Which Parks and Recreation Star Got Bed Bugs?

EOnline.com: Which Parks and Recreation Star Got Bed Bugs?

Making movies isn’t as glamorous as you might think.

Especially indie flicks.

Just ask a certain Parks and Recreation star about the time she got bedbugs…

Aubrey Plaza ended up with a case of the creepy parasites while filming a comedy called, of all things, Safety Not Guaranteed.

Shot on a shoestring budget in about 24 days in rainy Seattle, Plaza stars as one of two magazine editors (the other is newcomer Karan Soni) who are helping a writer (New Girl‘s Jake Johnson) track down a man (Mark Duplass) who claims he can travel back in time.

“It was  a nightmare,” Plaza told me about the bedbug bites while the cast was promoting the movie at South by Southwest at the W hotel in downtown Austin. “But, you know, it happens in hotels.”

Her costars couldn’t help but mess with her about it. “I thought she was just freaking out too much and giving herself hives,” Duplass cracked.

Added Johnson, “I told her, ‘The bedbugs seem to only bite when you have a lot of anxiety.’ I think it may have just been a rash from stress.”

Kidding aside, it seems to have all been well worth it. Writer Derek Connolly actually wrote Safety with Plaza in mind. It first picked up buzz at Sundance and was a must-see at SXSW. “I read it and immediately attached myself to it,” Plaza said. “I had so much fun making the movie. It was a lot of fun.”

And that included getting to shoot a gun. But, Plaza smiled, “we were doing it at such a fast pace, I thought I was going to shoot myself in the eye.”

Hey, it certainly would have made her forget about the bedbugs.

Rodents & Foreclosures

How One Empty Home Can Lead to Pests for the Whole Block

More than 800,000 homes across the U.S. were foreclosed in 2011, and that number is expected to climb 25 percent this year to more than 1 million homes, according to the RealtyTrac. While the effects of a foreclosure are obviously most devastating to the homeowners and their family, neighbors can also be impacted.

For one, a foreclosure can drive down the value of the rest of the homes in a neighborhood. In addition, a foreclosed home that is empty and uncared for can attract a variety of pests, including termites, spiders, ants, mosquitoes, stinging insects and rodents. An overgrown or unkempt yard, for example, can harbor many more pests than a well-groomed one.  In addition, a foreclosed home is more likely to be in need of repairs to the structure. Small holes in siding, rips in screens, broken window glass and cracks in foundation provide easy access inside for pests.

Pests find that an empty house makes a great home for them – providing shelter and even food (in the form of other pests, crumbs, abandoned pantry items and decaying material) and water (from leaky pipes, toilet bowls and standing water). Once these pests find their way into a foreclosed home, it is only a matter of time before the population grows and offspring venture out, seeking food and shelter in other homes on the block.

A rodent infestation is especially likely to spread from a foreclosed home to other nearby houses. As it is, rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the U.S. each winter, and with rapid reproduction rates (a female house mouse, for example, can give birth to up to a dozen babies every three weeks) a small infestation can quickly spread to neighboring homes. Rats, on the other hand, can travel up to a mile in a single night. They are also known as exceptional diggers and often build intricate systems, called burrows, which allow them to travel around a neighborhood undetected.

Once rodents do invade a home, they can pose serious health and property risks. Rodents contaminate food and spread diseases like Hantavirus, a viral disease that can be contracted through direct contact with, or inhalation of, aerosolized infected rodent urine, saliva, or droppings. They can also carry and spread fleas, which can pose serious health risks to family pets. Additionally, rodents can pose a significant property risk as they have a tendency to destroy insulation in attics and gnaw wiring, causing up to 25 percent of house fires in the U.S.

Unfortunately, if a house in your neighborhood is under foreclosure, there is little that you can do to prevent pests from infesting that home. But there are many steps that you, as a homeowner, can take to prevent those pests from finding their way into your home. Your first step should be to contact a licensed pest professional who will be able to determine what types of pest infestations your neighborhood is most at risk for, and recommend a prevention plan to help keep your home pest-free. Of course, any pest prevention plan works most effectively when a homeowner carefully follows the recommendations of their pest professional and follows simple pest-proofing tips.

Rotting-Ear Case the Work of Deadly Brown Recluse Spider

Rotting-Ear Case the Work of Deadly Brown Recluse Spider

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES

The brown recluse spider got some bad press again this week.

