You’ve worked all day raking leaf piles to spruce up the yard. Just as you finish, you see your kids on the sidelines, ready to make a run for one. And why not? It’s all fun and games, right? Not so fast.
Take a closer look at your leaf pile. What’s lurking beneath the fluffy leaf exterior may not be as innocent as you think. In fact, it could be dangerous. You’ll find all kinds of bugs in leaves, not to mention mold, pointy sticks and rocks, and even fecal matter. Yikes!
Before you get up and go, know what you might be jumping into.
Hairy, Scary Spiders
Want to come face-to-face with a creepy, long-legged spider? Head to your nearest leaf pile. Spiders are one of their biggest fans, since they dine on bugs who live there. While some species—like the garden spider—would rather eat a fly than hurt you, the black widow is known to deliver a powerful bite that can be life-threatening.
There’s nothing nice about blood-sucking ticks. Commonly found in wooded areas, ticks attach to humans and pets as parasites to stay fat and happy. Many ticks carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever, easily transmittable to people with just one bite. Best to avoid these bugs in leaves to stay healthy.
Painfully Fluffy Caterpillars
Aren’t they cute? The fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillars you sang about in preschool are on the move with other bugs in leaves when hankering to hibernate. You can often find the woolly bear caterpillar and the large leopard moth caterpillar hiding in leaf piles. And while they won’t hurt you, other caterpillars will, delivering a painful bite to unsuspecting visitors.
Stinging Millipedes and Centipedes
Gliding through leaf piles in the darkness of night, millipedes and centipedes hunt for bugs in leaves to eat. Their painful bite distributes stinging venom, putting their prey out of luck. Should one of these night crawlers show up in your leaf pile, leave it alone. Their venom can cause allergic reactions for humans, requiring immediate medical attention.
More Scary Things in the Leaf Pile
They may not look like bugs in leaves, but they do hold the same “eek” factor. Snakes slither through vacant leaf piles to hide for cover, especially when damp leaves provide a soft, warm bed. The venomous copperhead blends in perfectly with the colors of fall leaves and pine straw, making it easier for them to snatch unsuspecting prey.
How to Handle Leaf Piles and the Bugs That Come With Them
While raking and bagging leaves, always wear the right clothes like long pants, boots, and gardening gloves. Always bag leaves up right away, or mow over them to use as mulch for your fall and winter plantings.
You can also contact one of our professional pest control experts to discuss your concerns. Or schedule a pest control estimate to get the process started! Either way, you’ll keep the fun in falling leaves and the pests away.