All posts by Hulett Environmental

Britain’s Buff-Tailed Bumblebee Fever

Britain’s Buff-Tailed Bumblebee Fever

Britain has officially chosen its favorite insect. The Royal Society of Biology recently held a vote to decide the UK’s favorite insect in the effort to raise the profile of insects and help raise awareness about the need for their conservation. The insect population is in constant danger from climate change, loss of habitat, and pesticides. While we may not be fond of these bugs, our lives actually depend on their survival. So, who won Britain’s heart? According to the nationwide poll the buff-tailed bumblebee comes out on top by a landslide. Dr. Rebecca Nesbit, member of RSB and entomologist, suggests people are attracted to the bees’ hard working nature, “Wasps interrupt your picnic, but there is something quite appealing about sitting in your garden and seeing a bumblebee hard at work. It’s very noticeable in gardens and people are more aware of the valuable role bees play for us and the challenges they face at the moment.”

Insects are a vital part of our lives. Bees pollinate our crops and wildflowers, without which we’d have a serious problem in the food department, not to mention the effect on the environment. We depend on them for food, the wildlife that is integral to the circle of life, and our very economy. The RSB wants to increase conservation efforts to protect against the loss of these vital critters. In celebration of the buff-tailed bumblebee’s win, the RSB is encouraging people to plant “bee-friendly” plants for theses hardworking bugs.

Do you know how much humans actually depend on the existence of insects? How do you give back to your pint-sized neighbors?

Fall Gardening Warfare

Fall Gardening Warfare

With the planting of fall crops also comes the inevitable warfare against garden pests. Be prepared and don’t let them run rampant on your beautiful tomatoes or cauliflower this year. Tomatoes are in danger especially from the tomato hornworm, a large caterpillar that feed voraciously on your plant’s foliage. You can knock them out with products such as Thuricide or Bio-worm Control, but it is more effective to be on the lookout for damage and quickly find and remove the pesky critter. Hard to control stink bugs are also a problem. They inject digestive juices into the fruit, which results in tough, lumpy tomatoes. Sevin is a good product to use against this kind of attack.

Cole crops such as cabbage and broccoli are in danger from small green caterpillars called cabbage loopers. You can use the same products used on tomato hornworms to fight these hungry pests.

Fire ant activity also increases in the fall. To counteract these guys you can either apply insecticides with spinosad or acephate in the ingredients to their mounds or apply bait like Amdro over a larger landscape for the ants to carry back to their mounds. Kill the buggers!

What fall pests are you worried about? What precautions have you taken this year?

Head-Hunting Fly

Head-Hunting Fly

Researchers have found a species of tropical female flies that bite the heads off of ants and enjoy them for dinner. It’s usually the ants in the tropics that swarm over anything on the forest floor to grab a meal, so it’s interesting to see another bug taking a chunk out of these vicious food hogs.

The flies are able to sense injured ants due to the pheromones wafting from them, which cue the flies to come grab some lunch. The flies then swoop in and chop off the injured ants’ head with long, sawlike weapons attached to their jaw. They have to be fast, though, or risk becoming a meal themselves. These flies are only a fraction of an inch long, much smaller than the big head of the trap-jaw ant, the only species they choose to dine on.

The flies were discovered when a group of scientists were studying parasitic phorid flies in Brazil and one of them happened to witness a fly swoop in and snatch the head off of an injured ant. That’s what I call resourceful.

Have you ever witnessed any strange behavior from insects around you? What bizarre things have you seen?

South Florida Spiders

Peter Parker fans rejoice! Sony Pictures Entertainment recently announced a new partnership with Marvel Studios that will bring a new Spider-Man film to hit theaters in the summer of 2017. The popular superhero’s upcoming return prompted Hulett to share some Spidey-tastic species of spiders found in South Florida.

Where you are likely to find them: Spiders can be found almost everywhere. Look for their telltale webs inside and out. They prefer dark and quiet garages and storage areas. Outside look in bushes, trees and hedges, under piles of dead leaves, under rocks and pots, along fences, on walls and windowsills. Inside, look in corners, especially along the ceiling, and around windows and in houseplants. Spiders vary in their hunting style. Some spin webs to catch their prey; others lie in wait for insects; still others actively hunt for prey. Hunting spiders can be found walking on walls and floors. Some spiders are active during the day, many are more active at night.

