The 15 Most Dangerous Springtime Pests and Problems from The 15 Most Dangerous Springtime Pests and Problems

The 15 Most Dangerous Springtime Pests and Problems

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The 15 Most Dangerous Springtime Pests and Problems

Just in time for the annual spring cleaning certain pests may welcome themselves in your home or yard, making your life miserable. The little home invaders usually hide in dark corners where you may not be able to spot them until there is an infestation. Serious problems with insects vary from region to region, says Lynn S. Kimsey, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology, Director, Center for Biosystematics, and Director, Bohart Museum of Entomology. In general, pests become more active at a temperature above 60 F, she adds. “The warmer it is, they more active they are, and the more of them come out.”

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Wasps

They are not aggressive species by nature, but will sting if they are disturbed or their nest is threatened. Wasp stings are painful and can cause the same risk of allergic reaction as other insect stings. Paper wasps are a problem later in the season as they don’t get large until the summer, Kimsey says. Yellowjackets can be dangerous as we move into the later part of summer because they get aggressive, territorial and more intolerant, especially of you get close to their nest, says Howard Russell, entomologist, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University.

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Ticks

They can transmit Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks spend the winter in adult stage so they become active as soon as it warms up a bit, Russell says. The best way to protect yourself is by inspecting your body and removing them right away. “Ticks have to be attached and feeding for 48 hours for Lyme disease to move to a point to infect a person because the bacteria is deep in the digestive tract of the insect,” he adds.

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Carpenter bees / bumblebees

They can be an issue when you go hiking as they are hard to spot, Russell says. As long as you are not hostile towards them, they are very likely to leave you alone, he adds. “They don’t mean us any harm if you’re not acting defensively.” But if you step on a nest, they will come out aggressively and you better get out fast.” Male bees are unable to sting.

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Spiders

The black widow is really the most dangerous spider but you are not very likely to come across it, Russell says. The female black widow spider is known as the most venomous spider in North America. House spiders are the ones most likely to be hanging around the dark corners of your home in the spring, according to Plunkett’s Pest Control. They are not considered a danger because they do not have venom strong enough to evoke much of a reaction. Spiders usually bite only if they feel threatened.

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Mosquitoes

They become a real nuisance towards May and June, depending on rainfall, Russell says. “They are terribly annoying.” They are most common near woods and rivers. “As it gets warmer and drier, they peter out.” Mosquitos can be a health hazard depending on where you live. The Zika Virus made its way to Florida last year. Mosquitoes are known to carry several infectious diseases, including viruses and parasites – malaria, West Nile virus, elephantiasis, dengue fever, yellow fever are a few.

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Fleas

They get worse as the weather gets warmer, Kinsey says. You may not know you have been bit until hours later. There will likely be more than one spot in a single area – usually 4-5. It’ll be itchy. The site of the bite may look like a red sore or bump. The spots may even bleed. Fleas usually go for the ankles, waist, behind the knees, the bend of the elbows and armpits. The rash may even turn white. Don’t scratch it because you may cause an infection.

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Ants

Ants are not medically important in the North as they are in the South, Russell says. They are mostly a nuisance in the North, he adds. Fire ants don’t bite, they sting. If you were stung, you will get a rapid, painful feeling. All fire ants deliver a toxin, and some people can react severely, depending on how many stings they got, Dr. Ned Walker, professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Entomology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, says. The sting will feel like it’s burning and will cause red skin bumps.

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Scorpions in certain areas

When the weather starts heating up, the bark scorpion starts to look for ways into Phoenix, Arizona homes and offices, according to Sexton Pest Control. The small dark yellow scorpions are poisonous. The bites can be dangerous to small children and the elderly. Still, people shouldn’t worry as most visitors won’t see one, Kimsey says.

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Snails

Snails can feed on the endosperm of germinating seed, bite seedlings off at ground level, and graze older plants, chewing longitudinal stripes on the leaves, according to USDA. This gives the adult plant a frayed appearance. Schistosomiasis is caused by parasitic worms excreted by snails in water, according to the CDC. They penetrate the skin, grow in blood vessels, multiply, and cause bladder bleeding, liver damage, kidney failure, and cancer. The disease is a problem in certain tropical and subtropical countries.

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Crickets

They are not really dangerous, but very annoying, Russell says. Crickets have no interest in gnawing on your flesh and rarely bite. Field crickets are notorious for wreaking havoc on gardens. Outside house crickets eat plants or insects, inside they snack on clothes and fabric, according to Aiken Pest Control. Crickets cause damage that is very similar to that caused by cutworms and armyworms.

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Wireworm (click beetles)

Wireworms have become an increasingly common pest of many vegetable crops in recent years. When they are a problem they can be very destructive and difficult to control, according to Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky. They are usually found attacking crops planted on the ground. Crops attacked by wireworms have reduced plant populations.

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Stink bugs

Adult stink bugs feed on stem tissue or developing kernels. Saliva from this insect is toxic to the plant, and a single feeding puncture can kill a stem, according to USDA. In the spring, stink bugs migrate to cereal hosts, mate, and lay eggs at various places on the plant. These hatch into nymphs that feed on the plant. Mild winters and low rainfall seem to favor outbreaks of the insects.

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Thrips

They can cause tiny splinters but are generally harmless to humans, Kimsey says. Extremely active, thrips feed in large groups. Host plants include onions, beans, carrots, squash, and many other garden vegetables, and flowers, especially gladioli and roses, according to Planet natural. Both adults and the wingless larvae are responsible for spreading tomato spotted wilt virus and impatiens necrotic spot virus.

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Hessian fly or other flies

Black flies can be an issue, Russell says. People should wear hats and maybe even a head net if you’re near a colony. “They can be very effective.” A fly biting you can be really awful as your face can swell up. Hessian fly is one of the most destructive insect pests on cereals, according to the USDA. Severe infestations of Hessian flies result in stunting of the plants, thin stands, lodging, and reduced yield.

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Maggots

They are found on dead stuff, rotten food and poo, so, obviously, people shouldn’t touch them, Kimsey says. People can ingest maggots by eating food that is infested with this parasite. Maggots commonly consume organic matter that poses dangers to humans. They also periodically ingest toxic chemicals. When maggots are eaten in large quantities, the foods they consume can poison humans.

The 15 Most Dangerous Springtime Pests and Problems