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Things that go bite in the nite and other times

LA County
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Things that go bite in the nite and other times

Just wondering if there is a bedbug problem on Rarotonga?

Also are cockroaches common in lodging?

Are yellowjackets common?

I haven't read on TA lately if "bluebottles" are still a problem?

Don't laugh! I'm not a "bugophobe" but don't want to bring home any unwanted "guests"!

I've been stung 3 times this past summer by yellowjackets so I am not looking forward to any repeat preformances!

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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1. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

That species of wasp, common to NZ as well as other countries, aren't commonly found on Rarotonga (if at all?). However there are other species of wasps found on the island; especially seen from November onwards. These wasps are larger than the species you've identified, and are orange or yellow in colour.

Wasps nests are actively destroyed by property owners and you'll find that accommodation properties are very careful to remove and eliminate nests and wasps from shrubs and nesting sites. Some wasps are useful though for biological control of commercial crops, so these will receive some protection, but these are harmless/shy to humans in the main. I suggest that you carry a good anti-histamine preparation, or tablets with you. Skin cremes etrc are available from both pharmacies in Avarua should you need to buy these on Rarotonga.

If by chance you do get stung and suffer a allergic reaction (causing concern to you), the hospital outpatients department open 24/7 is the place to seek medical treatment. A small consultation fee is charged to all non - Cook Islanders. One local remedy is to apply the sap of the frangipani flower to the affected site. But if you are allergic to wasp or bee venom please do not rely upon this remedy to reduce the symptoms from a sting. Best to seek medical help, or take pre-prescibed meds if you are a known allergy-sufferer.

Cockroaches can be found in accommodation, these are common to Rarotonga. Again, most good accommodators will be vigilant to destroy or remove the chances of cockroach infestations using bug-sprays and special cockroach-baits to eliminate them. Ensure that any foodstuffs are stored in the fridge or appropriate food-containers/covers at all times.

Blue-bottles aren't commonly found, but they are washed onto Rarotonga's shores during certain tides and periods of the year. It's more a situation of being unlucky to be stung by a bluebottle than something you can expect to encounter when swimming,.or will readily find washed onto the shoreline.

As far as bedbugs go, find out what your accommodator's policy is if you have concerns. Apparently, using a hot-temp dryer, and a hot/warm wash too, reduces the chances of bed-bugs surviving. Many accommodators on Rarotonga use a commercial laundry for their linen needs, with very hot dryers used. I haven't heard if there is a generalised problem in the Cook Islands, nor have I experienced this issue yet during my inter-island travels.

Safe travels!

nz
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for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
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2. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

Hi

I didn't come across any bluebottles on my last trip in May. When I've seen them they've been washed up on the beach and were seen around the high tide mark. They were still alive so I always look where I'm walking if I've got bare feet.

Never had any problems with bedbugs and I can't remember seeing more than the very occasional cockroach.

I have, however, seen quite a lot of those large very bright yellow/orange 'articulated' wasps. They really are big and suspect they are a type of paper wasp. I have only been bitten once by one of them. I have to admit the pain was excruciating and I was imagining a trip to hospital, but I was pleasantly surprised that there was no swelling and the pain soon subsided. But I don't think they are overly vicious - think I was unlucky.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

We have been visiting Cooks since 2004 and we have never had any problems with any type of bugs, bees, mosquitoes or blue bottles. We usualy go in August or September and spend a lot of time swimming and snorkelling. For us the must is reef shoes and sunscreen. Where we stay (Sunhaven Beach Bungalows) is spotlessly clean and that makes a big difference. In the evenings when the lights are on, there are few insects around but that is why the screens are on the doors and windows

Take the basic precautions and enjoy your vacation.

Aitutaki, Cook...
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4. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

There is a small brown flying beetle here some call the whiskey bug. They are very active at night. It has an acid like fluid inside so you don't want to swat it against your skin. It will leave a nasty burn. Just brush them off. Otherwise they are totally harmless. There are also small black millipedes which also have an acid like fluid inside. These too are harmless unless you happen to squash them against your skin. One last critter to watch out for are centipedes. These can leave a nasty sting - even the small ones. Some people say it's bad luck to kill one. I, for one, must really have bad karma because I have done away with my share.

Don't get too distressed about the bugs. They were here first and it is the tropics after all.

Edited: 1:14 pm, October 03, 2012
nz
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for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
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5. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

Haha. Yes whisky bugs. They always arrive just before dusk and in my experience just tickle - a lot. They have a tendency to drop down my clothing and get stuck so that I have to try and haul them out. Very unladylike!

Why whisky bug? I was told by a NZ expat who arrived on Raro about 60 years ago to work with the Ministry of Works, got married and stayed. He reckoned they were named because they arrived just as everyone sat down after work to have a well-earned whisky.

It sounds plausible to me. But I can assure everyone that they are equally attracted to wine and beer. Never had a problem when I've squashed them - just the annoying tickles.

LA County
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6. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

Thanks for your responses! I'm glad to hear no yellowjackets! After a lifetime of only getting stung maybe 3 times I get stung 3x in one summer(2x in2 days-frown)!

Thanks for tipping me off about the other bugs-I remember the millipedes from hiking in the US East coast and the centipedes from camping in the US South. And the cockroaches{ugh} from one of my college dorms.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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7. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

Another creature to watch out for are the lizards called 'moko' in the Cook Islands. These are harmless, but can be very annoying once they get inside and nibble away at exposed fruit - especially night-time is when they like to visit. The small lizards are remarkably quick at catching moths and insects, and are attracted to the light. So if you want to reduce the chances for these to get inside, keep the insect screens etc closed as tightly as you can.

I am allergic to wasps, so I can imagine the agony of having 2 stings on consecutive days! Take very good care, and if you see a flower or fruit that you simply must pick during your island adventures, check first that there are no nasties hovering or nesting around the plant-life.

The post by Eva and Pete above, discussed the wearing of reef shoes. Most important! Remember to shuffle your feet sideways, (wearing reef shoes for protection) when entering the lagoon water. It's remote that you'll encounter or see a stone-fish during your stay, but they are about on occassion. Stonefish bask in warm water around silty lagoon floors, or under coral rocks for camoflage. So dont touch/shift the coral heads at all, and more so with bare hands! Coral cuts can become infected, so be mindful not to get grazes when you are exploring or snorkelling in the lagoon.

Much of the time you aren't likely to be affected by things that bite, sting or scratch if you are aware and suitably protected. But better to be sure, than sorry ... as the adage goes.

All the best TReLiNe!

New South Wales...
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8. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

We have just returned from Raro & this is the first time we have seen bluebottles on the beach in Titikaveka. We only saw them on one day & this followed a very stormy, windy night, but there were quite a few washed up on the beach.

Wasps are still a problem despite our accommodation provider removing the nests. I was stung a few years ago & agree with "nzlilibet" the pain is excruciating, mine also subsided reasonably quickly, but I thought this was a psychosomatic reaction to our host telling me that my finger would need to be amputated.

9. Re: Things that go bite in the nite and other times

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