All posts by Hulett Environmental

Escambia Health Department Lifts Mosquito Borne Illness Alert

A mosquito-borne illness alert that was issued back in August   for Escambia County has been lifted, the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County announced Tuesday.

Although mosquito-borne illnesses are less common in the winter months, the health department still urges local residents to “Drain and Cover”  to protect against being bitten by mosquitoes:

Drain standing water.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected. Water held in open containers in your house is also a potential breeding location for mosquitoes.
  • Discard old tires, bottles, pots, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least twice a week.
  • When protecting boats and vehicles from rain, ensure that tarps don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and keep them adequately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

Cover skin with clothing or repellent and cover doors and windows.

  • Clothing – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves when mosquitoes are most prevalent.
  • Use repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
  • Always use repellents according to the label. Using too much repellent doesn’t make it work better or last longer.
  • Re-apply mosquito repellent as often as needed to prevent mosquito landings and bites.
  • When using repellent on children, apply to your hands first and then rub on their arms and legs.
  • Instead of repellent, use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
  • Place screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios. Always repair broken screens.

For more information contact the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County at (850) 595-6700 or visit www.EscambiaHealth.com.

What steps can a restaurant owner take on their own to prevent/control pest populations?

What steps can a restaurant owner take on their own to prevent/control pest populations?

  1. Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of the facility including areas where utilities and pipes enter.
  2. Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
  3. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed.
  4. Inspect boxes, bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking pests.
  5. Don’t allow food to sit on counters or shelves in open containers.  All food and water sources should be kept sealed unless currently in use.
  6. Clean all food spills regularly.
  7. Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  8. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
  9. Never store food on the floor.  Always lift it up on shelves so that rodents and insects do not have easy access.
  10. Comply will all regulations regarding pests in food service facilities.
  11. A licensed and qualified pest professional is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.

Rodent Infestation Tips From Hulett Environmental Services

There are a number of pest-proofing measures that homeowners can take to protect their home and families from the threats posed by rodents. NPMA recommends the following:

  • Store boxes and containers off the floor and organize items often to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
  • Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
  • Store food in thick metal or plastic containers with tight lids.
  • Clean up spilled food right away immediately and wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use.
  • Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
  • Do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight.
  • Keep bird feeders away from the house and use squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder by squirrels and other rodents.
  • Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid and keep sealed at all times.
  • Keep grains and animal feed in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids. In the evening, return uneaten animal feed to containers with lids.
  • If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of a rodent infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.

Termite Q & A With The Experts

What do you do when you’ve found your dream home, but discover that it’s crawling with termites?

The truth is, there are two kinds of homes: those that have had termites and those that will get them.  And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to run away from the purchase.  A pest control professional can correct the problem so that you can live comfortably in your dream home.

How difficult are termites to treat?

Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own.  On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise, equipment, and technology to eliminate termite infestations.

How much does a termite treatment cost?

They can range anywhere from $800 to $1,800 dollars, depending on where you live, the construction of your home, severity of the infestation, and the type of contract offered by your pest control professional.  Your pest control professional will give you a free estimate.

What are the different types of termite treatments?

There are two primary types of treatments available for use by the professional: liquids and baits.  Liquids are used around a home area to ensure long-term protection or used to treat wood directly. Baits systems involve placing monitoring stations in the ground.

Are these products dangerous to kids and pets?

All professional pest control products have been registered for use by the EPA.

When they are applied according to label instructions by technicians who have been trained and licensed to use them, they pose little risk. Also, the products are applied in areas not frequented by people (under soil surface, in walls, in stations under the soil).

What is the most effective type of termite treatment?

A trained and licensed pest control operator is the best person to make a recommendation for each particular property. Also, homeowners might have a preference as to which technology to use so it is important that they have a detailed conversation with their pest control company.

Why should someone hire a professional instead of attempting to control their pest problems by themselves?

Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control termites – or other pests — on your own. The products and the expertise offered by professional pest control far surpasses what a homeowner could do on their own.  Leave it up to the experts for peace of mind. Why risk it?

South Florida Cockroach Control Information

There are about 3,500 cockroach species world-wide, about 70 of which are found in the United States. Roaches are also commonly referred to as palmetto bugs or waterbugs, but regardless of their name they can be real pests!

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Roaches vary in color from a brown to black in the house-invading species, but the tropical species can be green, orange, and other colors.  These nasty pests can grow up to 1.5 inches in length, and prefer warm, moist, and dark areas. They have an oval shaped and are flat-bodied, with a pronotum, or shield-like covering, which projects over their head. Both the male and female are fully winged. Although they are able to fly short distances, they seldom do, preferring to let their six long legs do the scurrying when making a run for cover, which anyone who has surprised one feeding knows.

Females produce their skittering spawn from purse-shaped egg capsules, which are formed at a rate of about one per week until 15-90 have been produced. Each capsule contains 14-16 eggs, which produce grayish-brown nymphs. These nymphs quickly begin feeding, and although their appearance and behavior is similar to the adults, they are smaller and don’t have wings. Newly molted nymphs are white, but darken to their normal color within a few hours.

Although cockroaches can be found in groups in their daytime hiding areas, known as harborages, or feeding in groups at night, cockroaches are generally not social insects as ants or wasps are. They tend to behave in an individual or non-social manner, but often form small clusters. Cockroaches aren’t picky eaters, though they tend to favor decaying matter, and have been known to snack on sweet, starchy and greasy foods. As scavengers, the cockroach is an opportunistic and omnivorous feeder. They have been known to eat just about anything: paper, boots, pet food, book bindings, cloth, leather, glue, and even other roaches.

How to Keep Bugs From Invading Your Kitchen

        How to Keep Bugs From Invading Your Kitchen
  • Add a bay leaf to canisters of dry goods. The herb’s pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
  • Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
  • Once packages are opened, move ingredients into sealed glass or Tupperware-type containers with secure lids before storing them in the pantry or cabinet.
  • Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use and visually inspect previously opened items before adding them to a recipe.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Seal cracks or holes around the stovepipes and water pipes.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Consult a licensed pest professional if an infestation has already taken root.

How to stay pest free during the Holiday Season

One of the most common ways that pests are introduced into homes during the holidays is via Christmas trees, wreaths and firewood. Ants, spiders, ticks and other pests can hide deep in the branches of trees and in crevices of wood. In some cases, insects may even lay eggs in trees or garland. When brought indoors, the eggs will hatch creating a major pest infestation in the home.

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To prevent bringing pests into you home on live trees and other greenery, take a few minutes to carefully inspect such items before bringing indoors. Look for insects, nests or eggs, and shake off greenery outdoors to rouse any hidden tenants.

Another way that pests can access our homes this time of year is through boxes of decorations, which are often stored in basements, attics, garages and crawlspaces – all favorite hiding spots for pests. Mice and other pests find their way into the boxes of during the off-season. When homeowners unpack their decorations, they may find live or dead pests and droppings inside. Unfortunately, in some cases, they may also find that holiday decorations have been chewed or destroyed by pests.

When it’s time to decorate, unpack holiday items outside and inspect all items carefully for signs of pests, droppings, gnaw marks or other damage before bringing them indoors. Pay special attention to strings of lights to ensure that wiring has not been frayed by pests.

Perhaps the most important step you can take to prevent pests during the holidays comes at the end of each season, when it’s time to take down the tree and pack up the decorations. Store holiday décor in hard, plastic bins with tightly sealed lids instead of cardboard boxes or bags that can easily be chewed through. Do not pile discarded live trees or cut firewood near your home, as this can attract mice, termites and other pests.