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    Laboratory Services Section
    MC 1947
    PO Box 149347 Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 W. 49th Street
    Austin, TX 78756-3199

    Phone: (512) 776-7318
    Fax: (512) 776-7294

    Phone Us Toll Free at:
    (888) 963-7111, ext. 7318

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Entomology Resources

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Medically Important Arthropods
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  • To see more information on the arthropod, click on its image.
Medically Important Arthropods Slideshow Layout Table

Medically Important Arthropods Slideshow images

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FAQ
Question: What spiders in Texas are poisonous?
Answer: Although all true spiders have venom glands, not all venoms produced are very poisonous to humans. In fact, only two spiders in Texas are known to have the potential to commonly cause severe reactions: the brown recluse and the black widow. However, any spider bite could cause a reaction, especially if you are hypersensitive to that particular venom.  See also the Medically Important Arthropods section above for more information and pictures.
   
Question: What do I do if I have been stung or bitten by a bug?
Answer:

Such bites and stings often require little more than making certain that the affected area is kept cleansed. As with any wound, attention should be given to avoid bacterial infections. However, some individuals may develop an allergic or hypersensitive reaction, and there are a few bugs whose bite or sting will often cause a local or systemic reaction. If such a reaction is suspected or you have a history of allergic reactions, contact a physician, clinic, or hospital for immediate examination and possible treatment. It is also wise to either kill or safely contain the bug for positive identification. On a case by case basis, specimens for arthropod identification may be submitted to CDC via the DSHS Laboratory. Physicians or other Public Health Agencies should call 512-776-7615 to discuss the need for submission and/or identification.

   
Question: What bug is attacking my plants?
Answer: Although there are thousands of bugs that attack and damage plants, many bugs found on plants are actually beneficial. Becoming knowledgeable of the more common types of plant bugs can be very helpful to you as a home gardener. For those bugs that are more difficult to identify, you may want to ask for advice from your county agricultural extension agent. If you are concerned with the possibility of a bite, sting, or contact dermatitis, please contact your physician. On a case by case basis, specimens for arthropod identification may be submitted to CDC via the DSHS Laboratory. Physicians or other Public Health Agencies should call 512-776-7615 to discuss the need for submission and/or identification.
   
Question: What diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks?
Answer: Arthropods play a significant role as vectors of many pathogenic microorganisms. Mosquito-borne, tick-borne and flea-borne diseases occur in Texas.  Mosquito-borne diseases are encephalitides caused by West Nile virus (WN), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus, western equine encephalitis (WEE) virus, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus, and California encephalitis virus; dengue fever; malaria; and yellow fever. Flea-borne diseases, such as murine typhus and plague, have been identified in Texas. Diseases transmitted by ticks are ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), relapsing fever, tularemia, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)
   
Question: How do I know if a snake is poisonous?
Answer: Proper identification of a snake should be left to an expert. Unless you are experienced in such identifications, it is best to avoid any snake. Although many snakes are both beneficial and harmless, some nonpoisonous snakes are capable of inflicting serious bite wounds. Information on the poisonous snakes of Texas (pdf) is available from Texas Parks & Wildlife.
   
Question: How do I find information about head lice?
Answer:

Questions or request for information regarding identification, control in school settings, treatment, and health and safety codes of head lice in minors can be addressed to the School Health Program. For more information call (512) 776-2140.

   
Question: What do I do if there is a swarm of bees in my yard?
Answer: You should contact your local city or county health department or your county agriculture extension service. Honey bees are commonly encountered and are responsible for numerous stings.
   
Question: How do I control fleas, roaches, mosquitoes, ants, and other bugs?
Answer:

Contact your veterinarian, your county agriculture extension service, your local vector control program, a local pest control agency, or the Health Service Region for your county of residence.

   
Note: External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to people with disabilities.
Last updated October 31, 2014