs me to no end, but I kept my mouth shut), so they were everywhere IN the house, too…the first night we were there, their 9 month old baby woke up with 8 ant bites, poor thing! When a red ant bites you, he pees in the bite…UGH! So in the room where we were staying I kept my stuff in my suitcase all the time, and was glad I brought a bottle of Febreeze with me – I kept saturating my suitcase and surrounding areas with it and that seemed to keep the ants off my stuff…I was SO glad to get home and away from those little buggers! 🙂


9 Nancy July 22, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Bugs can be kind of freaky. And ants do make me feel itchy when I see one!
I've seen some at night that I just don't know WHERE they come from!


10 mommaof4wife2r July 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm

hate ants. despise ants. loathe ants!


11 Lee July 22, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Ants are the worst, but not nearly as bad as roaches! The other night one crawled in under the back door. I ran to the cabinet to get my raid that shoots out about 100 feet, so I didn't have to get near it, and only had Mosquito Fogger! I had to drown it to kill it! Who in Texas doesn't have Roach killer!!?? Thank God the exterminator is coming tomorrow. Can't stand bugs, hate em and refuse to pick up the dead ones!


12 Pyzahn July 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Ugh. Bugs in the bed are truly creepy. I once was awakened by a nasty millipede crawling under my t-shirt. I don't know where you live, but if it's anywhere on this continent, then you heard me scream.

We are sympatico.


13 Peterson Family July 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

My daughter found an ant on her once at bedtime and completely freaked! For about 2 weeks she checked her bed and herself and kept bugspray on her bedside table!


14 Double Dipped Sweets July 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm

This is so funny! My yard, and therefore my house, is infected with box elder bugs. They don't hurt, but they are annoying! I've gotten so used to them though, that I can just flick them away – or kill them if they are in the house!

BTW…Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comments!!


15 Diana July 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for stopping by and getting in on my giveaway. I'll be back!


16 A Joyful Chaos July 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I abhor all types of insects and household pests! They never get to live long around me either.


17 Joanna July 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm

HATE bugs!! I also hate camping for the same reason. Did not know to wipe down stuff from the store. I'm now really creeped out.


18 Courtney D July 22, 2009 at 7:58 pm

ekkk. Thanks for the helpful hints (and the sweet comment you left over at my place)!


19 lvlc July 22, 2009 at 8:22 pm

hahahahahah… you have made ma laugh!!!!

I could picture you in the whole situation! Sometimes simple experiences traumatize us for the rest of our lives, and the only one that can understand the feeling is ourselves!

I love while linens, they just look so fresh! In the other hand I like decorating styles and get bored of same stuff (thank God I am not bored of my husband! lol he also thinks about it! lol hahaha)

But still I have a plan and is to get all my towels in white (except for the decorating ones). That way I throw them all in a single load of laundry! 🙂


20 Dorkys Ramos July 22, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Yipes! I'd be traumatized too and I was once. Only ants seem tame compared to my experience: a huge roach/waterbug had crept under my pillow while I'd slept that night. That is the one thing I have always been terrified of. Yeah, I couldn't sleep for months without jumping out several times at night while using my cell phone light to see if anything was on me.

In fact, I didn't sleep much until I finally moved out into my own apartment where I make sure there are no creepy crawlies. And the two times those mutant roaches appeared, I screamed and then had to finally get over my fear and kill them.


21 Helene July 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Eeew, I got the heebie-geebies while reading this. I hate ants too…well, any kind of bug actually.

I still check the bedsheets, behind our bed, under our bed, in the closets and inspect the ceiling before going to bed. My husband used to laugh at me until one day when I found a huge spider behind our headboard. He laughs no more….


22 Kimberly July 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I'm with you, I hate bugs!!


23 Mommy24cs July 23, 2009 at 1:32 am

I am so with you on the dislike for creepy crawly things! When we lived in California we had those earwig bugs and I dreaded getting into bed because every night without fail we would find one of them. Yuck!!


24 Melissa Miller July 23, 2009 at 1:39 am

Oh my goodness! Yikes! I don't blame you for checking the sheets.
What a story.

I don't like like bugs either. I have a serious wasp phobia. I've been know to run into things trying to escape them. LOL! 🙂


25 Debbie in Nashville July 23, 2009 at 1:59 am

Great tips!


26 Nancy July 23, 2009 at 3:56 am

One time we were visiting friends at their cabin in the mountains and we went to get into bed, and for some reason I pulled back the covers and there was a GIGANTIC spider! I screamed, my friend, who is very stoic, took the spider outside and killed it – and it was full of baby spiders! Ghaaa – I still have a bit of a phobia, too. I can relate!


27 ahappyhippy mom July 23, 2009 at 5:37 am

I'm not a big creepy crawly fan! YUCK!

A few years ago I was so scared of spiders that I would immediately leave a room if I saw one. NOW I have overcome my fear and try to put them back outside in their own environment.


28 Chandy July 23, 2009 at 6:08 am

Wow, that would have traumatized me for sure! Glad you had that take care of with your exterminator.

Great post about creepy crawlies!


29 Tina July 23, 2009 at 11:14 am

oh you must have felt horrible when you saw those ants. i dont think i could sleep in my bed again!


30 Miranda July 24, 2009 at 1:36 am

I am itching all over now. Thank you 🙂

I also hate bugs. All kinds.

But thanks to my mother, I will never kill a cricket indoors. I will scoop it up in a cup and take it outside.


31 carma July 24, 2009 at 3:10 am

Now I am feeling realllly airheaded. I was thinking: how is putting flour in the freezer going to keep weevils out. Why would weevils be getting into the freezer 😀


32 Audrey July 24, 2009 at 5:53 am

Oh Lordy! The ants…I remember the ants and your obssession with keeping them OUTSIDE. lol

I love coming here reading your stories. You are a gifted writer.


33 Equidae July 24, 2009 at 10:18 am

LOL don't come by my house…in Summer it is the ants Summer residence hehe. Hubby doesn't like it we get an exterminator coz of the fumes so on and so we get highways all around*sigh* its frustrating but nothing can be done really and well they don't do anything much so I live with it


34 Robert Johnson August 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed your ‘ant-infestation’ story. I found you on Twitter, but will follow in other media too. Keep up the excellent work, Redhead Riter. Rite on!


35 Sherry Riter August 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Thank you Robert!!! Tweet on! 😀


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