Bug Archives: disease carrying insects

Hamilton To Spray Tonight Between 6:30 PM & 2 AM

Hamilton to spray for

mosquitoes on Thursday

Hamilton-Wenham —

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that a horse was found positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Essex.

As a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of EEE, targeted truck spraying in the area along Essex Street and roads east of Essex Street, in the area along Sagamore Street, Autumn Lane, Moulton Street, Garder Street and roads to the east, will be conducted in Hamilton on Thursday, Oct. 4 between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 2 a.m., weather permitting.

Residents in the targeted areas are asked to stay indoors during the spraying.

Due to weather constraints, the town website will be updated the following morning to indicate whether the spraying occurred as planned or is rescheduled to the following night.  Spraying is halted when it is raining and when temperatures are below 60 degrees.

Additional steps that can be taken to minimize or avoid exposure when truck spraying is scheduled to take place include:

• People with asthma and/or other respiratory conditions may wish to stay indoors, since it is possible that if exposure to pesticide spray occurred, it could aggravate those conditions. These individuals may want to consult their physician for further advice.

• Keep windows closed and fans off. Shut off air conditioners unless they have a setting for recirculating indoor air.

• Rinse any homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as is typically done before cooking or eating them.

• Keep pets indoors during spraying to minimize their risk of exposure.

• If skin and/or clothes or other items are exposed to the sprayed pesticide, wash with soap and water.

• If the spray gets in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water or eye drops, and call your doctor.

The Hamilton Board of Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) recommend that the public take action now to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito populations around their home and neighborhoods.

Hamilton to spray for mosquitoes on Thursday – Hamilton, MA – Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle http://www.wickedlocal.com/hamilton/newsnow/x21084511/Hamilton-to-spray-for-mosquitoes-on-Thursday#ixzz28LesQDsd

10 Most Deadly Bugs

You may be surprised to find out the top 10 most deadly insects, some of them may be deadly due to the sheer number of them and their venem, others may be a more common house pest that you didn’t realize could even harm you.

