Posted on July 19 2018
There's nothing quite like going for a run and enjoying the great outdoors. With that said, nothing can ruin it faster than unwanted pests. While many pests can bring your run to an unexpected halt, there are some ways that you can decrease your odds of meeting them. Here are six pests that you need to watch out for while running and how to keep them away.
Few pests are more annoying or more dangerous than ticks. While often mistaken for insects, they're actually arachnids. They often carry diseases such as Lyme disease, so they're a major concern for outdoor enthusiasts. To make matters worse, the longer that they're on your skin, the higher that your risk for infection grows.
When running, avoid heavily wooded areas to limit your chances of coming into contact with these pests. If possible, also wear long pants and sleeves to reduce the amount of skin that you expose. You should also invest in tick repellent to keep these little guys away. They can live in near-freezing temperatures, which makes them a threat nearly any time of the year.
Fleas aren't part of the arachnid family. Instead, they're insects that also feed on the blood of their hosts. Unlike other blood feeders, they actually live on their hosts. They even lay their eggs there, which is where the babies grow up feeding as well. Like any other pest that feeds on blood, these insects can carry diseases.
Fleas prefer warm temperatures and heavily wooded areas. Running in tall grass or through dense trees increases the likelihood that you'll pick up a flea hitchhiker. Avoid these areas, and use repellent to keep them at bay.
Yellow jackets are a type of wasp, and they're extremely territorial. These flying insects become very aggressive when they feel like their nests are being threatened in any way. Yellow jackets are common around campsites, parks or any other areas where people have food outdoors. They're attracted to sugars and carbohydrates.
You can avoid these flying insects by keeping your distance. Yellow jackets are known to make their nests off the ground in shrubs, trees, and bushes. Try to avoid running around unkempt bushes and shrubs. Also, avoid running near fruit trees and flowers because these are food sources for yellow jackets.
Much like ticks and fleas, mosquitoes can spread diseases. These bugs use their long, tube-like mouths to penetrate skin. Then, they suck on the blood of their victims for food. Unfortunately, they can spread diseases if they drink blood from an infected person and then feed on another person.
Avoiding mosquitoes during the warm months of spring, summer, and fall is hard. Mosquito repellent contains chemicals that keep these bugs and other flying insects away. However, you can also avoid running near areas with stagnant water such as ponds or lakes. This is where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
You may think that flies are nothing more than a nuisance. However, some species, such as horseflies, bite. These insects leave behind painful welts. They also like warm weather, and the females are extremely aggressive. They feed on blood too.
To avoid these flies, run during the early morning hours before sunrise or in the late hours of the night. The flies are less active during these times. Wearing long sleeves and pants are another way to limit the areas of your body where horse flies can bite you.
Another non-flying insect that you have to be on the lookout for is fire ants. These pests build large mounds that typically look like dirt piles. If you step in them, you'll get a rude welcome. In many cases, runners pass through these mounds only to kick up dirt along with fire ants that land all over them. When fire ants bite you, they leave nasty marks that are painful and itchy.
Avoiding fire ants is a bit more simple than avoiding flying pests. You simply have to watch out for where you run. Don't run in heavily wooded areas or over mounds of dirt. Fire ants are also known to build their nests in open, grassy fields. They're very resourceful and find ways to build their nests in the walls of people's homes too.
Use the above tips to keep yourself safe and pest free while running. Also, apply some of these tips to your own yard to keep pests away. Checking your yard for pests regularly is the best way to maintain a pest-free home.