All posts by Hulett Environmental

The Most Terrifying Ant of all Time

The Most Terrifying Ant of all Time

Many scientists are strongly convinced that no insect in the world can cause hallucinogenic affects in a human being.  However, there exists a little known report claiming otherwise.

A scholarly article written by anthropologist Kevin P. Groark from UCLA suggests that there is indeed a strong possibility, as well as scholarly documentation, that suggest that Native Americans ingested what are known as California harvester ants in order to induce spiritual visions of a hallucinogenic sort.

Native shamanic tribes would consume as many as 400 ants, resulting in them passing out and probably having some pretty awesome dreams…but let’s remember this was done all in the name of having magical visions…

It is reported that the dreams that the ant-eating tribe experienced during unconsciousness involved being visited by spirits in the form of animals.  These divine animals would dispense with advice on how to live a prosperous life.  It was especially popular among the young men who believed that heavy consumption at a young age would result in a wisdom that could only be achieved over a lifetime.  But this was not the only purpose that these ants served.

Due to the strict procedures involved in initiating a native inhabitant of Southern California into adulthood, a young boy would be forced to lie on their back and endure the pain of the California harvester ants excruciating bite.  All while the elders incite the anger of the ants by prodding them toward the boy—supposedly for his own benefit…or perhaps because they secretly got a kick out of it.

Could this be the next drug fad? Can the government actually make this illegal? Would you let loose and…let tons of ants bite you, causing excruciating pain…to check out this insect high?




Your Worst Nightmare – Cockroaches That Bite

Your Worst Nightmare – Cockroaches That Bite

Pest Control Palm Beach

I think we can all agree that cockroaches are generally loathsome. However, in their favor, they don’t actually do anything to hurt us. They don’t bite or sting like some other insects out there. They are just generally gross and disturbing…right? Well, I’m here to tell you that, while it is not common, cockroaches have been recorded biting people. What makes me want to gag, though, is finding out that they enjoy eating little bits and pieces of dead humans.

Cockroaches are omnivores, so I guess it is not all that surprising to discover that they would consider munching on us. For the most part, you are safe from their hunger, but if you have an extreme infestation with a large cockroach population, they can end up outgrowing their food source. This is when they turn to nibbling on human fingernails, eyelashes, feet, and hands. These bites can cause irritation, lesions, and swelling, and can sometimes lead to infection.

Apparently the most serious cases happened on ships. In such a confined space the cockroaches are able to keep growing in numbers, while sources of food do not. So, they begin biting the fingers and nails of the people on board. There are even reports of sailors wearing gloves to protect their hands from being bitten.

Did you know that in these extreme cases cockroaches will bite humans? How many cockroaches are living in your house?

Beautiful Bugs

Beautiful Bugs

Be honest: Is your first reaction to seeing an insect in your home a screech or gasp? If you answered yes, you are not alone! Most people cringe at the sight of insects or others pests in their home, which is why they hire a professional pest control company to keep critters away.

But several photographers are asking us to take a step back and admire bugs for their beauty. This may sound like an absurd concept to some, but the intricacies of some insects can be very beautiful.

And this is what photographer Pascal Goet wants people to understand, “The inspiration behind this is to disconnect man’s repulsion for the insects and make them accept and at least, aesthetically, love them.”

You may be wondering, what is it about bugs that makes them so beautiful (at least to some!). According to Goet, “With insects you have strange shapes, you have behavior that’s very strange, you have extraordinary colors. And this is very, very special.”

What do you think? Do you find bugs beautiful? Or at least interesting? Would you be interested in having a photograph of an insect in your home?

Brazil’s Brilliant Ad Campaign to Fight Zika

Brazil’s Brilliant Ad Campaign to Fight Zika

Brazil is one of the most highly affected areas with the Zika virus. As you can imagine, Brazilian officials are doing all they can to slow down transmission as much as possible.

And according to reports, local advertisers are also doing their part, which has resulted in a very innovative advertising campaign!

Billboards have been installed in the cities of Rio and Tijuca which emit the odor of human sweat and blast out carbon dioxide to attract mosquitoes. Then, mosquitoes that take the bate, are trapped and killed.

Even if this makes a small impact, it will be worth it. There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Zika-associated microcephaly in Brazil and almost 5,000 suspected cases. What’s more, this number shows no signs of slowing down.

