Bedbug Infestation for Jacksonville Family

September 4, 2008 – 12:12 pm

Bed Bug InfestationThe Byrd family from Jacksonville, Florida, is covered in bed bug bites and they can’t take it anymore.

Local station WJXT reports that the family of four has already thrown out of their apartment the two twin mattresses formerly used by the children and the queen-sized mattress and box spring for the adults in hopes of ridding themselves of the bloodsucking, bed bugs infestation.

They now sleep on a plastic toddler bed and inflatable mattress, respectively.

And now, the Byrds are leaving their apartment. As often is the case, the apartment manager disputes the bed bugs infestation by saying that the family brought the bed bugs with them. Consequently, the landlord’s refusing to return the $1,000 deposit as the family is breaking their lease.

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Afghan Spider Bite Takes Family Dog

September 3, 2008 – 9:06 am

Afghan Spider BiteThe bite of Afghan Spider has killed a family dog in the United Kingdom, CNN is reporting.

Not considered dangerous to humans, the Afghan Spider can be deadly to small animals. The spider is believed to have been a “stowaway” in the baggage of the male head of household after his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The family is refusing to move back into the home until the spider is found and destroyed due to fears of another spider bite.

The dog and spider evidently had an encounter just prior to the dog’s demise that involved the spider “hissing” at the dog. That’s right.. “hissing.” These are not your normal poisonous spiders.

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Mosquito Bite Infection Concerns Intensify

September 3, 2008 – 8:43 am

Mosquito Bites and West Nile VirusSome mothers in Massachusetts are raising concerns that mosquito bites on their children may be lead to serious infection if not treated by doctors expeditiously. At the same time, the Department of Health is warning about increased infection of area mosquitoes and birds.

In the Gloucester Daily Times, a local mom, Jennifer Strangman, says that she recently saw a mysterious-looking mosquito bite on her child in July. Rather than the usual bump, it looked like a red bullseye and her child had a low temperature. She immediately took her child to the doctor for succesful treatment of what was the first of two mosquito-related infections. It’s not clear if the bite caused the infections or if it was the break in the skin and bacteria entering through the opening.

Nevertheless, she doesn’t hesitate to take any of her children to the doctor considering the possibility of serious infection from West Nile Virus (WNV) or Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) brought on by mosquito bites.

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When Chiggers Bite: Itch, Itch and More Itch

September 2, 2008 – 4:43 pm
Chiggers Bite
Courtesy of Missouri Dept.
of Conservation

The staff is seeing more and more stories about chiggers, their bites and their excruciating itch.

In South Carolina, Bryce Donovan of the Post and Courier details his encounters with chiggers and says that if you haven’t experienced chiggers, well, he hates you… because he wish he’d never experienced them either.

Chiggers are actually very tiny creatures even if they look huge and scary in this magnified pictured and measure 1/150th of an inch in diameter in real life – nearly invisible. Also, chiggers aren’t bugs or insects in the strict sense of the words all – they’re mites according to

“Chiggers are the juvenile (or larval) form of a specific family of mites, the Trombiculidae. Mites are arachnids, like spider and scorpions, and are closely related to ticks.”

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Food and Bee Sting Allergies Seminar in Lancaster

September 2, 2008 – 9:42 am
Bee Stings on Humans
courtesy of Wikipedia

Lancaster, Pennsylvania community members are taking a proactive step in protecting the area’s children by offering a seminar on bee sting and food allergies.

Local newspaper Erie Times News reports on local children who make a good case study on why being vigilant about what kids are allergic to is important.

Alex Blatt, 11, has an allergy to peanuts and always carries an EpiPen with him to prevent any extreme reactions if a peanut or its extract finds its way into his system. An untreated allergic reaction can result in him going into anaphylactic shock, a potentially fatal condition.

Bee stings can also be something that causes an allergic reaction.

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West Nile Virus Continues to Spread Across U.S.

August 30, 2008 – 3:51 pm

Throughout the United States, reports of the presence of West Nile Virus continue to pile up – and now there are reports of humans being infected by the virus. Infected birds have been found in Michigan, infected mosquitoes in Arizona, and crows are carrying the disease in Pennsylvania.