Florida spider removal services

Some common South Florida spider species include:

Black Widow

  • General Characteristics: The southern black widow spider is shiny black and is often feared because of their painful bite. The female usually has a red spot or hourglass-shaped mark on the underside of the abdomen.
  • Size: The body is about 3/4 inch long and the abdomen is about 3/8 inch in diameter
  • Hunting: By day, they hide by night in its web.
  • Found: It’s usually found outdoors under rocks and boards, and in and around old buildings.
  • Medical: Considered the most venomous spider in North America. These are shy spiders, and if you avoid placing your hands where you can’t see, bites are unlikely. They are timid and solitary, and often bite only when disturbed. However, the female injects such a small dose of venom that it rarely causes death. The bite of the black widow feels like a pinprick and the initial pain disappears rapidly, leaving local swelling and two tiny red marks. Muscular cramps in the shoulder, thigh and back usually begin within 15 minutes to three hours.

Brown Widow

In South Florida, one of the main types of venomous spiders are brown widow spiders.

  • General Characteristics: Brown widows are slightly smaller than the black widow and are gray to brown in color. If you can see it, the underside of the abdomen, contains the characteristic hourglass marking and is yellow to orange in color. Their legs have dark bands.
  • Size: Mature females are 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length
  • Found: In nature, most are found under rocks and logs, but they readily adapt to human-altered environments. It prefers secluded, protected sites around our homes. Some typical sites include inside old tires, empty containers, entry way corners, under eaves, cluttered storage closets and garages, behind hurricane shutters, underneath outside chairs, and under any item that has been undisturbed for a lengthy period such as a barbecue grill, slide, or sand box.
  • Hunting: nocturnal
  • Medical: Widow spiders are generally very timid and only bite in self-defense when they accidentally contact humans. Experts believe that the venom of the brown widow may be twice as potent as the black widow, but the brown widow is less inclined to inject larger amounts of venom. Brown widow bite symptoms can include pain, rigidity in the muscles of the abdomen and legs, swelling, nausea, vomiting and in severe cases a sharp rise in blood pressure.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider

  • General Characteristics: Its characteristic silver body and yellow-and-black markings make it easy to identify.
  • Size: 1 inch in length
  • Found: Their large webs can often be seen along the edge of woodlands. Argiope spiders tend to hang head down in the middle their web that has thickened, zigzag bands of silk in the center.
  • Hunting: These spiders have relatively poor vision, but are quite sensitive to vibration and air currents.

Crab Spider

Crab spiders get their name from they way they hold their legs to the side in a crab-like fashion.

  • General Characteristics: Some resemble tree bark, leaves, or fruits; others appear to mimic bird droppings.
  • Size: Most crab spiders are about 0.4 in in length, but the giant crab spider may reach 1.0 inch.
  • Found: These spiders do not spin webs to trap prey, but are often extremely well-camouflaged, blending in perfectly with the vegetation and flowers they live among. They wait on flowers and foliage for their insect prey and then ambush attack.
  • Hunting: Though their jaws are rather small and slender, many crab spiders possess potent venoms that quickly immobilize their prey. Crab spiders do not wrap their prey in silk after biting, but instead remain with the immobilized prey until they have sucked it dry.

Jumping Spider

  • General Characteristics: Many are brightly colored and strikingly patterned and are among the most ornate of spiders. They have stout bodies, short legs, and very large eyes on the front of the face. They are easily identified by their eye arrangement, which is in three rows.
  • Size: Relatively small, usually 1/2 inch less. Jumping spider females are generally larger than males.
  • Hunting: Jumping spiders do not make webs, but actively hunt prey during the day, “jumping” or pouncing on their victims.
  • Found: Commonly seen around the home because they are active predators during the day. Juveniles may make their nests rolled leaves, while adults frequently make their nests along the inner mid-veins of palm fronds

Golden Silk Spider (aka Banana Spider)

  • General Characteristics: The female is one of the largest orb-weaving spiders. Distinctively colored, the female is a large orange and brown spider that has noticeable feathery hair tufts on her long legs. Males are dark-brown, and are often found in the webs of females.
  • Size: The female is 1 inch to 1.5 inches long; Males are about 0.2 inch long
  • Found: They are most commonly found in forests, along trails and at clearing edges.
    These spiders feed primarily on flying insects, which they catch in webs that may be greater than 3 feet wide.

Green Lynx Spider

  • General Characteristics: This is a relatively large, bright green spider. The body is a vivid, almost transparent green, with red spots and some white markings. The legs are long, slender and covered at intervals with long black spines. This spider is capable of “spitting” venom in self-defense.
  • Size: Ranges from 0.5 to 0.75 inch long
  • Found: This spider is commonly found in shrubs and bushes during the day and almost always choose light green foliage. They prefer to be near flowers, but still tend to be perfectly camouflaged.
  • Hunters: They do not spin webs and are not active hunters but prefer to sit-and-wait for unwary bees, flies, and other insects.

Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

  • General Characteristics: The spiny orb-weaver spider is one of the most colorful and easily recognized spiders in Florida. The back of the abdomen is usually white with black spots and large red spines on the margin.
  • Size: range from 0.2 to 0.5 inch wide.
  • Hunting: Spiny orb weavers make the familiar flat, ornate, circular webs. The webs typically contain tufts of silk, which may prevent birds from flying into them.

Wolf Spider

  • General Characteristics: Relatively common, wolf spiders are large, hairy spiders which are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray, and brown. They look particularly malicious and often frighten people, however they are not are poisonous and will not bite a human unless provoked.
  • Size: Range from 1/2 to 2 inches in length
  • Hunting: This spider does not spin webs and may hunt actively at night or wait in ambush at the mouth of its burrow or hide under debris, where it hides during the day. Like other hunting spiders, they have good eyesight and are sensitive to vibrations.
  • Habitat: Usually found on the ground, where they are well-camouflaged by their hairy bodies under leaf litter, rocks, and logs. When they come inside, they normally stay on the ground floor and are active in dim light.

Yellow Sac Spider

Yellowish in color (almost albino looking), with dark markings on the jaws and feet

  • Size: relatively small, approximately 1/4 inch.
  • Habitat: Look for their egg sacs are laid in corners of all sorts. They get their name from the sac of silk they produce daily for resting. The egg sacs are white and spun with silk.
  • Hunting: These active spiders are nocturnal and actively hunt their insect prey at night. Yellow sac spiders are nighttime hunters that search for prey rather than catching their prey within a web.
  • Medical: The fangs of yellow sac spiders are powerful and can penetrate human skin, delivering a painful bite and mild venom that is usually restricted to area of the bite.


Hulett’s Healthy Home program takes a proactive approach and focuses on pest prevention, not just pest control. We use only the highest quality products and treat in an environmentally responsible fashion. This means you receive the most effective and convenient pest protection system there is, guaranteed! So if you see any of these spiders crawling around your home Just Call Hulett today! All of our spider removal services – they are all covered under Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee

Your satisfaction is our top priority! That’s why we offer you a money back guarantee. We pledge to swiftly and effectively resolve any concerns you may have at no additional charge. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with our service we will return to make it right or we will refund your last service payment. This steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction has been our guiding principle for three generations Hulett.

Hulett understands that when you need us, you need us right away! We pledge to respond within 24 hours so you can rest easy knowing your home will be protected from spiders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Black Widow Blues

Black Widow Blues

Black widows are one of those spiders you want to steer clear from. That little red hourglass on their body is a bright red warning light advising you to stay the hell away. Trust me, you don’t want to get bitten by one of these deadly arachnids. It hurts…a lot. You won’t die, but you might want to.

The major toxins in a black widow’s venom that cause the excruciating pain are called latrotoxins. The toxins actually hijack your nervous system and turn it against you. What is known as an alpha-latrotoxin inserts itself into the membrane of the pre-synaptic regions of your neurons, causing all of the neuron’s vesicles to dump their neurotransmitters. That dumping stimulates motor endplates, making your muscles cramp up. This is what causes the extreme pain.

So, why do these tiny creatures pack such a punch? Scientists think it has to do with the evolution of their diet. The venom allows the spider to catch larger prey (small mammals and reptiles) as well as smaller more typical prey…as well as their mates. Thankfully for humans, black widows aren’t very aggressive, so you really have to “bug” it for it to react strongly enough that it bites you. So, just watch those dark corners and you should be alright for the most part.

Have you ever seen a black widow in your home? Have you ever been bitten by one?

Man vs Bugs: A Look At The Age-old Battle

Man vs Bugs: A Look At The Age-old Battle

There are 300 pounds of insects for every pound of human. In a traditional battle, this gross outnumbering of “force” is a sure sign for an overwhelming, crushing, depressing defeat. And if these bugs weren’t so tiny, we humans would probably have gone extinct long ago.

Of course, a lot of benefit can also be credited to that riveting organic machine perched atop our otherwise helpless heads. Thanks to the human brain, we have formulated ways — from the deadly efficient to the creatively comical — to defend ourselves from what most of us consider to be age-old nuisances.

