In the Phoenix / Scottsdale area pest control techs are constantly dealing with the “Fear Factor.” Some pests just illicit a strong emotional reaction of fear whether they have earned that reaction or not. On this list we’ll take a look at the 5 that seem to bring out the most fear in folks, and at why or why not those fears are justified.
“Scariness” is, of course, a very subjective topic so it makes sense that a lot of folks will have fears of pests that aren’t on the list. Let me know in the comments if you think the list is right or if you’d have put another pest on it instead.
“Honorable” Mention: Sun Spiders
I know it’s kinda like cheating to throw 6 pests onto a “Top 5” list but the Sun Spider doesn’t quite make the list. Not because it isn’t scary, as you can see in the pic these huge dudes are the stuff that nightmares are made of. But My list is partially based on how much fear the pests cause and since many people are unaware of them, Sun Spiders don’t cause as much fear as their nasty looks might make you think they do.
Now on the truth about Sun Spiders. Sun Spiders are a completely harmless, ten-legged cousin of scorpions. They have no tail or stinger and their mouth parts do not deliver anything toxic to humans. However, they can deliver a momentary pain in the form a nasty pinch from those mouth parts which are like a scorpion’s “pincers” except without the arms.
By the way, most pest control techs, including myself, consider Sun Spiders to be beneficial to a more natural approach. They pose no threat to humans, rarely enter homes, and eat most of the other pests in the area where they live. So if you see a sun spider on your property, tell him thanks for eating all the real spiders.
#5: Rats and Mice
Personally I find Rats and mice kinda cute. But they scare the heck out of a lot of people which is why they made the list.
The truth? They have the capability of carrying diseases and other pests, like fleas. Many people know that the “Black Death” or Bubonic Plague of the 1300’s was spread by rats carrying infected fleas. Mice also can carry bacteria and viruses. of course these days that’s less of a worry, but a rat or mouse infestation is still an unhealthy thing to have.
#4: Bed Bugs
Bed Bugs are the scariest for a lot of folks who have lived with an infestation of these nasty little blood suckers. I know 2 people who were actually diagnosed with PTSD from their experiences with bed bugs! It can really mess you up knowing that while you sleep your blood is being eaten by dozens of bugs.
But do they pose an actual danger to humans or is the scariness mostly perception? It makes sense that because they drink human blood that they would be good transmitters of disease, however a simple fact prevents this from being the case. Scientists have found that bacteria and viruses do not survive inside bed bugs for long, so they lack the ability to transmit disease.
It should be said, however that in very extreme cases a really bad bed bug infestation can cause enough blood loss to make a person anemic, and thus give them all the health issues associated with anemia. Either way, a bed bug infestation is not something that anyone wants to live with for long.
#3: Black Widows
Black Widows are probably one of the most recognizable spiders there is.Most folks know that the red hourglass shape on a shiny black spider means danger. But how dangerous are these mean little ladies?
Black Widows rarely bite humans. Not only do you need to disturb them where they live, but scientists have found that you usually need to pinch them so that they feel like they may get crushed, in order to induce a bite. Since they are a spider that waits for their prey to come to them rather than hunt, they are almost always found in their web. so this makes them very easy to avoid.
That being said, their bites are potentially dangerous. Symptoms are usually limited to pain and swelling around the bite, but can include nasea, vomiting, muscle or stomach cramps, very high blood pressure, fever, chills and sweating just to name a few.
While thousands of bites occur in the US each year, most years pass without a death caused by a Black Widow.
Though at this point most folks know there’s no logical reason to fear tarantulas, they are still giant hairy spiders with huge fangs. I’ll be honest, they scare the crap out of me. But as a pest control tech I consider them beneficial in a more natural approach to pest management.
Tarantulas eat pretty much every pest that I’m trying to kill. and they pose no danger to humans. Usually the only way to get a tarantula to bite you is to apply pressure to its back. Even then, the bite is usually compared to a bee sting with some swelling and itching around the bite. Of course, as with anything that stings or bites, there is the chance of an allergic reaction.
There are no recorded deaths from a tarantula bite. But you couldn’t pay me enough to pick one up!
Scorpions, specifically Arizona Bark Scorpions are my top pick for what scares the hell out of the most people. Seriously, if you live in an area where they live, you know the fear I’m referring to. Just looking at them makes one want to skip a night of sleep. But unfortunately they have actual facts to back up the fear.
While most other scorpions in Arizona have relatively mild stings, the Bark Scorpion packs a punch. I’ve had folks tell me as little as “It felt like a bad bee sting” to as much as “It was the most intense pain imaginable and half my body went numb and tingly for a week.” But that’s just the localized affects.
According to Mayo Clinic:
“Signs and symptoms related to widespread (systemic) venom effects usually occur in children who are stung and may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle twitching or thrashing
- Unusual head, neck and eye movements
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Accelerated heart rate (tachycardia) or irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)
- Restlessness or excitability or inconsolable crying (in children)”
On top of all of that, there’s the chance of an allergic reaction, especially in folks who have been stung before, which can cause anaphylaxis and can sometimes be life-threatening.
But after all the nastyness about the sting and the actual scariness of the scorpion itself, there hasn’t been a death caused by scorpion sting in Arizona for over 40 years. Definitely NOT going to be picking up one of these dudes!
If you’re having a problem with any of these nasties…or simply a question…call NaturZone Pest Control at 602-476-1088 and ask for me, Jeffrey. I’ll be happy to speak with you anytime.
Till then, thanks for reading!
Here’s to helping YOU live Pest Free,
PS. Call 602-476-1088 today for a FREE Consultation and FREE 58 Point Pest Analysis of your home or office!