  • Anopheles Mosquito:  Mosquitoes can lead to serious illness or even death, just one bite may be enough to hospitalize. Once the temperature outside hits a steady stream of temperatures above 50°F (10°C), you’ll surely start to see those pesky mosquitoes flying around outside. You are even more likely to see them once the sun begins to go down. As if dealing with bugs isn’t a nuisance in itself, mosquitoes are a bit more to deal with, especially if one lands on you and decides to bite. While only female mosquitoes will bite a human, some of them carry diseases that can be very harmful. There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes, 200 of those living in North America, many carrying ailments such as yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis, and even canine heart-worm.
    • What’s to Fear? A mosquito has probably bitten you at least once before in your life, so you’re familiar with the little red bump that may swell and really itches- nothing a little cortisone or anti-inflammatory skin cream won’t fix. However, in some cases, a mosquito bite can lead to a lifetime of illness, or even lead to death. One of the most widely known mosquito-borne diseases today is malaria. It is very prevalent in tropical countries: there are about 350–500 million cases found each year and about 1-3 million people die from it each year. Malaria is said to affect at least 10% of the world’s total population. These deaths are usually noted in sub-Saharan Africa where mosquitoes are very prominent and proper care for malaria is scarc
  • Fire Ants: While having a picnic with ants doesn’t sound so bad, as most ants are harmless and miniscule compared to the human body, having a picnic with fire ants definitely isn’t the wisest idea. There are over 280 different species of ants that sting and one of the most widely known is the fire ant. Other ants kill by stinging their prey and then spraying the wound with acid, but the fire ant is particularly ruthless. They kill by stinging their prey and then injecting venom known as solenopsin.  And because of this, when a human is stung by the ant, it can be compared to the sensation felt when being burned; however, the sting is usually minor and something that the body can fight on its own.
    • What’s to Fear? As you’d imagine, a little ant can’t do much damage to a human. All we’d have to do is make a little use of our left shoe. However, ants live in colonies and sometimes, with enough stings and enough bodily sensitivity, the fire ants can kill. It is said that about 5% of those who report being bitten by a fire ant die due to anaphylactic shock. Of course this is very far and in between, but there are reports of deaths caused by an allergic reaction to the venom.
  • Siafu: Very similar to fire ants, Siafu are ants that are mainly located in east and central Africa, but they can also be found in parts of Asia. These ants are said to live in colonies of 20 million ants, notably 20 million blind ants. They are able to travel through the use of pheromones. Out of these 20 million, there is a group of ants known as the soldier ants. These ants are the ones that are able to sting to fend off or kill prey. It is said that while the ants are able to sting, they often use their jaws, made for shearing, to bite. The jaws of these ants are so strong that in some locations in Africa, they are actually used as sutures which can hold for up to four days, to allow wounds to heel properly.
    • What’s to Fear? If one is stung by a Siafu, the bite is often very minimal and nothing that requires a doctor. However, it is said that the young and elderly are very susceptible to their bites, and some have died due to complications caused by the ant bite. Around 20-50 people reportedly die each year from a Siafu bite. These ants are often very aggressive and when you interrupt their colony, you just may be in a little bit of trouble.
  • Wasps and Bees: As pesky as they are, wherever you go, you’re sure to find wasps and bees. On flowers, near something that smells sweet, or making a hive in a very inconvenient place- wasps and bees are an everyday part of life when the weather is warm enough to permit it. You’ve probably been stung at least once so you know what it feels like. It’s usually not an event that requires medical attention – unless you’re allergic.
    • What’s to Fear? If you’re not allergic to a wasp or bee sting, then you really have nothing to worry about. If you are allergic to wasp or bee stings, then getting stung might be more of a problem. It is said that about 53 people die each year because of an allergic reaction from being stung. Those who are allergic to the venom let off after being stung can go into anaphylactic shock, which often brings about hives, wheezing, confusion, pale skin, and sometimes unconsciousness and even death.
  • Asian Giant Hornet: You’ve probably seen a hornet once in your life and you probably weren’t too fearful of it as they are usually pretty small and pretty easy to rid of. However, imagine a hornet on steroids, and when you do, just look to the Asian Giant Hornet. This hornet is said to be the biggest in the world, with a length of 2 inches and a wing span of 3 inches. The hornet also sports a ¼ inch long stinger, but being stung with by this hornet is definitely not like being stung like a bee. While you won’t find these hornets anywhere near the U.S. or Europe, if you ever make a trip to Eastern Asia, you’re sure to run into them a few times, especially if you travel the mountainous places in Japan.
    • What’s to Fear? Take it from someone who has experienced it. According to Masato Ono, someone who has been stung by an Asian Giant Hornet, the sting felt like a “like a hot nail being driven into his leg.” The venom that is released by the stinger has about 8 different compounds, one that causes discomfort, one that can damage soft tissue, and one that is able to create an odor that may attract even more hornets. Those who are allergic to bees can die from the reaction, but some die because of a chemical known as mandaratoxin which can be fatal if there is enough introduced into the body. It is said that each year, about 70 people die from these stings.
