• Chelle Hartzer

Bloodsucking Vampires (AKA: Petrifying parasites)

Since Halloween is right around the corner, it’s time for part two of the bloodsuckers edition. Nope, still not going to do mosquitoes (yet)! There are just so many interesting pests that prey on humans and drink our blood. Here are another three new unnerving nuisances.


Head lice

There are other types of lice affecting humans, but head lice are the most common. Estimates are between 6-12 million people (mostly children) are infected every year. As the name suggests, they are found on the head where they use their front legs to grasp onto hairs and pierce the scalp to feed on blood. All life stages from egg to nymph to adult are found on the head. In fact, the adults glue their eggs to individual strands of hair so they don’t fall off or are easily dislodged. A single female will lay around 100 eggs in her lifetime. Head lice are transmitted by close contact, they don’t jump nor do they live long once off the host. They can be transmitted by sharing headgear (like hardhats, caps, etc.), combs or brushes, or by being in contact with soft goods like sitting on a couch right after an infected person has sat there. Head lice can be a problem in locker rooms, hospitality, nursing homes, and other places there are people in close contact.


Not scary enough for you? Head lice are becoming more and more resistant to pyrethroids which is the typical “over the counter” treatment.


No-see-ums (biting midges)

There is a reason for the common name, these vampires are tiny. They sneak in as you are sitting quietly by the beach and before you know it, you are scratching at those bites and wondering where they came from. I happen to have spent quite a bit of time in Florida and there are over 47 species in Florida alone. There are about 5000 species worldwide, around 600 in North America and they are usually found near wet conditions: salt marshes, wet soils, ponds, lakes, etc. Females need a blood meal to produce their eggs so these little female Draculas are out looking for warm-blooded mammals. We fit the profile. These can be a very annoying problem in hospitality, especially resorts around water. Particularly when guests start getting bitten, can’t see what bit them, and start assuming it is bed bugs. Those horror stories will get posted on social media and scary reviews are not good at any time of the year.


So you think you don’t have no-see-ums? Check again, these also go by the common names of punkies, five-o’s, pinyon gnats, moose flies, and (incorrectly) sand flies.

Ticks

This scary movie starts with you taking a peacefully walk. Lurking in the tall grass and on the shrubby vegetation, almost out of nowhere, a bloodsucking parasite reaches out and seizes you. Then, they use their claws to latch onto your body. Finally, they use their mouthparts to start tearing at your skin until they break through, then jab their spiky mouthparts through the skin to get to the warm blood beneath. They can feed for hours. To add an extra twist to this terrifying tale, ticks carry many diseases that can be transmitted to humans. The CDC lists twelve tick-borne diseases in the US and there are numerous others throughout the rest of the world. Depending on the species, ticks also impact pets, livestock, birds, and other warm blooded animals. While ticks are outdoor pests and won’t reproduce inside, any time outside can bring you into tick territory.


Not terrifying enough? A single female blacklegged tick can lay 3,000 eggs. That’s 3,000 more leeches looking for your blood.


The stars of this scary movie can be pests in your area. If your pest plan doesn’t address vampires blood feeding pests, you could be biting into your bottom line and you may be drinking in bad reviews. Need some help: contact us today for some not so scary assistance.


PS - not scary enough yet? Check this out:



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