Win $3,000 For Your School!

Insects and animals are amazing and they are incredibly fun to learn about in the classroom. It’s when they come indoors—into our homes and schools— that they can become pests. Some pests are simply nuisances, while others including rodents, ants, termites, cockroaches, stinging insects and ticks can become dangerous health threats and destroy our property.

PestWorldForKids.org and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) want to spread the word about the importance of protecting our health and property from household pests and we need your help! Using the Pest PSA lesson plan, students enrolled in grades 4-8 can create educational television public service announcements discussing the health risks posed by household pests.

Entries can focus on a single pest—i.e. cockroaches trigger asthma attacks, spread Salmonella and 33 different parasites, etc. Or, the TV PSA can focus on several pests such as rodents (contaminate food), mosquitoes (West Nile virus) and ticks (Lyme Disease). Videos can be up to 60 seconds in length.

Enter now for a chance to win $3,000 for your school!

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Spiraling whitefly needs to be treated

Spiraling whitefly needs to be treated

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<p>Pest: The gumbo limbo whitefly spiraling infest southeast Florida.<br />

Pest: The gumbo limbo whitefly spiraling infest southeast Florida.

UF/IFAS

By Adrian Hunsberger dade@ifas.ufl.edu

Q. My plants are getting covered in white fluffy stuff and a black mold. Even my car is turning sticky. What can I do?

A: You sent me a sample of the gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly (the new name is the rugose spiraling whitefly). This pest has been in the Miami area for a few years and now infests much of southeast Florida. It is not a serious pest to most plants but it does create a mess.

You can treat infested plants yourself or hire a landscape pest control company. Use a soil applied systemic insecticide and always follow the label directions. This type of insecticide is available at garden centers, retail nurseries and agricultural supply companies. Many products last up to a year, so don’t apply them more often. They take a few weeks to work but they are long-lasting.

To learn more about whiteflies and other South Florida pests, visit this website: http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/ If you have questions, you can call your local University of Florida Extension office (Broward County 954-357-5270, Miami-Dade County 305-248-3311 x 228 or x 222, Monroe 305-292-4501, Palm Beach 561-233-1700).

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/13/2496088/spiraling-whitefly-needs-to-be.html#ixzz1dfMn00kV

National Pest Management Association Announces Pest Photo Contest Winner

National Pest Management Association Announces Pest Photo Contest Winner

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has announced the winner in its first annual Pest Photo Contest, a national online competition that challenged photographers to submit images of common household pests, rodents and small wildlife.

Pete Elbert, Photag5345, has won the grand prize of $1,000 for his photo submission of a yellow jacket.

Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to the finalists. We look forward to receiving some more superior submissions next year!

Focus on Home, Not Meals, Led Spiders to Diversify

Focus on Home, Not Meals, Led Spiders to Diversify

By SINDYA N. BHANOO and RITCHIE S. KING

There are thousands of species of orb-weaving spiders, found on every continent but Antarctica.

Now, researchers report that these spiders that build spiral-shaped webs first emerged about 230 million years ago, during the Middle Triassic period.

They then rapidly diversified, and a wide variety of orb weavers emerged by the middle of the Jurassic period, about 170 million years ago, according to a study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In the past, scientists thought that orb weavers diversified when flying insects did — that the spiders needed to specialize to catch different insects.

But the new research indicates that “there is no real direct relationship,” said the study’s first author, Dimitar Dimitrov, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Copenhagen. In fact, he said, flying insects diversified 100 million years after the orb weavers.

He believes that orb weavers diversified for another reason: to create specialized habitats. Some create webs ideal for tree branches, while others specialize in webs better suited for tree trunks and tall grasses.

“When you see them today they might be in the same place, at the same time, but occupying different niches,” he said. Dr. Dimitrov and his colleagues used DNA samples of existing spiders, along with fossil remains, to create an evolutionary tree and a timeline.

“We were able to find that the orbs have a single origin,” he said.