Humans are being infected from mosquitoes carrying the disease

A 20-year-old man in the San Diego area has been diagnosed with the virus according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The man had been suffering from meningitis and is now recovering at home. This is the 10th case of West Nile Virus in the local county this year. (15 people contracted the virus in 2007.) Over 78 cases have been reported in the state of California with virus samples testing positive at record levels.

Susanne Kluh, scientific and technical services director for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, told Xinhua News that there are likely many more cases than are being reported:

Roughly 80 percent of West Nile virus human infection cases show no symptoms of the disease, while about 20 percent show mild symptoms that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting — things that are sometimes chalked up as a simple “summer fever,” Kluh said.

With no known treatment, the Centers for Disease Control recommends hospitalization when necessary so nursing care, intravenous fluids and maintenance of any secondary infections can be applied. Several trials are currently underway for a West Nile Virus (WNV) cure, but no publicly-available “magic pill” is ready to go to market.

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Bed Bugs Bite Fox News

August 28, 2008 – 8:38 am
Bed Bugs Picture - Fox News
courtesy of Gawker

For nearly a year, Fox News in New York City has been under attack from, of all things, bed bugs.

“Fair and balanced” is now, “fair, balanced and infested.”

Apparently, a bed bug infestation at an employee’s home allowed a few of the blood sucking bed bugs to attach themselves to their unknowing host and then spread the bed bug problem throughout the office.

How bad is it? It’s so bad employees have begun to sue Fox News for the bites they have suffered and the mental anguish.

At this point, there is discussion about who the Fox employee might be with the infestation. More than 20 employee homes were visited before the offending home was identified. For some in the media, bedbugs at Fox News will be a “fun” topic. But, for those affected, not so much.

What can you do to help prevent bed bug bites?

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Cicada Killer Wasps in Texas

August 28, 2008 – 8:03 am
Cicada Killer Wasp Picture
photo courtesy
Ohio State University

At an inch and a half long, cicada killer wasps are frightening to see, but are they really harmful to humans?

An article in the Galveston County Daily News says that even though it may seem cicada killer wasps would have a powerful sting and are to be feared, in fact, they are beneficial to humans by controlling the population of cicadas which are the food required by young wasps.

Dr. William Johnson states that the male wasp actually has no ability to sting and the female wasp has rarely been known to use its powerful stinger on humans. The only reason it may sting is to kill cicadas so that its young can feast.

Cicadas are not only noisy but can do small amounts of damage to a tree on which they lay their eggs. The cicada killer wasp lives in these areas, too – better to be closer to the food.

“Unlike hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps, which are social insects living in large colonies, cicada killers are considered solitary wasps. However, several individuals are often found within a small area, giving the impression that there is a single nest.”

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Hobo Spider Bite Makes Hole in Victim’s Leg

August 27, 2008 – 6:43 pm
Hobo Spider Bites Human
courtesy of Wikipedia

In Manitoba, Canada, the Globe and Daily Mail reports that a local woman is the victim of a rare spider bite from a hobo spider.

The hobo spider is generally thought to have reached North America in the early 20th Century via steam ships and is believed to live in the grass.

What makes this spider bite particularly unusual is two-fold.

First, the spider is not known to be a native spider in Manitoba but does reside in certain areas of Western Canada. Nothing like an unwelcome resident!

Second, the spider’s venom is particularly gruesome and once the venom enters, it instantly kills the tissue in and around the spider bite – creating black, dead skin – in this case a hole in the woman’s leg.

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Brooklyn Has Bed Bugs

August 27, 2008 – 6:24 pm
Bed Bugs on Humans
courtesy of Wikipedia

Brooklyn, New York, is yet another hot bed for bed bugs (no pun intended). According to the local paper, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, since 2004, complaints about bed bug infestations have increased over 1900 percent.

No explanation is given other than the bed bugs continue to be a problem globally, not just in certain locales. If mattresses discarded on the sidewalk is any indication, Brooklynites have a mighty big bug bite problem on their hands.

Richard Cooper, a purported bed bug experts and co-author of “The Bed Bug Handbook: The Complete Guide to Bed Bugs and Their Control” says that something needs to be done at the federal level if the bed bug bite problem is ever going to be brought under control. The Orkin man isn’t going to cut it.

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