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I love nature. But I HATE bugs. Now don’t get me wrong. I like looking at cool beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies, bees and even the occasional ant trail, but it needs to be outside. And even then, you stay in your area and I’ll stay in mine.

Back in the day when we lived in Florida, we were once near a protected mangrove grove (area). The most annoying pests inside the home were small crabs that found their way in through the sliding glass door when it rained. Outside the house is what I referred to as “spider town.” I often felt guilty for living where we did because we were obviously encroaching on nature.

But at the same time, I did not want a giant spider invading my balcony or biting my cat. So one day a spider got a little too close to our sliding glass door. So I got some bug spray and sprayed the spider. The spider slowly died, falling from its web using its silk, then dying on the floor. I felt terribly guilty.

Then it got worse. A lizard ran over and snapped up the spider.

Now I’ve killed TWO things! I yelled out. I didn’t WANT to kill the lizard! Then I thought of the whole ecosystem — poison spider, lizard eats poisoned spider, bird eats poisoned lizard, hawk eats poisoned bird — I’ve managed to kill an entire food wheel of animals!

From then on I made my own concoction of what I called “spider kill” of Dawn dish soap, water and essential oils. This was way more non-toxic to all the animals out there.

Flash forward to now — living in California. We moved into our home and I saw a few spiders. I didn’t mind them too much but then began seeing them everywhere and worried about my kids and the cat.

Not only were there spiders, there were also crickets that would come into the house. I didn’t know this was a thing, but it’s awful and I hated it. Crickets not only crawl, but they jump and make that loud high-pitched screech at night that keeps you awake.

So I called out a pest control person to evaluate our problem and see what they could do. They looked at the spiders. Black widows. BROWN widows (I didn’t even KNOW these existed). Crickets. Ants. Jumping spiders.

OK, I said. Kill them all.

I know it’s not the best thing to do for the environment, but multiple different kinds of spiders, including two that could potentially kill my infant son or our cat was enough for me to start a war.

Now, why am I talking about this on a finance site? Well, it’s because pest control isn’t cheap. I had the spray done last year and figured it wouldn’t be as bad after that one “outbreak.” But this year not only are the spiders back, there is an insane ant infestation going on because it’s been so hot. (Why the spiders don’t eat the ants or the crickets is anyone’s guess.)

I tried going the natural route using vinegar and essential oils to get rid of the bugs, but they basically laughed at me in their little bug voices. I then went the cheap route by buying the bug killer on Amazon. I would spray around the house and even in the house in spots, but they would just find another way in, and there were more spiders than I was willing to go searching for. My son even got bit in his room one night, and seeing a baby with an ugly spider bite is enough for anyone.

So I caved and hired someone. It wasn’t cheap. But they get all the dangerous spiders, all their webs, the ants, the crickets and whatever else is out there. Do I still feel guilty for killing everything? Yes, a little. But I know I don’t have to worry about my kids or my cat being bitten by anything anymore.

As a result, I am budgeting to be able to afford the bug guy to come in every three months for a checkup and keep them away.

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Jessica Patel

Jessica Patel


Jessica Patel is an award-winning editor and writer living in Los Angeles. She previously served as deputy editorial director of T Brand Studio at The New York Times and as Senior Editor and Analyst of

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Article last modified on December 17, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: How I Save Money on Bug Repellent - AMP.