What do you think? Do you think this is just a crafty advertising gimmick or do you think it could help the problem?

If you have concerns about mosquitoes on your property, we can’t offer you billboards, but we do encourage you contact us about our mosquito reduction services!

Bombardier Beetle

Do not underestimate the small, yet mighty, Bombardier Beetle! This small insect may look harmless, but it has some serious defense mechanisms that pack a pretty big punch!

According to a recent documentary, when attacked, the Bombardier Beetle sparks an internal chemical reaction that releases hot liquid upon its attacker. This can also fend off potential attackers such as birds.

And make no mistake: this defense mechanism is very powerful

“If the beetle’s explosion chamber were the size of the inside of a car, the blast would release about the same energy as about two pounds of TNT,” Eric Arndt, a doctoral student who has studied these beetles says.

Pretty impressive considering this beetle is about the size of a dime!

What do you think? Are you impressed by the power of the Bombardier Beetle? Can you think of other insects or animals that have similar defense mechanisms?

If you have concerns about beetles, or any other pests, in or around your home be sure to contact a professional pest management company!

Bed Bugs Are a Big Problem for these Florida Cities

Bed Bugs are bad news for anyone who encounters them, primarily because they are one of the trickiest pests to eradicate from homes. That’s why if you even suspect you have bed bugs, it’s important to call a professional pest management company that specializes in Bed Bug Control right away.

And for residents in these Florida cities, this is of even higher importance. That’s because recent reports suggest that they rank in the Top 50 Cities with the highest bed bug occurrences.

Here is the breakdown: Tampa comes in at number 31, Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne at 38, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale at 43.

What is the number one-ranking city you may ask? Chicago, Illinois!

Have you ever encountered Bed Bugs? Do you take precautions to look for or avoid Bed Bugs when you travel?

We can’t say it enough: Bed Bugs are certainly a job for the professionals!

Florida Fish to Fight Zika

Florida Fish to Fight Zika

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has come up with an innovative way to fight the Zika virus: fish.

How will this work? According to reports, a tiny fish called gambusia (also known as a mosquitofish) could be key to Zika control efforts.

These fish feast on the larvae of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for transmitting the virus. What’s more, there are over 40 species of the gambusia fish, which live in freshwater and are native to the Southern region of the United States.

One gambusia fish can consume more than ten square feet of mosquito larvae, so it’s easy to see why officials are enlisting their help to fight the Zika virus, which has caused worldwide concern, particularly due to its association with devastating birth defects in babies.

In the Florida-Keys and other mosquito-control districts, the fish will be distributed for free to interested residents.

What do you think? Are you impressed by this tactic to fight Zika? As temperatures continue to rise, we encourage you to look into our mosquito reduction services.

The Secret Behind the Success of Invasive Fire Ants

Researchers recently discovered what makes invasive fire ants so successful. They found that these ants are extremely sophisticated manipulators of sand and soil. They can build in any type of soil because they can excavate no matter the size of the grains. These ants are actually able to change their excavation technique to better suit the type of soil they are digging in.

The researchers placed 100 ants in containers of different types of soil – small, medium and large grained, and let them excavate. They also placed ants in containers with different levels of moisture in the soil. The researchers found that that ants could build faster in coarser soil, but in the more moist coarse soil the ants tended to build more complex structures.

Taking an even closer look, the researchers discovered that in coarse soil the ants will grab one particle and drag it with them as they shuffle backwards up the soil. When they are dealing with finer grains, they will pack two or three particles together, almost like they are making a snowball, and pick it up and march up the tunnel. Scientists hope the study will help them build better robots.

How do you think studying the way these ants excavate their tunnels will help improve robotics?

How to keep pets pest free!

To help shield pets from the discomfort of ticks and fleas in their fur as pest activity increases in the warmer spring and summer months, Hulett Environmental Services recommends pet owners use the following tips:

  • Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
  • Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where fleas and ticks often hide.
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
  • Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
  • Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.

South Florida Homes at Risk for Termite Damage during Termite Season

South Florida Homes at Risk for Termite Damage during Termite Season
Two subterranean termite species swarming now in South Florida are raising concerns for homeowners and entomologists alike, as well as the beginning of drywood termite swarm season…

Hulett Environmental Services, pest control’s finest, encourages South Florida homeowners to be aware that researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences predict that the Formosan subterranean termite and the Asian subterranean termite are on track to cause damage to at least half of the structures in the greater Southern Florida area by 2040.

