As the weather heats up and kids get out of school for summer, more time is spent outdoors working and playing. The summer months can be full of fun, but it is also a time when bugs and snakes come out and while most are harmless, there are a few that can hurt you. Dangerous and venomous bugs such as wasps and spiders are important to keep a lookout for when being outdoors. There are also a few poisonous snakes to be aware of in case you ever come across them in the wild. The Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) wants you to know the dangers of encountering these bugs and snakes in order to keep you and your family poison-free!
Creepy Crawlers in Texas
Lots of little kids love bugs and enjoy touching and learning about them. Seeing kids’ curiosity about bugs can be endearing, but it’s important to be aware that some bugs can cause pain. Below the TPCN has compiled a list of some of the most prominently known bugs to lookout for in Texas when it comes to bites and stings, so make sure to share this information with kids or anyone playing or working outdoors.
Bees and Wasps
You might have noticed some wasps, yellow jackets, bees or hornets buzzing around your home. If so, they most likely have built a nest somewhere on the outside of your home or in hollow places that do not get disturbed. When it is light out, look around your home to see if you can find the nest. If so, you should call a professional to take care of it. Never try to remove the nest yourself. If the nests are not taken care of, there can be dangerous consequences, especially for those who have allergies to these stings.
Most spiders are harmless to humans. But in Texas there are two spiders to watch out for and they are the brown recluse and the black widow. These spiders are known to hang out in dark areas where there isn’t much draft. The only time they might bite is if they feel threatened. Unfortunately, with most spider bites, you won’t even feel them. That is why it is important that anytime you find a suspecting bite on your body or your child’s, that you call the poison center for assistance and treatment recommendations.
Mosquitoes are some of the peskiest bugs out there, but they are relatively harmless as long as you cover yourself up with repellent. They can carry some yucky diseases, though, including West Nile Virus and malaria. The best way to avoid mosquitoes around your home is to get rid of any standing water, including bird baths. Standing water is the way mosquitoes breed so ensure you dump out all standing water, especially after it rains. Mosquitoes are most active in the early evening so if you need to go out at this time, make sure you use mosquito repellent and cover all exposed areas of skin.
Ticks can be found in dense brush and wooded areas. If you plan on taking a hike or going around heavily wooded areas, make sure to cover your skin with clothing to help eliminate chances of a tick biting you. Also, safeguard by using tick repellent where skin is visible to eliminate chances of being bit. If you do find a tick embedded in your skin, the best thing you can do is remove it with tweezers. Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 for information on how to remove it or treat the open wound it can sometimes leave behind.
Snakes to Look Out for in Texas
A cottonmouth snake can reach lengths of up to five feet long. Commonly called a water moccasin, these snakes enjoy being near bodies of water and are usually a dark black color with wide bands over its body. It is known to be aggressive so keep your eyes open when playing by lakes, ponds and rivers.
The Western Diamondback rattlesnake is one of the most common snakes you will find in Texas. It can reach lengths of up to seven feet and has a triangular-shaped head. They spend most of their days hiding in low-growing shrubs or rocks This snake is most known for their rattle, but it is also covered in a diamond-shaped pattern, which is where it gets its name. They don’t tend to be aggressive, but if their habitat is disturbed or threatened they can be, so keep your eyes peeled when out on hikes in wooded areas.
Copperheads reach about 30 inches long and their color consists of a reddish-brown head with coppery bodies. These snakes aren’t known to be aggressive. Most people who have been bitten only get bitten by accidentally stepping on them. They easily blend in with vegetation and dirt making it easy to step on one. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and where you are walking when in wooded or park areas.
This snake is the most colorful of the bunch, only reaching about 2 feet in length. They are easier to spot due to their bright red, black and yellow rings on their bodies. Coral snakes can be extremely dangerous due to their venom, especially if they bite a child. Their mouths can be fairly small, so they have an easier time of biting children than they do an adult. It is best to avoid these snakes and remember the saying: Red touching yellow, kills a fellow, while red touching black, venom they lack!
Remember, if you run across any of these snakes or bugs and happen to get bitten or stung, please do not hesitate to contact a poison center for help at 1-800-222-1222. They are always there, always free and can provide help on how to treat the bite and more. You can also visit www.poisoncontrol.org to read more information on bites and stings.
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