Since arriving in Costa Rica, one of our favorite past times has been posting images of local insects to our Facebook profiles. The “Oooohs,” “Ahhhhs,” and mostly “Yucks” from our friends back home have made for fun reads.
Living with such a diverse and plentiful selection of bugs has actually been very cool. Every night, the creepy crawlies are drawn from the jungle’s infinite darkness to the lights shining out from our windows. They come to worship in the warmth, congregate with each other and apparently, some come to lay down and die.
In the mornings we find a host of carcasses on our white tile porch. The ants descend quickly but even their efficient methods can’t take down an armored beetle the size of a half dollar in a day. So I find myself sweeping and power washing on a regular basis to keep our home looking more like our sanctuary and less like their cemetery.
Our favorite bugs have been the oddest ones. Beautifully striped yellow and black millipedes, “stick” bugs that could fight off a small dog, gigantic moths that we originally confused with bats and grasshoppers larger than hot dogs are our neighbors and we try our best to respect their space. Even the whiptail scorpion (actually a scorpion-eating spider) can be appreciated for his work ethic if not for his good looks.
That said, here are some bugs we haven’t been as happy to host. Actual scorpions, not the helpful faux sort, have been found roaming the kitchen, in shower stalls and even the back seat of our car. Spindly gray spiders lurk in balled-up socks. Tiny ants burrow under the keys of our computers. Wasps are constantly finding new niches to build nests. A mass of termites militantly occupied Camille’s sink cabinet for a week. Nearly imperceptible brown bugs sprawled over her comforter last night.
Luckily, the scorpion problem isn’t as bad as it could be. Our house manager told the story of the recent insecticide spraying, creating a 12 inch border for defense around the house. “The ground started to shake,” he said, forcing one hand to tremble close to his face while the other pointed at the lush tropical garden, just steps from Camille’s room. “Then the scorpions just started pouring out.” No thank you.
The amount of unwanted attention Camille has been getting from the insect world has dulled her enthusiasm for the science of it all. Her legs are a rash of mosquito bites and she regularly asks us to check for scorpions before entering the car or shower.
She does perk up when witnessing the strength of a leaf cutter ant brigade, lifting huge items about their heads, marching in a strict single file parade. Clusters of bright butterflies and flashing lightning bugs will always bring a smile. The scurry of a centipede racing up our cement house wall still elicits a happy shout of “You’ve got to see this!”
And that’s why we’ll keep posting pictures of these gnarly critters on Facebook and Instagram. Because friends, “You’ve just got to see this!”