Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Relatively Bug Free Tropical Paradise

When the Peace Corps said go to Thailand, I was expecting it to some kind of Asian Florida. I’d been to Florida lots of times, and I had always been very impressed with the sheer numbers of bugs, and with their size, variety and hyper-aggressive natures. For those of you who have never been, when you buy corn flakes in Florida the inside packaging is this heavy, multilayered foil/plastic hybrid. This is to keep out bugs. Even then it’s a good idea to keep the cereal in Tupperware after you open the package. Even then the bugs, some as big as your finger, will be looking around your house for weak spots. Outside, you’re surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned, it’s like the Alamo with palm trees. I prepared myself for the worst.

But it never happened. Thailand is rather shy of bugs, it seems to me. It’s the tropics, the average temperatures are even a little higher than Florida, but there is no amazing bug army running around. Cereal comes in a typical, lightweight inside wrapper, and I can keep a box of corn flakes in my kitchen cabinet, with the top rolled down and secured by a bulldog clip, for weeks with not so much as an ant expressing interest. Oh, I get some ants looking around, but their efforts seem disorganized and ineffective.

The Thai mosquitoes are fully mobilized, and do a good job, but otherwise the bug cadre must be a great disappointment to Mother Nature. Flies? I remember a much greater volume of flies in New York and Los Angeles.

Another solid good-point for Thailand.


Anonymous said...

There are plenty of bugs IN the jungle. I remember seeing hundreds of palm sized spiders with giant multi-layered nets strung between the powerlines running along the two lane highway through thick mash of foliage. I suspect the smog drives most living creatures away from big cities like the metallic dust drives them away from the auto shop. Humans are bound to these places by something these bugs must lack: Humanity? Mosquito's well sure, humans are their food supply and the jungle is their bane!


fred c said...

I remember those spiders! No interest in my corn flakes, so I suppose they like the jungle (or the campuses of those schools way up in the mountains!).

But even at that, they have more, bigger and more dangerous spiders in Australia.

Florida has, and I expected here, all manner of beetles and roaches, from tootsy-tiny to big as baseballs (Palmetto Bugs), and boy, do they all want your food and shelter.

Nice about the metalic dust, sounds like a good way to protect a space, except for the poison part.