You’ve found a weird looking bug, and the first question that comes to mind is, “is it poisonous?”.
The answer is that if you have a pest, it most likely is poisonous. Why? This answer might surprise you. Most people assume only a few kinds of pests are poisonous. This is because people often mix up venomous and poisonous. Whilst venom and poison are both toxins, venom needs to be injected through a bite or sting and poisons normally are unloaded by something when you eat them. Here’s a nifty, general way to remember the difference.
"If you bite it and die, it’s poisonous, if it bites you and you die, it’s venomous."
Admittedly, you can get sick from non-venomous bites, like an infection from a rat bite for example., but this pneumonic is helpful in remembering the key difference.
Does that mean something that’s poisonous is safe to handle as long as you don’t eat it?
No, it doesn’t. Poisons are often released as a defence mechanism when a creature feels threatened. Such as the cane toad, which secretes poison through glands on its skin. This poison can be absorbed through the skin, so if you think something is poisonous, and you must touch it, then be sure to wear protective clothing including gloves, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly once done. Also, be sure not to touch any exposed areas like your skin and eyes before you wash your hands after as well.
Poisonous pests are hazardous, as they can cross contaminate surfaces, leaving residual poisons on whatever they touch. This becomes a problem when your outdoor table where you eat becomes a resting point for tired cane toads. This is why it’s important to wipe down surfaces thoroughly before eating off them. Small children are also avid fans of tasting whatever they can get their hands on, so whilst you’ve made sure to wear riot gear when removing a caterpillar, your 3 year old might decide the best thing to do is to put it on their tongue. At Flick, our goal is to provide protection to your loved ones, and to help ensure your little ones can grow up safe and free from dangerous pests. Give us a call on 13 14 40 today to discuss how we can help proof your home from pests.
So, will it poison you? Unlikely if you take steps to ensure you don’t touch it, however, if you catch your cockroaches dragging hemlock across the kitchen, you may want to think again.