If you are a classic Star Trek fan, you will know the story of the cute, furry little creatures known as Tribbles. To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Captain Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, a Klingon battle cruiser and a peddler who attempts to sell the purring, hungry little balls of fur that are born pregnant and replicate almost as soon as they are fed. Eventually, the tribbles finds their way into the space station's granary compartments, consume all of the grain, and gorged, dead or dying, rain down on top of Captain Kirk's head when he opens one of the bin doors. After Kirk gives the command to get the tribbles off his ship, Scottie, the Enterprise's engineer, whisks all of their tribbles to the engine room of the Klingon ship before they warp off into space.
Of course, that's a fictional story set in the future. But it relates to what we've been experiencing at home as I have been wishing I could transport all my "troubles" off somewhere in our "battle of the bug."
I am embarrassed to admit we have pests. The tribbles were useful in their way; not only did they lower the blood pressure of crew members, they revealed a hidden plot of poisoned grain and a Klingon spy, but as far as I'm concerned, bugs belong outside where they feed the frogs and other critters that run along the ground, not in my house. So I have been doing a little online research to get more information about my "enemy" and to figure out a battle plan. At this point, you know I'm not grateful for this particular problem, but as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances," it did spur me into figuring out what I could be thankful for instead.
Kirk opened the door of the shipping container. . . Ah, ha! The light flashed on as I began thinking about containers in general, something I think I have taken for granted. Wikipedia defines a container as: a basic tool, consisting of any device creating a partially or fully enclosed space that can be used to contain, store, and transport objects or materials. In commerce, it includes "any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in packaging and shipping." Things kept inside of a container are protected by being inside of its structure. The term is most frequently applied to devices made from materials that are durable and at least partly rigid.
As I read about containers, be they gourds, baskets, pottery, wooden boxes, barrels, glass, tin, and plastic, I remembered a story about someone in the Bible who stored grain for seven years and then sold it to hungry people during a famine of seven years. That person was Joseph. You can find his story in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, chapters 37-50. "Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure." (Genesis 41:49).
One of the first things on my battle plan list was the storage of my food. How could I enhance it or change it so bugs could not gain access to it? In the story about Joseph, several containers were mentioned: a cistern, a cup, a basket, storehouses, bags/sacks, carts, saddlebags, and a coffin. Not all of those are applicable for food though, nor are they all airtight.
Happily, I found several solutions that fit my needs nicely, namely the use of plastic or glass containers with lids and zippy plastic bags. All food scraps and any remaining dog food left in the bowl are being placed in used plastic grocery bags and tied tightly closed before being thrown into the trash can. If I were still composting, I would have put them in a large throw-away cottage cheese container and hauled them out to the bin in the backyard, but since I'm not, into the bags they go. And the dishes are being washed every night before I go to bed. What I read online also suggested that I throw away any cardboard boxes or piles of paper where can bugs can hide, so as soon as I can work without feeling winded (I'm still fighting a viral bug as well), spring cleaning is next on the agenda.
In addition, during my research, I have been amazed to learn that God has provided ways to take care of these pesky problems naturally. Vinegar is an acid that breaks down wax (like on bug bodies) and is antiseptic. Food grade diatomaceous earth acts like a bug dehydrator and crushed white daisies (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) are a source of an insecticide called pyrethrum which paralyzes bugs so they can't forage for food and water. I can also make my own bug motel -- they check in, but don't check out. Directions to make one as follows: Use clean plastic or glass jars with tight fitting lids, add fruit or beer as bait and smear Vaseline around the inside neck of the jar so they can't climb out. When the jar is full, cover and toss.