Monday, May 16, 2011

3 short stories about bugs

While being more or less surrounded by concrete and pavement in our home and work means that we come across far fewer living things than we would if we lived in a jungle, we do still have close encounters from time to time.  The following are some accounts of just such kinds of encounters.

1. Camo bug


We saw this beauty at a wedding this past weekend. It was hanging on the ceiling over the food table. (To give you an idea of its size, that’s a 2”x4” it’s clinging to.) It’s probably the biggest bug I’ve ever seen, not to mention that the antennae were too long to fit in the frame. After I took a picture of it, a Nicaraguan man turned to me and asked me what it was called. This disappointed me since I was about to ask him the same question, thinking somehow that he was more qualified to answer it.


2. Spice bugs

IMG_7846 (2)

While cooking one evening, my sister reached for the cumin—only to discover a colony of little brown bugs tunneling through and presumably eating it. (Make sure you click the picture on this one to get a good close-up.) Like good Americans, we were sufficiently indignant that creatures should be sharing our living space without our permission.

I didn’t want to just dump the container out in the trash for fear these nasty little things might “get on me”. Also, what would stop them from just walking back in and burrowing in something else? No—they had to die.

I stuck the container in the microwave, but I guess 30 seconds was a bit overkill, as the glass come out molten hot, and all the bugs were a darker brown and steaming. Gross. We found them in a couple of other spice canisters, and of course now are paranoid every time we use seasonings.


3. Ghost Ants (with footnotes!)

It was a dark and stormy night[1]. I was getting some water before going to bed and saw a few ants on the wall. But these were no ordinary ants[2]

As I snapped a couple of pictures of the winged behemoths, I realized to my horror that they were not alone.


There were hundreds of them all throughout the house, especially around the lights. I ran to our room and shut the windows and doors as quickly as I could, hoping against hope that our bedroom could be a safe zone, a sanctuary, and that the flood of ants wouldn’t find the gap under the door while we were sleeping. We passed a fitful night of sleep[3].

In the morning, we found no ants, no bodies—just thousands of wings. Wings on the floor, wings on the countertops, wings in the jaws of smaller ants, wings on the porch—clouds of wings that kick up and swirl around your feet like pixie dust as you walk. We haven’t seen the ants since.

The end.

[1] This is literally true. “Stormy” because the rainy season seems to have started this last week and “dark” because it was night. In fact, saying “it was a dark night” seems a bit redundant to me.

[2] Actually, they were large flying ants. For whatever reason, the new rain triggered swarms of them. They were also un-“ordinary” in that they inspired me to go upstairs to get the camera and measuring tape. For the record, that measuring tape measures in inches, not centimeters.

[3] By “fitful night of sleep” I mean that we watched an episode of The Office and slept just fine.


  1. That is SO weird (in response to the ghost ants story). What the heck??

    I must say - I am so very happy you posted some bug stories, and I was very amused by this entire post! Nice job microwaving those spice bugs, though the fact that they were steaming after you were done does make it seem like a bit of an overkill... ;)

  2. Your post made my morning! Here's to no bug stories today!

  3. Isn't it interesting to see our apparent helplessness against the intrusion of insects? I think we're smarter than they are, but...maybe not.


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