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Dust Bunnies... Friend or Foe?

Updated on January 11, 2012
Listen closely...it's laughing...
Listen closely...it's laughing...

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.

The vacuum...

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?

No...

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...

Fact.

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.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      In my stories I have the Dust Bunny High Coucil who as a punishment order two big hairy spiders to take Floater and drop him in the large chamber pot under the bed.

      I assume you remember Gisunders ?

      I remember Bell Bottoms... I wore them in the 60's of course I was in the Navy at the time but at least I was fashionable!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Merlin,

      The beard is intact. I signed a peace accord with our little furry friends and that is the bunnicus presidentarea in all his glory. Hamming it up like you would not believe.

      He has more fans than I do.

      I had a written request for humans to return to wearing oversized bell-bottom trousers. Apparently the bunnies thought the sixties and seventies were groovy, man. Plus they could hitch a ride just about anywhere...

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Hey Chris,

      Sorry I missed this the first time round although I'm not too sure I should be speaking to you unless it is to protest about the level of cruelty towards Dust Bunnies in your household.

      Have you any idea of the terror you cause them by bringing their arch enemy OOVER into their midst ?

      And I'm surprised you hadn't seen the inter room travel arrangemnts of some Dust Bunnies attached to the coat of your furry feline friends after a cat nap under your bed.

      Spiders are handy too my lot use them all the time...

      However it does seem as though your Dust Bunnies must be relatives to one of mine, I have The Great Fluffini, escapeologist par excellence ! He's been up more vacuum pipe hoses than you've had hot dinners...!

      PS Shaving your beard off for the picture was a little OTT I thought !

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Austinstar,

      I can do cute...

      It's serious I have a problem with!

      C

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      What a cute hub! I loved it and the cat photos! Awwww, kittens rule.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

    • mysterylady 89 profile image

      mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

      Chris (or Dusty), please send me a link to your hub about ten reasons not to own a cat. I could not find it.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Atthum,

      If only they weren't so hard to train, but all they do is play and breed, thus I believe the link to the Playboy (dust) bunnies...

      Dusty

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      How you manage to safely get through the day is the big question, can these things attack you? We have some the size of tumble weeds in our hallway that can knock you off your feet on a windy day. (almost) I think you should invent in some specialised attachments to get into those tricky places, become rich and hire a butler, maid, cook and writer. Ok the last one was a joke. You shall now go by the name of Dusty.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      mysterylady,

      Oh, I promise...

      I am leaving them alone as we speak!

      C

    • mysterylady 89 profile image

      mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

      I do love the fun you have with language, but I especially enjoy the ending. You will do your best to create a safe haven for the poor little devils!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Nell,

      Oh, the high wire dust bunnies, no fear I'm afraid, hitched a ride on an insect and then performed on the trapeze. I give you permission to leave it completely alone, lest you end up doing circus tricks on the furniture and injure yourself...

      C

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, how about this one then? one has appeared in my living room hanging from the ceiling with a long tail onto my picture, now I don't know about you, but there is nothing in the rules to state that the little bleep can actually get up there without my permission! I nearly fell of the chair trying to get it! lol

    • sunflowerbucky profile image

      sunflowerbucky 6 years ago from Small Town, USA

      Well thank goodness you warned them in time!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      sunflowerbucky,

      I had to rush around and warn all the girl dust bunnies about the kissing tree this morning, no time for a documentary!

      C

    • sunflowerbucky profile image

      sunflowerbucky 6 years ago from Small Town, USA

      Oh the ever elusive dust bunny. Perhaps you should make an animal planet documentary on this startling phenomenon? Funny hub!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Sue,

      I looked very carefully, could not find a dustbunny in silk pyjamas, or any well endowed dust bunnies, so I suspect the Playboy dustbunnies live with Heff in his mansion. You know, just reading the articles...

      And what is with the warm beer jibe? Ladies, it is 'room temperature' which according to 'She' is always freezing - I mean you can't have it both ways.

      Found out yesterday I have real bunnies in the backyard, many of them, and they are not attracted to my swiffer. Partial to my plants though....

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Austin,

      Dryer lint is, I believe, an entirely separate species, so marrying is completely against the law. The children would suffer terribly, teased mercilessly by both the lint kids and the baby bunnies, and would probably turn to the dark side. addicted to dryer sheets, the whole nine yards...

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Feline Prophet,

      Love it - the little sneaky ones!

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 6 years ago from Indiana

      Are there any Playboy dustbunnies at your house? You should check. Then take pictures.

      SHE will then most likely shove you aside and take care of the dust bunny issue, leaving you time to chuckle silently to yourself while you drink your warm beer.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Good one Chris! Do your dust bunnies party with your dryer lint? Those guys marry and have kids, don't they?

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 6 years ago

      How about 'dustbunnicus devious'? You just can't get the better of those wily creatures!!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Sally,

      Having fun with words has to be one of the best parts of writing, it is even better when people tell me they enjoy it too, so, thank you very much :)

      We should start a movement - protecting dust bunny habitats!

      C

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      pj,

      Thank you for the very nice comments...

      I'm thinking of more ingeneous ways to avoid housework as we speak...

      C :)

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Great words, lines . . . images

      dustbunnicus coolius

      nothing more than a spa location for dust

      insect rodeo ride

      I'm with breakfastpop - refusing to think about them!

      Thanks for the laughsssss!

    • profile image

      pjwrites 6 years ago from Florida

      I was laughing from the second sentence and then I found myself laughing throughout. I had no idea you were such a compassionate man, Chris, and you've completely changed my swiffing behaviors - a bunnie convert!

      Great job. Great laughs. Great writing.

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Pop,

      I'll drink to that!

      Oh, wait, maybe not...

      Dang...you were fast on the comment draw!

      Thanks,

      C :)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      I have chosen to ignore dust bunnies and I refuse to think about dust mites. My head is in the sand!