Your Guide to Common Iowa Insect Bites and Stings
August 22, 2017
Sunny summer days give us the opportunity to enjoy fun outdoor activities. However, the warm summer months are also the prime time for Iowa insects to multiply and claim their territory outside. Don't let the possibility of bug bites stop you from enjoying the warmer weather! If you're worried about which insects bite, follow our guide to learn more about insect bites and stings.
Insects That Bite | Mosquitoes
If you're ever outside after dark, you've most likely been a victim of Iowa's mosquito population. Mosquitoes are summer's most common insects that bite. There are two types of mosquitoes found in Iowa: floodwater mosquitoes and vector mosquitoes.
Floodwater mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist soil (not standing water) and the eggs need to dry out before they can hatch. When rain from storms inundate these low lying areas, the eggs are provided a cue to hatch. These pests can be pretty annoying because their bug bites can be painful, but the floodwater mosquitoes rarely carry diseases.
Permanent water mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs in clumps of 50-300 on the surface of standing water at the edges of lakes, ponds, ditches and sewage plants. Some species prefer clean water, while other species prefer stagnant or polluted water. This species usually doesn't travel far from its home, so try to avoid these areas after dark.
Where to Find Mosquitoes and Spot an Infestation
These pests are most active from dusk to dawn, but will also search out prey in shady areas. You will rarely see mosquitoes in the daylight because they have a slim chance of surviving in the light. They're best known for feeding on your blood to support their eggs and leaving a red, slightly raised bump when they bite. What most people don't know, is that these Iowa insects also feed on nectar from flowers.
You'll notice a mosquito infestation if you run into a lot of buzzing and a large number of bug bites occur. Most likely, these bugs are protecting their eggs. If that is the case, you will want to call a professional right away! Once those eggs hatch, your mosquito problem will get exponentially worse. Preferred Pest has solutions that specifically get rid of mosquitoes from your home or business.
Insects That Bite (and Sting) | Ants
Ants are social creatures that live in colonies by the hundreds. They tend to be the biggest nuisance to Iowa homeowners in the spring and summer time. If you're finding these little pests around your home in Iowa, you're probably seeing these popular ant species: carpenter ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, larger yellow ants and thief ants. Don't let these little critters ruin your picnic this summer! If you have an ant problem, call a skilled exterminator.
Treating an Ant Bite or Sting
Although they may be tiny, these insect bites and stings can cause some big discomfort. Contrary to common belief, some ants will actually sting instead of bite, but both should be cared for the same way. Insect bites and stings should be washed thoroughly to prevent infection. For pain and swelling, apply ice to the affected areas, and if you experience redness or itching from an ant bite, it might be a good idea to find a cream for the reaction.
Insects That Bite | Ticks
When comparing which insects bite, ticks are definitely on the rise in Iowa. Their population is increasing year over year with more reports of ticks carrying Lyme disease. The three tick species found in Iowa are the deer tick or blacklegged tick, American dog tick or wood tick and the lone star tick.
How to Avoid Ticks and Treat Tick Bites
Ticks are commonly found in the woods, forests or areas with tall grass and vegetation. It's beneficial to wear long sleeves or clothing that covers your skin if you're going exploring in that type of setting. You should regularly check for ticks in the summer, because these insects that bite regularly carry Lyme disease.
If you remove a tick and a red rash appears around the bug bite, you could be infected. It typically take 24-48 hours for a tick to transmit the Lyme disease, but if the tick is properly removed you will avoid this problem. If the tick bite is accompanied by headache, fever and a stiff neck, you should seek medical help immediately.
To effectively remove ticks, you must be very careful not to crush them. If the pest's mouth is left in the skin it can still spread Lyme disease. To be safe, it's best to use a tweezers to firmly grasp the tick as close to the head as possible and pull it out. Make sure you disinfect the area of the bug bite once the tick is removed.
Insects That Bite | Spiders
You've probably run into a variety of spiders on multiple occasions. Even though these critters are arachnids and not insects, we will still include them in our list since spiders are very common in Iowa. Luckily, most species found in Iowa are harmless, but there are a couple to look out for. The types that are regularly found here are the black and yellow garden spider, common house spider, fisher spider, grass spider, wolf spider, black widow and brown recluse. Like other insect bites and stings, a spider bite will typically be left on arms and legs or other exposed skin and can be identified by small, red bumps.
