Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's buggin' YOU?????

I show these first three photos from the internet, MOSTLY to be thankful that this particular spider has not been found in Burundi, SO FAR!

This is the Nephilia Komaci species which was first identified in a Pretoria museum collection in 2000. The species is named in honor of Andrej Komac, a late friend of one of the arachnologists who reported its discovery in 2009.   It was not discovered in the wild until 2007, when it was located in Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa.  These spiders have been found recently in Tanzania (which is right next door to Burundi-eek!) and Madagascar.

It was the first Nephilid or golden orb spider to be discovered in more than a century. The previous member of the genus was discovered by Friedrich Karsch in 1879.

In both of these two photos, (same species, different shapes) there is a small red and black spider (male) on top of the five times larger spider of this species (female). 

To give you an idea of it's size, I took this photo off  the internet.  It's body is 12 centimeters (about five inches) with protruding legs as you can see. The average web size that it creates is 1 meter (about 3 feet+) which is pictured in the beginning photo.

Okay, now that you are feeling all "creepy-crawly", sit back and be thankful for where you live and your clean, living circumstances.
I took most of these photos in just a few days, after deciding to do this blog.  Many of these insects you have seen, like this dead cricket.  On certain nights, you can hear trillions of them in orchestration---outside mostly.  Other nights you cannot hear a one, but you hear hundreds of frogs with deep, deep, loud tones.  We haven't figured out that phenomenon yet. 

Many of them fly.

Many of them crawl.

Some black and white.

Some brightly colored.

We have a fisherman son who enjoys studying entemolgy and I know Steve could probably tell us what this bug and many others are called but this one has me stumped!

There are petite ones......that jump!

There are hefty ones.....that also jump!

The "Daddy long legs" are hair like but there are many of them.

Then there is your normal "yell-when-you-see-me" spider!

This looks like a regular fly but it IS NOT.  It is smaller and we have them breeding and living inside our bathroom sink drain.  I don't know how they keep coming out of there each day with water and soap and toothbrushing swish coming down on them, BUT THEY DO! Luckily, we are in the habit of looking each time we go in the bathroom and eliminating them.

It is never any fun when you find little black things THAT MOVE in your beans. 

So now we FREEZE beans, nuts,wood carving keepsakes (we found termites in them), wheat, rice, etc.  It makes sure that we are not eating or live with little peskies.

Some of the bugs are really cute, like this little dragon fly.  Some of the Dragon Flies here in Africa are really colorful, large and really fun to watch.   Did you know that a dragon fly has to walk around on the ground for years before it can fly????

OK, this photo is just after Elder Frogley went up into this ceiling while wiring our little branche chapel for sound.  Here he is putting up one of the speakers.  He crawled into some pretty filthy and dangerous places on this project. Speaking of pests, he inhaled alot of dust and crawled through alot of webs and  mouse droppings, (luckily he had his long pants, long sleeves and gloves on.) But he did not have a face mask.  For weeks following this escapade, he had a terrible cough and sore throat. It also affected his lungs. Our prayers have been answered and he is doing well now.

This is a large moth. It is difficult to see it's size in this photo.  It came out from behind a door and flew into my face one morning and gave a start!
This moth we found dead on the stairs going up to our little chapel.  I used it in Primary as a visual aid in the lesson on God is the Great Creator.  The children loved it.  I left it on a window seal to re-use the next week and when I came back for it,  the ecological chain was in full force.  Hundreds of extremely tiny ants were dismantling it!!

These little flies BITE!  They don't seem to like Elder Frogley's blood but they surely do LOVE MINE!! There is another little tiny," smaller-than a period on a page" bug (not pictured). I found it one night when the power went out and I was trying to read my scriptures by flashlight. I don't think I would have ever noticed it otherwise.  It spins fast and tiny, like a dog chasing it's tail.  When I get bit by this tiny creature, it leaves a red spot (larger than it's own body) with a large white ring around it for days.

