I hesitate to post this entry because I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting…in fact I would say that the insects really aren’t that bad. They are also seasonal which means they come and go so it’s not like they are all constantly around. Besides, I live next to a tropical rainforest so what do I expect?
The Insects (June 2011)
There are the non-biting variety like sweat bees, aptly named as they are attracted to sweat. Seeing as I am sweating 99% of the time, I’ve become quite familiar with them. They are very small and if being attracted to sweat wasn’t enough, when they are killed they release a chemical that attracts more sweat bees. So I’m left with dozens of little flies surrounding me and it makes me feel a little gross. If you are deep in the forest there will be so many that you can wipe your arm and just smear them off by the hundreds. We also have the common housefly which is only casually annoying. They are pretty much everywhere and always seem to be ready to land in your food, sit on the mouth of your water bottle or land on your face as you’re trying to sleep. There are also the flying termites that swarm after rains. And when I say swarm, I mean swarm. They cover everything and it almost looks like it is snowing. It usually only lasts a few hours but they get inside your clothes and some find ways to sneak inside your ears and mouth. As a result, I frequently stay indoors when they swarm. Unless I’m hungry because there are two different kinds of termites and it is common to collect, saute and eat the big kind. But the small kind? They are just kind of annoying.
Then we got the biting ones. I can’t decide which is my least favorite because each has their strong and weak points. So I’ll present a most wanted list…
WANTED: Dead, not alive
Mosquitos: Obviously a big problem because they transmit malaria and yellow fever. The mosquitos here are small so you can’t feel them until they bite you. On the positive side their bites only itch for a short period of time and they are easily managed by insect repellent.
Red flies: These bastards are quite big and resemble a common fly but with the size of a wasp. They really only bite your feet and hands though they will target other areas if the opportunity presents itself. You can’t feel them bite you until they are almost finished so when you swat them you are greeted with a bloody splash. It’s kind of like when you swat a mosquito full of blood but multiplied by five. To make matters worse, I’ve shown an allergic reaction to their bite. The area around the bite will swell up for a few days and if I get more than one bite I get hives for a few days.
Black flies: The worst part about black flies is that they are attracted to movement. Their bites actually hurt, though the itching doesn’t last too long.
Tse Tse fly: The original African insect horror story; you go to Africa and dry your clothes on a laundry line. It is cloudy so your clothes don’t get direct sunlight. You return home to discover that your skin itches and a few weeks later larvae bursts through your skin. You learn that this fly laid eggs in your clothes that later found their way into your skin…so yeah, I make sure to dry my clothes in the direct sunlight.
Sand flies: I tend to believe these guys are the worst based on the fact that you can not see them. Their bites itch for a very long time and they frequently attack in swarms. This leaves me looking like someone with a bad case of the chicken pox. They especially like biting my legs and hands and are seemingly immune to even the most deet concentrated repellent.
Bees: The bees wouldn’t normally be an issue except that they are concentrated around the toilet in Rhoko camp. Luckily if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you. But it is still very uncomfortable to take a crap with bees surrounding you.
I was also randomly bitten by a praying mantis and it really hurt. But this was more of a freak occurance…I think. As I mentioned, these insects change with the seasons so there will be more additions!