Are You A Bug Magnet?


Why do mosquitoes single out some people and not others? The scientists are still trying to figure that one out. Maybe the coloring of your clothes or if you’re pregnant, or what? Mosquitoes can transmit diseases like malaria and encephalitis, so we should all avoid them. Wearing long sleeves and pants or using bug spray might help. Be careful with the chemical that are in the bug spray. If you find yourself a mosquito snack, be sure and wash those bites with soap and water and apply an anti-itch lotion.

Yellow jackets are more active in late summer and drawn to protein-rich and sugary foods, which we all have at our cookouts. They do eat bugs that damage crops but we don’t want them eating us. Cover your trash and food and avoid those bright clothes. Again, wash the stings with soap and water and treat with ice or antihistamines.

Fire ants are active in the summer and drawn inside by poor sanitation, moisture and pet food. Keep those foods and drink spills cleaned up and all people and pet food well-sealed. Don’t scratch, just wash with soap and water and use an over-the-counter lotion.

Those awful roaches will move in when it’s hot. They spread diseases like gastroenteritis and their droppings can trigger allergy symptoms. Seal doors and windows and repair leaks to limit access to water. Keep food and garbage sealed.

Those pesky ticks are in the woods, bushes, piles of leaves and high grass and weeds. Lyme disease and encephalitis can be spread by ticks, so prevent bites by using a repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants. Grasp the tick with tweezers close to your skin and slowly pull straight out. Wash and apply rubbing alcohol.

Scorpions can be found almost anywhere from hot, dry areas to rain forests. They will come inside your home when it’s raining but their sting is less painful than a bee’s. Seal those doors and windows and check your firewood and plants before bringing them inside. If stung, wash with soap and water and apply ice or compress.

Earwigs don’t bite even though they look fierce. They are found in damp areas and feed on dead plant matter. Summer and at night is when they are most active and they can find a ride into your house by laundry baskets, cut flowers or newspapers. Get rid of moist areas and seal doors and windows. Also reduce light around entrances.

Cute little ladybugs are beneficial, but they can swarm and invade your house. That is usually in autumn, and they are drawn to contrasting surfaces as dark shutters against a light house. They aren’t harmful but to stop invasion, seal doors and windows.

Head lice do not spread disease and can’t leap or fly. They spread head to head and therefore, usually among children. Sharing brushes and towels can enhance the chance of getting head lice. If infested, fumigate the house and talk to your doctor about a medicated treatment. Some essential oils can be used too.

Fleas will invade your home year-long, but they love hot and moist conditions. They can spread diseases like plague to humans, and tapeworm to pets. Ask your vet about flea-control medication. Vacuum carpets, rugs and pet bedding and consider a spray if the problem is severe.

Bedbugs can appear any time. They are less active in the cool weather and their nip resembles that of a mosquito bite. Use ice, topical antihistamines or corticosteroid lotions.

Fruitflies are harmless but a huge nuisance. Don’t give them access to soft, damaged or very ripe produce. If they appear, get rid of the source then create a fruit fly trap by placing a paper funnel in a jar and baiting the jar with a bit of cider vinegar.

Hopefully knowing your predators will help you in having a more enjoyable summer and enjoy those outdoor activities. I am definitely a magnet and am trying the repellent ankle ring with peppermint oil when I walk my dog.
– Dr Fredda Branyon

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