Insects and Other Pests in the Philippines
Tagged with ants, cockroaches, flies, insects, philippines, spiders, termites on January 22, 2024
There are all kinds of pests in the world, regardless of the habitat. Insects seem to be more pervasive in the tropics. I live in the tropics. There are dozens of insects that I don’t even recognize.
There are certain creatures that can live inside my house as long as they want. They’re beneficial in some way, regardless of what anyone thinks of them. I don’t have a problem with the rest, as long as they stay outside my house. When they intrude is when I start taking action.
Spiders catch and eat insects. So do geckos (small lizards). The geckos eat a lot of insects. The ones outside the house help keep the moth population in check, especially after the first rain after a long dry spell. They also eat their fair share of ants. They don’t bother me when they’re inside the house, except for their mating calls, especially when I’m trying to sleep.
There are so many ant species, I can’t even count them. Some are big, some are tiny. Until I created a poison concoction and placed containers of the stuff around the kitchen area, they would get into everything. I cut the bottom of some plastic bottles and then filled them with mixtures of boric acid and sugar water. Millions of ants (or so it seems) got into those containers and in about three days, I didn’t see hardly any.
They invade the house more during the rainy season than at any other time. We can’t leave any kind of food out, on a table or on a counter, without taking precautions. When my wife, Josie, or one of her sisters leaves food out for me, it has to be stacked. My plate sits on top of a bowl, which sits on another plate. The bottom plate is filled with water. Since flies sometimes get into the house, a paper towel is usually placed on top.
I don’t care about the cockroaches living in their nesting environment, which is usually in the ground near rotting vegetation. They can’t nest inside my house because there aren’t any hollow spaces. My walls are solid cement, even on the inside.
Until recently, the only places they could get into the house were under the doors leading to the outside, the dirty kitchen and the laundry room. We had no other openings they could fit through. I used to find them in the house often enough to be annoying.
The last time I returned to the Philippines, I ordered three inexpensive door bottom sealing strip guards. I had to slide them under each door and cut off the excess. It’s a little more difficult to open and close those doors now, but each one prevents dust, wind, rain, and large insects from getting inside the house. I hope to never see cockroaches in my house ever again.
Flies are pests everywhere. When I was in the middle of the Sahara Desert in 1991, flies started to appear as soon as people started using facilities to relieve themselves. Since there wasn’t any civilization for miles in every direction, where did they come from?
There’s a pig slaughterhouse not far from my house. I’m convinced that most of the flies I have to deal with come from that area. I can’t imagine anywhere else.
Most of the surrounding children, including some relatives, are afflicted with lice. Unlike most places in the United States, they’re allowed to go to school with lice in their hair. Their parents and older siblings use lice combs more than anything else to remove as much of the nits as possible.
Lice shampoo isn’t terribly expensive and would be far more effective, but I really can’t say anything. They’re not my children.
Some of my relatives mistake gnats for mosquitoes, which kind of makes sense. Both of them bite. We shouldn’t have mosquitoes bothering us at all since we don’t have ponds or stagnant rivers nearby. The problem is all the idiots who refuse to dump or cover the containers that accumulate water when it rains. This is despite the reminders broadcast on radio and TV every year.
I sometimes find a stray mosquito inside the house. That only happens when someone leaves a door open during the hours when they’re active. They get inside, get confused by the light and never go away. I leave smears of blood on the walls at times, at least until I decide to clean it up.
The mosquitoes in the Philippines carry Malaria and Dengue. Most mosquitoes are active during dawn and dusk, so I make sure there aren’t any open doors or windows during those times of the day.
We didn’t have issues with termites in our house until our house was over 10 years old. The termites traveled in the trees, and a neighbor’s tree limb was resting on the roof to the laundry room. We had to replace the wood in both kitchens (inside and the attached dirty kitchen) and remove all the wood used in the ceilings downstairs.
We’ve replaced a lot of wood with aluminum. Most of the wood used by the construction company was untreated lumber, something I wish I’d known about when my house was being built. The only wood items remaining are the wardrobe cabinets in the bedrooms and the banister for the staircase.
I guess it depends on your definition of pest. Someone owns them, but I consider the unleashed dogs running around at all hours of the day and night as pests. I used to walk down the hill to an adjoining street for morning exercise, but I won’t do that anymore. There are too many unleashed dogs along with their excrement in the street that I have to get past to get there.
I also consider the feral cats running in and around the compound as pests. No one feeds them, but they seem to scavenge enough food to survive.
Not all insects are pests. Dragonflies, grasshoppers, crickets, and butterflies are best left alone. They only bother me when they somehow get into my house.
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