Vampires, ghosts, goblins and witches are usually recognized as the scariest creatures creeping around on Halloween. While these horrors are just make believe, there are actually some very real terrors that might be lurking in your own backyard. With Halloween season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to think about some of the scariest pests out there – which may be someone’s worst nightmare.
After soliciting advice from local insect and agricultural experts, here’s my list of the top five creepiest, crawliest, scariest pests guaranteed to send chills down any Seminole County resident’s spine. While many may have heard the horror stories about these pests, most may not fully understand the very real dangers these creepy creatures pose.
Flesh Flies: Any critter whose name implies what it actually does – eating my flesh – had to top my list. Flesh Flies are most often found breeding in and feeding on decaying material or feces but some species will actually lay their eggs in the open wounds of mammals – including humans, hence the name flesh flies. A typically meal consists of decaying flesh, dead insects, excrement, crabs, snails and spiders.
Bats: These creatures of the night historically associated with vampires have always freaked me out. Even though only one species of this creepy flier actually feeds off of blood, I still don’t like them – call it guilt by association. While there is very little danger of encountering one of these vampire bats, other close relatives of the night flier can be quite scary and dangerous to your health – especially if they invade your home because they can transmit several diseases including rabies. Not much scares me; however, if you ever see me running down Cherry Street in the middle of the night, odds are a bat is involved, because in my mind and with my luck, it would be one of the blood-sucking varieties.
Earwigs: The name earwig literally means ear creature and is derived from the ancient superstition that these pests would crawl into ears and bore holes into the brain. While this may not be true, these creepy pests do have scary, claw-like forceps on their abdomen. They use them as weapons for protection and for capturing prey.
Brown Recluse Spiders: Who isn’t creeped out after walking into a spider web? While most spiders are actually beneficial, feeding on other insects, there are some scary crawlers to avoid including the Brown Recluse. These spiders are nocturnal and while they usually feed on cockroaches and crickets, they will bite humans if they feel threatened. This bite can create a volcano lesion or a large, damaged hole in the flesh. In extreme cases, severe itching, nausea, vomiting, fever and muscle pain can also occur.
Bed Bugs: Vampires might not be running around biting humans for their blood, but one notorious pest certainly is – Bed Bugs! The size of an apple seed, these bloodsuckers typically come out at night to feed on their unsuspecting victims. Bed bugs do not spread disease but they may leave behind itchy, painful welts on their victims. If left untreated, bed bugs can be a recurring nightmare since they can live for more than a year without food and survive a wide range of extreme temperatures.
Local experts assure me that no impending invasion or population explosion of any of the above is imminent. It’s just a list, in celebration of the season, of some of the things that creep me out, and something else to think about when you hear that noise go bump in the night.
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