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!