  • Africanized Honey Bee: While most of us can deal with normal bees, the ones that we see all the time in our gardens, if you ever come into contact with an Africanized Honey Bee, you’re definitely in for some trouble. Though normal bees do sting, being stung by a honey bee is much different, as it’s unlikely that you’ll just be stung once since they hang around in swarms. In 1956 these bees were brought to Brazil in order to breed a more efficient honeybee. However, this failed and most of the bees were able to escape. From Brazil the swarms of bees have reached Central America and have even come as far up as the southwestern U.S.
    • What’s to Fear? Because they are known to travel in swarms, when a bee attacks a victim, many of the other bees will do so as well. It is said that one swarm of these bees can take down a horse. The bees have killed about 1,000 people since they’ve started coming up from Brazil. These bees definitely put a face to the name killer bees.
  • Kissing bug: First discovered in the 19th century by Charles Darwin, the kissing bug is an insect that you don’t ever want to come into close contact with. There are 138 known species in existence.  Most of them are within the U.S., with others scattered throughout Asia, Australia, and Africa. All of the known species are said to be able to transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, a very harmful parasite that can be fatal. Most species of the insect are known to live off of vertebrate blood while some are able to live off of invertebrates.
    • What’s to Fear? The potentially lethal kissing bug is known to live in the same dwellings as humans, often making their homes on the outside as well as the inside of our houses. It is said that 45,000-50,000 people die each year from kissing bug bites. This is because the parasite that the bug carries, Trypanosoma cruzi, is known to cause Chagas disease, which seems very minute at first but is fatal over. At first there is just swelling at the site of the bite, but then the disease can lead to intestinal issues as well as cardiac problems. In fact most of those who die from Chagas disease die from Chagasic cardiomyopathy.
  • Tsetse Fly: While flies alone are annoying, imagine a fly that lives by sucking blood from animals and humans. The tsetse fly is found in the Kalahari and Saharan deserts. This insect is widely studied today due to the disease that they transmit. The flies look very similar to the normal housefly we all love to swat at, except for a proboscis on their head, which is the anatomical part that allows them to suck blood. There are 34 different species of tsetse flies, all of them fitting into one of the three categories: savannah fly, forest fly, or riverine fly.
    • What’s to Fear? Though a little fly may seem pretty harmless, the tsetse fly can kill, and do so each year. Most of the deaths are in Africa- it is said that 250,000 to 300,000 die each year from something known as the sleeping disease (the numbers are slowly decreasing). The tsetse fly carries protozoa known as trypanosomes, but so do many other insects. However, when someone is bitten by the tsetse fly, the protozoa are introduced to the body and cause a disease known as the Sleeping Sickness. If not treated properly, the disease is able to shut down necessary bodily functions, such as the endocrine and cardiac systems. Next, the disease enters the neurological system, causing confusion and an abnormal sleep cycle due to insomnia and slumber. The most recent notable epidemic of the disease was in Uganda in 2008.
  • Rat Fleas: When thinking of fleas, you probably think of a tiny insect that has landed on a household cat or dog that causes a lot of itching. Fleas are often only 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, with a dark colored body and a mouth that is made to be able to suck blood off of the helpless host it lands on. A flea bite, whether on your pet or your own body, will often cause a red mark accompanied by a lot of itching. Though there are different types of fleas that you’d find on a dog or cat, one of the more deadly fleas is one you’d find on a rat. While rats are pretty scary to most on their own, a flea-infested rat is even scarier, and is one that needs to be avoided.
    • What’s to Fear? While fleas are often no bigger than the nail on your pinky finger, they have been known to carry devastating diseases and germs, the most notable being the Yersinia pestis bacteria. This bacteria is known for causing the death of nearly three-quarters of Europe’s population during the 14th century. Better known as the Black Death, this plague killed between 350 and 375 million people and peaked during 1348-1350. The rats that were often found on merchant ships are said to have spread the disease and, due to lack of medical information and treatment, the disease spread and spread. The plague was also never fully wiped out and for years there would be a reoccurrence of deaths due to the deadly bacteria. While today dying from this bacteria would be rare in the U.S. and in most places in Europe, in many third-world countries it is very possible.
  • House Centipede: Originating in the Mediterranean (or Mexico, depending on the source), the house centipede has become a very common bug around the world. You may think centipedes look unattractive but they are actually “good” bugs, as they eat other pests and sometimes even spiders. Of course, if you have entomophobia (fear of insects or bugs), then this argument isn’t going to help. In any case, centipedes are more of a pest than they are a threat, but shockingly they can cause some damage. If you are bitten by one of these insects, you’ll definitely feel it. Some who have experienced it say that it is painful, but nothing that will send you off crying in the corner.
    • What’s to Fear? While centipedes aren’t insects that are responsible for tons and tons of deaths, you’d be surprised to find out that every two years one person does die due to a centipede bite. This is usually due to an allergic reaction to the venom that the bug can inject into your body when it bites you. However, it’s rare that one is so allergic to this venom that it kills them.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites can be a pain, they get red, swell, itch, but it doesn’t stop there, they cause worry especially the last few years. Mosquito bites can cause different diseases that can if not careful, cause death, EEE and West Nile Virus are becoming too common. Unfortunalty you can not just look at a mosquito and know whether or not it is infected but what you can do is try your best to prevent them from biting you at all.

