Biting, Disease-Carrying Insects
- Mosquitoes are active in the evening and at night. Attracted to carbon dioxide, mosquitoes can find you easily because you exhale carbon dioxide with every breath! The Asian tiger mosquito, one foreign species that has made its way to the U.S., is active all day. They spread the West Nile virus which is responsible for dozens of deaths in the U.S. They carry paralytic encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria.
- Sucking blood from animals and humans, Ticks live like “little vampires.” Ticks carry Lyme disease, a known killer that can also leave you with unexpected heart, arthritic and nervous system difficulties for the remainder of your life. They also carry the very deadly Rocky Mountain spotted fever and human monocytic ehrlichiosis (high fluctuating fevers often requiring hospitalization, kidney failure, seizures and vegetative coma).
- Flies have mouths with sharp-pointed blades and wounds from their bites can be deep and painful. Once they stab you, blood pours out and they feed! Bites can cause severe lesions, high fever and an allergic response to the hemorrhagic saliva pouring from the fly into the wound to keep your blood from clotting.
- A no-see-um or sand flea is a tiny, biting midge that breeds year round. No-see-ums are active throughout the day, but are most vigorous in the evening and at night. No-see-ums can fly in clouds and have been known to drive humans and animals to the edge of sanity.
When a flea jumps on a host, its meal of blood easily feeds the 200+ eggs they lay every day. Fleas are responsible for the spread of the Hantavirus, related to the black plague.
Insect Protections with DEET
“A word of caution about DEET,” says Dr. Phil Koehler, professor of entomology and insect researcher at the University of Florida. “We used to advise people to use as close to 100% DEET as possible because it is effective against bugs. Now, we understand that DEET kills bugs – just like it makes children sick! Use DEET in SMALL concentrations. Leave it on only while you or your children are outside, then wash it off immediately with soap!”
Kid Safety: If you are going to use a Protection containing DEET, cautions a prominent manufacturer of chemical Protections, you ought to be aware of some considerations. It isn’t recommended to apply Protections with DEET to children’s hands, because they put their fingers in their eyes and mouth without thinking. This manufacturer also strongly suggests you give your kids a bath when they return indoors to remove any remaining Protection.