Last summer I had a near death experience because of a local pest.  Let me explain.  I was in my backyard sitting on the edge of our raised flower garden, pulling weeds when I felt something on my toes.  I looked down and was horrified to see a snake trying to play footsie with me!  So frightened I couldn’t scream, I somehow made it to the middle of my yard (I don’t really remember that part) where I discovered I have moves that could rival these! I promise you I nearly had a massive heart-attack!  I’m so lucky to be alive!

My experience only affected two people.  Me and my poor husband who will have to weed the backyard on his own until I seek therapy for PTSD.  But some pests pose health issues for families, neighborhoods and communities.  Real health risks that don’t include being scared to death. 

The Environmental Protection Agency released a list of pests that can potentially cause significant health risks.  Many of them are pests that we encounter right here in the Treasure Valley like cockroaches, rodents, mosquitoes, lice and ticks.   

Many years ago I watched a movie about a man hiding in someone’s house.  He was as creepy as they come.  As I remember it he’d come out of hiding while they were sleeping, invade their rooms and even get on their beds.  He inserted himself into their lives quietly at first.  The family didn’t even realize he was a problem but before long he was wreaking the kind of havoc that nightmares are made of.  This villain was much like bedbugs.  In the beginning you don’t notice them.  They hide until you’re asleep and then they get on your bed and take advantage of you.  These crazy-multiplying creepers slide into your life unnoticed at first but then you start noticing that they follow you everywhere you go.  At work you see that one hitched a ride on your shirt.  You find one in your purse at the store.  You’re at church and realize you can’t just brush the bedbug off that’s crawling on the lapel of your husband’s suit so he discreetly goes to the restroom and kills it.  And you just hope you won’t leave some on your chair at the movies.  You feel helpless because you can’t protect the people around you.  You try to get rid of them and find you can’t until you pull out the big guns (Barrier Pest Control has some big guns!).  While bedbug bites can cause allergic reactions, the biggest issue is the actual invasion.  No one wants to fall victim to these blood-suckers! 

Mosquitos are just rude little vampires that can spread some very serious diseases.  West Nile virus is the most common in our area. They can also carry malaria, yellow and dengue fever among others.  Like many of the pests on our list these entitled little vermin need to be slapped silly.

Some types of lice can cause epidemic typhus, trench fever and epidemic relapsing fever.  Not only that they make you itch!  Do you think you’re kids are immune to lice? Kids enjoy physical play.  They’re bound to touch heads as they roll around on the ground, hug etc. And have you checked your child’s class room set up?  Do their coats and hats touch other  kids coats and hats?  Lice don’t discriminate against clean people.  They like everyone’s blood whether you bathe or not. They like teenagers too.  And that age group are always hugging and getting close.  Can you say group selfies, school dances and things dads don’t want to think about?  Yep, teenagers pass around lice too.  

Getting bit by something is bad enough but ticks think they can crawl right inside you and starting filling up like you’re their own personal vat of chocolate pudding.  And if you hang out in an area that’s prone to ticks (sometimes your own backyard) you and whoever you’re with end up becoming volunteers to your own airport strip search to make sure you’re not the next victim of lyme disease or rocky mountain spotted fever!  And not to horrify any of you further but the Lone Star tick has made it’s way around much of the other half of the U.S. Their  bite can make you allergic to bacon, steak and baby-back ribs! I love Idaho even more now! Can you imagine?  I hope that one stays in it’s own half of the country.  Just be careful if you do any camping or hiking over there.  One day you’re sinking your teeth into a big juicy cheeseburger and the next day you’re a vegetarian.