Hiking in tall grass can increase the possibility of encounters with biting insects. Wearing long trousers and long sleeves along with using a quality insect repellent can help prevent bug bites. Many types of insects are more likely to bite after dark, so hiking during the day can help also decrease the number of biting insects encountered. To avoid attracting bugs, don't wear perfumes or scented deodorants.
Ticks live in tall grass and weeds and will bite humans and other animals to feed on their blood. Besides causing discomfort from tick bites, these insects transmit several different kinds of disease to humans, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Avoid walking in tall grass whenever possible and check carefully for ticks if you do walk through tall grass. Ticks can be small and difficult to see, and have a small head in comparison to a large round body. Tick bites often look similar to mosquito bites but may develop a red outer ring within a couple of weeks or sometimes months.
Chiggers are the larval stage of mites. These larvae bite humans and other mammals. They inject saliva into wounds, causing intense itching. Chiggers are most common in warm climates, but can be encountered anywhere there is tall grass or dense vegetation. Bug repellents containing DEET should be used if an area is known to be infested with chiggers. Chiggers can feed for hours or days, and the intensity of the reaction can vary from one individual to another. See a medical professional for severe allergic reactions.
Hiking in the woods and areas of tall grass can sometimes lead to spider bites. A notoriously venomous spider is the black widow spider. Webs of black widow spiders are typically built in areas that may be hidden in tall grass, such as under stones or in wood piles. The bite may cause localised swelling and puncture wounds from fangs. As the venom travels through the body, severe reactions may occur including pain in the abdomen and back, tremors and nausea. According to Ohio State University Extension, symptoms usually subside within several days.
Tall grass sometimes grows near streams or other bodies of water, which is ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Wearing trousers and long sleeves along with an insect repellent may help prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes sometimes transmit diseases such as West Nile virus. Other biting insects that may be encountered in tall grass include ants, bees and wasps.
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