Tuesday, April 21, 2015

White Ants, Lizards and Flowering Trees - Week of April 6, 2015

White Ants, Lizards & Flowering Trees -Week of April 6, 2015


Last night we had a fierce rainstorm that lasted about an hour. Most of the times the rain just comes straight down and is nice to sit out on our porch in our blue plastic lawn chairs and watch the huge drops soak everything in sight. But last night was not such an occasion.

We could see the threatening clouds approaching from the south with lots of lightening. There was lots of lightning as the massive thunderheads approached. With each flash the trees in our back yard were silhouetted beautifully. It was a sight to behold for sure; beautiful but ominous.

Eileen and I sat in our little living room waiting for the storm. We watched our favorite gecko climb our window screen catching bugs and mosquitoes that the rain always brings out. You can count on him to appear just after dark almost every night when the mosquitoes become active and are attracted to the lights of our small house.

After a few minutes we noticed we were suddenly being bombarded by small white insects about a half inch long with large translucent wings that seemed too large for their body. As we looked around the room the air was filled with what are called “white ants.” They were all over the living room, hundreds of them. They are totally harmless but we had no idea where they were coming from or how they got into the house. They were on our clothes and on the curtains.

Then as suddenly as they came they started to flounder as they flew and fell to the floor with their white wings spread and bodies writhing. They were dying. Within 2 or 3 minutes the air that was filled with insects was becoming a floor covered with tiny bugs that were losing their beautiful wings.

About then we noticed the wind had picked up and was blowing through the house quite fiercely. Then the rain started. For just a second you could hear the massive drops on the tin roofs of the houses. Then the downpour began. The wind was causing the huge drops to his the screens on the south side of the house; splattering each one into a hundred droplets as the window sills became wet. I started closing the windows on that side of the house, which we always leave wide open. By the time I got to our final bedroom window there was a puddle of water on the bedroom floor and our lovely white mosquito netting now has a border of red dirt on the south side of the bed.

It seems as though white ants appear just before a big storm and have a lifespan of only a few minutes. I don’t know what happened to the carcass of those little critters but this morning hundreds of white wings were all over the living room floor to be swept up and cast out the door and into the bushes.


We have a few different lizard species that we see daily. The geckos I mentioned are very helpful for keeping insect populations down. You should never kill one, even if he gets in our house. He will do you no harm and he will never leave a mess anywhere. It is entertaining to watch them up on a wall near the ceiling waiting for unsuspecting mosquitoes. They never create a racket. At most you may hear a little chirp now and then just to let you know they are somewhere in the house.

We have at least two other species that live in the shrubs around the house and often hang out at the burn pile. Ours is a fairly large one for our compound because all trash is burned here, no matter what it is; plastic water bottles, tin cans, paper wrappers, banana peels, etc. This provides a lovely smorgasbord for the lizards.

There is one which is almost a friend of ours now. He lives in the shrubs of the house about 15 feet in front of hours. We usually see him in the morning. Being cold blooded he likes to sun himself for a few minutes until he gets too hot. Then he will move under the shade of the shrubs. All the while he is looking for food. If he feels threatened he starts doing push ups and bobbing his head up and down in a threatening gesture. His head and half his tail are reddish orange, the color of the dirt here. The rest of him is black. It is a pretty good camouflage
scheme I guess as we have lots of large birds around that might be predatory but we don’t know for sure. The other day as Eileen and I were relaxing in our blue chairs we saw our friend and grabbed the camera. Here are a few pictures of him. We call him Leroy; Leroy the Lizard. Don’t know what kind of lizard he is exactly. Anyone want to look it up and put it on Face book?

                      Look at Leroy! He likes to pose for the camera!

He can be so dramatic at times !!
 This guy just showed up in our bathroom to catch mosquitoes


We have a small but growing termite mound about 50 feet out our backdoor. Lucky for us our house is made of block with a tin roof.

Also we have several flowering trees in our back yard, which actually belongs to the medical school behind us. 

The pink trees seem to have blooms year round and are very beautiful. The orange Tulipan tree is just now blossoming and every day we see a few more bright orange blossoms. We are fortunate to have such color all around us. Africa is a very interesting country. We hope soon to go to Chobe National Park which is just a couple of hours away to see some wildlife. Stay tuned for that adventure.

          See you on the next post, coming soon                                  

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