The Ant & Termite Institutes

BASF has recently launched a couple of very useful, informational websites for consumers. The Ant Institute is a site dedicated to relaying vital ant control information to home owners. The site features great tips on how to avoid an ant infestation, and also contains facts about colony behavior, and the biology of ants. Another cool aspect of the site is it has an ask the expert feature, which is always a useful resource. Remember, you can always ask us about your pest & termite control questions.

The other site BASF recently launched is The Termite Institute. The site has many similar aspects as the ant institute does except the focus is on termite inspection & control. The site provides homeowners with many answers to questions that people constantly have about these common invaders. You can find the answers to questions such as:

Can termites tunnel through cement?

Does homeowners’ insurance cover the cost of termite damage?

Can I treat my termite infestation myself?

You can also find a useful termite identification chart to help you identify this particularly annoying pest. Be sure to let us know what other pest and termite control resources you use when looking for a professional to protect your home and family.

Dowagro Sciences Commitment to Excellence

Homeowners across the country are turning to companies participating in the Commitment to ExcellenceSM (CTE) Program to effectively treat and eliminate their drywood termite problems.

CTE Program members undergo a mandatory evaluation by Dow AgroSciences LLC, the sponsor of the CTE Program, and are evaluated on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting CTE Program guidelines.

What is the CTE Program?

CTE companies are required to own and properly maintain specialized fumigation equipment.

CTE companies are required to own and
properly maintain specialized
fumigation equipment.

The CTE Program:

  • is a voluntary comprehensive training program sponsored by Dow AgroSciences LLC, the manufacturer of Vikane® gas fumigant.
  • recognizes companies making a commitment to excel in the area of whole-structure fumigation.
  • requires training, equipment and stewardship in addition to that required by the state in which the fumigator operates.

When you select a CTE fumigator, you can be sure you have selected a true professional.

Residents of Florida Keys Battle Plan That Would Bombard Them With Mutant Mosquitoes

Gawker.com: Residents of Florida Keys Battle Plan That Would Bombard Them With Mutant Mosquitoes

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If British scientists have their way, mutant mosquitoes will soon destroy the Florida Keys. Well, not exactly. But it’s a possibility, or at least something to to think about, according to the  90,000 residents who have signed a petition. The genetically-modified mosquitoes are designed to resist the spread of Dengue fever, which is apparently a concern these days in the Keys.

Oxitec, the British company that made the mosquitoes, swears they’re safe and won’t cause any environmental problems. Hadyn Parry, Oxitec’s CEO said, “This is a form of birth control for mosquitoes. It brings the population of the species down very fast indeed.” He noted that only male mosquitoes, who don’t bite and therefore can’t spread Dengue fever, would be released.

But Key West resident and probable Jurassic Park fan Mila de Mier isn’t taking Parry’s word for it. She started a petition on Change.org that’s gathered over 90,000 signatures so far. As the  Guardian put it:

The petition calls on the federal regulator the US Food and Drug Administration to withhold permission for Oxitec’s mosquito to be released. De Mier said there are too many questions left hanging, such as whether the gene introduced into the insect could itself mutate, or whether the reduction of the A. aegypti mosquito could have adverse connotations for the local ecosystem.

Of course de Mier and her 90,000 followers are right to be concerned. Mutated mosquitoes seems like the worst idea ever, right?

Wrong, says Parry. In 2009, Oxitec released the mutant mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands to positive results.

The tests in the Cayman islands suggested that the number of A. aegypti mosquitoes could be reduced by about 75% over a year. It had no impact on any other species of mosquito or other insect types, and allowed the amount of chemical pesticide sprayed locally also to be reduced, the company says.

de Mier and her supporters are holding out for more testing – “I don’t want my family being used as laboratory rats for this,” she said, which, fair enough – but ultimately the decision lies with state officials in Florida.

USDA Encourages Summer Travelers to Protect American Agriculture by Not Packing a Pest

USDA Encourages Summer Travelers to Protect American Agriculture by Not Packing a Pest

WASHINGTON, – Whether you’re studying abroad in Europe, traveling on business in Asia, or taking that dream vacation to Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is urging summer travelers to join us in the fight against invasive pests by not packing a pest.

