Dec 22 2012

Bugs in Costa Rica

Me with a rhinoceros beetle...somebody's pet!

Bugs. I have never liked bugs and it was one of my main concerns about moving to the tropics, to Costa Rica. I’m here to tell you that the bug scare was just a false alarm. I had nothing to fear. Bugs, it turned out, were a non-issue for me. If I can live with the bugs in Costa Rica, anyone can.

Well, just how good or bad are they? The best thing I can tell you is that the bugs in Florida are much, much worse. I’ve visited Florida and they were everywhere, even though they spray a lot for bugs there. The cleanest houses had them. Swimming pools are screened-in so people can enjoy themselves outside. But like everything, I guess you just get used to bugs if you live around them all the time. I’m sure the same can be said for Costa Rica.

Normal mosquito in Costa Rica

Like in the States, one of the main nuisance bugs here is the mosquito, but for whatever reason, they don’t like me. But Gloria, as sweet as her blood is, attracts them readily. Yet I know others who are even more attractive to mosquitoes than Gloria.

In Costa Rica, the mosquito line is at about 2,500 feet in elevation, with more mosquitoes as you go lower and fewer as you go higher. At the cabinas, we lived at about 4,000 feet elevation and they were not a very big problem, hovering mostly around our ankles at dusk or in the tall grasses. It would behoove one to wear socks. Remember, at the cabinas, we had screens on our windows but kept the front door open all day. That being said, we saw mosquitoes around but they were a non-issue in our enjoyment of our porch and the outside.

The mosquitoes we have around here are small and black. Dengue mosquitoes are different and are present in some areas of Costa Rica, but it’s not a huge problem. Just be sure to apply insect repellent liberally during the rainy season or when near standing water.

Grasshopper, masquerading as a leaf

But, what about other bugs? They’re out there and they come inside through the openings in our cabina, including the front door. About 5:45 am every morning, I would open the front door and sweep the front porch. Since we always left our porch light on during the night, in the mornings there would be 100s, sometimes 1000s, of little dead specks (and a few not-so-little) on our porch.  I swept them into the bushes – I figured they were fertilizer.

There are different kinds of bugs at different times of year. For the most part, they’re harmless, although some grow quite large. Some are interesting looking, actually quite beautiful, though beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

She's laying her eggs

In the few days that we’ve been living in our new, well-screened, house, located about 1000 ft. lower in elevation, and about 5 degrees warmer than the cabinas, we’ve noticed some different kinds of bugs, most notably moths. At night, we see hundreds of them outside our bedroom windows flying towards the light and trying to get in, but in the morning, all traces of them have disappeared. However, since we’ve only been here a short time, we don’t really know what to expect since it takes a full year to see the cycle. We assume that since we’re lower, there will be more bugs. We’ll keep you posted.

 

 

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