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ziret

Apr 18, 2004, 8:10 AM

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Insects, repellants and other folk tales

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You didn't ask short time Gringos what they think, hope this is OK. I've been here 6 months. A few weeks ago I went back for a visit. Someone in some airport asked me what I missed most about the US. My immediate answer was English! So language, which I consider a surmountable barrier (and one I work on every day) is one thing that could send people back. All the things surrounding language are not so easy to deal with, such as books, movies, videos, CDs, newspapers, TV, sports. These are things to adjust to and not for me serious issues, as there seem always to be solutions.

I'm aware of trade-offs and equivalences. For every irritation here, there is something as bad where I'm from--and vice verse. And for every good thing in either place, there's something wonderful in the other place. If you can have everything, you can't have it all at the same time.

So for me there are three insurmountables that could send me packing--at 1 year, 2, 5, 7, 10, who knows--one trivial--but still an issue--the others not.

Trivial: Insects and other creepy crawly things. After a couple hours of swatting mosquitoes, I retire to bed with a book, keeping all but my hands and eyeballs under the sheets. A whining begins in one of my ears. I swat it and while that ear is still ringing, the bug zips around to the other side of my head and whispers sweet nothings there. If by chance I manage to kill it, there are always a couple more to take its place. The suspense is better than a Tom Clancy novel, which I have handy to kill the larger bugs.

Meanwhile tiny, harmless insects are drawn to my reading lamp, where they decide to die in a flutter on my nightstand. Those who live a bit longer, make an interesting pattern on my sheet or add punctuation to my reading material. It gets to be too much! I shut the book, go in the bathroom and there's a nice big scorpion to greet me at the door, waving its electric tail up and down. I hit it with the handy can of Raid and go off to find the broom.

There on the kitchen floor is a cockroach so big it is probably the very thing (besides the cat) that is keeping the rats away. OK now I have the dead bugs swept up and I'm in bed, I've given up on reading, it's 1 a.m. and my mosquito bites begin to itch. I slap on in ascending order, a squeeze of lime, Andantol and Hyrdocortisone cream. Soon my legs and arms are a mass of bleeding scratches. The mosquitoes, like sharks, smell blood and zoom in for more feeding. More slapping, more spraying the DEET, more itching, less sleep. You get the idea.

The not trivial: Family, friends, connections. In a very real sense, especially if you live alone, you lose your identity when you move here. Sure you still are whoever you were--sort of. But my theory is we exist in relationship to one another and who we are depends a lot on who we are with. I am not so much talking about what our career was or what major or minor fame or infamy we may have achieved. The whole network and web of social, familial and historical associations we have if we lived in one place for our lives or for a long time--it doesn't move with us. Sometimes this is a good thing, I suppose. But it leaves me feeling vulnerable in much the same way I did when I got divorced. I expect it to pass as that did, but there's no guarantee it will.

The not even negotiable: Family emergencies, health problems. Enough said.

Really, there's no way of knowing in advance, no matter how much research you do, whether a make-it or break-it situation will arise. Whether one day you look at a scorpion and think, That's it! I can't take it any more! Some things you cannot find out unless you live here. And really, so what if you do go back after a week, a month, a year, a decade? You will have had that time in Mexico. It doesn't make you a failure, you did something wonderful! And your next phase of life may be just as wonderful. Don't worry about it.

Teri


(This post was edited by DavidMcL on May 6, 2004, 6:17 PM)



king1522

Apr 18, 2004, 10:00 AM

Post #2 of 25 (3104 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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I have been watching this thread with great interest. I have an appointment with my realtor at 1:30 today to place my home on the market and I have comitted to Strom moving, they are my choice of movers. So, come hell or high water, I'm moving to the Chapala area. Hopefully, I have straddled most of these hurdles. It would not be unusual to find a rattlesnake crossing my driveway and scorpions have become a way of life here in south Texas. I just make sure I wear my slippers to the bathroom at night! However bad the mosquitos are in Chapala, they can't be any worse than here. I live about a quarter of a mile from the Nuceses River here in Corpus and mosquitos are huge and numerous. The only place I have seen larger mosquitos were in Chicago! Man....those were the size of small birds and some of them were really big! As far as the weather is concerned, I dealt with tornados in the Dallas area and deal with hurricanes here on the coast. If Chapala has hurricanes or tornados, I guess I will just install storm panels and dig a storm shelter. It is my opinion that just about anywhere one lives, you just have to adapt or move. As my wife stated, "If we move and don't like it and move back, at least when we get older, we won't say, what would it have been like if we had moved to Mexico?". Being that I intend to leave my rose colored glasses here in south Texas, I hope I won't have a problem.

Don



Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The more paper that
is rolled off, the faster it goes.


