Posted by: powellsinsantacruz | July 6, 2012

Creepy crawlies

Bolivia has an impressive array of creepy-crawlies. From tarantulas to scorpions to various snakes (although not strictly part of the ‘creepy-crawly’ kingdom, they do crawl and are certainly creepy) to venomous caterpillars to giant snails there is a wide range to suit anyones interest. However, barring one tarantula incident and one giant toad incident (I won’t mention anything else Liz, it’s okay), we have been most affected by two creepy-crawlies in particular. Ants and mosquitoes.

We hate them. We wage a daily war against both species with huge casualties on one side and much annoyance on the other. Well, maybe hate is a strong word, in terms of the ants my general view is GET OUT OF MY HOUSE. There, I feel a bit better after that shout. In our garden there are some really big ants- impressively big, and I can appreciate why the sluggard should study them- ants are certainly not lazy. And the way they carry relatively huge items and make long trails is quite cool. This becomes less cool inside the house, especially inside the kitchen. And here it is not big ants that are generally the problem but teeny-weeny ones, ones so small that when you see what looks like a little black mark on the floor it is surprising to see a living, writhing mass of ant madness. We cannot leave crumbs for fear of attracting them (maybe this is no bad thing). But, as our friend Jackie says, the ants were here long before us and will be here long after we’ve gone.

Mosquitoes are a different matter altogether. I genuinely do hate them. Roz and I wage carefully coordinated campaigns against them, sharing such crucial intelligence as what room we have last seen them in and so on. Roz is actually the crack hit man at the moment- her effective use of Baygon (the local spray), combined with a willingness to adapt and use the old fashioned clap technique leaves them helpless. Our house has mosquito netting at all the doors and windows so theoretically they shouldn’t even be in here anyway.

The serious point about mosquitoes though, is that there are lots in Santa Cruz, and they don’t carry malaria, but do carry dengue. Roz got dengue last year, and it is not pleasant. They will also target the children as they don’t notice when they are bitten- both Caleb and Evie have bites on their faces at the moment and Chloe has lots on her back. From the night, through her pyjamas. This is what really makes me hate them. If we do see one in the house it will most likely be biting one of the children at some point.

Ants do have some redeemable qualities but mosquitoes no.



  1. Hear, hear on all your points, Ben, tho as regards the kitchen ants they are so tiny, and with my less than perfect eyesight I sometimes wondered what I was missing! Mozzies – well another league altogether – I loathed them and spent at least 3 nights sleeping with the sheet over my head knowing there was one in the room. You are both total experts at spotting and catching and also identifying “stripey” ones!! I was in awe! And as for snails and toads – we won’t go there!!

    • Liz, attack is the best form of defence with mozzies. They don’t understand any other way. We have no new giant snail and toad spotting to report.

  2. Oooooo! How perfectly HORRID to keep finding all these creatures sharing your house with you. Well done for your courage in the daily fight to deal with them.

    It reminds me of my stay in the south of France one summer. Do you remember Roz? I told you that each day I went back to my bedroom in the evening and there were creatures covering the floor! But I understand this is a continual hazard for you as they appear regularly in your home and am sending HEAPS of sisterly sympathy!

    Can you also send an update on the huge muddy puddle dodging? Bit of English weather news: There are places in England at the moment which have been very flooded indeed over the last few weeks, some even flooded again after the water receeded! Whole streets have become fast flowing rivers and houses have had their ground floors submerged!

    • Thanks Ali. We have dried up here now, it’s just a bit cold. Been hearing about all the crazy floods in England.

  3. Okay 🙂

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