June 18, 2012
/PRNewswire/ -- The first day of summer brings warmer temperatures and more time outdoors; unfortunately, that also means you are more likely to get stung by fire ants, bees and wasps and bitten by mosquitoes. As you barbecue with friends or work in your garden, watch out for the following insects that can spoil your outdoor fun.
"While fire ants, bees and wasps are dangerous because of their stings, the number one pest to look out for this summer is the mosquito," said
, Orkin's Southeast division technical services manager. "They can carry serious diseases, some of which are fatal."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus, malaria, dengue fever and the virus that causes encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
"The CDC reported 712 cases of West Nile virus in 2011, and dengue fever rarely occurs in
the United States
," said Warneke. "Prime mosquito-biting times are dusk and dawn, so be sure to take the proper precautions and spray an EPA-approved insect repellent on exposed skin, and wear long sleeves and socks if possible."
Mosquitoes only need a few ounces of water to breed and survive, making them very hard to control, so Warneke suggests removing any standing water from gutters, birdbaths or flower pots.
Fire ants are reddish-brown and bite and sting when they are disturbed or feel threatened. They attach themselves with their mandibles to people or animals and inject venom through their stingers. Fire ant stings and bites are very painful and can be fatal, but most victims experience painful red bumps.
Fire ants prefer warm and dry, sunny weather and avoid shady areas. Mounds can grow up to 24 inches in diameter and 18 inches high. They are most common throughout the southern U.S. but have been found as far west as
and as far north as
Bees, Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets
Flying, stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are found all across the country, and they like to build their nests in inconspicuous places.
"Yellow jackets tend to build their nests in the ground, and paper wasps are notorious for building their nests under a building's eaves and soffits," said Warneke. "They also tend to build nests in ornamental plants and hedges. Bees, on the other hand, will build their nests in many different locations, from inverted, unused flower pots and barbecue grills to inside the walls of homes and buildings. They spend their time around flowering plants, so be careful when you are pruning your roses or other annual flowers."