Retire in Mexico: Make Your Bed a Mosquito Free Zone

Keep the Whining Wings Away and Sleep Peacefully When you Retire in Mexico

Even if you have screens on your doors and windows when you retire in Mexico you are likely to have mosquitoes in your house at certain times of year. If you are sitting there thinking, “No I won’t. She’s exaggerating,” you are obviously still in the U.S. Trust me. There will be mosquitoes. Since you probably chose to retire in Mexico so that you can relax and enjoy yourself you will need to get your sleep. Additionally, dengue fever exists in certain parts of Mexico and you definitely want to avoid that.

The Savvy Expat Uses a Mosquito Net 

To keep the tenacious little things away hang a mosquito net over your bed. I know this sounds obvious, but it is amazing how long it took us to get one. You can buy them at the market or where ever the locals shop. There are different styles and you can pick the one you like the best.

The Hoop

The prettiest ones hang off of a single hoop. They look like giant bridal veils. You hang the string connected to the hoop from your ceiling, then spread the netting around your bed.

image of cover of e-book: Mexico The Trick is Living HereSurprised that mosquitoes might be a problem in Mexico? What else do you need to know? Before you live or retire in Mexico read this humorous, practical e-book.

The advantage of these is that they are tall and you only have to hang the entire net from one hook–oh and it looks kind of cute, like a ferry princess bed draping. The disadvantage is that if you get a mosquito inside it’ll be harder to see among all of the netting pleated around the hoop and may be hung too high to reach without standing up on your bed and flailing around to smash the tiny intruder.

The Cube

My favorites are the cube-shaped ones. These are like square tents that hang over your bed. They have four tabs, one on each corner, to hang them up. The disadvantage to these is that you have to figure out how to tie all four tabs in a way that the net will hang squarely over your bed. If you move your bed around you can end up with a lot of holes in the wall! Also, the strings leading to the tabs might get in your way. If you have a ladder you could solve all of this by hanging it from the ceiling. The advantage is that it’s easy to spot and kill a mosquito who sneaks in. Also, it is easy to get in and out of the net. You just lift of one side, slide in, then drop it down behind you.

When you hang a cube type net hang it a few inches “low” so that the bottom of the net bunches up around the edge of your mattress. This makes a seal so that the mosquitoes can’t sneak under the netting if your pillow or blankets push the net out a little while you are sleeping. You don’t want your net hanging along the outside edge of your bed because mosquitoes like to hang out under beds and will find it quite handy to slide right up between your mattress and your net.

The Material

When you are purchasing your mosquito net you can select between a durable, less breathable fabric (top two pictures shown at right) or a more breathable “snaggy” fabric (bottom two pictures shown below right). There are advantages and disadvantages of both and you may end up wanting both for use at different times of year. A lighter fabric will allow more air to move through, which may be of highest priority during the hot, humid, pre-rainy season nights. Unfortunately, sometimes lighter fabrics can get tangled around your feet at night, causing you to have to sit up in bed and lay them down around the edge of your mattress. This is because they are so light that they don’t naturally fall straight down into a pile and they are impossible to “kick” into place. Trust me, I’ve tried. Some of these lighter fabrics are also teensy weensy knits and can snag on zippers or rough feet etc., causing holes or runs in your fortress walls.

A heavier fabric is the opposite. Generally, I prefer a heavy fabric because it tends to fall into place around the edge of the bed no matter how many times I get up in the middle of the night and I can get it into place with a flick of my toes. I almost never have mosquitoes finding entrances through places where the net is tweaked. Also, my heavier mosquito net has no holes or snags in it.

When you first thought, “Gee, I think I want to retire in Mexico” did you picture yourself at the market picking out your mosquito net?

Retire in Mexico and Return to Your Childhood Days

It’s funny, but a mosquito net adds a kind of exclusive, cozy feel to your bed. The sunny morning light makes the white fabric glow warmly, making the room beyond fade into shaded impressions of your bedroom. Shafts of afternoon sun slice yellow squares onto the fabric walls that protect you. I know what time it is when I wake up from my nap by where the shaft of golden sunlight is hitting my netting. I could put marks on it and make myself and indoor nap clock.

Remember when you were little and you liked to nap in small, private places; behind the couch, in an emptied drawer, in a pillow and blanket fort? You can be in your net, hearing mosquitoes whining around your bed, knowing that you are in your own personal space, safe and comfy, and they can’t get you!

The Savvy Expat Can Also Use a Fan  

A fan is also invaluable at keeping mosquitoes away. If you can build your own home when you retire in Mexico I recommend that you install ceiling fans above your beds. Get fans that can turn slowly, blowing mosquitoes away but not making you feel as if you are sleeping in an arctic draft.  

If you don’t have ceiling fans you can get a free-standing fan and aim it so that it blows the air across your body. If you can, position the fan so that it sort of blows over your shoulder, missing your head, but keeping mosquitoes away. The only problem with fans is that they can sometimes cause you to get a stuffy nose, which is why I won’t part with my mosquito net. I’m sure you’ll agree. After all, if you wanted a cold you could stay in the icy north and forget all about your plan to retire in Mexico.

I only got three mosquito bites while I was writing this page. (I’m not kidding.) …Hey, now there’s a good idea. I need a mosquito net for my desk!

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5 comments

  1. J Viskochil Aug 7

    We are building a home in Mt. Shasta Ca, lots of mosquitos too. Would placing ceiling fans on the porch work at keeping mosquitos at bay?

  2. Julia Taylor Aug 7

    J,

    This is an interesting question.

    The crew here at home-sweet-mexico thinks it would help, but screens would be much more effective. With fans, there would be pockets of mosquito-free moving air and pockets of mosquito-full slow air. You also get tired of having the air blowing on your body all the time, and if it’s not directly on you, one or two strong bugs always find a way to get you.

    Good luck! It’s an ages old battle.

    Julia C. Taylor

  3. Muriel Kramer Jul 2

    Hi Julia,

    My husband and I are building a house in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. I was very excited to find your your website (the one about mosquitos). Not an exciting subject, but I was very happy to find someone who considered retiring in Mexico. I have always loved Mexican people and their culture. I was very surprised at our friend’s astonishment when we told them that we are [planning to retire in Mexico .Have you been to Puerto Escondido? I love how authentic it is. Hopefully we can meet one day. Keep writing! -Muriel

  4. Julia Taylor Jul 4

    Thank you Muriel,

    I’m glad you found the ideas for dealing with mosquitoes BEFORE you finished building your house. You can plan for them that way. I haven’t been to Puerto Escondido, but have heard great things about it. I’m sure it’s wonderful because I’ve enjoyed all of my travels to other places in Oaxaca.

    Congratulations on your soon-to-be home on Puerto Escondido! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

    Kindest Regards, Julia C Taylor

  5. Julia Taylor Jul 16

    Chris Spinkle:

    Good point. I should take that out.

    Regards, Julia C Taylor

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