There are many things about life that get under our skin. Sometimes we just have to cope with them, and do the best we can. Little things, irritants that just “bug” the heck out of you. It may be a co-worker, spouse, child, or even a stranger making a certain remark that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up! Well, we have to carry on and rise above these types of annoyances. These are better known as from the “human species.” Now, let’s talk about the real nuisances – insects!
It seems the warm weather brings out the little critters that have been hibernating during the winter. Sometimes, they don’t make it through the freezing winters, but other times, somehow, enough of them do, in order to carry on their tradition of making life miserable for us. If you know what they are and the hazards they bring with them, it may make it easier for you to deal with them this summer. I have listed some of the worst summer bugs for you to watch for:
- Bees. Yellow jackets and bees are especially threatening to persons with allergies. Bee stings can prove fatal if not treated in a timely manner. They thrive in all parts of the country, making hives from overhangs around your home. These hives can grow very large in size, increasing the likelihood of stings. Sometimes it is necessary to call a professional to get rid of the hives, because when they are disrupted, the entire swarm may come out swinging (or stinging)!
- Mosquitoes. Oh, joy, it’s time for mosquitoes. Not only is their little “buzz” irritating, but the bites they make are, too. Their bites cause itching, redness and other physical discomforts. Most often they are found in and around standing pools of water, where they lay their eggs in the summer. They like humid areas, but live in almost every part of the U.S. Mosquitoes carry disease, so it is best to decrease the amount of standing water in your yard, and wear long sleeves and use protective bug spray.
- Cockroaches. Yuk! These are some of the nastiest bugs , but they love to invade your home. Too much heat outside drives them indoors causing them to seek out moist areas of your home. I’ve seen reality shows where cockroaches were attracted to the glue that is used to put mobile homes walls together, and they were rampant. Large groups of cockroaches can cause breathing problems for persons with respiratory illnesses. The best policy is to have regular pest control treatments in your home to get rid of these bugs and keep them out.
- Termites. Our home fell victim to the little monsters several years ago. They didn’t particularly like us, but they loved the wood in our attic. Luckily, we found out before the damage was too extensive, because they can literally eat your home up. Call your termite control to do an inspection, as it can be very expensive to repair the damage they cause.
- Ticks. Ticks also carry disease. If you find a tick on yourself, or your dog, remove it by pulling steadily and firmly. Use fine-tipped tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pull slowly. Wash the area and apply antiseptic or antibiotic ointment. Watch area for infection, and see a doctor if you see signs of a rash in that area. Be sure to use an insect repellent on yourself before going out of doors; use one that is approved for animals, as well. Check your pet for ticks often.
- Fire Ants. These tiny little ants build huge mounds, and do a lot of property damage. They get into water systems, eat their little hearts out on electric wiring, and have been known to even kill small animals. And, their stings are like fire, hence the name!
Here’s some tips that might help you before you go on that next outing:
- Protect yourself with a light-colored long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat. Don’t wear perfume or scented lotions. Brightly colored clothing may look like flower colors and attract insects.
- Stay out of tall underbrush when hiking.
- If you are having a picnic, don’t leave open cans of sugary drinks unattended, as yellow jackets love to find a warm drink sitting in the sun. Check your food and drinks before consumption. Stings inside the mouth and throat are dangerous because of the potential of swelling and closing off the windpipes. This is a good warning to parents of small children, who often leave their drinks on the picnic table and run off to play – try taking lids! Take partially empty cans or cups and rinse them out at a faucet. Don’t throw the leftover liquid in the grass.
- When you are cleaning up after your outing, wrap up all the trash and place in a sealed trashbag; if you throw it all loose into a trash bin, it’s an open invitation to yellow jackets or bees to come on in. Then, the next person may get stung when they open the trash bin.
Remember, these little pests were created for a reason. While we stay in our nice, warm homes during the winter, they are out there somewhere hiding in cold, dark spaces in trees and other shelters. When we come out for the summer months, we are moving into their territory, so in a way, we are the ones doing the invading! Regardless of being the aggressor, however, we have the right to protect ourselves ……with the insect repellent, yard spray, allergy medication, first aid kit, and even fly swatters! Go out there and have fun, just be ready for combat.