When spring has sprung we often see a lot more bugs spreading around our yard too. While some are harmless, others can be pretty dangerous. Here are the top 5 insects to avoid this spring.
1. Kissing Bugs
Kissing bugs aren’t all extremely well known, but they are extremely dangerous. They are blood suckers and are attracted to odors and warm-blooded animals, like our dogs. The scary part is that they cause a deadly disease in dogs and people called Chagas disease. And what’s worse is that there is no real treatment for dogs with Chagas disease, so if you live in a region with kissing bugs make sure to keep an eye out for them. They are usually about 1 inch-long and are pear-shaped. They have a dark brown to black in body color, often with distinct, reddish- to cream-colored stripes visible along the edges of the tail.
These scary little creatures are parasite often found on rodents and spread by laying eggs on blades of grass or in nests in your yard. Then they hatch, releasing maggots.When you dog comes into contact with a blade of grass that has a maggot on it they can become infected with a botfly larva. The dog’s movement against the blade of grass stimulates the maggot to crawl onto the dog. The maggot then crawls around on the dog until it finds an orifice in which to enter.
According to the VCA Animal Hospital, the best prevention is to keep your dog from hunting rodents.
One of the more well known insects to watch out for are fleas. They like to hide in cool, shady areas among shrubs, leaves and trees until a warm-bodied host, such as your dog, walks by. Then they jump right on, make themselves at home and turn into a menace in your home. It only takes one flea create 1,000 fleas in your home in just 21 days. Suddenly you and your dog are itching, scratching and picking at scabs. Even worse, fleas can bring about tapeworms and other serious diseases. That’s why it is imperative to always use flea preventive for dogs.
Another well known and very dangerous insect is the tick. You can find them in shady and wooded areas, waiting for a host to just on and bury into. Once attached, ticks feed on the host’s blood and can transmit deadly diseases such as Lyme disease and babesiosis or Rocky Mountain spotted fever from just a single bite. Protect your dog by treating him or her with a tick preventive.
Mosquitoes are more than just an itchy backyard nuisance. They are also the dangerous carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes that carry the infective larvae, are a much deadlier issue for your dog. Heartworm larvae migrate from the bite wound through the dog’s body until they reach the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. Once mature, adult heartworms can cause significant blockage to the normal flow of blood and can even turn fatal. Luckily there also are several heartworm preventives available, talk to your vet about which one is best for your pet.
A lot of these insects can be an almost year round problem, but we tend to see them more in spring because we are outside more than usual. But with a little diligence and preventative care we can help keep our dogs safe from these dangerous pests.