Flying ants (and other insects)
The recent advent of the rainy season has caused all sorts of insects to come out of the woodwork. It is true there are more mosquitoes about after the rains, but in general there aren’t many mosquitoes in Hargeisa (it is too dry here), and in any case they don’t carry malaria.
However, there there are plenty of other creepy crawlies moving about – cockroaches, crickets, beetles, ants, and scorpions – necessitating frequent removal of one’s flip-flops to swiftly smash them. (Flies are not even worth mentioning here because they are so low on my insect-radar – I’ve reached the point where I don’t even bother to flick them off my body, unless if they are either A: sitting on my face, or B: two of them are trying to mate on me.)
The most recent actors to appear on the Hargeisa insect scene are the flying ants, which have emerged post-rains. While my interest in insectology (if that’s even a word) is limited, a brief internet search revealed the following riveting information. It seems wingless, sexually-immature ants live in underground colonies, and after heavy rains, sexually-mature winged ants emerge and engage in a mating frenzy that lasts only one day (so, basically one big ant orgy). After mating, the males promptly die (having gotten everything they ever wanted in life) and the females lose their wings and go on to establish a new underground colony.
How does this affect us? Well, it basically means you have a hell of a lot of big-ass ants flying around after the rains. These ants are huge – I’m not exaggerating when I say that they are an inch long – and so it’s good fun to swat them out of your face or dislodge them from your shawl. And it seems as though they bite – my house mate says he was bitten by a flying ant, and another house mate was bitten by a flying beetle.