Last Updated on April 18, 2023
Nature means not only pleasure, but sometimes a threat to health. This topic is about wasps, vole and mice, processionary caterpillars, vibrios and blue-green algae ticks in Germany.
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Killing wasps in Germany
You will probably be very surprised, but it will not be so easy to fight against wasps’ nests. Wasps are an important part of the ecosystem. For example, one species of wasps kills the processionary caterpillars, which are discussed below. Therefore, the wasps themselves and their nests are under the protection of the state. Unauthorized destruction of the nest and killing wasps in Germany can lead to a fine of up to 5 thousand euros, and in the case of some species – up to 50 thousand!
What to do
Nests can be destroyed in April and autumn with the permission of the city services. Nests are destroyed using a special poisonous spray. This method is not very simple. Other methods (smashing, setting fire or flooding) are also dangerous, as they make the wasps very aggressive. I would not particularly recommend setting fire to it, since one such clever guy recently set fire to the roof of his house.
Professional help from Kammerjäger costs between 50 and 250 euros, depending on the size and availability of the nest. There is also not so expensive way to relocate the nest. This is done by eco-organizations and beekeepers. Costs up to around 100 euros. The nest is emptied with a kind of vacuum cleaner and transported over a distance of at least 4 km.
And these are not wasps at all
A curious thing we learned with the elder kid, who brought a dead insect from school as an additional task – with question whether this is a bee or a wasp.
We looked at it under a microscope, checked the coloring. But we could not attribute it to any species until I offered to look at it among those who mimic it. It turned out that this is a hoverfly (Schwebfliege) – just a fly, painted to resemble a wasp. It differs from a bee by the absence of a fluffy part, and from a wasp by the coloring of the front half. Besides, it has only one pair of wings.
Ticks in Germany
You can read about the distribution of ticks in Germany, with maps, on the sites: https://www.zecken.de/.
As always, with the beginning of spring, you will find in pharmacies in the most conspicuous place not only sunburn creams, but also the Anti-Tick set. It usually includes: pincers, cards (to send the tick for analysis), tick aerosol. Pincers and spray should always be with you on walks in any wooded or grassy area. And even in a city park or for walks on asphalt bike paths outside the city, it is better to take with you (and use) a tick repellent.
In Germany, both tick-borne encephalitis and borreliosis (Lyme disease) are found. The most dangerous regions are Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia. But both diseases are found in Brandenburg, Hesse and other lands.
What to do
As a prophylaxis, a therapist or pediatrician can vaccinate against encephalitis. It is done in advance, in January. Do not give to small children. It is believed that children under 6 years of age are more difficult to tolerate the vaccine than the disease itself. And it will not save you from borreliosis, which is much more common. Therefore, the use of a tick repellent is mandatory.
The second point of the anti-tick program will be a thorough examination after the walk (and preferably a shower). If a tick has spent less than a day on a person, then the person has the least chance of becoming infected. Further, the risk increases.
Modern ideas about what is most correct to do after a bite: gently bring the pincers under the tick and carefully pull it straight up, without twisting it. It is not recommended to smear the tick with oil and leave it there in the hope that it will unhook itself. The longer the tick will eat you, the more time it will have to inject bacteria or viruses into you.
We picked up ticks in the roadside grass (you get off the road to let the car pass, and it is already on your leg), in the raspberry cane, just in the forest for a walk. At the same time, we did not wander into the thicket and did not roll on the grass. That is, picking up a tick is quite simple. And one student on my husband’s work had a encephalitis – very long, unpleasant decease, that made him a lot of problems. So don’t think that it is selten.
After a bite, you need to closely check the bite site. Suspicious redness (you can easily find how they look on the Internet) is a reason to go to the doctor. Both diseases are treated the more effectively, the sooner you begin to be treated. It doesn’t make much sense to send a tick for analysis. As our pediatrician rightly noted, even if the tick is a carrier of the disease, it is not a fact that the bitten one has become infected. If you decide to send a tick, you must pay the analysis.
What to buy
Means for ticks are not super. I have tried several over the years. The main problem with aerosols is that they tend to leak. Most have a disgusting smell, it will stink a kilometer away. Autan is better than Mosquito, but both are not five stars. There is also a problem with small children: most aerosols are from 3 years old.
Modern aerosols often work not to kill the tick, but to stupefy it. I once caught 10 ticks on an aerosolized hand. The search for truth found that the action of the remedy is based on not letting him bite, and not on not letting him sit.
On the Internet they write that oil of cloves helps. A self-made cream based on coconut oil with several essential oils works well: cloves, palmarosa, geranium (these three are considered the most effective according to various sources) plus lavender and eucalyptus.
Hemorrhagic fever from mice
Once every few years in Germany there is a large harvest of various uneatable nuts for humans: acorns, beech nuts. Accordingly, the number of those who eat them also increases. Not only lemmings are engaged in an increase in numbers in well-fed years, but also their immediate European relatives, voles of various species. It’s so easy to see them in the bushes in the city, although you usually don’t notice them – they look completely fattened and don’t even hurry out of sight. For example, a photo from the window:
Modern science says that now rats and their relatives are not poisoned. They spread something that forces them to leave. So, at least, the housemeister explained to us. And they also recommend not to scatter what they can eat on the territory.
The rat-vole in the photo (I’m not sure if it’s a rat, I think it’s more of a vole) lives on the territory of the winery, regardless of the cat roaming there. I’ve seen it regularly for three years now.
So, these friends are still spreading hemorrhagic fever, in German Hantavirus. More mice, more virus. Passed literally through the air – mouse waste dries up and is carried with dust. At my husband’s work several people were already very sick, with hospital treatment.
The main thing you need to know about it: flu-like symptoms, fever, joint pain. It is imperative to consult a doctor, as kidney failure is possible.
What is processionary caterpillars (Eichen-Prozessionsspinner)
These unpleasant caterpillars are found in Germany most often in Bavaria, Ba-Wü, Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, North Rhine-Westphalia.
They gobble up trees, preferring to eat oaks and beeches. But the main harm from them to a person is that their hairs are poisonous. Therefore, they are being fought with in the vicinity of the villages.
Means of struggle: look at the picture and do not touch the beast. If there are many of them, see what they are doing with them in your area. Perhaps you should ask about this at the town hall.
Vibrios and blue-green algae
In German they are called Vibrionen and Blaualgen. The first bacteria from the same group as cholera. The latter are a cross between algae and bacteria. Blue-green algae are visible to the naked eye. They remain on the banks in the form of a dry blue-green strip.
Both are dangerous for people with wounds on the skin, especially the elderly and with diseases. Those who swim in the Baltic Sea regularly get sick from vibrios, sometimes there are deaths. Blue-green algae cause inflammation and allergies in damaged skin and gastrointestinal tract disease if ingested. Because of them, beaches on the Baltic Sea are sometimes closed.
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