If you know me, you know that I am very, very, very afraid of bugs. Any kind of bug – big, small, winged, 8-legged. It’s been a challenge getting used to the occasional small flying creature in my hut, but I’ve grown rather skilled at swatting at them with a pamphlet I’ve designated to killing all insects.
So you can imagine my horror, disgust, shock, and complete and utter terror when last night, my hut was swarmed by a bunch of huge flying insects and its wingless brothers. I could hear their wings fluttering against the windows and door, but I didn’t think much of it in the beginning, for the night comes with an endless array of strange, creepy noises.
When the first flying insect came in, I thought it was just a fluke, an isolated incident, and killed it quickly. By number 3, though, I started getting nervous. In total, I must have killed about 10 or more of those huge winged ones, and many, many more of the wingless ones that were crawling under my doorframe. It was like those bugs had decided to wage a war against me. My worst nightmare had come true, and I was trying really hard not to completely freak out.
Earlier that day, I had just put up my mosquito net for the first time. I noticed the flying insects were attracted to the net, so I took it down and put it away immediately…it seemed to have an effect. Eventually, the bugs stopped coming, but I stayed up pretty late anyway, too shaken to sleep.
After some googling, I’ve come to the conclusion that these are “flying ants.” (If you google ‘flying ants Ghana,’ you’ll find a few blog posts that mention very similar scenarios. Don’t be fooled by their pictures, though – my flying ants were bigger and badder!) These insects appear after large rainstorms because their habitat is destroyed. They’re attracted to light, but often lose their wings quickly, thus becoming wingless and crawling on the floor. They don’t live for long outside of their natural environment, though, so I guess that’s a good thing. My friend Francesca hypothesized (and now I think I agree) that the white color of my mosquito net was reflecting the light in my room too strongly, and the insects couldn’t resist.
When I walked out of my hut the next morning, I was just a bit disgusted…one of the other huts has a light outside that is on 24/7. On the floor underneath that light were hundreds and hundreds of those dead flying ants – and even more wings, just lying there on the ground.
Today I put my net back up anyway, and have decided that from now on the light will no longer be on in my room after it gets dark. I will have to resort to the dimmest setting on my laptop inside my net – and I sincerely hope this light isn’t strong enough to attract any unwanted bugs!
Well, then. Last night I may have won the battle…but rainy season has just begun – what on earth will I be facing in the future?? I don’t even want to know.