Termites

KIRK: You have termites … Tens of thousands of them. Subterranean, drywood, the whole gamut.

Termites are an insect closely related to cockroaches, and sometimes called “white ants”, although they aren’t ants, or even close to them. They are considered a pest because of their wood-eating habits, and can cause significant damage to wooden structures.

There are three groups of termites: dampwood, drywood, and subterranean, which would be the “whole gamut”. Subterranean termites live underground in nests or mounds, dampwood termites eat wood exposed to rain or soil, while drywood termites thrive in warm environments – which, if you live somewhere cold, means that they live living in your nice warm wooden house!

It seems unlikely that Lorelai has all possible types of termites, but it also seems unlikely Kirk is qualified as a termite expert. She almost certainly has a serious infestation of drywood termites.

“One grub too many”

SOOKIE: You just had one grub too many. Just drink lots of water to rehydrate.
JACKSON: I will.

I think Sookie is referring to mezcal, a Mexican spirit distilled from the agave plant, similar to tequila, and extremely intoxicating. Some brands include an edible mezcal “worm”, an insect larva which is the caterpillar of a moth, or occasionally the larva of a weevil, both of which naturally infest agave plants. The manufacturers added it in the 1950s as a marketing ploy. I think this is the “grub” Sookie means.

Mexican Bean

MICHEL: Stop jumping like a Mexican bean.

Mexican jumping beans are not really beans, but seed pods of the plant Sebastiana pavonia, native to Mexico and Costa Rica. The seeds can become inhabited by the larva of a small moth, and if it becomes warm, it will move to eat, causing the seed to “jump”. Holding one in your hand will warm it to the point it becomes quite lively. They are sold as children’s novelty items in the US, and it is common to say that an excitable child is hopping about “like a Mexican jumping bean” .

Hummingbirds

LORELAI: What are you people doing?
LADAWN: We’re watching hummingbirds.
WOMAN: They’re still out there if you wanna scooch in.
MAN: They’re the darndest things. Flap their wings a hundred times a second. It’s an engineering marvel.

The hummingbirds the B&Bers are watching are most likely Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochis colubris), the most common hummingbird in the eastern states of the US, and found during the summer months. Other species of hummingbird have only been rarely sighted in Connecticut. Unfortunately for this episode, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are solitary and aggressive towards others of its kind, so there would not be multiple hummingbirds to see all at once.

This species of hummingbird can flap its wings up to eighty times a second – quite close to a hundred times a second.

Ducks

LUKE: It’s not biologically natural for people to mate for life. Animals don’t mate for life. Well, ducks do, but who the hell cares what ducks do?

In fact ducks don’t mate for life – most duck species, such as mallards, are monogamous, but for only for a single breeding season (a possible foreshadowing of the length of Max and Lorelai’s bond).

Some sea ducks are thought to return to the same partner when they make their way to the breeding grounds, but this is hardly the same as what a human marriage is generally like. In a few species of stiff-tailed duck, polygamy is the norm, with one male mating with several females.

Furthermore, even within pair-bonded duck couples, promiscuity is reasonably common – they are socially monogamous, not necessarily sexually monogamous.

Mealworms

We learn from Lorelai that Jackson cultivates his own mealworms to help fertilise his plants.

Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitor), a type of what is called “darkling beetles”. Originally from the ancient Mediterranean region, they have spread all over the world.

Mealworms can be raised to produce composted garden fertiliser from their castings (manure), in the same manner as worm farms. This seems to be why Jackson is cultivating them.

Spotted Owl

Emily tells Lorelai that the cover of the latest Chilton newsletter is a picture of a spotted owl, and that Chilton is taking donations to help them; she sent a donation in Rory’s name.

The spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) is a species of bird that lives in old growth forests on the west coast of North America, ranging from Canada to Mexico. Due to destruction of its natural habitat by logging, it is currently classified as a near-threatened species, with numbers continuing to decrease.