Mosquitoes and other pests

Mosquitoes and other pests in Grenada WI

mosquitoGrenada has mosquitoes. In fact, what locale doesn’t have mosquitoes? Even in Charlotte NC, mosquitoes try their best to ruin our BBQs, camping trips and bonfires. 

Grenada has very few creepy crawlies such as spiders, worms, or other small flightless creatures and the like. Grenada is a tropical place and produces tropical insects. Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, as they can in any tropical country. There are certain viruses that are carried by different types of mosquito – they are not all in Grenada, but we feel it is wise to take steps to avoid being bitten.  We suggest you take precautions by using repellent creams and sprays both day and night.

Biting insects feed on humans and animals by piercing the skin to gain access to a blood vessel. They seek food sources by using their various senses such as heat, smell, and sight to find a suitable host. Some insects make a quick feed and leave while others prefer to find hidden areas of the body to stay till they are gorged and can only drop off when they are swollen with blood.

Whichever way they find a host and feed, biting insects can cause itching, inflammation, painful welts and in addition can transmit many serious diseases that affect millions of people across the world.

Bites itch because your body reacts to the saliva injected by the insect while it is biting you. Biting insects have a complex mouth structure that varies between species. It can include a needle-like part that pierces the skin and other parts that are serrated and saw through the flesh to find a blood vessel.

They also have a food canal to suck up blood and a canal that injects saliva containing anticoagulant and anaesthetic. The anticoagulant keeps the blood liquid to keep it flowing and the anaesthetic stops you from feeling the bite so you don’t disturb the feeding insect. The body’s immune system recognises the foreign material injected into the bite and produces histamine as a defence mechanism. This causes localised inflammation and itching.

bug bites

During your travel to Grenada make sure to carrie insect repellent, you may encounter all types of insects, some of which are harmless while others can carry disease. Mosquitoes, ticks, bees, black flies, spiders, and ants may be mild annoyances, but one small bite can have serious implications on your health.

Mosquito

Mosquitoes

Only the female mosquitoes suck blood as their meal, having the specialized mouthparts that can penetrate the skin, though they can also feed on sweet plant juices.

Male mosquito mouthparts are adapted only to feed on nectar and plant juices and cannot penetrate the skin. It is the female’s mosquito that transmits diseases to humans and animals.

The female mosquito finds its host by sensing carbon dioxide in breath, perspiration and body odors, and tends to feed in the evening and night time, though there are notable exceptions.

Tips to prevent mosquito bites on your vacation to Grenada:

  • Cover skin: wear long sleeves, trousers, footwear, and hats.

  • Avoid bright colors: bright colors attract mosquitoes.

  • Avoid strong scents: strong scents such as perfumes and deodorants attract mosquitoes.

  • Use insect repellents: use gels or sprays containing DEET or another repellent to exposed skin; light insect repellent coils in your AirBnb or citronella candles can help keep mosquitoes away from the area.

  • Avoid areas with still water: mosquitoes breed in slow-moving or still/stagnant water, so removing these from the surrounding area — even small containers — will reduce mosquito numbers by preventing their breeding.

  • Avoid areas with dense vegetation where mosquitoes congregate.

  • Use mosquito nets for sleeping: when in remote or undeveloped areas these are a proven way to prevent bites while sleeping and they can also be impregnated with insecticide to kill the mosquitoes as they land on the net.

How to treat mosquito bites

Mosquito bites can be treated with these simple measures:

  • Clean the bite area with soap and water: this is the most important treatment for a mosquito bite.

  • Use a cold compress: swelling can be reduced immediately after a bite by covering it with a cold compress such as ice in a cloth (but do not hold ice directly on the skin).

  • Take anti-histamines: itchiness and swelling can be relieved with antihistamine creams. Oral anti-histamine can also help if you have multiple bites.

  • Do not scratch: avoid scratching as this will increase the itching and could lead to the bite becoming infected.

sandfly

Sandflies

Sandfly (or Sandflies, sand fly)  are small flies about 3 mm long and are golden, brownish or gray in color. They have long, piercing mouthparts that are well adapted for sucking blood from their host. 

