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Poisonous Pest

Updated on April 24, 2012

As the weather warms up so does movement of mother natures dangerous pest

Outdoorsmen, hikers, campers, construction workers, landscape maintenance, and others face risk from disease carrying insects, venomous spiders and deadly snakes, in most parts of the US. Summer months cause these creatures to flourish so you need to be aware of potential safety hazards that come with these pest.

Flying insects and ticks carrying disease

Mosquitos and even deer flies can leave irritating and sometimes painful bites but they also carry viral diseases such as encephalitis. Hornets and wasp are looking for dry, shady locations and show up where you least expect them, many people are allergic to bee stings and require medical attention. These creatures are more prevalent in warmer months and anyone that spends time outside can be exposed to them.
Ticks are responsible for diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, Q fever and tularemia. They can quickly attach to your clothing from tall grass or timber, without your knowledge and will work their way to your body bringing they’re diseases with them.
The problem with these diseases are that the symptoms are common with many other non-related diseases. If infected some of the symptoms that are common include body and muscle aches, fever, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, rashes and swelling. People that have been infected may only have some of these symptoms making it very hard to diagnose.

Venomous spiders

There are many species of spiders, most aren’t dangerous to humans, people usually are sacred of big fuzzy looking spiders which are harmless. Small smooth spiders are the ones with the worst bites, three come to mind that are of danger to humans; the black widow, brown recluse and hobo. While normally found outdoors, they can be also found inside. They all prefer dry dark secluded areas for building webs and nest.
Black widows are probably the most common of these venomous pest, they are prevalent in southern states and out west, but can be found almost any where. Black widows can be identified by black body with a red hour glass on the underside of their bodies.
Brown recluse are found in the Midwest, southern states and along the east coast. Brown recluse have a brown body with a dark violin shaped marking on it’s head. I know first hand what a bite from a brown recluse can do, once while camping at a state park, I was bitten on the hip, leaving me with a scar the size of a golf ball. The doctor had to lance it open and pack it with gauze letting the bite drain for 2 weeks, while taking antibiotics, then I had to soak in a tub and take pain pills and remove the gauze. Take my word it’s very painful.
Hobo spiders are found in the Pacific Northwest, are large and brown with yellow markings on their body. They don’t climb but instead run very quickly, these I know very little about as I’ve never seen one.
All these spiders bites are very painful and because of the venom, tissue surrounding the bite can be damaged. None of these are normally life threatening but are considered serious medical issues and you should seek professional medical attention.

Black widow

Rattlesnakes are very common in the US.

This timber rattler was near our cabin, curled up by the wood pile.
This timber rattler was near our cabin, curled up by the wood pile.

Venomous snakes

Rattlesnakes are the most common and well know of the poisonous snakes in the US. There are several different types of rattlesnake and they live in most habitats. Rattlesnakes will usually warn you if threatened by using their tails to rattle. These snakes when coiled can strike up to 1/3 of their body length and can get very long. I saw a 9’5” rattlesnake taken from a potato farm in Duette, Florida but normally they won’t exceed 6-7 foot and that’s even considered large.
Cottonmouths, also known as water moccasins are dark tan, brown or almost black with vague black or dark brown crossbands. They are normally around wetlands, rivers, swamps and lakes in the southeastern states and can be fairly aggressive especially if defending themselves.
Coral snakes have bright bands of yellow, red and black and are often confused with king snakes or milk snake. Telling them apart is easily remembered by the phrase red on yellow will kill a fellow; red on black is a friend of Jack. These are highly venomous snakes but are very shy, hiding into the ground in wooded, sandy, or marsh areas of the southern states.

Copperheads are found in forest, rocky areas, swamps or near water in the Eastern states but can be found as far west as Texas. Their body color varies from reddish to golden tan with hourglass shaped bands. They are non-aggressive and most bites from these snakes results when a victim steps on these snakes.

With these things in mind, remember to watch for our poisonous pest as we spend more time outdoors during the warm months ahead. Cautions should be taken for safety of ourselves, children and workers as we come in contact with these dangers.


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    • Loreva13 profile image

      Lorenzo M Vasquez III 6 years ago from El Paso, TX

      Enjoyed reading this hub, definitely information everyone should know.