Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Local Creepy Crawlies

Lately I've started to find small, toothy-mawed worms in my bathtub right as I'm about to step in for a shower. I'm beginning to suspect these things are leeches. Everyone I mention it to says they probably aren't, but come on: they're small, gross, striped, and they're all tipped with those little circular parasite-mouths. That fits my criteria for leeches. It's happened four times now; they must be getting washed into the farm's water source (which is usually quite clean) by all the rain we've gotten. The ones I find are all dead so far, but I'm getting more squeamish about the bugs around here because of them.

So I thought I'd make you guys squeamish too! Here are all the bugs I've found living around the house:

Earwigs. I used to think these guys were gross as hell. Just their name is bad enough. But I've gotten a lot more used to them lately. When I showed up at Cosmos Farm, Betsy told me that they'd infested the dried-grass thatch in the roof. I quickly discovered that almost every night, a few of the buggers fell out of the thatch and wound up squirming around our food supply by morning. I tell myself you're always going to eat a bug or two in your life as I munch on the fruits and veggies we leave out on the counter. What's the point of worrying about how many insects have touched your food before it got to you?

Earwigs are mostly annoying 'cause they're almost as tough to squash as roaches. I don't bother killing them. But they're not nearly as gross as the

Houseflies. They're everywhere here! It must be the season for them, because at any one point there'll be eight flies buzzing around the kitchen, watching for the golden moments when I leave my food untended. They've hatched eggs in our outhouse, too. Science tells us they carry more diseases than roaches. I certainly hope not, because they are fearless about landing on us humans and drinking some of our sweat.

Grasshoppers. These are the weirdest. They've infested our bathroom — but I don't know why they'd want to. I've found them crawling up doorjambs and clinging to the shower curtain. I think they're starving to death in there. They're freaky just because they're big (almost as long as a pencil) but otherwise they don't do much.

Mosquitos. No trip to Africa would feel complete without them. They probably carry the deadliest diseases out there. Malaria is the most notorious one; luckily for me it's rare in these parts. But the bites are still painful at times. We all sleep with nets over us out here.

Daddy Long-Legs. You hear all kinds of things about these enigmatic li'l guys. Supposedly they aren't really spiders; supposedly, too, they're more poisonous than any spider in the world, but their fangs are too small to pierce human flesh. Back in the States it was a fun little fact to give out because they looked almost clownishly harmless. Here they are sizeable and striped along their legs. They're also everywhere, and I try not to touch them. I don't bother them, though, because they're great at killing the flies and earwigs. My room is kind of a living collection of these spider-like things, with their leftover dinners dangling from webs.

Enjoy. And if any part of your body starts to tickle or itch, SLAP IT BEFORE IT BITES YOU.


Anonymous said...

Eeegads, that is a horrifying picture of that spider thing.

Amazing grasshopper though.


Ami said...

dude, that is by far the most vile photo of an earwig .ever. earwigs worldwide need to DIE!!