Anaphylaxis is the allergic reaction to insect venom, like fire ants, wasps and bees. Arachnids like spiders, scorpions aw well as other pests like centipedes can also cause anaphylaxis. Swelling, redness and itching are local reactions to an pest bite or sting. Anaphylaxis symptoms on are large scale swelling, dizziness and difficulty breathing. They are life threatening and require immediate medical intervention. About 10 percent of us are susceptible to anaphylaxis. If you feel you are sensitive to venom from prior experience or suffer any of the above symptoms seek medical attention sooner rather than later!
Fire Ant Venom in Bites & Stings
Ant bites and stings can be painful, burning or itchy. They require minimal treatment and are of no consequence to most of us. Ant bites transfer an irritant in the form of formic acid, a carboxylic acid. Formic acid is what causes the reaction to the bite. But fire ants are the exception. Fire ants attack and can kill small animals. Fire ants are very aggressive and will swarm in numbers if disturbed. Their toxic alkaloid venom causes a burning sensation similar to burn like from a fire, hence their name.
Bee & Wasp Sting Venom
Bee stings can be painful, but a bee will only sting as a last resort, as it will die shortly after delivering their barbed stings. But wasps can sting repeatedly. The feared yellow-jacket is aggressive but unless stings are delivered in mass or you are allergic they are not a health hazard, they just hurt. Wasp venom is a highly specialized form of chemical warfare used for defense. Some substances in the venom break down the cellular membranes spilling the cells contents into your blood stream. The nasty chemicals are referred to as peptides and some are enzymes. When the cells in question are neurons, these send a message to our brains that is interpreted as pain. Other substances stop the flow of blood. The pain duration is a result of this nor-epinephrine injection remains until blood flow can dilute and carry this stuff away from the sting site. But there is more, the swelling is caused by the presence of two substances known as hyaluronidase and MCDP short for the scary sounding mast cell degranulating peptide. This stuff melts its way through the connective tissue between cells.
Brown Recluse & Black Widow Venomous Spider Bites
Arachnids, the spider and scorpions carry chemical horrors in their venoms as well. Two spiders belonging to the recluse family and the widow spiders are the primary threat. The brown recluse injects Hemotoxic venom and may cause severe lesions in the bite area. But in some case the venom causes the red blood cells to burst. Most fatalities from the recluse bite are in young children under the age of seven due to organ failure. As the body fights to contain the venom to the bite sight it cuts of blood flow to the surrounding tissues, in effect committing tissue suicide to contain the problem. This results in lesions that can be up to 10 inches in diameter. They become gangrenous and require skin grafts to treat. Black widows carry large venom glands in proportion to their size. Only the females are dangerous to us folks. Their venom contains a substance called latrotoxin that may result in systemic effects including severe muscle pain, muscle spasms, swelling and increased heart rate. In many bites there is no venom injected as black widow are not particularly aggressive toward humans. Venom formation requires calories, and is a precious resource that most creatures seek to conserve. Even rattlesnakes don’t always inject venom in a bite.
Venomous Scorpion Stings
Scorpions are another arachnid cousin of the spider. The most common species is the striped bark scorpion. Their venom is not usually of concern to the non-allergic among us. This stuff contains neurotoxins. This toxin can cause paresthesia or a tingling ‘pins and needles’ feeling from pressurized and damages peripheral nerves. Pain and localized muscle spasms are experienced. As the proteins in scorpion toxins serve as allergens to humans, an allergic reaction causing abdominal spasms, tightness in the chest, flushing and lightheadedness is experienced, but in severe cases anaphylactic shock.
Venomous & Poisonous Texas Redheaded Centipede Bites & Stings
Last but not the least, is the Texas redheaded centipedes. These six and a half to nine inch monstrous creatures not only devour other insects and arthropods but satisfy their hunger on lizards, snakes, toads and rodents. These critters are poisonous at both ends with injection of venom from their bite, but they can also inject venom from their hind legs. These injections are accompanied by sharp pain and swelling. Unless you are allergic you need only have a little concern long term. But anything with jaws and 21 pairs of legs is scary.