Connie Rees talks about the earwig problem in Stevenage [Text only]

'People might be quite interested later on to learn that one of the big problems we had in this town was earwigs...'

Stevenage Museum

People might be quite interested later on to learn that one of the big problems we had in this town was earwigs.

Oh yes, the town was swarming with earwigs. Dropping into children’s cot, you opened the street door and there were simply thousands of earwigs outside, your garden was full of earwigs and they said it’s because it was chalk and earwigs used to breed on chalk and under stones.

And, people were getting so fed up McDougall was the general manager at the time and I wrote him a letter in which I said, “Old McDougall had a town, earwig, earwig go, with an earwig here and an earwig there, an earwig nearly everywhere, old McDougall had a town, earwig, earwig go”. You see. And I had a letter back from McDougall saying that he was very surprised a woman of such a strong character as me would have been worried about a few earwigs. But he went on, on the same lines as he always did. That they were really looking into it.

But it was a very serious problem. We dreaded the summer.

When you’ve got a lovely baby and you are very proud and you’ve got these blooming earwigs dropping down from everywhere you couldn’t open the windows in the summer in case they came in. And in fact in the bathroom there used to be air vents you see and I used to buy this muslin, butter muslin and stick it over because they would drop in the bath as you were having a bath. So everywhere there was a hole in my house I had butter muslin stuck up. And you couldn’t have windows open.

Dear Mrs Rees, 20th August 1962,

Dear Mrs Rees,

I was indeed distressed to learn that so strong a character as yourself should be baffled by such small invaders. But seriously I’m very sorry that you are having this trouble. It is I am told the result of building a town on agricultural land and Hertfordshire is known as a county where this earwig problem is particularly prevalent. However it might be worse, it might be spiders or ants. I very much enjoyed your revised version of McDougalls Farm, but I am afraid it doesn’t seem to be the duty of the Corporation to remove the earwigs. They are nothing to do with the method of construction of houses. I understand the Urban District Council have service for eliminating the Earwigs for which I believe, the charge is five shillings. I hope they can help you, as the last thing I should want is that our enlightened critics should leave the town.

Yours sincerely,

Robert McDougall.

This page was added on 16/04/2018.

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