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All About Giant Water Bugs

Giant water bug (Lethocerus indicus)

Giant Water Bugs are truly creepy crawly creatures that you probably don’t want to encounter. The Giant Water Bug is one of the largest insects in North America, with an average length of approximately 1.5 inches, although some grow up to 4 inches long. Giant Water Bugs are often mistaken for cockroaches and beetles, although they are not the same thing.

What Are They?

The Giant Water Bug is a true bug that lives in freshwater streams, ponds, and lakes. They are extremely strong swimmers, although most of their time is spent perching as they await their prey. Water Bugs are attracted to light, earning them the nickname “electric-light bugs.” They are also known as “toe biters” due to the nasty bites they can inflict. Another nickname these bugs are known by is Alligator Ticks or Fleas.

What Do They Look Like?

Giant Water Bugs have short, pointed beaks under their heads, along with piercing, sucking mouthparts. Their wings overlap at the hind end of their abdomen, creating an x-like pattern. They have long legs with clawed front feet, which they use to inject chemicals into the bodies of their prey.

Where Do They Live?

Giant Water Bugs are found in North America, more specifically the U.S. and Canada. They live in freshwater streams, ponds, and lakes, particularly those with aquatic vegetation. These insects prefer slow moving water, end spend most of their time waiting at the bottom of a body of water for fish or mall amphibians to pass by.

Giant Water Bug (1)

What Do They Eat?

A Giant Water Bug’s diet consists of fish, aquatic crustaceans, and amphibians, including baby turtles and water snakes. Once they strike, they inject powerful digestive saliva with their rostrum which turns their victims’ insides to liquid, which they then suck out with their mouthpiece. The Giant Water Bug’s bite is considered to be the most painful bite delivered by any insect, although it’s not really poisonous to humans – although it can cause the affected area to swell and cause excruciating pain.

What Do They Do?

Giant Water Bugs spend most of their time below the surface of water, although they are attracted to artificial lights and have been known to fly at them. When Giant Water Bugs are sitting motionless beneath water, they resemble dead leaves, which protects them from predators and camouflages them while they wait to attack their prey. The Giant Water Bug only lives for about a year. The males of the species carry eggs on their backs, which the females attach with a glue-like substance. Males cannot mate while carrying eggs.

Giant Water Bugs aren’t really a threat to humans, although their bites are extremely painful and their appearance can be intimidating. To avoid attracting water bugs, make sure you don’t have any containers of standing water around your yard. If you notice more Giant Water Bugs around your home than usual, don’t hesitate to call in a pest control professional to take care of them.

About the author: Chris is an associate for a NJ pest control company.

Top 5 Bugs That Carry Diseases

When you think of insects, you probably automatically think of diseases. Not all insects spread diseases, but the ones that do are definitely something to worry about. While some bugs do good things for the environment, like fertilize soil and pollinate plants, their disease-ridden counterparts spread harm and to humans and animals alike. But which bugs are the most dangerous? Below we’ll take a look at the top five nastiest insects that you’ll want to steer clear of.

Mosquitoes

Sucking Mosquito

Mosquitoes have probably been the bane of human existence since the dawn of man. Although mosquitoes are deadlier in underdeveloped countries where diseases are more rampant, they can be equally as dangerous in the U.S., where they have been known to spread West Nile Virus. The most commonly disease spread by mosquitoes is malaria, which is responsible for the death of tens of thousands each year. Mosquitoes also spread Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever.

To evade mosquitoes, make sure there is no standing water in your yard, employ the use of bug spray and citronella candles, and if all else fails, invest in a bug zapper.

Cockroaches

German Roach

Cockroaches are disgusting in their own right, living for years in inhospitable environments such as landfills and sewer systems. It is said that cockroaches would withstand a nuclear holocaust, a belief that has good reasoning behind it; they can survive almost anything, including an entire week without a head. These pests have roamed the earth since the days of the dinosaurs, and thousands of species exist, although only four species dwell in houses.  Cockroaches are filthy creatures that spread bacteria, being that they love to feast on things such as feces, trash, and refuse. In fact, more than 30 bacterial strains have been isolated in cockroach species; most of these bacteria will only cause an upset stomach if you become infected, although some can cause leprosy and typhoid. Pest control professionals are usually required to rid your home of a cockroach infestation.

Ticks

Wood Tick On Skin

Ticks may be small, but they’re not to be taken lightly; these pesky little guys are notorious for spreading diseases, especially in rural areas. Ticks typically live in highly vegetated areas, like woods and yards. There are actually over 100 species of ticks, and nearly all of them have a reputation for biting humans. Since ticks feed off of blood, it makes it fairly easy for them to transfer diseases directly into the bloodstream of their victim. Ticks are well-known for carrying diseases such as Encephalitis, Typhus Fever, and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common illness caused by tick bites, and can have lifelong effects on the body. Lyme disease symptoms include nausea, irritability, and confusion. It’s vital that you always use bug spray and do a thorough check of your hair, body, and clothing when frolicking through the woods.

Fleas

Flea

Fleas are more than just a nuisance; they were responsible for several generations of plague. Millions of people died after flea-bitten rats carried the plague to populated areas. Fleas are still fully capable of carrying – and effectively spreading – diseases easily. If your dog or cat has fleas, be sure to take measures to get rid of the parasites. If your house has become infected with fleas, the easiest way to get rid of them is to call a pest control professional.

Flies

Fly Up Close

Flies are disgusting creatures. They feed and lay their eggs on feces and garbage, then tap-dance all over your food if you let them. Flies also regurgitate their stomach contents onto food in order to liquefy and slurp it up. Really, flies are not a pest that you want to contend with. Flyswatters, bug spray, and bug zappers are a good way to deal with these disease-spreading pests. It’s also important to remember to keep all food items covered or tightly sealed prior to eating.

Mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, fleas, and flies are just a few bugs that carry diseases. It’s always important to take measures of precautions when dealing with insects, especially ones that bite. Bug spray can really your best friend, especially during the warm summer months when bugs roam rampant. If you’re planning on spending a substantial amount of time outdoors this summer, make sure to protect yourself from bug bites that could infect you with diseases.

Author Bio: Chris is a blogger for Excel Pest Control a NJ based pest control company.