Houston Bug Bites are very common. With summer just round the corner, those with a fear of biting insects and spiders start looking over their shoulders. The fear of a Houston bug bite or bug sting is often worse than being bitten, and for those with extreme phobias the threat can be almost paralyzing.
With almost four hundred identified bugs, beetles, insects and spiders making their home in Texas, there are plenty of opportunities for species to strike terror.
Houston Bug Bites
The majority of houston bugs bites and creepy crawlies don’t bite or sting, and few of those that do have the power to do real harm. Even the most feared spider can cause injuries that in most cases heal on their own or with medical help, leaving no lasting damage.
That said, it’s always wise to be cautious. Allergic reactions to bites or stings, and in some instances natural reactions to insect venom, do require medical attention. Being aware, knowing what to look for and which houston bug bites cause the most damage empowers you to enjoy picnics in the park or walks in woods without fear.
The Brown Recluse spider is the most feared spider in Texas and is commonly found across the state, including in Houston. A bite from this spider doesn’t automatically mean you’re in for a world of trouble, but it does need to be taken seriously. It’s a shy spider, not given to deliberately seeking out human victims. It bites in defense when threatened. A hunting spider, it’s mostly seen at night, and makes its home where it thinks it won’t be disturbed. Remote corners, attics, crawl-spaces and outbuildings, undisturbed clothing or piles of discarded junk are favorite hiding places.
You can recognize one by the distinctive violin-shaped marking on its back, with the base of the violin being over the eyes and the violin neck extending down the spider’s back.
Serious reactions to a bite from a Brown Recluse can lead to ulcers and severe pain, with occasionally life-threatening complications. Experts suggest you seek medical attention if you suspect a Brown Recluse bite, and that you should try to capture the spider alive in a sealable jar to make positive identification easier. There are spiders with similar markings to the Brown Recluse, leading to frequent confusion and unnecessary worry.
The other spider that poses a risk in Texas is the Black Widow, recognizable by distinctive red hourglass markings on her back. The venom attacks the nervous system and can produce intense pain, vomiting, muscle cramps, perspiration and increase blood pressure. If you suspect a Black Widow bite, seek medical attention. They’re most dangerous for elderly and children, but emergency rooms carry appropriate antivenom.
Everyone knows about the dangers in mosquito bites, especially with the recent spread of Zika virus. The diseases that mosquitos carry present danger, rather than the bite itself. Mosquitos don’t carry venom, but can inject viruses into the bloodstream when they bite you.
The best cure is prevention, and this means avoiding creating conditions in which mosquitos like to breed. Standing water, even small amounts such as that in a discarded cup or bowl, are as attractive as lakes or ponds.
Discourage them from entering the house by keeping window screens in good order, and keep outside areas clear of trash or debris where water collects. When outside, use a mosquito repellant with DEET or picaridin, and keep your arms and legs covered. Some people attract mosquitos more than others, so take extra care if you’re one of the ‘tasty’ humans.
Other Stinging Insects
The main culprits are yellow jackets, hornets, fire ants, bees and wasps. Some people have severe allergic reactions to bee stings that in extreme cases can be fatal. Mostly, stinging insects are more a nuisance and passing painful experience than anything serious. That said, if you are stung, monitor your condition closely for the next couple of days and seek medical attention if you notice:
•Swelling around mouth or eyes
•Coughing or wheezing
•Muscle or stomach cramps
The Yellow Jacket, a large, aggressive wasp, is the one most likely to cause allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis which can be life threatening.
Fire ants are a common threat. They swarm onto your skin and burn like crazy when they bite. They like to live in lawns and pastures, and are common around Houston. They anchor themselves to the skin and bite repeatedly when they feel threatened. You can treat bites at home with over-the-counter steroid cream. Wash the area first and cover it with a bandage. Watch for allergic reactions as these need urgent medical treatment.
There’s no way to avoid coming into contact with stinging insects and bugs. Most will not do lasting harm as long as you’re watchful for sensitive reactions and seek help if you spot them.