Get the Buzz on Bug Bites and Stings

Get the buzz on bug bites and stings

As the world thaws from winter into spring, we’ll all be going outside more, including our bug friends. There are many insects and arachnids that you may encounter as you venture outdoors. 

Lucky for you, the GOES Health app is there for you to:
     📚 learn more about each species, 
     🐝 avoid getting bitten or stung, and 
     🩹 know what to do in case it happens

Learning about each bug can help us feel more comfortable around them because it’s important to remember that we share the environment together. More importantly, each bug plays a crucial role in their ecosystems, such as pollinating flowers, controlling other pests, and maintaining healthy soils. Read more to get to know your buzzing buddies better.

Insects

Quick flashback to school days: Insects have 6 legs. That means bees, wasps, ants, mosquitos, butterflies, cicadas, and deer flies, to name a few.

🐝 Bees and wasps can get a bad rap from their stings. But stay out of their way and they’ll stay out of yours. Their main objective is to find pollen and nectar to bring back to their hives. 

  • Since flowers bloom in warmer temperatures, that’s when bees and wasps are most active – in the spring and summer, and during the daytime.
  • If you’re eating something that smells sweet or tasty, they’ll be attracted to it.
  • If a bee or wasp enters your space, it’s best to slowly walk away and create space. (Remember, they’re probably attracted to your smell.) Do not swat. That will become threatening and that’s when the stingers come out.


🐜 Fire ants
are actually closely related to wasps. Like their cousins, they are also on a mission to gather food to bring back to their nest.

  • Avoid stepping in any ant piles, which can be hard to spot. Look for what looks like a pile of sand in a grassy field. (Another reason to stay on the trail!)
  • Fire ants actually first grab you with their jaws to stabilize themselves. Then they sting you with their stinger and deliver a venom, which is the part that hurts.


💉 The stings of bees, wasps, and fire ants can be painful, but often not dangerous. However, there are people who can experience life-threatening allergic reactions and will need an EpiPen administered to avoid anaphylaxis. Know who is allergic to these insects and make sure they have an EpiPen with them

🦟 Mosquitos are out for blood. Literally. Well, just the females, who need your blood to develop their eggs. 

  • Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk, and need standing freshwater to breed. Knowing this can help you plan and minimize your exposure to mosquitos.
  • Wearing long sleeves to cover exposed skin, as well as insect repellent can help reduce the number of mosquito bites.


While mosquito bites are itchy and uncomfortable, they’re usually not dangerous. However, what
is dangerous are the potential diseases that mosquitoes can transmit through their bites (such as malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus). Know what infectious diseases are present and active in the area you’re in.

 

Arachnids

Review: These guys have 8 legs, like spiders, scorpions, and surprise! Ticks! (And while octopuses have 8 legs, they are not arachnids 😜) 

🕷️ Spiders generally stay out of the way, but will bite when threatened (i.e. an unaware human knocking into their space). 

  • Of the 42,000 species of spiders, only a few dozen species are harmful to humans – these are the brown recluse and the black widow species of spiders. They each deliver a venom in their bite that will require evacuation and medical care.
  • Different species are more common in certain geographic areas. Get to know what bugs are active wherever you are.


🦂 Scorpions
are much like spiders, but are usually found in dry regions like the southwest US. 

  • Did you know? Scorpions become fluorescent under UV light.
  • The severity of a scorpion sting can depend on the toxicity of the scorpion’s venom and who was stung. Some minor stings can be treated at home with over-the-counter remedies. Young children, pregnant people, and older people could be at greater risk and should seek medical care if stung.


🪨 Both spiders and scorpions love uninhabited nooks and crannies. Avoid blindly reaching under rocks, logs, debris or rarely used equipment like outdoor play features. Shake out shoes, blankets, and camping gear.

🌾 Ticks are tiny arachnids that feed off the blood of mammals – like the size of the bullet points below.

  • Ticks often hang out on long grasses, waiting for a mammal to walk by and brush up against the grass. As this happens, the tick jumps off and latches onto the mammal’s exposed skin.
  • Find out if ticks are prevalent in your region. Wear pants and long-sleeves to cover exposed skin. Avoid brushing up against long grasses. And always do a tick check at the end of your day.
  • While tick bites don’t hurt (you probably won’t even feel one on you), they can carry dangerous tick-borne diseases (like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever). Remove the tick as soon as you notice it. 

Learn how to properly remove a tick on the GOES app.

 

Off you GO(ES)

We know there are a lot of bugs out there and it’s a lot to keep track of. But with GOES in your pocket, you can adventure more and worry less. Everything you need to know about how to coexist with animals big and small is just a few taps away.

As the world thaws from winter into spring, we’ll all be going outside more, including our bug friends. There are many insects and arachnids that you may encounter as you venture outdoors.
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