My experience with other humans, as much as I try and limit them, have shown that people seem to have some major issues with bugs. Bugs happen. Right now they happen in my house in the form of Boxelder Bugs trundling across every surface of my home, and that includes me. I’ve developed a small soft spot for the little guys, shooing them off of my cutting board, rescuing them from the cooking pan they just crash-landed into and making sure that I pull them to safety when I find them in my water glass (although recently I’ve switched over to an insulated “iced drink” cup with a lid and a straw, so the bugs in my water should be done with now).
As a child I was fascinated with insects and arachnids, but I was not a fan of moths as they’d get stuck in my hair when I attempted to dart into the house beneath the porch light in the warmer months. I adore jumping spiders, my favorite species so far is Phidippus audax and it’s not unusual for me to be seen catching and talking to bugs and spiders inside or outside of the house. I’ve outgrown my animosity towards moths, though I don’t like it if they fly at my face – which, if I’m being accurate and disclosing fully – I don’t like anything flying at my face. But I digress.
Bugs, in my opinion, are pretty damn cool and fascinating to watch and since “bugs happen” people, including myself, just have to get used to them. In December when I went to Costa Rica I knew I’d be back in Leaf-Cutter Ant territory and was quite excited about that as my previous ventures in Central America found me staring and watching the lines of ants trekking to-and-fro for long stretches. I also knew that Costa Rica was home to huge butterflies like the Blue Morpho Butterfly, which I saw on a quad tour but wasn’t able to get a photo of. I also knew that there were insects the likes of which I wanted to keep a safe distance from, like the Kissing Bug, which is not as cute as it sounds and can spread a parasite through its bite which is called Chagas Disease. Imagine my surprise waking up the first morning in my apartment to find on on its back in the middle of the floor (the apartments are sprayed to keep insects to a minimum). I’m going out on a limb and I’m going to believe that it didn’t bite me as it’s been almost two months and I feel fiiii…..
Kissing Bugs aside, Costa Rica had a plethora of insects and spiders to keep me entertained. The first evening at Casa Banda found me making friends with a Praying Mantis who was circling a porch light above me and then landed on my foot, resting for a bit. I had “the porch spiders”, two largish spiders that appeared to be in the Wolf Spider family and who each lost additional legs during the course of our stay (one started with 7 legs, the other 6). Massive grasshoppers longer than my hand from fingertip-to-heel were everywhere, including those that made suicidal dive bombs into the pool, and Katydids 5″ long and standing almost 3″ high slowly walked through the garden.
There were some mosquitoes and more bees, such as the little orchid bees which Mr. Muse and I each received a sting from (Mr. Muse stepped on one, I collided with one while walking), more butterflies, moths and what turned out to be my favorite bug of all: a rhinoceros beetle. Even watching the Leaf-Cutter ants (even the ones breaking into our hotel room through the AC unit the final night) didn’t surpass the cool-factor of the rhinoceros beetle – it was like touching velvet! If you’re a budding entomologist, you’ll be in heaven in Costa Rica!