Homeowner Advice on Keeping Ants Away

Ants Top List of Concern for Homeowners

                                                        FLorida Ant Control

As of 2006 there are 9,000 to 10,000 known ant species and researchers believe that there may be more than 20,000 species worldwide. With this fact in mind it is no surprise that 25% of homeowners listed ants as their main pest concern according to research conducted in 2005 by the National Pest Management Association.  This same study revealed that more than half of all homeowners have had problems with ants – making them the most prevalent pest nationwide.

Ants are social insects and form highly organized colonies with up to millions of members each having a role. Spotting one ant unfortunately signifies that the troops are somewhere close by.

Homeowners should particularly watch out for fire and carpenter ants. Fire ants, found mainly in the south, are vicious and can sting repeatedly if disturbed. Carpenter ants attack wood that is or has been wet or damaged by mold and can build tunnels through dry, undamaged wood causing costly property damage.

Hulett Environmental offers the following tips for minimizing invasion by ants:

  • Keep wood and debris away from exterior siding
  • Keep kitchen clean: seal containers, wipe counters frequently, empty the garbage religiously, and avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Seal up cracks and small openings along bottom of the house.
  • Store sugar, syrup, honey, baked goods, and other sweets in closed containers that have been washed to remove residues from their exterior surfaces.

For more information on other ant species and preventative tips visit

https://site1.das-group.com/bugs_database/ants.asp

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  • For more than 40 years, your family’s and pets’ health, comfort, and satisfaction with our services have been our top priority.
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  • Each Hulett technician is registered with South Florida.
  • Professional in both attitude and dress, our Healthy Home technicians are glad to be of service, and will arrive on time for each appointment.
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Hulett Environmental Services offers tips for homeowners to prevent termite damage

TERMITES: THE SILENT PEST THAT CAN DESTROY YOUR HOME

Hulett Environmental Services offers tips for homeowners to prevent termite damage

As warmer temperatures continue to set in around the nation, the potential for termite swarms and infestations significantly increases. Hulett Environmental is encouraging homeowners to take preventative measures to protect their greatest investment – their home – from termites this spring.

Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through walls, floors and ceilings undetected.  They feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the cellulose found in wood and paper products. And with upwards of 2 million members in a single termite colony, infestations are more common and more severe than people may think.

Although termites do not pose health threats like mosquitoes or cockroaches, this pest can cause significant damage to a home in a matter of weeks or months.

In fact, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year, which is usually not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.

Regular inspections and routine maintenance are necessary to stay on top of a potential termite infestation. Experts at Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following steps homeowners can take protect their property from this unwelcome pest:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
  • Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit www.bugs.com

Crazy, Hairy Ants/Rasberry Crazy Ants/Caribbean Crazy Ants

Crazy, Hairy Ants/Rasberry Crazy Ants/Caribbean Crazy Ants

What are crazy, hairy ants? Are they referred to as Rasberry Crazy Ants or Caribbean Crazy Ants?

  • These are probably all one and the same species Nylanderia pubens with multiple common names.
  • Rasberry crazy ants were first found in Texas in 2002. They are believed to be related to a species from the Caribbean.
  • Caribbean crazy ants are found in Florida – have likely been there since the 1950’s but pest professionals have been receiving more and more reports since 2000.
  • The more common Crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) looks similar to the Rasberry and Caribbean crazy ants, but have marked differences. Their antennae and legs are significantly longer and their bodies are slightly larger. Their populations are also more spread out around the U.S.

Why are they called “crazy” ants?

Crazy ants get their common name from their habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food.

 Is there a specific reason these ants are a problem this time of year?

Crazy, hairy ants are an invasive species by definition so are very good at invading new areas. Ants react to drought and rainfall in different ways so weather can play a role in their movement. Additionally, they  are very good hitchhikers and can be transported to new areas as stowaways in cargo.

Where are these ants found?

In the U.S. these ants are found in South Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Houston and surrounding areas of coastal Texas.

Specifically for Texas, according to Texas A&M University’s Center for Urban & Structural Entomology, “high numbers of the ants have been found in localized spot infestations in southeast Houston (Harris County), including Houston, Pasadena, Deer Park, Friendswood, San Jacinto Port, Pearland, Seabrook and La Porte. Localized infestations have also been confirmed from areas in Bexar, Brazoria, Cameron, Fort Bend, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Hidalgo, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nueces, Orange, Walker and Wharton counties. This ant has the potential to spread well beyond the current range in coastal Texas.”

