All posts by Hulett Environmental

OUCH! It got me!

OUCH! It got me!

It’s a question we all have asked before. Will every spider I encounter plot an evil plan to bite me when I lease expect it? All spiders do have teeth, fangs, and nasty venom, however contrary to public belief; the majority of spiders here in the United States are not of any real kind of threat to humans.

Myths and threats and downright weird behavior of spiders cause their bad reputation. The webs they weave are ominous. Walking into a web means a spider is near and you just ruined its home. It is SURELY going to attack you in your sleep, just like in the movies, right?

Only two types of spiders can really cause you any harm. They are two that you really don’t want to mess around with. The black widow males are mostly docile; however the females are known to be aggressive, especially in defense mode. The brown recluse also bites mostly in defense. The brown recluse spider will bite and cause open ulcers on the skin at the point of contact. Both spiders produce restlessness, fever, nausea and difficultly sleeping as symptoms to their attack.

To answer the question, no not all spiders are out to get you. Just make sure to keep an eye out for the black widow and brown recluse.

For more information on black widow and brown recluse spiders, click here

Expensive Bites

Expensive Bites

Do you have any idea of the damage a termite can cause? Termites can cause up to 5 billion dollars in home and property damage a year and much of this damage may not even be covered by your insurance. They will silently destroy support beams, stairs, floors and walls. This can be a very hard expense for you to chew on. These tiny pests have a very large appetite and will eat all day, every day. That’s right. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They love to eat the cellulose in wood and what many people don’t realize is that cellulose is also in books and your wallpaper too. These pests will have no problem diving into your home library or believing your wallpaper comes from Willie Wonka’s factory. Your home is filled with tasty delights for them to graze away! The fact that damage happens at a very slow pace is good news for a home owner. This will give you the time needed to take careful precautions. An annual inspection can help not only prevent termite damage, but also stop them in action before it gets serious and causes un-repairable damage. An experienced, licensed inspector is recommended. For more information on termites click here  

Repelling pests: Myths and Truths

Repelling pests: Myths and Truths

Warm temperatures and weather lend survival needs to pests. We are willing to experiment with almost anything to rid our home of unwanted bugs. There are many DIY remedies, but do they work? Ron Harrison has some explanations on the myths and truths of every day household items that can help with the prevention to keep bugs away and out of your home.

It is true that some oranges will actually repel cockroaches. It won’t stop them from invading other parts of your home though. Remember an adult cockroach is able to squeeze under a space as thin as a coin.

It is a myth that fire ant can consume dry grits and then their stomachs explode when they consume water. You can prevent fire ants by removing any food or water sources such as pet food and water, spills and open food containers.

It is true that a bag of water can repel flies. This is confusing to the fly as the light reflects the water inside.

It is a myth that dryer sheets repel mosquitoes and spiders and some rodents. The claims have no scientific research to back the theory, but rubbing a dryer sheet along the baseboard will help pick up any leftover crumbs.

It is true that a simple solution of soap and water will repel garden bugs such as aphids. Spraying the solution on your beloved plats every couple of days can help rid them of aphids. For more information on fire ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, spiders, aphids and rodents click here

Unwanted house guests

Unwanted house guests

According to the Michigan State University Extension, insects will spend much of the winter as pupa, larva or an egg. There is however a group that will be adults over winter. These are the critters that will need to find a sleeping location that will stay between 40 – 50 degrees. If they are to survive the winter, they will be back in spring to reproduce and do what they do, BUG. If you were looking for a warm sleeping spot, doesn’t the void between the inside and outside of your wall sound inviting? There are many insects that can roam your home and won’t cause any damage, unless you smash the bugs yourself. The stains they may cause and stink is another issue. A few possibilities of some house guest you may encounter; Boxelder bug is common in the fall. Western conifer seed bug resembles a stink bug. Asian lady beetle will leave a literal stink when it becomes stress. But who doesn’t like lady bugs? Cluster fly is a large in size and a large problem for some areas. They will slowly emerge from your walls as the sun warms the south or western side. Elm leaf beetle is likely to hang out in your attic for its winter naps.

For more information on Boxelder bug, western conifer seed bug, Asian lady beetle, cluster fly and elm leaf beetle click here

Water striders are jumpers

Water striders are jumpers

Water striders are a familiar sight as the will skate across streams and puddles. To avoid predators such as fish, frogs or bigger insects, the water strider will draw their legs inward and push down on the surface of the water to jump into the air. They push slowly at first, but even as their speed increases they do not break the tension of the surface water. What does this mean? It means no splash! This may not sound too impressive at first thought, but this is no easy task even for the light weight creature who can move horizontally across the water with ease.

Harvard scientists and Seoul National University researchers and joined forces to try to understand the locomotion of water striders. A miniscule robot was created and inspired by jumping fleas to try to learn how the strider jumps. They were able to replicate the motions by using an alloy that will stretch, but when it is heated it will return to its original length. The mechanism worked like a contracting spring. The artificial legs would be pulled slowly at first and then increase the speed. It appears that a secret still remains on how the water strider pulls its legs inward. The muscles or mechanical action used is not known. For more information on water striders click here

Summer bugs; Pests or specs of beauty?

Summer bugs; Pests or specs of beauty?

Summertime brings on the onset of all types of outdoor activities. From hiking to ball games, humans love to explore the glory of the outdoors during the warmest time of year. It also happens to be one of the biggest times of year to discover the different species of insects hiding in your favorite outdoor hideaway.

From looking closely at a favorite flower and realizing there is a pollen covered bee moving the flowers petals, to seeing a black insect with red tattoos on its back scaling the rocks surrounding your favorite hiking spot, insects really can be beautiful if you take the time to recognize the beauty.

