Don’t Let Bed Bugs Bite

Don’t Let Bed Bugs Bite

Yes, they do exist! Reality check: Whether you are in a hotel, a hostel, a train or a cruise ship, the place might be crawling with these little critters!

But don’t freak out!

The last thing you want to be doing on your relaxing vacation is to be on the hunt for bugs! So I am here to tell you how to, not only how to prevent them from disturbing your trip, but most importantly, how to prevent them from coming home with you!

Trust me, I have learned from experienced that bringing bed bugs home with you is both excruciating and expensive! Here is what you do:

1. Check everything

If you have suspicions or wake up with little red bites on your back, check everything! The mattress, the box spring, the seams of the mattress, the headboard, the painting hanging above, the pillow, everything!

Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, but if you do see them, don’t freak out. Their bites just itch, that’s about the extent of it.

2. Bed Bug Spray

Pack a travel-sized bed bug spray

Look for something that is non-toxic, preferably something herbal or enzyme-based. Spray it where you sleep, where you sit and around your luggage.

3. Protect Your Suitcase

Your suitcase is a cruise ship for these guys. Do not keep your suitcase on the floor or close to the bed. Instead, elevate it on a suitcase rack or even on a table.

Also, do not lay your clothes randomly on the bed and then put them back in your suitcase! If you do, make sure you place your clothes into a Ziploc bag.

You can even get a suitcase bed bug liner!

Just place your clothes inside and keep it zipped up!

Another idea is to isolate your entire suitcase with large garbage bags.

If none of these ideas work for you, you can always get a plastic suitcase protector.

4. Anti-Bed Bug Gadgets

Gadget geeks, listen up! There are even gadgets you can use to spot these guys and better prevent them.

Ultraviolet flashlights illuminate spots of blood or carcusses of bugs. Some flashlights even come with a magnifying glass.

Also, bed bugs cannot survive between the temperatures of 117-120 degrees F. That’s why there are huge contraptions that fit over your suitcase and heat it up with everything inside!

Bed bugs should never keep you from going anywhere! The important thing is to just prevent, prevent, prevent!

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Venomous Hobo Spider Bites May Be Not So Toxic After All

An image of a hobo spider
Hobo spider. Copyright: Richard Vetter
Credit: Richard Vetter

Whether the bites of the hobo spider are toxic to people has been a matter of scientific debate, but a new study suggests the spider’s venom may be less harmful than many people think.

With black widows and brown recluse spiders, hobo spiders are listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the three venomous spiders that can be found in the United States, that can be dangerous. In some cases, hobo spider bites have caused necrosis, which is the death of cells or tissue, according to a 1996 report from the CDC.

However, researchers have questioned for years whether there is actually sufficient evidence that hobo spider venom can indeed cause necrotic skin lesions, and how dangerous to humans these spiders really are. Moreover, hobo spiders are considered innocuous in Europe, and previous research comparing the venom of American and European members of the species did not find significant differences between the two.

“There is a psychological thing about spiders, that people just want to believe that spiders are doing the damage,” said study author Richard Vetter, an arachnologist at the University of California, Riverside. People may readily conclude that a spider caused an injury they actually incurred from something else, he said.

Venomous bites

Hobo spiders are moderately large, measuring about a quarter-inch to a half-inch (7 to 14 millimeters) in body length, with a 1- to 2-inch (27 to 45 mm) leg span. The brown and grey spiders are native to Europe, and were probably introduced into the Seattle area in the 1920s or early 1930s. They have since spread through the Pacific northwest. The spiders build funnel-shaped webs in dark, moist areas, and are fast runners — moving up to 3 feet (1 meter) per second.

In the new study, Vetter and his colleagues examined 33 reported, verified spider bites that occurred in Oregon over three years. Different spider species perpetrated the bites, with one coming from a hobo spider.

The researchers examined the symptoms of the spider bite victims. Unlike some previous studies on spider bites, the researchers looked only at reports in which people actually caught the spiders that bit them, and submitted the eight-legged beasts as evidence.

It turned out that none of the spider bites in the sample, including the one inflicted by the hobo spider, resulted in dermonecrosis — the death of skin cells. The victim of the hobo spider suffered only pain, redness and twitching.

“Spiders are a very handy scapegoat to blame all the time” because, historically, people have had a negative view of spiders, Vetter told Live Science.

At the outset of the study, the researchers had wanted to look at a series of cases of hobo spider bites. But over the three-year period, the researchers found only one such report. And while this may not necessarily mean that hobo spiders rarely bite people, there is not sufficient evidence to prove that they are “common biters,” either, Vetter said.

A handy culprit?

Previous reports of hobo spider bites have cited largely circumstantial evidence, with people reporting bites without providing evidence they were actually bitten by a hobo spider, or any spider at all, the researchers said. People may blame other medical conditions, for instance, skin conditions, on spider bites.

“Spider bite diagnoses are very handy diagnoses for a lot of doctors,” Vetter said. “They can’t be proven wrong, and 90 percent of everything heals by itself anyway.”

Other researchers agreed with the idea that hobo spiders are not dangerous.

“I actually believe that it’s not at all a real thing that the hobo spiders” have bites that can kill human skin tissue, said Christopher Buddle, an arachnologist at McGill University, who was not involved in the study. “I think it has largely been almost a hoax,” he told Live Science.

The new study, which gathered data on the bites of a range of species of spiders, was quite valuable, because researchers don’t know much about the potential medical importance of a lot of these species, Buddle said.

The fact that the researchers found just one case of a hobo spider bite, and no evidence of skin necrosis is interesting in itself, Buddle said. That result “suggests that maybe the fear around the hobo spider has really been overblown,” he said.

The few previous reports of hobo spider bites also failed to show evidence of skin necrosis, Buddle said. “There is a lot of fear around spiders that gets proliferated online and in the media that’s just not warranted,” he said.

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Pest Prevention for Homeowners

Steps homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of occasional pest invaders:

  • Keep all kitchen areas clean (including floors) and free of useless clutter. Kitchen appliances should be kept free of spills and crumbs. Clean shelves regularly and store foods such as cereal, flour, and dog food in resealable containers.
  • Periodically sweep and vacuum floor areas in the kitchen, under furniture, and around dining areas.
  • Keep garbage areas clean. Garbage should be stored in sealed containers and disposed of regularly.
  • Seal cracks, crevices, and other gaps around doors and windows. Doors and windows should always be kept closed or well screened.
  • Check pipes and pipe areas around the house for leaks, cracks and gaps and seal and patch any problems if necessary. Leaky faucets should also be fixed.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. If you have mold and mildew in your home or office crawlspace, it’s a symptom of an excess moisture problem.
  • Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly. Insects have also been known to come in on potted plants and in luggage.
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Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?

Marcel Dicke makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone’s diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and eco-friendliness.

CLICK HERE to watch.

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Golfer Pablo Larrazabal escapes attack of HORNETS by jumping in the lake

Golfer Pablo Larrazabal escapes attack of HORNETS by jumping in the lake

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Preventing Carpenter Ants

Preventing Carpenter Ant Problems:

Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent carpenter ant infestations:

  • Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, mosquitoes and termites, are attracted to moisture.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home.
  • Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home.
  • Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.
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Look at these tips to avoid stinging insects

Make sure you look at these tips to avoid stinging insects:

  • Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.

  • Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.

  • Paint/stain untreated wood.

  • Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered.

  • Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.

  • Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.

  • Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition.

  • Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.

  • Do not attempt to remove a nest on your own. If you have an infestation, contact a qualified pest professional.

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