Stinging Insects
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Identify Stinging Insects

Appearance

Given the diversity of biting and stinging insects, it's challenging to make any overarching statements about their appearances. Ants have six legs, segmented bodies, antennae, and are reddish-black to black in color. Mosquitoes are tiny and delicate looking. They have two wings and long, slender proboscis, or mouthparts used for penetrating skin and feeding on blood. Spiders have eight legs, uniquely arranged eyes, identifying patterns on their backs, and range in color from black and brown to tan and yellow. Bed bugs are tiny, flat, and appear reddish. Finally, fleas are microscopic, reddish-brown, and have piercing-sucking mouthparts.

Habitats

Several biting and stinging insects, such as common house spiders, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and fleas, are cosmopolitan in distribution and thrive wherever there's human activity. Harvester ants, imported fire ants, and brown recluse spiders typically need moisture and relatively warm climates to survive and are prominent in the southern United States, including the Greater Santa Fe area.

Species of ants build tunnel systems underground in yards and parks, as well as in rotten logs, the walls of buildings, and under sidewalks. Mosquitoes must live around sources of standing water. Spiders construct intricate webs in secluded corners of basements and attics. Outside, they may live under rocks, logs, woodpiles, and collections of debris. Bed bugs nest in mattress seams, headboards, and other secluded areas situated close to sleeping people. Fleas live much of their lives in the fur of mammals.

Stinging Insect Problems

Entry

All biting and stinging insects infiltrate yards and homes. Ant tunnels are often constructed in lawns and individuals from colonies will move inside homes and heated structures when cold weather is expected. Mosquitoes feed off people and animals and therefore hang around yards, farms, and any places where theit prey are regularly present. Spiders, like ants, often infest homes to survive cold winter weather. Bed bugs, like mosquitoes, need to be around humans in order to regularly feed. Similarly, fleas orient themselves around available prey, hanging around cracks and crevices close to the ground waiting to latch onto pets.

Damage

Ants and bed bugs leave behind irritating itchy red spots where they bite people. Imported fire ants actually inject venom into their victims, which causes an unpleasant burning sensation. Mosquito bites also cause itchy red spots to appear on victims' skin and hold the additional threat of disease transmission, as many species carry West Nile virus.

Though spiders are not aggressive, they bite people when they feel threatened or trapped. Common house spiders leave behind red marks when they bite; however, all symptoms tend to dissipate in a few hours. Brown recluse spiders are much more dangerous, as their venom can destroy skin tissue and incite severe allergic reactions.

Fleas do not typically target humans and more commonly congregate on household pets, like dogs and cats. Severe reactions to flea bites cause symptoms such as intense itchiness, hair loss, reddening skin, and secondary infections.

Stinging Insect Control

Control and Safety

Any number of modifications can be made to homes and yards in order to decrease the possibility of encountering biting and stinging insects. Clean up liquids and solid food spills immediately. Keep indoor and outdoor trash bins tightly sealed. Replace broken and ripped window and door screens. Look for and seal any cracks in building foundations. Trim shrubs and tree branches to ensure they don't touch or hang over homes. Eliminate areas of standing water and excess moisture. Store firewood off the ground and away from homes. Have pets cleaned regularly. Employing any or all of these methods will make homes less favorable to insect pests.

Trapping and Removal

The variety of biting and stinging insect pests makes over-the-counter removal solutions ineffective. Critter Control technicians have extensive knowledge of the behavior of several insect species and the necessary tools to eradicate biting and stinging insects from homes. At the first sign of infestation, property owners should contact our trained professionals.

We can help you get rid of stinging insect problems.  Call today: (505) 545-8891.

Critter Control of Santa Fe Service Area

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