Posts Tagged ‘pest control’

Four Caterpillar Species Often Found On Louisiana Properties Cause Serious Envenomation Symptoms In Most People Who Make Contact With The Insects

Much like ladybugs and butterflies, caterpillars are considered by many to be approachable insects that can be fun to handle. However, this is not the attitude to take when encountering venomous caterpillars, as there are several caterpillar species in Louisiana that have venomous spines protruding from their bodies. These “spines” are called “urticating hairs,” and simply touching a venomous caterpillar is enough to cause lasting intense pain and potentially dangerous allergic reactions.

Venomous caterpillars are often found within residential yards in Louisiana, and it is not uncommon for people to sustain stings while performing yard work, and in some cases, stings occur after caterpillars fall from trees and land on humans. Tragically, it is also not uncommon for young children to touch venomous caterpillars out of curiosity when the larval insects are spotted within yards. Many venomous caterpillar species are appealing to children due to their seemingly furry appearance, but what appears to be fur is actually venomous urticating hairs. Some of the most commonly encountered venomous caterpillar species in Louisiana include io moth-caterpillars, tussock moth-caterpillars, asp-caterpillars and saddleback caterpillars. Both tussock moth-caterpillars and asp caterpillars are known for causing particularly painful stings, and in some rare cases, anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

A one year study of 112 caterpillar stings sustained within Louisiana found that 96 percent of sting victims experienced severe pain, 89 percent experienced erythema, 72 percent experienced edema, and systemic responses occurred in 26 percent of sting victims. Systemic symptoms included vomiting, headaches, chills, fever, and muscle spasms. Experts were able to identify the species of 68 percent of the caterpillars that caused these venomous reactions. Four species accounted for a majority of the stings. These four species were buck moth-caterpillars, io moth-caterpillars, southern flannel moth-caterpillars, and saddleback caterpillars. Only 16 percent of the sting victims had an allergy to insect venom, and a whopping 61 percent experienced lasting pain and other symptoms for at least 24 hours.

Have you ever encountered a venomous caterpillar within your yard?

More Than 2,000 Black Widow Bite Incidents Are Reported In The US Each Year, And Their Venom Is 15 Times Stronger Than That Of A Rattlesnake

America’s three black widow species and the brown recluse spiders are considered the most dangerous spider species in the US. Unfortunately, Louisiana is home to the southern black widow species and the brown recluse species, but serious symptoms rarely follow most bites inflicted by these spiders. Of all three black widow species, the southern variety is involved with the greatest number of medically significant bite cases, but this is due to the species widespread distribution in the US. While bites inflicted by the brown recluse account for most medically significant spider bites in the US, black widows are not far behind. Black widows produce venom that is 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom, making black widow venom the most toxic of all spider venoms in the US.

Black widows are easy to recognize due to their jet black exterior and well known red hourglass design on their abdomen. Black widows typically avoid establishing a presence within inhabited areas of a home; instead, balck widows are often found dwelling within garages, sheds, basements, barns and within cluttered areas surrounding houses. This is not necessarily the case when it comes to the brown recluse, as this species is not shy about establishing a significant presence within any room of a house. Also unlike black widows, the brown recluse is not necessarily easy to identify, and they are often confused with numerous other spider species that closely resemble the brown recluse. More than 2,000 black widow bite incidents are reported in the US each year, but luckily most black widow bites only see a small amount of venom injected beneath the skin, and some bites are completely free of venom. These days, fatalities resulting from black widow bites are exceedingly rare, but children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk of experiencing medically significant symptoms following a bite.

Have you ever found a black widow spider specimen in the wild?

Rainstorms And Floods Prompt Smokey Brown Cockroaches To Invade Louisiana Homes In Massive Numbers

The German cockroach is the most widely distributed and the most common indoor roach pest species within the United States, and the entire world, for that matter. The German cockroach is one of only two roach pest species in the US that dwell solely indoors, the other species being the brownbanded cockroach. The American cockroach is the second most commonly encountered roach pest species within homes and buildings in the US. This species is notable for being particularly filthy, as they are well known for dwelling within sewers where they sometimes traverse through plumbing only to emerge from drains within people’s homes. The Oriental cockroach is another common indoor pest species in the US, but they are not as widespread as the German and American species. The smoky brown cockroach species is closely related to the American cockroach, but they cannot match the American species in terms of body size, as smoky browns grow to be slightly larger than 1 inch in body length, whereas the American roach can grow to 2 inches in body length. The smoky brown species’ habitat is largely limited to the southeast US, but they can also be found in southern California and parts of the midwest. The smoky brown’s dependency on high-moisture environments make them particularly abundant in Louisiana.

