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Insects and Allergies

Insects and Allergies

Did you know that you can have an allergic reaction to certain insects? 

You may have heard that you can be allergic to bee stings, but did you know that many other insects can cause allergic reactions? Many of us have an allergy of some kind, whether it’s to cats, tree pollen, or a certain food. Allergic reactions to insects are more common than you may realize.

What insects can cause allergic reactions?

Several biting/stinging insects can cause allergic reactions. You may be familiar with allergic reactions to bee stings. Since bees are in the same taxonomic order (Hymenoptera) as wasps and fire ants, many individuals who are allergic to bees are also allergic to the stings from these other closely related insects. Allergic reactions to mosquito bites are common; you likely know someone who develops large welts when bitten. Bed bug bites are also known to cause allergic reactions in some individuals. You may have heard stories of one spouse being bitten while the other was ignored by the bed bugs. These stories are often false. It just so happened that one spouse was allergic to the bites and developed welts, whereas the other spouse was bitten but did not react. Some of these allergies get worse with subsequent bites or stings. 

Though they don’t bite or sting, cockroaches have been shown to cause allergic reactions (similar to hayfever) and may play a role in childhood asthma. The same is true for dust mites (not insects, but pretty close). The waste products and exoskeletons of cockroaches and dust mites are the cause for allergies to these organisms.  

How can I prevent these allergies?

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction (that is, if you have an allergy to a particular insect or its bite/sting) is to reduce your encounters with the problem insect. Some of these allergy-inducing insects, such as bees, require behavioral changes in individuals (i.e., always wear closed-toe shoes while walking outside, don’t walk through flower fields) rather than chemical control (we never want to hurt the bees!). Many of the other insects (e.g., cockroaches, fire ants, mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas) can and should be chemically controlled. Here’s where we can help! If you’ve been on the fence about regular pest control, maybe this blog post will convince you to give us a call. Pest control is about the health of your family and pets, and we at Innovative Pest Solutions take this responsibility very seriously.