Man found dead in home, surrounded by 60,000 bees

Man found dead in home, surrounded by 60,000 bees

Miami resident was renovating house for daughter’s arrival

A Miami man was found dead in his house with his body surrounded by about 60,000 swarming bees, authorities said Sunday.

The 49-year-old man had been renovating a house that has been in his family for years, said Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Ignatius Carroll, Jr.

“We believe that he found a bee infestation in the walls and tried to exterminate them himself using store-bought foggers,” said Carroll.

On Saturday, his daughter and wife came to the house and couldn’t find him. Assuming he was out, they stayed on the ground floor and prepared dinner, a Miami Fire Rescue spokesman said. Later, they checked upstairs to see if he was sleeping and noticed a lot of bees in one of the rooms. Initially, they closed the room to prevent the bees from getting out, but later checked again and saw him lying on the floor, not responding and apparently having fallen from a chair.

“When police officers arrived, they could hear a humming noise, like the walls were alive,” Miami Police Cmdr. Delrish Moss told the Miami Herald. “Although we are awaiting the autopsy, and right now the death is considered unclassified, the fall likely had more to do with his death than anything to do with the bees.”

An autopsy proving the cause of the man’s death has not yet been performed, police said.

“His heart was there, but the effort was too much for him, especially on a limited budget,” brother Tim Mason told the Herald. “But he loved this home.”

A bee control expert was called in to remove the insects and advise authorities if special suits were needed. The expert said there were about 60,000 bees, the Herald reported.

More Info on Bees and Miami Bee Removal

Information on Bees

 

Looking for information on bees in Florida? You have found the right place on the web!  Stinging Florida bugs such as bees can not only be very irritating, but also very dangerous to those who are allergic to them.

Honey bees can produce a painful sting and usually do so in defense or if one of their nests has been disturbed. Unlike wasps, hornets, or the increasingly problematic Africanized Honey bee, honey bees are not easily provoked.

Bees will die after they sting, leaving their stinger and venom sacs attached, which continue to release venom until the sac is emptied or the stinger is removed.

A beehive functions as a miniature society; they contain three specialized groups or castes. The castes consist of workers, drones and queens, and each has their own specialized function. There is only one queen per hive, which is the largest bee, and her main function is laying eggs. A hive may contain as many as 40,000 worker bees, which are all sterile females, and tend to be the smallest. The males, or drones, can number up to 2,000, and make up the remainder of the hive.

The queen lays her eggs in a cell in a wax honeycomb, produced and shaped by the workers, which hatch into larvae. The worker bees feed pollen and honey to the newborn larva, which undergo several moltings before spinning a cocoon within the cell and pupating. After 16-24 days a full-grown bee emerges from the cell.

Besides nurturing and feeding the larvae, young worker bees also make wax, build the honeycomb, and clean and guard the hive. They also collect the nectar and pollen, which they store in “pollen baskets”, or corbicula, that grow on their hind legs for this purpose. After this, they begin building comb cells. They progress to other within-colony tasks as they become older, such as receiving nectar and pollen from foragers. Eventually a worker will leave the hive and typically spend the remainder of its life as a forager. Workers tend to have short life spans, usually several weeks, but a queen can live for several years.

Most bee species have historically been cultivated for honey and beeswax by humans; of the two species that have been domesticated, the honey bes has been used for its natural resources since the time of the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Worker bees cooperate to find food and incorporate a pattern of ‘dancing’ (known as the bee dance or waggle dance) to communicate with each other; this dance varies from species to species, but all living species of this unique Florida bug exhibit some form of this behavior.

Honeybees are primarily floral visitors, and pollinate a large variety of plants. Bees are basically the most important pollinators of native plants in Florida. Other insects such as butterflies, moths, beetles, as well as birds, contribute to plant pollination as well, ensuring the reproductive success of native plants. Of all the honey bee species, the aforementioned Apis mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants; the value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars.

Do you live in Florida and have a bee problem in or near your home or business? Hulett Environmental Services offers custom designed pest control treatments to control and prevent these pests!

Florida Mosquito Control ~ Just Call Hulett!

