Beware of these poisonous plants and insects in north Alabama this summer

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- This summer you may have plans to work in your garden or to go hiking, but before you do be sure you and your family know what poisonous plants and insects are common here in the Tennessee Valley.

Poison Ivy: Another example where leaves on the same plant look different: some are typical and pointed, while others are quite round. (This is all poison ivy, except for a few all-green maple seedling leaves behind the poison ivy.) (Image:

Urban Regional Extension Agent, Marcus Garner, with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says to look out for plants with three leaves, that can be poisonous. Like poison ivy, and poison oak. You can tell the difference between the two because poison ivy is bigger, and usually is found running up trees.

"We definitely want to take this plant out," said Garner. "This plant is a poisonous plant to babies to kids, animals even cats and dogs sometimes can rub up against this plant and bring it into your house."

poison sumac (Image:

Garner said you also have to be on the lookout for poison sumac, which is often found in wetlands, and is poisonous if consumed.

He said dangerous insects are also a summertime concern. Like fire ants, ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes. Also spiders, like the brown recluse and the black widow spider that can live in old logs, and dried out wood and leaves.

Garner suggests you stay aware of wasps,  bees, yellow jackets, and hornets this summer, and to cover your skin or wear insect repellent whenever outside.

He sais if you come in contact with a poisonous plant don't scratch, wash the area with dish soap and immediately wash your clothes. He says you can treat the poisonous plants with herbicides, and insects with insecticides, and you can always call in the professionals.

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