Five Biting and Stinging Bugs to Watch Out for This Summer in Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Flex via Wikipedia
Despite what many may believe, this fuzzy little guy will NOT sting you.
Of all the joys that summer in Houston brings -- heat, humidity, hurricanes -- perhaps the most aggravating is the plague of bugs that descends on us like a swamp (which is basically what the city is anyway). As the creepy crawlies come out of hibernation in the spring, they begin to infest what feels like every nook and cranny of our lives. Exterminators no doubt love the summer in Houston for the very same reason most of us can't stand it.

Most bugs in Texas are harmless. Yes, that includes roaches, you ninnies. Some are even remarkably beautiful, like butterflies. But there are a handful of bug types (I say bugs because at least one type is not technically an insect) that can cause you some pain if you come into contact with one of them.

Public Domain
Looks soft, feels bad.

Despite what many of you may believe, that big black fuzzy thing at the top of this post will NOT hurt you. That is the caterpillar for a giant leopard moth and is completely harmless. As a general rule, however, it is not a bad idea to avoid furry caterpillars like our friend the asp in the photo directly above. The sting from an asp can be pretty nasty, the result of its spines coming in contact with skin. Fortunately, contact with asps is pretty rare even if exposure this year has been a bit higher than usual. Still, it is not unheard of for one to fall out of a tree on an unsuspecting victim.

Photo by Pollinator via Wikipedia
The imported red fire ant packs a painful sting.

In Houston, you are most likely going to run into ants when you accidentally step on a mound, but if it is home to fire ants, you could be in for some painful stings. In particular, the red imported fire ants are very aggressive, with a sting that can leave a gross pustule. Best bet is to look where you walk, particularly in an open area like a park where you are unfamiliar with the terrain.

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