All posts by Hulett Environmental

Ticks: A Major concern for Pets and Pet Owners

ticks

Reported cases of tick-related diseases have been on the rise in recent years. This has put local veterinarians and pet owners on high alert. And rightly so; researchers in Florida say the U.S. will see more than 300,000 new cases of tick-transmitted diseases this year. In South Florida, pet owners need to be aware that many types of ticks exist and therefore, there needs to be a prevention plan in place.

Milder winter equals three times more ticks

With a milder than usual winter in 2016, an increase in ticks, as many as three times the normal population is predicted for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Hulett Environmental Services recommends that pet owners take extra precautions to protect their four-legged family members, as well as themselves from exposure to the diseases ticks carry.

Hulett Environmental Services: Pet-friendly

While many topical, ingestible and ultrasonic flea and tick prevention pet products on the market today help prevent pet flea and tick infestations, Hulett Environmental Services offers pet-friendly flea and tick control services that go beyond your pet’s pest control defenses to address the needs of your home and property in trying to fend off potential disease threats.

Pet-friendly Healthy Home Service

Our pet-friendly pest control program is an important part of our Healthy Home service. Designed to provide pet-friendly pest protection for your family dogs, cats and other pets, Hulett’s Healthy Home pest control program is part of getting any existing pest issues under control and in the long-term, the goal is to prevent future pet pest problems.

What if you think you have a flea issue?

If your pets are scratching and chewing on their fur in excess, chances are, you have a flea issue. Contact Hulett today for your free flea inspection by one of our graduate trained entomologist inspectors and technicians.

Our Pet Friendly Resource Guide

Some preventive measures you can take to help protect your pets from common pests such as fleas and ticks, like these:

  • Vacuum your home regularly to help control flea infestations by removing eggs, larvae and adults. Along with carpets, pay attention to cushioned furniture and baseboards.
  • Wash pet bedding and remove any old pet bedding. Frequently clean areas where your pets lounge.
  • Groom pets frequently; flea shampoos can help relieve the itching temporarily. Using a flea comb can help remove fleas from your pets.
  • Insist on Huletts Pet Friendly treatments for the interior and exterior of your home.

Ticks carry diseases that affect humans as well as pets

Because ticks carry diseases, pet owners must take extra precautions this spring and summer. Some things to consider:

  • Consult your veterinarian for tick and flea prevention options for your pets.
  • Check hair and skin after outdoor activities.
  • Check your pets regularly for ticks, especially after pets run through tall grass or after woodland hikes.
  • Wear light colored, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when going near grassy or wooded areas.
  • Wear closed-toed sneakers or boots in areas of possible tick activity.
  • Tuck pant legs into the top of your boot or sock, so all skin is covered.
  • Use insect repellant.
  • If you find a tick on yourself or if you’re experiencing fever, pain in the joints, or a painful rash, seek medical attention immediately.

Exterior precautions include:

  • Keeping grass cut low.
  • Eliminate all weedy areas.
  • Remove all woodpiles, garbage and debris from your yard.

Most importantly, contact Hulett Environmental Services to pest guard your yard and your home’s interior against fleas and ticks with pet-friendly prevention programs for your healthy home. Just call Hulett at 1-866-611-BUGS!

Massive Boom in Insect Repellent Sales

Massive Boom in Insect Repellent Sales

Lines are forming outside convenience stores, people waiting in anxious anticipation to get into the store and purchase as much insect repellent and bug zappers as they can carry out of the store. The threat of the Zika virus is looming over the country as we get closer and closer to summer and the ideal temperatures and conditions for mosquitos to flourish and invade our homes, streets, backyards, parks…pretty much our entire world. People’s interest in buying insect repellent and bug spray has increased to near astounding levels. Many stores are stocking extra insect repellent and bug spray in response to the greater demand for the products. For example, one store increased their insect repellent and bug spray inventory by a whopping 25 percent. Demand for the products have increased  by 50 percent throughout the country.

And with the Zika virus looming over our heads people are finally doing everything they can to learn more about the virus. Citizens are mostly concerned for young individuals that are coming to the point in their life when they want to have children, as the Zika virus has been proven to cause microcephaly in newborns.

One new bug trap that seems promising is the Mosquito Magnet. This propane-powered device releases carbon dioxide into the air. This attracts mosquitos, who are then sucked up through a vacuum into a net.