It is unrealistic and unfair to yourself and children to stop going outdoors just because of mosquitoes, but what you do have to do is be aware of the insect dangers. First, know the threat levels for your areas, always use mosquito repellent and try to limit outdoor activities after dusk when mosquitoes out the most. Cover up, wearing socks, sneakers, long sleeved shirts and pants can help protect your body from bites. If your areas threat is higher and you have to be outdoors use a repellent with DEET, just be sure to follow instructions, on children spray on clothing, not body and wash clothing once you are home.

Some studies show mosquitoes prefer brighter clothing, so do some other bugs, not sure how accurate this one is, but if you are going to be out for a long day it can’t hurt to wear more natural colors for the day. Keep your body clean, mosquitoes like body odor, so make sure you are clean and deodorized, but do not use fruit or sweet smelling perfumes or lotions, this will only attract them more.

Try and live your life protecting yourself from these nasty inconsiderate pests, don’t let them rule your life!

West Nile Virus, What You Need To Know

What Is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall. This fact sheet contains important information that can help you recognize and prevent West Nile virus.

What Can I Do to Prevent WNV?

New! Prevention measures consist of community-based mosquito control programs that are able to reduce vector populations, personal protection measures to reduce the likelihood of being bitten by infected mosquitoes, and the underlying surveillance programs that characterize spatial/temporal patterns in risk that allow health and vector control agencies to target their interventions and resources.

The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.

What Are the Symptoms of WNV?

  • Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
  • Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
  • No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

How Does West Nile Virus Spread?

  • Infected Mosquitoes. Most often, WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.
  • Transfusions, Transplants, and Mother-to-Child. In a very small number of cases, WNV also has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and even during pregnancy from mother to baby.
  • Not through touching. WNV is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person with the virus.

How Soon Do Infected People Get Sick?

People typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after they are bitten by the infected mosquito.

How Is WNV Infection Treated?

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. In cases with milder symptoms, people experience symptoms such as fever and aches that pass on their own, although even healthy people have become sick for several weeks. In more severe cases, people usually need to go to the hospital where they can receive supportive treatment including intravenous fluids, help with breathing and nursing care.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have WNV?

Milder WNV illness improves on its own, and people do not necessarily need to seek medical attention for this infection though they may choose to do so. If you develop symptoms of severe WNV illness, such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. Severe WNV illness usually requires hospitalization. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are encouraged to talk to their doctor if they develop symptoms that could be WNV.

What Is the Risk of Getting Sick from WNV?

People over 50 at higher risk to get severe illness.People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.

Being outside means you’re at risk. The more time you’re outdoors, the more time you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. Pay attention to avoiding mosquito bites if you spend a lot of time outside, either working or playing.

Risk through medical procedures is very low. All donated blood is checked for WNV before being used. The risk of getting WNV through blood transfusions and organ transplants is very small, and should not prevent people who need surgery from having it. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.

Pregnancy and nursing do not increase risk of becoming infected with WNV.

The risk that WNV may present to a fetus or an infant infected through breastmilk is still being evaluated. Talk with your care provider if you have concerns.

What Is the CDC Doing About WNV?

CDC is working with state and local health departments and other government agencies, as well as private industry, to prepare for and prevent new cases of WNV.

Some things CDC is doing include:

  • Manage and maintain ArboNET, a nation-wide electronic surveillance system where states share information about WNV and other arboviral diseases
  • Support states develop and carry out improved mosquito prevention and control programs
  • Developing better, faster tests to detect and diagnose WNV
  • Prepare updated prevention and surveillance information for the media, the public, and health professionals
  • Working with partners on the development of vaccines

What Else Should I Know?

If you find a dead bird: Don’t handle the body with your bare hands. Contact your local health department for instructions on reporting and disposing of the body. They may tell you to dispose of the bird after they log your report.



Updated WNV Threat Levels

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) on Friday, Aug. 31, announced West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in three Middlesex County residents and one Hampden County resident. All four patients are recovering.


“Confirmation of these four cases is a timely reminder that people need to take the threat of mosquito-borne illness seriously no matter where they live,” said DPH state epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria. “Warm temperatures are forecast for Labor Day weekend, and it’s vitally important that people take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites: use insect repellant, cover up, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are at their most active.”

As a result of the Middlesex County findings, the WNV threat level is being raised to “High” in Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Saugus and Winthrop. The threat level is being raised to “Moderate” in Bedford, Burlington, Lincoln, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester and Woburn.

Based on the Hampden County findings, the WNV threat level is being raised to “High” in Chicopee, and to “Moderate” in Holyoke, South Hadley and West Springfield.

WNV-infected mosquitoes have been found in 97 communities from nine counties so far during 2012, and health officials predict that the state is on track to have the greatest number of WNV-positive mosquito pools since WNV was first seen in Massachusetts in 2000. There have been four human cases of WNV in Massachusetts prior to this announcement – three in Middlesex County and one in Berkshire County.

While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

If you live in a “Moderate” or “High” threat area contact A1-Exterminators to see what we can do to help keep the mosquito population down! Call us today at 1800-525-4825!

West Nile threat level raised to “Moderate” in Lincoln – Lincoln, MA – Lincoln Journal http://www.wickedlocal.com/lincoln/news/lifestyle/health/x1298137569/West-Nile-threat-level-raised-to-Moderate-in-Lincoln#ixzz25F1gVD00