Central America Insects (the Irritating Kind)

About Insects in Central America -- From Kissing Bugs to Biting Flies

Ambush Bug on leaf
M. & C. Photography/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Curious about insects in Central America? Because Central America is a region with many varied ecosystems, there are countless varieties of Central America insects.

The majority of insects in Central America are harmless. Many are even jewel-like creatures of limitless color, much more beautiful than anything you’d see at home. However, there are indeed some wicked Central America bugs lurking about, and it’s best to prepare for your departure with the ability to recognize which ones to steer clear of.

In Central America, ants are more of an annoyance than a true danger, although some of the species found in the rainforests can give a nasty bite. But they can also be captivating. If you’re lucky enough to see a trail of leafcutter ants, step back and watch them go about their business. Amazing!

A bite from the kissing bug (Triatoma protracted), a type of assassin bug, is by no means romantic. These tiny, bloodsucking Central America insects sometimes live in the cracks and crevices of substandard housing. They often bite exposed, sensitive flesh, such as the lips of sleeping humans. Although the bite alone is itchy and annoying, kissing bugs can be carriers of Chagas disease, which causes swelling of the liver, and even death.

It’s dreadful that a country as picturesque as Belize is affected by such an irritating pest. Sand flies, also known as biting midges and no-see-ums, are tiny Central America insects that give a malicious bite. Most commonly found on the Cayes, Locals will be the first to tell you DEET repellent doesn’t work, although allegedly Skin Fantastic and Skin-So-Soft does in some cases. The fly swarms are seasonal, so one vacationer might not see a single fly, while others will be driven indoors.


About Central America's scaly and slithery.

Mosquitoes: The Smallest Vampires

Stinging, slapping, and scratching in Central America.

Spiders and Their Cousins

About Central America's less savory eight-leggers.