Everybody travels to beautiful locations these days. Everybody has beautiful photographs of his/her trip. Everybody has beautiful stories to tell. Yes, I agree on that. However, I have noticed that stories of having seen a certain place of touristic value will not really draw your listeners from the woodwork. BUT as soon as you start telling stories about nasties, such as waking and being crawled over by bedbugs, well, then you really get the audiences undivided attention.
Since travel guide books always give you an extensive list of places to see and things to do (which let’s face it thousands of other people will also see and do), I thought it would be a novel idea to give you my top 5 list of pests to see or experience (not a trip for the faint hearted though if you see them all at once) to make your holiday an unforgettable event.
Trust me, your audience at home will appreciate the extra effort in making the photo-reviewing evenings more interesting by adding some horror to paradise. And yes, I am sharing my first hand experiences with you, and yes they involved a lot of pain and itching.
Maybe a clichÃ©, but listening to travelers it always seems there is an endless collection of horror stories with only one lead role: Cockroaches. I am sure your holiday would be much more peaceful without them (and your risk of food poisoning and other diseases as well). On the other hand there would be less opportunity to scare people at home without them. At best you can create the image of you being a fearless adventurer, because out of the whole group YOU were the only person who took the shoe and killed the offender.
You will be able to discover the local varieties of mosquitoes almost anywhere. But be aware, as with all wild animals there is a need to be alert: Some of these critters might be able to transmit some nasty diseases, such as Malaria, Dengue or Chikungunya. So my advice would be to skip searching for this pest. Anyway, you won’t have much searching to do, as they will for sure find you. In this case though, my advice would be that having almost died of a mosquito-borne disease is too much effort for making your holiday stories more interesting.
Everywhere else known as peaceful pollinators and producers of honey, the local variety of bees (Rock bees), build large nests, preferably on high trees, or on buildings, where they create a lot of trouble for people living on the other side of the windows. They should not be considered as general pests, but definitely do their part in troubling people on the higher levels of buildings.
The urban legends of the giant sewer rat will become truth once you lay your eyes on the secretive, yet common, Bandicoot rat. Best chances to see them are within human settlements and especially at night. Be aware though, they are fierce attackers if cornered (see my first post). Another similar “nice” surprise is the local roof-rats, who can scare you out of your wits with their noises inside a jungle hut at night.
For those of you who think bed bugs are some myth from ancient times, well here is the “good” news, they are still alive and kicking. Try for some very low budget hotel, or travel a lot with overnight busses, and you might be able to spot some of these elusive animals. However, most pest experts will assure you that you have a higher likeability of getting bitten than actually seeing them, which makes actual sightings an exciting photo opportunity to show friends at home. However, due to unknown reasons this pest has managed to increase its geographical reach over the last few years, which might depreciate their value as a holiday experience. And if you are not careful enough, who knows maybe they will travel in your luggage.
Ah, and then there are always fleas, ticks, pigeons and numerous other pests, but the ones I mentioned above should be enough to start with. If you want to go pro, check the pest guides and I am sure you will find more interesting pests.
I have to admit though, that working for Rentokil and the knowledge that all these pests can be controlled, really reduced my fears of involuntarily introducing these pests to my home after some extensive travelling.
Take a look at these other deBugged lists:
Top 10 unbelievable truths
Top 10 pest urban myths
9 lessons I learnt putting together a blog
Top 5 movies Rentokil would have ruined because its infestation not entertainment