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Baja Insect and Pest Information

4-17 VANILLA AS A REPELLENT FOR BOBOS, AND GNATS - I learned a few years ago that only real (not artificial,) vanilla.. dotted on your cheeks and excellent to make little bichos leave you alone. I have showed this to so many people. who are always duly impressed. I carry a tiny pill bottle with vanilla in my car. I cannot tell if it works against no see'ums because I cannot see'um ha ha. - Anna Wei, annwei52 ( -a t- ) 624 146-19-74

Cucaracha Cookies - Cockroaches have been thriving in the heat. Here's a tip from The Baja Survivor's Guide to help eliminate them: To get rid of cockroaches, make Cucaracha Cookies. While these are non-toxic to humans and pets, the insoluble spicules of boric acid destroy the insects' intestinal tracts. Combine 2 cup of borax powder with 1/4 cup of flour. Moisten with enough sweetened condensed milk to make balls. Food coloring appropriate to the season is optional! (Thanks to Jane Coursin)

11-10 MORE BUG WARS - Moscarones are those enormous black bees which drill large holes in wood in which to raise their young. They will drill multiple holes in beams, especially damaging palm, a very soft wood. They are much more aggressive when they are nesting but don't usually sting people otherwise. You should spray the holes with insecticide or fill them will insulating foam. Do it after dark or just before dawn, when they are in the holes and passive. Thanks for Noe Orozco Salvatierra, from The Baja Survivor's Guide

After the summer rains, the bugs really thrive. Here are some more hints from The Baja Survivor's Guide:

To keep cockroaches out, or to head off an ant invasion, sprinkle a line of boric acid power across the sill of your door. Better yet, use the made-in-China Miraculous Insecticide Chalk, available at many of the little markets. This is boric acid in chalk form that can be used to draw a line around doorways, your garbage can, or almost anywhere. - Lee Moore

I like the boric-acid chalk too. I draw lines inside and around my cupboard doors. Crossing a line is death to a cockroach. - Leirion

I use the borax "chalk" to keep ants away from my cat's food dish, and on either end of the clothesline to keep the ants from using it as a highway. - La Paz writer


If you see a cute fluffy little insect covered with what looks like white or sable fur scurrying around in the sand, don't pick it up! This is a flightless female wasp, misleadingly named a velvet ant. In Spanish,this insect is called "mula del Diablo," the devil's mule. While it stings like the dickens, the pain usually subsides in an hour or so. The best you can do is to wash the sting site with soap and water and apply an antiseptic. Some people apply a paste of baking soda and water. Thanks to The Baja Survivor's Guide


To the lady asking about "mud tunnels"- those are definitely termites, which explore up from their ground nest at night and return downward by day (unless they find something interesting like your newly purchased sofa). Clean the walls off and plug whatever teeny hole they managed to find in your supposedly termite proof floor. You can just drip some PVC cement into the hole if it is small enough. - Captain Jim Elfers, Restless Spirit Enterprises

RE MOSQUITOES, I have put up a basic information website on mosquitoes breeding in septic systems. I also forgot to mention to people not only screen the septic vent but screen off any roof vent tubes (in US we also call them stink tubes). I have also put a copy of a device made specifically for the stink tubes coming out of the house sold in the US at places like Lowes. about $10.00-$15.00 each. These prevent the backflow of gas yet allow the water to flow to the septic system. so if you have ever had a stink coming from your roof this device will also stop this. I am driving down to LaVentana next week so if you contact me I can pick them up and can leave them at my friends business the Honda shop in LaPaz (motos baja) for people to pick them up at. He may be able to get the Honda in Cabo to receive them.

The mosquito information is at

Also I would appreciate if you can take notes on the success you have from doing this and emailing me, I am trying to get a grant to develop the funnel/trap as pictured on the website, as a non-profit enterprise. If I can get a US grant the work would be done at the Universities in LaPaz. Another success story I have is 3 years ago at Bay of Dreams I was out there eating and was being eaten up by mosquitoes and talked to the manager at the Giggling Marlin. Manager was open minded it was hurting business and did screen off all septic vents. This was a perfect test case because there were no other buildings within a quarter mile. I went back a few weeks later and he was so appreciative because they no longer had ANY mosquitoes. I can confirm that, was not bit once. - dean devolpi ( -a t- )

(Courtesy, Baja Pony Express)

MORE BUG WARS For what it is worth go the extra mile...

I have found that this mosquito aedes aegypti that carries dengue lives in septic systems. (not to mention flies, cock roaches and more live there)

Think about it, we do not have a lot of standing water in southern Baja and we have mosquitoes??? and this mosquito is in general a short range predator, 100-200 yard range. If you want details I can email you the facts. But for now take this to heart, put metal screens on all septic vents with wire and make sure there are no visible cracks if your tank is near the surface. I have proved this in the LaVentana campground several times. From being eaten alive to within a week rarely being bit and two weeks no mosquitoes. There are only a few septic tanks in the campground and a large distance. Thus if you can get your neighbors and everyone to cover the septic tanks vents you can put a severe dent in the mosquito as well as coach population. Sprays and such do not get them in the septic systems only when they are out in the evening and morning..

If anyone has too much time on their hands, I need people to try to turn this principle into a trap. The water vapor in a septic system is obviously a natural attractant for nesting and a home. Can someone make a one way screen funnel that allows this size mosquito in and does not let them out. Very similar in concept to some fly and bee traps work. I need people to prove this can be done, using a double tube system that catches them and we can count. If successful this has some major worldwide applications to save lives.

Think about it, this mosquito needs non-salt water to breed. So they bite you fly into the septic system and the eggs hatch but they can not get out. The female also was not able to go get out for another dinner to spread disease.

If interested I have much evidence to prove my case that this mosquito lives in septic tanks. Just email me. But put screens up first ask questions second. Enjoy, Dean DeVolpi, dean ( -a t- ) (Courtesy, Baja Pony Express)


If you are having trouble with ants, try placing a few fabric softener sheets in the area where they are bothering you. It works! Put them in your RV food cabinets and also at home. Ants will not come into any cabinet that has a dryer sheet in it (and it keeps them fresh smelling!)

You can also rub them on your exposed skin before going outside to repel mosquitoes, bees and other insects. Fabric softener sheets also repel mice!

For other surprising household uses for these sheets, go here: and here:

- Melba Thompson

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