Creepy Crawlies – Night time visitors

Summer brings with it a host of visitors to our new home.  Summer nights bring even more.  This last week we have had a real problem with mosquitoes (many more than normal).  Because there is a risk of malaria in our area we have to resort to using some mean chemicals on our skins.  I have tried quite a few of the natural products like citronella but with minimal results.  Any suggestions would be welcome.  We sit outside mostly because of the heat here, so products that get sprayed or burned into the air won’t work.  I would like to get away from artificial chemicals but not at the risk of my family’s health. This is a double-edged sword because the chemicals are also harmful to us.

We also have many other visitors. Last night these guys came to see us.  

How many visitors do you see?

Not too sure if I have even seen them all.  The huge stick insect is obvious of course – it was almost 30 cm’s long!  Do you see the frog (top right) – spider?  Moths and mothlike things?  About 6 in all there I think.

These stick insects fascinate me. Most of them look like praying mantids.  I need to research them a little more.

Then Fred met his first giant millipede

He wasn’t too concerned.  These giants walk around our house all the time – they are very friendly and we let them go where they like because they are not messy and tend to go in one door then out another – never hanging around.  Most people in South Africa call them songololos – in other areas they are about 1 tenth the size of ours. The word songololo comes from the Nguni word ukusonga meaning to roll up or to fold.

Next was someone I found in my bath

This is the  African moon moth (Argema mimosae) and is a giant silk moth. An adult can measure 10-12 centimetres across its wingspan, and 12-14 centimetres from head to the tip of its elongated ‘tail-like’ second pair of wings.  Apart from the eye-like markings on its wings, the colouring and shape of the wings give the appearance of a piece of foliage, especially the ‘tail-like’ structures of the rearmost wings which resemble a dried out leaf stem – presumably for camouflage in its natural environment. The larva of these moths breed only on marula trees of which we have many.  Look at the mess she made in my bath!

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4 thoughts on “Creepy Crawlies – Night time visitors

  1. Oh the moth is just stunning ! How lucky you are to attract all these lovely visitors Jackie 🙂

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  2. these creatures are all so beautiful! Earlier this year we had a preying mantis hanging around outside our front door, on the plant we had there. We believed she was pregnant and it was comming on winter. We didn’t think she or her egg sack would survive the winter so we were planing on taking her to my biology teacher at school where we could obsever her and feed her ant attend to her needs until spring. However before we could do so she decided to changer her perch to the floor. In about a month she had never left that plant, so maybe she was looking for food, but i dont know. ANyways, there is this man that cleans our stoop and those of the people around us. We predicted that she could be laying her egg sack in a couple of weeks if not days. She was huge. But the guy, (i dont know if its on purpose or not, becuase we told him she was our “friend” as best we could with the language barrier- him speaking greek, me trying), he must have hit her with the broom. It was a horrible and tragic sight. We tried to help her, brought her back to the plant, got her water (as we had for the past while) and tried to see if we could catch buggs for her… but she was dead within a few days. 😥

    As for the bug spray however, this might sound odd, but I find pet bugspray to work quite well. As you know, I have two dogs, so we have bug and mosquito repelant for them. Its pretty organic, and completely safe (it has to be if they are putting their feet in their moths and stuff…) so we just use it on ourselves when the bugs get really bad and the rest doesnt work.

    Hope they dont bother you so much this year.

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