Last year, during the rainy season, I seemed to wake up every morning with some new bite on my boob, in my armpit, behind my knee, or in some equally delicate and completely unscratchable area on my torso. It’s the kind of thing that can make a woman start talking to herself.
“I think I’m immune to insects now,” I said to myself recently. “Remember last year, when my body was always covered with bites? I don’t seem to have that problem this year.”
What was I thinking? The rainy season here in rural Costa Rica sidles in replete with its unique set of insects. Suddenly spiders go into overdrive, spinning out webs in every corner, bookcase, lampshade and shelf; behind every painting; and under every chair and sofa. Webs stretch out across the tops of doorways waiting to be breached by an unsuspecting face. And they poop! Their teeny turds litter any surface under a web. I attack them with the vacuum, but not all of them. After all, they do eat other enemies.
A particularly pesky insect I wish the spiders would dine on more is the fruit fly, gnat or midge— I can’t say for sure yet. My magnifying glass doesn’t tell me their evil secrets. These tiny kamikaze pilots will attempt to dive-bomb your eyes, mouth, nose and ears. They’ll swarm up from the plastic garbage container in the kitchen whenever someone opens the lid. Oh, and there’s a relative, the drain fly, that also lurks in kitchens and bathrooms.
And ants! Under the umbrella of the rainy season, minuscule raiding parties of ants appear in the kitchen, scurry onto busy hands and push forward as far into enemy territory as possible before being ambushed by the other hand. Sometimes, an unsuspecting victim, busy thinking about other things, will give a single ant a ride into another part of the house before detecting the intruder.
Jack has suggested a pith helmet with mosquito netting attached to keep them out of my face as I work. I imagine myself cooking, writing, doing the dishes— nah — I’d rather massacre the little devils. I’m not sure if they’re the same specks I find on the sinks in the bathrooms and other white or glass surfaces near a light source each morning lying scattered about. Either way, I’m out to eliminate them.
Worse than the gnats, which don’t seem to bite us, are chiggers and no-see-ms, tiny terrorists with teeth. These are devious buggers that ride in on your clothes, then go trekking under them until they find a soft, thin piece of accessible skin. Then they feast. The victim remains blissfully unaware until the damage is done and the itch from the bite of that miniature monster begins. Day after day of insidious itching ensues, and it’s an itch you can’t scratch– but this year, I’m fighting back. Just wait till I throw my arsenal at them!