While agricultural products make tempting souvenirs, invasive pests can hitchhike on fruits, vegetables, meats, processed foods, plants, and handicraft items. If these invasive pests were to become established in the United States, they could devastate urban and rural landscapes and cost billions of dollars in lost revenue and eradication efforts. As a result, APHIS restricts or prohibits the entry of certain agricultural products from foreign countries and from Hawaii and U.S. territories.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers or agriculture specialists with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will inspect your baggage when you first arrive in the United States to ensure that the agricultural items you are carrying are allowable under APHIS regulations. Be sure to declare all agricultural items to CBP officers or CBP agriculture specialists at the first port of entry. Failure to declare food products can result in fines and penalties.

The following food items are generally allowed entry, but should still be declared and presented to a CBP agriculture specialist or CBP officer for inspection:

•Condiments such as oil, vinegar, mustard, catsup, pickles, syrup, honey without honey combs, jelly, and jam
•Foodstuffs such as bakery items, candy, and chocolate
•Hard cured cheeses without meat, such as parmesan or cheddar
•Canned goods and goods in vacuum packed jars (other than those containing meat or poultry products, and those containing certain dairy products) for personal use
•Fish or fish products for personal use
•Powdered drinks sealed in original containers with ingredients listed in English.
•Dry mixes containing dairy and egg ingredients (such as baking mixes, cocoa mixes, drink mixes, instant cake mixes, instant pudding mixes, liquid drink mixes containing reconstituted dry milk or dry milk products, potato flakes, and infant formula) that are commercially labeled, presented in final finished packaging, and require no further manipulation of the product are generally allowed.

You may also be allowed to bring back certain fresh fruits and vegetables, animal products and by-products, plants and plant parts for planting, cut flowers, firewood, or miscellaneous agricultural products, depending on the item and its country of origin. APHIS encourages travelers to be aware of restrictions pertaining to agricultural products before leaving the United States and to use these as guidelines when purchasing souvenirs. For comprehensive information on importing agricultural items for personal use, visit APHIS’ Agricultural Information for International Travelers Web page at www.aphis.usda.gov/travel.

Black Widow Spiders May Have Met Their Match

Yahoo! News: Black Widow Spiders May Have Met Their Match

Black widow spiders seem to be universally feared. But who’s scared of a brown widow? The black widow should be quaking all eight of its boots, a new study suggests. In the United States, there’s a new widow in town. The brown widow. And scientists say it may be taking over some native western black widow territory.

That may be good news in one sense: Brown widow spider bites are less toxic than those of  black widows, researchers say.

The brown widow spider first showed up in the United States (in Florida) in 1935. It was discovered in California in 2003. They’ve done well with their expansion efforts, it seems. Scientists searched various habitats in Southern California where they expected to find black widows, from urban areas and farms to undeveloped natural areas.

“The brown widows really burst on to the scene in a very short time, and we found brown widows in many habitats where we expected to find black widows,” study researcher Richard Vetter of the University of California, Riverside, said in a statement. “There may be some competition where brown widows are displacing black widows because there is some habitat overlap. There are also places where only brown widows were able to make homes, but in other habitats the black widows still predominate.”

At 72 sites, the researchers found 20 times as many brown widow spiders as black widows. Here’s the creepy part: They frequently found them under outdoor tables and chairs, and in tiny spaces in walls, fences and other objects. The good news: Neither spider was found in the living spaces of houses, the scientists said in a statement.

The findings are detailed in the July issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology.

300,000 People in U.S. Living With Chagas Disease: Report

300,000 People in U.S. Living With Chagas Disease: Report

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) — As many as 300,000 people in the United States may have chronic Chagas disease — mostly spread by blood-sucking insects — health officials report.

However, the first confirmed U.S. case of transmission from a mother to a newborn was recently documented, adding to ongoing concern about this parasitic disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people with Chagas disease in the United States are immigrants from areas in Latin America, where the disease is endemic, the report said.

While Chagas is treatable and curable, it often goes unrecognized. Untreated, the infection is lifelong.

“Only a few people who are infected develop early symptoms,” said Dr. Anne Moore, a CDC medical epidemiologist. “The vast majority have such mild symptoms, or no symptoms, that they don’t know they are infected.”

The parasite stays in the blood system and gradually causes disease in the tissues it affects — and the tissues it likes the most are heart muscle, Moore said.

“About 30 percent of those infected will develop serious cardiac disease, which can be fatal,” she explained.

Chagas is spread by triatomine insects, which can carry the parasite that causes the disease. People become infected when the bug feeds by sucking blood. The insects are also called kissing bugs because they tend to bite around the face, Moore said.

While most people who have Chagas are from Latin America and Mexico, the insects that cause the disease are common across the lower southern, eastern and western United States, according to the CDC.

