MOSQUITOES

The Aedes albopictus or commonly known as the Asian Tiger mosquito might be considered the most common mosquito in Tennessee. Mosquito bites are the itchy bumps that appear after mosquitoes use their mouthparts to puncture your skin and feed on your blood. Aside from that, mosquitoes can also spread many illnesses that negatively impact people including West Nile Virus, Chikungunya, and Zika virus. Adult mosquitoes may be found seeking refuge in your backyard in wooded areas, shrubs, dense vegetation, drainage ditches, sewers and protected areas around buildings until it is time to seek a meal. Female adults are responsible for biting — they need a blood meal to ensure that their eggs are viable. Male adults feed exclusively on plant juices and do not require blood. You can reduce the mosquito population, especially container mosquitoes, near your home by taking a few precautionary steps. Removing or monitoring water collection sites around your home will reduce potential breeding sites. “UT Extension Web site,SP503-B Mosquito Control Around Homes“


BEDBUGS

Bedbugs are insects that feed on human blood especially at night. Just like fleas, bedbugs will not stray far from host resting areas and so they can be found anywhere people stay the longest like the bedroom and the Livingroom. Although their bites are not known to transmit any infectious diseases it may result in a number of health impacts including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Bed bugs spend much of their time in dark, hidden locations like mattress seams, or cracks in a wall. They can also be found inside appliances, inside outlet covers, behind picture frames and on the ceiling.


CHIGGERS

Chiggers also called as “red bugs” live in thick vegetation. They’re technically a mite and are so small they almost look like a pencil dust. Chigger bites are most common in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Although Chigger bites don’t spread diseases & illnesses, it’s very itchy and very annoying. To avoid chiggers stay out of tall grass or brushy vegetation, especially in damp shady areas.


TICKS

Ticks unlike chiggers, are arachnids (in the same class as spiders and scorpions) and small but visible to the naked eye. There are two main kinds of ticks in Tennessee, the American Dog Tick and the Lone Star Tick. Both feed on humans. Tick bites are not as itchy as chiggers and you can easily see them but they are far from harmless. And they do spread dangerous diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), Ehrlichiosis & Lyme disease.


FLEAS

The cat flea,Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common flea found on cats and dogs in Tennessee. These fleas are about 1/16 inch long and are reddish-brown in color. Not only are flea bites irritating, but fleas can also transmit several disease-causing organisms to humans. Fleas are obligate ectoparasites, meaning they must stay on or close to a host to survive. Fleas will not stray far from host resting areas. Cat flea hosts include cats, dogs, opossums, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and occasionally rats and other urban animals. Although adult fleas prefer to feed on dogs, cats or other small animals, they will attack humans when pets are not available.

“PB1596-Chemical and Nonchemical Management of Fleas,” The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service”


SAND FLIES

Sand flies are typically found in southern US states, including Tennessee. Sand fly bites can cause small red bumps and blisters that may itch and swell. Sand fly adults are small flies– only about 3 mm long – and are golden, brownish or gray colored. They have long, piercing mouthparts that are well adapted for sucking blood from their selected host. Adult sand flies often inhabit rock crevices, caves, and rodent burrows, and in peri-domestic settings rest in cool, dark and humid corners of animal shelters or human dwelling.