Guru Guide To Gran Canaria Pest Control

Pest control in Gran Canaria

Pest control in Gran Canaria

As a hot place Gran Canaria has its share of household pests but none of them are dangerous. Here’s the Guru’s guide to getting rid of everything from woodworm to Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

Big cockroaches

Known as American cockroaches, the big brown cockroaches you get in Gran Canaria get everywhere but rarely in numbers. Most of the time you find one or two in a flat. If you find lots, there’s somewhere warm and safe where they are hiding.

Check manholes, pump rooms, inside double plant pots, etc.

The best way to kill one is with a shoe. It’s quicker than chasing them around with a can of insecticide. That whole myth about the eggs spreading if you squash a cockroach is nonsense ( trust me, I’m a zoologist).

To keep them out of the house, buy a persistent spray and spray entry points like doors and windows. Also, give plugholes a quick blast as cucas love hiding in pipes. Use bleach on kitchen surfaces and clear away all food remains at night.

People often advise using boric acid to kill cockroaches, but it hasn’t worked for us. They just seem to eat it and get bigger.

Remember Alf?

Adult cucas can fly perfectly well, but only do so on warm nights.

Little cockroaches

If you find lots of little cockroaches in your kitchen, you have a problem. Known as German cockroaches (although the Germans blame them on the Russians), these little monsters live in colonies behind kitchen cabinets and fridges and are remarkably persistent.

Either get the fumigators in or prepare for a long campaign of persistent insecticide and sticky traps (look in Chinese supermarkets).


Gran Canaria mosquitos don’t carry diseases but they are a pain. The best way to keep them out is with gauze blinds but this is tricky with aluminium windows.

Instead, use the plugins that release a smell that mozzies don’t like. Use the ones with a phial of liquid and you get a mozzie-free month for about three euros.

Read this Gran Canaria Info article for more tips on mozzie control,


Known as carcoma, woodworm just love the warm conditions in Gran Canaria and turn solid wood doors and picture frames into powder in just a few years. Look out for woodworm pooh on your windowsills and by doors (it looks like sand).

Treat affected areas with a specialist carcoma spray from a ferreteria. Repeat several times.

Giant woodworm

If you have a pine door, ceiling or verandah, look out for giant holes up to a centimetre across. You may also hear grinding sounds at night that stop when you tap on the wood.

Holes and noises mean your pine is infested with longhorn beetle larvae and is doomed without treatment. Blast any holes with carcoma spray and if any of the wood feels soft, get an expert to look at it. With time, longhorn grubs can eat through even the thickest pine support beams.


Termites aren’t as common as woodworm in Gran Canaria but sometimes infest wood beams that are in contact with the ground. Use specialist sprays and get an expert to check support beams.


Black ants about two millimetres long tend to come in from outside in search of food (especially sweet stuff). Keep sugar and all perishable food in sealed containers and zap any ant trails with persistent insecticide (hide the cat first).

But first, follow the trail back to its source and dump a kettle of boiling water down the holes.

If you find tiny, golden ants about a millimetre long, you have pharaoh ants. They seem to love toothbrushes and Lyles Golden Syrup.

Pharaoh ants are a pain as they seem to survive most treatments. Hygiene and insect sprays keep them at bay.


Gran Canaria’s giant lizards (up to 80 centimetres long) are an endemic and heavily protected species and you aren’t meant to touch them.

That said, if there’s one in your living room or stuck in the bath, just poke it into a bucket with a broom and chuck it over the fence into the neighbour’s place.

Never pick a lizard up by the tail as it’ll fall off and thrash about while the lizard leaves a trail of blood on the carpet.

Big ones bite. Hard!


Geckos are harmless and eat mosquitos. If you have one in the house feel privileged and don’t spray the room with insecticide.


Everyone who lives on the ground floor gets a mouse in the end. Often you’ll find chewed up newspaper along with droppings and a musty smell. Gran Canaria mice aren’t all that bright and walk straight into traps baited with a square of Cadbury’s dairy milk.

It’s fine to use sticky traps to catch mice. It’s not fine to throw the trap in the bin without putting the mouse out of its misery first.

Jehovah’s Witnesses & their ilk

This is one is mercifully simple. It’s illegal to go door-to-door in Spain peddling religion. If you find God-botherers on your doorstep just invite them in, lock the door, and phone the police. They will escape out of the window and won’t come back.

