Hello to all!
My boyfriend just got a job offer in STT, and we're in the beginning stages of thinking about moving down there with you all. : ) I've been on this site all day, and I must say, it's been a godsend! All of your posts on the board are proving invaluable.
While it seems that there are many potential "downsides", most people seem to convey that living in "paradise" far outweighs the "downsides" (once you get used to them). I am a very flexible person and, thus far, am not particularly scared off by any of the things I've heard (power outages/surges, slower pace of life, driving on left side, gov't corruption, etc).
Except one thing.... bugs.
My biggest question at this point is - what is the real deal with bugs? I've obviously read about the mosquito situation - it sounds very unpleasant, but I'm not terrified of mosquitoes. I am, however, terrified of spiders and other arachnids -oh, and snakes! So, what's the real deal here? I've read other posts about the occasional bat in the house (happens in the Northeast, too - I'm from New York), as well as about millipedes and centipedes. Once again, unpleasant, but not terrifying.
Any common large spiders? Poisonous ones? What about snakes?
Their presence won't necessarily affect my decision, I just want to know what I might be in for.
Thanks in advance - and who knows, maybe I'll be at your next picnic!!! ; )
There are no poisonous snakes, and the ones that I have seen ("garden" snakes)are all in the 6" to 1 foot range. We have an endangered tree boa, but it is NOT like the South American ones!
There are many spider varieties, few poisonous. People seem to be the most squeamish about tarantulas, but they are a rare sighting and not a biting problem. There are scorpions, but chances of seeing them are not good, either. I'll bet you have many more problem arachnids where you live right now. Spiders and lizards eat mosquitos and termites, all the more reason to love them!
How do you feel about rodents???? Big ole iguanas???? It is much less dangerous here than in Big America from a wildlife standpoint! No alligators, predator sharks, mountain lions, rabid skunks, rattlesnakes...
Below you will find tips titled: Mosquitos...
To keep those bugs away simply use skin-so-soft (you can get it from Avon). Put it on your body and place it around your windows, doors, and even dab a little on around your outside light bulb - when the bulb lite is off! It will keep the bugs away from your porch. (Patricia)
AVON - SKIN_SO_SOFT_lowest_price_ever! »Go
Cut a lemon in half. Use whole cloves and cover both the lemon halves. Lay on a plate and place in a room. It will keep the mosquitos away and make the room smell nice. The lemon will work for up to one month! (Veronica Gamper)
It is BAD advice to use malathion for insects, because malathion alike other pesticides cause more damage to non targeted species, including humans, than just the insects it is supposed to destroy.
Wearing light colored clothing while in the out of doors. Personally, I've found that mosquitoes do not bite me when I wear a salmon colored shorts outfit and avoid eating bananas. But that is not the case when I wear shades of blue or other dark colors.
Also, helpful are biological controls, such as Mosquito Dunks (Bti) placed where water stands. Bt israeliensis is highly effective against mosquito larvae and black fly larvae. Bti comes in liquid, granules, and mosquito dunks and can be sprayed, sprinkled, or tied (so they won't float away) into areas where mosquitoes breed. They kill the larvae so it would grow up and breed more mosquitoes. But they also effect black fly and mosquito larvae, unlike manmade chemical pesticides. More Info (Susan Snow)
Use DEET as a repellent and check screens for holes. You can also use mosquito netting over beds. (Wendy)
Ouch, the itch of a mosquito bite! Put some calamine lotion, or baking soda and water paste on the area to soothe that bite. (Becky)
Citrus is a very effective repellent. Everyone will think you smell nice -- except the mosquitoes. (C. Husted)
If you are bothered by mosquitoes when outdoors, try this easy tip... gently rub your arms and legs with a fabric softener dryer sheet. You'll be "cling free" of mosquitoes! (Rhonda W)
Basil planted near the home repels mosquitoes. Also eating garlic repels them.
Prevent and get rid of stagnant water anywhere near your home. These are the places where mosquitoes live and breed.
Burn citronella candles near entrances or picnics to repel gnats and mosquitoes.
