Pin on Pest Control

You may notice that bug bites pick up in the summer, when you’re outside more often and exposing more skin, but they can occur any time of year—especially if you happen to be preyed upon inside of your home. (Spiders, bed bugs, and fleas don’t hibernate in the winter, sadly.) There are ways to deter the critters from coming your way, especially if you use insect repellent or bug spray, but there’s no perfect solution to ward off the pests.

Kissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, can pass on the parasites that cause Chagas disease. According to one study, more than half of these insects carry the parasite. In the United States, Chagas disease affects about 300,000 people, according to the CDC.

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Black flies (sometimes called buffalo gnats or “no-see-ums”) are also common throughout the United States and can bite (though they’re not known to spread disease), according to Spokane Regional Health District. They’re small in size and usually bite around the head, particularly the eyes, ears, and scalp. Their bites can cause swelling, numbness, and soreness that can last for several days.

Mites do not usually spread disease, but their bites can irritate the skin and cause intense itching. Itch mites usually feed on insects but will bite other animals, including people. The bites usually go unnoticed until itchy, red marks develop that may look like a skin rash.

The National Pest Management Association suggests wearing light-colored clothing and insect repellent as the most important strategies for prevention.

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A mosquito bite appears as an itchy, round red or pink skin bump. It’s usually a harmless bug bite but can sometimes cause a serious illness, such as the Zika virus (particularly harmful in pregnant women), West Nile virus, malaria, or eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). For most people, Zika causes a brief, flulike illness. But newborns of pregnant women infected with Zika have an alarming rate of microcephaly birth defects. Check out the Zika Travel Information page on the website for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find out more about travel warnings and advisories.

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When to See the Doctor for Spider Bites

Most spider bites are not poisonous and cause only minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site. Other spider bites are a real emergency. If you develop an allergic reaction to a spider bite, with symptoms such as tightness in the chest, breathing problems, swallowing difficulties, or swelling of the face, you need medical care at once. Because spider bites can get infected with tetanus, the CDC also recommends staying on top of your tetanus booster shots by getting one every 10 years.

Mild itchiness and pain are normal reactions to insect bites and stings, but if you experience anything more severe than these, including shortness of breath and swelling away from the original site, you should contact a doctor or seek medical attention immediately. It’s possible you could be having a severe allergic reaction, suffering from an insect-borne disease, or experiencing an infection.

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Although it’s not always possible to know which bug is to blame for your latest bite (or bites), you can often get a pretty good idea based on your skin, the site of the sting, and a few other clues. Ready to get to the bottom of your bug bite mystery? Here are pictures of the most common bug bites to keep on your radar.

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Mosquito Bites Can Cause a Serious Illness

Hornet stings (like bee and wasp stings) are usually painful, itchy, red, and swollen immediately after they happen, without causing long-term effects. Many people can simply ice the area to soothe pain and pop an over-the-counter antihistamine like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to help with itching. “After a half hour, you can go on with your business,” says Howard Russell, an insect and arthropod diagnostician at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Symptoms typically disappear after a day or two, says the Mayo Clinic.

Another type of tick to avoid is the lone star tick. It’s found mainly in the southern United States, but also in some eastern states. It can transmit several viruses, the CDC notes. Most notably, allergic reactions associated with consumption of red meat have been reported by people who’ve been bitten by these ticks, according to the CDC.

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