The tropical storm Barry, which is currently causing flood conditions along the Gulf Coast, is causing smoky brown cockroaches to invade homes in massive numbers in the region. Unfortunately, this behavior is typical of smoky browns during heavy rainstorms. According to entomologists with Louisiana State University, the roaches develop a sudden preference for indoor conditions during rainstorms and especially during floods. An example of this phenomenon is well documented in footage posted to Facebook, which shows an uncomfortably large amount of smoky browns emerging from an overflowing storm drain in Louisiana. This footage has gone viral, and has been featured in the media, capturing the fascination and disgust of people all over the world. Smoky brown cockroaches prefer to live outdoors, but they are in the habit of entering homes in order to feed. However, rainstorms and floods make the smoky brown’s typical habitat a bit too wet for the insect’s taste, causing them to invade homes in large numbers to avoid succumbing to rising water levels.

Have cockroaches ever invaded your home en masse during heavy storms?


 Striped Bark Scorpions And Southern Devil Scorpions Are Often Found In Louisiana Homes

Due to Louisiana’s humid coastal climate, the state is home to an abundance of arthropod pest species that often enter homes. While a diversity of native arthropod species are to be expected in Louisiana, numerous invasive species can also be found in the state. This is largely due to arthropod-infested goods that have arrived at the state’s coastal ports over the years. Some of the most dangerous arthropod species in the world can be found in Central and South America, and many shipments containing infested lumber and exotic plants arrive at southern Louisiana ports frequently. Unfortunately, many of the most destructive invasive insect pests in the United States originated from shipped goods of this sort, as it is difficult to avoid the accidental transport of terrestrial arthropods when massive amounts of soil and exotic plant species are being shipped between the two regions. However, when people living outside of Louisiana learn that two scorpion species inhabit the state, they immediately assume that the species must be invasive pests that originated from South America or the Carribean Islands, but this is not the case. While it may be hard to believe, the striped-bark scorpion and the southern devil scorpion happen to be native to Louisiana, and each of these species inflict painful stings that have been documented as causing severe allergic reactions that have required hospitalization. Unfortunately, both of these species are often found in homes in Louisiana.

During 2017, a striped bark scorpion stung a west Monroe resident while he was relaxing within his home, revealing that the species had become well established even in northern Louisiana, where it was not considered to be a pest of concern to residents in the region. This species is known for inflicting stings upon people who become startled by the arachnids. These peculiar and painful incidents are most common when people unknowingly remove an object that a specimen has been hiding under. The slightly larger southern devil scorpion is also well known for inflicting stings upon people within their homes. This species often invades homes by sliding beneath doors and even by entering attics. In some cases, the scorpion squeezes through holes in ceilings where they become stuck within light fixtures. Luckily, these two species rarely inflict medically harmful stings.

Have you ever encountered a scorpion either indoors or outdoors?


Some Centipede Species Commonly Found In Louisiana Homes Can Be Dangerous, But One Species In Particularly May Give You Nightmares

House centipedes are common within homes all across the United States. These centipedes, while ugly, are at least useful when it comes to clearing a house of insect pest species, as house centipedes are vicious predators that prey on even the largest and hardiest of insect pests, such as cockroaches. Despite the free pest control service that house centipedes provide, most residents react with horror upon finding the creatures within their home. In some cases, homes can become infested with numerous house centipedes, which can be a living nightmare for homeowners.location2

When house centipedes do become abundant within a home, the home is likely infested with numerous other arthropod pests, as house centipedes gravitate to any area where their arthropod prey are most prevalent. This is why, in many house centipede infestation cases, other insect pests need to be eradicated before a homeowner can expect to live within a centipede-free home. While house centipedes are technically capable of delivering venomous bites, such instances are virtually unheard of, as the creepy-crawlies prefer to avoid making contact with humans. However, the common house centipede is not the only centipede species that is found within homes in Louisiana. In fact, several other centipede species in Louisiana are capable of inflicting venomous and extremely painful bites that always require medical attention.

The bark centipede is abundant in Louisiana, and while they prefer outdoor habitats, they are commonly found in moist areas of a home, such as cellars, basements, bathrooms and kitchens. This species can grow to be more than six inches in length, and they inflict very painful bites that may require medical attention. Another large and highly venomous centipede species, the scolopendrid centipede, is easily recognizable due to its bright blue-colored exterior, and they too are sometimes found indoors. However, the most brutal centipede species that can be found in Louisiana homes is an eight inch monster known as the redheaded centipede. Although this species has never been documented as causing a human fatality with its highly venomous bites, the species is considered medically significant, and if a resident should sustain a bite, then medically attention must be sought out in all cases, as their bites can lead to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

Have you ever found a centipede indoors that was not a common house centipede?



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