Living in harmony with bugs

September 26, 2009

I am a sweet, succulent treat, my flesh imbued with some honeyed elixir that draws insects at mealtime.

Here in Italy, my skin shows some half a dozen tiny, swollen welts, where a bug has recently supped.

First, I feel the itch. Then, the mark rises.

I’ve taken care not to use my favorite vanilla body crème or aromatic spray, this trip. Still, I am a tasty treat for the local insects.

“Hey!” they buzz to one another. “Try this. Deliziosa!” One takes a tiny nibble, and then, later, another.

In the States, we kill our insects. Men with tanks and hoses visit regularly to exterminate them.

In Florida, you don’t want to see a big Palmetto bug. Trust me. You just don’t. You practically need a shotgun to kill them. So better that the man come with his poison cocktail to reduce (but not completely eliminate) the chances you’ll see one.

Here in the Italian countryside, people live in harmony with their bugs. Yellow-striped bees buzz insistently around the breakfast table, interrupting the calm with their loud and busy sound. At the local wine cooperativo, they practically swarmed around the trucks heaped with grapes.

I wasn’t interested in getting really close to the crusher.

I’m afraid of being stung.

And yet, their sound is comforting, somnolent, reflecting the complete relaxation of the day.

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