Deadly Bugs

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No matter how many times someone reassuringly tells you, “most insects aren't poisonous,” or “they're more scared of you than you are of them,” their advice doesn't seem to resonate whenever a bug of some sort crawls up your leg, flies into your mouth or is located anywhere near your general vicinity. The truth is, you have good reason to be terrified of bugs.

Early last month, for example, state officials confirmed that Africanized honeybees, also known as killer bees, have made their way to Santa Fe. The simple fact that you live in Albuquerque, though, is no cause for relief. Officials say killer bees have been known to exist in Bernalillo County for several years.

Although their sting is no more toxic than a regular bee, killer bees are considerably more aggressive. Brought to Brazil from Africa in 1957, they've slowly migrated northward, year by year, recently making their way into the southern United States. Killer bees tend to swarm more than regular bees, and they're more protective of their hives. They're also more likely to chase after and sting perceived threats—that is, you—than regular bees, and they pursue their victims for longer distances.

Killer bees have been responsible for several deaths in the United States. If you come into contact with bees that seem to be behaving strangely, you are advised to run as quickly as possible into a building with doors and windows that close.

There are also two arachnids found in New Mexico that you'd be wise to be especially worried about. Susan C. Jones, the assistant professor of entomology at Ohio State University, states that a bite from a brown recluse can sometimes “erupt into a ’volcano lesion.'” Jones notes that the size of the eruption can be as big as a human hand. In these instances, the skin affected by the bite gradually falls off over the course of six to eight weeks.

The black widow spider is much more common here in New Mexico than the brown recluse. It is also much deadlier. Actually, it's the most venomous spider in North America. The bite from a black widow can cause nausea, vomiting, faintness, dizziness, chest pain, respiratory difficulties and, yes, death. Black widows prefer to live in dark, secluded areas, including garages, basements and attics, so stay the hell away from these places at all costs.

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