This Bugs Me

I recently brewed myself a cup of tea and was about to take a sip when I glanced inside the mug and saw this.


To say I recoiled in horror would be an understatement. Screamed like a little girl is more accurate. It’s okay – I’m not afraid to admit it. Because look at the size of that spider! If I hadn’t glanced down before taking a sip, I could have swallowed it whole.


Naturally, the second thing I did (following my bloodcurdling scream) was call Audrey over. My daughter is deathly afraid of spiders and, sadistic dad that I am, I felt the need to share this sight with her. Needless to say, it was not her cup of tea, to borrow a pun. Nor mine. My friends commiserated with me when I shared my experience on Facebook, but most of them were more curious about whether I was experiencing any newfound superpowers and seemed rather disappointed when I confessed that I could not shoot webs from my wrists, and did not have spidey senses to feel tingling. Supportive bunch, that lot.

As traumatic as the whole experience was, it could’ve been worse. In the past, it has been worse. I’ve decided to put together a list of my five creepiest insect moments. If you’re squeamish, this might be painful.

  1. My brother sat on an anthill when he was four years old. I came to his rescue by beating him with a broom. I’ve been terrified of ants ever since. People laugh at me for such a trivial phobia, but I contend that once you have seen ants swarming over your younger brother while he screams in terror, it isn’t a stretch to picture them hungrily devouring human flesh.
  2. I was eating dinner in a restaurant with a friend when a cockroach scurried across the table as if it belonged there. The worst part about this wasn’t the actual insect, but the manager’s reaction when we brought it to his attention. “Happens all the time,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders before walking away. And to think we were hoping for a free meal, or at the least an apology. Ha!
  3. I once got bitten on the knee by a spider. At least that’s what the doctor surmised when he examined my knee, which had by that point swollen to the size of a balloon. He prescribed antibiotics, the knee swelled even more and then the wound burst open one morning. Trust me, you do not want any more details.
  4. My parents awoke one night to find ants crawling all over them in bed. This didn’t affect me directly, but I’m pretty sure I slept with the light on for the next year or so. Because if the idea of ants devouring my flesh wasn’t bad enough, now I had to worry about ants devouring my flesh in my sleep. Is it any wonder I developed a raging case of insomnia?
  5. My former mother-in-law lived in a cockroach-infested apartment. It was so bad, they would swarm over our feet and ankles while we were eating dinner. If she hadn’t been such a damn good cook, we’d have never put up with that shit. But, she made a killer chile verde.

I’m not saying all bugs are bad. This guy’s pretty cool.


But he’s the exception to the rule. And come to think of it, I wouldn’t want to find him doing a backstroke in my cup of tea, either.

If you have an insect horror story, share it in the comments, please!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

19 thoughts on “This Bugs Me

  1. “. Screamed like a little girl is more accurate. It’s okay – I’m not afraid to admit it. Because look at the size of that spider!”

    Mark, I would have reacted the EXACT SAME WAY – screamed like a little girl! OMG…I would have DIED!

    There are two bugs that REALLY scare me – spiders and palmetto bugs.

    One night while I was still living in Florida (which is the Palmetto Bug capital of the United States), I awoke from a sleep to discovered that I was COVERED in them. They had somehow gotten inside my apartment after it had rained, and crawled onto my BED. Let’s just say that when I turned the light on and saw them running all over the place, I SCREAMED so loud that they could here me Atlanta, Georgia!

    And I kid you not.

    OMG…the HORROR!


    1. Palmetto bugs are similar to cockroaches, right? I think I’ve seen pics but have never experienced them firsthand. THANKFULLY! They sound terrifying. Glad you weren’t scarred for life by that incident, Ron.


  2. Spider tea? Good lord, I would have burned myself and broken the mug!

    I’m freaked out by centipedes and we tend to get a lot of them. I’m on the lookout 24/7. My worst spider moments involved wolf spiders at our old house….had about 4 separate incidents in 22 years. My kids still tell the stories of how mom tried to kill them.


    1. I’m used to shooting centipedes in video games, but have never seen one in person. When it comes to bugs, I think the more legs they have, the scarier they are. Which means the only thing worse than a centipede is a millipede! Good luck with those…


  3. Yikes! I was once bitten on the knee by a spider and my knee, too, swelled like a mother. It was bad. But really, really gross was when I was a kid and I bit into a Bandaid in my pizza. Seriously! My dad’s line was, “Take a picture.” His code for–you won’t be seeing this place again.

    Hugs from Ecuador,


    1. That’s a whole different kind of “eww,” Kathy. I thought your dad’s “take a picture” was actually code for “let’s sue the bastards who served us pizza with a Bandaid.” At least that would have been my first thought!


    1. OMG…no!! Thankfully. I’m terrified of fire ants! Fortunately, they haven’t made it this far north (and I’m hoping the climate is too cool for them to ever get a foothold here). I do NOT want to watch that video!


  4. The one insect horror story that comes to mind is one I blogged about a few years back. I was house hunting and we went in to a particularly old house. In the basement we found a huge see through spider. We did a lot of research on it and it was a pretty rare breed and basically it was see through because it had fungus growing on it. I was literally appalled. Needless to say we did not purchase that home!


  5. I would have screamed and left the building. I am terrified of all things spiders and even check-out my bananas before bringing them home from the supermarket. You never know what evil could be lurking underneath that peel.


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