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The 4 Most Disease-Spreading Insects

Some insects are good for the environment; they eat other nuisance bugs and do helpful things like pollinate plants and fertilize soil. But other bugs seem to do more harm than good, spreading dangerous diseases to animals and humans alike. So which bugs are notorious disease-spreaders? We’ve put together a short list of the four most frequent offenders when it comes to nasty insects…

 

Ticks

Ticks are notorious for spreading disease, particularly in rural areas. Known to live in highly vegetated spaces like woods and yards, there are over 100 species of ticks, most of which have been known to bite humans. Ticks feed off of blood making it simple for them to transfer disease directly into the blood stream of a dog, a deer, or a child. The most common diseases reported as a result of a tick bite include Encephalitis, Typhus Fever, and Lyme disease. The latter is quite common among tick victims and can leave lasting lifelong effects on the body. Common Lyme disease symptoms include nausea, confusion, and irritability. Always use bug spray and check hair carefully for ticks when romping in the woods.

Mosquitoes

Known to be more deadly in underdeveloped countries, mosquitoes have long been the bane of humans’ existence. The most common disease mosquitoes spread is malaria which kills tens of thousands of people a year but the bug also harbors Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever. In the US, mosquitoes have been blamed for the spread of the West Nile Virus as of late, a disease that’s deadly for up to a fourth of all infected. To avoid mosquitoes, keep away from standing water, use DEET bug spray, and employ citronella candles at home.

Fleas

People see fleas as more of a nuisance than a threat but many may be surprised to learn that fleas were responsible for the spread of several generations of plague. Flea-bitten rats carried the plague to populated areas killing millions, and scientists agree these pests are still well-equipped to carry disease easily.

Cockroaches

One of the most pervasive bugs on the planet, cockroaches live for years in some pretty inhospitable environments. The biggest threat these pests pose is the spread of bacteria (they love to feast on feces, trash, and refuse) and there have been over 30 bacterial strains isolated in cockroach species. Most cause no more than an upset stomach but some can cause leprosy and even typhoid. Pest professionals are usually needed to completely eradicate a cockroach infestation within a home.

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