Mar 28, 2014


A few nights ago on Tuesday evening we were swarmed by hundreds of thousands of termites.  Having done some research after the crisis I think they were drywood termites.

This is a Goggle image screen capture. The carcases we found outside and on the roof the next day looked like these.

What came inside were only the bodies. The wings were left outside, likely falling off as these critters crawled in.

It was just getting dark, Colin was getting out of  the shower and I was preparing dinner when we both started feeling things all over our body.  Not just one or two but 30 or 50 crawling insects. We started swatting at them.  They would not stop coming.  The screen door was closed but they kept coming and coming and dropping on our heads and backs.  We looked up, they were pouring in from the ceiling vents, they were crawling through the tiniest of areas.  How were they getting in?  We finally got smart and closed the vents and the windows and turned on the A/C.  They kept falling from the ceiling.  They were everywhere, on us, on the counters, on the floor, on the bed, crawling on the carpet, even in the dogs water dish.

There are none in this shot but they were falling into the shower through this surround shroud that does not leak so how were they getting in? Here you can see liquid drops along the edge, Colin had sprayed with insecticide.

During the heat of the battle we never stopped to take photos.  Our mission was to kill these things.  We had no idea how they got into the RV but had visions of them having infested the ceiling.  It was like a horror movie seeing hundreds of termites crawling out of this area of the shower.

In this photo, after being sprayed you can see just the one termite crawling out. You just have to imagine seeing that area full of dark squirming insects., that would then drop down into the RV.

We spent 6 hours hunting and killing these pests. We used paper towels to kill them and pick them up. After the first hour when it seemed it would never stop Colin got some insecticide which we sprayed around all of ceiling vents and any possible opening. The CedarCide did nothing so we had to use the heavy duty stuff. That merely slowed them down. They just kept coming.

This is a small area of our Queen bed. There were hundreds of them just on the bed.

Colin would vacuum them up while I dealt with the ones in the kitchen and the ones that got into our dishes cabinet. They just kept coming back.

We had been fighting them for 5 hours, we had not had dinner and I was exhausted. Colin found me sitting here, I had fallen asleep sitting up. I guess I had sat down for a moment, you can see I still had my killing cloth in hand.

I think he took my glasses off an eased me down. After a 30 minute nap, I completed our dinner and we ate at midnite.

I think I went to bed about 1:30AM and Colin says he stayed up until 3:00AM patrolling and killing.  It was worse than a horror movie.  We were literally invaded by hundreds if not thousands of insects.  Colin estimates that we killed at least two thousand of them.  The next morning, the clean up continued, outside everything was covered with mostly dead bodies but many were still wriggling.  Inside we had just a few crawling around.  We continued to spray all morning.  Termites like water and they were in the sink, under the kitchen dish cloth and swimming in the dogs water bowl.  In wasn’t until late Wednesday that they stopped dropping from the RV ceiling.

We found out that these swarms just happen from time to time and the locals simply accept it.  They sit in the dark and wait for the swarm to pass. When we were hit we had several lights on inside.  There is also a larger very bright security light at the front of our yard and that is likely what brought the swarm our way.  We were told that this usually happens for three nights in a row.  At this point we were concerned that these pests were in the walls of our RV which are steel and foam but would keep coming out and start to eat our wood cabinets.  We called an exterminator at home who told us that we would be alright as long as we got the RV fumigated within a month.

Most of the RV’s have left and there are three empty spaces between us and the next RV.  They only got a few bugs but they normally sit inside in the dark.  The next RV had about 50 insects come in and the last RV had none but he had sprayed chemicals for ants a few hours earlier so that might have deterred them.  Our night watchman had his home swarmed in the Colonia that night but our day worker Ishmael had none.  Speaking to friends the next day in Mazatlan they mentioned they had seen termites swarming one restaurant on Olas Altas yet leaving the others alone.  A week ago we had friends over for happy hour ( it was on March 18th ) and we were swarmed by a small batch of termites sitting by the fire pit. They had been attracted by the bright security light and the fire which we soon shut off.  We wondered if our invasion on March 25th, exactly a week later had anything to do with this enormous attack.

