Rochel Burystn talks about what she does when an unwanted insect appears in her house.

When you see a bug scuttling along the floor of your kitchen or a spider rappelling down an invisible rope right in front of your eyes, what do you do? Scream the house down and call for reinforcements? Squish the little bugger and throw it in the toilet without a second thought? Or trap it and release it in your compost heap while saying a special prayer and doing a meditative pose?

I’m the capture type. Quick as a wink, I’ll slap a cup over the bug. And it’s got to be a clear cup otherwise two minutes later I’ll be saying, “Did I get it? Wait, did I?” and then I have to lift the cup to check, and it’s going to run at me with all 1,500 of its hairy vengeful feet.

(Yuck — just thinking about it is sending shivers up and down my spine!)

Then I leave the little hairy or footsy creature under that cup for someone else to take care of. But by the time one of my heroes arrive on the scene, the cup is inevitably overturned, the bug has escaped and I spend the rest of the day jumping out of my skin every time a stray thread grazes my leg.

My husband isn’t as jumpy around multi-footed or winged creatures as I am. He’s brave and daring (and lots of other things, too). Once, while everyone was shrieking as a disoriented bee zigzagged its way around our kitchen, he watched it, eagle-eyed, and then unthinkingly banged his cupped hand on the table and yelled proudly “Got it!” Then his eyes bugged out of his head and he started hopping up and down as he yelled “OWWWW!” He might have gotten the bee, but boy did the bee get him right back.

A few weeks ago, we had a pineapple in our kitchen; turned out there was a tiny hitchhiking fruit fly that came with it. The pineapple is long gone but the fruit fly and its hundreds of descendants live on. I’m not exactly sure how it works scientifically, but I think the minute you kill one fruit fly, 50 more are hatched. Something like that.  

We had to do something … So we became the proud owners of the Executioner. If you haven’t come across one yet, it’s a battery-powered high-voltage electrical bug killing tennis racket that literally grills anything that comes into contact with it. When you swat a bug, there’s a flash of light, a little pop and a rather gruesome sizzle. The other day, my brave and daring husband said, “I wonder what it feels like” and then spent a very unhappy few hours whimpering over his burnt finger. 

Since I’m already on the subject, I’ve got to mention the most celebrated fly in recent history — the one that landed on Mike Pence’s head during the vice presidential debate. His presence literally went viral. That fly is probably out there still doing interviews and signing autographs, unless it came in contact with someone’s Executioner or a philosophical frog. Because you know what a frog’s philosophy is: Time’s fun when you’re having flies.

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