Category Archives: Pest Control

FAQ’S About Commercial Pest Management

What are the most common pests that commercial food facilities encounter?

Pests are attracted to sources of food, water and shelter – three things that restaurants and commercial food facilities provide in spades. Without taking proper preventative steps, restaurants and food service facilities could see populations of rodents, flies, cockroaches, ants and more.

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Is it common for restaurants and food service facilities to have severe infestations?

Many restaurants and food service facilities have already contracted with pest professionals to prevent infestations from occurring. A working partnership between facility managers and licensed, trained pest professionals is critical in controlling pest populations.

Is it feasible for a facility to employ its own staff members to sustain a pest-free environment?

Licensed and professionally trained pest professionals are best suited to keep health and property-threatening pests in check. Today’s pest professionals have the training necessary to identify pest problems and recommend the most responsible and effective pest management methods available. But, restaurants and commercial food facilities should train their internal staff to work as partners with pest professionals.  While these locations may receive regular service from their contracted pest management firm, internal employees can take steps every day to help reduce pest populations.

Are there steps a restaurant or food service facility can 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.

Does effective pest management in restaurants and food service facilities require the use of pesticides?

The National Pest Management Association recommends that restaurants and food service facilities implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program.  IPM is a process involving common sense and sound solutions for treating and controlling pests. These solutions incorporate three basic steps: 1) inspection, 2) identification and 3) treatment. Treatment options vary from sealing cracks and removing food and water sources to pesticide treatments when necessary.

What should a restaurant, food service facility or homeowner look for when hiring a pest professional?

  • Ask friends, neighbors and other reputable businesses to recommend pest control companies they have used successfully and how satisfied they were with the service.
  • If a sizable amount of money is involved, get bids from several pest control companies.
  • Don’t rush a decision. Since you are paying for professional knowledge, look for someone whose judgment you can trust.
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
  • Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment.
  • If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing control, prevention and management are necessary.
  • Buy value, not price. Beware of bargains that sound too good to be true.

How to keep your home from turning into a haunted house this Halloween

It’s no wonder that haunted houses are decorated with fake rats, rubber bats, plastic spiders and stringy spider webs. After all, having these pests in your home can be a true nightmare – and unlike the spooky decorations, real pests can hang around long after Halloween is over. In order to keep your home from turning into a haunted house, the National Pest Management Association recommends that homeowners take steps to pest-proof this Halloween.

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“In the fall, we often hear from homeowners who are dealing with pests like spiders, bats and rodents, so it’s no coincidence they are associated with Halloween,” explains Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy, crawly, but the holiday also serves as a reminder that the real-life versions of these pests can cause serious issues inside our homes.”

Spiders, while beneficial in controlling other bug populations in the home, can sometimes bite humans. Brown recluse spiders, for example, inject poisonous venom with their bites. These spiders are commonly found in woodpiles, basements and closets.

Bats tend to enter our homes through chimneys or vents, and may hide out in attics or other dark, secluded areas of a home. Infected bats can spread rabies, and their droppings can spread organisms that cause the lung disease, histoplasmosis.

Rodents like mice and rats can spread hantavirus and contaminate food. They can also gnaw on electrical wires, which can spark fires.

The NPMA offers these tips for preventing a pest infestation this Halloween season:

  • Seal cracks around the home’s exterior, especially where pipes and wiring enter homes.
  • Do not leave food lying around, as it attracts pests.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • If you see signs of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

How To Pest Proof Your Home or Business

Pests are adaptable and will always seek shelter.  Most times the shelter is in our homes and businesses.  Homeowners who do not pest proof their homes are taking a real chance.  Pests are always drawn to conducive conditions.  Unfortunately, the warmth, shelter and food found in our homes are just irresistible to pests, especially in winter moths.

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Although some homeowners may have higher pest tolerance than others, pests can create major havoc inside a home, ultimately creating a dangerous and potentially costly situation for a homeowner.  People who decide against pest proofing for the winter could be unintentionally creating prime conditions for property-damaging pests like termites to surface in the spring.

Hulett Environmental Services recommends the following steps to pest proof your home:

  1. Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home. Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests that other pests feed on.
  2. Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
  3. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  4. Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
  5. Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  6. Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  7. Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
  8. Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  9. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
  10. A licensed and qualified pest control professional is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly – Information Sheet

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly – Customer Information Sheet

The most noticeable symptoms of an infestation of this whitefly is the abundance of
the white, waxy material covering the leaves and also excessive sooty mold. Like other similar insects, these whiteflies will produce “honeydew”, a sugary substance, which causes the growth of sooty mold. The actual effect of an infestation on the health of a plant is unknown; however, whiteflies in general can cause plant decline, defoliation and branch dieback.

