Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Neo-neocon at war

It's confession time.

My name is neo-neocon, and I'm a warmonger. Not only have I declared war, but I'm deriving some pleasure from killing.

But don't get me wrong. It's not total war; I'm saving the big guns for when I might really need them. After all, in all-out, total war, everybody loses.

This is a war with that transcends issues of race (although some might argue it has aspects of class); this battle has inter-species connotations. The enemy: the Japanese beetle.

I know it's really summer when they arrive. Their numbers are legion; the proverbial hordes. I know that spraying (otherwise known as total war) would be most effective, but I'm liberal enough and ecology-minded enough to not want to foul my own nest with pesticides unless absolutely necessary.

So, over the years, I've tried other methods.

Those pheromone-based lures are attractive--and not just to the beetles, but to me. Using their own sexual drives to entice them into traps seems a bit diabolical, but has the advantage of being harmless to the environment. And the technique works, in a way--as soon as I would set out a bag, I'd invariably catch about a pound of the critters (and believe me, a pound is a lot of beetle for the money).

But the lures seemed to attract as many as they killed. The beetles just kept coming and coming (and I know, I know; those who criticize the entire neocon endeavor would say that the same thing is happening in Iraq).

In the last couple of years I've fastened on my present approach.

I fill a jar with alcohol,

and stealthily approach the favored, already slightly decimated, feeding grounds:

or the alternative, but still somewhat popular, rest and recreation grounds:

The beetles are lazily, happily feeding (or procreating?), blissfully unaware of the fate that awaits them. They are slow in the midday sun, heavy and lethargic, and all it takes is a little bit of pressure on the plant with my free hand as the other holds the jar into which the happy beetles plop.

Death, I'm glad to say, is instantaneous. I've experimented with different concentrations of alcohol/water, and I've found that only the pure stuff keeps them from writhing and squirming for many long seconds. I have no wish to make them suffer; I just want them gone.

Wish me well. Wish them ill.

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