While you go about your daily routines, don’t overlook the ever-present risk of contracting a vector, virus or disease from a pest. Often various viruses are blamed on human transmission and poor hygiene. Yes, poor hygiene practices are responsible for numerous cases of gastrointestinal infections and the like, but so often the element of pests are overlooked, which attributes to a number of cases and people don’t even know this has happened.
Even in one’s home, common pests such as rodents, cockroaches and even ants can have harmful effects for your health and your family’s health.
So, the question is posed- in what ways can pests pose a threat to me?
Rats and mice can often very easily enter ones home through small openings. One of the most important things to look out for and avoid is their droppings and urine, which can be encountered in undisturbed areas such as basements, garages, ceilings, pantries etc. Rodent droppings very often cause allergic reactions in humans, but can potentially also cause diseases such as the deadly Hantavirus.
Rodents are also vectors, carrying various bacteria such as Salmonella, and contaminate working surfaces within kitchens, utensils and foodstuffs.
Cockroaches transmit diseases through contact with surfaces they move around on and seek shelter in and then cross infest this to other areas, food preparation areas or even foodstuffs. They are known to transmit salmonella, listeria, food poisoning, typhoid etc.
There is nothing worse than hearing that mosquito buzzing noise that keeps one up at night. Be cautious with mosquitoes as they don’t merely just cause irritation to one’s skin due to their bites, but they can be carriers of some serious diseases.
Mosquitoes are most active in the warmer summer months breeding season and can carry the West Nile Virus, and also the deadly Malaria parasite, particularly in high-risk malaria areas of Southern Africa.
Like bees and termites, ants are social insects and live in colonies. If one sees one ant, there is a very good chance of finding a lot more.
Ants are not just unpleasant due to their numbers when they invade your space, but they can be unpleasant and harmful when it comes to contaminating ones food in your home. This is due to the fact that the ants could have trailed from an area such as a refuse area or waste bin, and then walk and trail in and invade your kitchen and open foodstuffs such as sugar or sweets etc.
Fleas are not just restricted to being a menace on one’s pets such as dogs or cats. These little jumpers are mostly active through the summer period and feed on any warm-blooded host body, typically biting animals and humans. Their bites are itchy and can leave unsightly marks that can be accompanied by allergic reactions. Fleas are also commonly associated with rodents, and normally found on rat’s fur. The biggest threat that this can pose is that fleas are responsible for the spread of the Bubonic plague, which wiped out millions of people centuries ago.
In recent years a major health risk has emerged from ticks in the form of Lyme disease. Ticks are active throughout the warmer summer periods of the year. One needs to be cautious if you are walking through long grass, open veldts, bushveld environments and overgrown gardens that are near open veldts, of which one could unknowingly pick up ticks and get bitten. The symptoms of Lyme disease are a type of “bull’s eye” rash developing around the site of the bite, along with flu-like symptoms and extreme fatigue.
Bees & wasps:
A single bee or wasp sting is generally just rather painful but not life-threatening. However in the case of a bee hive, one needs to be cautious as bees can become extremely aggressive when they protect their hive against predators, and being stung by dozens of bees can result in human fatalities.
People with allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings are at high risk, as the smallest amount of venom that is released can lead to an allergic reaction, and can possibly result in the victim going into anaphylaxis shock- (this is when the body develops a severe allergic reaction and the body releases chemicals that flood the body. One’s blood pressure drops and the airways narrow, possibly blocking normal breathing)
Flick does not harm bees, and we make use of the services of a beekeeper to remove bees and are safely relocated. (Read more here)
So remember to keep pests out of your home or business, and avoid being a victim of ones of these pests.