A strangely common problem is bees. There's a lot of untamed land / brush behind our apartment, and from the window we can see farmland in the distance. But are bees common in the Brazilian mata? Not as far as I know. They also come in as lone, lost scragglers, which makes me think their hives are kind of far away. However, on one of the pillars on the balcony, there are remnants of a small beehive that was removed before we moved in! Yikes.
On hot nights, it seems as though all the bugs in town try to take refuge in our apartment. I really don't want to put a net on the bedroom window because of the strange way it's built, so the alternative is to close the bedroom window and leave the bedroom door open. The bugs will still come in through the balcony, but statistically, it's less likely that they'll find their way into the bedroom than the ones that fly in through the bedroom window. :P
We also get our share of oversized and oddly colored beetles. Here, I took a picture of one for you:
|Look how big it is! Yuck.|
However, the biggest mystery so far has been some wasp-like creature that succeeded in making a nest on the balcony's top cover thing. Here are all the details I have:
1. The "nest" is made of the dark red earthen clay that is found all over the place in the São Paulo countryside. The insect must have brought microscopic pieces of clay up to the balcony, one by one, while we were on vacation.
2. The nest was about 5 inches long and 2 or 3 inches wide. (Notice I said was. Fun story for you in a minute.)
3. The nest was made in the shape of a tube with an opening about the size of a coin.
4. Once, I saw an insect fly into it. It was large-ish (though I'm biased) -- about 2 or 3 inches long -- it was black and seemed all gossamer-y and droopy, and not hard-shelled or wasp-like. (Alexandre thought it was a wasp's nest at first (referring to it as a marimbondo), but it doesn't seem like it because the nest was built onto the drywall, and not in a tree. Also I didn't think it looked like a wasp, but maybe I'm wrong.)
5. This morning, Alexandre decided to take down the nest before any mini-creatures could start growing successfully inside. Luckily, when he started smacking at it with the broomstick, none of the adults came flying out. We kept the balcony door open just enough for Alexandre to rush inside, and I held up a towel as if it were a matador's cape to simultaneously keep the curious cat inside and keep any potential flying insects out.
The nest broke up into little bits of dirt and clay, and some medium-sized larvae (larger than maggots, smaller than caterpillars) fell out, along with a LOT of spiders. Spiders!
Alexandre couldn't get all the dirt-clay off just by hitting it. Some of it is really caked on to the drywall.
Now we're totally confused. Alexandre thinks it's a wasp that fed spiders to its larvae. I don't know what to think.
And now I bring the mystery to you, dear readers! I'm sorry that there's no picture for you. I didn't want to get that close to it.
Any ideas? If you don't have any, but feel like sharing potentially-traumatic bug stories in the comments, that's good, too.