Creepy Crawlies

sjh

aka - shadley
Jan 1, 2002
969
2
0
48
www.geocities.com
I recently received the following private message and thought i would go ahead and answer it publicly:

<QUOTE>
triple wide aluminum sliding glass door - if you leave doors open, are you not inviting tarantulas, centipedes, and snakes in?

I've now read there are also black widow spiders there..

Being from a place where we have nothing even remotely like these, the thought of them all quite have me... well, I'll say "Nervous" with a capitol "N"!

Since I'd be living in a rural area, on a farm, I'm thinking I'd be right where all those nasties will be.

I hope I don't sound like too much of a wuss...

</QUOTE>

Creepy crawlies will always be around. it is a fact of life in the tropics. Here are my experiences after living on a farm here for 4 years.

Snakes are pretty rare. I have only seen 3 or 4 live ones and lots more dead on the road. there are no poison snakes in this island. since snakes eat rats, i am very happy for any that take up residence on my farm. Dominicans and Haitians are terrified by them and kill any they can find.

tarantulas are common but nonaggressive. they mostly live under large rocks outside. they won't normally come in your house unless it is filled with junk to hide under. I find them in my shop, but it is filled with lots of good hiding spots. I only know of one person who has been bit and he was provoking it. Another employee was almost bit while moving rocks but was wearing heavy leather gloves.

Another large spider commonly seen here is a bit scary at first, but harmless. The run real fast and love to eat cockroaches. I like them and let them be.

centipedes are nasty, aggressive and no really good way to keep them out of a house. The biggest ones life in septic tanks and sometimes come up the drains. Make sure you have drain covers installed on the shower. They can get up to about 15 inches long!!!. More commonly they are about 3 inches long. They can be very hard to kill and dont step on them while wearing scandles. Thankfully I have only seen 2 large ones in the house so far. Chickens love to eat them. The bite is very painful and causes sever swelling but is not fatal. Most dominicans have a good centipede horror story. My favorite is the guy who woke up with one weaving between his fingers!

scorpians are here but rarely seen and small. unlikely to find one unless you go looking. I have only seen them in weird places like under tree bark etc.

never seen a black widow here.

Tarantula Wasp. An amazing 3" long blue black wasp with red wings that hunts tarantulas, paralizes and buries them with a single egg. These beautiful insects have an INCREDIBLELY painful sting but are not normally aggressive. I was once stung in the forehead by one. My face swelled so much i couldnt see for 3 days. Mostly active in fields during the summer months.

Red ants: can be a real pest. They like fats and grease so make sure you dispose of it away from the house. Painful burning sting but not dangerous unless you have an alergy to them.

Termites: cause lots of damage of course. There is a species here with a flying female that swarms after spring rains. Close up the house and turn off the lights or you will have thousands all over in the morning. Another species has a flying female that has a painful bite.

Bees, wasps, yellow jackets etc: same as everywhere else in the world. leave them alone and they will leave you alone.

Some people are also terrified of the following completely harmless animals:
tree frogs, bull frogs, geckos, lizards, preying mantis, palm borer beetles, june bugs, grasshoppers, bats, cockroaches, spiders.

the end of the story is to learn to live with them, or adjust your environment to limit and control them. The big resorts spray heavily to keep the properties sterile so your average tourist wont see any of these things. In truth, none of these animals are truely dangerous. A bite might be very painful but not life threatening.
 
  • Like
Reactions: badpiece33

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
18,946
502
113
Shadley is telling things like they are. About a week ago i said the same things to a woman from England....the tropics are the tropics. Get used to it..

Well done, shadley...

HB
 

El_Uruguayo

Bronze
Dec 7, 2006
880
36
0
Cool. That post got me all itchy! I have never heard of the tarantula wasp before! I'd also like to note that wasps in the DR tend to have a more "carribean" attitude, they go about their buisness, take things easy, and don't tend to bother as much as the North American ones.

btw. what kind of snakes are there in the DR?
 

Mirador

On Permanent Vacation!
Apr 15, 2004
3,563
0
0
Somehow, your friend failed to mention the nastiests of them all, aedes aegypti and Anopheles species of mosquitoes, vectors for dengue fever and malaria, respectively. I know, they don't command the level of fear and repulsion of those mentioned, however, they do the most damage, diseasewise. By the way, a few days ago, a cucaracha broke one of my glass windows. My daughter Alexandra tried to kill it by throwing a broom handle at it. The cucaracha flew away, and the window had to be replaced.
 

Mirador

On Permanent Vacation!
Apr 15, 2004
3,563
0
0
Cool. That post got me all itchy! I have never heard of the tarantula wasp before! I'd also like to note that wasps in the DR tend to have a more "carribean" attitude, they go about their buisness, take things easy, and don't tend to bother as much as the North American ones.

btw. what kind of snakes are there in the DR?

I had never seen a snake in the DR until a few years ago. I understood the mongoose, ferets and hawks (guaraguao) had gotten rid of them ages ago. Now the snakes (constrictors) are all over the place. Must have come into the island inside shipping containers from far away places. By the way, I've just realized that I haven't seen a feret in quite a while.
 

Chris

Gold
Oct 21, 2002
7,951
28
0
www.caribbetech.com
Sounds like a true La Cucaracha moment in your house... Now you've got me going ...

La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Marijuana que fumar.

Anyway snakes .. I saw a little green 'tree' snake (my name for it as I have no idea what type it was) eating a frog one night. The snake was as thin as my little finger and the frog was also kinda a tiny one. Looked like the jungle in miniature.
 

Mirador

On Permanent Vacation!
Apr 15, 2004
3,563
0
0
Marijuana? I swear I never inhaled it...;)

By the way, the little green snake is harmless. I've never seen poisonous snakes in the DR, but if you are interested in the subject, here's a good rule-of-thumb for identifying the beasties from the beauties....