Have you started preparing for the Zika virus? Can you think of any other ideas for bug traps that would work to get rid of these nasty pests?

These Insects Don’t Mate They Clone

Stick insects are asexual and the females produce children via virgin births.  These insects do not need their eggs fertilized by a male, but instead they produce genetic clones of themselves.  And what is most surprising to scientists is that the stick insect lineage dates back to one million years ago.  So these bugs have been reproducing this way for a million years.

This came as a surprise to researchers because most animals that reproduce asexually belong to genetic lineages that quickly die out.  Since they obviously cannot adapt to changes in the environment.  And most other animals who have been found to reproduce exact replicas of their female selves have been found to die out quickly as dramatic changes to the environment occur.  And many changes to the environment have occurred since one million years ago.

So what is it that makes these bugs so well cut out for survival?  The scientists shrug at this question, and it will likely be some time before we have an understanding as to why this particular bug has survived in environments that were much different to the one we all live in today.

What do you think of human cloning? Do you think someday scientists might actually begin cloning humans…perhaps in a similar fashion?

Myth Busted – Are Daddy Long Legs the Most Poisonous Spiders in the World?

There is a well-known myth about daddy long leg spiders that they are actually the most poisonous spiders in the world, but we humans are safe from their bite because their fangs are not big enough to break our skin. This myth is totally busted. Let me explain why and how.

First of all there are two creatures that people generally call daddy long legs. The first one is the opilionids arachnids that have pill-shaped bodies, eight long legs, but are not actually spiders. These guys live in dark places and eat mostly decaying vegetables and animals. They don’t actually have any venom or fangs at all, and therefore don’t have any poison that could be termed the most poisonous in the world. However, they do secrete chemicals in defense that can be harmful to small animals. Still…not even close to the most poisonous spider in the world.

The second creature is the pholcid, which resembles opilionids, but actually are spiders. These spiders do have fangs and venom that they use to catch small prey for food. Their fangs are similar in size to a brown recluse, so they could theoretically bite people. However, the question of how poisonous they actually are was answered by the Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters” when the team lured a daddy long legs spider onto the co-host Adam Savage’s arm. He did indeed get bitten, but described the pain as simply a very mild burning sensation. This myth has clearly been busted.

Do you know of any other crazy insect myths that you would like to know the answer to? What are they?

Leaf Cutter Ants Know When it is Time to Retire

Leaf Cutter Ants are aptly named because…well, they cut leaves.  Okay, this does indeed get interesting.  First off, Leaf Cutter Ants live and die by the strength of their teeth.  Much like an aging boxer who steps out of the ring to make way for a younger champion, Leaf Cutter Ants will pass the torch off, or in this case–leaf, to their younger counterparts.  Once an aging leaf cutter ant has stubbornly accepted his decreasing leaf cutting abilities he or she will retire.  At this advanced point in the Leaf Cutter Ant’s life, their main concern is not their leaf-cutting prowess, but whether or not their kin is willing to flip the bill for a decent retirement home.

Actually, given the hustle-bustle life of a Leaf Cutter Ant, the aging ants don’t sit around on the porch, rather they simply carry the leaves around for the ant community and leave the cutting abilities to the young, like your grandpa who finally accepted the fact that he can no longer competently command his Ford F-150.

So if scientists discovered that old fogey Leaf Cutting Ant’s are capable of accepting that their worn-out teeth are no longer capable of cutting leaves, and instead must make themselves useful by simply carrying the leaves, how is this observation scientifically relevant?  Well, much like the old man greeter you see at Wal-Mart, Leaf Cutting Ants have the intelligence to prolong their life and usefulness to the community by accepting a new, easier and all around more pedestrian task.  Apparently ants are just as insistent on working until their old age as many humans.

Do you know of any other animals or insects that adapt as they get older by changing their job?

This is Officially the Biggest Spider on the Planet–Game Over!

The biggest spider in the world is, obviously, a hairy, fang adorned, beady eyed, elephantine, and an indisputably unholy hell-spawn of a tarantula.  The tarantula has been given the unimaginative moniker “Goliath.” Actually, the damned thing is called a “Goliath Birdeater.” God must have been ignoring the laws of physics when he (or she) named this objectionable creature.

This time it is not Australia, but rather South America (our second guess) that has the unwanted distinction of calling this spider it own.  This tarantula can grow to be a foot long and possess fangs an inch long, so if you get bitten it won’t kill you but you will want to be dead.

