When I first moved to Mexico I spent months and months forever seeing insects I’d never seen before. Everything from the common cockroach to ants of all sizes as well as funkier bugs like the praying mantas and the horrifying tailless whip scorpion. You will also find an endless array of spiders (big and small), beetles and butterflies that change as often as the seasons.
While some warranted a shrug-of-the-shoulder, others were received with a frightened screech (from me) that left a lasting memory. Here are a few of the more common everyday bugs you will need to learn to live with if you’re going to move to Mexico.
While ants of all sizes are by far, the most common and determined pest, other unwanted critters such as cockroaches and stag beetles are not uncommon in urbanized areas. Here are a few others you may not know about:
Honestly, these things crack me up. They have such an attitude and personality that it’s hard to not want to watch them (from a distance). I’m not at the point where I’ll get too close, but I’ve never killed one and never will. The praying mantis is very common here and they’re big. They come in through doors and windows, but I tend to find them mostly outside at night. If you do find yourself curious, make a bit of movement that he can see. They turn their head and will watch you with their over-sized eyes.
Known commonly in the southern US as plaster bagworm, the casebearer is a tiny creature that attaches itself to just about any surface and hangs around until it turns into a moth. The case is usually white or greyish in color, flat and slender. Inside – or often poking outside – is a small larva head. This larva eventually turns into a moth and leaves the dry case behind. The larva inside can access his house from both ends by simply turning around inside. Case bearers are attracted to high humid places making it common to find them on the underside of sinks, toilets and laundry facilities. They are a favorite snack of house geckos.
Tabanos are large yellow flies similar to horse flies that are prevalent during the summer months, but found year round. The tabano is quite aggressive and hard to get rid of, even if you swat and make contact. Rarely do you feel the bite until later when you realize a small hole and an intense itch. The bite and the itching can be painful and last for a few days with the bite area turning red and swelling. While many people build up a tolerance to the bite, some suffer allergic reactions.
You may not be in the mood to sing “La cucaracha” after seeing how large the common cockroach can get around here. An incredibly common insect in the tropics, cockroaches tend to make their appearance during the night hours – unlike the Asian cockroach which is attracted to light. Cockroaches can live in a wide range of environments and are readily adaptable, making them hard to eliminate. They also leave a chemical trail in their feces as well as emit airborne pheromones for swarming and mating. It’s these chemicals that transit bacteria onto surfaces. Other cockroaches will follow these trails to find food and water sources as well as other cockroaches.
Out of all the insects, cockroaches are among the hardiest, capable of living up to a month without food or water.. Typically they feed on human and pet food and often leave an offensive odor. They have the ability to passively transport microbes on the surface of their bodies, making their presence potentially dangerous to humans. The best way to control cockroaches is to keep all food and water stored away. Even a dripping tap will attract them.