Last updated 02/16/2021
Mexico is mostly a tropical climate perfect for breeding insects. There are 924 species found.
And then there is the possibility of bugs hitchhiking in on host.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis.
Stinging Insects in Mexico
Like many countries Mexico has its stinging bees. The Africanized honeybee arrived in Mexico in the late 1980s.
Stings from a bee can be especially dangerous if you are one of the many people who are allergic. If you are aware of this always have your epinephrine on you, just encase. Pay attention to any nesting areas and avoid.
But there are varieties that are stingless. Don’t confuse your bees because Mexico is active in protecting their honey bee. Mexico is one of the world’s largest honey producers.
Mexico has the Tarantula Hawk Wasp that will sting a human if it is bothered. They prey on tarantulas. Usually it is blue and black in color some have rust colored wings. Be on the alert for any nesting areas to avoid.
Fire ants leave a stinger and are a common problem. Blisters develop from the bites. If broken this could lead to an infection. These can be treated with cortisone cream.
These ants build mounds that are easy to spot. You don’t want a bite from one of these ants so stay away from their mound.
Treatment for Bee, Wasp, and Fire Ant Stings
Usual symptoms are generally local pain itching and redness at the bite area. Wash area with soap and clear water. To relieve pain and discomfort apply ice (roller comes in handy) and take acetaminophen (Tylenol) avoid ibuprofen which can cause bleeding.
To help with the itch an antihistamine such as Benadryl can be taken. Another suggestion; baking soda and water can be made into a paste and applied. This can be done twice a day. Symptoms should improve after a couple days. If redness spreads seek medical help.
Mosquito Bites in Mexico
Mosquitoes don’t require medical attention but still, use your anti-septic. I found aloe vera helps with mosquito bites.
In Mexico these buggers may carry infections of dengue, zika or chikungunya viruses. Be on the alert for symptoms of joint pain, fever and swelling of glands.
Mosquitoes are in large numbers during Mexico’s rainy season (May to October) in coastal areas (Chiapas, Tabasco and Yucatan). They are continual residents in the humid jungle areas in Southern Mexico.
It is important to have insect repellent while outdoors trekking or hiking in these jungle areas.
The female mosquito needs human blood to produce her eggs. Only their mouth parts can penetrate and draw blood from our skin.
Preventing Mosquito Bites in Mexico
Windows and door. A mosquito net screen can be installed on your windows. Installing a swinging mosquito net screen can also be done in front of outside doors. You are still able to enjoy cool, fresh air while keeping pesky mosquitoes out.
Otherwise, you would have to close windows and doors before sundown to prevent their annoying buzzing in your ear at night.
Bed net is also an effective option. This will help to keep mosquitoes away and interrupting your sleep. These are especially needed over a child’s sleeping area.
The net can be hung from a hook on the ceiling and conveniently pulled back during the day. Bed nets are better versus burning incense or other artificial repellents causing breathing problems while you sleep.
Repellents as body lotion. This is the most common method in preventing mosquito bites. There are two kinds of repellent we can apply to our skin.
DEET is usually an active ingredient or others are made using natural oils. OFF is a common brand available in most pharmacies and supermarkets in Mexico.
Citrus fragrant is regularly used to deter mosquitoes (Citronella). These products can be purchased as liquids with spray tops or as lotions or creams.
Others have found lavender to be effective.
Select clothing to cover usual exposed skin. Long sleeves and pants will keep bites away. Exposed skin is tempting to the mosquito. The female mosquito tends to bite body areas with no hair; your feet, ankles and neck for example.
Don’t forget insect repellent as well when outdoors. A hat with mosquito net is also a good idea near wooded or jungle areas.
Mosquitoes Carry Diseases Affecting Mexico
Dengue virus is transmitted by a species of mosquitoes in tropical or subtropical climates.
- Pain behind eyes
- Joint and muscles pain
- Minor bleeding
These symptoms could develop up to two weeks but could have duration of less than a week.
Dengue outbreaks have occurred in the United States in 2020. According to CDC 250 cases were reported (provisional data).
Products containing DEET: Off, Cutter, Sawyer and Ultrathon should be applied to repel mosquitoes.
Apply your sunscreen first than the repellant to your skin. Or use permethrin treated clothing.
A dengue vaccine (Dengvaxia) was approved by the United States FDA as of May 2019. Tylenol can be taken for pain relief. Avoid ibuprofen and aspirin.
Chikungunya virus infection (aka Chikungunya fever) a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes.
Common symptoms are fever and joint pain. There could also be:
- Muscle pain
Outbreaks have been seen in Africa, Europe and the Indian and Pacific oceans. The chikungunya virus was discovered for the first time in the Caribbean (Americas) in late 2013.
There is no vaccine or any medicine to help in treating.
The Lesson about Insect Bites in Mexico
I came across this article this week……
Michael a frequent traveler to Mexico was stung by a bee. He did remove the stinger but said nothing about disinfecting the wound (these days this is important).
His whole hand swelled with pain. Purple sores appeared on his finger. A doctor diagnosed him as having cellulitis.
The bee’s stinger had infected him with a staph or strep bacteria which spread up his arm. Worse even, the purple sore was a sign of necrosis (skin tissue death). This can spread quickly through the bloodstream. It is very serious.
Because Michael had sought medical help late he was given one option. He was admitted to the hospital for immediate treatment intravenously.
Lessons to us all, don’t ignore any insect bite. You may think it causes no concern but just taking an ounce of attention will prevent it from becoming more.
Have you ever been bitten by an insect while in another country? Was there ever a problem?
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Header Photo vacation resort with pool by Thorsten Technoman from Pexels