There are all kinds of pests in the world, regardless of the habitat. The insect and spider varieties, among other creepy-crawly things, seem to be more pervasive in the tropics. I live in the tropics. Strangely, I don’t see a lot of pigeons in the Philippines. It’s probably because Filipinos aren’t afraid to eat them. Americans tend to think of them as something they wouldn’t want to eat, for whatever reasons.
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 Are Not Pests
That is, when they don’t scare me. I’ve told the story of a huge huntsman spider that wouldn’t leave my bedroom more times than I can remember. Smaller spiders don’t bother me, but when the spider is bigger than my hand, it bothers me. I tried everything to get it to go out a window, but it wouldn’t cooperate. When I tried to scare it away by throwing a roll of duct tape at it, I hit it and killed it. I wasn’t even aiming.
I don’t care what size the spiders are as long as they’re not in my bedroom, except for the tiny jumping spiders. They’re cool. There’s a lot of prey in the house, so I see spiders in other inside places. In Tagalog, a spider is called “gagamba”.
Geckos Are Not Pests Either
Geckos are small lizards. A gecko is called “butiki” in Tagalog. They eat a lot of insects. The ones outside the house help keep the moth population in check. A moth in Tagalog is called “gamu-gamo”. They also eat their fair shares of ants. Some of the stray cats around, when they’re starving, will eat geckos and other small creatures. There is one creature they won’t touch, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
There is one species of gecko on every continent in the world, except Antarctica. I guess it’s just too cold for them there. They don’t bother me when they’re inside the house, except for their mating calls, especially when I’m trying to sleep.
Feral Cats Are Pests, Not Pets
Called “pusa” in Tagalog, the domestic house cat is usually a pet. Not in this neighborhood. There are only feral cats that will run if you try to get near them. A lot of Filipinos eat outside their homes, something that seems to be customary. The cats will get as near as they can and beg for food.
I’ve seen cats eating snakes, geckos and rats. They’ll eat cicadas, crickets and other insects, but they won’t eat cockroaches. Speaking of cockroaches…
Every once in a while, a bunch of cockroaches will invade my house. These aren’t the small ones, either. The geckos can handle the small ones, but they don’t stand a chance against the big ones. When I see one, I will not rest until it is a dead cockroach. The problem is that they sneak in at night, under the doors leading outside, to the dirty kitchen and to the laundry room.
Years ago, I had some boric acid shipped to me from the United States. That was only because I didn’t know where to buy it locally. When I started seeing cockroaches about a month ago, I started laying it down near the doors of every room, including the doors I already mentioned. The incursion lasted about a week, and we were disposing of dead cockroaches every morning. A cockroach is called “ipis” in Tagalog.
I have seen a lot of different species and I can’t tell you which are which. Some are big and some are tiny. 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. I’ve tried to wipe out as many colonies as possible with boric acid and sugar water, but the tiny ones aren’t even interested in it.
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. An ant is called a “langgam” in Tagalog.
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. Flies are called “langaw” in Tagalog.
The mosquitoes in the Philippines carry Malaria and Dengue. Even though there isn’t a pond or lake close to me, I always have to deal with mosquitoes. The problem is open containers during the rainy season. Some people are just too lazy to cover their containers or turn them upside down, despite all the public service announcements on TV and radio.
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. Unfortunately, one or two will find a way in every so often. I won’t hesitate to end their existence. Mosquitoes are called “lamok” in Tagalog.
We didn’t have issues with termites, called “anay” in Tagalog, in our house until our house was over 10 years old. Older than that, actually, but I’m not good with dates. 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 used to see Asiatic rhinoceros beetles, called “uwang” or “salagubang” in Tagalog, but I haven’t seen even one in several years. Their favorite food is coconut and other palm trees, and there aren’t any nearby.
There are some pests, whether you want to call them that or not, that I rarely see. I’ve seen a praying mantis once or twice and millipedes several times. I have yet to see a single caterpillar, but I’ve seen butterflies at least once a week. There are other pests I haven’t mentioned, I’m sure, and it’s just because I haven’t been reminded of them lately.