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For the Love of Bugs, Part Trois in Pictures

May 22, 2012

Now that we have the cockroach situation under control, I am left to admire the beauty of the rest of the bugs and tiny species that live here.  Of course, while Africa is known for it’s giant creatures, zebras, elephants, lions, rhinos, etc. none of those live in the city.  I think it’s only in Alaska where the giant animals feel safe enough to wander across the highway.  Hitting a moose with your car?  It’s a big deal, but not unique.  Hitting an elephant with your car while NOT on safari?  Strange.  (Also, here in Kinshasa, we are in the jungle, not on the savannah.)

In our yard alone we get to experience a vast array of wildlife, sometimes welcome and sometimes not.  I’ve already introduced you to Edward (pronounced Ed-vard), but we’ve since discovered that there is an Edward, Jr. as well.  We also realized the geckos that live in our kitchen have multiplied, but the more the merrier because they eat the less-welcome bugs.  And then we have a family of frogs (or are they toads?) that live in our generator room outside and each those bugs.  Unfortunately, they also are eating our garden…but, regardless, they’re kinda fun to have around!

I caught him myself just for this picture and to show Levi.

So, I may be weird, but I think some of the flies here are pretty.  Some are scary, but these iridescent ones are pretty.

Pretty fly

Praying mantis are another popular insect here.  This tiny little guy and I had an unpleasant encounter.  I asked my loving husband and new friend, who are standing behind me during this photo, if he would jump on me.  I was assured he would not.  He did.  And I screamed.  Ugh.  This is the pic I took and he jumped just after the shutter clicked…or whatever shutters do.

Ready. Set. Jump!

He’s pretty awesome!

I did get to see a bigger praying mantis, but it was dead and covered with ants.  It would not have made for a pretty picture.  And in his never-ending efforts to keep our yard looking pristine, Mosengo got rid of it.  I tried to tell him I want to see one that big if he comes upon another one, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t convey that very well since my French so far is limited to numbers, days of the week, and food.

(NOTE: About ten minutes after I posted this blog, I went outside and was hit in the middle of my forehead by a GIANT praying mantis flying 100mph through the air.  Sadly, I could not find him once he landed in the grass to take his picture…)

We saw this guy just last night.  Matthew and I are not sure if he’s a grasshopper or an Exodus-plague-style locust, but he was huge…soooooo huge.

At least he was tame.

The other night we saw a bird fly past us.  A bird at night?  Strange.  No no, it was a bat.  We have lots of bats, both the tiny cute kind and the giant kind that look like ravens – both of which we love to watch at dusk.  Going outside and having the bats dodge us is also kinda fun, but a little risky…mostly since we haven’t had our rabies shots yet.  And then we realized, it was not a bird.  Or a bat.  It was a moth.  A very VERY big moth.  Sooooo big.  Sooooooooooo SO big.  I did not get a picture.  I just went inside shuddering.

If you’re wondering about spiders, I have seen some, but I saw more while growing up in Washington state.  There are giant spiders here, and I’m sure I’ll encounter them eventually, but for now I’ve only seen little ones and have decided that after everything else, spiders aren’t such a big deal after all.

And, finally, I end with a bug that I’m sure would inspire horror films.  Nightmares.  Horrible torture situations.  Okay, I’m playing it up a little, but I’m scared of these guys.  Truly scared.  Because they are filled with and emit acid.  ACID!!!  Just touching one can risk a burn.  And they hang out on ceilings and drop down.  And did I mention they can BURN you?  They’re seasonal and it is currently that season.  And they love rotten wood.  Do you know what we have a lot of in our decaying roof?  Mmmmm, acid bug food.

Their black and red coloring just add to their creepy-ness.

I have been seeing a lot of them, killing one or two a day.  (Speaking of shuddering…)  Others have told me they’ve never seen one, or haven’t seen one this season yet.  And then, two nights ago, I went outside to take the trash out and close up the laundry shack for the night.  And I stepped over two in the doorway.  Thinking this odd (and killing them), I looked up.  Imagine those scenes in a movie where the person sees something shocking/scary and the camera zooms in on their face while they stand still.  It felt like that.  Surrounding the outside light up on the underside of the roof were hundreds.  Hun. Dreds. of acid bugs.  Of course, I wouldn’t go back through the doorway.  Matthew was inside putting Amelia to bed and Levi was already asleep, so I couldn’t yell.  I went around the house to go in the front door, but as I went up the steps to the front porch, I looked up at those lights.  Same things.  Hundreds more surrounded those lights.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I ran into the house and waited for Matthew to come out of Amelia’s room.  Still shuddering.

Well, it’s been two days.  We do have a sort of an infestation thanks to an old roof with rotten wood, but I’ve just accepted that, before I leave here, I might get burned.  I still fear for the kiddos, since I occasionally find them on the floor or knowing that they could drop while Levi is playing, but it really is in God’s hands, like everything else here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. sara triplett permalink
    May 22, 2012 0829

    Ugh. Too many bugs! I had a hard time with those big flying beetles in Alaska! Glad all we have here in Idaho is spiders! Hope you guys are well…we love reading about your adventures…especially about life and the people in Kin. Miss you guys!!

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