NONVENOMOUS SNAKES
1. Head usually oval, but may be somewhat triangular.
2. Pupils round.
3. No pits-only nostrils present.
4. Divided scales on underside of tail
5. Although many snakes vibrate their tail when upset, nonvenomous snakes never have rattles

VENOMOUS SNAKES
1. Head distinctly triangular.
2. Pupils elliptical.
3. Pits as well as nostrils present.
4. Undivided scales on underside of tail.
5. Except for the copperhead, tail ends in a rattle.
 

vegasdiva

New member
Dec 2, 2006
50
0
0
MaineGirl,

Yes, scorpions are poisonous. And the smaller and clearer they are, the more poisonous. I've heard, always check your shoes (if you wear closed-toe shoes) before putting them on, and it pays off because I've saved myself from at least 2 stings by doing so. I just know they like to hang out in dark places and under things, so be careful when lifting wood, rocks, or other "piles of stuff" in or outside of the house.

Don't know about these critters in the Carribean, but I lived in Tucson, AZ for 4 years, and NM for another, and now Nevada for 14. Scorpions were abundant in AZ and NM, and aren't uncommon here. They're an objet d'art in Mexico (dead ones, I mean.)
 

vegasdiva

New member
Dec 2, 2006
50
0
0
Somehow, your friend failed to mention the nastiests of them all, aedes aegypti and Anopheles species of mosquitoes, vectors for dengue fever and malaria, respectively. I know, they don't command the level of fear and repulsion of those mentioned, however, they do the most damage, diseasewise. By the way, a few days ago, a cucaracha broke one of my glass windows. My daughter Alexandra tried to kill it by throwing a broom handle at it. The cucaracha flew away, and the window had to be replaced.
The cucaracha, that's a roach, right? Do they fly in the DR, and how big do they get to break a window? or did I miss a joke?

Just got back from a 12 day trip to Higuey and Sto. Dom., and only got 1 or 2 mosquito bites this time. I'm thinking it's either not mosquito season now, or the vitamin Bs helped. I did see a few, and as usual, my Dominican friends swooped up the mosquito sprays I brought. Usually I'm covered in bites. Any thoughts?
 

Campesina

New member
Sep 12, 2004
464
20
0
The window was broken by Miradors' daughter when she threw a broom handle at a cucaracha crawling on the window. Thus, it was the fault of the cucaracha that the window got broken.

The vitamin B theory is interesting. I haven't heard that one. If there is something to that, I am on my way to the farmacia right now!
 

Chris

Gold
Oct 21, 2002
7,951
28
0
www.caribbetech.com
T Thus, it was the fault of the cucaracha that the window got broken.
vegasdiva, This is true of most Dominican style mishaps. It is never the person's fault, but always the fault of the 'thing'. e.g., A Dominican never breaks a glass, it is always the glass that fell! So, that is what I and later Campesina joked about!
 
Last edited:

vegasdiva

New member
Dec 2, 2006
50
0
0
It's the thiamin in the Bs

The window was broken by Miradors' daughter when she threw a broom handle at a cucaracha crawling on the window. Thus, it was the fault of the cucaracha that the window got broken.

The vitamin B theory is interesting. I haven't heard that one. If there is something to that, I am on my way to the farmacia right now!

. . . or so I've read - possibly here on DR1. Also, scents of basil, vanilla, or lavender are other natural repellants, though I've heard they don't work so well when the mosquito population is high. . .

and thanks Chris, for the clearer explanation. I'm very familiar with "la culpa no es mia", even when it blatantly is. My response, nunca! :cheeky:
I'm appreciating the vision of poltergeists and windows breaking, and glad to know there aren't giant flying cockroaches big enough to break glass on their own.
 

sjh

aka - shadley
Jan 1, 2002
969
2
0
48
www.geocities.com
i left out the mosquito, but it certainly is the most dangerous animal in the world. Lots of info on that already posted.

I have seen grass snakes (green, about 18-24 inches max), common garter snakes (up to 3 feet, dark green with a light green stripe), and several larger snakes up to about 5-6 feet long. I have never seen a large one live, just dead in the road.

Cockroaches: I have seen at least two common species here, one short and fat about an inch long, and another flying type just shy of 2 inches long.

The mongoose is an introduced species and a real pest. Stealing eggs, killing baby chickens, wiping out native species. Usually seen running accross the road, maybe 20 inches long, but almost half of that is the busy tale.

I once counted close to 100 different species of butterflys on my farm. Many really beautiful ones too. While sitting on my back porch i was able to observe 8 preditory species feeding in just few square meters (tree frog, gecko, anole, another lizard species, bat, preying mantis, bull frog, black bird). I didnt see them all in the same night or time of day but still i thought it was pretty neat.
 

sjh

aka - shadley
Jan 1, 2002
969
2
0
48
www.geocities.com
Plant Neem trees for a natural insect repellent! It has kept the tick load on our cattle down and lowered the number of pest insects around the house!
 

Don Juan

Living Brain Donor
Dec 5, 2003
856
0
0
Shadley, is it my imagination or did you say you still had a blog going somewhere? I'd like to know how the farm is progressing!
 

dv8

Gold
Sep 27, 2006
31,271
359
0
shaking the shoes does well also if you live in a condo.
just the other day i saw monivio's face expression suddenly change to panic when he was brushing his teeth in the morning. he run to the chair, took his shoe off and shook a big fat cucaracha out of it. then he run after the cat swearing and calling him names - we heard cat playing with shoes most of the night and we expected he stored cucaracha in one shoe "for later" as he often does (normally under the cupboard). or else, pobre cucaracha hid there from painful death in tachi's paws....
it still makes me laugh when i recall minovio's red face..... :cheeky: