Bugs, Bugs, Bugs... What You Don't Know Can Hurt You - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs... What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

Did you know that the flea has killed more people than all the wars that men have ever fought?

It's true. The pest that drives dogs and cats wild can spread the bubonic plague that killed one-fourth of Europe's population during the 14th Century. In fact, pests are known to transmit 15 major disease causing organisms. They also spread hundreds of other organisms which can just make your life miserable.

Fleas have been around for 60 million years, can jump 30,000 times without stopping and can leap 150 times their own height. They feed upon external body surfaces much like their relatives: ticks, lice, bedbugs, chiggers, mites, flies and mosquitos.

Mosquitos prefer warm-blooded vertebrates. Certain mosquitos are vectors, organisms that transmit disease germs, of yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis and malaria.

Deer ticks are vectors for Lyme disease which was considered a major epidemic in 1993 when more that 8,000 cases were reported.

Most spiders bite, but the Black Widow's sting is said to be 15 times more powerful than that of a rattlesnake. On the underside of this spider is a perfectly formed red "hourglass" mark.

Scorpions are eight-legged relatives of spiders and attack by whipping their tails forward. Scorpions are active at night and hide away during the day, often in shoes, piles of clothing, bedding and in furniture. There are more cases of scorpion stings than snakebite in the U.S., and the resulting symptoms are like those of strychnine poisoning: vomiting, sweating, shivering and speech difficulties.

So what's a person to do?

The Florida Pest Management Association suggests the following steps you can take in order to protect your family, friends and pets from pesky pests.

- Inspect your home.
- Repair all holes in walls, floors and foundations and seal breaks around pipes and wires.
- Keep garbage in metal or plastic cans with tight lids.
- Empty household garbage daily.
- Fix damaged screens and doors.
- Put screens on vents and windows.
- Raise wood piles off the ground.
- Keep firewood away from buildings.
- Vacuum carpeting, furniture and around favorite pet areas daily.
- Remove and dispose of the vacuum bag immediately.
- Store food in airtight containers and wipe up food spills immediately.

Article provided by The Florida Pest Management Association*

*The Florida Pest Management Association is a member-driven, non-profit organization serving as the primary source of industry information on important issues and business concerns since 1945. It is one of the largest state trade associations of it kind in the U.S. with over 1,200 active members.

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