Winter In West Texas Does NOT Mean No More Bugs.. What To Watch Out For!
So with the weather being so nice this February (especially as opposed to LAST February's snow and ice extravaganza), we're taking full advantage of these 70-degree afternoon high temperatures and taking our dogs on frequent walks. It's nice to enjoy the West Texas sun and not swelter, and it's good exercise for all of us. While we were walking the dogs yesterday-we came across a reminder that the warmer temperatures don't only put a smile on OUR faces, but the little faces of multiple-legged creatures as well. You know the ones I mean. Walking thru our neighborhood-we hear the familiar little "buzz" sound and then we see it... GRASSHOPPER! My wife and I both look at each other and we're stunned for a moment--like HEY--Aren't all these things supposed to be sleeping right now? But it makes sense they are out too for as warm a month as we're having so far.....
That means that fellow multiple-legged creatures are probably also stirring, whether we can see them in the light of day or not. Coming from Illinois just 19 months ago-I'm still getting used to the fact there are multiple things in Texas that can kill me at any given moment on a walk thru my neighborhood. Not the least of which are spiders. In Illinois, 90% of the spiders that live there are non-poisonous. Even if they bite you it's just a pinch and an OWW!! and that's about it. Maybe some irritation or itching, but nothing life-threatening. The remaining 10% though are Brown Recluse spiders and Black Widow spiders. Admittedly, I haven't ever seen a live one of either one of these species in real life in my 52 years on this planet, other than in photos, videos, and maybe the insect exhibit at the Zoo. The Brown Recluse venom causes tissue death and on occasion can be fatal. The Widow's bite causes muscle pain and weakness, irregular heartbeat, and sweating but is rarely fatal.
As luck would have it those are the same two species that are prevalent here in the Lone Star State as well. I've actually seen more tarantulas than either of these other two. Which I'm ok with. But always worth a mention because they are poisonous, to watch out in your travels even though it's not spring or summer. It's easy to be in the "Out of sight, Out of Mind" mode when it's colder season. Just be mindful with it being warmer that surprises may be out there on your trail waiting to say hello.