Animal Welfare

How to Avoid and Treat Common Insect Stings on the Riviera Maya

How to avoid and treat common insect stings on the Riviera Maya

Mexico is fortunate to rank as fourth in the world for its diversity and natural habitats after Brazil, Columbia and Thailand. With all that wonderful diversity, there will also be species of insects and arachnids that we would prefer to avoid. The Riviera Maya has a few that can cause harm, ranging from an irritating itch to a bite that requires immediate hospital treatment.  

Scorpions are common here but are generally non-venomous, except the pale and blonde colored ones. They generally have a shy and passive nature, and usually only sting if provoked. Most stings are painful for around 24 hours and do not require medical attention. If you are unlucky enough to be stung and experience breathing difficulties or start to produce a thick mucus it is important to get medical help.

The tabano fly (horsefly) looks like a large, yellow, orange and black fly. Only the female bites, which can inflict large painful welts that itch and weep for several days. They are mostly found in a jungle setting and the usual insect protections do not always deter them so long sleeves and trousers are recommended for jungle days out. I have been bitten by one and found that  antihistamine helped to reduce the swelling and aloe vera soothed the itch.

Mosquitoes are always a pest in tropical climes and the Riviera Maya is no different. A natural mosquito repellant called citronella (essential oil extracted from lemongrass) is widely available in candles, wristbands and sprays. The aroma from rosemary, zodia and lavender plants is a mosquito repellent. Vinegar, ice, toothpaste or lime juice will all help itching caused by mosquito bites.

For those who suffer from arachnophobia, seeing a tarantula is probably your worst nightmare but despite their scary appearance they are generally passive and harmless towards humans. Tarantulas have venom in their bite which may cause some discomfort, but they are not fatal and usually no worse than a wasp sting. Although not a natural native to the region, the more innocent looking brown recluse spider can be anything from a quarter of an inch to an inch long. It has a venomous bite and anyone bitten should seek medical attention. They are quite rare in the area and will normally only bite if disturbed. They are primarily nocturnal and prefer dark secluded places.

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