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Outbreak: Bed Bugs, Mosquitoes, Lice and Other Real Creepy, Crawling Critters

Updated on August 19, 2018
Cyndi10 profile image

The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.

Check the mattress and box springs when staying in hotels.
Check the mattress and box springs when staying in hotels. | Source

Bed Bugs, Mosquitoes and Lice - Real Creepy Crawlers

Unfortunately, for the men, women and children of the world, there are bed bugs, mosquitoes, lice and spiders - the real creepy crawlers - which are not so much fun as the games and toys of the same name sold by Amazon.

Bed bugs, mosquitoes, lice and spiders are are just a few of the real creepy crawlers topping the global list of bothersome and, sometimes, deadly creatures that can cause diseases, carry venom or can result in injuries as you try to avoid them. In this article, let's explore some of the most common bugs and what you can do about them.

Bed Bugs

First on the list: bed bugs. These tiny little red bugs love to languish between mattresses and box springs causing a big stir wherever they show up. They have been found in some of the most luxurious, high-end hotels and apartments in cities like New York. In fact, in 2012 they were reported at the Children's Museum in New York. In November of the same year, they were reported in the Toronto Museum.

Bed bugs scurry from the light, so you don't see them without looking for them. You usually find out that they have taken up residence in your bed when itchy, red bumps and welts wake you in the middle of the night. In true vampire style, they feast on your blood.

When you are in a strange or new environment, it's best to check between your mattress and box springs and under the sheets and mattress pads. Check your seat cushions, as well. The little red creepy crawlers huddle and multiply in those areas. When you see bed bugs, quickly pack your bags and head for the nearest exit! Ask for a different room or get your money back and check into another hotel.

If you discover bed bugs in your home, you can try to treat the problem yourself or you can call in the professional. Bed bugs are a nasty nuisance that are very difficult to get rid of. An infestation usually requires more than one treatment. After treatment to your home, wash all infected bedclothes in hot, hot water so there is no re-infestation.

Prevention is the best solution to bed bugs. When traveling, always check your room thoroughly. When returning home, wash dirty clothes immediately. Check the clothes you didn't wear on the trip for any stowaways. Bed bugs are an infestation you do not want.

Mosquito netting is crucial to halting the spread of disease in some countries.
Mosquito netting is crucial to halting the spread of disease in some countries. | Source

Fleas, Ticks, Lice and Gnats

Fleas are another of life's annoying real creepy crawlers. Nasty, germ carrying little insects that also like to feed on warm-blooded animals, humans included.

It's best to practice preventative maintenance here, as well. Check your pets often to be sure they are free of the pesky creepy crawler, because once they get into your home, they are also very difficult to get rid of. Fleas multiply very, very fast.

Ticks are another creepy nuisance. They are dangerous, carrying Lyme disease which can be debilitating and even deadly. If you find ticks on your pets (or on your person), remove them very carefully and kill them immediately, flushing them away if you can. Their bodies are full of bacteria.

If the nasty little beasts are embedded in your skin, use care to remove it and be sure you keep the head attached. This will help prevent the possible contraction of Lyme disease.

Speaking of heads, lice seem to crop up periodically, in numbers large enough to cause problems in day cares and schools across the country, particularly at the beginning of the school year.

Lice love to lay eggs in the hair of unsuspecting victims. They create a scratchy little problem.

Since children like to share things like combs and hats, the nits (lice eggs) are easily spread from one child's head to another.

Silence is one of the reasons a single case can turn into an infestation. Parents and others seem to equate head lice with filth. That may or may not have been true earlier, but with the population growth and movement and the closeness of people, like bed bugs, when lice "see" an opportunity for free lunch, they take it.

There are a myriad of products on the market and easily found in drug stores that help to get rid of lice. Your medical professional can also make recommendations for treatment.

One of the most important tools is the early exposure of the problem. If your child has head lice, speak up so that teachers can be on the alert and avert full blown infestation. Most parents don't speak up because it's embarrassing. Because the critters don't go away on their own and have probably begun to spread by the time parents find out about them, parents are not going to get away with ignoring them. Get over the embarrassment and report the problem before it gets out of control. The children will suffer when you don't let the teachers know.

Gnats are just another creepy crawler annoyance. They fly and if you've ever walked into a swarm, you know that they can get into you hair, your mouth and sometimes your eyes. Gnats in your eyes can lead to eye infections. The annoyance that the buzz around you ears creates is topped only by the annoying buzz of a mosquito.

On the food chain, we know that frogs and spiders are particularly fond of gnats.

Dangers of Mosquitoes

Of all the creepy crawlers, en mass, the most dangerous is probably the mosquito because of its ability to transmit debilitating diseases to large segments of populations. In fact, most of the population (and pets) of the world are at risk from a disease carried by the disease, most recently, the Zika virus, which cause serious birth defects unborn children.

Technically, mosquitoes do not crawl unless they light on their host. Like gnats they also perform pesky "fly bys" around your head. Unlike gnats, however, mosquitoes carry many deadly diseases. They are international inhabitants and so are their diseases. In particular, they carry malaria, yellow fever and the virus for West Nile disease. Mosquitoes are tiny, but can be deadly.

Mosquitoes can lay eggs quickly and in the tiniest amounts of water when the air temperature reaches about seventy-five degrees. One way to keep them down is to eliminate the standing water around your home. In some areas of heavy infestation, mosquito nets are a must. There are charitable programs that provide nets to the populations of some countries because the risk from deadly diseases carried by mosquitoes is so prevalent.

Some local governments use pesticides to periodically keep the population down, especially if there is an outbreak of mosquito borne disease such as when the Zika virus began to show up in the population.

Mosquitoes love hot, humid climates. If you live in an area where seasons change, a really cold winter does wonders for keeping the population in check. However, they do not disappear and with a warm spell, even in winter, they can show up again.

Still, it is a good idea to keep your yard or outdoor space as free of the disease bearing insects as possible. This can be accomplished naturally, with plants, or chemically.

CDC map showing the reports of the Zika virus.  Vist site for update of locations of Zika virus.
CDC map showing the reports of the Zika virus. Vist site for update of locations of Zika virus. | Source

Fear of Spiders

Spiders fall into the creepy crawler category in spades. The majority of the spiders we encounter on a daily basis are harmless, but anyone afraid of them can hurt themselves as they try to avoid the eight-legged creatures. It is said that a spider is never really more than eight feet away from you. Not a comforting fact for anyone with arachnophobia.

While most are harmless, there are spiders that are very dangerous and you should avoid them. It's never a bad idea to shake your shoes before you put them on since some spiders like darkness.

If you are an avid gardener, wear your gloves, long sleeves and protective shoes. Shake your clothes before you reenter your home. Your garden is just one of the spiders' habitats. If you are working near a spider's web, either destroy it or move a way from the area. The spider is quick and you can be unaware you have been bitten until you see the red itchy bumps and watch the the area spread. If you are bitten it is best to see a doctor. A bite may need to be treated with antibiotics before it will go away. A bite can leave the affected area darkened and disfigured. Most bites fall into the annoyance category but the bite from a black widow, a brown recluse or others that are native to various countries can be fatal.

All of these real creepy crawlers are a part of our everyday lives. As hard as we try to eradicate them, they are never going away and they shouldn't because they are an important part of the food chain. Avoidance is prudence. The good news is that bed bugs and most other types of home invaders of the insect and arachnid kind can be avoided with a few precautions and a little attention.

© 2012 Cynthia B Turner


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