Spiders and beetles and toads, oh my

Like many women I know, I hate insects. If I were in South Philly, I’d say they skeeve me- or I skeeve them- I’ve never been sure of the exact usage. Insects can turn me into a raving lunatic, a babbling ninny. I have screamed and jumped up and down, and hit them with everything from cleanser to hair spray.

Here in Costa Rica, we’ve got insects. Like Pennsylvania has fall foliage, Virginia has lovers, and New York has Broadway, Costa Rica has insects.

Miscellaneous weird insect

Miscellaneous weird insect

According to ECO Interactive, http://ecointeractive.wordpress.com/2008/10/23/giant-spiders-costa-rica-spiders-and-insects-wildlife-conservation/ Costa Rica is home to 34,000 species of insects. You name ’em, we’ve got em.

I do battle with the insects that go after the shrubs and herbs we’ve planted here. Leaf cutters are the most insidious, even thought they’re fun to watch, as they march in long lines carrying the bits of leaf they’ve torn off a plant, on their backs. We have to use poison on them, though we try to be ecologically correct, and avoid the pesticides.

Big, hairy spider

I’ve had some success with an infusion I’ve made using chili peppers and garlic. It’s not a spray-once-and-you’re finished proposition, with all the rain, but we re-apply diligently. As I write, my second infusion is waiting to be poured into spray bottles. This time, I’ve used habaneros. Don’t mess with my basil, buggers! But, unless they’re nibbling on my plants, or invading my space, I try not to molest bugs outside.

Pretty green insect

In May, we had our first June bug invasion- I know- you’d think they would be called May bugs. They’re big, clumsy beetles that dive-bomb targets both stationary and mobile. One night, as I worked out on my Total Gym 1000, on the terrace, something big crashed into my cheek. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of the set, but the face hit was followed by several neck and body blows.

I fled the scene, whining, and rubbing my arms and legs. For the time they controlled the airspace, about two weeks, I stayed indoors after dark. In the morning, June bugs, lying belly up, littered the terrace, and we swept up whatever the lizards and toads hadn’t already eaten.

The ugliest toad ever

For a city girl, I might be considered blasé when it comes to dealing with insects. I’ve learned to fish the gnats out of my red wine before taking a swig, and I’ve become quite good at catching kitchen moths bare-handed. One clap of the hands and they’re history. Inside the house, I’m a relentless killer of insects. I use whatever means available to wipe them out, except for the spiders. We’ve seen a mess’o spiders here. To name only a handful, there are tarantulas, wolf spiders, scorpions, tail-less whip scorpions, and the aggressive and highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider.

I’ve been known to shriek and run at the sight of a spider, but I’ve reluctantly agreed to a detente with a few select spiders that live behind several of the paintings hanging on our walls. Though I abhor spiders, I know they feast on lesser, but equally nasty little insects, like mosquitoes, knats, chiggers and no-see-’ems. So some of our spiders have been spared a paralyzing death by Raid.

But lately, with the rainy season, there’s a proliferation of spiders. Several times, I’ve detected the slight touch of a web against my face as I’ve walked through a doorway.  I absolutely can’t have that. Later today, I’ll set Jack loose with the insecticide. Bye guys, and thanks for dining with us.

Wayne’s Word is a site filled with great beetle facts and pictures: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0502.htm

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About Myra

I'm retired in Costa Rica, having lived in Philly, State College, Salem Mass, and Kawagoe Japan. You might call me a career gypsy, but my last and best job was teaching English to some of the best and brightest kids in Philly. I'm new to blogging and websites, and will probably make all the mistakes there are, but now I'm sharing my writing. I moved to Costa Rica in June of 2009 with my husband Jack, my dog Buddha, and Jack's two cats, Hobbes and Noir.
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2 Responses to Spiders and beetles and toads, oh my

  1. Mikaela Lerer says:

    Hi Myra! I loved this post. The title drew me in. I feel the way you do about insects and really got the creeps from your words and images. Bless your heart for establishing a symbiotic relationship with a few spiders in your home!

    Your blog is really impressive. I really enjoyed browsing it. Your writings are incredible, entertaining and inviting. I will be visiting it again soon!

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