Dragonflies and beetles can also be spotted during the summer months with their colorful markings and designs, they are hard to miss. Carrion beetles for instance are black and white beetles that will catch your eye with their vulture like attitudes. Dragon flies dive bomb gracefully around without fear and hover allowing you to see their colors.

Along with all the beauty of course comes bites from the insects. So the question is, is the beauty worth the pain and itchiness of the height of bug season? Of course it is. Just be careful and try to know your bugs. Stay away from the venom and enjoy the colors of summer.

For more information on summer insects please click here

The Ants Go Marching – How to Get Rid of Ants in the House

The warmer summer months bring with them South Florida summer rains and increased ant activity. You might have already seen ants marching into your South Florida home over the last several weeks. Although not all types of ants bite or sting, what you might not realize is that in addition to being a nuisance, certain types of ants can pose a risk to your health and property. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood to build nests and can cause severe property damage. Fire ants can bite or “sting” and cause severe allergic reactions in some. That’s why it’s important to address any potential ant infestation as soon as possible.

Ants or Termites?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the flying forms of ants and termites. In warm weather, both species “swarm” and leave the nest in large numbers to mate and establish new colonies. To the untrained eye they can be very difficult to tell apart. There are three easy ways to tell flying ants and termites apart here is what to look for:

  • Wing size – Termite wings are all equal in length and extend well past the abdomen. Ants have wings which are unequal in length and generally end at the tip of the abdomen.
  • Antennae shape – Antennae on termites are straight and bead-like, but on ants they are elbowed.
  • Waist size – Ants have a pinched waist, but termites have no constriction in the body and are more streamlined.

Flying Ant or Termite?If you aren’t sure, call Hulett today to schedule your professional inspection.

Ants are typically found inside the home in areas with high moisture such as in kitchens, on counters, under sinks and in bathrooms. Dripping faucets and leaking pipes may also be important water sources that ants will use. So it is important to fix any leaks immediately.

Removal Tips

Most ants that are found in homes nest outdoors and enter homes only to search for food or water. The main tip to get rid of ants is to create a less inviting environment for them, including removing food and water sources.

The summer rains and warmer temperatures also make it easy for the plants in your yard to flourish. As your plants grow out and touch the side of your house, ants and other pests are able to use the tree branches as a little bridge right into your home. Trim shrubs and trees away from the home regularly to help prevent pest problems.

Inside the home, keep your kitchen clean. Seal food items properly, clean counters, fix leaky pipes and remove unnecessary clutter. Some species are particularly troublesome to get rid of. Just call Hulett at 1-866-611-2847 for the most effective targeted pest control treatments for your home, and schedule a free in home inspection and estimate.

It’s a bugs world

It’s a bugs world

I was raised with no fear of insects and am thankful for the entomologist background my father gave me. My mother was certain that marrying an entomologist would mean absolutely no bugs in the house. She, like so many others, was afraid of all those little, pesky, creepy-crawlies that surround us every day both within the sanctuary of our homes and in the outside world. There is no such thing as a bug free world.

Part of the problem with this thinking is the person’s lack of understanding of the war on bugs. Sure we don’t want insects having a free for all in our homes. Sure there are crops to protect and insect-borne diseases to prevent. Insecticides are continually being developed and redeveloped not only for public safety, but because of the tolerance these critters will develop to create their super powered insect immunities. There are millions of different species on this planet we claim is ours. We as humans are out numbered about 2 million to 1. They will thrive and carry on without us, yet we cannot survive without them. Looks like it’s a bug’s world after all.

There are many different cultures already that consider insects of all types a delicacy. Americans are much slower to accept the idea of grasshopper kabobs. The reality of it is we already eat insects whether we know it or not.

For more information on ingesting grasshopper, fruit flies and maggots click here

It’s not a nightmare! It’s just a spider web

It’s not a nightmare! It’s just a spider web

Hundreds of feet and entire trees have succumbed to a giant cooperative spider web in Texas.  It is speculated that thousands of spiders have worked together to build the massive mega-web. It looks like a giant communal based home for the massive amount of eight legged pests.

Local residents near Lakeside Park South in Rowlett, Texas have turned the spectacle into a touristy home to visit. One man brought his grandchildren with him to see the giant web because he wanted to make sure his grandkids did not miss witnessing such a rare sight. He was even quoted describing the web as “Amazing”.

Another local resident traveled during the miserable summer weather to visit the silk spun web. Even after going through the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s Master Naturalist program, all this resident could say is, “It’s just so cool, I don’t know, I am just a science nerd, I guess. I just love this sort of thing.”

The spiders have spun a web so long it’s like a natural net catching mosquitoes and small flies. Experts say that is likely the inspiration behind the cooperative web.

Residents have left the web alone stating this type of spider is not a threat. Residents went on to say that this is a very good lesson for people actually; “We can do amazing things if we set our minds to it and work cooperatively.”

For more information on the giant spider web click here

Giant ants invade Florida Museum

Giant ants invade Florida Museum

On July 7, two six foot nine inch, 1100 pound ants titled “X” and “O”, were installed via crane and put on display in Gainesville at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Sculptor, Susan P. Cochran, of Palm Beach cast the giant, bronze eye catching pieces of art. “X” and “O” were installed outside of the museum with a reception following.  These large scale ant sculptures have received international acclaim.

The Florida Museum of Natural History will remain home to the ants for the next year for viewing, as part of The University of Florida’s Creative B summer Program. This program targets the University’s artistic students for a consolidated and collective resource for participants to enjoy a wide range of artistic and cultural events.

For more on the invasion of the ants please click here