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ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY

 

insects

I’m not being rude by saying ‘buzz off’. These two words are aimed at the Bugs that really bug me. I sincerely wish they would avoid me. 

I visited South Africa in winter last year and managed to get bitten by a mosquito. Somehow, IT – (I didn’t determine its gender) invaded my thick socks and boots. It’s not as if I was waving my bare arms around and shouting – ‘come and get me’. No! This mosquito was waiting for me to arrive in Cape Town. It and all its descendants and progeny, and the whole caboodle of family and friends were at the Mosquito Winter Conference, learning new ways to dive bomb and muzzle and nuzzle the poor human. 

I react badly to mozzie bites and end up with swollen glands and egg sized lumps – hence, my dislike. I would like to use a stronger word to describe these miniature granny nippers, but common sense tells me these critters have their spies. Anyway, I survived the Capetonian mosquito bite. 

DID THEY FOLLOW ME? 

A few months later whilst spending time in Arizona availing of the mild winter weather, the mozzie struck with a vengeance. It wasn’t even mosquito season, but all my extremities were attacked. There was no warning, not even a hint of a South African accent. 

You see, I’m very suspicious and suspect the South African and Arizonian mosquitoes decided to have fun at my expense. Basically, they were on holiday and bored. Not enough humans around – except for me who they knew would swell up like a red balloon as soon as they bit me. So they headed up a storm of troops and whizzed in on no less than a first class flight. Unfortunately, they decided to use me as a landing dock. I bear the scars to this day. 

buzz

FLY AWAY 

No matter where I am there are always at least two flies buzzing around my head, never mind the ones inside my brain. They dive bomb me and no amount of swear words deter them. What’s their problem? They have a whole wide world of nature in which to frolic. But no! That’s not enough for them. I can actually hear them. You all know I have superhuman hearing. Yes, I can hear them mocking me as they dance around my head. They have an evil laugh and their BUZZZZZZZZ factor is not funny. 

I tried the jar of lemon, honey, and water trick. Only one was tempted. He was the one with a bad cough and assumed I was being kind. When its mates saw their drowned pal they called in more troops. Voetsek – Afrikaans for go away! I declare myself innocent of knowing any other meaning.

arizona

A STING IN MY TAIL 

I love Arizona, especially Scottsdale. It’s a joy to wallow in the pool like a frolicking hippo. I love the feel of the sunshine on my face and that amazing feeling of stepping into a warm blanket of dry heat. Fair enough, I’m an Irish Colleen who’s more used to wet, windy, drizzly, days in Ireland, so this kind of heat still warms the cockles of my heart, as well as the soles of my feet. 

No matter where you go in the world people complain about the weather. If it’s too hot we want it to be cooler. If it’s too cold, we want it to be warmer. But, and there’s a big but. Extreme weather brings extreme elements that we would rather avoid, especially creepy-crawlies that have a sting in their tail. 

I’ve only seen a scorpion once and I assure you once was enough. I spent the next few days checking my shoes and it even had the cheek to invade my dreams. I thought the fat bumble bees and wasps were bad enough, but having a scorpion scuttle around me is a whole different ball game. 

POLLINATE OR BE POLLINATED 

Okay, I know we need all these wonderful insects for a reason. You can google it yourself. I’m too stung for words. 

‘Listen guys, you have a whole world of wonderful plants and s… piles in which to do your business. You really don’t need to feed on this particular human. I’m not that tasty. So you’re having a bad day and you decide to take it out on me. Should I beg you? Should I plead with you? 

What will make you LEAVE ME ALONE! 

Okay, I shouldn’t shout at you. You’re beautiful in your own way, gifted, amazing and necessary, but can you just stay within your own boundaries and stop crossing mine. You have all these naturalists aiming their cameras at you, making documentaries about you and generally educating us all. You don’t need me in your selfies. I don’t have eight legs so I’m far from being your mate. 

Please, I beg you all – LEAVE ME ALONE! BUZZ OFF!’ 

THE SPIDER 

As far as I’m concerned these things are super huge. You can hear them scuttle across the floor and their beady eyes give you a death scare that freezes you on the spot. They know you are under their spell. They weave webs to catch flies, strings of webs that smother your face and your wits. The Irish fellas are generally harmless, well brought up by their Irish mammy’s, but many countries have the killer spider. The spider that hunts its prey. I think I’ll stay at home in Oughterard. I’m frightening myself.

THE COCKROACH 

Visit any supermarket in Cape Town, and you can purchase the DOOM spray. The name alone should be enough to deter these evil insects. In fact, they don’t deserve the name ‘insect’. They are the stuff of nightmares. Just as you’re ready to fall asleep your eyes flicker open and there above you on the ceiling is the cockroach. You hear it laugh – an evil laugh that tells you if you don’t keep your mouth shut your protein intake will be rapidly increased. You spend the rest of the night eyeballing each other. It moves slightly and you cringe. You want to scream, but you daren’t open your mouth. 

Then it calls in its cousin – the huge flying cockroach that greets you as you step out your front door. You freeze. You can’t move. It blocks your way. You phone your boss at work and explain that you’re being held hostage. He asks if they’re demanding a ransom. I whisper – ‘They want all tins of Doom removed from supermarket shelves’. The negotiations continue.

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