Don’t forget to declare your…Insects?

A man crossing into the United States from Mexico forgot to declare his bugs as food at the port of entry. The unidentified driver told agents he forgot to declare the bags as food items. He was given a $175 fine and the insects were seized. Agents sent the bugs to the U.S.  Department of Agriculture where they were identified as a type of stink bug. Pests must be reported when brought into the country because they feed on plants, CBP officials said in a release.

Moral of the story is don’t forget to report pests when crossing the border since they feed on plants!

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Mild Winter Brings More Pests

To guard against the early emergence of pests, Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips for homeowners:

  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
  • Keep mulch at least 15-inches from the foundation.
  • Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants trimmed back from the house.
  • Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • If you suspect a problem, contact a qualified pest professional who can recommend the best course of treatment.

Earth’s Most Extreme Insects

Entomologists at the University of Florida scoured the literature to come up with a list of insects that were the coolest, fastest, largest, longest, loudest and brightest. They also chose more unusual champions: best imitator, least specific vertebrate bloodsucker and most spectacular mating just to name a few of them. Wired Science put together a list of 40 of their favorites, all which have their own allure to them: Earth’s Most Extreme Insects.

App Store – Bug Heroes

App Store – Bug Heroes

From the creators of N.Y.Zombies comes an all new blend of action, adventure, castle defense, and role playing elements! Master up to nine legendary Bug Heroes, including a sword wielding Spider assassin, an armored Beetle warrior, a machine gun toting Ant engineer, and more! Shoot, slice, dice, and bash your enemies with a variety of skills, abilities and equipment. Stockpile food, fortify your base, and defend it from hordes of hungry bugs. Explore a variety of familiar landscapes from an all new miniature perspective, collecting food, coins and other items. Enter Bug Heroes, an epic fantasy world you never knew existed!

Rat Control

Afraid of rats? You’re not alone

Afraid of rats? You’re not alone. British hip-hop super star Tinie Tempah is currently house hunting to invest in a period property, pretty simple right? Wrong. His phobia of hairy pests is forcing him to reconsider buying a home with history.

He tells Britain’s The Sun, “I can’t stand rats, I’m looking to buy a new house and want something with old floorboards.But the problem is that rats come in through all the holes in an old house. I’m making sure I get it fumigated before I move in and any patched up. I can’t have any rats in my house, I’d have to move out.”

Woman Hospitalized For 17 Days After Kissing Pet Rats

Let this be a lesson to all, no kissing pet rats! Woman Hospitalized For 17 Days After Kissing Pet Rats

An Australian woman who kissed and cuddled her pet rodents was admitted to the intensive care unit with rat bite fever.

An article by South Australian Pathology employees, in Monday’s Medical Journal of Australia (MJA), said the 26-year-old office worker spent 17 days in the Royal Adelaide Hospital last year after she contracted the potentially deadly condition, more properly known as streptobacillus moniliformis infection.

Co-author of the article and infectious diseases physician Dr. Narin Bak said the woman was admitted to the intensive care unit with severe headache and fever and developed severe pneumonitis and meningitis (inflammation of the lungs and brain).

“This condition was more prevalent in the past and is associated with slums and poor living conditions,” Bak said.

The woman, who has since fully recovered, was not bitten, but said she had liked to kiss and cuddle her two pets.

“As this case demonstrates, a bite is not necessary for infection. Close contact with rodents may be sufficient,” the MJA report said.

The Australian Veterinary Association and health officials said good hygiene, particularly hand washing, is important after contact with pets.


Mosquito Control

Mosquito-borne illnesses continue to plague communities throughout the United States. With recent outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses in Florida, homeowners everywhere should take steps to protect their family.

Homeowners should consider employing a pest professional to help them control this pest.

As evidenced by the increasing incidence of West Nile Virus, mosquito infestations continue well into the year.

The National Pest Management Association and Hulett Environmental offer the following advice on keeping mosquitoes out of homes:

  • Eliminate potential mosquito breading grounds like birdbaths and baby pools by changing the water at least once per week.
  • Remove excess vegetation around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
  • Check your screens for any holes to keep them out of your house.

To learn more about mosquito-transmitted diseases, please visit and

Invasive whitefly is found

Invasive whitefly is found

Michael Braun
Fig (Ficus) Whitefly

A new, invasive species of whitefly has been found in several areas of South Florida including Lee and Collier counties.

The new species, called Bondar’s nesting whitefly, was discovered on a ficus hedge two months ago in Fort Myers off McGregor Boulevard by Stephen Brown, the University of Florida extension entomologist for this area.

It also has since been found in Collier, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

The new strain of whiteflies infests some species of ficus plants and turns their leaves sticky and stains them.

Horticulture experts said the pest won’t kill the infected plant but can expose it to further problems that could lead to death.

The pest can be identified by the appearance of white waxy blotches on top of ficus leaves.

Infested leaves eventually develop a coating of black sooty mold and the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf can be infested, which is unusual for whiteflies.

Brown collected the whiteflies from a ficus hedge here that was covered heavily in the wax and mold.

Jennifer Nelis, director of marketing and public relations for the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, said the ficus is one of the top 10 house plants in the United States.

Florida supplies the U.S. with 80 TO 85 percent of all house plants including those found in malls and homes, she said.

Greg Hodges, a bureau chief for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the new species has been determined as invasive.

The pest alone will not kill an infected tree or plant, Hodges said.

For example, he explained, a ficus will readily shed leaves but generally replaces them with new foliage.

However, he said, the problem is as the tree weakens, pressure — from other pests — continues to contribute to the decline of the host.

Other than the ficus, Hodges said Bondar’s nesting whitefly also targets some types of palms including coconut, as well as avocados, guava, some members of the citrus family, some types of hibiscus and the custard apple or sweetsop.

Hodges, who deals in entomology, nematology and plant pathology for the state, said he could not guess at the impact of the insect. “But it will be big.” he said.

In 2008, the last year available, cash receipts for Florida’s greenhouse and nursery products totaled $1.8 billion, according to industry estimates from the state Department of Agriculture.

Hodges said there is no mention in literature of this whitefly being a pest of economic significance.

“That being said, anytime a pest comes into a new environment it has the potential to be a pest of concern,” he said. “This is generally due to there being no natural enemies for the pest or due to a lag time for the natural enemies to take effect on controlling the pest.”

Some natural enemies have been found, including a species of parasitic wasp, Hodges said, that has not yet been identified.

He said research into the insect will begin.

Pest alert

A pest alert posted within the past week by the Florida Department of Agriculture said the whitefly is native to Brazil, but has been introduced in numerous locations around the world, including Hawaii around 2003.

Hodges said the pest likely came in on a live plant or plant materials.

This species of whitefly is the third nuisance strain of whitefly to recently hit South Florida.

It joins the Rugose spiraling whitefly found in 2009 and the ficus whitefly discovered in 2007.

The Rugose infests live oaks, mango, Brazilian pepper, gumbo limbo and black olive while the ficus species has never been reported on anything other than ficus plants.

Broward County Extension horticulture agent Michael Orfanedes said the flies cause no harm to humans, but it’s “one more nail in the coffin” for ficus.

About White Flies | Bugs & Pests Database | Hulett Pest Control