Nikki Perez, a fashion merchandising student at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, described how she lost part of an ear and nearly her eye sight to the venomous arachnid.

“It was terrifying,” she told the British Daily Mail newspaper. “It was spreading all over my head.”

Perez, 21, was stung at the Amarillo airport and was later hospitalized for five days in September. Her head swelled to twice its normal size and she needed a skin graft to rebuild the ear that had rotted from necrosis.

The Daily Mail sounded an alarm about a University of Kansas study by graduate student Erin Saupe, saying the “deadly” spider was “spreading … to a town near you.”

The study was published last year in the online journal PlosOne

The spider’s habitat is limited to the Southeast and Midwest, stretching from Kansas east to the Appalachian states.

But Saupe of the university’s Geology and Biodiversity Institute used computer modeling to predict how it’s habitat might move north to states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and even New York.

Spiders are, after all, one of the top 10 phobias.

But Rick Vetter, the nation’s foremost expert on the brown recluse spider — loxosceles reclusa — said such media reports use “scare tactics,” and 90 percent of the time a bite causes nothing more than a red mark on the skin.

“These are distorted reports … hyperbolic media crap,” said Vetter, a research associate in the department of entomology at the University of California-Riverside.

A Kansas home, for instance, was infested with 2,055 brown recluse spiders for a period of 17 years and “not one” in the family of four was bitten, according to one of his studies, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

He said gnarly photos of Perez’s injuries looked authentic and he had known a 9-year-old who had lost an ear from necrosis. But such cases are rare.

The spider’s venom — sphingomyelinase D — induces red blood cell destruction. Symptoms can include pain at the site of the bite, itching, muscle and joint pain, as well as vomiting and fever.

“My crusade is to stop stupidity in the medical community,” Vetter said.

When doctors blame a skin lesion on the brown recluse, they might overlook other more serious conditions such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), diabetes or even lymphoma.

In a 2005 article he co-wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, Vetter cited 40 other conditions that can cause necrosis often misdiagnosed as a spider bite.

Vetter was so tired of doctors blaming the much-maligned spider, he started the Brown Recluse Challenge. Of 1,800 specimens sent to him, only 350 turned out to be the real deal. And all were from the Midwest.

A brown recluse bite can be life-threatening in 10 percent of the cases, but Vetter estimates there are only one or two deaths a year, typically in small children.

Brown Recluse Spiders Could Head North

Vetter worked with Saupe on her master’s project, in which she tracked the spiders’ predicted migration through “ecological niche modeling.”

She used two models to predict the spider’s range in 2020, 2050 and 2080, given the effects of global warming, concluding they might move north but those left behind would die off.

Kansas is a “hotbed” for these spiders, said Saupe, who has predicted that they might become extinct by 2080 after the climate in their natural habitats becomes to warm and their mobility is restricted.

Most are reclusive, as their name suggests, and go nowhere near humans. Those that are threatened can sting, but often with just a “dry bite” that does not emit venom, Saupe said.

It is dormant part of the year, which means bites usually occur from April until October. They tend to come out at night and hide under bedding and clothes, in dark places.

Still, the spiders can be lethal.

ABCNews.com reported in 2010 on Victoria Franklin of Marietta, Ga., who had surgery to remove a necrotic breast after a brown recluse bite.

Franklin, 51, still has kidney and other medical problems related to the bite.

“I have no medical insurance at all,” she told ABCNews.com in an email. “Medication is also expensive. I have nine different medications that I have to take every day, sometime twice a day.”

Saupe’s study co-author, Paul Selden, said the species was “the commonest spider in my house” in Lawrence, where the paleontologist and arachnologist teaches at the University of Kansas Paleontological Institute.

“They are in the bathroom under my sink in the cupboard,” said Selden, a professor of invertebrate paleontology, or fossil spiders. “The problem is you leave a towel on the floor and it will scurry under there. In the morning, you pick up the towel and it may be on it.”

But Saupe, 27, said, “I love spiders. …Think about their ability to construct complex webs and catch food. It’s pretty amazing.”

While scientists are relatively blase about the dangers of the brown recluse, those who have been bit are not.

Jill Hardesty, now 47, encountered one when she was 6 and living in an old house in rural Missouri.

“It got me,” said Hardesty, an editor at the University of Kansas Paleontological Institute and still has the scar.

