With the excitement of summer, comes the onset of elevated pest risks. For the most part, bugs in the Western North Carolina area are fairly harmless, especially if left alone, but there are a few wildcards to watch for. Below are some safety tips and reminders for dealing with summer insects.

The Brown Recluse
While the bite of a Brown Recluse can be lethal, avoiding it is not difficult. These spiders tend to hide in small, dark areas where no one ever goes. An abandoned boot, sure. Behind that wooden plank that’s been sitting in your basement, oh yeah. In the middle of the floor, no way. Make sure to use a flashlight when reaching into areas you haven’t ventured in a while. We’ve said it before – citrus repels spiders, so if you’re worried about any problem areas, lay out a few orange peels.

The Wasp
A wasp sting is no fun, but it for someone who’s allergic, it can be traumatic. Those with a bee allergy should take extra caution to avoid wearing perfume and wearing bright colors. Try to stay away from wooded, grassy areas and be aware when near the eaves of a home.

The Mosquito
It is not uncommon knowledge that mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus. While this is not as much of a threat as it once was, caution is still recommended. Using diethyltoluamide (or DEET) sprays with a high concentration can repel mosquitoes. Just make sure to know what kind of spray your buying. Some sprays just make you “invisible” to bugs, but do not necessarily repel them. More recently, products with low percentages of picaridin or lemon eucalyptus have become popular. These are more natural solutions.

The Tick
Do you love to hike or go adventuring through the woods? Then you probably know what it’s like to get a tick. Ticks love to float down from the trees right after it rains, so be wary on your expeditions. The little suckers have been known to spread Lyme disease, but they don’t have to ruin the summer. Guard against them by wearing repellents, long sleeves, and pants if possible, and don’t forget to check your scalp and body after an intense hike.