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Bugs, Bugs, Bugs – Summer Woes

Written by Jobeth Augustyniak

June 4, 2024

As summer in Texas has finally arrived, so have all the bugs. At a time when we want to be able to spend more time outdoors, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, bees, flies and chiggers can lead to significant summer woes. The number of bugs/insects seems endless. Other than being annoying, these bugs can also carry disease. So, what can you do to decrease your risk of contracting anything from these little buggers? Let’s dive in.

Here are some common bugs in Texas and how to prevent contracting diseases from them:

1. Mosquitoes: These tiny, buzzing creatures are not only irritating but also potential carriers of diseases like West Nile virus and Zika virus. To prevent mosquito bites, consider wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent containing DEET, and eliminating any standing water around your home where mosquitoes breed.

2. Ticks: Found in wooded areas and tall grass, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. When venturing outdoors, wear light-colored clothing to spot ticks easily, use insect repellent with DEET, and conduct thorough tick checks after returning indoors.

3. Chiggers: These nearly invisible bugs can cause intense itching and discomfort. To avoid chigger bites, consider using insect repellent containing DEET, showering after outdoor activities, and washing clothes promptly to remove any chiggers that may be attached.

4. Fire Ants: While not disease carriers, fire ant bites can be painful and cause allergic reactions in some individuals. To prevent fire ant encounters, watch where you step, wear closed-toe shoes when outdoors, and be cautious around ant mounds.

5. Flies: Flies may not be as harmful as mosquitoes or ticks, but they can still spread diseases like salmonella. To keep flies at bay, ensure proper food storage, use screens on windows and doors, and promptly dispose of garbage.

There are some plants that can help repel insects, as well. These include citronella, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, even marigolds.

What types of diseases/symptoms do these bugs cause?

Here are a few examples:

  1. Mosquito-Borne Diseases:
  2. Tick-Related Diseases:
  3. Other Insect Bites:
    • Fire Ant Stings: Fire ants are common in Texas and their stings cause painful, itchy red bumps.
    • Bee Stings: While bees are essential for agriculture, their stings can hurt and cause redness or swelling. Most reactions subside after a few hours3.

By taking preventive measures and staying informed about common bugs in Texas, you can better enjoy the summer season without worrying about contracting diseases from these annoying bugs. Stay safe, stay protected, and make the most of your outdoor adventures in the Lone Star State!

If you feel like you may have contracted/gotten a disease or illness as a result of one of these buggers, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible.

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