Interestingly, it is important to note that not even concrete homes are safe from some termites as they can breach through to your attic and even furniture both inside and outside your home. Just because homeowners do not see the termites does not mean they are not there…as in South Florida there are two types of homes: Those that have termites and those that will. Better safe than sorry is definitely the case so yearly termite home inspections are heavily recommended.

Subterranean termite population expanding!

Currently, Florida houses six invasive termite species but UF researchers are focusing their attention on the Formosan and Asian subterranean termites because expanding numbers of these species pose the potential to cause the most damage to the Greater Miami Beach/Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale areas. Also recently discover was an Asian Formosan subterranean species that is a cross, and has been called the “Super Termite”. Hulett, other companies and industry experts hope to see this species eradicated or at least unable to spread throughout Florida due to its heavily destructive nature.

About subterranean termites

  • Natives of China, Formosan workers are cream-colored and wingless, soldiers have elongated brown heads and mandibles and brownish-yellow undersides, while supplementary reproductives are light-colored and primary reproductives range from brown to black with wings. Most South Florida residents will only see the termites swarming, which appear this time of year (as it is termite season) and have wings.
  • Asians are a tropical species, endemic to Southeast Asia. Asian alates range from caramel to brownish yellow and after swarming, keep their wings longer than most other termites. Formosans look very similar to Asian alates. Hulett was actually the first company in Florida to discover the Asian subterranean termite had spread to our area.
  • Subterranean termites swarm in the morning or early evening usually after a rain in the spring or summer, but can swarm at any time of the year.
  • Formosan termites build giant underground nests containing millions of termites. They move fast and cause damage not only quicker but at a higher rate, and require immediate treatment when discovered to avoid further home damage not cover by homeowner’s insurance.
  • Formosan termites destroy structural timbers, utility poles and other timber structures, including ships and barges within a few months. They have even been known in some cases to move through concrete.
  • Asian termites have been detected in boats and in homes near the shore in South Florida; they are voracious eaters and can even eat holes in rubber and plastic in their search for wood and the food it takes to reach the wood.
  • Formosan and Asian termite infestations can occur even in living trees, such as oak, cypress, pine and maple. Formosan termites often also cause power failures, chewing through electrical cables. There termites than swarm from these areas to nearby homes starting a new colony.

Fundamentally, subterranean termites cause most of the termite damage worldwide.

Globally, Formosan and Asian subterranean termites are responsible for damage totaling around $32 billion dollars annually at least. This figure includes structural damage repairs, as well as pest control services. The University of Florida study, led by Professors Nan-Yao, Su Rudy Scheffrahn and Assistant Researcher, Thomas Chouvenc is set for a June 2016 publication, in Florida Entomologist, and states that Formosan and Asian subterranean termites account for most of the termite damage worldwide.

Oddly, in the continental US, the overlap of these two subterranean termite species occurs only in South Florida, home to 6 million residents. Formosan termites can be traced all along the Florida coastlines and beyond, and the Asian subterranean termites continue to spread to new areas raising concern in the pest control industry. It is important to keep in mind how quickly termite species have been known spread and move.

Study analyzes increasing termite activity

By analyzing the geographic spread of subterranean termite specimens from 1990-2015, the UF study estimates that any home or structure within a 500-foot radius of a Formosan or Asian subterranean termite would be at risk for a termite infestation, and that is the minimum as cases have occurred from farther distances.

Since 1990, these two types of termites have expanded their ranges considerably in Florida. Because of the distances these two types of termites fly and due to a rising increase in moving termite-infested material from one location to another, the UF Gator team said that as a result, “the number of infested structures has increased exponentially.”

Another potential threat, according to the University of Florida study is that Formosan and Asian termites have been able to breed producing a stronger, super breed termite hybrid. Known by most as the “super termite” found only here in South Florida recently.

Fortunately, South Florida homeowners do have a variety of options for both preventative and curative treatments and can contact Hulett Environmental Services; as we have been treating South Florida homes for termites for over 45 years and are a full service, fully licensed and certified family business. We offer a free home and landscape inspection with no obligation, and then customize a family and pet-friendly termite prevention and monitoring plan for your South Florida property.