Tropical Pest Guide For Americans Moving To South America

Relocation is always a difficult thing. It doesn't matter if you're moving across the street or across the globe, there are going to be some ups and downs. If you are planning a move to a different country, you may be in for a serious roller coaster, because nearly every aspect of your life is about to change. Many globetrotters' biggest fear is moving only to discover their home is infested with unfamiliar bugs. Here's what you need to know about common household pests in your new paradise.

Expect Change

Moving from the U.S. to a subtropical country is going to be an adventure in learning about the indigenous flora and fauna. Ecuador, for example, is home to Charles Darwin's famed Galapagos Islands and, along with America, is considered a megadiverse country. That means it is one of seventeen countries in the world that is home to the majority of Earth's species. As you can imagine, that's going to mean new and exciting insects to combat in your new home should you choose to leave the U.S. for South America.

Knowing about what kinds of pests to expect is half the battle when it comes to staying comfortable during your move. Ants, beetles, and flies are common in South American countries, but there are many more interesting bugs with which to become acquainted. below is a list of some of the most common bugs bombed by exterminators in South America.

  • Cicadas are clumsy, flying insects that swarm in great numbers only once every 17 years. Though annoying and loud, they pose no health threats to humans, although they might eat all the leaves off of your plants. Controlling them is usually not much of an option except for keeping them out of your house by sealing up any entry points, and spraying residual insecticides around perimeters. Their swarm doesn't last long, so breathe deeply and remember everything will be back to normal soon.
  • Stick insects are also common in South America. Many people from the U.S. have only seen these insects in museum exhibits, but be prepared to get up close and personal with these bugs from time to time. You or your exterminator can spray for stick insects to keep them from proliferating in your garden. 
  • Tarantulas are common in tropical countries, and for many people there is nothing more terrifying than getting ready for bed and encountering a hand-sized, hairy spider. Before you panic and reach for the flamethrower, know that tarantulas, while hideous and scary, pose very little threat to humans. Their bite is not toxic, and they are not aggressive. They don't even nest indoors. Finding a tarantula inside usually means it was looking for food and is lost. It's safe to relocate the beast outside and forget the encounter ever happened.
  • Africanized bees are a problem for many people living all over South America. If you discover a hive of bees in your yard contact a professional, as identification of "killer bees" can be difficult, and Africanized bees can be extremely aggressive.
  • Mosquitoes are ubiquitous in coastal regions of South America. If you're living inland it's less likely you'll be plagued with these parasites, but they do carry malaria in South America, so controlling their population is going to be important on your property. Remove standing water, which is where they breed, and use plenty of insect repellent spray. You could also try planting citronella, marigolds, or catnip in your yard. If all else fails, you can click here for info or exterminators can reduce the numbers of these buzzing bothers.

Buying a new home in a new country is exciting and intimidating. South America offers a rich culture, beautiful scenery, and a fascinating and terrifying array of new bugs to learn about. Your home will be safer now that you've learned a little about what pests to expect and how to control them.