SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “That’s why we’re moving is to keep the bugs off of my kids,” Parent Natalie Strebe says. “Otherwise I’d be sitting down and chilling out, but we got to keep walking.”
Strebe keeps her kids active at Sequoita Park to keep the bugs away.
Mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers gather around grassy areas during the summer. Spiders hide in the areas of a house that are rarely used.
Sometimes, these bugs bite.
A mosquito bite looks like a red circular bump that will be itchy.
A brown recluse spider bite is slightly red and has fang marks.
When a chigger bites, there can be red bumps, blisters, or even a rash.
And a tick bite looks like a small red dot.
Some ticks can carry diseases with them come summertime.
“This is the time of year that we expect to see tick-born diseases,” Kendra Findley of the Springfield Greene County Health Department says.
Findley says 20-25 cases of Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are reported every year. She adds that there potentially are several other cases that have gone undiagnosed or unreported.
These bacterial infections come from tick bites, and cause flu-like symptoms that can last up to two weeks. This can be treated with antibiotics.
Findley says the first thing people in Springfield should do this summer to protect themselves from bug-related illnesses is buy bug repellent that contains a specific amount of deet.
“You want to make sure it has 30% deet or higher,” Findley says.
Findley says wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants will help, but in hot weather, light-colored short-sleeve clothes can work.
“If a tick gets on you, you’re gonna see it crawling on you and you’ll be able to get it off before it actually attaches to your body,” Findley says.
Strebe has one tip as well.
“Spraying our yard, that’s really helped out a lot, and then also just trying to stay covered when we know we will be out with a lot of bugs,” Strebe says.
To find out more information about bugs in the state of Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website by clicking here.