SW Fla. fighting mosquitoes, thanks to rainy Oct

The Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A rainy October has mosquito control officers buzzing in southwest Florida.

Officials say they are experiencing the worst mosquito season in two decades, thanks to weather patterns that created the ‘perfect storm’ for the pesky insects.

Lee County Mosquito Control District spokeswoman Shelly Redovan says the region began the year under a drought. That provided salt marsh mosquitoes a greater area to lay their eggs. The rainy season resulted in lots of standing water, which compounds the mosquito problem. The result? Officials say they’re still seeing thousands of mosquitos nightly.

The Fort Myers News-Press ( http://newspr.es/rRRcmS) reports the district is using airplanes, helicopters and trucks to spray.

The newspaper reports that southwest Florida received 10.40 inches of rain in October. That’s 6.94 inches above the normal rainfall for the month.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/02/2483338/sw-fla-fighting-mosquitoes-thanks.html#ixzz1cb2DYIUo

A CLOSER LOOK: Mosquitoes

(Diptera: Culicidae)

Appearance:

Mosquitoes bite with their mouthparts and have scales on the back of their wings.

Size:

Approximately ½-inch long.

Behavior:

Mosquitoes have caused countless problems for man throughout history. In order to lay eggs, a female mosquito must feed on the blood of a human or animal. It can leave behind serious health threats such as viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

Habitat:

Mosquitoes require as little as 2 inches of standing water to successfully breed. Mosquitoes that attack people in their own yard are usually breeding close by. Other mosquitoes, such as container breeders, do not seek out a natural body of water, but rather lay eggs in any container that is holding water (bird bath, tire, bucket, etc…). Tree hole mosquitoes, for example, lay their eggs in standing water that has accumulated inside of the hollows within trees.

Interesting Fact:

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as encephalitis and West Nile Virus, cause many deaths in developing countries.

Control:

Do you live in Florida and think that this pest may be invading your home or yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty pest control treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!

Mosquito Bred to Fight Dengue Fever Shows Promise in Study

Mosquito Bred to Fight Dengue Fever Shows Promise in Study

By Reg Gale

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — Scientists, attempting to halt Dengue fever, for the first time released mosquitoes into the wild that had been genetically modified to pass on deadly DNA that kills their offspring.

About 19,000 lab-altered

insects were released into 25 acres on Grand Cayman Island in 2009, according to a study, published yesterday in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Later tests showed they made up about 16 percent of the mosquito population and that the fatal gene was carried by about 10 percent of larvae. Scientists estimated the modified insects — all males — were about half as successful in mating as normal.

There are as many as 100 million cases of Dengue reported each year worldwide, making it one of the most medically significant viruses carried by mosquitoes, the report said. There’s no vaccine, boosting the need to limit the insects that carry it, the researchers said. The experiment, by scientists from closely held Oxitec Ltd., a biotechnology company based in Oxford, England, has spurred concern that there may be unintended environmental consequences.

“These data also allow us tentatively to estimate how many mosquitoes might need to be released in this area to suppress the target population,” the researchers said.

The use of genetically enhanced mosquitoes was discussed in a series of articles in the magazine Scientific American this month. In those articles, Helen Wallace, the director of GeneWatch UK, said she was concerned that the new form of insect would become part of a complex system involving predators and prey that scientists have no control over.

2010 Report

She cited a 2010 report by the European Food Safety Authority that raised the potential for illnesses to evolve into more dangerous forms and for other insects to move into the ecological niche created by the absence of mosquitoes.

In the report, the scientists said the percentage of successful couplings by the altered mosquitoes may have been limited because they didn’t fit easily into the insect social system, the physical effects of handling and distributing them or negative effects of the genetic changes on their performance.

Dengue fever, most common in the tropics, causes high fever, headache and rash, along with severe joint and muscle pain.

Oxitec developed the technology, which the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, backed by the Cayman Islands government, implemented for the study, Oxitec Chief Executive Officer Hadyn Parry said in an interview.

–With assistance from Makiko Kitamura in London. Editors: Chris Staiti, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.