Living in the tropics can mean paradise for many people but even paradise comes with a price. One of these costs is learning to live with insects. Although a bug scientist would say there are thousands of different insect species (and I’m sure they’re correct), I categorize bugs in two broad groups – flying bugs and creepy crawly bugs.
Flying bugs include all sorts of irritating pests including mosquitoes, flies, bees, wasps etc. Creepy crawlies include spiders (my personal phobia), beetles, ants, centipedes and an occasional scorpion.
At our house we have a strategy for both these categories and have been very successful in keeping unwanted guests from coming into our house.
We have a local extermination service spray the exterior of our home twice a year – once at the end of the dry season and once at the end of the wet season. Experience has shown that during these transition periods the bugs are on the move either looking for ways to get out of the water or looking for a source of water. Spraying the perimeter of our house has virtually eliminated any bugs in our household. Now, the second part of our strategy involves keeping the doors closed and only opening windows that have screens. You’d be surprised at how many people in Boquete keep their doors wide open with no screens and then complain that they have bugs in their homes.
For flying bugs, our strategy of using screens on our windows keeps them to minimum while we’re in our home. But what about when we’re outside? Well, as we are so often told, flying insects, particularly mosquitoes, are generally most active during the early morning and early evening hours. With this in mind, using bug spray or wearing long pants and shirts with long sleeves is your best strategy.
Having lived in Alaska for twelve years as a young man, I can honestly say that bugs were a bigger problem there than what I have experienced in Panama. Of course, if you’re planning to take a hike out in the jungle that’s a very different story. But, living in community like Boquete, bugs are a part of the environment but they are not something that can’t be managed. I think that most people coming to Boquete will surprised that bugs are less of problem than they may have imagined.