Bugs and Insects in Cancun, Mexico: Should You Be Worried?

When planning a vacation, especially to a place like Cancun, you want to avoid thinking about any unwanted pests that can ruin your getaway. However, assuming you’ll not see bugs outright may not be the most enjoyable idea, as then you’d have the insect repellant you need to fend off any bugs you may encounter. What kinds of bugs and insects should you anticipate in Cancun?

Cancun, like so many other places in the world, has bugs. The most harmful among them include mosquitoes, tabanos, chakistes, agua mala, and African bees. Infestations of these pests don’t usually cause extensive illness, but their buzzing and stinging are maddening.

Due to the likelihood of encountering pests on your Cancun trip, we recommend you continue to read. Here, we’ll provide more information about which bugs live in the area and in which conditions may increase their presence. Also discuss what to do if you get bitten or stung in Cancun, Mexico. 

Bugs and Insects in Cancun, Mexico

Which Bugs and Insects Are in Cancun?


No matter how you decide to spend your time in Cancun, you’ll be free from mosquito bites for part of it. These bothersome pests, whose variety and counting can reach 3,500, may swoop around in their seas of saliva and leave you with big, itchy, red bites to deal with.


A second name for the horsefly is the Tabano, which is in the Tabanidae family. These giant insects can be lethal to humans and animals due to their large size. By some estimations, horseflies may consume more than half of the blood they consume in a given day.


In Cancun, particular species of gnats are called chakistes, which are more bothersome than anything else. In some parts of Mexico, however, you may come across chakistes with the same biting and attacking propensity as a mosquito. While swatting at them or missing a single one can leave one bloodied, chakistes can fly through mosquito nets or screens!

Agua Mala

This species of sea lice is often called the “agua mala” or masculine water medusa. Its sting is hazardous to humans and so far is announced as a type of paralytic shellfish poisoning. If you’re aware that it can manifest inflammation and hives after direct contact with it, you can see that swimming in close contact with it can be dangerous.

African Bees

You might also have to look out for the killer or African bee. These look a lot like the bees you have witnessed in the United States, but they like to go to extraordinary lengths to get closer to you than other bees do.

For example, Africanized bees may travel as much as 400 meters in search of a single target, and they have been known to cause deaths in about 1,000 individuals. Because the Maya Peninsula (where Cancun is located) has a governmental initiative set up to limit African bees from harm or killing, if you see one, it is best to run to it and never attempt to harm or destroy it.

What kinds of conditions attract these critters?

In addition to insects that you might meet on the trip, you’re now aware that there are bugs that can always get caught while travelling in Cancun. Because there’s always a risk there, we always say we will. Some visitors may have unfortunate encounters with insects, while others may go all the way to Cancun without seeing a single bug.

Should you keep vigilant for which ailments can bring about additional insects and creatures appearing, you can gain ground and take preventative measures. Here s what you need to know.

The rainforests surrounding the city of Cancun give ideal living conditions to mosquitoes. These organisms have broad adaptations and can comfortably survive in various habitats, although they prefer healthy-grouped vegetation, the water-filled space of swamps, marshes, tall grasses, and forests.

Mosquitoes thrive in cold conditions but do not survive in cold temperatures. They may also remain a problem all year near Cancun’s Caribbean coastline, which rarely dips below 49 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you venture outside during the day or in open spaces, you may encounter horseflies or tabanos. If you are in an area with a great deal of direct sunlight, as at the beach, your odds of being bitten by one will increase.

In Cancun, shamans are relatively manageable, as we stated before. They prefer some climates and seasons over others, but they don’t like sun movements or wind changes so you may have them this way.

The green algae usually express themselves in the waters from Cancun from April to June. As it prevents taking in water during this period, be careful to avoid that harmful parasite.

You won t find African bees in Quintana Roo (this state in which the Cancun zoo is located), but you might get them elsewhere on the Gulf coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Nonetheless, if you wander outside of the peninsula and encounter no Africanized bees, you will be fine.

How You Can Avoid Bugs And Insects On Your Cancun Trip

Since these insects are likely to give rise to certain conditions in your vacation, you can change how you dress and act to repel them. Below are some tips to follow.

Stay Inside Areas That Are Developed And Urbanized

Your risk of being bitten by tabanos and mosquitoes increases when you venture too far away from urbanized areas. However, you can still encounter fire ants or mosquitoes if you choose to, but you have to wear shoes even in places these hotel lawns overlook. Even if you misstep, tamarinds and bees aren’t usually that dangerous, but it’s certainly better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re visiting Cancun while on vacation, remember to visit the Koba Ruins or the Ruinas del Rey nearby. While you’re there, remember—you’ll have to go through a dense jungle before getting to the ruins themselves. By following the safety instructions, you can ensure a safe journey.

