Bug Blog

Caution! Poison Spitting Insect: Two-striped Walking Sticks

Posted September 3, 2013

BUG_Dogs

Here at BugMaster, we had a call recently about insects that have been hurting dogs. These dogs have been sprayed in the eyes with a defensive chemical that causes a painful burning sensation. The culprit of these crimes are two-striped walking stick (Anisomorpha buprestoides), also known by threatening names like the devil’s riding horse, prairie alligator, stick bug, witch’s horse, devil’s darning needle, scorpion, and musk mare.

Two-striped walking sticks are common among Florida and the Gulf Coast region and areas on to Texas. Unlike other harmless stick bugs, two-striped walking sticks spray a defensive chemical that is strong-smelling and painful to the eyes and mucus membranes. These stick bugs are out-and-about lately because it is their mating season where the male bugs, who are much smaller, can be seen riding atop of the significantly larger female bugs.

Unlike other stick insects, two-striped walking sticks have glands at their heads that are functional at birth. These glands can be voluntarily used to shoot a chemical spray to ward off enemies like ants, birds, beetles, mice, and opossums who would (and do) eat them. Two-striped walking sticks can aim 30-40 cm with accuracy, but can shoot their spray even further in less controlled directions. While it is most common that they are instigated to spray after being poked, they do not necessarily have to be touched to spray, but can spray when they feel threatened.

Being sprayed in the eyes leads to intense immediate pain with a burning sensation, then a dull aching pain that wears away in a few hours, then the next day or two, light and pressure sensitivity, and redness in entire cornea can be expected.

If you or your pet come in contact with the spray, immediately rinse the eyes thoroughly with water. While the spray may not be severely detrimental or damaging long-term, we recommend promptly visiting a doctor or vet just to make sure that you or your pet are not having an abnormally sever reaction or have cause serious damage to your eyes.

To prevent your pets from being sprayed from two-striped walking sticks, treat your yard with Demon WP. Demon WP is not specifically made to eliminate two-striped walking sticks, but rather is created to rid hard-to-kill insects like scorpions, roaches, and spiders, and we have found it works for these insects, too. If you are having trouble with two-striped walking sticks and need help, call BugMaster to have us treat your yard.

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