Whether the species of these bugs found in the United States carry this parasite isn’t known, Moore said.

“We really don’t have good information about whether there is a lot of transmission in the United States — there has been a handful of cases, but no one is looking, so we don’t have an idea of the magnitude of the problem,” she noted.

Other, but undiagnosed, cases of mother-infant transmission have likely occurred in the United States, the report said. In other countries, the rate of congenital transmission from infected mothers is about 1 percent to 10 percent.

Two antiparasitic drugs can be used to treat Chagas. “Neither one is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but they are available free from the CDC,” Moore said.

No manufacturer has applied for approval for the drug because there are only a few cases of Chagas in the United States, she noted.

Moore believes people from Latin America, especially pregnant women, should be screened for Chagas, particularly those who have lived in rural areas. Many doctors don’t know about the disease, so they don’t look for it in these patients, she added.

The report was published in the July 6 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The current case involved an infant whose mother had recently emigrated from Bolivia. The child was diagnosed two weeks after birth when doctors saw Trypanosoma cruzi parasites in the blood.

The infant was treated and cured with the antiparasitic drug benznidazole.

Chagas also can be spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. In 2006, the American Red Cross began screening blood donors for Chagas, Moore noted. Chagas can be acquired through food contaminated with the parasite.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an infectious disease expert, said that “Chagas disease is a reminder to us that we are part of a worldwide community of health.”

Chagas affects about 10 million people around the world, said Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

“With all of the immigrants we have, Chagas has become more of a problem, because it can be transmitted from mother to child or through blood transfusion, not just through an insect,” Siegel said.

This report should alert doctors to look for Chagas in patients with unexplained heart disease, he said.

“It’s not enough of a problem that we should be worried about it,” Siegel said. “It’s trending and we have to keep an eye on it.”

For more about Chagas disease, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tis the Season for Insects That Sting

It’s officially summer ­a popular time for people to spend outdoors at barbeques or completing home maintenance projects. But, these warm months also signal the most active season for pests that can put a stinger in everyone’s fun.

Stinging insects such as bees, yellowjackets and wasps are more than just a seasonal nuisance; they can pose a significant threat to your health as well. In fact, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that more than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year due to insect stings.

Stinging insects are beneficial in that they pollinate plants and flowers and eat other harmful pests, but they also dole out painful stings and cause people anxiety about being stung. While in reality, bees and yellowjackets rarely sting unless provoked, more aggressive species like wasps can sting in painful attacks if they feel threatened

As a result, the NPMA is reminding people to protect themselves from these unpleasant pests with the following tips:

  • Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
  • Stinging insects are attracted to sweets; do not leave drinks or food in accessible areas.
  • Keep windows and doors properly screened.
  • Promptly remove garbage and store it in sealed receptacles.
  • If a stinging insect lands on your skin, resist the urge to swat and instead gently blow on it from a distance.
  • Do not attempt to remove a nest on your own, rather contact a licensed pest professional for assistance.
  • If stung, remove the stinger, clean the area with soap and cold water and apply ice. Benadryl and hydrocortisone ointment may also help calm the reaction.
  • Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath or drop in blood pressure, call 911.
  • If one lands on your skin, resist the urge to swat and instead gently blow on it from a distance.
  • If stung, remove the stinger, clean the area with soap and cold water and apply ice. Benadryl and hydrocortisone ointment may also help calm the reaction.
  • If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.

VI:A NPMA

Pre-Construction Services

Pre-Construction Services

The Reliable Choice

Hulett's $1,000,000 WarrantyHulett Environmental Services has been serving a growing Florida for more than 40 years. We offer a full line of contractor services with a $1,000,000 Subterranean Termite Damage Warranty.

Understanding how a contractor’s schedule changes, our office staff is available to you from 7:00 AM until 5:30 PM; and on Saturdays from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM. All of our vehicles are radio dispatched for IMMEDIATE service!

Today, builders have several choices when it comes to protecting their customers’ homes from damaging termites: Conventional Liquid Pre-treatments, BORA-CARE Pre-treatments, Termite Baiting Systems, and Timbor Drywood Termite Treatments.

Hulett offers all of these contractor services at the builder’s convenience. Our paperwork is on time and in an orderly fashion. We understand that when you need our services, you need them right away. Hulett will keep you on schedule with the best response time in the industry!

Your company has worked hard building a solid reputation, and you can enhance that reputation with a dependable and proven company like Hulett Environmental Services.

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