Category Archives: Pest Control

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 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

This Peacock Spider’s Dance Is Captivating

If you thought spiders weren’t already interesting enough critters just the way they are, wait till you see a peacock spider. You wouldn’t normally call a spider captivating, but in this case, even a self-proclaimed arachnophobe might venture to take a second look.

From the word clue “peacock”, you can already gain a clue as to what a peacock spider would look like. Nicknamed “Sparklemuffin” and “Skeletorus”, these peacock spiders were discovered in the 1800s and are native to Australia.

The sight of a male peacock spider’s bright, colorful back is odd if you compare it to conventional images of spiders, whose bodies are usually covered in darker, more sombre, dangerous tones. The peacock spider’s colors, on the other hand, are not dominated by grays or blacks, but of relatively “happier” tones, such as fiery oranges, brilliant blues, searing speckles of red, impressive purples, attractive yellows, and a few dark shades for dramatic effect, reminiscent of a male peacock’s tail, which is used to attract potential mates.

When it  comes to mating rituals though, a male peacock spider does more than simply display its attractive piece of nature’s artwork for a back. The creature also has a mating dance ritual that truly is captivating to watch, as it raises its various legs one by one like its own version of Hokey Pokey, moving them in staccato-like motion. It lifts its colorful back up and down and hops around, dancing to the beat of its own internal drum.

As of this writing, more species are still being discovered, which makes you wonder about all the other marvels of nature that are still out there, waiting to be seen and appreciated. As for our enchanting peacock spiders, here are some videos you can check to watch their dance captured in HD.

Teamwork and Leadership Taught by Crazy Ants

Teamwork and Leadership Taught by Crazy Ants

A single species of ant, known as the longhorn crazy ant, was recently studied for a science journal, which led to some unique discoveries about ants and how they work together, as well as a system they use that humans don’t when it comes to leadership.

The study focused on looking at a group of ants that need to move a specific object that is too large for one ant. This led to a group of five to ten ants working together to move the object toward their nest. By observing this process the scientists were able to determine that it is unlikely ants have some kind of hive mind or collective intelligence, because not only did they change which worker was doing what, but they changed leaders based on whether the ant knew where to go next or not.

This suggests that ants aren’t actually some kind of conformist creature that can only act in a group, and that they each actually have individual personalities and knowledge. Ants have just evolves over millions of years to work together while still maintaining their individuality.

The most unique thing that these ants do comes with their leadership change. The ants would change up who was the leader of the group carrying the object based on when the previous ant ran out of knowledge about where to go next. This suggests the ants choose a leader solely based on knowledge and only knowledge in that moment. There wasn’t any one ant that had the status of leader who wasn’t leading in that moment. A process that humans don’t exemplify due to the power that often comes with leadership.

Maybe there are a few more things we can learn from ants.

How to Beat Mosquitos

How to Beat Mosquitos

A recent wave of air-sprayed insecticide has been sweeping through cities as the preferred method for eliminating issues with mosquitos. Most of the time this occurs in Florida cities as the weather and humidity of the air result in some of the perfect breeding grounds for these insects.

Of course there are other instances that result in mosquitos breeding in large quantities. The perfect breeding grounds for these insects are standing water. While you can’t always count on getting rid of standing water such as lakes and puddles of streams, you can take care of things like water building up in trash cans or dirt holes around your property which can lead to mosquito breeding and infestation.

In fact, it is recommended that you spend some time after each rainfall, cleaning out gutters, pool covers, garbage cans, flower pots, or anything else that could potentially house still water. It doesn’t matter what the water is in, if mosquitos come across it they will take advantage of it for breeding purposes.

Even if your city does resort to air spray insecticide to handle mosquitos, you still need to do your part to make sure your home isn’t being invaded by these potentially dangerous insects out for your blood. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to make sure areas around your house are clean of free-standing water and it could save you some hassle in the long run.

Ant Slaves!

Ant Slaves

Scientists believed that the life of a Japanese oak blue butterfly caterpillar resembled that of a queen ant due to its loyal ant servants. A new paper, published in the journal Current Biology shows the Japanese species in a new light.  A three-member team at Japan’s Kobe University noticed that the ants who served a Japanese oak blue butterfly caterpillar did so constantly. They were pulled away from their daily duties even the search for food. Scientists assumed that they stayed with the caterpillar in some sort of symbiotic relationship for the sake of benefiting from a sugary syrup-like secretion from the caterpillar.

However, a free exchange would see lines of ants being pleased to serve the caterpillar for a time and then move on. The Japanese researchers showed that it was the same ants which constantly stood guard over the caterpillar.

With the help of both chemical and visual signals, scientists discovered that the caterpillar actually controls its “bodyguards.” The ants who sip its sugary secretions begin to take cues from the movement of the caterpillar’s ‘tentacles’ and abide by its instructions.

The caterpillar must secure safe transformation into a butterfly. During this metamorphosis, it needs protection from predators such as wasps and spiders. Its pheromones leave the vulnerable creature with an aggressive brigade of loyal ant bodyguards.

“There are glandular cells near the tentacles that could be secreting chemical signals,” researcher Masaru Hojo told New Scientist. “It is possible that both visual and chemical signals are stimulating the ant aggression.”

Cockroach Exhibit in Japan Features Man-sized Trap

Cockroach Exhibit in Japan Features Man-sized Trap

When you think about an animal exhibit, you usually imagine it displaying something as typical as bears, elephants, seals, giraffes or lions — the usual public favorites. But in an an act of unprecedented, innovative insight, a zoo in Japan has come up with a cockroach exhibit, complete with man-sized cockroach trap, as an alternative to the usual animal fanfare.

