Whether it is the backyard or the wooded wilderness, summer is the perfect time for your family to enjoy the great outdoors. Although there is no full-proof way to stop bug bites from occurring, it is important to be aware of potential insects that can be dangerous to your family while you are outdoors. Insects like the same areas in the wilderness where your family might be camping, hiking, or just enjoying a day out in nature. Here are a few insects and arachnids that can be dangerous and the best way to avoid them.
The two main spiders that can be dangerous to your family are the black widow and the brown recluse. While both of these bites can cause serious illness, they rarely cause death if you quickly tend the bite or get medical help. Elderly and young children are the most at risk for these types of bites. The brown recluse is found in dark places such as wood piles or beneath rocks and they tend to bite when they are disturbed. The spiders are typically more aggressive than black widows as well. There are no immediate symptoms of a bite, and you may not even realize you have been bitten, but after four to eight hours, the area will start to swell and develop a blister. Symptoms could include a fever, chills, nausea, pain and more serious symptoms depending on the person.
The black widow is found anywhere from Canada to Mexico. It is a shiny black and is known for its red hourglass shape on its underbelly. Initially, the bite is not noticeable, but after a few minutes or an hour, the area starts to hurt and you may feel overall muscle pain. It could develop into severe muscle cramps. Teach your children to alert you if they ever see a red shape on the belly of a spider. They should also stay away from dark and secluded areas in the forest such as a small cave or large logs.
Wasps and Bees
Bee and wasp stings may be painful, but they don’t cause serious illness for most people. For those with an allergy, it is a different story. These insects can cause real health problems that may start with swelling and itching in the sting area but quickly have serious symptoms throughout the body. This is called a systemic reaction and may cause shortness of breath, faintness and facial, tongue and throat swelling. This is an emergency and requires the immediate attention of a doctor. If you see a wasp nest or a beehive in the forest, you shouldn’t try to get rid of it yourself. Teach your children to quickly walk away and to find you immediately. You can cause more problems than you already have if you disturb the insects in the wrong way. These can also be a nuisance if they build a nest near your home. Professionals know how to remove these nests to get rid of the insects, so they don’t do any more damage. If even a scrap of wasp nest remains, they can return and start building again.
The Zika-infected mosquito has entered the United States mainly from Brazil. It is more prevalent in the southern states and carries the Zika virus. The virus produces flu-like symptoms which may go away in about a week, but the danger is because the virus has been linked to birth defects by the World Health Organization (WHO). There is no cure or vaccination for this disease but there is prevention. Other diseases carried by mosquitoes are West Nile virus, dengue fever and malaria. If you are camping, be sure to zip up your family’s tent at night so mosquitoes will have a much harder time getting in. It is also a good idea to spray down each family member with bug spray before beginning your day in any forested area. If you have a problem with mosquitoes on your property, you can find a company that provides bug and pest control. If you are worried about dangerous chemical insecticides used on your property, there are alternative ways to get rid of insects. Professionals who offer mosquito control in Atlanta use organic insecticide which naturally repels bugs. There are many options available that are non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for humans and pets.
Ticks live in the forests and woodlands and need blood to live. They will attach themselves to your clothing and bite you later when you think you are safe. The deer tick is known to carry Lyme disease, an infection that is usually treated with antibiotics. Even though it’s curable, it’s very unpleasant with skin rashes, aching joints and heart and brain problems and should be treated early. Other types of ticks carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or tularemia. Be sure to examine your and your family’s clothing when you get home and leave it outside until it can be washed. In your garden, you can have ticks removed with biodegradable pesticides.
Get Medical Help
If you think you have been bitten or stung because you feel sick for no apparent reason, it’s a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. While most insect bites are not very harmful to most people, you may not realize you have an allergy and need medical attention. If you have dark, hidden places around your home, it is a good idea to have them sprayed with a natural pesticide to get rid of harmful spiders, scorpions and other arachnids that hide there.