The Goliath will simply wait until some dumb insect or rodent or even BIRD walks into its trap, and when the goliath’s web string is tripped…be somewhere else!

What would you do if confronted with this monstrous spider? Have you ever seen a spider even close to this size?

Do bed bugs have a favorite color?

bed bugs gravitate towards red and black

Bed bugs are sneaky little pests that move fast and are experts at hitching rides in luggage, electronics and other travel items you take with you on overnight trips.
Well, that’s probably the most common way unsuspecting travelers return home with bed bugs in tow.

Bed bugs gravitate towards red and black

On April 26, CNN reported researchers at the University of Florida discovered that bed bugs, “just like flies and other insects — have favorite colors. They really like dark red and black, and they shun dazzling white and bright yellow.”

This study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology maintained that when given the choice, bed bugs gravitated towards little red and black tents set up in Petri dishes and steered clear of the white, yellow and green tents, prompting reporters to speculate about the potential of brightly colored luggage and bedding to deter bed bugs.

  • Some researchers think that since bed bugs spend most of their time hiding in folds and crevices, they will naturally try to find dark spaces that provide better protection from predators than lighter spaces.
  • Researchers also take into consideration the fact that bed bugs “like to stick together and might mistake the red and black colors for fellow bed bugs.”
  • Roberto Pereira, an urban entomology research scientist at the University of Florida, who worked on the study thinks that because bright colors expose bed bugs to light, “the more exposed these insects are, the more they lose water, and if they lose too much, they will die or have to feed again.”

Nocturnal insects, bright colors present an alien environment to bed bugs

While bed bugs don’t carry diseases, scratching their bites can cause secondary infections. Nocturnal beings, bed bugs leave the protection of folds and crevices at night to feast on humans. Attracted by exhaled carbon dioxide and warm bodies at rest, bed bugs only come out of hiding for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time for a blood meal. So moving around in a brightly lit environment would be out of their character and the black and red colored tents were the only thing that vaguely resembled their normal habitats.

Better ways to prevent bed bugs

But before you run out and buy bright-colored luggage and bedding, Dawn Gouge, an associate professor of urban entomology at the University of Arizona thinks there are better ways to exclude bed bugs and their eggs from your home. Gouge recommends using hard-bodied suitcases and encourages travelers to unpack luggage in their garage or other suitable outdoor area, such as a patio.

Gouge says the new study sheds light on bed bug monitors and on the focus of her work: finding the best ways to monitor for bed bugs in homes and other environments.

Rethinking bed bug monitor colors

Bed bug monitors, or traps, look like bowls with steep walls placed under the legs of beds or sofas to trap bed bugs that crawl into them but does not allow them to get out. Currently, of the two most popular monitors on the market, one is white and one is black. “If we are monitoring for these bugs…I am convinced I should be using the black ones,” because the insects might avoid the lighter colors, Gouge said.

Gouge points out that, while monitors can’t terminate bed bug infestations, they are proving useful in detecting bed bug infestations. “The sooner you find them, Gouge continued, “the easier, the cheaper and faster it is to get rid of the infestation.”

Bed bugs require professional protocols to eliminate and control

Even though new studies and devices, like bed bug traps, can give homeowners further insights into bed bug infestations, homeowners should contact a professional pest control company, such as Hulett Environmental Services immediately if there is a suspected bed bug issue. Because bed bugs can go undetected until their populations have grown substantially, setting up a free inspection with one of Hulett’s entomology trained and certified technicians at the first sign of bed bugs will save you and your family the persistent, uncomfortable nightmare of a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs can be difficult but not impossible to eliminate. Once bed bugs have been detected, your Hulett professional will guide you through the necessary preparation needed before treatment. Some of these preparations include:

  • Laundering all bedding and washable items in affected areas in hot water and drying them on your dryer’s highest heat setting.
  • Removing clutter from the affected area and placing non-washable items, like clock radios and decorative items in plastic bags.
  • Vacuuming the affected area thoroughly, making sure to dispose of vacuum bag or the contents of your vacuum canister in a plastic bag before placing in a tightly closed bag in an outside receptacle.

Hulett’s researched, developed and tested bed bug service protocol really works. Our approach includes the latest products on the market, proven to manage bed bugs, as well as steam treatments, which kill all bed bugs in their life stages. Our bed bug program includes treating:

  • Mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, nightstands and dressers
  • Behind pictures or mirrors on walls
  • Carpeting, baseboards, electrical outlets, and any other voids where bed bugs may hide.

