August 09, 2005

Love in the Time of Malaria

Life here in paradise, as it turns out, is not always perfect. There are a few major flaws to living in Hawaii, I have found. The major one is the bugs. This is, you see, a tropical paradise. Tropical being the essential word in that phrase.

First, there are the mosquitos. I'm one of those people who mosquitos seem to really love biting, and as it turns out, pregnant women are also very prone to mosquito bites. So I'm getting them double. On top of that, I have this fabulous allergic reaction to mosquito bites--a huge, red welt swells up all around the bite and itches for days. You'd think I'd been attacked by leeches or something.

I could live with the mosquitos if they were the only bug around here, but no. You see, tropical bugs are special. By special, I mean HUGE. And terrifying. We get flying cockroaches the size of your hand that crawl under doorways and sneak into the house. Even the King, who isn't scared of bugs, has a hard time with them. The first time I begged him, crying, to kill one, he hovered with his paper towel over the enormous thing on the wall. "What's wrong?" I cried, covering my eyes and praying that it wouldn't fly toward me. "Dude, it's looking at me," he said.

And cockroaches aren't enough either. There are horrifying millipedes that look like something out of a Stephen King novel. Five inches long, it's not bad enough that they're huge and black and wiggly and disgusting. No, they have the added bonus of being able to deliver an agonizingly painful bite and sting. Nice.

And now I've twice found small poops in our bathroom. I suspect we have mice. I've never had mice in my house before (except as a pet once, as a kid), but I could probably deal with killing them. Except, if tropical mice are anything like tropical insects, they're probably the size of a hamster and vicious as hell, which means I'm in trouble.


Anonymous said...

Oh no, bugs, really? I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that those things were crawling around my house.
They never showed there were bugs in Hawaii on Magnum, PI or Five-O...bastards.


Anonymous said...

Teeehee – I was wondering when the bugs would get to you.

Fortunately for me having been born here and having a mother who wasn’t has meant that for most of my life all the mosquitoes attacked her! Naturally now that I’m pregnant things have changed. You’ve got my FULL sympathy regarding the bad bite reactions.

I use to ride horses and at the barn we seriously had B-52 Cockroaches (as you may have already heard them called around here) that would fly at and seem to attack you. Rubber slippers are your best means of defense, if you spry them the trick is to then EMIDATLY cover them with the can so that they wont crawl off to someplace you cant find them. My Hubby has a thing about ants, for me it’s the cockroaches the best defense against both – lock you food up tighter the Fort Knocks. My Dad’s trick is to clean the kitchen counters with a spray that has Ammonia D in it. If the ammonia gets on any crumbs of food that are missed and then a bug eats that crumb – dead bug will be the result.

Oh no it’s not the millipedes that you have to worry about (they actually don’t bite), it’s the centipedes that are bad news. What’s worse is that there are 2 kinds, the HUGE, fat, scary, nasty ones and the small tinged with blue ones. Surprisingly it’s the tinged with blue ones that pack a bigger bite. I got stung once on the back of my neck and had 2 lymph glands swell up as a result. The only good thing I have to say about centipedes is that they like to eat cockroaches.

I think I may have a mouse too, I suspect it’s related to the previous wet winters we had and now a really dry summer = lots of food – lots of mice, now no food but still lots of mice.

Sorry for hijacking your comments here but can you just imagine that prior to Western contact 90% of the bugs we now get to deal with weren’t here – no wonder the Hawaiians are pissed.


lisa said...

Yes, welcome to the tropics!

The Japanese apparently invented some kind of silly string bug foam that encases nasty things like the B-52s so you can just pick them up and throw them away. I haven't found it locally yet, though.

And Anne is right- I found this IN. MY. BED. after it bit me. I don't know what the F$%@ the cats were doing at the time- I keep them around to kill things for me, and here they were sleeping on the job.

Also, watch out for the hand-sized cane (wolf) spiders. Those are kind of freaky and also go for you if cornered. And they're super fast too.

You actually do sort of get used to the bugs after awhile- I lived in a cottage that was basically just like camping, but with a roof and plumbing, and after a year and a half it was nothing to kill those suckers.

I finally got smart and bought a townhouse on the 2nd & 3rd floor- fewer bugs than living on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes I was going to mention those cane spiders, they’re really freaky but don’t bite. I’ve called a truce with them because like centipedes they like to eat roaches but they wont bite me! The deal is though if I find one in my room it’s dead. Funny enough the only spider the around here that will bite you is this little tiny one (pinhead sized) that jumps. The bites don’t hurt but they’ll leave a little welt that looks like a zit.

I live in a house now with single walled construction and have found that we’ve got less bugs on the inside. No interior hiding places I imagine.

Don’t you just love the tropics? Just wait till all your leather stuff grows a fine green covering.

And Lisa my cats have also proven to be useless at bug control, they only like to go after the geckos who like to eat the bugs!