There are few things more relaxing – or rewarding – than gardening. Avid gardeners can boast about the beautiful flowers or delicious fruits and vegetables that they have lovingly coaxed from the ground. Gardening doesn’t take a lot of physical prowess and virtually anyone can learn to do it, so it attracts enthusiasts from all walks of life.
However, there are some things you should be careful of when gardening, too. Lots of creepy crawlies love to make their homes in gardens. And while most are more interested in munching on a juicy green leaf, there are some you should know to stay clear of. Some insects can do serious – even fatal – harm. It’s important to know which ones to look out for, so you’ll know to steer clear of them.
Learn all about the top 10 deadly garden pests by reading this helpful guide.
1.Black Widow Spiders
Black widow spiders are known for their distinctive appearance. They are usually dark-colored with a colored hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomen. Bites from these spiders are said to be 15 times stronger than rattlesnake bites. A bite from a black widow spider can cause muscle aches, nausea and difficulty breathing. Most people bitten by these spiders don’t die. However, black widow bites can be fatal to the very old, the very young or people who are already sick. Black widow spiders are much more likely to bite another insect than a human – in fact, female spiders are known for eating the males after mating. They are found all over the world, including the United States.
These spiders are found in the mid-west and parts of the south. They like dark, quiet spaces – both inside and outside the home. These spiders are usually brown with a velvety soft appearance. They can sometimes have a violin-shaped marking, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “fiddle back” or “violin” spiders. Brown recluse bites can cause different reactions varying from person to person. They can result in deep wounds that take a long time to heal. They are usually not fatal, but can be in infants and the elderly. One thing that sets brown recluses apart from other spiders: they have six eyes instead of eight.
Centipedes stun their prey by paralyzing them using poison claws behind their head. They usually only concern themselves with the small insects that they feed on. Centipedes have long, segmented bodies with one pair of legs on each segment. They are common throughout the United States. Centipedes like to burrow in moist, dark places inside and outside the home. Bites from these animals can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, swelling, palpitations, pain and itching.
These ants can be found in rotting logs, around tree stumps and under pavement and buildings. They are found all over the United States. The ants attack en mass – after one attacks, many others swarm to join it. Reactions to the ant bites varies from itchy bumps to nausea, loss of breath, slurred speech and swelling. Some people who are prone to allergies can have severe reactions to fire ant bites.
Funnel-web spiders are named such because of the shape of their webs. These spiders wait for insects to be trapped in the wider part of the web and then drag them down into the funnel to finish them off. These animals like to make their homes in bushes sand grass. These spiders are usually small and greyish-brown in color. They are very common all throughout the United States and in Canada. Funnel-web spiders usually won’t bite unless they feel threatened. However, these spiders have a poisonous venom that can affect the central nervous system.
Killer bees are also sometimes known as Africanized bees. They have a rather fearsome reputation, mostly because they are known to attack. These bees don’t need aggressive behavior for them to attack, either. Sometimes all it takes is noise or vibrations. African honey bees were brought to Brazil in the 1950’s as part of an attempt at breeding a new kind of honey bee. However, the bees mated with Brazilian honey bees. This created a newer, more easily angered breed of bee. Since then, the bees have been slowly migrating north. They have been spotted in many parts of the United States. While a sting from a killer bee isn’t any worse than that from a “normal” bee, the thing that makes this breed more potentially deadly is that they attack in such large volume.
These bugs are also sometimes called cone-nosed bugs. The scientific name for these animals is triatomine. Some branches of this family feed on other insects, by sucking out their insides. However, there are other kinds that feed on the blood of mammals. They are found in parts of the United States (Texas and Arizona) and Latin America. They are called kissing bugs because they often bite people near their mouths while they are sleeping. Their saliva can cause allergic reactions in some people. They can also be carriers for a rare, but potentially deadly disease called Chagas disease. This illness causes high fever, rashes and fatigue. It’s much more common in Latin America, but still something North Americans should be aware of.
Millipedes have long, segmented bodies that have two legs per segment. These animals don’t bite – instead, some species secrete a poisonous venom. Millipede secretions are usually not life threatening, however they can have annoying, painful results. They can cause eczema, cracked skin, pain, itching and blisters. If the secretions make contact with your eyes, they could potentially cause conjunctivitis or keratitis. Millipedes love damp, dark areas and can be commonly found in gardens. They make their homes all over the world, including all parts of the United States.
Scorpions come equipped with two pinches and a barbed tail. However, it’s their venom that can cause serious problems. Experts say there are about 25 species of scorpion that has venom powerful enough to kill a human. Scorpions can live in places that are very hot and very cold. They store their venom in glandular sacs. Symptoms from a scorpion sting can include pain, restlessness, suffocation, increased body temperature and swelling. If you are bitten by a scorpion, it’s important that you seek medical attention right away.
In most people, a wasp sting is painful, but not especially serious. However, these stings can be deadly for people who are allergic. Wasp stings can result in hives, swelling, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, and low blood pressure. In very severe cases, victims can suffer extreme difficulty breathing, unconsciousness and even death. Wasps build nests out a wood pulp. The location of their nests can vary.
Kissing bug picture source: The Firefly Forest