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Cleaning House, Tropical Style

Updated on July 27, 2011


Always in Pairs
Always in Pairs
They Mate for Life
They Mate for Life

The Life

When living in the tropics, in a house that backs onto the “Bush”, you may experience some unusual sights and sounds, some good and some not so good.

On the good side there are the early morning sounds and sights of the birds. Perhaps the most impressive of these are the Parrots, busily chattering away as they fly past in pairs. Parrots mate for life and I often wonder if it is the wife’s nagging we hear.

Not so good is always keeping a wary eye for Scorpions, Tarantulas, Snakes or perhaps the occasional Vampire Bat. Of course there is always the presence of Mosquitoes, Frogs and Lizards.

Army Ants

On Patrol
On Patrol
Attacking a Scorpion
Attacking a Scorpion

The Cleaning

Something that will always be remembered though is a visit by the Army Ants.

I came home one day to find my back wall black. By looking closer I saw the wall was covered in large black ants. I hurried to the front of the house; they had started to cover the top half of the wall. Somewhat alarmed, I quickly opened my front door to look: nothing except an odd scout.

I closed the door and moved to the road and watched in amazement. After about ten minutes the last of the ants came down the front wall, following the others back to the bush.

I went inside the house. Nothing was wrong, even the dinner that had been left for me in the kitchen was untouched.

Years later, whilst on my computer, I noticed some large ants on the outside of the fly screen covering the window. I went outside and sure enough, the house was covered in black ants, yet none had seemed to go inside. It was then that I noticed: none on the roof, they were all going into and coming out of the attic [or loft].

They were not interested in the house itself, only what may have been in the loft. On both occasions they cleaned house. Nothing was left in the loft, not a roach, ant, snake, scorpion, rat or bat. Everything had either moved out of their way or been devoured.

I wish I could communicate with them because if I could, I would have them on contract. Nobody cleans a house quite like them.


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