Even with Fall in full swing, bugs that make you itch are still out and about in our temperate coastal climate. Don’t let your guard down, protect yourself from itchy bug bites year-round. Some bug bites cause more than an itch and can transmit serious illnesses. Here’s our list of top biting bugs to be on the look-out for.
- Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes are much bigger deal than some itchy red bumps. Mosquitoes can carry dangerous illnesses like the Zika virus and West Nile virus. Mosquitoes are a problem for your pets too and can infect them with the heartworm larvae.
- Ticks – Ticks can range in size from smaller than a sesame seed to the size of a dime. Ticks are in all of the continental U.S. states, including South Carolina. Ticks generally attach to the skin and continue to feed until dislodged (whether you find and remove them or whether movement or clothing dislodges them). Tick bites cause itching, burning, and rashes (not always in a bull’s eye shape). While not all tick species have been confirmed to carry Lyme and associated diseases, studies are finding far more tick species carry the disease than first thought. Ticks can also transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in some areas.
- Spiders – Spider bites usually cause painful and itchy red welts, sometimes with two visible puncture wounds. The bite of some species cause a blister that bursts, creating a painful ulcer. While any spider bite is best avoided, there are two spiders to be particularly cautious of in SC – the Black Widow Spider and the Brown Recluse Spider. Both of these venomous spider species are common in the state and their bite can make you very sick.
- Biting Flies – The biting fly many have had run-ins with in our area are sand flies. Sand flies live in tropical and sub-tropical climates near water and beaches (i.e. sand). Sand fly bites cause itchy red bumps and sometimes blisters as well.
- Fire Ants – Fire ants are also commonly encountered in our area. Fire ant bites usually occur in clusters and cause itchy red bumps that form into blisters after a few days. Fire ants can be aggressive and attack in groups, even sending some people to the hospital due to serious adverse reactions.
- Bed Bugs – Bed bugs can happen to even the cleanest people. They’ve been known to hitchhike a ride on clothing or come home with you in your luggage from vacation. They’ve even been found in library books and movie theatre seats on rare occasion. Bed bug bites produce a swollen red bump with a dark center and are often, though not always, itchy.
- Chiggers – Chigger bites tend to occur in clusters, particularly between folds of skin and are known to be extremely itchy. These clusters of bites can sometimes resemble hives or blisters in appearance.
While there are other bugs that sometimes bite humans on occasion, like fleas, our list focuses on those most likely to bite people and those whose bites can cause serious illness. The best way to deal with bug bites is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when many biting bugs are most active. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats when outside. Forgo scented lotions or perfumes and use bug repellent spray on exposed skin and also over clothing. Wear neutral colored clothing and avoid colorful floral prints. And lastly, if you have issues with biting bugs taking over your yard or home, call the experts at The Pest Force.