Biting & Stinging Pest of Summer
Biting and stinging pest are out in force this summer. While some of these pest stings are "just" painful or itchy, others can be more serious, and dangerous to our family and pets.
Biting pests see people as "fast food". Most are very efficient at sucking out our blood, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, lice, bed bugs, chiggers, conenose bugs, biting flies, and no-see-ums. While in most cases it's not our loss of blood that causes the most concern-it's what these pests can transmit directly into our blood stream that is much more dangerous. These include hundreds of organisms that cause everything from Lyme disease, to West Nile and Zika. Plus, the chemicals in the insects saliva causes us itching and swelling that is especially unpleasant.
Stinging pests, including bees, all kinds of wasps, and some ants, usually sting because they perceive us as a threat to themselves or their colony. Most of these pests inflict a lot of pain-it's their way of saying, "leave us alone, or else..." We get the message instantly when we yell "OUCH!"
But these pests can deliver much more than just a painful sting. The real danger is a mass attack-being stung over 200 hundred times can be fatal, although in some cases victims with over 1000 bee stings have survived with proper medical treatment. Plus, for up to 4% of our population that is hypersensitive to these stings, just one sting, if not treated quickly, can be deadly.
Also watch this summer for stings from other kinds of venomous pests, such as spiders, centipedes, and scorpions!
Signs of Termite Trouble
Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it and found it good
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today
Don't let what happened to Cousin May happen to you too! People really do fall through termite-weakened floors, although more often they sink a little first, before falling all the way through.
If we are not already inspecting or monitoring your home on a regular basis, it's wise to call and have us conduct a thorough, professional inspection for termites and many other wood-destroying organisms that can damage your home. Termites are usually well hidden. They can continue eating wood for years
Mud "shelter tubes". Termites build these over foundations and in other places to connect their colony to wood.
Winged termites ("swarmers"), or their broken-off wings, often in places like window sills.
Obvious damage to wood. Look for wood hollowed out along the grain, containing bits of mud or soil. Often termites will leave the outer layer of wood undamaged, as a way to keep their galleries protected and humid.
Also keep an eye out for conditions that favor termites, like excess moisture or soil in contact with wood.
Q. I have heard that wearing strong perfumes and brightly colored clothing increases my chances of getting stung. Is this true?
A. Although it may sound logical, and you can find this advice on the internet, there is no evidence that what you wear has any impact on your chance of being stung by bees or wasps.
Most stings occur when you disturb a nest, step barefoot on a bee or wasp, press against one with your body, or are outdoors and drink from a glass where an insect is drinking the same liquid. In all these cases, the clothes you wear or the aroma you exude t the outcome of the encounter!
Bees and wasp sting only when defending their colony, or their own life. They are not going to sting you because you look or smell like a giant flower, and they are not going to mistake you for a pretty petunia and besiege you. Bees and wasps aren't so easily confused.
LED Bulbs & Insects
While most LED light bulbs are less attractive than standard incandescent light bulbs, some LED's do attract insects. If you are using a light bulb outside, or where it will be seen from outdoors, such as through a window, keep the following in mind to attract fewer flying and crawling pests.
For these areas, choose LED bulbs that have more "warm white" and yellow tones, because bulbs that produce more "cool white", or bluish tones attract more insects. Also some specialty LED bulbs, especially plant grow lights, contain UV light and these attract insects.
Keep in mind that if everything else is equal, a brighter light bulb will attract more insects that a dimmer light. Use only the number lumens, or watts, that you need for adequate visibility.