Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Infestation

Just so you don't think that life on our farm is all sunshine and roses (or knee-high corn, as the case may be), I thought I'd share a horrible little secret of mine.

Ready?

We have mites.

Oh, do we have mites. Grain mites. Here is the back story: We brood our chickens in the basement, as I've mentioned before. After the last batch went out, we didn't get around to cleaning out the brooding trough. You see, it didn't stink...they weren't there too long since the weather was nice and warm. So, it just didn't get done. Well, apparently grain mites came in with the chick's feed and lived quite comfortably on the grain waste in the bottom of the trough. But then, they multiplied to where they needed more space...and more food. And so, off they went, out of the trough, to seek their fortune. And cover my basement.

Two days ago, Caleb was downstairs vacuuming up some broken glass (Don't ask! Pregnant women are clumsy!) and hollered that the (black) cord was covered with moving white specks. I ran down to see what he was talking about and with dread in my heart, began to look around elsewhere. Sure enough, everywhere in the basement, wherever the color was contrasted enough to see them, there were moving white specks. EVERYWHERE.

We quickly realized that the bulk of the infestation was coming from the trough and pulled that thing outside in a jiffy. We were concerned that it was chicken (feather) mites, but soon realized that they would've needed a host. Grain mites were the intruders. Out seeking more grain, but covering every square inch in the process.

I tried just vacuuming them up, but quickly realized how futile that was. They just crawled up anew to replace their vacuumed brothers. They were going to need to die. And quick. Before they took over the whole house and the only solution left would be to burn it down!

Diatomaceous Earth. Or DE, for short. That was the answer. That, and 2 kids with energy to burn, armed with squirt bottles to make it airborne. Three bucketfuls of DE later, the basement and all its contents were covered with a fine white powder. That's ALL its contents, including a couch, an entertainment center, all the food storage shelves, rugs, jackets, shoes, freezers...everything. Including the kids. (They were wearing dust and eye protection!!)

And now, the clean-up begins. It will take a sweet forever, I'm afraid. It took a good hour and a half just to vacuum it up from the couch and the entertainment center.

Wait...it gets even better! Don's mom will be here in 5 days and she usually sleeps on the pull-out couch in the basement. So, I either have 5 days to completely clean every square inch of the basement, or, she'll have to sleep upstairs in one of the kid's rooms. And given the likelihood that I could have a baby any minute, I don't see getting the basement all done.

The good news, however, is that the DE seems to have worked like a charm. There doesn't seem to be any more mites. Of course, grain mites don't bite people, so it could've been worse, but still it was completely disgusting. Talk about feeling like a horrible housekeeper!

So, there you have it. Our dirty little secret, laid bare for the whole world to know about. Don't ever say that I don't keep it real, okay? Mite infestation...it's about as real as it gets.

4 comments:

Red Gate said...

Mental note to self: Always clean and remove chicken brooder and feed when finished! LOL Thanks for sharing!

Stella said...

Totally random, but I've actually heard of DE. I work in sales and sell through a large distributor of scientific supplies and equipment. Apparently they sell it.

Lona said...

Oh, you poor thing! How awful. Don't beat yourself up--stuff happens. Now you know...

Boy, if you have any disposable income, now would be the time to hire a nearby teenager or cleaning lady. Maybe you could barter something?

Good luck and happy birthing...

OurCrazyFarm said...

Nothing like mites to cure that end of pregnancy nesting instinct, huh? See, it really could be a gift from God:)Glad to know we are not the only ones with nasty farming stories! Only 2 days to go until the official due date! I'm excited for you! How great to have a m-i-l who will come to help!