Sunday, June 08, 2008


It’s raining. A nice warm rain that’s heavy enough to keep the mosquitoes down but not so heavy as to be oppressive. Okay, I was wrong about the mosquitoes. They are bad right now. Whenever we have rain then 5 or 6 dry days, they come in hoards. It’s best if it rains each day – the rain washes out the eggs and larvae from all those millions of breeding pools tucked between bromeliad leaves or inside heliconia flowers or half coconut or cacao shells discarded by squirrels and monkeys, coatis and agoutis on the forest floor. Five or six dry days are long enough for the adults to develop and then we suffer through another 5 or 6 days before they start dying off. I’m peppered with bites and right now dotted with my own blood and various body parts where I’ve slapped them into oblivion. I can barely see the dogs through the clouds of whining blood hungry little nasties. And yet I know they have to live too so I continue to slap the ones I can reach and allow the rest to be. I’m not so bothered by the bites. I’m less bothered by the bites than the smell of insect deterrents. I got a couple of hours weeding in this morning and I’d like to rake, but the leaves are too wet and the grass too long and I shan’t put myself through damp hours of frustration .
Oh dang. House cleaner ants have just arrived. An invasion up over the deck. Dozens at the moment, soon to be hundreds, probably thousands. I shall have to evacuate. I do appreciate house cleaners, they do just as they say – flush every insect, lizard and scorpion from the house, eating those they can and chasing the rest. Hmm. I wonder what to do. The kitchen is full of intoxicating smells, a pumpkin pie (last of the flour) is in the oven and I harvested 3 pineapples this morning and they are in the dehydrator. The house smells of pineapple and pumpkin and pastry. I wonder if the ants will get into the dehydrator? I could stand it on a stool and put the legs of the stool in bowls of water. They could come along the power cord. Let’s hope they are just carnivorous. Time to go.
I arrived back just as they were leaving. They left in a line, carrying creamy somethings. Some were held aloft by three ants all working incredibly well together fairly trotting along, 18 legs between them and not one tangle or scuffle. The big soldiers carried their prizes below them. At first I thought that somehow they had gotten into my rice and was preparing myself to wrest each grain back from them – it’s my last kilo and you can’t buy brown rice for love or money right now. But, no, these were definitely whiter and lumpier than rice. I followed the trail backwards and discovered a wasps nest in the roof I hadn’t noticed before. Oops. The wasps were buzzing around but weren’t doing anything, I wouldn’t really like to see an ant / wasp battle. I saw ants kill a scorpion once and it wasn’t pleasant: the stuff Hitchcock grew fat on. I guess the wasps will just start over again.