Battling Bugs

Chayules…swarms streaming…clusters congregating…gnats gathering…masses mobbing
My house is overflowing…jam-packed…filled to the rafters…overrun with chayules.
To complicate matters, we haven’t had any running water for two days now.

This is the price of paradise. Living lakeside creates some challenges: Chayules are my number one challenge. Two times a year, when the wind shifts and blows from the lake, millions of chayules hatch. They live for 3 days and cover every surface. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is out-of-bounds.

They are relatively harmless little gnats if you don’t mind breathing, eating, and sleeping with them. Lacking running water, the rinse water for my dishes is now a swimming pool of gnats. I had chayule flavored coffee this morning, as I picked them out of my ears and nose. Unable to cook, I ate sandwiches on the beach yesterday. Oddly, they weren’t swarming on the beach…only in our houses.

My neighbor’s kids spent the day at the beach. They helped me gather trash that had washed ashore. We played and bathed in the lake. Marina started a fire on the beach and cooked rice. It was a pleasant afternoon, as long as we stayed out of our houses.

But, when darkness blanketed our beach community and we turned on the lights in our homes, the chayules were unforgiving. Fans swirled the gnats like little tornadoes. A whispering buzz filled our homes, warning us of an impending attack. Babies cried. My cats swatted the gnats relentlessly. There was no escape until the lights went out.

At seven o’clock in the evening, La Paloma was dark. We all sought refuge under our mosquito nets ( those of us who have mosquito nets). When I awoke this morning, all was eerily quiet. Mountains of dead chayules dotted the floors. Carcasses clung to the walls and spiderwebs like curtains.

It’s time for the leaf blower. Living on the beach is challenging at times. Yet, I’m determined to make the best of it. We’re going to invest in a water tank and a pump. It’s easier for me to deal with the chayule attack than to live without running water.

You are probably wondering why we continue to live here. Honestly, the challenges of third world living have made me a better person. I’m more flexible and less stressed… more giving and less greedy…more tolerant and less unforgiving. The intangible qualities of life attract me. Soothing…speculative…mythical qualities. Sometimes it’s like living in a fairy tale.

Well, back to reality. It’s leaf blower time! Maybe today we’ll have a dribble of water. The price of paradise. Is it worth it? You betcha!

14 thoughts on “Battling Bugs

  1. Insects are my biggest challenge in planning my move to Nicaragua. I’m a mosquito magnet, which is bad enough, but the chayules terrify me–their swarming is the stuff of nightmares for me. The idea of them getting in my nose or ears absolutely horrifies me! I may need to get away (if there is any “away” to get to!) or take massive doses of tranquilizers (not exactly something I have lying around!) to get through these episodes! I’ve survived ants streaming into my bathroom (that made me gag!) and watched with disgust the big ants (or whatever they are) that swarm around food in a kitchen that has scraps lying around. Any suggestions for how to cope with chayules? I can’t let them stop me from starting my retirement!

  2. I enjoyed this post. We were in Santo Domingo March 23-27 and it was so bad my husband calculated the gnats per tile in our accoms (2500!). No amount of netting/screening helps!
    At least we can say we lived through it. 🙂

  3. I wonder why you didn’t get a tank and pump earlier. And what about a back-up electrical system of either batteries or a generator to run the pump among other things? A propane freezer would be nice to have also.

    • Well, Dean..I wonder that too. 🙂 I guess we never had such a severe problem with water before. It has been exceptionally dry for almost a year. Time to take action. Our electricity has been better..knock on wood. But, we’re going to look into a system to run the pump as a back-up. Poco y poco.

  4. Mary and I empathize with you and your bugs. We had our own swarm of scarab beetles (like June bugs) here a month or two ago and we were glad when they finally died off! Hope you get your water back soon. JandM

  5. There is a season for them. Leave a 75 Watt light bulb on and they will auto-toast.
    Had the same in Hana, Maui.

  6. Hi. I enjoy reading your blog entries — I finally started writing again – in this one, I’m more excited about the pix — and I will also be writing about Fuego y Agua Run, with pix from it —

    Your pick-up-truck-tour buddy.

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