Free Spiraling Whitefly Inspection

South Florida has new variety of whitefly referred to as Spiraling whitefly. This fly can affect a wide variety of Florida’s beautiful tropical plants such as:

  • Gumbo Limbo
  • Banana
  • Black Olive Trees
  • Mango trees
  • A wide variety of Palms
  • Live oak, some shrubs such as copperleaf, cocoplum and wax myrtle
  • And many others

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Dragonfly | 15 Minute Feature

This 15 minute feature was filmed during the summer of 2013. The footage was captured using a combination of Canon DSLR’s (60D & 1DMKIV) with 300mm f2.8 and 100mm f2.8 macro lenses and a Sony CX730E camcorder combined with Raynox DCR250 and MSN505 macro converters. The underwater sequences were filmed in several small tanks prepared to simulate a natural habitat. Post production was done in Sony Vegas Pro 11.

The film has won best Documentary at the BIAFF Festival, a Diploma at UNICA 2014 and has been nominated for a Panda award at the Wildscreen Festival.

Dragonfly from Andy Holt on Vimeo.

Unusual Invasive Pest Species in Our Own Backyards

Within the past few years alone, some unique invasive insects and mammals have made headlines across the country. Learn more about these unusual pests from abroad.

Giant African Land Snails

One such invasive species is the giant African land snail. These enormous mollusks are believed to have first been imported as pets and for educational purposes. They began to show up in the wild in Florida in 2011. They can grow to be as large as rats and can live for up to eight years.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, the giant snails have voracious appetites and can consume at least 500 different types of plants, making them a serious threat to the agricultural industry. They can also cause structural damage to plaster and stucco and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to a rare and serious form of meningitis in humans who touch them. The snails have been known to consume rat feces that contain larval lungworm traces, causing them to harbor the dangerous parasite in their mucus.

Gambian Pouched Rats

Another problematic invasive species present in Florida is the Gambian pouched rat, which was likely originally released by a resident who had been breeding them on the island of Grassy Key in the Florida Keys. These rats, the largest in the world, can grow up to 35 inches long and weigh up to nine pounds. They lack natural predators to limit their population and could therefore potentially alter the local ecosystem.

There have been extensive efforts made since 2007 to eliminate the pouched rats, but officials still have a ways to go. The rats reproduce quickly; females can have five litters in only nine months with an average of four young per litter. There have been a handful of sightings on other islands in the Florida Keys suggesting that the rats could be expanding their territory, further threatening area ecosystems and native plant and animal life.

Conehead (Tree) Termites

Conehead termites are another invasive species that has the potential to cause severe environmental, structural and economic damage. Native to the Caribbean, these termites were first found in Florida in 2001. Their name comes from the distinctive teardrop-shaped head of soldier conehead termites. They are highly adaptable and will quickly consume trees, shrubs, roots, structures, fences, wooden furniture, scrap wood, paper products and likely most other items made from cellulose. Conehead termites are a challenging species to control because they’re able to survive in a large variety of habitats across a broad geographic range. They also don’t rely on underground tunneling to travel, instead foraging on the ground like ants, which allows them to spread more quickly than other termite species.

Conehead termites are extremely aggressive and capable of causing widespread property damage in a short period of time. It is important for all conehead termite sightings to be reported, whether or not they are causing property damage, in order to eradicate the species before they become firmly entrenched in the U.S.

Anyone who encounters these or other invasive pests should contact a pest control professional immediately to prevent the further spread of invasive pest populations and the damage they can incur. A trained professional will be able to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment to control the infestation before it becomes a major problem and threat to the rest of the nation.

Cockroach Prevention Tips

Cockroaches prefer warm, moist places with available food sources, so eliminating those attractive environments can help prevent cockroach infestations.Tucson Cockroach Control

Hulett Environmental offers the following tips to avoid cockroach infestations:

  • Do not allow dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink and remain there overnight
  • Keep food scraps in the refrigerator or in containers with tight-fitting lids
  • Remove garbage from the home on a routine basis and vacuum regularly
  • Periodically check and clean the evaporation pan under the refrigerator or freezer
  • Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest entryways
  • If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment.