Living elevated doesn’t get rid of the bugs. While the Beehive State didn’t get its moniker from actual bees; bees and other insects have become serious problems.
Africanized Honeybees and Wasps
Rural areas of Utah will often report incidents of Africanized “killer” bees or wasp attacks. These stinging insects will usually target groups of cyclists who pass by close to their hives and fail to see them flying about. Stings from these bugs have been known to cause bicycle crashes, injuring the cyclists and even damaging their bikes. The speeds achieved while cycling makes bug repellant useless and also makes it harder to notice swarming insects. Hikers and cyclists are encouraged to report incidents of Africanized honeybees to the county as they can severely affect the local bee population.
When you go hiking in the woods, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter ticks. These bugs will burrow into your skin and stay there for up to 10 whole days. They have also been known to transmit Lyme disease, so if you develop rashes and suffer from fevers and joint pains after a bite, you should have yourself checked. Wear protective clothing while hiking, use tick repellant, and check yourself once you come home. You might need to tweezers to pull out these disgusting bugs, so be extra careful during spring and early summer.
Salt Lake City has been a hotbed for bed bug infestations, and rural areas aren’t safe either. Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that will feast on your blood as you sleep, leaving only slight traces of blood on your pillows and sheets. These bugs can spread quickly from person to person, and infestations are serious problems. Chronic exposure to bedbugs can lead to skin irritation, insomnia, depression, and even psychosis. It is also reported that bed bugs transmit Chagas disease, a deadly condition that affects millions in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Bed bug infestations always warrant pest control services, preferably ones that specialize in heat treatment.
Another bug that transmits Chagas disease is the kissing bug. Utah had 10 reported incidents of Chagas in the past year, with most of the cases only identified after visiting a cardiologist for blood testing. A person infected with Chagas can experience very mild symptoms, so there can be more unreported cases of the disease. Kissing bugs — like bed bugs — feed on your blood. They excrete feces as they feed, increasing the chances of the Chagas parasite to enter the bloodstream through the tiny wounds or into the mucous membrane of the eyes and mouth.
Mosquitos are more of an irritant than a danger. They have been known to spread malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and many other deadly diseases, but these diseases are almost unheard of in Utah. Topical repellants can easily repel mosquitos, and you can destroy their breeding grounds by making sure your surroundings are free from stagnant water.
Bugs can be mildly irritating to downright dangerous. Take the necessary precautions to avoid these biting or stinging insects, and don’t hesitate to call pest control if things get out of hand.