Bird making a nest in Tim and Jane's house | Jane Boursaw Photo
Bird making a nest in Tim and Jane's house | Jane Boursaw Photo
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I’m not a huge fan of summer. As soon as the last snowstorm hits in May, I start counting the days until the next snow will fly. That’s probably not something you hear a lot of people say here in northern Michigan, but I have my reasons.

First, I’m not crazy about heat and humidity, both of which keep me off my beloved trails on the north end. I’d even risk seeing the naked guy out there at this point, but it’s just been too hot and buggy lately. I just ordered a mesh netting thing to go over my head and keep the mosquitoes from chewing on me – we’ll see how that works. I’m basically covered in bites from spring until the first frost, and the mosquitoes seem like they’re working overtime this summer.

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It’s especially discouraging that Tim and I can be in the same swarm of mosquitoes, and they’ll all come after me, leaving him completely fine. If there’s even one mosquito in the house, it will terrorize me.

Second, when we built our log home here on Bluff Road 25 years ago, we had no idea that every insect and creature known to man would think it was THEIR log home. So, as soon as that last snowflake leaves the sky in the spring, all of them start invading our house – ants, bees, wasps, spiders, moths, birds and sometimes even mice.

Although in recent years, the mice tend to set up their communes in our cars, prompting Tim to run “traplines” in every vehicle we own. It’s all fun and games until you realize in the Meijer parking lot that you’ve been hauling around an uninvited guest. I apologize to whomever had to empty the trash bin. When I got home, Tim wondered why I hadn’t saved the trap. No. Just no.

(I had a picture of the expired mouse here, but Tim made me take it out. Click here if you’d like to see it.)

This summer, the bees and ants have been exceptionally busy making cozy homes in our log walls. Tim spent several days spraying the holes with bug killer and filling them with foam, only to have the creatures make new homes in the foam. A week on, it seems like they might be taking the hint. I’m sure our walls are now harboring a large graveyard of ants and bees in there.

Tim filling in ant and bee homes in our house | Jane Boursaw Photo
Tim filling in ant and bee homes in our house | Jane Boursaw Photo

Honestly, I would rather have this guy, who was also recently evicted…

Bird making a nest in Tim and Jane's house | Jane Boursaw Photo
Bird making a nest in Tim and Jane’s house | Jane Boursaw Photo

This week, we decided to finally tear out the shower in our bathroom on the first floor. It was ancient and gross and had some water damage. I knew there were carpenter ants in the walls behind it, because I’ve been spraying them since spring. I just didn’t realize how many were there until the shower came out.

Again, we sprayed bug killer in there and flushed a bunch of ants out of the walls. We’ve really enjoyed watching them crawl out and collapse on the floor, staggering around in circles until they die a miserable death. “Awww… are you having a bad day?” I like to say. “It’s about to get worse.”

This is what it looked like AFTER he’d taken out a dustpan full of ants. Thankfully, I was in town when that happened. Knowing how much I LOVE bugs, he stopped me at the door to warn me of the gruesome crime scene. Some fell to their death through the drain hole into the basement.

Gruesome crime scene of carpenter ants in Tim and Jane's bathroom after the shower was torn out | Jane Boursaw Photo
Gruesome crime scene of carpenter ants in Tim and Jane’s bathroom after the shower was torn out | Jane Boursaw Photo

I’ve also been spraying around the outside of the house all summer, but it might be time to call in the experts (an exterminator). Especially since I just murdered a big spider in the living room. I could have sworn he chirped at me before I sent him to Boot Hill. Do spiders chirp?

And yes, I realize that all of you spiders out there have many redeeming qualities, but take note, if you are in my house, you are going to die. I am not taking you outside.

Is it winter yet?

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


  1. Jane: We have had success sealing potential critter gaps around the house with a product called Flexseal. All the hardware stores seem to have it.

  2. Jane – We’ve been here about 7 summers now and I think this is the most active for bees. We have two sets of bees we are cohabiting with. We have ground bees in our flower bed. They are not aggressive until your little dog decides to attack the nest! And then we have a beautiful nest of bald faced hornets. We are keeping our distance from these guys. Someone told me that a sting from them feels like someone shut your head in a door! Can’t kill either of these creatures of course – they are pollinators . . . Thanks for this fun article.

  3. Ooh, carpenter ants…. Our first house had its crawl space inspected before we moved in, but between then and our move in time some carpenter ants got busy. We were painting the bedroom and pulled off the baseboards, and thousands of ants came pouring out like a horror movie! We quickly got the vacuum cleaner and sucked them all up (that was FUN!) and taped up the bag to discard. We must’ve gotten the queen; end of story! Good luck to you.


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