Termite Control Tips

Below is a list of time-proven tips and techniques to help make the exterior as well as the interior of your home less susceptible to termite attack.

Outside:

  • Install shrubs, mulch and other landscaping at least 2 feet from the foundation of your home.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of wood mulch.
  • Keep wooden fences, planter boxes and other wood items at least 2 feet from the foundation.
  • Stack firewood and scrap lumber well away from your home.
  • Make sure soil is at least 6 inches away from the bottom of stucco or other siding and that wood steps, lattice work and door frames are not in contact with surrounding soil.
Inside:
  • Keep crawl spaces and basements clear of wood debris, newspapers and excess moisture.
  • Fix plumbing leaks anywhere in the house, as they can cause moisture to accumulate.
  • Keep an eye open for mud tubes, discarded termite wings and other signs of termite activity.

Moisture:

  • Place sprinkler heads more than 2 feet from the foundation and make sure they don’t wet the walls.
  • Divert air-conditioner condensation, sump discharge and other water away from the foundation of your home.
  • Slope soil away from the house so surface water drains easily.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and keep splash blocks in place.

Remodeling:

  • If you’re adding a room or deck to your home, make sure the lumber has been treated to discourage termites.
  • Never bury wood scraps or forms in backfill.

Florida Asks FDA Approval to Eliminate Dengue Fever With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Florida Asks FDA Approval to Eliminate Dengue Fever With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are awaiting approval from the federal government to begin releasing hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to stop the spread of dengue fever.

The experiment will be the first of its kind in the United States. The goal is to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in and around Key West.

Dengue fever was thought to have disappeared from the area decades ago, but 93 cases were reported in the Keys during 2009 and 2010. Nicknamed “breakbone fever,” dengue is a viral disease with severe flu-like symptoms. Though it is not fatal, victims are then vulnerable to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be.

“We cannot speculate as to when a decision will be made,” Shelly Burgess, a spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration, told ABCNews.com. “But no genetically engineered animals of any species that FDA regulates will be released in the United States, including for the purposes of field trials, without appropriate regulatory oversight.”

If approved by the FDA, the British biotech company Oxitec would release non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified. The hope is that they would mate with the wild females already in the Keys, passing along a birth defect that kills their offspring before they can reach maturity. After a few generations, the population in the Keys would die off.

The goal of the experiment is to reduce the risk of dengue fever without using pesticides, one of the only alternatives available.

Earlier this year, Oxitec published an article in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, reporting the results of a 2010 field test in an urban setting on Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. Over a 23-week period, Oxitec released 3.3 million genetically engineered male mosquitoes on the island and claimed an 80 percent reduction of the dengue mosquito population.

Insects and the diseases they carry are a growing issue in communities across the country. In Texas, the Dallas area had its worst year on record for West Nile virus.

The mosquito problems faced by Texas and Florida differ, however. West Nile was spread by Culex mosquitoes, which are native to Texas. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads dengue fever, is not native to the Keys, and is not a significant food source for other animals.

“The Dallas county area opted for aerial spraying of pesticides and never considered releasing genetically modified mosquitoes,” Christine Mann of the Texas Department of State Health services told ABCNews.com.

But with its fragile ecosystem, mosquito control officials in the Keys have been searching for alternatives to pesticide use, which can have a negative impact on public health and wildlife.

“Because the mosquito we are after is a guerilla warfare type, hiding underneath homes and in bushes, large scale spraying is not effective,” Michael Doyle, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, told ABCNews.com “In order to ensure the health and comfort of our residents and visitors, we think this is a scientifically reasonable approach to controlling this type of mosquito.”

Pest Control FAQ’S

Answers to your pest control questions!

  1. Why should I choose Hulett Environmental Services?
  2. How can I tell the difference between a flying ant and a termite?
  3. What is a termite swarm, and what should I do if I experience one?
  4. What is the difference between a Drywood termite and a Subterranean termite?
  5. What treatment method would Hulett recommend to protect my home from termites?
  6. My home is built of concrete block, so do I still need to worry about termites?
  7. Does Hulett offer a termite warranty?
  8. Will termites go away on their own after termite season passes?
  9. Could there be termites on my property right now moving towards my home?
  10. Still have a question?

