Tuesday, June 05, 2007

African Wildlife of the Icky Kind

This is a quickie to share one of those "Ewwwww!" moments that life hands us all sometimes.

Africa has these winged bugs. They have long thick bodies (about 1.5 inches or more) and long white teardrop shaped wings (2 inches plus, each!).

You never see them around except the first few times it rains really hard after the dry season.

Then they just appear suddenly at night, clustered together in a frenzy of bug love, or bug rumbles or some kind of bug social event.

We have driven through clouds of them. Smooshed thousands beneath the car wheels. Watched them writhe and clump together on the deck or the walls around the house.

And like most bugs, they are attracted by light.

And we have lots of lights around our pool...you know where I'm going with this, right?

So last week sometime I'm noticing that the pool skimmer isn't drawing well, and when I go outside to check on it, this is what I find:

Go ahead. Click it bigger. I dare ya.

Ewww! Both skimmers were completely full of these bugs. They were packed so tight the water couldn't even pass through them anymore. They were piled so deep I couldn't get my hand onto the skimmer basket without burrowing through (mostly) dead bug bodies.

So what did I do?

I called Cooper outside.

I calmly explained the problem and then told him to take care of it.

Didn't work.

He looked at me for a few seconds to make sure he had heard correctly, and then said,

"No way. You do it."

My boy loves me. But apparently not enough to battle ewwy bugs for me.

And I thought he was at least a little bit scared of me. But apparently not as scared as he is of ewwy bugs.

To his credit, he usually doesn't shy away from this sort of thing, but there is something about these giant, suicidal bugs that skeeves him out, and the fact that they weren't all necessarily completely dead just made it that much worse.

[n.b. last year I remember these bugs suddenly appearing, but Mark took care of them before I noticed a problem. This year, I'm glad to have saved him the effort- no one should have to do this job every time.]

So give us a half hour, some rubber gloves, a cardboard box, a plastic bag, some yelps of surprise and disgust, and we managed to get most of them up out of the pool skimmers.

This is just the bulk of the bugs in the first skimmer hole.

And when I say "we" up there, I mean that I did all the icky stuff and Cooper provided scrub nurse support.

I'll get him back. I swear I will.