Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Are There SOOO Many Bugs???

I've been contending with my fair share of insects during the past 3 months. The ants in Asia had a real knack for finding our food bag and raiding our stash as well as crawling into every nook and cranny in my backpack, for what reason? No idea! There was no food in there so I assume it was just to annoy me and cause me the grief of having to shake out everything I own lest I put on clothes with ants inside. Not pleasant! I realize how minor these annoyances are now that we've arrived on the South Island of NZ. Let me tell you that the bugs here take things to a whole new level.

This is our first time dealing with sand flies, which are actually small black flies that are similar to mosquitos because they bite and suck blood. However they're far more resilient, often recovering from being swatted to come back and bite you again! Our campsite outside of Murchison was routinely covered in no less than 100 sand flies at any given point. We had to start spraying the mesh with bug spray because they somehow found ways in! But now that we've moved to Hokitika, we're contending with the usual sand flies but have upped the ante with hordes of mosquitos. The "mozzys," as our Aussie friends call them, are not quite as resilient as the sand flies but they're equally annoying and we're often shooing them away at all hours of the day, not just at dusk. I killed no less than 30 of them inside our tent last night! They can smell our CO2 and are super excited to come in and take a nibble. Its getting highly frustrating trying to keep the bugs at bay and has become a large part of my daily routine. Even though its warm during the day, I find myself wearing several layers to provide an extra barrier against bug bites and spend more time in the tent or in the car hiding from the bugs than I'd like to admit rather than enjoying the sunshine, nature and several of the beautiful hikes in the area. I had no idea New Zealand's South Island would be like this. If you come here, bring LOTS of bug spray!!

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