At first, her parents thought a red, quarter-sized lesion on her thigh was a boil, but when red lines began to crawl up her leg, they knew it was more serious.

“I remember getting injections into the site and I still ended up losing quite a bit of flesh,” she said. “I still have a divot on my thigh.

“I have always been creeped out by spiders,” Hardesty added. “I still shake out my clothes and my husband shakes his shoes out. I tell the kids [19 and 16] to check the bed before they crawl in if it’s been dormant for a week or so.

“We are pretty vigilant.”

Miami.CBSLocal.com: Elderly Broward Woman Speaks Out About Termite Scam

Miami.CBSLocal.com: Elderly Broward Woman Speaks Out About Termite Scam

DANIA BEACH – An 88-year-old Dania Beach woman is speaking out after paying $1100 to two men in what BSO says was a termite scam.

Now, the Broward Sheriffs Office is also warning residents about the two men and their unlicensed company: Legend Tree Service.

“I think they’re both crooks,” said the victim. “I think it was very dishonest.”

She asked that CBS4 not reveal her identity, but she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she wants to speak about the two men who she said took her money, and who she said are on the BSO flyer.

D’Oench spoke to her at a nursing home where she was visiting her husband.

The two men on the flyer are Michael Scott Goodwin, 51, of Pembroke Pines and George B. Scott, 52, of Hollywood.

The BSO flyer said they “have a history of exploitation of the elderly.”

The flyer said they have been handing out business cards for “Legend Tree Service” and been advising victims that their trees or gardens are infested with termites and that they must “spray immediately” to prevent the termites from destroying their homes.

The flyer says Legend Tree Service is not licensed as a company and is not licensed to spray. It said the two men have collected initial payments from victims, and then have returned on the following day to collect a second payment, even though no further work was done. The flyer says they recently targeted elderly residents in a mobile home park in Dania Beach.

A similar warning was issued by the BSO Tamarac District, which notes, “A business card alone is not sufficient documentation to proceed with an agreement for services.”

CBS4 spoke with a victim who lives at the Estates of Fort Lauderdale Mobile Home Park off Stirling Road in Dania Beach.

She said she felt she could trust the men who told her that her Robellini palm tree was infested.

“He said termites were going to get under my house,” she said. “I live in a mobile home. It was going to destroy my house. The minute I heard termites, I got all shook up so I just gave him the money, $550 on the first day and $550 on the second day.”

“He said he wanted to prune that tree and I’m going to spray all the foliage around your home for $550,” she said. “First it was $330, then $550. Then he came the next day and charged me another $550.”

She said very little work was done.

“I’ve got over a thousand dollars invested in this Robellini that he trimmed a little bit and supposedly sprayed with insecticide for termites,” she said.

The case drew a strong warning from BSO.

“These predators always look for people in the community who are vulnerable,” said BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright.

“If someone comes to your home, then be aware,” she said. “You have the right to say give me your card. Give me your information. I’ll get back to you. You have the right to say no thank you. I don’t want to do business with you.”

“The best thing to do, the best course of action is to get the information. Research it. Get the referrals on your own. Check them out through the Better Business Bureau. Call your local Police Department to see if they’ve had any complaints on these individuals. If anything sounds suspicious, if anything tells you it is wrong, then it probably is. You need to listen to it.”

The victim told CBS4 that she has learned a lesson. “Check the guy that is supposed to do the work,” she said. “Make sure they are licensed and insured.”

She hopes her story will raise awareness about these issues and hopes she can get her money back.

While BSO is warning the public about the two men, authorities say there is no probable cause to arrest them.

CBS4 placed phone calls to the numbers listed in the BSO Event report. He was not able to reach Goodwin, but George Scott called him back and said that he was hoping to pay the victim back with a cashier’s check for $1100.

At first Scott said he would meet with D’Oench for an interview but then said he could not.

Scott said that he wanted to help the victim and said, “I’ve been working my whole life.”

The BSO Event Report says that “the subject cut hedges and put mulch down, but it is unknown what he actually did do for her and what if anything was actually needed.”

The report says Scott has a suspended license and an active warrant for driving license revoked.

“I know the police may be looking for me because of that warrant,” Scott said, “but that has nothing to do with my work.”