Or just tell them that what they are doing is illegal and watch them scarper.

Alex Bramwell

Gran Canaria Complaint? There’s A Form For That

The hoja de reclamaciones or official complaints form in Gran Canaria


When Naomi Campbell came to Gran Canaria in 1997 she complained a lot, then tried (allegedly) to commit suicide. 

Now, there’s nothing worse than a Guiri that grumbles all day long, but sometimes you do need to kick up a fuss. Perhaps somebody should have told Naomi about the right way to complain in Spain.

Spain’s official complaints form is called the Hoja de Reclamaciones and all public-facing businesses in Gran Canaria have to have it (and a sign proving that they have it).

Used right, the Hoja de Reclamaciones is a powerful tool for forcing a dodgy restaurant or hire car company to treat you right.

Make A Gran Canaria Complaint: The Hoja de Reclamaciones

In most cases, just asking for it is enough to solve the problem. Filling it in is time-consuming and can lead to an inspection visit from the local OMIC oficina de consumo. Businesses don’t like inspections because they check everything and can levy fines.

If you actually want to fill in the Hoja de Reclamaciones, it comes in triplicate (of course). You keep the green copy and the business keeps the pink copy. To register your complaint you have to post the white copy to the nearest Oficina del Consumidor. Include photocopies of any paperwork and any photos that back up your claim.

While you can fill in the form in English, it will delay the process. It’s best to do it in Spanish if you can.

If a business refuses to give you the Hoja de Reclamaciones, you can call the local police, or report them directly to the local oficina de consumo.

List of Gran Canaria Oficinas del Consumidor. Choose the one in the Municipio where the business is located. The Las Palmas one even has a Facebook page.

Gran Canaria Walking Insurance

Walking insurance in Gran Canaria

Walking insurance in Gran Canaria

If you love hiking in the Gran Canaria highlands, the Federación Canaria de Montañiso (Canarian Hill-Walking Federation) offers an annual insurance policy for just €25.

It’s an excellent way of covering the risks of walking, climbing and trail running. The insurance covers death, serious injury resulting in paralysis, medivac costs and medical costs associated with a mountain-sport injury.

It’s a bit fiddly to get, but worthwhile if you do lots of walking or outdoor sports.

The insurance is organised by the FCM but is issued by associated walking clubs all over Gran Canaria. There’s a list of them on the FCM website.

The easiest way to get the insurance is to track down your local walking club and ask them about signing up and getting the insurance.

Any club can organise the insurance for you (except in August, when the whole federation goes on holiday). Most charge a few euros on top of the €25 to cover the costs.

The Las Palmas workaround

The Perojo walking gear shop on Perojo Street has its own walking club so it can do the insurance for you on the spot. You can even pay by card.

Arista Eventos has moved from Calle Lepanto to an industrial estate up by Siete Palmas. It also has a club and can handle walking insurance on the spot.

What to do if you have an accident

The policy covers the costs of emergency evacuation and hospital treatment in any hospital if you have a life-threatening injury.

If your injury is serious but not life threatening (broken arm, etc), call 902 108 509 and the insurance company will tell you how to get to the nearest clinic participating clinic. You’re not covered unless you go to the right centre.

After you have an accident, download the accident report, fill it in, get it stamped by your walking club, and send it to within seven days. You also need to send a copy of your license card.

The FCM insurance policy is available here (in Spanish).

This insurance policy runs from January to December so sign up early in the year for maximum cover.

It’s a faff, but it could well save your bacon if you have a serious accident in the Gran Canaria countryside. 

For more info on insurance in Gran Canaria, visit our insurance section.

How To Save Up To 50% On Your Gran Canaria Car Insurance


Expats get up to 50% off their Gran Canaria car insurance

Expats get up to 50% off Gran Canaria car insurance

International residents get up to 50% off their Gran Canaria car insurance with expat car insurance from Caser Expat.

Caser Expat Insurance now has offices in Gran Canaria (in Las Palmas and San Fernando), and resident English-speaking brokers.

The discount isn’t a one-off offer. Caser has analysed expat driving skills and insurance claims and found that they are a low-risk group and shouldn’t have to pay full whack for car insurance.

