Arachnophobia is not a completely rare phobia, and for good reason – spider bites can kill. However, most spiders pose a small threat to people, if at all. And, fortunately, most local insects are relatively harmless.
Glacier Media spoke with Erinn Lisso, Outreach Coordinator, Victoria Bug Zoo, about which insects she believes represents the greatest threat to people in British Columbia.
"Most insects in B.C. are relatively harmless," he assures. "While some of them may bite and possibly leave a mark, they will not cause any significant problems."
Lisso adds that other bugs, even nightmarish ones, tend to appear more harmful than they actually are.
However, there are some disturbing creepers that can represent potential problems for B.C. residents. Have a look at some of the most annoying creatures below.
Ticks may not appear dangerous and scary, but their bites can lead to a series of illnesses and even death. Furthermore, these tiny creatures penetrate your skin and must be removed with tweezers.
"Even climate change is not helping the situation. In fact, tick populations are rapidly increasing because Canada's climate is getting warmer," explains Lisso. "They weren't able to survive here before, and now, well, they're starting to thrive."
Ticks can carry four or five different bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis. Consequently, it is essential that the small parasites are removed from the skin as soon as they are discovered. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that one should not "twist or jerk the tick; this can cause parts of the mouth to break and remain in the skin".
Lisso notices that not all ticks are dangerous, but Blacklegged ticks represent the biggest threat to people.
Mosquitoes are one of the most common parasites in the province and generally do not pose a serious threat. However, these miniature threats can carry diseases such as malaria, dengue and West Nile virus. That being said, they pose the greatest threat to at-risk populations such as the elderly, children and those who already have compromised immune systems.
Wasps / Hornets
While bees are generally quite docile, wasps can become extremely aggressive. Furthermore, their nests are often difficult to discern along paths and undergrowth, and people can accidentally step on them. Since a number of people are allergic to wasp and hornet bites, this poses a significant threat to their health. And while bees sting once, wasps are recidivists. Bees usually take their stings in people's skin and therefore do not have the ability to sting twice. On the contrary, the sting of a wasp remains intact. A severe allergic reaction to a puncture is called anaphylaxis, which occurs when the body suffers a shock.
Black Widow's venom is four times more powerful than a rattlesnake, but their bite produces a considerably smaller dose. With this saying, their bites, like all other poisons, will affect individuals differently. Although no deaths have been reported locally, some may have negative effects.
"For the most part, even if they have the most powerful poison of any spider in B.C., they are usually not dangerous to people," explains Lisso. "They are lonely and rather shy – they tend to avoid conflicts".
The Okanagan has the highest concentration of small black arachnids, and they tend to be found in cellars, basements, woodsheds and other dark and hidden places. Their canvases are not particularly skilled – they are known as the "tangle web" spider. So, if you see a really messy web, be careful.
They might sound really cool, but a scorpion is probably one of the last insects you would like to find crawling on your kitchen floor – but that's exactly what happened to a woman from Vancouver after returning from a vacation in Cuba.
Fortunately, the the scorpion was safely removed from his home and transported to the Dewdney Animal hospital in Maple Ridge. From there, the small predator was taken to the Victoria Bug Zoo which is home to over 50 species of insects from around the world. Zoo experts have determined that the scorpion, named Gail after its seeker, is a less poisonous species known as the Cuban scorpion or heterocenque Garridoi. However, many "illegal immigrants" are not harmless.
Victoria Bug Zoo staff confirmed an online post that the scorpion has produced about 20 childrenand the whole scorpion family is doing well.
– Elana Shepert, Vancouver is fantastic