Bees, mosquitos, and spiders, oh my! Insect bites are a common summer-time nuisance, but some bites can be dangerous, even deadly. Keep your family safe this summer by understanding the various insects, and how to avoid coming in contact with the ones whose bites and stings can cause harm.
Mosquito bites are usually harmless, leaving behind a raised, itchy bump, but they can carry West Nile and other nasty viruses. To limit your chances of mosquito bites, avoid the areas in which they’re most likely to gather- like damp patches of shade and grass. Remove standing water from your property- it provides mosquitos with breeding areas. Wear light colors and use insect repellent. Use insect nets to cover playpens and prams, to keep mosquitos away from small children.
While many spiders are harmless, and even beneficial, as they devour millions of pounds of pest insects every year, there are two South Carolina species that are especially dangerous. The brown recluse, as its name suggests, prefers hidden, dark corners, like holes, brush, and even shoes or other items left lying unattended for a period of time. Similarly, black widows tend to build their webs in dark places, such as in attics or sheds, or in leaf piles. Always wear gloves to do yard work and gardening, and be wary of reaching into dark spaces.
Since they invaded the US over 50 years ago, fire ants have been the bane of most South Carolinians’ existence. When walking in wilderness areas, watch out for their distinctive dirt mounds, and consider having an exterminator remove them if they establish a colony on your property. If you are attacked by a colony, immediately leave the area. Remove clothing, and if possible, rinse off the attacking ants with cool water. Victims that are attacked by a number of ants at once, or are very young or elderly, should be evaluated by a physician.
Bee and Wasp Stings
Bee and wasp stings are painful, and for someone with allergies, can be dangerous. Luckily most bees won’t sting unless provoked. Avoid wearing perfumes or colognes, or using scented haircare and body products. Wear white or light-colored clothing, and avoid bright colors and florals. Avoid walking barefoot, especially in grassy areas. Remember that some bees and wasps make their nests underground. Finally, avoid leaving sweets, soda, or fruit open out of doors. The sweet odors attract bees to the picnic. Keep food covered and take it inside as soon as possible.