Señorita Manners

Manners are a way of softening the blow as our ideals and personal space come into proximity with others, are also useful when coming into contact with smaller creatures and creepy crawlies.

The most common interaction is of the buzzing and sucking variety- mosquitoes! First step is prevention and keeping them outside; close doors and screens. If sitting al fresco, light an anti-mosquito coil and place it on the floor. Repellent is always a good option, although please step away from the table if spritzing in a restaurant and don’t forget to offer the bottle around. If a nasty mozzy makes it onto your skin…..slap away, it’s a dog eat dog world!

Scorpions and Tarantulas are the stuff of horror movies and I am sure your first reaction will be to reach for your latest beach read and squish. If you can resist, do. Scorpions are one of the longest existing terrestrial arthropods and they have been on earth for over 400 million years. They feed primarily on insects and sometimes on other scorpions. Scorpions prefer crickets and cockroaches, but they will eat centipedes and spiders, as well. If you find one of these creatures inside your home you can use a washed out large yogurt container and dustbin to pick it up bring it outside. If you get stung by a scorpion in Huatulco, the sting will most likely be about as bad as a really bad bee sting, but young children, the elderly, and your pets may well have difficulty coping with it. Get to the doctor, the Red Cross, or the vet as fast as possible.

Tarantulas are not sufficiently venomous to kill a human being, and they bite as a last resort. What to look out for with western hemisphere tarantulas is their “urticating hairs.” The tarantula uses its rear legs to kick them off its rump and throw them at the target (think porcupine quills); the hairs can produce severe irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Should this happen (it won’t), avoid inhaling any loose hairs, use duct tape like a lint roller to pick up any loose hairs, and tweeze out any that struck the skin. Get immediate medical attention if you think you have hairs in your eyes or lungs.

Army ants, there is no use going up against these manner-less home invaders. Grab your pets, car keys and head out for dinner, most likely they will be gone when you get back.

Remember the words of Edward Wilson on the importance of insects. “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

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