The morning after the attack we had Ismael clean the RV roof as it was covered with dead bodies.

Colin also removed the Fantastic Fan covers to check how many insects were trapped under the shrouds.  We wanted to clean the area so that we would be prepared for  the second night invasion which never happened.  However last night, the third night, we had about 50 winged termites flying around but only one got inside the RV.  We sure hope that this is the end of the story.


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17 responses so far

17 Responses to “ANOTHER ATTACK”

  1. Nancy says:

    We always keep an eye out right at dusk. When we see the first ones we turn off all the ligts and shut the doors for 15 minutes. They always go toward the light.

  2. Nancy says:

    It’s usually in the spring for 10 or so evenings. Sometimes we’ll have them for four or five days and then a couple week gap and then another four or five days. Some years are worse than others, too. One year on an art walk night all the street lights were swarmed… but again just for about 15 minutes. We usually put a light on in the patio where there is no wood and all our local geckos congregate there and have a feast. Our housekeeper calls them “those things that go towards the light” You might check around for infested fenceposts or that kind of thing as we found an OLD bush in our back yard was infested when we moved in here, that was our worst year.

    • contessa says:

      Nancy, thanks so much for coming back with your comments. We will certainly keep our eyed skyward at dusk. I do remember that post you made in 2011, I even made a comment on it back them. All I can say is it is very different when it is up front and in our home. We don’t have control of the big security light so we might be a target. Sure hope we don’t have another attack.

      George….I hope they have passed. We never sit with our blinds closed, either in the RV or at home! Well if in a Walmart we will close them but certainly never sit in the dark.

      Croft….2 for the price of one. We have been invaded by ants but a product called Ant Be Gone from Home Depot does the trick.

      Colleen…EXACTLY!! That and the RV itself.

      Rod….according to Nancy we may not be in the clear. Now we know to be vigilant at dusk and have an idea of how to defend ourselves.

      Janet… would have been screaming. I think the adrenaline kicked in and kept me sane.

      Renee….you and Greg helped us regain our sanity. We are forever grateful.

  3. Sounds like a horror story alright.
    Hopefully they have passed.
    We always sit in the dark at night, drapes close with just maybe the tv or computer on.

  4. Croft says:

    OMG! And here we were worries about the ant invasion that won’t go away. Maybe we can get a deal on fumigating!

  5. longdog2 says:

    How horrible! I think I would be concerned about your patio cover being full of them too.

  6. Rod Williams says:

    That sure doesn’t sound like any fun at all. Hopefully the issue has passed you by.

  7. Janet Ashworth says:

    After our ant infestation in La Penita, I now understand!
    Hope that is the last of them ugh!

  8. Renee says:

    Yuck! So glad we had a nice luch the next day to make up for some of the mayhem!!

  9. Bob says:

    Even if I had managed to get my wife there in the first place, she would have been on the next flight home, with or without me. She’s not much of a one for bugs. Period.
    Good luck over the next few days.

    • contessa says:

      I certainly considered going elsewhere but had no choice but to deal with the situation and the battle of the termites. We did talk about packing up and heading out but everything would have been full of termites. Things have settled down and we can now resume a slow pack up in the cool of the mornings and enjoyment of the afternoons.

  10. Here we are worried about how a few mosquitoes are getting into our rig in the evening and driving us nuts when we go to bed at night. I think I will take the few mosquitoes over what you have had to deal with. Hope you don’t have any more problems with them over the next few nights.


  11. Suzanne says:

    Just reading about this is enough to make me nearly pass out! Good thing you and Colin were in it together! I would have just gone running, screaming from my rig! That picture of you sleeping is so sad….so weary. I am relieved to hear it may have passed!

    • contessa says:

      I would have loved to have run screaming from the RV but I had to stay and fight. Besides there were thousands more flying around outside.

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