With the Dallas & Fort Worth summer heat and change of season comes the seasonal pests to the state of Texas. North Texas is home of many species of wasps, hornets, bees, mud daubers, termites, grasshoppers, ants, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, spiders, snakes, and the occasional scorpion depending upon location. Each of these are very important to the environment but can spread disease and sometimes cause anaphylaxis, poisoning, or even death.
Wasps, Hornets, Bees, & Mud Daubers
Like humans, some wasps and hornets are social. Social wasps live in colonies of up to several thousand and build nests together made of primarily wood pulp and saliva. Similarly, bees use wax to construct and adhere their hives and live together in colonies. The construction of hornets’ nests are started by the queen and continued by sterile worker hornets. Some nests are half a meter across and contain up to ten thousand hornets. Interestingly hornets eat the leaves and sap of trees in addition to flies, bees, and other insects. In a hornet colony, the queen is the only female to reproduce.
Termites, Grasshoppers, Ants, & Mosquitoes
Insects such as termites, grasshoppers, ants, and mosquitoes are affected greatly by warm to hot weather. With the change of season, insects are more likely to be seen as they swarm onto your property eating your vegetable garden and intruding on your backyard fun. They begin swarming in search of creating new colonies and finding food and water. From March to October, depending upon temperatures, termites, grasshoppers, ants, and mosquitoes are actively swarming. The warmer weather causes them to find new homes as they go out in search of creating more colonies. Termites, ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are more prevalent after a mild winter. This change of temperature sends insects into a breeding frenzy. Many of these insects live for but a few months. Although the lifespan of a mosquito is from one week to two months, this is time enough for them to transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue, and West Nile. Interestingly, it is the female mosquitoes that seek out blood meals and typically transfer deadly illnesses and diseases.
Fleas, Ticks, Spiders, Snakes, & Scorpions
Fleas and ticks are sunlight and humidity sensitive and seek to live in tall grass, underneath items, and in carpet. They both seek out a host, usually your pets, for a blood meal. Two common spiders in Texas are the brown recluse and the black widow; each of which are seen more in the warmer months. The venom of brown recluse spiders contains enzymes that cause systematic reactions, weakness, dizziness, nausea, fever, sight redness and swelling, joint pain, restlessness, and sometimes death. Although there are only six venomous snakes in Texas, there are many others to that you may come across. Snakes travel during the early morning and late evening hours but are sometimes found sunning during the middle of the day. Scorpions do exist in Texas, more so in the sandy loam areas but are not prevalent throughout the state.