Dust Bunnies... Friend or Foe?
Care And Feeding Of Our Furry Friends...
As household pets go, dust bunnies are easy to look after. They eat very little, and are very good at finding it themselves. No special equipment is needed, no water bottles, hutches, or dry bedding required, and veterinarian visits are strongly discouraged, so the costs are exceptionally low. They are very hard to train, but aside from them laughing at you, they really do not intrude into your busy lifestyle.
Oh, they sound cute enough. In fact Merlin wrote a children's story about them (see link below) but I know as both a househusband, and inveterate experimenter, that they are far more complex…
Their natural habitat is under something, and the bigger and heavier the something is, the happier the bunnies. Beds are a favorite, (dustbunnicus sleepius) but refrigerators are a close second (dustbunnicus coolius).
They are natural organizers, calling like sirens to falling dust motes. Hoping that they will decide to join their particular gang. Watch on a sunny day, as the sunbeams illuminate the snowstorms of dust falling from...wait, where exactly is this dust falling from? Is the ceiling disintegrating?
Anyhow, there is all this, normally invisible, dust, scampering down from the mystical dust-making place, laughing and dancing, all innocent and childlike, until it finds a surface.
Dust loves surface. Preferably cleaned recently, and it lies there, luxuriating in the lovely polish scent, thinking happy dust-like thoughts. Watching it lying there, I realize that my furniture polish (what does a family company mean exactly) and duster efforts, are producing nothing more than a spa location for dust.
I'm not paranoid, because people really are talking about me (usually in sentences started with, "what the..."), so I don't want you to worry, but the dust bunnies talk about us...
If you listen when the house is really quiet, you can hear them whispering to each other. I have to admit I can't make out the actual words, but the laughter is unmistakable, making the drudgery of cleaning so much more fun.
The laughter can be infectious. I run my trusty swifter across a surface, and despite its claims to trap the dust, much of it escapes doing cartwheels and laughing uproariously, settling onto freshly swiffed surface the minute your back is turned. I mean, you just have to smile…
Now, I realize that some of you may consider this cruel, certainly inhumane, but in the past I have been known to break out the big guns to get rid of them when they reach infestation level.
I attach the useless brush thing on the end of the hose, the one that has delusions of being an anaconda, and suck at the dust, the bunnies and the loose stuff, until it is all gone.
No bunny can survive the triple HEPA filter after being sucked through the vortex of doom, or so I thought.
I was dragging the beast of suck on a bunny hunt when a shaft of sunlight illuminated the exhaust, and what did I see? Jet propelled dust motes. You can't hear them laughing because of the noise from the beast, but they shoot upwards, and congregate on the ceiling.
This is a bit confusing, what exactly is my type H bag full of? It looks like dust, smells like dust, but, and this is important, it is silent.
Dead dust maybe?
It is just the sloughed off skin from the ever growing dust bunnies. Look it up.
90% of household dust is, apparently, dead skin cells.
Doesn't say it's our skin though, does it?
So what exactly are the little monsters up to? They lack the nasty mouthparts of say, bed bugs (and the really big black spider in the bathroom), so biting you is not an option. I strongly suspect that their sole purpose, and greatest joy, is to be moving about a lot; spinning like dusty dervishes, doing cartwheels and dust acrobatics, purely for the thrill of it.
"Let's get up his nose", is what I think they are saying, "then let's all hold hands and go on a sneeze ride."
Oh yeah, fun for them, sure, but what about us poor sufferers? Allergies or not, these little devils are always capable of going from cute to irritating.
The really hard-core bunnies go after mechanical objects. The under-fridge population, many thousands strong, attach themselves to the coils of the refrigerator, enjoying the warmth, and looking forward to the day that they can choke off the air completely.
Under-bed bunnies, the most populous group of all, trained to lie still, and thus undisturbed for years, have learned to collect viruses as a self-defense mechanism. Clean under the bed and three days later you have the flu...
I believe they live as a form of land plankton, drifting around on the currents of air their human helpers create, but not capable of moving about on their own. I have, however, seen some ingenious experiments to try and overcome that particular hurdle. One time I saw a collection of dust-bunnies using hair to create loose balls, zorbing (look it up) across the floor like tumbleweeds. Another time, again using long strands of hair, a group of dust-bunnies had formed a zip line, and were shimmying down the interconnected hairs to a lower shelf, with uncontrolled glee.
A few, truly adventurous, dust bunnies hitch rides on daddy long-legs, they hang on for dear life in this insect rodeo ride and when they get as high as they can, fall to one side and laugh uproariously.
Sometimes, to give the dust bunnies some heft, they form an alliance with sand and grit. This is not a healthy relationship, as the ties bind them, weigh them down, and are the easiest to collect with a dustpan and brush.
With their two distinct states, stock-still and random rampaging, they remind me a little of cats. And, as with most house pets they have a tendency to irritate the house-proud, especially during breeding season where they seem to reach a critical mass, and I wonder exactly how many healthy dust bunnies my house can support?
Anthropomorphic anecdotes aside – this is serious science. I will not dust until I know the bunnies will not be harmed…
Dear Hub Reader
If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,
Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,
A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.
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