It is often said that spiders and insects are largely harmless to humans, but as it happens, several reputable academic studies disagree. For example, during the years lasting from 1950 to 1954, 215 deaths occurred in the United States as a result of venomous stings and bites. Texas saw the highest rate of fatal envenomation cases during this time, as 36 of the 215 fatalities occurred in the state. Texas also saw the highest rate of fatal envenomation cases from 1955 to 1959 with 32 reported deaths in the state.
Of course, these studies are old, and today, modern medicine, such as Epipens and anti-venoms, must save the lives of many who experience potentially fatal allergic reactions and poisoning from arachnid and insect bites and stings, right? Of course this is true, but the state of Texas still leads the nation in fatal arachnid and insect-related fatalities. For example, between the years of 2003 and 2010, the highest number of fatal occupational injuries caused by arachnid and insect bites and stings occurred in Texas. In fact, 21 fatal occupational arachnid and insect related injuries occurred in Texas during this eight year period, far more than the eight fatalities reported in Florida, the six fatalities reported in California and the five fatalities reported in Pennsylvania during this time period.
According to data gathered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 83 fatal occupational injuries were caused by arachnids and insects from 2003 to 2010 in the US. Landscapers accounted for the greatest number of these fatalities at 17, while only three pest control professionals succumbed to arthropod-related fatalities during this time. Bees, such as European honey bees and Africanized honey bees, both of which can be found in Central Texas, were responsible for a whopping 63 percent of the 83 arthropod-related fatalities, followed by wasps at 13 percent, spiders at eight percent, ants at five percent, and the remaining 11 percent of fatalities were caused by unidentified arthropod species. Seventy-two of these 83 deaths were directly caused by arachnids and insects, five of which attempted to administer Epipen or anti-venom. During the 1950s, yellow jackets were the most dangerous arthropods in the country, followed by European honey bees, ants and venomous caterpillars.
Have you ever encountered an angry group of red imported fire ants?