The black widow is one of the few poisonous spiders found in Iowa, but thankfully they are rare. If you did run into one of these critters, it would most likely be found on outdoor objects that have not been used for an extended period of time, like playground equipment or seasonal gardening tools.
Brown recluse spiders are hunters, and do not spin webs to catch their prey. They are normally found outdoors in piles of loose debris. If these pests do find their way inside, you can usually find them under towels or clothing that's left on the floor. They are not aggressive by nature, but they are poisonous so you should be cautious around them.
Insects That Bite | Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are one of the Iowa insects that you definitely do not want in your home or business. They feast on blood and can survive long periods without a meal, so you can never be too careful. These beasts are common throughout the year, but bed bug bites tend to increase in the spring and summer when more people are traveling and coming into contact with various people on planes, hotels, etc.
Preventing Bed Bugs From Invading Your Home
Since these bugs are typically transferred while traveling, it's important to be cautious while you're vacationing. Always keep bags, purses and clothing off the ground of your hotel rooms, because bed bugs are great hitchhikers. When you return home, you should wash your clothing in hot water. If you did pick up these critters, the heat will eliminate them.
As their name implies, these insects are typically found in beds and like to hide in your mattress. Bed bugs also hide in furniture or floor boards along the wall and they can move quickly! An infestation is usually found when bed bug bites are noticed. These insects that bite will leave behind tiny red welts that could be itchy and are commonly found in a cluster on the arms, legs or exposed skin.
If you have a bed bug infestation you need to act right away! These critters are not easy to get rid of and will multiply quickly, which is why it's usually easy to spot them in your home. Contact professional pest services immediately to get rid of the infestation. Preferred Pest Control has canines that are trained to detect bed bugs and uses a thermal treatment to get all bed bugs out of your home or business.
Insects That Sting | Wasps
Despite what most people think, wasps are usually not aggressive. They will not sting you unless they are provoked or they think their nest is in danger. Not all wasps have hives; some are solitary creatures travel on their own. In Iowa, the four most common wasp species include yellow jacket wasps, paper wasps, mud dauber wasps and cicada killer wasps. Each of these wasps have unique habits for colonizing and building nests. If you're seeing an alarming number of wasps around your house, you might have a problem. It's best to call an exterminator who can safely remove these Iowa insects.
How to React to a Wasp Sting
If you do encounter a wasp, it's best to leave them alone because they usually don't attack until you do, and wasps can deliver multiple blows. Wasp stings will have an initially sharp pain followed by redness and swelling in the areas that the stinger was injected into the skin. Generally, the pain and swelling should subside in a few hours.
Most insect bites and stings can be cared for at home by simply cleaning up the affected area and getting as much venom out as possible. However, if you're allergic to wasps and have more severe reactions you should contact a physician right away. Allergic reactions could include swelling of the face, lips or throat, dizziness, difficulty breathing, feeling light headed, nausea or vomiting and a weak or racing pulse.
Insects That Sting | Bees
During the spring and summer months most insects are very active, and bees are no exception. This is the time where they come out of hibernation and start buzzing all around in search of materials to build their hives. When they're not constructing their new home, the worker bees are out and about collecting nectar from flowers to feed to the larva back at the hive. Most insects that sting will usually not attack unless they believe their colony is in danger. The types of bees found in Iowa are the honey bees, carpenter bees, ground bees and bumble bees.
Signs of a Bee Invasion
During the spring and summer, you might want to keep an eye on the activity happening around your garden. However, flowers aren't the only things that attract bees. Some bee infestations can be tricky to spot since these critters can set up their hives in the ground, within tree branches and sometimes inside your home or business. If you're noticing a sizable amount of bees, call a pest removal expert before it's too late.
Prevent Insect Bites and Stings With Preferred Pest Control Services
Preferred Pest Control wants to ensure that you don't have any of these insects that bite or sting wreaking havoc on your property this season. We have specialty services depending of the pest problem, or you can get rid of any bug issues with our residential pest control services. Call Preferred Pest today at (515) 276-7277 or schedule an appointment online.