Mobbed by grasshoppers in a Guanacaste treehouse

There's no escaping the bugs in a house with no walls; photo by Erin Van Rheenen

There's no escaping the bugs in a house with no walls; photo by Erin Van Rheenen

Imagine a house up in the trees, open to the elements, with a view of a pristine stretch of Costa Rican beach. It’s Paul and Jeanne Pidcock’s house, on the Pura Jungla eco-reserve, where Ray Beise took a dried-up cow pasture and lovingly reforested it into something lush and beautiful. He sells lots to like-minded people who agree to abide by the eco-friendly rules of the realm.

Sound good? Well, yes and no. In theory, the idea of no walls (and of course, no windows, and no screens) sounds pretty cool. You are one with the toucans and the monkeys.

And, it turns out, an army of insects.

Things got ugly at dusk. It wasn’t so bad if you sat in the dark and listened to the wind. But if you turned on a light—to cook, to read, or to write, you were mobbed by flying insects, from no-see-ums to oh-my-god-did-you-see- that?

Where in Costa Rica might there be screened windows?

Where in Costa Rica might there be screened windows? Photo by Erin Van Rheenen

Leaf-green grasshoppers as long as my finger seemed especially friendly. They alighted on my book page, on my computer screen, and on the map I was studying to figure out the fastest road out of here. One crawled inside the bedside lamp I’d brought to the kitchen table (the lighting was dismal, probably because lights only attract bugs). The lamp was sideways so I couldn’t see the hopper’s body, but its long front feelers undulated out of the fixture as if the light itself had become insect-like.

When I conceded defeat and got up from my chair, I saw that I had sat on one of the poor little buggers.

  • By Kathy, December 30, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    Sounds like you’d best move on. Any stinging or biting insects? Do birds or monkeys ever come into the living quarters?

  • By Brian van der Plugh, January 5, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    Very cool! I especially like the “oh my god did you see that”! Very funny.

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