These ants prefer tropical/semi-tropical climates.  Colonies typically grow in warmer months with populations peaking in August/September. Their numbers remain high through October and November.

Why are they problematic?

Although these ants usually nest outside, they will forage indoors in large numbers in cooler temperatures or after rainfall. Inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or carpeting, inside wall voids and soffits.

Crazy ants can become a problem when they infest a home or another structure for a couple of reasons:

  • Extremely large colonies resulting in massive infestations which can be difficult to treat, often requiring multiple treatments.  Colonies may grow to about 1 million.
  • These ants also have an odd propensity to nest in electrical boxes and around electrical equipment, causing short – outs and electrical equipment failure.

Are these ants harmful to humans and/or pets?

Crazy ants feed primarily on live and dead insects, seeds, fruits and honeydew. They are capable of biting, but it’s rare. It’s the size of their colonies that poses the biggest problem.

What can homeowners do to prevent infestations?

  • Seal points of entry around the house including small openings and cracks around doors and windows.
  • Clean up food spills, keep honeydew in closed containers in the fridge and remove other potential attractants as soon as possible.
  • Remove potential nest sites/debris from around the exterior of the home
  • If you suspect an infestation, call a professional to evaluate the best course of treatment.

How to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Travels

How to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Travels

Know Before You Go: Bed Bug Travel Tips

Before we know it, summer will be here and millions of people around the country will begin packing their bags to have some fun in the sun. Before embarking on vacations, many of these travelers will create a travel checklist to help them prepare for hitting the road. While packing sunscreen, turning off lights, cleaning out the fridge and locking doors are all likely to make the list, it’s also important for travelers to bring along another type of list to use before and after unpacking from their trips — the bed bug prevention checklist.

Even the most seasoned travelers are at a higher risk of encountering bed bugs when traveling because these blood-sucking pests are excellent hitchhikers and are easily transported from one place to another in human belongings like suitcases. As a result, bed bugs continue to remain a problem in lodging facilities. In fact, 75 percent of pest professionals have treated bed bugs in hotels and motels, according to the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky.

All travelers will benefit from a little bed bug know-how to help ensure they don’t bring them home as an unwanted souvenir. If you and your family are planning on getting away this summer, here is your bed bug prevention checklist:

When You Arrive At The Hotel

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box springs, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains, spots or shed bed bug skins.
  • Place suitcase in a plastic trash bag during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
  • Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces. The safest place is in the bathroom in the middle of a tile floor or on a luggage rack after it has been thoroughly inspected. Do not use a luggage rack if it has hollow legs, where bed bugs may hide unseen.

If You Suspect Bed Bugs Are In Your Hotel Room

  • Notify management and request to change rooms immediately.
  • Do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.

When You Arrive Home

  • Inspect your suitcases outdoors before bringing them into the house.
  • Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which can kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled home with you.
  • Wash and dry all of your clothes – even those that have not been worn – on hot cycles.
  • Keep clothes that go to the dry cleaner in a sealed plastic bag until they can be transported.

If you get settled back in at home following a trip and suspect that you may have brought some hitchhiking bed bugs back with you, contact a licensed pest professional in a timely manner. Bed bugs are not a DIY pest and should be left to a professional.

Looking for more information on bed bugs? Check out this Pest ID card or visit AllThingsBedBugs.org for a plethora of bed bug resources.

Hulett Kid’s Corner

Have you and your family seen the Hulett Kid’s Corner section of our website yet? We have informational games and riddles for the entire family to enjoy. The kid’s corner is designed to help teach your kids about our environment and how to manage the various pests we come across.  Some of the activities include Bug Coloring Pages, A Bug Word Search, Insect Riddles and more!

First Responder PSA

When people think of causes of allergies, they often focus on pollen, dust and pet dander.  But did you know common household pests like cockroaches and mice can cause allergies, as well as aggravate asthma?  Consider these facts:

  • 63% of American homes contain allergens from cockroaches. That number increases to as many as 78% to 98% of homes in urban areas.
  • Mice also spread potent asthma triggers, found in 82% of homes.
  • Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma.
  • 60% of asthma cases are “allergic-asthma.”
  • Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children.

These staggering statistics demonstrate how hidden allergens from common household pests can put us at risk for serious (and potentially life-threatening) diseases.

Help your family breathe easier. Watch our new public service announcement offering information on safeguarding the health and safety of families from household pests. The campaign is a joint effort by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and the National Pest Management Association.