Whether in an emergency or day-to-day life, you’re on the lookout for possible intruders. You’re ready to defend yourself against other people, but are you overlooking another, tinier threat? While protecting your family in a crisis, don’t forget to keep an eye out for venomous and disease-carrying pests and insects that might be living in your own backyard.
Why Do You Need to Worry About Bugs in an Emergency?
In many cases, bugs are a slight annoyance — those black ants you have to shoo away from your hamburger at a cookout and the pesky flies zooming around your house. Some bugs can pose a serious threat, though. Venomous bites can leave you with nasty infections, and diseases spread from bugs to humans can have you cooped up in bed.
You can seek medical care or spend a few days recovering in bed during normal times, but you might not have the same options in a crisis. You need to be in the best shape mentally and physically during an emergency, and you don’t want to risk a bug bite putting you out of commission for a few days or longer.
You’ve seen your fair share of spiders crawling around your house, so you already know not every one has to put you on high alert. Most spiders are harmless, but there are two you want to be wary of.
- Black Widows: Black widows are generally easy to spot thanks to their red hourglass-shaped markings. If bitten by one of these spiders, you may experience pain and swelling around the bite location as well as cramping, fever, and nausea. Symptoms usually improve after two to three days, but even three days can make a huge difference in an emergency.
- Brown Recluses: Brown recluse spiders are brown with violin markings and usually hide in dark, undisturbed areas. You might find them in closets, crawl spaces, wood piles, or old boxes. After a bite, you may experience increasing pain around the bite site, muscle aches, fever, chills, and dizziness. You may even have a wound that turns into an ulcer and can take several weeks or months to heal fully. You should seek medical help following a bite, which can be difficult in a disaster situation.
2. Bees and Wasps
Bees and wasps are common summer insects you see buzzing about, and most often their stings will only cause a little pain and discomfort. If you have an allergy to bee or wasp venom, things become more serious. An allergic reaction can lead to swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis. Even if you don’t think you’re allergic to wasps and bees, it’s best to avoid any behavior that may provoke a sting. If you know you’re allergic, make sure you have extra medication on hand and stowed away in case of emergencies.
You’ve probably had plenty of mosquito bites before, but these insects can cause far more harm than just red, itchy bumps. Mosquitoes may carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Many of these diseases aren’t typically found in the United States, but you still need to worry about ones like West Nile. Thankfully, you have more options for keeping mosquitoes away:
- Remove Standing Water: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. By cleaning out flower pots, gutters, wheelbarrows, children’s toys, and other places that might hold standing water, you can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes that hatch around your home.
- Bug Spray: Spray-on repellent is also a good way to keep mosquitoes from biting you. Look for sprays that contain 10% to 30% DEET and stock a few cans in your survival kit.
- Candles: Along with bug spray, stock up on citronella candles that can repel mosquitoes and other flying insects.
- Solar-Powered Bug Lanterns: Solar-powered lanterns are another great option, especially if you’re not a fan of candles and sprays. The BugOUT Solar Lantern® charges in the sun and cleans itself after 72 hours so you don’t have to worry about touching any of the mosquitoes it kills!
Scorpions can be found in dry, warm climates. If you live in a desert, you definitely want to keep an eye out for these stinging arachnids. Depending on the species, a scorpion sting may be mild (pain, tingling, and numbness), or it could be life-threatening. Scorpions don’t usually sting unless provoked, so take precautions like shaking out shoes and gloves before putting them on and keeping your lawn and trees trimmed.
5. Mice and Rats
Mice and rats are pests you have to worry about for several reasons. For starters, they are prime disease carriers. Diseases can be transmitted through scratches, bites, and waste. Make sure any holes and possible entrances for rodents around your home are sealed. If you notice mice, avoid touching them and disinfect any potentially infected surfaces.
You also have to worry about mice and rats destroying your survival food supply. However, proper storage techniques can help prevent these rodents from reaching your food. Avoid storing your emergency food in the garage where mice have easy access. Try to also keep your food high off the ground. 4Patriots Small Stackable Storage Totes can help. They are perfect for sliding onto closet shelves, where your food will be more out of reach from dangerous pests.
Ticks are small bugs that attach to humans and animals to feed off their blood. Like mosquitoes, ticks can carry and transmit harmful diseases, including Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, and Colorado Tick Fever. After spending time outdoors, especially in wooded or grassy areas, you should do a full-body check and carefully remove any ticks. If you develop a fever or rash after a tick bite, you should see a doctor right away.
In a crisis, you might have to venture outdoors more often. To help prevent tick bites, be sure to cover any exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and tucking your pants into your socks. The same insect repellent you use for mosquitoes may also help keep ticks away.
Don’t let a bug bite put you down for the count in an emergency. Shop 4Patriots for bug zappers and other essential survival gear and food that will help your family stay prepared, protected, and healthy in a crisis.