5 common pesky insects found along the Riviera Maya

Posted By on August 4, 2015

Like most people who live in the Riviera Maya, you are totally sold on the area’s beauty, ease of travel and cost of living. Unless you’ve lived a large portion of your life in a tropical part of the world, one thing most people are not sold on is the insects.

praying mantis

Praying Mantis

Nearly every pesky creature you see outside will, at some point, end up in your house. They come in through unscreened doors and windows, squeeze through cracks during the night and even manage their way up drainpipes to greet you when you least expect it. Cohabitating with insects is simply part of living in the Riviera Maya.

While ants of all sizes are by far, the most common and determined pest, other freakish critters such as praying mantis and stag beetles are not uncommon in urbanized areas. Here are a few others you may not know about:

casebearer insect in mexico



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. Case bearers are attracted to highly humid places making it common to find them on the underside of sinks, toilets and laundry facilities.


Tabanos are large yellow flies, similar to horse flies, prevalent during the summer months, but found here all year round. The tabano is quite aggressive. Rarely does its victim feel the bite until later when an intense itch sets in. The bite and the itching can be painful and last for several days. The bite area often turns red and swells. While many people build up a tolerance to the tabano bite, while some people suffer allergic reactions.


Scorpions are very common in all places along the Riviera Maya. For the most part, the scorpions around here are very passive and will only sting if provoked. Around the Riviera Maya, most scorpion stings are not dangerous. They’re painful but do not usually required medical attention unless a stung person experiences a change in breathing or begins to produce a thick mucous, two danger signs that will appear soon after the sting. Most scorpion stings are uncomfortable for about 24-hours. While a large majority of the regional scorpions are nonvenomous, pale or blonde scorpions are dangerous and should be avoided.

tailless whip scorpion playa del carmen mexico insects

Tailless Whip Scorpion

Tailless whip scorpion:

It’s unlikely you would forget one if you saw one. The tailless whip scorpion is neither an actual spider nor scorpion, making it part of the amblypygids category related to the Arachnida class. They are a common nocturnal critter around the Riviera Maya, frequently found inside homes. These creatures walk sideways on six legs and are excellent climbers. Despite their appearance, they lack a proper stinger that many associate with scorpions, although they do have pinchers they use to capture prey. Like other spiders and scorpions, whip scorpions live primarily on other insects. They are non-venomous, but can spray an acidic enzyme that is primarily used to stun its prey. They prefer larger insects – including cockroaches – but will occasionally consume tiny vertebrates such as juvenile lizards. Other components of their diet are frogs and crustaceans.


You may not be in the mood to sing “La cucaracha” after seeing how large the common cockroach can get around here.  There are 4,600 species of cockroaches in the world out of which, about 30 are associated with human habitats. Out of those 30, four species are well-known for being pests.

An incredibly common insect in the tropics, cockroaches found along the Riviera Maya 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. Cockroaches 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. They are even known to survive on limited resources such as glue from envelopes. 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 inside tap or outside waterline with attract them.

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