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New insects making their way to Nebraska in time for summer

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Posted at 10:30 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 11:30:08-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — New species of pests are making their way across the United States and into the Midwest.

Summer is quickly approaching, and an increase of disease-carrying bugs such as ticks, mosquitoes and kissing bugs may pose a serious health threat. Dr. Theodore Burk, professor of Animal Behavior, Entomology, and Behavioral Ecology at Creighton, says awareness and precautions are key to avoiding bites that could lead to a serious health condition or disease.

Dr. Burk has a few tips to help protect yourself:

Ticks
- The Lone Star Tick is new to southeastern Nebraska. It is easily identifiable by the white spot on its back. The bite from a Lone Star tick can cause severe allergic reactions to red meat for some.
- The American Dog Tick is more commonly found in the eastern Nebraska area and can sometimes carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Tularemia.
- Dr. Burk recommends wearing long pants, using a repellant with at least 20 percent DEET, and looking for ticks after spending time outdoors.

Mosquitoes
- Dr. Burk says there are two types of mosquitoes to be aware of. The first type is the flood water mosquito, which may breed rapidly this summer due to flooding. However, their eggs hatch better when the water of a flooded area recedes.
- Second is the Culex mosquito, a high-population mosquito that caused Nebraska to lead the nation in deadly cases of West Nile in 2018.
- Dr. Burk says using repellant, avoidance of outside time during dawn or dusk, and removal of standing water on your property.

We went more in-depth last week on mosquitoes in Nebraska.