FeelinGroovy

Apr 18, 2004, 10:38 AM

Post #3 of 25 (3088 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Teri,

We have these things that are made by RAID and plug into an electrical outlet that keep the mosquitoes at bay. Another thing I do is take garlic tablets daily and that seems to help. If there is one mosquito in a room of 100 people it will find me so I have to find ways to keep them off me.
Libby



Rolly


Apr 18, 2004, 11:59 AM

Post #4 of 25 (3072 views)

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Re: [Libby] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Sometimes I am so glad that I live on the desert. We have no mosquitoes and almost no flies. The dogs don't have fleas, but they get lots of ticks.

The scorpion is the state symbol of Durango, yet I have seen only one in the past four years. Our nearby mountains are teeming with rattle snakes. When my buddies go into the mountains to harvest wild oregano, they always kill two or three rattlers. I have a nice skin they brought to me that I plan to make into a hat band.

We digress...

Rolly Pirate


ziret

Apr 18, 2004, 2:04 PM

Post #5 of 25 (3051 views)

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Re: [Libby] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Libby,

Actually I remembered the RAID things last night and got them out and they worked well. I'll try to remember tonight. I have been meaning to ask if the garlic capsules don't make you smell like garlic? Because I'd definitely try that, too.

Teri


ziret

Apr 18, 2004, 2:05 PM

Post #6 of 25 (3050 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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I know what you mean. I miss the dessert.


jennifer rose

Apr 18, 2004, 3:11 PM

Post #7 of 25 (3041 views)

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Anti-insect remedies....

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Outside, citronella candles. Available at Costco, Walmart, HomeMart, Ace, and other fine mercantile establishments.

The dogs and I each eat at least one garlic clove daily, and we're seldom bothered by mosquitos. No one has remarked that we have a distinctive odor, but then maybe others are merely being polite. Vitamin B also helps.

Now, for those bites. Spit on the affected area and sprinkle a little Adolph's meat tenderizer. You'll be cured in about five minutes.

The plug-ins do seem to work. That is, if you can remember to plug them in. Ordinary insence seems to work just as well. And you'll thank me for that later.

Fumigate each room about every 3-4 months with an Ortho aerosol bomb. Not only does it kill fleas and spiders, it seems to kill off scorpions, too.

Rodents can be a big problem, especially if you leave the doors open like I do. Find comfort in the old saying "Where there are mice, there are no rats." Or "Where there are rats, there are no mice." You might as well lay in a supply of traps -- or teach your pack partners to hunt.

Shall I go on about the opossum that one of the dogs dragged into the living room? After chasing it into a bathroom and locking up the dog, I ran into the street and in less than 5 minutes, I found someone who knew someone who thought tlacuache spelled fine dining. After he caught the thing, I gave him a cold beer for his efforts. No sense in getting my hands dirty if the critter meant dinner for someone else.

The longer you live here, the more nonchalant and cavalier you'll become about uninvited fauna in your surroundings.


Kip


Apr 18, 2004, 3:13 PM

Post #8 of 25 (3041 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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What works for us as far as the "skeeters" go is toothepaste on the bite (works for bees and wasps too) and a Benedrille. Good luck.

Kip
kip


Kip


Apr 18, 2004, 3:14 PM

Post #9 of 25 (3040 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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I forgot to mention that I enjoyed your post!

Kip
kip


esperanza

Apr 18, 2004, 5:04 PM

Post #10 of 25 (3015 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Anti-insect remedies....

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Another good remedy for insect bites is Andantol, available without prescription in most pharmacies. It's an antihistamine gel. Apply the tiniest amount to a mosquito (or other insect) bite and voilá--no itching and the bite itself disappears in minutes.

For the house, another good spray is Cynoff, available in powder at most hardware stores. Mix according to package directions in your pump sprayer and spray the inside and outside perimeters of the house. Not harmful to you or your domestic animals, a spray application lasts about 8 weeks and really keeps crawling things, including scorpions, out.

And then there was the night my cat brought in--through the cat door, no less--a 17" wingspan black leatherwing bat. Alive. With very large teeth. Oh, we had a good time with that one. I recall running into the street screaming, "I need a MAN. I need a MAN." I'm sure my neighbors were amused to no end.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Ed and Fran

Apr 18, 2004, 5:30 PM

Post #11 of 25 (3004 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Anti-insect remedies....

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Quote
The dogs and I each eat at least one garlic clove daily



Does it count if it's cooked? In this house garlic and chipotle run neck and neck in the 'most used condiment' race. I figure we're okay.

Actually, all seriousness aside, our first line of defense is our window screens. We also use the 'raidolitos' mosquito coils (kinda like incense if you close your eyes). Often the neighbors burning trash in the evenings makes it a moot point whether we need the raidolitos or not.

