Monday, January 31, 2011

Chapter 31 - The Ant Dance

            I am having more and more experience with the insects in Costa Rica.  There are myriads of them.  Particularly there are ants.  On the cupboard top, when I go there to prepare food, I have to do an ANT DANCE.  These ants are so tiny, they are about the size of a grain of good pepper, but they are busy all the time.  They are so tiny that no amount of screening could keep them out, so I just learn to live with them.  Before I take out food onto the cupboard, my fingers complete the ANT DANCE and I kill everyone that I see.  If they move, I see them.  They are so prolific, that I don’t leave a single crumb of bread or any other food article on the cupboard.  This discourages them quite a  bit, but they are still wandering around the cupboard, waiting to pounce.  When I am there, so am I waiting to pounce. 
            I don’t see ants of any other kind in the house.  I try to keep the floors swept up and the corner webs taken care of. I dislike sweeping, but I brought a suitcase full of Swiffer supplies.  I haven’t seen them here  yet, but they do a very good job on all the ceramic tile that we have on the floors.
            Outside, it’s a different story, there are ants everywhere, and busy as ants can be.  One group decided to build a house at the corner of my flower garden.  When I discovered it, I washed it away with the hose.  The next day, they were still busy there, and I washed them away again.  It took four times, but they must have heeded the message and I don’t see them there anymore.
            In the house we have spiders.  There are tiny webs in numerous corners,  I try to keep them under control and any spider that I see I use the swiffer mophead (minus the cover cloth) for a zapper, and sometimes it takes more than one thump to get the spider.  One type that we have had a few times is a flat spider, that can come in under any door, and they really frighten Melaney.  She has been trying to get past her spider phoebia, but isn’t totally successful yet.  These flat spiders are light brown, speckled, and can run like blazes.  With their legs outstretched, they are about the size of a fifty cent piece, but the first one was bigger by half.  It took me three whacks to get him….I never have worried much about spiders, and outside they do a marvelous job of control on smaller insects, but we just can’t have them in the house.
            The other house insects that I can’t stand are cockroaches.  I had never seen one of them in my life.  So far we have had three. At first I thought perhaps it was drawn to the dog’s food on the floor, so each evening, we pick it up if there are any remains, and put it in the fridge.  The second roach was just exploring.  Last night I had a small one crawling on my sleeve while I was sitting watching TV.  That took another dance to get that one under control and on the floor and stomped.  All of my food supplies are kept in plastic bags with special clips to hold the bag tops tight.  I can see that these precautions will be necessary. 

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