I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have a feeling that most of us would agree that Minnesota is a fairly safe place to live. We don't have a lot of violent crime, there really aren't places that you don't dare go after dark, and we don't have a lot of dangerous weather phenomena.

However, we do have critters! Lots of critters...  And, some of them are dangerous!  Bears, some wild cats, coyotes, moose (they are not dangerous unless you get too close), and INSECTS!  We have a lot of insects!

Most people probably do not realize that one of the most common insects found in Minnesota is also the DEADLIEST critter on the planet!

What are we talking about?


Wait... Really?  Yes!

ekamalev / Unsplash
ekamalev / Unsplash

The danger from those blood-sucking bugs is not the fact that they like to make you a snack. The danger comes from what they carry. Much like ticks, mosquitoes carry some pretty dangerous diseases with them. They carry everything from Zika, to Dengue Fever, to Malaria, and some other diseases that neither of us would be able to pronounce.

SEE ALSO: What's the Secret Behind This Nearly Mosquito-Free Minnesota State Park?

How many deaths a year are they responsible for? According to the Pfizer website, worldwide, mosquitoes are responsible for over 700,000 deaths a year.

Of course, most of these deaths occur in countries that are much less developed than the United States. However, these pests are still capable of transmitting dangerous diseases here in the upper Midwest.

All it takes is for someone to take a vacation in one of the countries where these viruses are prevalent, and get bit (and infected). The person then hops a plane back here to Minnesota. Once back here, they get bit by a mosquito that then goes on to bite someone else.

Which of those viruses have we found here in Minnesota and/or the rest of the US?  We have had several cases of the West Nile Virus across the state in recent years. According to the CDC, Zika, Dengue, and several other mosquito-transmitted viruses have been found in the US over the last few years.

So, how do you minimize your risk?  Stay clear of the deep woods (there are tons of mosquitos there), wear repellent, and do your best to limit exposed skin.

Get more tips about protecting yourself, and your family, from the Minnesota Department of Health

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