Here are just some examples of the more creative weapons we can use to make fending pests off more fun than just a plain old chore:

  • Bug-A-Salt 2.0 – If action-packed shooting is more your kind of game, then the Bug-A-Salt 2.0 might be the right bug exterminating tool for you. This plastic shotgun can fire up to 80 blasts of table salt — enough for you to put down dozens of those terribly slippery houseflies you’ve been trying to get rid of for days.
  • The Commander Mosquito Magnet Trap – If a mosquito invasion is your problem, then this semi-intelligent mosquito death trap is your friend. Leave it on your backyard or front porch and it will do its job — and if you have it wifi-connected, will dutifully send you text and email updates along the way.
  • The Executioner Pro Zapper – If you’re more of the sporty type, then this electric tennis racket-like contraption might be just the perfect handheld accessory for you. Multi-purpose to the core, you can practice your tennis chops and arm swings at the same time you get to zap those flies, mosquitoes and other pests to death.

Indeed, there are other more prudent ways to handle your house pests, such as calling pest control professionals. But sometimes, in the spirit of livening up uneventful domestic chores, you just have to get a bit more cheeky with the little spirited buggers.

Yes, it’s furry and purrs, but it is not a cat!

Yes, it’s furry and purrs, but it is not a cat!

Did you know that wolf spiders actually will purr to attract their mates? Almost a soft sweet serenade. Spiders communicate through vibrations so the purring actually does make sense.

A male wolf spider will use these vibrations when a female is close, and also they both must be standing on a solid ground where the vibrations from the purr can be felt. Dried leaves are also a good spot for the males to make their mating call purr because the leaves will amplify the noise and sensation for the female.

Scientists were aware that wolf spiders are capable of making audible noises. But, it is hard to explain why wolf spiders would make such a noise if they don’t have ears. The answer lies in the small hairs all over a wolf spiders body. They work as an extra sensory that can “feel” the sounds in the vibration allowing the male to call out to his female.

Because of their size and body hair, the wolf spider is commonly mistaken for a tarantula. Both of these spiders are harmless to humans, and are very non aggressive unless they feel threatened. Their bites are not deadly, although the bite site could be extremely uncomfortable.

For more information on the wolf spider, please click here

It’s not your food we want! It’s your home!

It’s not your food we want! It’s your home!

They are hungry and they hide very easily. They want to eat, but not your typical food. No, termites will settle for nothing else than your home. How can you combat them? There are several ways.

One thing that is rarely thought about during home repair, is what about the existing termite treatment? If you have done a home repair project that required you to dig up utilities for instance, that would disturb the termite treatment, if treated with a liquid termiticide.

Termites love to hide in piles of branches and left over yard mulch. Of course we always want to plant our flowers and such close to the home. The problem of course is that works as an attractant for termites. Move the mulch back and the chances of termites going after the wood in your home goes down. If you have an old tree stump still in your yard that is like a pre made castle to a termite.  Especially if it is close to your home it can be almost a termite trampoline for them to propel themselves right into the attic or other wood bore area in your home.

If you think you have a termite issue, make sure to have your home inspected and treated to avoid any future damage.

For more information on termites, please click here

Are the ants the problem?

Are the ants the problem?

Researchers have found new evidence that may show that ants are actually infecting honeybees with a deadly virus. The argentine ant is one of the most damaging pests worldwide, and now they are known to carry the deformed wing virus which is accountable for the collapse of many bee colonies.

Argentine ants are particularly dangerous because they are highly adaptable. They have very flexible diets and will devour everything from other insects to small animals like lizards. They are also very territorial and will overtake an area as its own territory. During the same research session it was discovered they also carry another form of virus that may make it a possibility to control the ants, which would save people from having to use harmful pesticides. They only take about 74 days to reproduce and they are like most ants serving their queen. The male’s sole purpose is to reproduce, and they die shortly after reproducing only once. Because they are highly adaptable, they will join with other colonies of argentine ants and take over an entire city block if left untreated.

If you see an argentine ant, there is a strong possibility there are hundreds you don’t see. Make sure to call your local pest control company to end your ant problem.

For more information on ants please click here

It’s fall! Time for new bugs

It’s fall! Time for new bugs

As the weather cools off, you may notice an entirely new set of pesky pests trying to take over your back yard. Tis the season for large adult beetles who are hungry and ready to eat. These beetles can be harmful to your backyard garden because they will eat the eggs of other beneficial bugs. By the time spring comes around the population of beneficial insects will have decreased because the eggs never hatch.

Some great tips to make sure you don’t leave your back yard wide open for the buffet is to clear away any fruits that may have fallen from fruit trees, as well as cleaning up any brush and other debris. Eliminating their hiding spots is a great start. You can also try oils and insecticide soaps, but be careful not to use actual pesticides on the plants in your yard. By doing that you may also eliminate the few good insects you want around all seasons. Lady bugs and praying mantis’ are wonderful insects to have in your garden. These two types of insects will keep some of the harmful insects away in turn keeping your garden healthy.

For more information on beetles, please click here