How To Kill A Bug In 50 Screams Or Less (When Your Man Refuses To)

Okay—y’all know how I feel about bugs. I don’t do bugs. Like, ever. Forreal, forreal? I’ll burn down the house to keep from squishing one with a shoe or—ewa!—a tissue. And, despite their daddy’s best efforts, I’ve successfully passed on the Bug Punk gene to my daughters. Which pretty much explains how we ended up damn-near careening off Highway 85 last night—the three of us squirming and screaming behind a Georgia stink bug that found its way into our car.

A recap: Lila spotted it first. It was all, “Blaaah! How you like me now?!” in the back window, right above her head. Legs all wiry and long—body all black with spots and stripes and as big as a penny and stuff, doing that slow, nasty crawl across the window.

Lila: AAAARGH!!!!!!! BUG!!!!!!!!! *attempts to dive into the front seat.*

Mari: AAAARGH!!!!!! WHERE?!!!!! *ducks head between her knees, airplane crash-style, and slams self against the back of the driver’s seat.*

Me: AAAARGH!!!!!!! KILL IT!!!!!! *realizes can’t dive through front windshield. Makes sign of the cross and says last rites for the entire family. *

Nick: *looking at all of us like we’ve lost our damn minds* Mari, just kill it, please.

Denene: *still screaming, reaches for the wad of napkins relieved from Dunkin Donuts, grabs at right stiletto shoe and begs Mari to slay the bug like it stole from her mama.*

Mari: *hoodie pulled all the way over her face, body smashed against driver’s seat.* No! *peeks at the bug, which is now slinking across the window like it pays the car note*

Lila: *bursts into tears while laughing* KILL IT!

Me: *alternately disgusted, scared out of my mind and laughing * KILL IT!

Mari: NO!

Nick: Man up! Kill the bug!

Mari: NO!

Me, Mari and Lila: *two syllables off speaking in tongues * Pull the car over! Pull OVER! You gotta kill the bug!

Yes, this went on for a good five minutes, with the three of us ladies hollering and screaming and cowering and demanding Nick pull over on the highway and handle the monster bug, and Nick yelling and laughing and telling us to “man up” and refusing to stop, and the bug just enjoying the site of Atlanta whizzing past the back window, completely oblivious to the fact that we were negotiating its demise.

Finally, and, perhaps, realizing that her dad wasn’t going to pull over and any second the bug was going to be crawling in her locs, Mari “manned up,” grabbed Lila’s shoe and squashed the critter—a move that I’m sure saved us all from an ugly death on 85. Because, yes, we were all ready to jump out. Period.

Mari is my hero.

Nick, meanwhile, is making plans to have the girls play with bugs this weekend. Because he thinks that his daughters’ fear of bugs means he’s failed as a daddy. Whatevs. Tonight, I will cook The Bug Slayer’s favorite dinner. Because she saves lives.




1. Bug Tales: Little Pest Critters & I Will NEVER Get Along—Ever.
2. Girls Are Made of Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, Too!
3. Wordless Wednesday A Black Butterfly’s Pretty Wings

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. OMG… we just had an episode like that in my house this morning – and the bug was outside of the kitchen window… your recap had me hollering!

  2. This reminds me of the time a praying mantis got in the house. My 17 year old sister spotted it first and ran screaming. My mom and other sister come out to see the issue and they run screaming. I peek out my room and see it perched on her door and slammed my own door and locked it as if bugs can unlock doors. My stepdad, thinking the bug is the coolest thing ever, gets it and disposes of it. But he felt the need to try to show it to us first and caused more screaming. -__-

    So yes, the Atwell women have the bug punk gene too. lol

  3. At home you can splash it with some Isopropyl (rubbing) Alcohol, it knocks bugs on their back every time, no muss no fuss.

  4. Wow!!! Thanks for the laugh and I thought I was bad with my phobia of those “tiny” vermin. I actually moved/sold a Townhouse shortly after spotting one. Funny (maybe), sad (definitely) but so true.

  5. This is where having a boy comes in handy. No telling what he will bring into the house and you have to “man up” and pretend to be so interested then kindly coax him back outside with that thing. As long as it doesn’t slither…I still can’t get past that.

  6. You are hilarious! At first, I thought it was Nick who wrote this, which made it even more entertaining. In our household, I kill anything with wings that is smaller than a housefly and has the nerve to buzz by my head, especially mosquitoes, and any and all ants that may be scouting in my house. Bare-handed. (I’ve noticed that my daughter will now do the same, while my son just acts like he doesn’t see them.) Spiders, houseflies, daddy-long-legs all get relocated — catch and release! It’s a lot less messy than SQUISH-you’re-dead.

  7. That is SO funny! My youngest daughter used to be afraid of flies. It used to be such a challenge to be outdoors with her. Hooray for the brave one who stepped forward to kill it and that you guys didn’t end up in a ditch. I hope the bug intervention goes well!

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