Deep in the jungles of Africa there lives an insect that that is known for sucking blood and making men go mad. Barely stopping to put its feet down, it drives its long proboscis deep into the flesh of any mammal, living off their blood, while leaving behind parasites that cause fever, headaches, and transform a human into a creature that only rises at night.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the intro to a new episode of the Twilight Zone.
I Vant to Suck Your Blood!!
Tse-Tse or Tik-Tik Flies were once restricted to only a few small portions of the globe. But in the late 1890’s, a combination of drought, famine, and the accidental introduction of an Asian cattle plague to sub-Saharan Africa left that area a fertile ground for the blood sucking flies and they swooped in.
The people and animals that survived the famine and drought soon found themselves a source of food for the Glossina palpalis as well as a new host for the various parasites and symbiotes the flies carried with them.
Of course, Tse-Tse Flies are not, by any means, the only insects that suck mammals’ blood. But they do have another unique characteristic that puts them in a class with the vampire legends.
She Shall Sleep Until the Night Breaks
In Bram Stoker’s famous book, as well as in many of the pop-culture versions of Dracula that have arisen from that novel – pun intended – is the idea that after the Count has sucked your blood, you fall into a deep sleep only to reawaken at night.
In the process of feeding on someone’s blood, Tse-Tse Flies often carry and transmit tiny single-celled life forms called trypanosomes. Trypanosoma brucei gambiense cause fever, headaches, joint pain and itching. But they can also enter a human’s brain, causing the host’s sleep cycle to reverse. Suddenly, you’re awake at night, but barely able to stay awake in the daytime.
The so-called “Sleeping Sickness” is worse for animals. Constantly lethargic and unable to understand why, if left untreated, many die within 8 weeks of being infected, often from starvation.
The Good News
We should definitely be grateful that, with the exception of some ancient fossilized remains in Colorado, there’s no evidence the Tse-Tse Flies are going to be coming around our area anytime soon. So, you can save the garlic for your salad.
If normal houseflies, biting flies or blood sucking insects are giving you trouble, consider trying our Go Green Plus 3. The best, comprehensive, all-organic, safe-for-the-whole-family pest solution that our customers from North Port to Apollo Beach swear by. For more information, just give us a call!