Use Insect Repellent

Don’t worry about where you choose to choose your fun; insect repellant is always your best bet when you’re out in the wilderness, combating mosquitoes, horseflies, gnats, and any other pesky insects. Apply or spray insect repellant on your skin, and ensure all your fellow travelers do, too. Follow directions on the liquid insect repellant, reapplying as necessary about every 2 hours.

Limit Exposed Skin

The more clearly some areas are exposed, the more irritation you get from biting bugs. Considering that the weather will probably be warm and humid during your Cancun vacation, you should dress accordingly. Knowing you will be sightseeing or hiking, wear long-sleeved clothing, long pants, and closed-toe shoes with socks. A scarf or a turtleneck top is a good idea, too.

Try a Mosquito Screen 

If bugs can continue buzzing outside your hotel or wherever you’re relaxing, protecting yourself from mosquitoes with some screens could be helpful. I advise you to pay attention to henbit, which can burst through the net or netting that you construct. Should that occur, though, it is better to have screens than to lack them.

Shower After Swimming

This tip helps avoid agua mala, but it’s also a good rule of thumb in general. Whether you want to spend the entire day in your hotel pool or admire Cancun’s beautiful beaches and crystal-clear oceans, you need to shower after swimming.

If you can’t get to your residence immediately, considering its size, then a rapid rinse in a beach shower should suffice. Be sure to be thorough, getting below your swimsuit. Also, pay attention to pubic hair, underarms, and any other places you have a great deal of body hair. Remember to clean inside your bottom as well.

Stay Calm Around Insects  

If you check your first instinct when you see a bug and try to run away from it, you will need to retrain yourself. You’ll have to approach the African bee with caution, and its flailing about or running could be seen as aggressive behaviour to the bee. That may initiate its hunt and sting you.

If you discover an Africanized bee on your safari itinerary, slow your walking pace and maintain a positive attitude. Keep your hands by your sides, even if the bee remains close. This may prove challenging to do in the heat of the moment, but it is essential. Most of the time, the Africanized bee will not stop approaching you and will look elsewhere if you are not moving.

What To Do If You Get Bitten Or Stung On Vacation?

Let’s suppose the worst has occurred, and you got bitten by or stung by an insect in Cancun. Is this considered a medical emergency? In most cases, it isn’t unless you are allergic to the insect. In that case, skip all these articles and find the best medical expert available as quickly as possible. Otherwise, here are the main steps to follow in dealing with a bug bite or sting.

Mosquito Bites

Scratching is not a good strategy to get rid of a mosquito bite. You have various options for reducing the itchiness, and scratching is not one. You could try a spoon, heat it, and apply it directly to the bite, keeping it on for several minutes or more.

Additionally, you might make a cold compress out of baking soda and apply it to the bite. Antihistamines may help lessen the swelling caused by an edge, as could an ice pack or a cool compress. A hydrocortisone cream or a calamine lotion might help alleviate the itchiness caused by a bite.

Horsefly Bites

You must refrain from itching excessively if you scratch a tabano bite. Scratching will probably lead to an infection. Rather than increasing damage, it would be best to immediately freeze or put a cool compress on the bite using a popsicle stick or a wad of antiseptic tissues. Or, you can gently wash the area with soft soap and warm water.

Chakiste Bites

Bite from a chakiste or gnat should continue your activities within Cancun’s borders. You will feel a bit itchy, but this lasts for a little while. Once again, you can use antihistamines, anti-itch creams, a cold compress, or water and soap to alleviate the itchiness, pain, and discomfort. By raising the affected area, you may see the symptom abate.

Agua Mala Stings

If you missed out on an excruciating bite on your legs, clean yourself off immediately. It’s unlikely for many hives to appear for many hours, but trickle the agua mala out of your body by cleaning yourself off quickly.

After you wash up, go to your nearest Cancun pharmacy to pick up a soyaloid poultice or Logoderm. The latter is a type of cream that contains cortisone. You will require it twice per day for itchiness. Logoderm is a lotion with cortisone that will alleviate your itchiness.

African Bee Stings 

Please don’t count on the thought of an Africanized bee’s stinger not emanating from its body. You’ll want to remove it or have someone help you as soon as possible. Then, clean the sting site with warm water and soap.

Anti-itch medications, NSAIDs, and antipyretic creams are the most commonly used anti-itch modalities. They cannot, however, cure most animal-repellent bites. If a bee stung you once, you could treat the itch and pain using over-the-counter anti-itch medications.


Cancun has many bugs and insects, such as mosquitoes, tabanos (horseflies), chakistes (gnats), Mexican water fleas, and African bees. You may not even observe all these bugs while vacationing there, but it is a good idea to prepare for them by bringing items such as screens, insect repellents, clothing, and a lighthearted disposition.

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