A Southern Swamp Rat in the High Desert

Moved 2,600 miles from Florida to Idaho and talk about differences! It's almost a whole other country! I will discuss our move and the differences between the Deep South and the Northwestern High Desert as only a Southern-Bred Swamp Rat can. Check out my new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/idahoswamprat. My updates are irratic, but they are fairly regular. Stay tuned!

Both Florida and Idaho have their share of insects and creepy crawlies, but the prevalent variety varies quite a bit and I thought it might be fun to discuss this.

In Florida, as mentioned in a previous post, the most annoying and probably dangerous insect, called the “state bird” by some, is the mosquito.  Walk outdoors on a humid summer day anywhere in Florida to instantly discover them, and you can try insect repellent and every home-made concoction out there with limited success in keeping them at bay.  They’ll use your arms and legs as landing strips and briefly stop in for lunch. You don’t usually feel them while their feasting; they actually possess a chemical that numbs the affected area, but you’ll know it soon afterwards. 

As most of you know, mosquitoes breed in water, and Florida generally receives lots of water, every afternoon in the form of rain. It’s impossible to get rid of the water. You can go around and empty containers only to have to do it again the next day. The biggest breeder of mosquitoes is thick bushes and shrubs in the shade which never dry out, or things such as junk yards, old trash cans, and tires, where water accumulates and sits forever.  Every state in the union has mosquitoes; there’s not one state without them, but Florida has more of a special market on them than most places.       


                                                              A Mosquito Up Close

Another annoyance, naked fear for some, and great amusement for others is the cockroach or palmetto bug. They live in large trees and regularly come in the house.  Once again, if you live in Florida or the Deep South, they are impossible to get rid of.  You can fumigate your home enough to poison your entire family and will still see an occasional roach, and they get BIG, more than two inches in length. 

I believe the fear of palmetto bugs comes not so much from the way they look as the fact that they often seem to come out of nowhere.  They also fly; just put on a light in a dark room where they reside to find out.  We had a teacher in the previous school we lived in who lived in mortal terror of them and we’d always know when she encountered one from her screams.  My most unnerving experience with a cockroach was when I was opening a door in the dark and one crawled up my arm.  He’d been sitting on the doorknob in the dark waiting for the chance to attack. 

Oh, and animals hate cockroaches.  It’s the only bug I’ve ever seen that a dog or cat won’t eat.  They’ll pick it up and spit it right back out.  And whatever you do, don’t leave food out, particularly outdoors in the summertime.  The cockroaches will probably get it before the flies do.


                                                            Palmetto Bug

1 year ago