|SummerSmart: The Living is Easy
USA Weekend Magazine, May 23, 2008
by Susan T. Lennon
Summertime pests are more than a nuisance. "Many can inflict painful bites or stings, while others carry and can transmit harmful diseases," says entomologist Ron Harrison, director of Orkin's Training Center. Here is his advice on two major types of pests.
Stingers: Bees, wasps, fire ants
These are the most dangerous summer pests, Harrison says. Why? "So many people get stung, and more people die from severe allergic reactions to their stings than from snake bites every year." Yellow jackets and hornets are part of the wasp family, attack when provoked, sting repeatedly and even attract their buddies to the area. Bees are generally less aggressive. Fire ants will bite and sting when they are disturbed.
Prevention tips: Before doing chores outside, check your property for nests. See any activity? Wait to do chores on another day. If you see a fire ant mound, do not disturb it.
If a "stinger" enters your car, open the window so it can get out. Try to stay calm.
Pour canned beverages into see-through cups; wasps seek sweets and may crawl into an open can.
Create a diversion: Put cups of soda or a protein source at a distance from the picnic table.
If stung, squeeze out venom immediately, then wash and disinfect with antibiotic ointment.
Biters: Mosquitoes, ticks
Mosquitoes spread illnesses such as West Nile virus, but ticks are our No. 1 transmitter of disease, Harrison says. Skeeters prefer blondes and enjoy sweat and perfume. Ticks are far less picky and will dine on anyone's blood, passing Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, relapsing fever and tularemia on to their victims.
- Use a repellent with DEET (sparingly for kids and not for babies under 2 months, per the American Academy of Pediatrics).
- Wear socks pulled over the hems of your pant legs.
- Remove standing water; check buckets, tires and birdbaths.
- Check pets for ticks.
- Prune shrubs.