Stingers and Biters: A Septic Technician’s Guide to Common Field Pests

During the course of sewer and septic tank services, we are likely to bump into pests. While most of these creatures are harmless, some can be quite dangerous, primarily through their stings and bites. In this article, we will examine some of these pests and the safety measures we can adopt to protect ourselves.


A lot of people are afraid of snakes. The fear is justified, though; after all, the CDC reports that about 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by snakes in a year. Although fatalities are extremely low, victims may — depending on the type of snake — experience excruciating pain and are sometimes left with debilitating injuries. This fearsome reputation makes encounters with snakes, even the nonpoisonous ones, an unpleasant experience.

Snakes are most active during the warmer periods of the year and are commonly found in damp, warm and secluded environments. Consequently, it is not uncommon to run into one in a septic system. Therefore, when going for a service check, you must:

  • Wear protective equipment
  • Be vigilant

Should you actually encounter a snake, ensure that you:

  • Remain calm
  • Try to identify the type of snake
  • Maintain your distance


Scorpions are another set of dangerous creatures to watch out for. With their pincers and curved tails, they look quite scary. Scorpions can be found in many different places, ranging from grasslands to urban areas. This makes the likelihood of finding them in septic systems quite high.

Scorpions are nocturnal in nature and primarily feed on other insects. As such, they are less likely to attack us. However, caution must still be exercised. The bark scorpion is the only species of scorpion in the U.S. that is considered dangerous to people, and its sting has even been known to kill. To prevent such an incident from happening to you or your workers, you need to:

  • Use protective gear
  • Learn what the bark scorpion looks like and watch out for it

In case you see scorpions, ensure that you:

  • Remain calm
  • Avoid unnecessary or provocative movements
  • Maintain some distance between you and the scorpion
  • Try to avoid it by gently walking past it or taking another route


Mosquitoes are another set of pests that you can encounter when working on a septic system. Mosquitos are tiny insects that can be found in warm, damp spots, especially in areas with stagnant water. This makes septic systems a natural habitat for them and makes it almost inevitable for you to encounter them when embarking on a septic system check or service.

Mosquitoes are not as scary-looking as snakes and scorpions. After all, they are very tiny insects. However, we must remain wary of them. Their bites cause a persistent itching sensation that can be very discomforting. Mosquitoes are also carriers of the extremely dangerous West Nile virus. This virus can be passed through a mosquito bite and cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, stupor, paralysis and coma. These make encounters with mosquitoes highly dangerous, and as such, safety measures must be put in place for such moments. These include:

  • Wearing a light, protective covering that covers every part of your body
  • Using insecticide repellent on any part of your skin that has to be exposed
  • Spraying insecticides over areas where several mosquitoes have gathered

A long-term precaution can be to eliminate stagnant water bodies. This would greatly reduce their ability to breed.

Bees and Wasps

The last set of pests we will be discussing are bees and wasps. Although these insects are naturally found in fields, gardens and other areas with vegetation, they have also been found to build their hives on man-made structures such as houses and, of course, septic systems. This makes it possible for you to encounter them when performing a septic service.

Usually, bees and wasps keep to themselves. However, when provoked, they tend to attack in swarms and sting the offender. The stings of bees and wasps can trigger allergic reactions that can be severe and even fatal. To protect yourself from such a fate, you must:

  • Wear protective gear
  • Avoid provoking the insects
  • Leave their nest untouched

As a sewer and septic tank technician, it is inevitable that you will run into some of these creatures from time to time. However, if you follow the guidelines discussed above, you will come out unscathed from these encounters.

However, in the event that you are bitten, seek immediate first aid and prompt medical attention.

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