Interestingly, the zoo already has experience with featuring less-than conventionally savory types of animals in their repertoire. Tokuyama Zoo has already held special exhibits featuring a variety of insects and reptiles before and, due to popular demand, have decided to focus solely on the surprisingly well-patronized cockroach for their next exhibit.

According to the zoo’s spokeswoman, Tokuyama Zoo, located in Yamaguchi prefecture, will display a total of 100 up to 200 cockroaches at its event, with a kickoff event featuring 15 kinds of cockroaches sourced from different parts of the world — with rare kinds among them such as the  Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.

Now, regarding cockroaches in a controlled environment from a spectator’s, even a pseudo-scientist’s perspective may seem like a worthwhile enterprise, but if you ever come into contact with the same party cavorting around unchecked in your home, then a call to your pest control experts should be the proper — and immediate — recourse.

How to Choose the Best Termite Warranty for Your Home

termites wreak havoc

Did you know that termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year and that the damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance? All pest control companies are not the same and the same is true for their warranties. There are a variety of companies that offer a wide range of options that differ in what they cover and what they don’t. Choosing the right termite warranty can be tough, but protecting your largest investment shouldn’t have to be.

Questions to ask when reviewing your warranty options

What is the deductible?

no-deductibleThe Hulett warranty provides you with a zero dollar deductible! This is not true for all pest control companies. Make sure you know what your deductible will be when comparing the cost of treatment options presented by other companies.

Is there a limit to the life of the agreement?

renewableWhile some companies put a limit on the life of their warranty, Hulett’s renewable agreement is extendable for the life of the structure as long as annual coverage is maintained. It can be transferred at no additional charge to the new homeowner if you choose to sell your home! Other companies limit coverage making a full retreat necessary.

Will the cost increase after a certain period of time?

rising-costBe sure to ask when you might expect a rate increase on your warranty. Some companies in their agreements can change the cost of the renewal at any time without notice. But Hulett guarantees your renewal price with no increase for 4 years! Understanding the “real cost” of treatment will ensure you are comparing apples to apples when choosing a professional termite control company.

Are annual inspections included?

annual-inspectionsNot all companies provide a free annual inspection with their termite warranty. The Hulett warranty provides you with annual exterior inspection as well as offers a perimeter spray at no additional charge at the time of your annual inspection! Annual inspections are critical to ensuring your home remains protected helping to prevent long-term structural damage to your home by identifying early warning signs.

What happens when I sell my home?

sell-houseIf your home is sold, your Hulett warranty can be transferred to the new homeowner at no additional charge. Most companies will not allow for transfer of ownership and this can be detrimental to the marketability of your home.

Will anything void my warranty?

protectedRead your agreement carefully. Some companies will void your warranty for structural issues like foundation cracks and masonry failure and other things like soil disruption. Other companies do not cover common things like soil disruption caused by new landscaping as enough to invalidate your warranty. But not with Hulett. You can rest assured that Hulett has you covered. Structural issues and/or soil disruption like these will not invalidate Hulett’s warranty! With Hulett’s professionalism and experience we take pride in taking care of our customers.

What treatment method would Hulett recommend to protect my home from termites?

termiteDifferent types of termites require different types of treatments. Drywood termites require treatments such as Hulett’s structural (tent) fumigation or Hulett’s unique “No Tent” Termite Control. Both services are effective and customized by Hulett to meet your needs. Subterranean termites are treated with Hulett’s Liquid Defense treatment or a Termite Baiting System. No matter the type, Hulett provides all of the most effective and environmentally responsible treatments! Hulett can help you decide which one works best for you during your FREE inspection.

Annual termite inspection

It is estimated that termites annually cause more damage to South Florida homes than all fires and hurricanes combined. That is why it is so important to inspect your home regularly. Termites can be “silent invaders” and can gain access into your home without you ever knowing it. As part of Hulett’s inspection, a HealthyHomeTM certified inspector will perform a complete inspection of your home to ensure no new threats have developed. For over 45 years Hulett has treated thousands of homes and buildings throughout South Florida for termites!

Award-winning service

Hulett has been awarded the Dow AgroSciences “Commitment to Excellence” Program in fumigation every year since the awards inception in 2000. Admission into the program requires extensive and continuous training with special emphasis on all mandatory safety practices including proper aeration and the use of secondary locks. To ensure that all members maintain the high standards established by the program, a series of written examinations must be passed without exception. Hulett is proud to provide you with only the best in fumigation services.

Your satisfaction is our top priority. We pledge to swiftly and effectively resolve any concerns you may have at no additional charge. Our steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction has been our guiding principle for three generations. Do you live in South Florida and think termites may be invading your home or office? Call Hulett today at (866) 611-BUGS (2847) to schedule your FREE Termite Inspection with no obligation!

*See full agreement for details

Male Flies Do More Harm Than Good in Seeking ‘Hot’ Mates

Male Flies Do More Harm Than Good in Seeking ‘Hot’ Mates

We all know the “It” girl – the one woman every man wants, no matter how much money or status he has to gain to get her.  “It” girls often develop a repertoire of skills to dissuade and even repel their many suitors.  Apparently, female fruit flies need to get some of these skills, too.

In the case of some fly species, the male harassment of the hot female flies is not an evolutionary advantage.  The superior genes in the females are what causes male attention, but this behavior ultimately puts Drosophilia serrata at evolutionary disadvantage.

Experimenters observed the flies over 13 generations, allowing groups to adapt to a new environment.  They found through careful study, and by manipulating the potential number of mates for females, that too much attractiveness backfired.

When the experiment was finished, researchers sequenced the genomes of all flies and compared those harassed to the non-harassed.  When the male attention was allowed to occur at high rates and without intervention, the offspring were increasingly less adaptive over generations.

Associate professor Steve Chenoweth at the University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences noted that the results clearly showed a lack of adaptive ability in species where harassment of attractive females was common.