The trouble with Cape Coral

My girlfriend Crystal and I moved to Cape Coral, FL in July of this year.  Overall the city is a nice cross between country living and the conveniences of a city.  Practically every restaurant or chain store we could want is with 10-15 miles of our house.  Yet our house itself has only 3 neighbors either touching our yard or across the street.  There are none of the neighborhood association nightmares of city living (at least in the North…I hear South Cape Coral is downright uptight).  In spite of the majority of the city being underdeveloped, the streets are mostly 4 lane, intelligently laid out, and for the most part in good repair.

However, if you are considering moving to The Cape, and are scouring, as we were a few months ago, for info about life in Cape Coral,  you might want to take some notes. 

Some of the nature here is very cool.  In our area there is a pack of coyotes that live in the 120 acres of woods across the street.  They come out every garbage day looking for leftovers.  As is fairly evident by my website, I worked with exotics, including big cats, bears, wolves, and crocs.  Consequently, the prospect of coyotes wandering the neighborhood might disturb some people, but I find it refreshing.

We also have…well had…a neighborhood skunk in the area.  Last week he was hit by a car.  He freaked out Crystal who dreaded the thought of the skunk spraying the dogs.  But still, he didn’t hurt anything, and seemed to just survey the area.  As long as they are not stirring up the dogs just to spray, I don’t mind skunks.

But…. (big “but” here)

No See-Um’s (Biting Midges, Sand Flies)

In internet slang WTF!?!?!?  These little bastards are outrageous.  Mosquitoes with a voracious apetite for blood and small enough to crawl through the screen of a pool enclosure.  Nothing kills them.  We tried marigolds, catnip, Terminix, Bug Free Back Yard, those little personal powered bug repellants…nothing works.  Asking our neighbor, Dan, he replied “Stay inside at dusk and dawn.”  Are you kidding me?  If you are outdoorsy, like Crystal and I are…seriously reconsider SW Florida.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are all over the South.  I came across them from time to time in Davie, FL (Western Ft. Lauderdale area…just north of Miami).  But they are EVERYWHERE here.  After we moved in I found 6 piles.  This problem is at least fixable.  We tried Terminix, and a couple sprays, but what kicks their little fire-breathing buts is “Spectracide Fire Ant Once and Done”.  24-hours and the little buggers were nowhere to be found.

Beyond the bugs, the tax rates and the politics here, as in much of Florida are a little nuts.  There was a big todo here not too long ago because the city wanted to tax the heck out of the residents to pay for water improvements based on possible future growth.  I wouldn’t mind having city water here, but “future growth”?  Out of all the areas I looked at before we moved, this are had the lowest expected future growth!

Water is another disconcerting issue.  While South Cape is on city water, much of North and West Cape is on wells.  The wells are deep, but get this…the water contains sulfurous compounds.  That’s right, your water will smell like rotten eggs!  Mmmm.  Every house around has a water softener that pretty much does the trick.  However, many houses here have sprinklers which bypass the water softeners.  If you like to jog or walk in the early morning, you probably don’t want to live in NW Cape.  Every house who has a sprinkler system will smell…bad!

Finally, Chinese Drywall.  Yes, that’s right…drywall from China.  Certain areas of the United States were growing by leaps and bounds between 2004 and 2007 (including SW Florida).  Demand for drywall was through the roof.  So some contractors started ordering drywall from China.  One particular province used power plant waste or something to create its drywall.  It (like the water here) smells of rotten eggs.  Not only that but the sulfurous compounds mix with water to make a weak sulfuric acid which apparently has done a lot of damage to wiring and AC systems around the area.  Thankfully, we don’t appear to be living in a house plagued by this. 

Overall, we could have done much worse than Cape Coral.  But I have to admit it’s pretty bad when you move to a new area and within 30 days start weighing whether you want to move again or not.  When Crystal asked Dominick “Do you like it here” after a month of living in the new house, Dominick replied casually “No.”  “Why?” asked Crystal.  “I’m tired of getting bit by bugs,” Dominick responded.  “I want to live back at the old place.”  [An 800 sqft 2 bed 1 bath condo].  “But here you have a yard, your own pool, a sandbox, a swingset, and lots of room to play and have fun.  You wouldn’t have that at the old place.”  Dominick watched the oncoming, morning school bus pulling up to our driveway.  “I don’t care, I’m just tired of getting bit.”  I’m on it, buddy.  I’m on it.

16 Responses to “The trouble with Cape Coral”

  1. Crystal says:

    I would like to add something to this. The other day while Dominik was taking a shower I noticed a large lump on his leg. It was a scab from a bug bite he can’t seem to leave alone and it’s infected. A bug bite. I too have scars from these “ninja nits.” Even when asking professionals about the no-see-ums we get told the same thing. “Nothing you can do, other than stay inside.” We didn’t move to a bigger house with a huge yard and such to stay inside. We have a two car garage. One is in it because I use my car to sit in while waiting for the bus in the morning. the driveway is give or take 20 feet. Because the boys and I are sick of being bit up.

  2. Michael Honas says:

    Guys, Give it some time. Yea the bugs can be pesty at times, but you’ll see it’s not all the time. Right now they are rougher than most times. I’ve lived here for 30 years, originally from Ohio, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything….just give it some time…at least enjoy one winter..

  3. Tom Twitty says:

    I have lived in FL since 1954 and spent a lot of time in the woods mainly from central fl north. I discovered Boca Grande in 1972 and experenced bugs like never before and never since. Only escape was on the water and then we were attacked by Love Bugs. No seeUms drive me nuts to and I don’t go south in the winter time. I live in Pinellas County and there are areas bug free and I don’t know why. I play a lot of golf nowdays and only get into a bug situation when I go south and some times around Crystal River on Deer and Hog hunts at a buddies ranch. But the worst NoseeUms I have experenced was at Hilton Head several years ago. Bad on the Defunsky Island and right in the heart of Hilton at the Harborage Resort (home of the Verizon Heritage PGA tournament). That is in April and look out for noseeums at that time. We tried everything know to man including Bounce inside our hats and of course Skin so Soft. Deep woods Off seems to work but is ugly smelling on ones body. North Carolina in the Summer is the answer. Tom

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  6. Nice article. I’m in SW Cape Coral and haven’t had much trouble with No See-Ums, but we do get the occasional scary-as-all-hell wolf spider in the house! Never a pleasant experience!

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  13. Big John says:

    Just got back from a week at Boca Grande… Got 20-30 hideously itchy bug bites, mostly on my lower legs. They leave red dots and don’t stop itching for 3-4 days. Are these the notorious noseeums? I sure never saw ‘em! Ruins the experience…

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