Crushed bay leaves, Avon's Skin So Soft, or vinegar rubbed on your skin repels gnats and mosquitoes.
I can't remember seeing a massive spider at all. I've seen 1 little snake, but other than that you won't see them. Leanr to love small lizards, they are everywhere in the house as well.
You will see Iguana's they think you are scarier than they are. Its fun to hear them fall out of the trees sometimes. They stay away from houses for the most part.
Mosquito's well if you live on a swamp in New York you might have a slight idea what we deal with. Lately it has been getting better. Get a mosquito magnet and you should have no problems.
We have welts all over our bodies and we wouldn't trade them for the view of the sun rising over the ocean while having coffee every morning on our deck.
And if you are from New York the crime won't bother you at all. 😉
The mosquito problem you read about can be expected after large amounts of rain. We don't get rain in large amounts often (LOL - its raining today though) so the mosquito population isn't always terriable, but of course can be if you don't make an effort to control their population around your house.
Spiders - little spiders get in the house. You can take a broom and sweep their web and them out or catch them with a wet napkin. Nothing aweful. You will rarely see tarantulas, scropions ect., perhaps in the yard if you are doing yard work, lifting rocks or big branches they might be hidding under.
Snakes - rarely seen. I used to see the little garden snakes much more often when I was a kid, now I see them once and a while as road kill when walking around the neighborhood. The tree boa is endangered; if you see one consider it special - call the local fish and wildlife and let them know.
Millipedes and centipedes - you might see them a bit more after rain, leeches sometimes too, although I haven't seen one in quite a while... they are pretty much outside creatures.
No-seeums are my most un-friendly creatures! Still massively welted due to their appearance of late again. Not fun. Skin-so-soft does keep them away and I have some that will be arriving within 10 days...so happiness is living on an island.
Oh yes, I read that they are FOGGING the island for mosquitos this week or did actually, not sure why as they've not been bad over here on the East End....at least this month.
After a rain.....man I can get some real "jumbo heavies" as I call them, especially after they've had breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert, midnight snacks - on ME!!!!!
Little spiders - of the non-bite you kind are always stringing up a web here and there, the better to keep the mosquiots and other things at bay.
The brown bugs? Well, we have had a sudden appearance, like one night, of huge flying something and then again something smaller also showed up in droves and then was gone.
So heh, it's the tropics and the few flying things and crawling things are absolutely NOT something to NOT move here because of.
ladies-- i mentioned to my hairdresser that i might be moving to the caribbean, and she told me that she is already on a search for unscented hair products because another customer is moving to Trinidad...have you had a problem with regular shampoo/hairspray/etc? I have a feeling what she will buy will be expensive...Is perfume a no-go down there? And if citrus keeps the bugs away, what about something like Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime spray or Mandarin and Mango?
In a recent trip report, a woman reported that the bugs LOVED :)- her lotion and when she stopped putting it on they left her alone for the most part. So, I would say stick to citrus products, skin so soft, or the pleasant smell of OFF/Cutters (parfume d'isles) 🙂
I wear Jasmine scents and put the skin so soft on top of that and have not had problems, but everyone's body chemistry is different. I've also heard that this is a myth and it is not the scent at all that attracts these bugs! Until we get one of these blood suckers to talk, we will just have to try whatever works best for each individual!
Meg - Mosquitos are not out of control here as a norm. After heavy rain they can get bad. Use the same shampoo, hairspray, cream you are used to wearing. Lots of people here wear perfume, scented powder, after-shave, scented creams, body sprays, cologne, scented shaving gel, scented deoderant. Use bug repellent if you are going to sit outside in the late evening, if you are going to the beach in the afternoon after its rained, if you are going to an outdoor restaurant that has a lot of foliage around the seating area and not a lot of breeze, if you are going hiking on forested trails, camping.... You'll get the hang of it. No need to be unscented or citrus scented all the time.
Paul - are you still having trouble with mosquitos and noseemums. 🙂
LML, The big brown bugs - roaches?? Keep your house clean, if you save grocery bags to use as trash bags make sure they are dry and clean when storing them, keep kitchen area spic & span and use roach baits to kill them if they are around, make sure there are no spaces between doors or windows where they can get in.
