Wasp Sting Causes Allergic Reaction for Reporter

September 11, 2008 – 4:49 pm

Wasp Sting AllergyWasp stings can cause allergic reactions, but it’s rare that you hear one occurring at a football stadium.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened to Canadian Television’s sports director, Shawn Churchill, who was stung on the back of the head just prior to kickoff of a football game this past weekend according to the Winnipeg Sun.

Fortunately, football players on the sideline noticed that the reporter was starting to struggle with his breathing and ran to get team doctors.

It was the first time Churchill had been stung by a wasp and he didn’t think any thing of it, at first. He told the Sun:

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Brown Recluse Spider Invades Illinois Schools

September 10, 2008 – 8:31 am

Brown Recluse Spider in IllinoisNo spider bites to report, yet, in Paxton, Illinois, but a brown recluse spider was caught by staff in the local high school and the school district’s pest control personnel positively identified it as the poisonous spider.

It is the third school building in the area to have been found containing the brown recluse spider and has left local officials, parents and students wondering what they can do to prevent coming in contact with the spider.

Sticky traps left by the Terminix workers at a local elementary school successfully caught the spiders during routine pest management visits last July.

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West Nile Virus Victims from Mosquito Bites Reaches 5 in PA

September 9, 2008 – 9:51 am

Mosquito Bites and West Nile VirusMosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus continue to spread the potentially fatal disease as the number of victims of the disease has risen to 5 according to The Pennsylvania Department of Health.

In a September 9 press release, officials concern over the illness transmitted through mosquito bites to humans is most acute forthe elderly and “persons with compromised immune systems” who should not go outside during peak mosquito activity times such as the early morning or evening.

Secretary of Health Dr. Calvin B. Johnson said:

“The Department of Health remains concerned about the risk of West Nile virus for Pennsylvania residents, particularly people in southeastern PA. The recent spraying in the Philadelphia area was a necessary measure to reduce the threat of human illness from West Nile virus and is likely to have prevented additional cases.”

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Midge Insects Spread Blue Tongue Disease in UK

September 9, 2008 – 9:10 am

The Blue Tongue virus which the UK has tried to prevent from entering its county in the past, is back, and and now the Telegraph reports that local health officials are planning to create a “midge map” to track the midge insects which bite the animals and spread the disease.

It is hoped that by understanding where all the infected animals are that Bluetongue – fatal to animals such as cattle and sheep – can be contained.

Using light traps, the microscopic midges are capture and each species is identified. With the identification, officials hope to find patterns that can help fight bluetongue.

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Increased Dengue Cases in India Caused by Mosquitoes

September 8, 2008 – 8:46 am

Mosquite Bites DengueIn India, indifference to mosquito breeding grounds such as standing water has led to the highest number of cases of dengue in the last three years according to IBNLive.

The World Health Organization says “dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses.”

With symptoms ranging from mild to high fever, there are no cures if you are infected according to the WHO (though they recommend hydration) and one of the worst afflictions associated with dengue – dengue haemorrhagic fever – can be fatal. Care by trained medical personnel in a hospital is recommended for those afflicted by mosquito bites containing the disease.

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Chiggers Bites Annoy Virginians

September 8, 2008 – 8:15 am

Chiggers PictureWith the summertime insect bite season still in full swing, chiggers (a.k.a. red bugs) and their chigger bites continue to annoy anyone who endures there tiny welts.

Robert Parker from the Virginia Department of Healthtold WSET in Viriginia, “There’s a misconception about it. The welts themselves are not places where eggs have been laid.” In fact, in Missouri, the local department of Conservation outlines the true cause – the saliva of the chigger contains a powerful enzyme which begins the process of the itch that chigger bites sufferers have to endure.

Back in Virginia, in another department of state government – Forestry, Chris Thomsen tells WSET that he has already been bitten by chiggers and has forced him to take special precautions when working in the field. Prior to each expedition, Thomsen makes sure he completely sprays down his body to prevent chigger bites around the belt line, ankles, armpits and other sensitive areas.

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Tarantula Spider Bites UK Child in the Foot

September 6, 2008 – 2:18 pm

Tarantula Spider BitesNothing like a good trip to the islands – except when you bring back unwanted cargo.

The Argus reports that a UK child who had returned from a trip to Cyprus with her family and unknowingly had a tarantula spider stowaway who made the child’s boot into her home (the spider was a female European tarantula).

The dark cavern of the shoe evidently provided a cozy spot and when the unsuspecting child decided to wear her boots again – ouch!

The tarantula spider bite was evidently not fatal or serious and, fearing more spider bites from the arachnid offender, the child’s mom immediately leapt into action and trapped the tarantula in the boot until animal control officers could arrive.

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Insect Bites and Hurricanes Are Deadly Combination in FL

September 6, 2008 – 1:53 pm

Fire Ant BitesThe hurricane season is in full gear as Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike have swirled or are swirling and affecting U.S. residents – and insects such as mosquitos and red ants, a.k.a. fire ants.

The torrential rains which accompany hurricanes present challenges to local officials who have to cope with the rising waters and its effects. According to the Voice in Florida, the town of Geneva has been inundated with water and affected Lake Harney.

Unfortunately, rising waters can create opportunities for increased insect bites as insects look for higher ground on which to survive and naturally move towards human populations.

For an elderly, Chuluota man, this was catastrophic as red ants swarmed into his home looking for dry earth. The red ant bites the man endured proved to be fatal and now many in the area are concerned about insect bites from numerous areas of standing water.

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Honey Bee Stings and Neighbor Complaints in Canada

September 5, 2008 – 2:20 pm

Honey bee stingIt’s been two years since Saskatoon residents Wasyl and Emily Isak started their honeybee hobby according to the StarPhoenix. They enjoy making honey with the help of the honeybees and even share with their neighbors. But, some neighbors have had enough.

Hank Drexler and Audrey Ivanauskas sent a letter to the city of Saskatoon regarding the backyard apiary. Though honeybees are not considered aggressive, honey bees can still deliver a sting – at the cost of their life. When a honeybee stings, it dies. The bee sting is cited as a potential threat in the letter especially to those who might have a bee sting allergy.

The beekeepers claim that this is the first time they have ever heard anyone complain and other neighbors in the area say that they do not find the bees annoying nor has there been any reported bee stings as a result of the area beehive. Incidentally, not all bees are created equal. According to Wikipedia, there are over 20,000 species of bees and honey bees represent a tiny fraction.

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Tarantula Hawk Wasp Appears in Yucaipa, CA

September 4, 2008 – 12:33 pm

Tarantula Hawk Wasp PictureIn Yucaipa, California, local resident Tim O’Connor saw something big land on a fig leaf reports the Yucaipa News Mirror.

It was not just any insect or bird, but a two inch black wasp with big antennae which his wife researched and found to be the tarantula hawk wasp. According to Wikipedia, its sting is one of the most painful in the world.

As one might guess, the wasp’s victims are female tarantulas which are plentiful in certain areas of California. Gruesomely, the wasp doesn’t kill the tarantula but paralyzes it with its wasp sting.

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