We had a more serious problem with ticks on the dogs (and on us if we weren't real careful), as we have pastureland in front of us. But the Hartz Advanced Care Flea & Tick drops once a month has helped a lot with that. (With the dogs, that is...).

The cat was a pretty good mouser when she came to live with the family, but I think she's fed too well on commercial food now. Not too much interest in chasing those little critters these days. Maybe just having her around is enough. We've only had one (that we know of) in the last 5 months.

Regards

E&F


Cynthia7

Apr 18, 2004, 6:46 PM

Post #12 of 25 (3112 views)

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Re: [Ed and Fran] Anti-insect remedies....

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I use those raid mosquito plug ins and ammonnia in a squeeze bottle for mosquito bites. You can spray the area with skin so soft by Avon. Boric acid will eliminate scorpions, cockroaches and ants. In May we get flies and use plastic bags hung at different levels in the door to keep them out. A beaded curtain with mirrors will work but I haven't seen them in Mexico. The flies don"t like the reflection of the plastic bags or mirrors. Thank goodness- at this altitude insects aren't a huge problem. Where I live in the states we are afraid the mosquitoes will knock us down. If garlic works for you-they make odorless garlic pills.


Kip


Apr 18, 2004, 7:01 PM

Post #13 of 25 (3104 views)

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Re: [king1522] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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I checked out Strom Moving too and made the same decision that you did. I actually talked to Mrs. Strom and was very impressed. Not with just the moving details but the time she took to answer questions about the area and just about anything else that she could help me with.

Kip
kip


TomG

Apr 21, 2004, 12:49 PM

Post #14 of 25 (2977 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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If everybody smelled like garlic, it wouldn't make any difference.....and their food would taste better.

Garlic Soup - Sopa de Ajo
  1. 1 full cup of garlic pealed
  2. 1/2 onion chopped
  3. etc.



Carron

Apr 21, 2004, 1:56 PM

Post #15 of 25 (2958 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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When we lived in Chiapas for three years, the first thing we bought were mosquito nets for our beds. Actually, our muchacha got them for us. They were in bright blues and reds and our bedrooms looked like brothels! But they kept off the bugs.

She also taught us to add a litro of petroleo (kerosine) to a five gallon bucket of mop water and use this on the floors and walls of our house. Keeps out all the creepy crawlies.

We did occasionally have scorpians. When we were bitten, we immediately took a couple of Benadryl (antihistamine) tablets, available in any local pharmacy, an 800 mg ibruprofin tablet, and drank lots of fluids. The worst we felt was like a case of 48 hour flu with some chills and fever and muscle aches.


SteveInPVR

Apr 21, 2004, 3:25 PM

Post #16 of 25 (2938 views)

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Re: [Cynthia7] Anti-insect remedies....

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Cynthia...how do you use the boric acid? Sprinkle it around floors, windows, etc? Our problem has been bats, hundreds of them coming twice a year to eat the fruit off a huge tree on our terrace. Any ideas on how to deal with that beside bamboo roll-ups which we have in place? Sometimes they get a little too close for comfort!

Steve
Steve


Texwheel

Apr 21, 2004, 6:34 PM

Post #17 of 25 (2916 views)

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Re: [Carron] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Well, I haven't moved down yet, but when I read a few comments about mosquitos I wondered if nets over the beds were a possibility, including new or better screens on the windows and doors. In the army in southeast Asia, nets seemed to work pretty well. At least I did not get many bites or Malaria. I do hate the smell of bug repellant. It was easy to set up a mosquito frame above a GI bunk, though I'm sure the set-up may not be available for a double or larger bed. Tom.
Tom Williams
Georgetown, Texas
Texwheel@aol.com


Cynthia7

Apr 21, 2004, 6:35 PM

Post #18 of 25 (2915 views)

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Re: [SteveInPVR] Anti-insect remedies....

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We sprinkle the boric acid on the counters near where the wall meets the counter and under the drawers in the counter. The insect walks in it and takes it back to their nests and it kills them. You can mix it with sugar for ants. Now those bats - the only thing I can thjink about is putting netting over the trees so they can't get to the fruit. They did that in the Jardin here in SMA and the grackles can't roost in the evening and "you kinow what" on the citizens and tourists. When we drive to the border I see the fruit trees around Monterray covered with netting. Now can you help me with the 20 street cats that love my house at night??? I've tried moth balls, chicken wire, the neighbors dog ??? As Rosanna Dannon says"It's always sumpin!"


johanson


Apr 21, 2004, 8:17 PM

Post #19 of 25 (2896 views)

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Re: [Cynthia7] Anti-insect remedies....

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I can't speak for all of Ajijic. But way up high overlooking 99% of the city, we don't have that many flying critters. In fact I almost didn't put screens on the windows in my new house.