Ask your certified Hulett technician about bed bug specific encasement systems for your mattresses as an affordable option to purchasing new bedroom furniture. Once bed bugs are eliminated, you should practice precautionary measures when traveling and returning from your travels.

Consult any one of a number of bed bug registries, such as www.bedbugregistry.com and registry.bedbugs.net before you book hotel accommodations. When returning from a trip, remember to launder all washables in your luggage and thoroughly vacuum everything else, including your luggage. Take back your home!

Just call HULETT for your free, in-depth bed bug inspection at 1-866-611-BUGS

Millipedes Practice Strict Border Control

We humans can be pretty intense about making sure our borders are secure, so we don’t get any stragglers from other countries crossing over and joining ours without our knowledge. It turns out there is another species out there that are even more strict about their border control.

Scientists have discovered two millipede species that have created a mysterious line in Tasmania, Australia that separates the two species, and the two groups rarely cross it. Scientists can’t find any explanation for the strict border other than that the two species have an agreement to each stay on their respective side. The line wasn’t naturally created due to specific land formations such as a river, but rather crosses rivers and goes up and down hills. The sharpness of the line can only be explained by some biological arrangement between the two species.

The boundary is 230 km long, and border crossing is so infrequent that it is much more effective than any borders we humans have created.

Why and how do you think these two species created this strict border?

Breakthrough In Understanding How the Zika Virus Affects the Brain

Researchers have recently made a breakthrough in understanding exactly how the Zika virus harms the brain and causes infants to be born with underdeveloped brains. This could potentially lead scientists to develop a treatment for the virus.

Numerous studies have already confirmed that the Zika virus infects neural progenitor cells in developing infants. These are the cells responsible for the development of the brain and head. A research team from the University of California, San Diego found that the TLR3 receptor molecule is the key to how the virus affects the brain’s development. They found that the TLR3 molecule, which is responsible for the key immune response against viruses in the body, was activated when the Zika virus attacked the cells in the body. The TLR3 increases the production or proteins to fight off the virus. However, TLR3 also regulates numerous other genes such as the ones responsible for brain development. Unfortunately, when the TLR3 activates this immune response, it also causes the early neurons to die off, causing the developing brain to shrink.

On the bright side, the researchers also found that by controlling the amount of TLR3 activated they can control how much the brain shrinks. When they inhibited the TLR3 in a miniature 3D brain-like model that was infected with the Zika virus, the shrinking of the brain was reduced. So, it all comes down to this TLR3 molecule. The researchers believe that they can now develop a treatment that will block these TLR3 molecules and prevent the harm the Zika virus causes the developing brain.

Do you think this discovery could lead to a treatment being developed in the near future? What kind of effect could this have on the fight against the Zika virus?

This is One Sick Serial Killer of a Bug

This is One Sick Serial Killer of a Bug

It is called The “Assassin Bug,” and one of this bug’s favorite activities is to murder other bugs and then where the corpses of their victims on their bodies as though they are trophies.  So although Assassin Bugs may not be too well liked by other bugs in the insect community, they would be pretty well appreciated by humans if humans knew of how Assassin bugs make their lives easier.

Assassin bugs often kill insects that feed off of vegetation intended for human consumption.  So an Assassin bug could be considered and insect insecticide, as well as a cannibal as they are not interested in vegetation.  Assassin bugs are particularly attracted to ants, and ants serve as an assassin bugs prey.  And sadly for the ants, they do not have much of a chance when it comes to defending themselves from the assassin bugs.

When an Assassin bug encounters an ant the assassin bug will suck out the ants entrails and proceed to where its hollowed carcass as a form of camouflage.  This carcass wearing also fools ants into thinking that all those dead ants covering the assassin bug are fellow ants in whom they can approach and become friendly with.

If only ants were a little more intelligent they would probably find it strange that their own kind are all hollowed out and lifeless and probably should not be approached.  However, the assassin bug always manages to find ants with very little hunting on their part because ants are indeed dumb enough to not find anything strange about their dead friends.  Inevitably live ants will approach the Assassin bug and quickly be devoured, or rather they will be hollowed out to be worn as an ornament to attract other live ants to this mean spirited Assassin.

What do you find most frightening about the Assassin bug?