Monday, 14 January 2013

Creepy Crawlies.

Let's start outright by promising you there will be no spider pics, ok? In fact, one of the few genus of creepy crawlies I've rarely seen up here are spiders. I get the odd web in corners of the room, and I've seen, maybe, 3 tiny wee jumping spiders in my years in Lae, but never anything bigger.

Which is good, because the rest of the creepies they grow up here are HUGE.

Creepies are a fact of life up here. If you don't like them, get over it or don't move here.

Let's start small and move up from there, shall we?

Sugar ants. They're probably actually some other kind of ant, but that's what they're called up here. They're tiny. See-through pinkish and about the size of a speck of dust. And they get into EVERYTHING. Sugar bowls with tight-fitting lids, flour in Tupperware containers, they even get into the laundry where they will feast on.. umm.. err... the "exudate" on dirty knickers and socks. They appear, en masse, as soon as you leave anything on the bench.

You cannot get rid of them. Learn to live with them and sift your sugar/flour carefully.

Weevils. Weevils love four and pasta. They're bigger and more solid in colour than sugar ants, so they're easier to spot and sift. In our house, they particularly love lasagna sheets. When you open a new packet of pasta, smell it. If it smells strongly of dust mould, it's weevil infested. You can be all noobie about it and throw it out, or you can sift and search. Lasagna sheets infected by weevils looks like it has black/brown spots in the sheets. Throw them out.

Cockroaches. They're big, and crawlie and scuttly and nasty ands you can't get rid of them. You can spray with a surface spray every couple of weeks, and have the delightful experience of finding up to 20 of them dead or dying on your kitchen floor every morning, or you can ignore it and live in cockroach denial. We choose the former. If you leave ANYTHING with food on it out overnight, you can be sure that it will be covered in cockroach poo the next morning. They also love the warm moisture of the dishwasher, so run it when you can empty it straight away, or if you leave it too long after it's finished, you'll open it to a nasty scuttly sound and find roach poo all over your clean dishes.

They also love airconditioning units, and it's not uncommon to turn on your aircon and have a couple fly out. It's disgusting.  You can buy and place roach traps, and that helps, but they also kill the geckos.

Geckos are cute and gorgeous. They have different calls for mating and fighting and scaring away other crawlies. They eat lots of other creepies. Unfortunately there are not enough geckos in PNG to keep any house free of cockroaches ands the like. They've got attitude and can be 'trained', in that they will overcome their fear of you and eat out of your hand.

This is Gary Coleman, the smallest of our house geckos, back in 2009.

They also poo everywhere. You can tell gecko poo from mouse poo because they're the same size, but gecko poo has a white spot on one tip. Geckos love muesli. And take my word for it, it's awful hard to sort mouse-sized, white-tipped poo out of a container of organic muesli. Either store it in an airtight container (and ignore the sugar ants) or don't think too hard about it. Let me tell you that pouring your morning muesli into a bowl and having a terrified gecko LEAP out of the box and land between your boobs is NOT a good way to start your day.

Mouses and Ratses. Are everywhere. Get traps and harden up. 

Centipedes. We get two particular types up here. Yellow and black striped ones, and red and black striped ones. Both types are disgusting. If the dogs pick them up in their mouths, they exude a acid-like substance that will blister the dogs tongue and skin. It will even remove the fur on either side of their mouths, leaving them in pain and looking like Foo Man Choo. I had a friend up here, whose young son put one in his mouth and it blistered the skin like a burn. 

Did you notice that "either side of their mouths"? Yup, these HUGE bastards are big enough to hang over either side of the snout of a German Shepherd. I've seen them up to 8 inches in length. 

Those tyres are from our Patrol 4WD. Those pavers are about 4x8 inches. When you squish these millipedes, they exude a smell like rotting meat. They live anywhere there is grass, and like to come into the house after rain. They also like dog food, so make sure you empty your dogs bowls of any leftovers. They also like to curl up in plug holes of sinks and baths.

We also have the most wondrous, amazing butterflies and moths. In any hue  you can imagine. Electric blue, vivid yellow with sliver spots, green so bright it hurts your eyes. However, as beautiful as these things are you will still scream like a girl and do the fuka-fuka getthatdamnthingawayfromme dance when they fly into your face in the middle of the night, or as you come down the stairs. I've been trying to photograph one to share, but the little buggers are too quick. Here's one I found on the television the other week, at 5am in the morning.

That's a 24inch flatscreen.

So, in answer to all of the emails I get about creepy crawlies in Lae, there you are. They grow 'em big in these here parts.


  1. hi I live in the dominican republic and found a little white gecko in my dining room im looking for food to give it but i dont know how to get i give it meanwhile or is it just a treat?

  2. Hey, Anon. Your gecko will pretty much fend for itself. Just don't spray insect repellant or leave out cockroach baits.. they will kill geckos. Ours seem to like muesli! Go figure!