Creepy crawlies?

Are you scared of insects. I hear this a lot – especially when putting together vacations in exotic and tropical locations. People want beach, they want sand, they want heat – but they don’t want creepy crawlies. I can understand that, especially if you are not used to them. I could always understand people being scared of spiders or moths or lizards but I could never understand the fear of ants. How to deal with ants in your motel room? One customer years ago had a plague on ants in her motel in Disneyland so she used her toothpaste to seal up the baseboards in her room. Another vacationer to the Cook Islands was so terrified of the insects that hotel staff put a guard at her door. And possibly one of the first questions I get asked about a safari is “will there be any spiders or bugs?”

Fortunately growing up in Africa has raised my tolerance level quite a bit so I am pretty unfazed by spiders, lizards, ants even snakes. I was however pretty surprised to read a report of a passenger on a flight from Toronto to Calgary who was bitten by a scorpion.

Boy I bet she didn’t expect that! No wonder she was so freaked out – and I would be too – even having grown up in Africa. A scorpion is not a nice thing to find in your sweater. Even the flight attendant was amazed as she tried to persuade the passenger it was just a gum wrapper.

Now where the heck did that come from? Someone in my office guessed that it might be someone’s support animal gone astray? Someone else guessed that it was one of those touristy paper weights but that it wasn’t quite dead. Someone else mused that maybe it came aboard in a bunch of grapes – but then I thought who the heck gets grapes on a flight from Toronto to Calgary? Someone else thought that maybe it stowed away on the flight – hoping for a better life… in Alberta??

Nothing quite like a creepy crawlie to stir things up. Arriving as new immigrants to South Africa many years ago we were greeted by more insects than we were used to in England. The funny thing was, it was my Mom who was the Insect Warrior. While us kids screamed and ran away and my Dad stood on a chair my mom would stride into the bedroom and find that pesky spider and just batter the life out of it.

R.I.P. Mr Spider

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. That’s so very true in many cases. Moms are the warriors. I battled it out with many a cockroach in Cameron while volunteering there a few years ago. I was much older than the rest of the crew so when they heard banging noises from my end of the house, the kids would always say to my daughter, also there as volunteer, “Your mom is wrestling with the coachroaches again.”


  2. Our VRBO was infested with cockroaches in Cabo several years ago. Our teenage daughter wouldn’t go to the bathroom without me with her – lol! It was there we learned cockroaches could hiss and fly !!!! Yikes!!! The resident cat helped with some of them, but the manager did arrange to get an extinguisher in. We still talk and laugh about that holiday experience! (:


    1. Oh my goodness – that is the best thing about that sort of experience – provides fodder for many stories and laughs after the event although at the time not much fun for sure. I am pretty tolerant with regard to most creepy crawlies but cockroaches are in a class all of their own …. I really don’t like them at all. Did you notice that when you go into a room and switch on the light how they all freak out and hide back under the cupboards. That’s the worst!


  3. I now have a healthy fear of ants after putting my foot down on a fire ant nest when riding my bike! The bites took forever to heal and I still have marks 6 months later. So, yes I can totally understand that one!


  4. Oh yes, for sure Lesley!! They’d be scurrying out of sight!! Had a hard time falling asleep in the dark (wondering where they were hiding!!). One was tucked into the fold of my towel as I reached for it from the shower – that just about did me in!!! We do laugh about it all now! (: Have enjoyed sharing this story with you! Have a great day!


  5. We stayed at a hotel on the Rhine River in Koblenz several years ago. We checked in to the room as normal and realised the place was crawling with spiders (some extremely large). They were absolutely everywhere. We went down to reception and without a word of a lie they handed us a vacuum cleaner before asking what was wrong. Clearly they were used to this. One was so large it wouldn’t go up the vacuum tube so my wife chased it around the room before eventually putting it out of our misery.

    Our evening meal beside a window overlooking the Rhine was partly spoiled (us Brits are made of sterner stuff) with us dodging the spiders running across the table and hanging off the lights above us. We slept with the light on and were pleased to be moving on the next day.


    1. How horrific! As blase as I might be about the odd spider this sounds like something out of a Stephen King movie! Just trying to imagine a spider too big to go up the vacuum tube….. Shudder!


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