I have a question that has confounded me for years. Where do fruit flies come from? I mean, I thought those things had an almost non-existent lifespan or something. How is it that you can go months or years without seeing a single one, and then the moment there’s as much as a leftover smear of rotting fruit they’re absolutely everywhere?
Where do they fly in from? Where were they when my fruit wasn’t rotten? And how the heck do they always make it to the scene of Noah’s and my occasional fruit mishaps so quickly?
Personally, I’d like to be able to enjoy my M.A.S.H. reruns without continually swatting at some swarm of flying ickies just because I happened to lose a half-eaten mango into the couch days earlier.
And it’s not just fruit flies. Where do “pantry bugs” in general come from?
A couple weeks ago, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in months. Eat breakfast.
I grabbed a box of Special K Red Berries and poured me a big ol’ bowl of it. I sat down to catch up on some more M.A.S.H. while I dove into its whole-grain goodness. Halfway through my bowl, I noticed that there were an awful lot of big berry seeds floating in my milk. At closer examination, I noticed those seeds had legs. I scooped up a single spoonful of the cereal and counted 14 black insects. As we all probably would, I quickly did the math. I’d eaten around 13 bites of cereal, times that by 14, and I had already eaten 182 of the little six-legged monsters.
I haven’t eaten breakfast since.
A couple nights ago I pulled out a bag of flour, and you guessed it. Weevils. Where the heck do those little nasties come from? Do they just sit and watch your pantry from afar, waiting to attack your food until you go a day too long without consuming it? What sustains them in the meantime? And why don’t they ever go after the newer stuff?
[ugh]. I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually end up starving to death because one food at a time I keep getting grossed out to the point that I can’t touch it again.
Take, for example, cherries. When I was a teenager, my mom brought home two giant boxes of cherries that she’d bought from some dude at a roadside stand. We all stood there devouring them hand over fist. I probably ate more than a hundred of them.
Suddenly there was a shriek as a tiny white worm was spotted in the center of someone’s cherry. We all had a good laugh, and started opening other cherries. As it turned out, every single cherry in those boxes had a little white worm in the middle.
I haven’t enjoyed a cherry since.
I have lots of stories. The last one I’ll share, which was probably the worst, was a time in my mid-twenties when I was visiting my parents for the weekend. I didn’t know she had been dealing with a moth infestation, and for breakfast I poured myself a nice big bowl of granola. She kept her cereal in those big translucent easy-pour bins. I devoured the entire bowlful, and then another. I used to love granola. After the second bowl, I tipped it to my lips and began chugging the remaining milk.
As I sat with the bowl to my face, I noticed something that froze me in my tracks. Several little white and brown larvae lay dead, plastered against the side of the cereal bowl. I immediately started dry-heaving. I set the bowl down and forced myself to peak inside of the cereal bin. The remaining granola was pulsating with movement. Dozens of larvae were climbing their way up the sides of the container.
Yes, that was definitely the awesomest of them all.
I really don’t know what to ever do when that happens. The natural thing? Throw-it-up? I couldn’t. The thought of it going back through my mouth made me even sicker. I forced my stomach to settle and tried to pretend it never happened. I tried to tell myself that it was just extra protein. I tried not to puke. I tried not to cry. What else could I do?
[sigh] The worst thing about finding out you’ve eaten insects is that no matter how much you brush and floss afterwards, for the next three days you just know that every bit of food you feel in your teeth is an insect’s head or some other leftover piece of insect nasty.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS, I’d love to hear your “nasty in your food” stories! It seems everyone has at least one. [shudder]