Little lizards; make sure you don't have spaces in screens, windows, doors where they can get in. Shake out brooms, mops, shoes or anything you leave outside and are bringing back inside. Don't leave doors open in the evening - bugs are usually attracted to lights (which you might have by doors and have on in the evening) and lizards like to eat bugs so hang out where they can have an easy feast.
If they get in and you are not opposed to potentially killing them then spray them with roach spray or mosquito spray, this will stun them and typically they sort of jump and fall... so if they are up on the wall make sure you move so they don't fall on you. When they fall quickly be ready to throw a wet napkin or rag on them and then scoop them up and put them outside. Or spray them some more until they are dead. If they are close to a door you could use a broom and try and chase them out. If you aren't scared of them you can try and catch them with your hands and put them out. Or you can let them be your resident pet lizard - they eat the bugs you know!
Good Luck with the bugs & lizards. 🙂
It is my opinion that most of the bug bites are NOT mosquitos, but are "noseeums" and sand fleas. Unfortunately you do not get as much protection from the other "biters" with traditional "mosquito repellents". Deet based sprays and lotions do seem to deter the sand fleas and mosquitos, however they do not always work on the "noseeums". The "skin so soft" products do work on mosquitos, but not sand fleas. The sand fleas don't like hairy legs so make a choice...beauty or comfort....
Lots of good advice here from people who ...know
To me, centipedes are the creepiest things here in STX. Well, I did have a bat swooping around one night while I was getting out of my car. I just screamed and ran for the front door and that was the end of that. But the centipedes, OMG, they won;t die. Like Jason from the horror flicks! My son used the only thing we had, which was cleaning products, to kill this thing (6 in. mind you), and it ran like crazy trying to get away. But it never fell over, never curled up and died, it just kept on truckin', if you know what I mean!! Arghhhh!!!!
I have noticed that the bugs bite visitors much more frequently than they do the people who live here. I remember when I first moved here, for, like, two weeks I was being feasted upon by these things. Then they started leaving me be. Now, 7 years later, I can be out with visitors and they will be getting eaten, while the bugs leave me alone. Dunno why this is. Anyone know?
Candi: I wonder if you are speaking of the millipede, Julus fuscus, which is commonly called "Gongolo" or 'Black worm." I am not sure how much Lito Valls knew about botany, but in "What a Pistarkle!", his dictionary of Virgin Islands English Creole, he says that they excrete creatinin which apparently destroys aphids on plants! Maybe FOG will know... Anyway, there seems to be a reason for all insect and animal life, sometimes just not apparent from their looks!! 😉
Well, before my son sprayed it, I did manage to count the legs, it was on my wall by my fron door. Thinking it was a centipede, hence 100 legs, I started counting. This guy only had 40 legs on each side of its body, and looked nothing like the millipedes I seen to date.
I asked someone at work, who then clarified for me, "oh, then that was just a baby one"! Can you imagine?? At 6 inches long and a quarter of an inch wide, this was a baby, and who knows what the mother could possibly look like!!!
Here are some pictures:
I got a little carried away while looking for the centipede picture and read up on them a bit.
I found out that centipedes can have anywhere from 15 to 181 pairs of legs. And as a rule, the fewer legs, the faster it can run. The house centipede is the fastest runner of all. Of the 3000 known species of centipede, most are rather small, being only 1 1/8 to 2 1/4 inches.
The largest of centipede gets to be 12 inches - oh my gosh!! Can you imagine a foot long centipede? They live in Central America.
As for babies: Hatchlings are born with four pairs of legs and gain additional pairs with each molt.
And bite info: Centipedes are nonaggressive and their venom is mild. The bite of a centipede is painful at its worst. The affected area may be tender for a few weeks and heals slowly. Tetanus is the main concern. If bitten, allow the wound to bleed, then wash with soap and water and apply antiseptic. Consult a physician for information regarding tetanus shots.