As summer quickly approaches, pests will begin multiplying, which means a higher likelihood to experience bug bites. Some bites can hardly be noticed, but there are others that can cause such severity they become life threatening.
Here are a few bugs that you should be aware of this summer and try to prevent from becoming victim to their bites:
- Mosquitoes: Female mosquitoes feed on blood to help their eggs develop into offspring. When mosquitoes bite, they release saliva into the bite area. Allergic reactions to the saliva cause the itchy bumps and swollen hives some people get after being bitten. In addition to their bites, mosquitoes are also well-known for carrying diseases. Mosquito-borne diseases currently of public health concern include St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus encephalitis, and dengue.
- Red Imported Fire Ant: The Red Imported Fire Ant was first introduced from Brazil into either Mobile, AL or Pensacola, FL between 1933-1945. They now infest Puerto Rico and all or parts of the southern states and western states from Maryland to southern California. The sting of this ant possesses an alkaloid venom, which is responsible for both the pain and the white pustules that appear approximately one day after the sting occurred. The remainder of the venom contains an aqueous solution of proteins, peptides, and other small molecules that produce the allergic reaction in hypersensitive individuals.
- Fleas: The cat flea is the most important flea species in the United States and attacks both cats and dogs. Adults are 1/16″ long and are usually found on the host. The flea inserts its mouthparts in the skin, injects saliva and sucks blood. The bite leaves a red spot on the skin. The saliva is irritating to the host, causing dermatitis and hair loss in allergic animals. Fleas can also transmit tapeworm.
- Ticks: Ticks are not insects and are closely related to the spider. Ticks are known to transmit serious diseases to animals and humans even though humans are not the preferred host. They are known to be almost as important as mosquitoes in terms of public health importance. Diseases ticks are known to carry are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and relapsing fever.
There are many other pests to be aware of as the warm weather arrives. Always be cautious around bugs to help protect yourself from painful bites and stings this summer!