Live or Retire in Mexico: Scorpions May 21
Are the Scorpions Keeping you from Living or Retiring in Mexico?
Everyone facing the decision to live or retire in Mexico, sooner or later asks herselfÂ how bad the scorpions will be. I know because I’ve spent four years in terror of the littleÂ arachnids.
Our house is terrifying for those fearful of scorpions.Â The roofing and exposed rafters provide many square meters ofÂ scorpion habitat.Â I spent months wondering when one was going to fall on me at night as I slept.
Since one of the main reasons to retire in Mexico is to get some rest, you won’t want to have the same experience. You’ll be glad to know that accumulated experiences have caused me to readjust the way I see them and I hope that what I’ve observed of scorpion behavior will help you to enjoy a smoother transition to Mexico.
Before I Retire in Mexico I Have a Few Questions about Scorpions
When do they come out?
They don’t seem to come out unless forced out, usually by rainwater getting into their hiding places, which tends to happen at the beginning of the rainy season in June or during hurricane season in (June through November).
Scorpions are nocturnal, so it’s a good idea to wear flip-flops in the house at night.
Is there anything I can do to help keep them of my house?
Yes. Don’t leave things stacked up against walls or on shelves for long periods of time without moving them and cleaning under them.Â Occasionally clean around and under furniture, using a light bleach solution.
Outside, scorpions like to hide in narrow places between pieces of dead wood or under rocks. Whenever you are going to pick up a rock or move something wooden be aware that you might see a scorpion and keep your hands where you can see them.
How dangerous are they, really?
Not all scorpions are deadly, but in Mexico there various Centruroides species which are deadly to humans if untreated. If you don’t get stung by a poisonous species, you may have the unpleasant experience of being stung and it’ll hurt and… that’s it.
(For more information see:
What happens if I get stung? How will I know if the scorpion that got me is poisonous or not?
If you get stung, don’t panic.
Go calmly to the nearest hospital or clinic prepared to treat for scorpion stings (it’s a good idea to know ahead of time which hospital you will go to in case of scorpion sting.) Hail a taxi so that you don’t have to drive. If you want to, you could put ice on the sting during the ride to slow the poison, but this is not necessary.
Should I be checking my clothes and shoes before putting them on?
Probably not, but if you happen to be in an area where you know there are lots of scorpions, you could do this. This is also a good idea if the clothes or shoes have been sitting unused for a while. How long is a while? You decide. You don’t want to make yourself crazy with paranoia, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How do I kill a scorpion if I see one?
Stay calm and take a moment to plan how you will smash the scorpion. It will generally sit still, so you have time to think. Make sure there is no chance that the scorpion could fall on you or that it’s tail could “reach around” to sting you while you are smashing it. Once you have your plan, squash it. It’s that simple.
Scorpion Welcome Wagon for the Recently Retired in Mexico
Scorpions are not the stealthy predators we picture them to be. They are actually community oriented and ignorant of the danger they present to others. The scorpions in your house will reward you for your decision to live in Mexico by organizing themselves into an efficient welcome wagon team.
For most of the year, they’ll remain in the hidden cracks and crannies of the exterior walls of your house. You’ll never see them as youÂ go about your business. That is, you’ll never see them until you have a guest staying at your house.
Becoming aware that you are hosting a visitor, they’ll send their field representative out to extend their warmest wishes. They want to deliver their heartfelt “bienvenidos” in person, so they’ll time their greeting so that it is the guest who will meet them sashaying along, tails slightly curled up in a hearty salute.
The guest–who will have only recently gotten over their own fear of scorpions enough to visit you in your new retirement wonderland–will call out, “Is that a scorpion?”
“Let me see.” You’ll respond nonchalantly.
You’ll go to look and sure enough, it’ll be a scorpion. (They’re quite unmistakable, after all.)
“We haven’t seen one in over a year.” You’ll say as you aim your sandaled foot directly over the hunching creature.
Now there is aÂ corollary to scorpion sightings, which goes as follows: the less the guestÂ believes you, the more likely he is to see a second field representative during his stay at your house.
But seriously, it seems scorpions stay in their little hidy-holes as long as they are dry. In June, when it starts to rain, they are driven out. As long as you don’t leave things stacked up in corners or along walls for long periods of time and keep your eyes peeled after a the first hard rains you won’t have any unpleasant surprises.
Just the other day we had one of those rains whereÂ we had to go around the house putting Tupperware and bowls under the leaks in the roof. It was the first rain of the season that required bowls (a 6 bowler, actually) and sure enough, near one of the leaks a large black scorpion was crouched. He was not a field representative of the local Welcome Wagon society and rather than sashaying across the floor he was trying to blend into the corner formed by the wall and the floor. He died a quick death.
You may have noticed that I haven’t included any recounts of wild chases under and through furniture nor ducking and jumping clear of charging scorpions. There is poetic justice in the scorpion-human relationship; scorpions don’t attack, they hunker. Once you have spotted a scorpion, you have won. It will hold still while you take aim and carefully squash it.
So, the coast is clear. You can make the decision to live or retire in Mexico, especially since you know that it’s your guests who will probably run the risk of getting stung. Just don’t come down at the beginning of the rainy season, and don’t invite friends until you you’re ready to see a scorpion.