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Know Your Backcountry Bugs

Guide to common bugs in the backcountry.

TICKS

BREEDING HABITAT: Wooded, grassy, and swampy areas.

BITING TIME: All day.

ATTRACTED TO: Ticks do not fly or jump, rather, they wait for an animal or human to brush up against them and then they latch on.

LESS ATTRACTED TO: Light colors.

TARGET AREAS: Anywhere flesh is exposed and untreated. Light clothes help you detect the easier.

TEMPERATURE RANGE: All year. Deer ticks mature in fall and winter. Don’t let the lack of other bugs decieve you.

OTHER FACTS: Lyme disease, most often spread by deer ticks, is most common in the Northeast (particularly in MA, CT and NY) but its range is spreading, and cases have been reported in 49 states. The more rare Rocky Mountain spotted fever, also common in the East, can be spread by dog or wood ticks. Although these diseases are treatable with antibiotics, prevention is a far preferable alternative.

BEES AND WASPS

BREEDING HABITAT: Nest in hollow trees, branches, logs, on the trail, and even in the mud

or dirt banks of streams.

STINGING TIME: Daytime.

ATTRACTED TO: Bright colors, sweet smells, and swift movements.

LESS ATTRACTED TO: White or neutral tones.

TARGET AREAS: Anywhere flesh is exposed.

OTHER FACTS: If you are stung, remove the stinger by carefully scraping it with a knife blade or flat edge. Pinching the stinger will release more venom. To neutralize the venom, apply a paste of water and unseasoned meat tenderizer (which contains papain, a papaya enzyme). Seek medical help immediately if you notice an unusual reaction, such as extensive swelling, nausea, shortness of breath, or a rapid heart rate.

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