Depending on where you live, your backyard may be a work of art, a grassy area with a fence, or even a dirt patch with a tire swing. While this is obvious, there are many things in your yard that are subtle but as deadly as a heart attack. This list will go over some common and not-so-common deadliest organisms that can be found in a backyard.
Bees don’t really seem like a problem until Spring when they are all over the place. However, the World Health Organization estimates that bees are responsible for approximately 600,000 deaths per year. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control reports that there are over 16,000 homicides from bee attacks and over 40,000 deaths from suicide! While one bee certainly is not enough to harm or even kill a person, take in mind other factors that trigger these deaths.
Allergies are the number one factor to consider when thinking about these large numbers. Allergies affect 30% of adults and 40% of children. Also insect stings affect 5% of the population. In their case, all it takes is one bee sting to send them into anaphylactic shock. As for the rest of us, death can come just by stumbling into a beehive.
9. Death Cap Mushrooms
Mushrooms grow all over the world. However, a small number of mushrooms are poisonous, and an even smaller number of mushrooms are deadly! At any rate, you can bet that one of the most poisonous mushrooms in the world grows right in the U.S., specifically in people’s yards. The Amanita phalloides, a.k.a. the Death Cap Mushroom, inhibits much of the San Francisco Bay Area. Death Cap Mushrooms actually benefit their environment, supplying trees with an abundance of nutrients that is essential for the tree growth. However, Death Cap Mushrooms has one primary victim, and they are humans.
Telling people not to eat wild mushrooms is similar to putting a tuna meal in front of a cat. Granted, ignorance is bliss. People who consume Death Cap Mushrooms will experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in as little as five hours. Improvement can occur, but if left untreated, victims can die from liver damage and kidney failure.
Springtime is simply a beautiful season for those who don’t have allergies. Moreover, for those who are oblivious to the effect pollen can have on people, keep reading. Dutch investigators have concluded that high pollen counts can lead to respiratory diseases and heart disease. Though to clarify, pollen related deaths in the U.S. is very rare. Pollen is a well-known trigger for hayfever and asthma, so it can be dangerous. However, pollen can be deadly in some cases.
Medical experts in Europe have tried to link pollen with the deaths of people with heart disease and other infirmaries. They have deduced that over an eight year period, there were an average of 330 deaths per day. Surprisingly, days with high pollen counts were linked to an increase of 6% of deaths from heart disease and a 17% increase of deaths from pneumonia. For those now terrified of the Spring, here is some brief consolation, there is none.
7. Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders are unique insects. They are brown, timid spiders who go out of their way to entirely avoid humans and other species. So the phrase “it is more scared of you than you are of it” actually works in this situation, being that we humans are hundreds of times bigger than them and that we love killing them sometimes for no reason. Furthermore, Brown recluse spiders are specifically adapted to living in dark places, normally porches, sheds, old boxes, trash cans, and junk in no particular order.
Although, for the most part, Brown recluse spiders will retreat at the sight of a human, many times we typically are not aware of their presence. This can be fatal because most times, when we notice them, they already are threatened and attack immediately. The brown recluse has a devastating bite, which can be fatal to humans if they do not get treatment right away.
Bats may just be the most filthiest creatures on this planet, in terms of the many life threatening diseases that they carry and transmit to humans. In fact, a research shows that bats carry over 60 viruses that can infect humans. This number heavily exceeds the number of viruses rodents contain. While bats are not as aggressive as other invasive species, they do bite. Bats can potentially carry rabies, a debilitating nervous disorder that affects the brain.
Even though the casualties for rabies is at a very small percentage, up to 30,000 people receive the PER (post-exposure prophylaxis) vaccine every year due to being bitten by a potential carrier of rabies, including bats. Even a bat doesn’t bite you, their droppings can contaminate soil and release infectious spores.
With over 800 species found around the globe, Rhododendrons are casually found in protective garden areas and coastal mountain ranges. These flowers commonly are found in gardens, and grown as decorative flowers. While these flowers won`t release toxic spores or hunt after people, Rhododendrons contain toxic resins, commonly known as grayanotoxin. Small children and pets should be at risk when these flowers are present because eating one has potentially deadly effects.
Consuming one of these deadly flowers can cause hemorrhage, liver damage, and gastrointestinal irritation. If left untreated, victims will typically succumb to respiratory failure within a matter of hours.
4. Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)
The Lily of the Valley has a nickname that sounds familiar to a kung-fu technique, subtle but deadly. Granted, these flowers are as deadly as a rattlesnake, but many people do not know this. All parts of this plant can kill you. However, the Lily of the Valley contains glycosides, a chemical compound that maximizes the force in which the heart contracts. This compound can effectively manipulate the volume of blood the heart can pump, so it has been used for centuries as a remedy for heart disease and heart failure.
Though, a concentrated amount of these unstable chemical compounds can do a number on a victim’s gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nervous systems. Symptoms that ensue consumption of the flower include: diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and heart palpitations.
3. Digitalis Purpurea (Foxglove)
Foxglove flowers are quite common in North America. For those who always ask the question: “What would happen if I eat this?”. In any case, similar to the other flowers on this list, every part of the Foxglove is poisonous. In some cases, even touching the plant can cause an allergic reaction to the skin. That serves as a problem since its beautiful petals and berries attract animals and small children.
Eating any part of the Foxglove can be extremely fatal and lead to nausea and heart palpitations. Someone might add, “Who goes out in a yard and eats flowers?” Frankly, children are notorious for putting anything in their mouths to where flowers such as these might be the least dangerous.
2. Delphinium Consolida (Larkspur)
Larkspur is a common, deadly flower that grows in the moist habitats in Mid-Western and Western areas. Tall Larkspur tends to grow at high altitudes, while Low Larkspur grows at low elevations in early Spring. While it is poisonous to humans, more animals succumb to consuming these plants every year, specifically cattle. Low Larkspur grows near grazing areas, and cows and other steer blissfully munch on them when they are in season.
Ranchers should be cautious of Larkspur flowers and buds because they appear similar to other nutritious flowers. Since we live in a world where animals cannot talk to us, accidentally consuming a Larkspur flower will likely mean death for cattle.
1. Nerium Oleander (Oleander)
Nerium oleander is a very distinct species. It’s one of the most poisonous plants on earth. It can withstand dry conditions, but it prefers to inhibit moist soil adjacent to rivers and other bodies of water. With that being said, Oleander can be found all over the world. There are many species of Oleander that live in the Southern United States.
Consumption of this brilliant species is life-threatening, and most likely fatal. Allergic reactions can occur, but the toxins take a direct blow at the victim’s gastrointestinal system. Even if treatment is successful, permanent damage can occur. It was said that Alexander the Great lost some of his men when they accidentally consumed meat on Oleander twigs. From a commander who has never lost a battle, feeding your troops meat from weird looking sticks is pretty comical.
Written By: Brandon Lee