Then, of course, Cockroaches run the earth!

This large-headed funny looking fellow was on my throw rug next to my side of the bed as I got up in the morning.  I was just glad I didn't step on him!

This spider is a real surviver!  We have many of these in our apartment.  The first time we saw one, we thought it was a plastic Halloween spider on the white tile.  They lay so flat on the ground or against the wall that they look like they are painted on.  They run very fast while staying FLAT!! This is one we had tried to get several times, thus only six legs.  But he survived anyway.
Here is that same spider.  You can see that he is fairly large by comparing the camera in the reflection of my taking his picture (which is posted above).

This photo we took at the Zoo.  No worries!  We haven't seen any snakes at our place.  However, the young missionaries got pretty excited when they found four of them at their residence.  Two were in the bedroom of a missionary who had been biten by that type of snake before and he FREAKED!  Two more small snakes were out on their porch! Where there are many baby snakes, there is a large maternal snake.  They asked us to buy Deisel Fuel because that is what they use in their villages to ward off snakes.  They just pour it around their home.  Another elder, Elder N'Gondo, told us he didn't understand all the HUBUB!  He said, "In my village, we catch the Anaconda's and cut them up into steaks and eat them!"
Sorry about this animated mosquito, but I couldn't get a decent picture of even one (and we have trillions in Bujumbura because of Lake Tanganyika)!!  It is one big breeding ground for mosquitos!!  On some evenings they come up like small clouds of swarms off the Lake.
MALARIA is so common here.  We have people every week getting Malaria. We are told it is a very debilitating disease and many die from it.  The second counselor in our Mission Presidency had it last week. Many of our members have suffered with malaria.   SO.......we started taking Doxycycline weeks before we came to Africa, take it every day and will continue to do so weeks after we return home.  So do all the missionaries in Africa!

We take every precaution and try not to go out at night without deet type sprays.  We permitherin the apartment, drapes and screens.  I even spray each of Elder Frogley's suits with permitherin and let it dry.  Elder Frogley is beloved by insects so he constantly wears bug block products.

One of our tools, that is very effective, is the BUG ZAPPER.  It is battery operated and ZAPS even hard to get fruit flies!!  Elder Frogley keeps his racquetball skills up this way, too! ;)
With all of the animals in Africa, you know there must be many macro insects living and surviving on them or their waste.
Given their name, it should come as no surprise that African dung beetles feed on feces , which makes them useful recyclers  This species, along with other dung beetles, plays an important role in nature: reducing fecal material in nature and thereby reducing the habitat for filth-breeding flies; these insects are considered beneficial and medically harmless.

In short, there have always been trials and afflictions on this earth. We are still wondering how all of these insects made it throuh the flood.  Did they go two by two?

"Is any among you afflicted?  Let him pray." (James 5:13)


  1. Oh YUCK!! Those are some nasty bugs! I can't believe the size of those spiders!!! My skin is still crawling..... I loved the little comic of Noah's ark at the end. I found it quite hilarious. Thanks once again for giving us a peek into your lives in Africa. Love you!

  2. This post is why I pray for your health and protection every day. I worry about your environment.

  3. I'm sure glad that most of these creatures lived in your apartment and not ours? Or were they all there and I was just too oblivious to know that they were?? That's a scary thought!! Do remember the mosquitoes far too well! Hang in there!

  4. Wow you have a much larger assortment of creeping and flying insects than we had in South Africa. The one we are glad we did not have is the mosquito so we did not have to take Doxycycline. I just hope no one looks at your picture book of insects and decides that they will not serve in Africa.

  5. OK, OK, you've sufficiently impressed me. I think Brazil would be slightly less creepy than Africa. We'll put in for Brazil as soon as possible.

  6. Gotta love bugs!! I bet the mosquitoes were bigger in Finland. I can't stand their low level flybys. The buzzing is killer.