I thought of bugs as a relatively harmless part of the landscape, a great food source for frogs, birds and bats. In 2012 I got an answer for years of declining health Lyme disease and coinfections. Since Lyme I look at bugs differently. I mean jeez, some bug bite infected me with Lyme and reset my priorities and remade my life. Four years of hard work to regain my health.
Then in 2016 I got a funky eye droop from black fly bites. I was wearing a face net, but in error put a hat over the net. This allowed them access to my skin and I got 6 bites on my forehead. It was ugly it distorted my vision in one eye and took months to clear. Now I wear my face net over my hat not under to fix that problem.
Put biting bugs in a different category now.
They need to be respected. Learn how to best protect yourself while you do the things you love. What tools do you need to protect yourself and what bugs do you need to be mindful of ? There is a ton of disagreement and varying information. It makes it tough to feel secure.
Here is some of what I learned. The Insects that have been proven to carry the bugs that cause Lyme and other illnesses is one list. The insects that transmit these infectous agents when they bite us may be different. Click this link to learn what the common bugs in your area carry.
If a bug has been shown to carry something, I want to protect myself as best I can while I enjoy the outdoors. This is their world too, I accept that. Long term battle with Lyme is still stressing out my immune system, I don’t want to add any new burdens.
Since Lyme Disease & Co infections I look at bugs differently
Lyme Disease is thought to be transmitted predominantly when the Ixodes Scapularis tick, aka the black-legged tick or deer tick pokes through your skin and draws blood. Other species of ticks such as the dog tick, wood tick, Lone-star tick, rabbit tick, also carry Lyme. So the key with ticks it to inspect, find and destroy before they attach.
Biting insects such as deer flies, horse flies, and mosquitoes have been shown to carry the Lyme Disease bacteria. There is no proof whether these bugs transmit (can infect you with) Lyme disease. Studies are underway to determine which bugs transmit Lyme to humans. Mosquitios in NE also carry, and infect people with Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. But Better be safe than sorry, see above. Lice and Fleas carry co-infections like Bartonella I didn’t know that.
Non biting insects, like lady bugs, dragonflies, butterflies, moths and Daddy long legs are still likely okay to play. Many of these bugs eat the biting ones, so they help balance things out. Japanese long horn beetle and termites destroy local homes and woodlands and are a different kind of problem.
It is important to remember that not all bugs or ticks carry the Lyme bacteria. The % varies by area of the country and who is reporting it. I have seen numbers from 5 to over 50 %. That means no one knows for sure or the number of infected bugs is changing all the time.
Given what is with the bugs what are you going to do?
For me it is better to be safe than sorry. Click this link for some ideas on clothes. Cover up with light colored clothing that provides an effective biting barrier and tuck pants into socks. I wear gloves, a hat and a face net. Use chemicals like DEET or Permethrin or naturally based deterrents based on essential oils and plants. Check for ticks when I get home.
Make informed decisions for yourself and your family. Just don’t take the bugs for granted. They carry infectious agents as part of their life and transmit them to animals and humans. Protect your family and self and enjoy time outdoors.
The information provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical care, treatment or advice. All the material here is for information purposes only. Always share strategy and work with your health care team.