Along with the discount, you also get the huge benefits of an English-speaking broker based in Gran Canaria, and 24-hour English language assistance. Read More

Save 20% On Gran Canaria Home Insurance In 30 Seconds

Expats in Gran Canaria get up to 20% off their home insurance

Expats in Gran Canaria get up to 20% off their home insurance

If you live in an apartment block or communidad in Gran Canaria, home insurance that covers damage to third parties is essential.

A burst water pipe or electrical fault can cause thousands of Euros of damage to other flats, often before you know there’s a problem.

And while we don’t get much bad weather, when it does rain the damp has a habit of sneaking under the roof.

The mess takes ages to sort out and can cost a fortune. Read More

Really Useful People: Nayra, Gran Canaria’s Expat Insurance Expert

Nayra Fleitas fron Caser Expats: Gran canaria's specialist expat insurance broker

As the island’s leading website for expats and international residents, we’re always looking for really useful people and services.

So, when Caser Expats Insurance opened in Gran Canaria, we had to interview Nayra H. Fleitas, the company’s Exclusive Agent for International Residents in Gran Canaria. She’s someone that everybody who lives in Gran Canaria should talk to.

Alex: Hello Nayra. Tell us about your role as exclusive international agent for Caser Expats?

Nayra: Hello Alex! As the Exclusive Agent in Gran Canaria, I am the person who helps people to choose the right insurance and solves any problems they have. Along with my workmates Carmen and Victor, we offer a personal and professional service tailored to international resident’s needs. Read More

How To Change Your Gran Canaria Insurance Company

Changing Gran Canaria insurance company

Changing Gran Canaria insurance company: It’s simply about the timing

Changing Gran Canaria insurance company is simple. Just make sure you get the timing right.

Most policies all over Spain are annual and you have to notify your current insurer at least a month in advance of the end of the contract. Otherwise, they just renew the policy automatically and the first you know about it is that the money disappears from your account.

By then, it’s too late and you have to wait another year to cancel the policy.

Changing Gran Canaria insurance

Print out the form attached to this article, then either take it to your insurance company’s office and get it signed, stamped and approved, or fax (really) it to your insurer. Some companies also accept forms sent as a scan via email.

Now you’re free (once you have confirmation) to sign up to a new insurance company.

Before you do, read our essential Gran Canaria insurance tips. Read More

NEW: Gran Canaria Resident Insurance From Caser Expats

Discount Gran Canaria resident insurance

Discount Gran Canaria resident insurance

Caser Expat Insurance is now open in Gran Canaria. It’s Gran Canaria resident insurance is  designed specifically for residents who live or work on the island.

This brings great value insurance deals, like 50% off expat car insurance and 20% off home insurance, to Gran Canaria’s foreign residents for the first time.

Read More

Gran Canaria Resident Discounts That Save You A Fortune

The best Gran Canaria resident discounts

The best Gran Canaria resident discounts

There are lots of perks to living in Gran Canaria, including the weather, the cheap petrol and wine, and the general smugness that it gives you. Then there are the Gran Canaria resident discounts …

Here’s our guide to the top discounts that Gran Canaria residents are entitled to.

Gran Canaria resident discounts on inter-island transport

Once you get your Gran Canaria residencia, make sure you register for the 50% discount on travel between the Canary Islands. Most municipios allow you to do it online, but the system isn’t perfect so it may not recognise you straight away.

If you have a problem, just head to your ayuntamiento and ask for “el certificado de residencia para bonificación de viajes”. It costs a few euros and you need to show it to each transport company at least once to get into their system as a resident.

If you book resident fares without a certificate, the travel companies will ask you to pay up, or even refuse you passage. Read More

Gran Canaria Health Insurance For Expats

Gran Canaria health insurance guide


Why do we recommend getting private Gran Canaria health insurance when the Spanish National Health Service is often named as one of the best in the world?

Emergency health care on Gran Canaria is excellent and if you have an urgent medical problem or serious illness, the state health system is fast and efficient.

However, the Spanish healthcare system isn’t quite as good at prompt diagnosis and treatment of chronic problems such as backache, minor illnesses, injury recovery, etc.

It’s fantastic in an emergency, but plodding afterwards.

Waiting lists for specialists can be months long and many locals people skip the queue by paying to see a private specialist (often the same doctor). Read More