Summer means spending time outdoors with trips to the beach, hikes in the woods, and picnics at the park. Spending time in nature allows you to admire the natural beauty around you. It also provides an opportunity to soak up some vitamin D from the sun and breathe in clean, fresh air. However, time outdoors can also make you a target for those pesky critters known as bugs. Insects are a part of the food chain, and as such many of them play an important role in nature. Unfortunately, they may also cause pain, trigger an allergic reaction, or transmit disease when they sting or bite.
12. Black Widow Spider
If you come across a spider that is about 1 ½ inches long with a colored hourglass shape on its abdomen, you are meeting up with a black widow spider. Although these arachnids prefer warmer regions, black widow spiders can be found anywhere in the U.S., from Texas to New York City to the Pacific Northwest. These nocturnal critters won’t seek to attack you. However, if disturbed, they are capable of biting and injecting a highly poisonous venom. According to National Geographic, black widow spider bites can cause muscle aches, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
11. Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider is distinguished by the violin-shaped mark on its abdomen. In the U.S., this spider tends to live in the midwestern and southeastern states. Like the black widow, a brown recluse may bite when it feels trapped or provoked. According to Pest World, the venom of a brown recluse spider can trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction can be especially dangerous for small children and the elderly. Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite may include pain, redness, an open sore, and fever.
The many-legged centipede poisons its prey by injecting it with venom through hollow limbs near its head. Most centipedes cannot injure humans. However, Terro warns that the 3-inch long Florida blue centipede can deliver a powerfully painful sting.
The nasty critter known as the cockroach can invade your home, spreading bacteria and triggering allergic reactions. These hardy creatures may scuttle about your house, leaving behind droppings and giving off a musty odor. Since evicting these creatures can be a monumental task, take steps to prevent introducing them to your home. Keep your house well sealed against the invasion of insects. Regularly inspect pipes for water leaks, which may attract critters. Furthermore, make indoor surfaces unattractive to pests by keeping them free of food residue and frequently taking out your kitchen garbage.
These aggravating parasites can be transferred from one person to another at any time of the year. Head lice, body lice, and pubic lice all take up residence on humans. They feed on human blood and lay eggs that go on to hatch and carry on the itchy, aggravating cycle. While any type of louse is uncomfortable and frustrating, the CDC states that the body louse is the type of lice known to transmit disease. Prevent head lice from taking up residence in your hair by not sharing hats, brushes, combs, or earbuds. Avoid body lice by refraining from sharing a bed with an infected person. Wash your clothing and sheets in hot, soapy water and dry them in the clothes dryer.Related: 13 Foods That Contain Insect Parts
The bite of the pesky mosquito not only leaves behind red, itchy bumps but may also transmit dangerous diseases. If you will be spending a lot of time outdoors in the presence of mosquitoes, you may want to invest in a good insect repellent. Create a barrier between your skin and mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves and long pants. Help keep mosquitoes out of your yard by eliminating sources of standing water such as bird baths. Sleeping under mosquito netting can offer protection while camping.
6. Red Fire Ants
Red fire ants can be difficult to wipe out if they move into your home or yard. These ants can deliver a painful sting that often creates a burning sensation. These bites can be fatal for those allergic to the venom. According to Orkin, red fire ant stings leave behind red bumps and white pus-filled nodules. Contact your local exterminator if you sight red fire ants moving in on your territory.
While you may think of scorpions as arachnids that live in the desert, different species of scorpions can be found in many different areas of the United States. National Geographic states that 30-40 of the 2,000 species of scorpions can kill a human with their venom. In regions populated with scorpions, keep your home sealed against entry by scorpions and insects. Keep scorpions from hiding out in your yard by removing piles of trash or debris. Lastly, wear shoes to prevent stepping on and being stung by a scorpion.Related: How to Banish Ants from Your Home
Wood ticks like to burrow into the skin of their victims, where they live on a rich supply of blood. Not only are ticks nasty and unsightly, but they can also carry disease. Deer ticks are infamous for carrying Lyme disease. When walking or hiking in wooded areas where ticks may be present, stick to a path and avoid tall grass and piles of leaves. After hiking, be sure to thoroughly inspect your body for ticks. Deer ticks can be tricky to spot, since these tiny creatures can be as small as a sesame seed.
These large, creepy, hairy-looking arachnids avoid human contact. Their fearsome appearance and large size make them highly dreaded, but their bite generally causes only minor irritation to humans. Tarantulas may make their home in southern areas of the United States like Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Tarantulas feed on ants and beetles. Therefore, Orkin warns that homeowners in these states with an infestation of such insects may notice tarantulas as well.
There are many varieties of bees. Some, like bumblebees, can sting more than once. Meanwhile, after the honey bee stings, it leaves behind its barbed stinger and part of its abdomen. Therefore, the sting of a honey bee is not only irritating to humans but deadly to the honey bee as well. The sting of a bee may cause only mild pain, inflammation, and itching. However, those who are allergic to bee stings can suffer from a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
The wasp is another winged creature capable of stinging its victim more than once. When dining outside, keep your food and sugary drinks covered to prevent enticing wasps. Avoid having areas of standing water in your yard, as this can attract wasps and other insects. If you are approached by a wasp, remain calm. It may be necessary to run away when meeting up with wasps. If so, run away in a straight line without waving your arms about. Flailing your arms may cause the wasp to become more aggressive. Cover your face to protect it from being stung.Related: 11 Plants That Help Keep Mosquitoes Away