Catch and Release

Josie Leavitt -- April 29th, 2013

My bookstore is in the country. As spring finally takes hold we’ve got flowers, grass and buds on trees. It’s all just so lovely. Except for the flying bugs. These bugs range from tiny and irritating when out walking because they form a black cloud that usually causing me to jog through it, to the stink bug larger, slightly ominous stink bugs that alternately delight and terrify small children. See the photo to understand why. They move slowly, which belies the speed with which they can fly.

I was working on Saturday when a very earnest four-year-old girl came up to me asked, “Have you seen the bug?” I’m not a fan of bugs and tried to hide my discomfort as I looked around for a bug large enough to cause a young child to talk to a stranger.  The fact that she referred to it as “the bug” (not “a” bug) felt to me like she was on the hunt for something massive. Something that could lift up a bookcase with its wings.

We looked for it. Well, she looked and stood behind me, hoping not see it first. She saw it and excitedly pointed it out. “Okay, now what should we do?” I asked. This kid was like a junior game warden. “Get a cup and a piece of paper.” I jogged to the back room and got a clear plastic cup which is very helpful for bug catching — this way you can see that bug is safely in the cup before you proceed. Because honestly, there’s nothing scarier to me than almost catching a bug and then having it fly at you when you didn’t even know it could.

We trapped the bug in a cup and then slid the paper between the floor and the bug. The little girl directed me well and was a very calming voice amid my slightly growing panic. I should have used cardboard, not regular paper. There was no firm seal on the cup and the bug was on the move.  We hustled out of the store and set the bug free.

Feeling proud I stayed on the deck and watched him only to see him land a bush and then fly right back towards the store. I kept the cup close by the rest of the day.

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