Only the female sand flies are blood-feeders, male sandflies do not feed on blood. Females must consume blood meals before they are able to develop eggs. However, both the males and females Sandflies consume sugar-related nutrients that come from plant nectar or honeydew. Some species of sandflies feed on both mammals and reptiles.

Sandfly bites are very painful. Most flies that bite humans feed during the evening and throughout the night. In some cases, flies will attack in the daytime, if they are disturbed. Sandfly resting sites include cavities close to the ground such as dry tree holes, hollow logs, tree crowns and the canopy of tropical and sub-tropical rain forest jungles. Another commonly found place for daytime resting is inside the home.

Sandflies develop by metamorphosis, they go through four developmental stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Sandflies complete their life cycle within 1-3 months, depending on the sand fly species and their environmental conditions. Sandfly females lay about 30-70 eggs that are laid in small batches on moist surfaces like soil in protected areas with high humidity and high organic matter. Sandfly Eggs typically hatch about two weeks after being deposited. The larval stage may take no longer than three weeks to mature, but may also be longer if the larvae are in an area where it must survive cold weather. Before entering the pupal stage, the larvae stop feeding on the organic matter in their habitat and seek out a pupation site that is drier than its larval habitat. The pupal stage usually lasts only 1-2 weeks. After emerging from the pupal case, the adults disperse at night with the males dispersing before the females.

Important sand fly transmitted diseases include:

  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis
  • Visceral leishmaniasis
  • Sand fly fever
  • Carrions disease
  • Pappataci fever
  • Vesicular stomatitis virus

Large area control of sand flies is very difficult for communities due to the hidden, cryptic nature of where sand flies develop.

Preventing sand fly bites can be accomplished by using permethrin-treated clothing. Keeping exposed skin covered by clothing is helpful when venturing into sand fly habitats.

Ticks

Ticks

Ticks inhabit areas with long grass or heavy vegetation such as Grenada. They can sense a host by detecting breath, body odors, body heat, moisture, and vibrations through a sensory organ in the first pair of legs. Ticks do not seek a host but lie in wait, climbing up grass or onto the edge of leaves and hold up their front pair of legs to wait for a host to pass and latch onto them. They then crawl around the host looking for their preferred spot to feed on.

How to prevent tick bites

In areas of known infestation you can take these measures to reduce the chance of tick infestation:

  • avoid long grass and vegetation and keep pets from these areas;
  • remove vegetation near your property;
  • keep away host animals such as squirrels, mice, rats and other rodents, and deer. Deer carry ticks that carry Lyme disease;
  • use an insect repellent such as DEET, which will repel ticks also;
  • tuck trousers/pants into boots or socks to prevent ticks from climbing onto your skin;
  • do a daily body check if your out in areas with ticks; and
  • wear light clothing so that ticks are easy to spot.
chigger

Chiggers

Chiggers (sometimes called red bugs) are tiny larvae members of the arachnid family. Although the larvae are extremely small in size, their bites pack a punch. Chiggers are so tiny that you probably won’t notice when they jump onto your skin. You won’t feel it as they hitch a ride home with you. When you eventually do feel them, however, they can be extremely itchy.

Chiggers live in tall weeds and grass, in berry patches, and in wooded areas. They may be in your backyard and clustered along the hiking trail. They are most active in spring, summer, and fall afternoons when temperatures are warm.

Chiggers are very tiny and it generally takes a magnifying glass to see them. Adults are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures that measure less than 1/150 of an inch. Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together. After they feast on human skin, they turn a yellowish color.

Only the larvae bite humans. They tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body. Chiggers have claws that help them grab onto the skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva. The saliva contains an enzyme that breaks skin cells down to liquid form.

Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a funnel through which the chigger sucks the host’s body fluids. Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days.

Insect Repellent with DEET

Whether you’re enjoying the great outdoors in your own backyard or vacationing on the tropical island of Grenada, when you apply insect repellent, you want the best, most effective protection from biting bugs.

Using DEET insect repellent with sunscreen decreases the effectiveness of the sunscreen by about 30-40%. So if using both at the same time, be prepared to re-apply sunscreen more often than if using sunscreen alone.

There are several commercial products that combine DEET and sunscreen into one cream or lotion.  We Recommend the following Sunscreens with DEET.