Cula Invasion!

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One thing I love about working in the village is traipsing to the outhouse by the light of the moon in the middle of the night. (No, not really.) The first night we were in Loomal for the medical clinic, I went to the outhouse and accidentally walked through a swarm of cula (chew-la), also known as African driver ants. These ants travel in great swarms, up to 20 million strong. They like to swarm over something or someone and all begin biting simultaneously. They have been known to reduce a bird to bones in a few hours. Unfortunately, the cula did not start biting me until I was back in our room. They had gotten all the way up to my head, and were spread all over the floor. David helped pick them off me and I spent the next several hours feeling the lasting sting of their bites.

The second night in Loomal, I was determined to not have to go out in the middle of the night and thus reduce my chances of cula problems. You can imagine my surprise when I was jolted awake by David saying that cula were on him. That meant they were in the bed. David grabbed his flashlight and found that thousands of cula had entered the room at a ground level hole on the wall. They were swarming over our clothing on a chair in the corner. We were able to spray some bug spray around the legs of the bed to keep them from climbing up, and by morning, they were almost all gone. Our colleagues, who had their bedrolls on the ground did get bit a few times, but were able to shake the ants off and get away. The wife spent the remainder of the night in a folding chair and the husband slept on a long, wooden bench.

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  • Brian D

    Now I feel silly about having ever worried about having a run in with a 6 inch centipede in Hawaii. I hope you can get back to having a peaceful night’s sleep. God Bless.

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