Hazards of collecting


1- Biting and blood-sucking insects which are vectors of harmful infectual diseases such as malaria or yellow-fever. In danger areas the wearing of a bee-farming suit offers ideal protection. Especially during night-collecting or nearby rivers and standing water mosquitos are a main hazard.


2- Other biting and stinging insects such as wasps, bees or ants: These may be attracted by the collectors light-trap, hand-lamp or headtorch. In Borneo for example a golden-brown hornet species attacks at night and will attack anyone carrying a light, without any other provocation. The sting is extremely painful and causes a large painful swelling. The sting of the giant southamerican pepsis-wasp (Pepsis heros) which reaches a body-length of up to 7 cm is reported to be lethal even for adults. Furthermore one should always take care not to step into an ants nest – this can be a quite painful expierience ! The bites of the southamerican fire-ant for example cause large and very painful swellings.


3- Leeches: These are very common in some regions and are unpleasent rather than harmful. The bites may bleed for several hours and there are almost no possibilities to keep these animals away from your feet and legs. In Sri Lanka for example one could not stand in grass or low vegetation for more than 2 minutes without having at least one of those unpleasent creatures on one of your legs. Lighters have proven to be the only helpful defence !


4- Poisoneous snakes, frogs, spiders or scorpions: Many are potentially dangerous and often lethal ! We have however only seen a very few of the mentioned animales on our expeditions so far. By loud trampling snakes can be warned in advance. You should however first care for your own safety before starting with the search for insects. Have a look at branches over or nearby your head (tree-living snakes, Scorpions etc. !).


5- Poisonous plants: Some plants have irritating sap or bark. So it is best to keep unneccessary contact to a minimum and to have a pair of glows available in ones rucksack. The southeastasian Rattans for example have very long spiny extensions to the leaves which are difficult to see and can cause painful injuries. Other plants such as the southamerican Cecropia peltata live in symbiosis with a small but very aggressive ant species. If the tree is touched the predator will immediately be attacked... !