The Many Jobs of a Missionary ~ Exterminator, Flying Creatures

These flying creatures I don't mind. Gold finches build hanging nests in the tree right outside of our study, and we feast our eyes on them every spring.

These flying creatures I don’t mind. Gold finches build hanging nests in the tree right outside of our study, and we feast our eyes on them every spring.

Now that you are fully creeped out by my former descriptions of Africa as THE home of all things crawly and fascinating, I thought I’d wrap it up with those nightmarish descriptions of things that can take wing and follow you or actually get-in-your-face:


Annoying, loud or silent, deadly at times, and incessant. Not so bad here in our home, but terrible–causing sleepless nights–if you cross the border to Zimbabwe or Mozambique. We can get malaria here, but it’s uncommon. Just a little farther to the north, it is both common and deadly. I wrote a bit about my fears concerning malaria here. We’ve become experts at homemade window screens and all forms of insect repellant–electrical plug-ins, sprays, creams, roll-ons, burning smoke coils.


We catch all of these insects and draw them for our nature journal.

We catch all of these insects and draw them for our nature journal.

Interestingly, it took a nature reader from a Christian publishing company to figure out what kinds of wasps continually built under the eaves of our house. They are the paper wasp.

You know, I’ve noticed–get ready for something really profound here–that critter issues are worse the farther from city life you go. I know, that’s a shocker. But on my one trip to very rural Mozambique, I noticed the bugs everywhere! You couldn’t even enjoy a quiet time with the Lord without feeling like you’d sat in an ants’ nest or should just start waving away mosquitoes full-time.

On one trip to Mozambique, our teammate left his truck’s windows down overnight. The next morning, to all the guys’ dismay (especially to another teammate, who is allergic), the truck was full of bees. The guy with an allergy got far away; and the other wrapped a tarp around himself showing only his eyes, eased himself into his truck, and drove full speed down the road with windows and doors open until the bees went somewhere else to make their nest.

He didn't get stung once!

He didn’t get stung once!


Don’t you just hate these guys? They fly in such an erratic pattern, looking like they’ll zoom into your face on accident. Two bat memories–when my parents came to visit, we went to a game park to see the wild animals, and while making our dinner at an outdoor kitchen, the bats began to fly around for their nightly meal. It was a fright to my mom who grew up with bats in her attic and a brother who loved to take a bat upstairs and play a game of hit-as-many-as-I-can-while-they-fly-around-my-head. 🙂

When we built our house in the village, we had no ceiling for the first nine months. I remember when a bat got in and couldn’t get back out. It was during our first two weeks living there in the house. It would fly around at night, and Seth would jump from roof truss to roof truss trying to scare it out of the cracks it had entered by. It was not easy to sleep wondering if a bat was over your head!


These aren't the kind that eat flowers, but they're close.

These aren’t the kind that eat flowers, but they’re close.

We have pretty black and yellow beetles that fly into our yard whenever the flowers bloom. I hate them because they sound like bumblebees, and they gorge themselves eating all of our flowers. 😦

When it rains hard, flying termites escape their flooded holes in the ground and flutter all over. At first I called them “throbby bottoms” because that’s exactly what they looked like. I literally thought I would go mad during my first few encounters of them getting into our house. They crowd around the lighted windows seeking a way out of the rain. They have four cellophane wings which barely hold them up and which they easily lose. They don’t fly very well, so they actually do fly right into your head. It is sooo unnerving. The Africans simply pluck of their wings and eat them (usually fried first!)

Look at that walkingstick!

Look at that walkingstick!

We have some big, colorful grasshoppers and walking sticks, and mango flies, which I haven’t seen but have heard of. They can lay eggs in your laundry drying on the line. Then they hatch inside your skin, and if you don’t pinch them out while they’re small, it gets very painful. I hope I never experience that! There are ticks that can cause nasty flu-like symptoms and need strong antibiotics to get rid of. I’ll never forget when I got tick bite fever while pregnant! And fruit flies and normal flies are here as well of course.

I think that’s it. See, that’s all! haha. When are you coming for a visit??


About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and homeschooling mother of five children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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1 Response to The Many Jobs of a Missionary ~ Exterminator, Flying Creatures

  1. Ann Bedford says:

    Amy this is not the kind of things to post if you want visitors.

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