Bites and stings in the garden

PUBLISHED: 16:09 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:15 20 February 2013

Kids playing

Kids playing

Bites and stings vary in their severity from trivial to bothersome and, in rare cases, may be disabling or even fatal. As with many conditions, prevention is the best medicine. Although we are only addressing common bites and stings, there are oth...

Insects cause health issues in a number of ways:
1. bites that hurt (mosquitoes and horseflies);
2. injection of a substance such as venom (scorpions, spiders, ticks);
3. allergic reaction to a substance (i.e. bees, wasps);
4. secondary infection, as from bacteria or viruses
5. invasion of your skin tissue (mites and ticks);
6. contact reactions (grain mites and other insects);
7. diseases spread by bites or stings, such as West Nile, Lyme disease, malaria, and others

General prevention considerations:
• Common sense: Avoid bug infested areas and apply insect repellents correctly.
• Screens or nets and adequate outdoor clothing are other obvious ways to avoid insect bites and stings.
• It is also prudent to maintain a high level of sanitation and to eliminate garbage and standing water receptacles near living and recreational areas.
• Perfumes, aftershave preparations and brightly coloured clothing may attract mosquitoes and are best avoided.
• Most mosquitoes come out at night -- so take extra precautions by wearing long sleeves and socks.

Insect repellents
Repellents are thought to scramble the mosquito's sensors, making it difficult for the insect to follow the heat and moisture given off by warm-blooded animals, but these and other repellents are not effective in combating bees, wasps or hornets and there are some precautions necessary with their use.

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