Monday, February 05, 2007

Bug Lust

I’ve just spent the morning checking the pest traps in the Museum where I work... or going on a "bug hunt" as I call it.

It’s one of those odd little components of my job that normal visitors to the Museum wouldn’t even think about as they scuff their Nike’s over the newly mopped floor in search of distraction and edification among the ranks of teeming display cases that make this proud edifice of education exactly what it is. A Museum.

Basically I have to "do the rounds" once a month to make sure that the Museum stores are not being infested with woodworm, death-watch beetle or some such other many-legged nasty creepy-crawly with a penchant for munching on works of art or artefacts of historic importance.

It is not one of my favourite jobs.

1) I don’t particularly like insects at the best of times and the thought of having to get up and close and personal with them after they’ve been left mouldering for a month in the dark corners of the Museum stores just turns my stomach. To quote a line from The Mummy, they get rather "juicy".

2) The traps themselves are coated with a sticky goo impregnated with insect pheromones. It drives the little fellas wild. So much so they fly or crawl straight into the traps without a single thought for their own mortality – just a blind need to get their chitinous ends away – and there they become stuck fast and basically starve to death. Not quite the end they were looking to get, I’m sure you’ll agree. And unfortunately it’s nigh on impossible to examine these pest traps without getting some of this love goo on your fingers.

Despite copious hand washing I will now spend the rest of the day – particularly while I’m eating my sandwiches for lunch – with the discomforting suspicion that my fingers are now vertitable love-beacons for every randy insect within a 20 yard radius.

Love, as they say, is in the air...

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