As I'm sure your well aware of, insects far outnumber humans. Fortunately for you, most of them are harmless and serve a useful purpose...not to mention they make a great meal for us frogs. But even though most bugs are harmless, there are three common bugs that you might want to really avoid. These bugs host and transmit pathogens that can cause disease. These teeny tiny insects can cause humans BIG trouble!
Bad Bug 1 - The Flea. These biting insects are awful...just ask Fluffy or Fido. But don't panic! The type of fleas found on pets, especially in North America, can cause allergic reactions to your family's four-legged friends, but they aren't likely to kill you. Cat fleas, as they're commonly known aren't a cause for your concern. It's a different story, though, with the Oriental rat fleas. These minute insects are infamous for caring the deadly plague. Flea rats carry a virus that caused the medieval outbreak in Europe, wiping out a massive 25 million humans. Thanks to far better sanitation practices and strong antibiotics, it isn't likely we'll see another outbreak of the plague. That being said, people still die from the plague every year. Despite having powerful antibiotics, 16% of the plague cases in the US are fatal. In 2015, during one five-month period, there were 11 cases of the plague reported with three deaths. Plague-carrying fleas are found mostly in the western US, but anyone who engages in activities near rodent habitations should take precaution to avoid fleas!
Bad Bug 2 - The Mosquito. Did you know that the irritating little mosquito kills more people every than year than any other insect? Mosquito-borne diseases kill over a million people worldwide each year. In addition to malaria, mosquitoes carry everything from dengue fever to yellow fever. Folks living in the US don't have to worry about malaria or yellow fever, but doesn't mean you should makes friends with these varmints. The Center for Disease Control have had 36,000 cases of of the West Nile virus reported with 15,000 cases resulting in death. Nearly 600 cases of the Zika virus have been reported in the States, but that's far less than in some countries.
Bad Bug 3 - The Tick. Just the the mosquito, ticks can carry pathogens that cause diseases...some of which are fatal. The big issue here, is that tick-borne illnesses can be hard to diagnose and even hard to treat. Tick bites can go unnoticed and early symptoms of tick-borne disease can often mimic other, more common illnesses like the flu. Diseases caused by tick bites include: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrellia infections, Colorado tick fever, Erlichiosis, Heartland virus, Lyme disease, Powassan disease, rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Southern tick-associated rash illness, tickborne relapsing fever, and tularemia. Please be sure you learn which ticks live in your area of the world, which diseases they may carry, and how to avoid tick bites.
I didn't write this blog, dear reader, to scare you. You know that's not my style. This blog is only intended to educate you on the ricks of these insects. May I suggest buying a good quality insect repellent. And then remembering to use it every time you go outside, especially during the warm weather. Insect repellent, no matter how good, won't protect you if you don't use it.
Or, and this is my favorite suggestion, make a home for a bunch of frogs in your back yard. Having a small pond or water fall can be very decorative and the frogs and toads it will attract, can help cut back on your insect population! You'll still need the insect repellent, but you'll love having a few of my friends move in to keep you company. Spiders eat lots of insects, too. But let's face it. Wouldn't you rather have a few frogs around than a bunch of arachnids?