The Chicago area is a beautiful, diverse part of the country with a countless cultural events, gorgeous landscapes, and nearby job and recreational opportunities. But it also has its fair share of downsides, including bad weather, gridlocked traffic, and destructive pests. If you live in the area, you’ve probably dealt with wasps and hornets in your garden and rats and mice in your home.
But even with all the house spiders, ants, and rodents you have to deal with, you still have a better deal in Chicagoland than many other homeowners nationally and globally. Read below to learn more about some of the world’s worst house pests, none of which you’ll ever have to deal with in your Illinois-area home.
1. Sydney Funnel-Web Spiders
You’ve dealt with your fair share of house spiders, including daddy long legs and small jumping spiders.
You might have even encountered a black widow or a brown recluse. But you’ve never wrangled a spider like the Sydney funnel-web, one of the most venomous spiders in the world.
Funnel-web spiders burrow beneath debris in yards across New South Wales in Australia. They can grow up to 4 inches long, and they move incredibly quickly as they dart outside their homes to catch any prey that wanders near, including snails, beetles, and even small lizards.
Funnel-web spiders are quite clever. They sit inside their burrows, away from their predators’ prying eyes, and spin thin lines of silk that they set just outside their front doors. They can then wait for a wandering insect to trip the line. The vibration sends the spider dashing out of its hideaway for an easy snack.
Funnel-web spiders generally keep to themselves and stay outside where they belong. However, they sometimes wander into houses and give homeowners a nasty surprise. They’re also dangerous to pets, especially curious cats and dogs who like to dig in the yard.
Most often, homeowners encounter funnel-web spiders in their backyard pools-funnel-web spiders fall in and, instead of drowning, swim around for hours.
Most funnel-web spiders are very venomous. If one of these spiders bites a person, the victim usually needs hospital treatment.
Scorpions are far from the deadliest creatures in the world, but they’re some of the most obnoxious and most frightening pests in the Western United States. Scorpions are particularly troubling because they love to climb into dark, secluded areas-including the toes of shoes. Scorpions are also small enough to squeeze between cracks in the door and infiltrate homes.
Scorpion stings hurt, but they don’t kill. The only truly dangerous scorpion in the United States is the Arizona bark scorpion, whose sting can provoke severe allergic reactions in some people. These scorpions are more aggressive than other types of scorpions in the area.
The eeriest part about Arizona’s scorpions? Bark scorpions live in packs, which means when you encounter one, you’re likely to encounter more. They can also survive freezing temperatures. Once the frozen scorpion thaws out, it gets back to business as usual.
3. Bullet Ants
These South American creatures have the dubious distinction of delivering the most painful insect bite in the world. In fact, they get their English name from the fact that their bites are so painful, even one feels like a shot from a bullet.
The only other insect capable of producing a similarly painful sting is the tarantula hawk wasp. However, although a sting from a hawk wasp is intensely painful, the pain alleviates after a few minutes. Hawk wasps rely on their venom to paralyze tarantulas, so it only needs to last long enough to keep the wasp’s dinner still. In contrast, the pain from a bullet ant’s sting can last up to 24 hours.
According to Justin Schmidt, the entomologist who created an index that rates the intensity of insect bites, getting bitten by a bullet ant feels just like sticking your hand in a socket-in other words, it’s exceedingly painful, not just at the site of the bite, but throughout your entire body.
Fortunately, bullet ants are only found in the rainforests of Paraguay and Nicaragua. Although they might wander into locals’ homes occasionally, they generally keep to themselves deeper in the forest.
4. Tsetse Fly
As you know if you’ve ever battled a housefly or a batch of fruit flies, keeping flies out of your house is nearly impossible. But although houseflies and fruit flies are certainly annoying and can contribute to the spread of disease, they can’t compare to the tsetse fly.
This fly from sub-Saharan Africa spreads a serious disease called sleeping sickness. The fly bites a human host and transmits a parasite that can cause fevers and aches and, in its most intense form, nerve damage, lethargy, and death.
Keep Pests Out of Your House
Thanks to your home’s location, you don’t have to deal with any of these noxious pests. But that doesn’t mean you have to discount your own pest problems! Whether you’re dealing with a mouse infestation or a plague of mosquitoes, call Chem-Wise for help. We’ll ensure you, your family members, and your property are safe from any detrimental effects from any type of pest.