I walked out on the front stoop a few days back and looked up in the corner underneath the trim boards and saw what I thought was a new bird nest being built. I had problems there several times over the years and the birds really made a mess on the front so I have tried to prevent any more nests being constructed there. I went to get my step ladder to get up and see what was going on.

I had placed a large water bottle there to take up the space and that had worked for the past few years. When I moved it to see what was happening, I was face to face with a large wasp nest under construction. And, several angry wasps.

I have used many methods to destroy wasp nests in the past. Silly people like me have been known to wad up some old newspapers and light them with a match to burn the suckers.  A broom can be used to knock the nest down if you don’t mind risking being stung by a dozen wasps. In out of the way places in the barns and tractor shelters, a jar of kerosene or diesel fuel can be tossed on them but that makes for a real mess and possible fire hazard. The burning paper, of course, is somewhat a fire hazard too and I wonder how many houses and barns were burned down that way.

In recent years I have kept one of the wasp bombs around that shoot a 25 -30′ stream and keeps one out of harm’s way. That was my weapon of choice for the current problem and I fetched it from the garage cabinet.

“Shake Well” it said, so I did. I aimed it up at the nest and, instead of a stream, I got a spray that would not reach the nest. Shake some more. Try again. Same thing. Spray. So, I had to climb up the ladder and spray the critters as they try to fly away and buzz by my face and ears. That really BUGGED me! The thing it was designed to do, it did not do.

Phillip Crosby made a name for himself in the late 70’s by defining, in understandable terms, the word quality in his book “Quality is Free”. As we were trying to regain a competitive position against the Japanese onslaught of cars and consumer goods, there was confusion as to how to discuss, define and achieve quality. He summed it up this way: Quality is conformance to requirements.  The product is quality or its not. No good quality or bad quality….just quality.

My spray can of wasp spray did not conform to requirements. It wasn’t a misapplication of the product: it did not work. It did not conform to requirements. It BUGGED me!
Black Flag CAn

As I thought about it, I remembered the sprayer that was always handy on the back porch in Sandy Point. It was a metal pump sprayer with a container that held the spray. It had a pump handle and a round diaphragm that was pushed in and out with leather to seal it and cause the air compression as it was pushed and picked up the spray. It would not spray very far but the spray mist was predictable and reliable. I’ll wager some of the old sprayers ae still around and still work.
The spray that I remembered was Black Flag. When I looked it up, it turns out that this was the first insecticide sold in the US. It is the oldest brand and is still sold today.
Black Flag


It was used for everything and used everywhere. As far as I know, no one had ever heard of an exterminator. Step on it, swat it, or spray it yourself. That was how bugs were handled.

Windex is said to have produced the first consumer pump spray bottles and they were glass. Of course, over time, they all became plastic. It wasn’t long before about everything was available in the little pump spray bottles with a suction tube attached.
Windex Bottle


Now, those bottles always BUGGED me! If they worked at all, they would never use up all the stuff in the bottle. The tube was never long enough and was always curved and when the bottle was tilted, the tube was out of the liquid and could not spray. I always ended up taking the top off and pouring out the remaining contents so as not to waste them. If I never learned anything else in Sandy Point, I did learn to be frugal. I don’t know how long that problem has gone on but I guess since about 1945.

The other day, I bought a bottle of Clorox cleaner at Publix. I paid no attention to it until I started using it and boy was I surprised: the bottle has a built in spray tube! It says right on the bottle, “Spray Every Drop”! The thing that had BUGGED me for all these years, in fact, practically my entire life, had been solved! Just when you think there is no one paying attention, that all hope is lost and there is no resolution to your problem, the answer is there! Problem solved!

Clorox 2Clorox 1

Then, I read today where some people did not like the new Clorox bottles and “were never going to buy Clorox again”. They were BUGGED by the fact that you cannot take the top off and refill the bottle. They had made me happy and someone else mad.

So, you see, no matter how hard you try you may not make everyone happy. The wise philosopher Rickie Nelson said, “You can’t please everybody, you just gotta please yourself.” And, to tell you the truth, it BUGGED me that the lady wrote nasty things about the new Clorox bottle.

Of course, the word BUGGED has a lot of uses today and often does really refer to an actual insect. Your computer may have a bug, that is, something that is causing it to malfunction. Your room may be bugged meaning someone has put a listening device there to spy on you. You may have a bug meaning a virus or infection causing you to be ill. Or, maybe someone or something is BUGGING you, meaning they are irritating you by their actions, attitude, or something they said.

Maybe by now, you are BUGGED reading all this drivel. For all these variables, no amount of Black Flag will solve the problem. You may just have to BUG OUT, that is, get out of here!

But if you have fleas, spiders, wasps, bees, or creepy crawler things going across the floor, get a can of Black Flag and fill up the old pump sprayer. Better yet: just keep it full at all times. Or, wait until all the plastic spray bottles all have the spray every drop feature. Won’t life be grand!

© 2016 JC





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