The Peacock spider

We couldn’t resist these amazing photographs.


The Peacock spider (Maratus volans) is a species of jumping spider native to eastern Australia. Only 5mm in length, it is only the males that have this bright colouring.

The males also have extensions on their abdomen that can be folded down. They use these to display their colours and markings to females, earning them their name of ‘peacock’. The male will first raise his abdomen, then raise his flaps forming a veritable field of colour. The male will then vibrate his raised legs and tail and dance from one side to another in an attempt to impress the female.

Hot Peppers Tested as a Rodent Deterrent

Hot Peppers Tested as a Rodent Deterrent

MISSOULA, Mont. — Researchers in Montana are testing hot peppers to see if they will deter deer mice from eating grass seeds, the Helenian.com reports.

Dean Pearson, a research scientist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station, is toying with ways of attaching the powder derived from the bhut jolokia pepper – one of the hottest known to man – with the seeds of native plants used in restoration work.

“I’ve done work to show that mice can have a big impact on seeds,” said Pearson. “When they put the seeds down to plant, the rodents come and eat them up. So we’re looking to use a cheap and dirty method to protect seeds from mice.”

That cheap and dirty method involves the bhut jolokia pepper, which is used in parts of India to keep elephants away. It also has been considered as a non-lethal weapon to flush criminals and terrorists from hiding places.

One man who ate a bhut jolokia pepper on a dare allegedly spent hours vomiting, sweating and hallucinating. Pearson said such reactions to the pepper pertain to mice and men alike, along with all other mammals, making it an effective deterrent.

Peterson added that he and his team have experimented with waxes and oils, each of which have shown effectiveness, but also have drawbacks.

Click here to read the entire article.

Source: helenair.com

Florida Battles Tree Termites

Florida Battles Tree Termites

The termites have moved into an area of South Broward and experts are conferring on how to battle them, the Miami Herald reports.

MIAMI — The exotic tree termite, Nasutitermes corniger, have moved into an area of South Broward and experts are conferring on how to battle the pests, the Miami Herald reports.

Experts think the termites arrived from the Caribbean and Central America through ports, then landing in Dania Beach. The species was first discovered in 2001, and it was believed to have been eradicated until last year when they infested nearly four acres of the Fishing Hall of Fame off Griffin Road and Interstate 95.

“Like everything else, nature finds a way and that initial eradication effort wasn’t entirely successful,” said Allen Fugler, vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association. “But we are hoping that it’s only in Broward. We want to contain it and come up with solutions in keeping this from spreading.”

Tree termites, unlike the regular termite species, build their nests and tunnels above ground. They forage above ground like ants and they have a greater reproductive capacity. A nest can grow to be the size of a basketball in less than four months, containing at least 180,000 critters, more than the entire population of Fort Lauderdale.

Click here to read more.

Source: Miami Herald

Winter Pest-Proofing Can Keep Rodents and Other Pests Away

Winter Pest-Proofing Can Keep Rodents and Other Pests Away

For many homeowners, pest proofing is a chore relegated to the warmer months of the year. But many pests gain entry into homes in the winter as they seek shelter from the cold weather. In fact, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), rodents alone invade an estimated 21 million homes in the U.S. each winter.

With 24% of homeowners reporting mice infestations specifically in the winter, they are among the top pest issues of the season. Mice and rats spread diseases like Salmonella and Hantavirus when they contaminate food, and bring fleas, ticks and lice indoors. Rodents can also cause serious structural damage by chewing through wood and electrical wiring.

Other winter invaders pose health threats, as well. Cockroaches and ants contaminate food sources, and cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks in children. Spiders bite when they feel threatened, causing serious reactions in some people.

“Pests including cockroaches, ants, spiders and especially rodents are common home invaders in the winter,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “An infestation by these pests can cause serious health and property issues if not properly dealt with in a timely manner. However, homeowners can help prevent infestation troubles by taking a proactive approach in eliminating entryways into the home.”

To prevent pests from infesting your home this winter, NPMA recommends following these tips:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home.
  • Inspect wires, insulation and walls for gnaw marks, which may indicate a rodent infestation.
  • Store boxes off of the floor to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
  • Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.