The home invasion is in full swing.

No, not the thousands of Latin Americans trekking across Mexico in hopes of crossing the border into the United States, legally or illegally. We elected President Trump to deal with that problem.

No, my wife and I are not dealing with the terrifying aftermath of a home invasion by evil people who threaten to kill us.

But non-human killing is taking place in and around our house.

The corpses are those of yellow jackets, mice, voles, moles and other critters motivated to wriggle, squirm or squeeze into our ancient farmhouse. They seek a few more gasps of life before winter temperatures kill them.

Inside, we meet them with swatters and traps. They die, but more take their places. We retreat, then counterattack. They retreat, then seek to outflank us by maneuvering into newly found cracks, crannies and crevices.

It is primeval, this deep-seated need to flee from perils. It affects humans, including the above-mentioned Latin Americans, Africans who take to the Mediterranean Sea to seek a better life — or life itself — in Europe, and refugees from the Middle East that has known only bloodshed and wars even though most of the rest of the world found some peace after World War II.

Our plank-sided farmhouse is not a total barrier to critters.

We do deploy “troops,” our dogs and cats, to chomp on some of the rodents while they are still outside our dwelling. But more enter our premises illegally, climbing over or under our barriers.

Happily, below freezing nighttime temperatures and near freezing daytime wind chills render the yellow jackets almost helpless as they shiver and shake along the glass and vinyl borders of our windows, at once drawn there by the sunlight and chilled into slowness by the cold temperatures of the glass.

I have been stung by yellow jackets. I have no desire to feel that pain again. There is no debate about what happens to invading yellow jackets. They die.

In our house, the methodology is direct attack, usually with fly swatters. My wife detests pesticides. I like having a happy wife, so we both swat and gather the corpses. I usually flush them down the toilet in groups.

Traps are our weapons of choice against the rodents. We do not encounter rats, but mice gain entry through the smallest openings in the stacked barn stones that form our foundation, or the weather-weakened chinks in the wood trim that clothes the exterior of our crawl-space attic.

Nothing works quickly or certainly, of course.

After midnight, my attempts to get sleep are often lengthened by the crinkle and shuffle of mice moving above our bedroom ceilings. Eventually, they descend in search of food and fall victim to the traps.

I have lately come to prefer the snap-jawed plastic type, baited with peanut butter. A few are tucked within our kitchen, but the most productive traps rest on the dirt floor of our old-fashioned cellar. I refresh those weekly, if not more often.

Outside, the cats dutifully line up their kills for our inspection, I suppose so that we will be pleased and will continue to give them food and shelter.

Inside, I hear an occasional “Snap!” but more often discover the expired remains of mice when I descend to the cellar each day to empty the dehumidifier.

Some chipmunks or squirrels wriggle into the attic, emerging in search of food to haul there for winter sustenance.

That calls for heavy artillery, either a .22 or a shotgun, and sneaky surveillance of the outside from inside of the house.

Yes, we keep loaded weapons inside our house. You won’t get more than a minute or two to locate a chipmunk or squirrel during a sunshine-prompted excursion onto the limbs of nearby trees. Unlocking a gun safe, fetching ammo from a separate place, then loading — these are the unrealistic prescriptions of people who fear guns.

I don’t. Guns are tools, as are the power saws and drills in my garage. All of them can kill. Properly respected, none of them do kill.

When we have visitors, the guns are secured. I value our family and friends more than I seek an opportunity to get rid of a chattering chipmunk.

But with just my wife and myself here, the loaded guns offer a chance to stop the invading chipmunks or squirrels quickly, and restore peaceful sleep.

Am I breaking the laws about hunting?

There are rules about when squirrels can be shot. I observe those rules — away from my house. In or close to our home, however, squirrels are vermin, to be sent to Rodent Heaven along with the mice and insects.

What, however, do we do with the human beings threatening to invade our country?

I leave that problem to President Trump. He wanted that job. I do not.

Besides, I am currently too busy with flyswatters, traps and firearms.

[Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren, and former publisher of The Leader-Vindicator. He lives near Brookville.]

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