Thursday, May 8, 2008

Firebrats in My Fluorescent Light Fixtures

I glanced up at the fluorescent lights in my bathroom this morning and noticed strange, wriggling silhouettes darting across the inside surface of the glass dome that covers the fixture.

This was upsetting, to say the least, particularly because the bugs looked horrific - all flailing limbs and appendages covered in fine, feeling hairs and sucking mouth parts living in the two most sensitive areas of my apartment (where I clean myself and prepare my food).

If I can see them in the lights, where else could they be living where I can't see them? (Chills.)

A little research revealed that this little pest is a firebrat, the burlier, hairier cousin of the familiar, book-eating silverfish. Both of which are nasty, fast-moving and feed on the detritus of civilization - wall paper, glue, old insulation and natural fabrics like silk, wool and cotton. My theory - the moisture from my shower and kitchen is condensing in the light housings and over time turning into mold which feeds the little families of firebrats.

Elsewhere, a friend of mine ate an inch worm in her salad and a co-worker's been itching lately and thinks she's got 'morgellons.'

Moral of the story - there are so many nasty things in the world. What can we do about it? Tireless vigilance and energy for sanitation? Or acceptance of the truth that we are but victims of a world we can't control.

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