Monday, November 9, 2009


Having spent the last more than a decade in Seattle, the land of no screens, I have grown unaccustomed to bugs. My high and mighty organic principles are being challenged by the tropics. Powder post beetles destroyed most of the first harvest of bamboo for Jonathan's company and they are present in each hand crafted bamboo basket I can't keep myself from buying in Catarina. I keep spraying the baskets with Raid, but it only helps momentarily. I'm terrified the beetles will get into the ancient wood of the house and destroy it. In desperation the other day, I soaked the baskets in the insecticide I found in the closet. Riccardo had bought it to but on the lawn for the mosquitos, but I wouldn't let him use it. I mixed up a big batch, doused the baskets in it and dumped it on the garden.

There are several types of mosquitos. The teeny tiny ones at night that you can't see but leave three inch welts on your body when they bite. I have screens and a bed net, but still, they are a problem. The medium sized evening ones that live under the dining room table and make tiny bites on your ankles. Guests are always sitting with their legs on a chair, I notice. Then there are the dreaded day time mosquitos, which can have dengue. The biggish, blackish ones. The health department has come by several times putting crystals in all standing water including flower vases. When I ask where I can buy some of those - to keep the flower vases freshly sprinkled - they tell me you can't buy it anywhere. The dengue outbreak is worst in Masaya and Managua and I sure wish I could get my hands on some prementherine so I could treat the boys school uniforms. For a while, I was convinced that Eucalyptus oil repelled mosquitoes, but I think I was just smearing it all over my legs the week after the health department came.

Cockroaches don't bother me, so I won't mention them except to say, they ARE big. Spiders never bothered me before, but there are so many tiny ones. That brings us to ants. The most hated ones are living in the cracks in the ground that I always step on. Their bites itch like crazy for days. The house and garden ants don't bite, but they do swarm over every bit of food. Wiping the counters with eucalyptus oil doesn't help.

I was once sitting at a restaurant in Catharina and as I was eating, the waitress was spraying the table cloth on each little table with a big cloud of Raid. I was horrified and disgusted, but now I sort of understand.

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