National Pest Management Association Unveils Redesigned Consumer Website

National Pest Management Association Unveils Redesigned Consumer Website

March 8 (Fairfax, VA)- PestWorld.org, an educational website designed to inform homeowners about common household pests, has undergone a complete redesign, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) announced today. The consumer website is designed to give visitors a more interactive and engaging experience, as well as serve as a one-stop resource for all pest-related topics.

The new site will feature articles and content from an array of expert sources from both the NPMA, including Vice President of Public Affairs Missy Henriksen with her blog, “The Bug Lady,” and outside industry sources, such as Realtors, home inspectors and meteorologists. A medical expert will also routinely contribute content on pest-related health issues, including salmonella, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, hantavirus, and asthma and allergies.

“PestWorld.org is designed to provide users with a complete view of pests and the health and property risks they pose,” says Henriksen. “We want to ensure that our visitors are able to find all of the information they need about their pest problems. Visitors can browse through expert-authored articles, photo and video libraries, pest guides, prevention tips and health articles to give them a full understanding of pests and the dangerous implications they can have on our homes and families.”

Education remains a priority. “We want our visitors to leave feeling empowered to tackle pests, either by taking preventative measures to keep them out or by partnering with a pest professional to help effectively and safely remediate infestations, ” says Henriksen.

PestWorld.org has a modern layout, easy navigation and vivid pest photography. New features include a Multimedia Center with public photo and video galleries.

Despite its new look, PestWorld.org retains many of its popular features, including the Pest Guide, AllThingsBedBugs microsite, media gallery, Extreme Infestations case studies, and Zip Code Locator to help users find pest professionals that are qualified and licensed, operating in their local communities.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, follow the NPMA on Twitter at @PestWorld and visit the NPMA’s consumer websites, PestWorld.org, PestWorldForKids.org, AllThingsBedBugs.org and WhatIsIPM.org.

Pest Prevention Tips for Businesses

Prevention is critical in protecting you business from a pest infestation. Below are just a few ways that your business can avoid pest infestations and the potential health and property threats that pests and rodents can pose.

  • “Pest-proof” your business by being vigilant of building maintenance needs
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your business, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation; install gutters or diverts, which will channel water away from the building.
  • Be sure your employees keep food sealed and stored properly.
  • Clean high-volume areas daily, such as public eating areas and kitchenettes, where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
  • Call a local pest control professional to inspect for pests and rodents, identify the problem and control the pest(s) using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.

7 Amazing Insect Ninja Skills

7 Amazing Insect Ninja Skills

If insects were ninjas… well… they’d be pretty good at it. Many of the advanced technologies humans have developed for combat purposes, insects possess naturally. In some cases, their nature has our tech beat.

 

Hulett Celebrates Another Year of Growth

Hulett Celebrates Another Year of Growth

News Coverage

Hulett Environmental Services celebrated another significant year of growth at its annual sales awards ceremony in February.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hulett Environmental Services celebrated another significant year of growth at its annual sales awards ceremony in February.

“Growing like this is so much fun and having the ability to share it with all these great people that brought it to us makes it all the better,” said Tim Hulett, owner and CEO of Hulett Environmental Services. “We have quickly climbed into the top 20 pest control companies in the country and we have no intention of stopping here.”

Brian Holloway, NFL Pro Bowler from the New England Patriots, was the guest speaker and roused the group with a message celebrating the fun of winning. “Winning is something that’s in your heart. It’s a decision you make every day. It’s clear that the Hulett team has that heart and makes that winning decision daily.”

This year’s ceremony was special to the Hulett family due to the passing of Guy Hulett, the first-generation and founder of Hulett Environmental Services. The family was given the Terry Chapin Award in honor of his contributions throughout the years, a fixture at Hulett’s corporate headquarters in West Palm Beach for decades.

“He will by greatly missed and always remembered,” said his grandson, Randy Hulett, the third generation leader at Hulett.

Hulett Environmental Services celebrated another significant year of growth at its annual sales awards ceremony in February.

In addition to the robust recurring sales bonuses paid monthly at Hulett, more than $50,000 were handed out at Saturday’s award ceremony. “It’s a pleasure for me to pay out these bonuses,” said Tim Hulett. “These people are the ones that brought us here, and they more than deserve to share in the benefits of our growth. These are the people that are going to continue this great growth run we are on. We have just found our stride and it’s nowhere but up from here.”