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The three kinds of human lice (head lice, body lice, and pubic or crab lice) are described in this publication. There are guidelines for identifying lice and helpful instructions for preventing and controlling lice infestations.
The three kinds of human lice (head lice, body lice, and pubic or crab lice) are described in this publication. here are guidelines for identifying lice and helpful instructions for preventing and controlling lice infestations.
Conenose, or kissing bugs (Triatoma sp.), are blood-feeding insects that are an occasional problem in Texas homes. Although conenose bugs bite humans and regularly transmit disease in parts of Latin America, for most U.S. victims the worst consequence is redness and itching at the site of the bite.
Bites from arthropods can cause problems for people in and around their homes, and many times the culprit goes unseen. Because many bite marks look very similar, it can be difficult to know what has bitten a person without actually seeing the arthropod. However, knowing some information can help narrow down the choices.
For treatments of bites, consult a physician, who can prescribe medications. Several over-the-counter medications and ointments are available to help reduce itching and swelling. When buying these products, ask a physician or pharmacist for advice on which to choose.
Chiggers are the immature stage of certain mites belonging to the family Trombiculidae. More closely related to spiders than to insects, chiggers belong to the class Arachinida, along with scorpions and ticks. In Texas, the term “chigger” commonly is used to describe the parasitic larval stage of mites in the genus Eutrombicula. These common mites cause most of the itchy, summertime bites that occur after walking outdoors through grassy or brushy areas.
One of the most dreaded household pests in Texas is the brown recluse spider. Although brown recluse spiders frequently coexist with humans in homes without incident, when bites do occur they can be serious. Besides being painful, bites sometimes result in secondary infections, disfiguring skin ulcers, pain and, rarely, life-threatening complications.
Assassin bugs (family Reduviidae) are predatory insects that are of great benefit to gardeners. They are proficient at capturing and feeding on a wide variety of prey including other bugs, bees, flies, and caterpillars. Prey are captured with a quick stab of the assassin bug’s long mouthparts. After being immobilized by a paralyzing toxin, the prey’s body fluids are then drawn through the assassin bug’s soda straw-like mouthparts.
Most stinging caterpillars belong to the insect family known as flannel moths. Flannel moths get their name from the flannel-like appearance of the wings of the adult, which are clothed with loose scales mixed with long hairs. The immature stages of flannel moths are caterpillars which are clothed with fine hairs and venomous spines. The spines, when brushed against the skin, produce a painful rash or sting.
Velvet ants are not ants at all, but a specialized group of insects belonging to the wasp family Mutillidae. Mutillid wasps can be found in Texas during the summertime in both urban and rural habitats. They are often referred to as velvet ants because the females are wingless, ant-like and often covered with a velvety “fur”. Most kinds of velvet ants are black or brown and they may be strikingly ringed or marked with red, yellow or orange. They range in size from about one-half, to one inch-long and are frequently found outdoors in dry, open areas. Male mutillid wasps are winged and are more wasp-like in appearance.
Some of the larger species of velvet ants, such as Dasymutilla occidentalis, are occasionally referred to as “cow-killers” because of the painful sting that the female can inflict. This species and some others are capable of producing a “squeaking” sound when trapped or disturbed. Other species of velvet ants are also common in Texas, including the gray velvet ant and the thistle down mutillids, Dasymutilla beutenmulleri and D. fulvohirta.