ATLANTA, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The first day of summer brings warmer temperatures and more time outdoors; unfortunately, that also means you are more likely to get stung by fire ants, bees and wasps and bitten by mosquitoes. As you barbecue with friends or work in your garden, watch out for the following insects that can spoil your outdoor fun.
"While fire ants, bees and wasps are dangerous because of their stings, the number one pest to look out for this summer is the mosquito," said Jim Warneke, Orkin's Southeast division technical services manager. "They can carry serious diseases, some of which are fatal."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus, malaria, dengue fever and the virus that causes encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
"The CDC reported 712 cases of West Nile virus in 2011, and dengue fever rarely occurs in the United States," said Warneke. "Prime mosquito-biting times are dusk and dawn, so be sure to take the proper precautions and spray an EPA-approved insect repellent on exposed skin, and wear long sleeves and socks if possible."
Mosquitoes only need a few ounces of water to breed and survive, making them very hard to control, so Warneke suggests removing any standing water from gutters, birdbaths or flower pots.
Fire ants are reddish-brown and bite and sting when they are disturbed or feel threatened. They attach themselves with their mandibles to people or animals and inject venom through their stingers. Fire ant stings and bites are very painful and can be fatal, but most victims experience painful red bumps.
Fire ants prefer warm and dry, sunny weather and avoid shady areas. Mounds can grow up to 24 inches in diameter and 18 inches high. They are most common throughout the southern U.S. but have been found as far west as California and as far north as Maryland.
Bees, Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets
Flying, stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are found all across the country, and they like to build their nests in inconspicuous places.
"Yellow jackets tend to build their nests in the ground, and paper wasps are notorious for building their nests under a building's eaves and soffits," said Warneke. "They also tend to build nests in ornamental plants and hedges. Bees, on the other hand, will build their nests in many different locations, from inverted, unused flower pots and barbecue grills to inside the walls of homes and buildings. They spend their time around flowering plants, so be careful when you are pruning your roses or other annual flowers."
Bee, wasp, hornet and yellow jacket stings are painful and can cause symptoms ranging from headaches, fever and fatigue to vomiting and convulsions. Stings can also be deadly to those who are allergic to their venom. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket and fire ant stings are the cause of about 500,000 allergy-related emergency room visits each year and at least 40 deaths in the U.S. from anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction.
Africanized honey bees, also known as killer bees, are typical throughout the southeastern U.S., but can be found throughout the country. They, too, are opportunistic when it comes to building nests and will make their home just about anywhere, warns Warneke.
"It is best to stay away from all bees because they are difficult to identify," said Warneke. "All honey bees have a pheromone in their stingers that will attract other honey bees, and that could lead to additional stings."
Warneke recommends the following tips to help prevent flying, stinging insects from being attracted to your home:
- Remove all unnecessary food and water sources.
- Seal cracks and crevices around doors and windows.
- Clean up spilled food and drinks immediately, and keep drinks covered.
- Keep gutters clear, and direct water from downspouts away from your home.
- Thin vegetation, and do not pile mulch or allow soil to accumulate against your home's siding. This could provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and access for ants to enter your home.
About Orkin, LLC
Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Europe, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa and Mexico. With more than 400 locations, Orkin's almost 8,000 employees serve approximately 1.7 million customers. The company serves homeowners and numerous industries, including food and beverage processing, foodservice, hospitality, healthcare, retail, warehousing, property/facilities management, schools and institutions. Orkin is proud to be recognized by the National Pest Management Association as a QualityPro and GreenPro-certified company, addressing not only our customer's pest control needs, but also their concern for protecting the environment. Learn more about Orkin at http://orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL).
SOURCE Orkin, LLC