There are fewer biting critters here than there are up North at my summer home between Seattle and Vancouver

It AINT that bad down here.


sandykayak


Apr 22, 2004, 3:11 PM

Post #20 of 25 (2815 views)

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Re: [Texwheel] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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www.campmor.com has the mosquito net bar in both single and double versions...HOWEVER they are not made of no see 'um mesh (for the gnats/sand flies common in tropical climates).
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Bubba

Apr 23, 2004, 8:30 AM

Post #21 of 25 (2763 views)

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Re: [king1522] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Well put, King:

I just returned from a necessary trip to South Texas and the heat and humidity were terrible. Everybody lives in an artificially air conditioned environment and the steets are usually empty of pedestrain traffic. Five minutes outside and you are sweating like a stuck pig. And, then it gets cold in the winter and they have those dreadful tornadoes and hurricanes as other seasonal variants. People are way more uptight in that flat, featureless scrubland than here.

Furthermore, our cockroaches in my native Coastal Alabama could whip any 10 cockroaches I've ever seen in the Chapala area. We had countless scorpions when we lived in rural Nothern California and yellow jackets that would harass you right off of your deck if you tried to eat outside and rattlesnakes galore. Then there were the giant bloodsucking ticks that would leap on you and your dogs from the fir trees as you walked the forest. All of these monsters paled in comparison with the incredibly nasty horse flies that plagued our mountain top swimming pool and made swimming a miserable experience much of the time. And the blue jays were so big and nasty and loud in Northern California that they scared our giant mastiffs when stealing their food.

As for mosquitos, they are, at most, a minor nuisance in the Chapala area. In both Southern Alabama and Northern Minnesota, I have, at times, found it hard to breath with the mosquito infestations.

I have lived in Ajijic for three years. I have seen three scorpions, one of which bit me before he died. I had no problem except some minor numbness. I have never seen even one snake here nor one yellow jacket nor have I seen any horse flies around my swimming pool. They say there are ticks here but I have yet to spot one and they are almost certainly not the types of monsters we had in California. There are no loud, bullying blue jays but lots and lots of beautiful songbirds that awaken us every morning and put us a good mood.

Any pest control problems you have at your house in the urban areas of Ajijic can be controlled with safe, organic pesticides.

If you live in North America north of the Mexican border and are afraid to move to this highland paradise because of the climate or the abundance of creepy crawlers, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Get over it and welcome.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Apr 23, 2004, 8:41 AM)


Carron

Apr 23, 2004, 10:21 AM

Post #22 of 25 (2741 views)

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Re: [Texwheel] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Mosquito nets we have used in Mexico are huge circular things which hang by a ring from the ceiling over your bed. They come in a variety of sizes. Or you can get a local seamstress to make yours whatever size you need. We don't use them since we left Chiapas. We found they tended to be hot--didn't let the breezes through the fabric. And our dogs were always jumping on top of them and ripping them loose from the ceiling. Here in northern Mexico we do have mosquitoes but we keep a powerful floor fan trained on us, even during the winter. An old habit during our marriage which provides a nice level of white noise and makes it much easier to sleep through these noisy Mexican nights!


Texwheel

Apr 23, 2004, 10:41 AM

Post #23 of 25 (2732 views)

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Re: [Carron] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Thank you for your reply. When I was a kid in Georgetown, Texas, just north of Austin, we had a lot of scorpions. I haven't seen one in 20-30 years. I'm sure they're out there. What scares me more is that two highly venomous cobras have been spotted in a condo complex in Dallas. I have long wondered when this would happen. They caught one, but not the other. One was small, to me, indicating young, the other rather large, Mom maybe? There are so many idiots who collect dangerous creatures and then let them go.
Tom Williams
Georgetown, Texas
Texwheel@aol.com


Georgia


Apr 25, 2004, 7:03 PM

Post #24 of 25 (2659 views)

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Re: [ziret] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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Ok, here's the sure fire mosquito cure when you want to read in bed: a little known fact: mosquitos can't fly in a breeze of more than 7 mile per hour (or so I was told by a lengthy article in the Boston Globe some years ago). So ... a small fan or a good ceiling fan pointed towards you should keep the little blood sucking devils at bay. Sleep tight.


Don


Apr 25, 2004, 7:55 PM

Post #25 of 25 (2643 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Long Time Gringo Residents - Enlighten Us

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We have found the best way to keep mosquitos and flies out of the house was screens. We even put screens over out upperdeck / patio area. Keeps out almost all those flying insects, yet lets in the sun and cooling breezes. We orginally did this to keep out nesting birds while our house sat empty, before we moved full time to Mexico. Now we enjoy all the benefits this screening provided.


 
 
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