flora: Photo of a baby penguin chick (Default)
We killed another giant centipede today. But the ant invasion was worse.

It was entirely my fault. I had spilled some orange juice just before leaving for Yom Kippur services. In my haste to get out the door, I wiped up most of it but I didn't thoroughly mop up everything. And I left the cup with a little bit leftover juice still sitting out, instead of putting it away in the covered garbage can. So all day long, about half of the top of our little refrigerator had sticky OJ residue and the cup was sitting right by it. Between the spill and the cup, the ants had a sweet feast.

We came home and discovered the ants. Mostly we've seen little brown ants that don't harm anything, and crawl along the walls in the closed-off rooms. The big inch-long black ants are normally only in ones or twos around the edges of the rooms; they don't bite, so we kick at them and kill a few and a few run away. But these big black ants were hordes, almost swarming. Michael and I each took our shoes and went stomping and hitting. Then we gave up and just started mopping up the ants with rags. There were so many we couldn't get rid of them entirely. They covered the base of the wall around our front doorway, for a couple inches high on each side. We closed the door and hit at them from our side until they ran away in fear to the stair hallway, and then we had a more manageable couple hundred left inside by the refrigerator.

My sweetie saw the giant centipede darting in and out from under the fridge. Based on his previous experience, he'd already sworn he would kill any he saw again. When it ran back out, he just dropped a textbook on it. Parallel computer architecture is a dense subject, and this was a formidable American hardcover we'd brought with us. The centipede never saw it coming. The tome landed on the upper half of the centipede and smushed it thoroughly. I cleaned up the mess and flushed it. This centipede was about the same size as the previous one we had seen in the apartment. We stil don't know if they're poisonous to humans.

The ants were spooky. We had cleaned up thoroughly on Monday night, but the ants were still a problem the next day too. Michael went on another whacking spree on Tuesday night, and killed several scores of them right before he went to bed. He was tired and left the dead ants all over the floor, to sweep them up in the morning (or be swept up by housekeeping). Michael noticed a couple live ants were dragging the bodies of their companions back, and thought nothing of it. But by the time the next morning dawned, the floor was completely clear. The ants had come back and removed all the bodies. And the live ants were completely gone too, not even visible in the hallway.  I've seen a few scouts since, but the numbers are back down to the previous levels. Weird.

I hope this means the end of our creepy-crawly visitors, but probably not. We have some permethrin insecticide I brought with us for dipping clothes and bedding in, and that seems to help repel them when we spray it on the doorway.

We need more geckos.
flora: Photo of a baby penguin chick (Default)
We discovered we share our apartment with other creatures.  This is in our new "living quarters", the brand-new apartment building up on the third floor of the doctors' apartments.  We've seen far fewer ants than in the guest house and it's nicer overall.
Gecko (wall-lizard) on the window-frame An upside-down gecko under the furniture. It's in the center of the picture just above the table leg.
We have lizards!  There are at least two wild geckos in our apartment.  They're smaller than my pet gecko at home, and they scurry around up and down the walls and hide behind the furniture. 

One very unwelcome visitor was the five-inch-long centipede.  It was in our bedroom.  We were going to bed, then Michael almost stepped on it with bare feet.  After quite a shock, we trapped it under a throw rug and ran for our shoes and stomped on it through the rug.  It wouldn't die easily.  That was scary; the fangs were half an inch long.  After finally seeing it dead, we flushed it. No picture, we just wanted that thing AWAY.  I feel no guilt for its death, because it's suspiciously like a similar giant centipede from my high school biology (bottled in formaldehyde) and that one was poisonous. That startled us a bit and we didn't get to sleep for quite a while.

Not in our apartment, but just outside it on the stairway is also a large hornets nest on the ceiling of the stairway outside. There are numerous giant beetles, June-like bugs and smaller bugs. We've seen a praying mantis and a katydid that could be straight from our back yard. The crickets here look just like US black field crickets, but they can actually fly a couple feet if you startle them.

We haven't seen any mosquitoes or flying insects in our apartment yet. We have an All-Out plugged in (like a Glade plug-in, but with bug repellent). The window screens are intact.  A few beetles have crawled around the floor, but that's about it.  Guess the geckos have to eat something.

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