Caribbean Crazy Ants

What are crazy, hairy ants? Are they referred to as Rasberry Crazy Ants or Caribbean Crazy Ants?

  • These are probably all one and the same species Nylanderia pubens with multiple common names.
  • Rasberry crazy ants were first found in Texas in 2002. They are believed to be related to a species from the Caribbean.
  • Caribbean crazy ants are found in Florida – have likely been there since the 1950’s but pest professionals have been receiving more and more reports since 2000.
  • The more common Crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) looks similar to the Rasberry and Caribbean crazy ants, but have marked differences. Their antennae and legs are significantly longer and their bodies are slightly larger. Their populations are also more spread out around the U.S.

Crazy ants get their common name from their habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food.

Crazy, hairy ants are an invasive species by definition so are very good at invading new areas. Ants react to drought and rainfall in different ways so weather can play a role in their movement. Additionally, they  are very good hitchhikers and can be transported to new areas as stowaways in cargo.

In the U.S. these ants are found in South Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Houston and surrounding areas of coastal Texas.

Specifically for Texas, according to Texas A&M University’s Center for Urban & Structural Entomology, “high numbers of the ants have been found in localized spot infestations in southeast Houston (Harris County), including Houston, Pasadena, Deer Park, Friendswood, San Jacinto Port, Pearland, Seabrook and La Porte. Localized infestations have also been confirmed from areas in Bexar, Brazoria, Cameron, Fort Bend, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Hidalgo, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nueces, Orange, Walker and Wharton counties. This ant has the potential to spread well beyond the current range in coastal Texas.”

These ants prefer tropical/semi-tropical climates.  Colonies typically grow in warmer months with populations peaking in August/September. Their numbers remain high through October and November.

Although these ants usually nest outside, they will forage indoors in large numbers in cooler temperatures or after rainfall. Inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or carpeting, inside wall voids and soffits.

Crazy ants can become a problem when they infest a home or another structure for a couple of reasons:

  • Extremely large colonies resulting in massive infestations which can be difficult to treat, often requiring multiple treatments.  Colonies may grow to about 1 million.
  • These ants also have an odd propensity to nest in electrical boxes and around electrical equipment, causing short – outs and electrical equipment failure.
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South Florida Ant Control Tps | Hulett Environmental Services

Homeowners must pay close attention to signs of an infestation and take action if ants are found. The first step to eliminating an infestation is to identify the ant species, which will help determine the necessary course of treatment. However, this can be a challenge for someone without proper training.

Experts from Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following steps that homeowners can do today to thwart an ant infestation.

Fort Pierce Pest Control Company

Fort Pierce Pest Control Company

  • Block off access points. Take time to inspect the outside of your home for cracks and crevices, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter. Seal any small holes or gaps with a silicone-based caulk. Keep tree branches and other shrubbery well trimmed and away from the structure.
  • Eliminate sources of water in and around the home. Indoors, routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture and repair any leaky pipes. Consider using a dehumidifier in damp basements, crawl spaces or attics. Outside, ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from the home’s foundation.
  • Keep a clean kitchen. Wipe down counter tops and sweep floors to remove crumbs and residue from spills. Store food in sealed containers, and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Also, make sure to dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Don’t forget about the pets. After mealtime, keep pet bowls clean and wipe up any spilled food or water around them promptly. Store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container rather than the paper bags they often come in, which can be easily accessed by ants, rodents and other pests. 
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Lawn Pests to Look Out For

Lawn Pest Control

 

Most homeowners strive for that perfect lush green lawn and landscaping with bright green tropical plants.  It is a time consuming and labor intensive process which leave you frustrated when it is ruined by bugs and insects.  South Florida is home to several bugs that not only do damage to your lawn, but pose health and safety risks as well.  It’s essential you get your lawn treated from a professional to ensure your family’s safety and preserve your hard work.

Fire Ants

Fire Ants are a common insect in South Florida that can attack humans and pets.  They not only attack, but with force with hundreds and sometimes thousands in a colony. According to a  there are several varieties of fire ants that thrive in the warm climate of South Florida.  One variety is a mound building type that can wreak havoc on your landscaping building mounds up to 18 inches in diameter.  It is essential that you get your lawn treated when you first see these ants or before to prevent a colony from forming.

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are a common outdoor insect that most homeowners don’t think of as a pest.  In some areas their population can become out of control and they do severe damage to common landscaping plants.  They constantly feed on green vegetation and often times the plants you cherish and maintain on a regular basis.

Whitefly

There are two types of  in southern Florida which affect a variety of trees and plants including ficus, palms and some fruit trees. Symptoms of an infestation include a large number of small white-colored flies, discolored leaves or an excessive amount of fallen leaves or branches. Treatment for these is necessary as they not only damage your landscaping but can affect your outdoor pool and ponds.

If you are concerned about your lawn or have an existing pest problem  at 866-611-2847 or online to schedule your free lawn analysis and receive a $50.00 coupon

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A Look Inside a Massive Hornets’ Nest

Look Inside a Massive Hornets’ Nest: A group of European hornets conveniently built its nest on Reddit user Redararis‘ house, giving YouTube a safe view inside.

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Venomous Caterpillar Sighting In Florida Prompts Warning

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Choosing a Pest Professional

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Just call HULETT!

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Pest Control, Termite Control, and Lawn Care Coupons!

South Florida Pest Control, Termite Control, and Lawn Care Coupons

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Bees from truck swarm drivers on Interstate 4

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Bat Eating Spiders?!

A new paper has found bat-eating spiders exist on every continent except Antarctica, with bats falling prey more often than expected.

Though bats are typically preyed on by vertebrates (with hawks, snakes and owls their most common predators), there are some invertebrate species quite partial to the taste of bat. We’ve previously written about the giant Venezuelan centipede Scolopendra gigantea, which hangs from cave ceilings and snatches bats as they pass. However, spiders eating bats was thought to be quite rare.

When two recent studies both reported spiders having bat for dinner, researchers wondered if this behavior was more common than suspected. After analysis of over 100 years worth of reports, together with interviews from bat and spider researchers, they found over 50 cases worldwide of spider attacks on bats.

90% of these attacks happened in habitats around the equator and 40% occurred in the neotropics (South America and tropical regions of North America). Interestingly it wasn’t just web-spinning spiders – 12% of attacks were by spiders such as huntsmen and tarantulas, which forage rather than make webs. In one case, a fishing spider was seen attempting to kill an immature bat (though it was scared off by photographers).

The authors point out that bat captures are likely still rare. It’s probable bats can detect webs using their echolocation abilities and even if a bat does fly into a web, only the strongest webs can take the impact without breaking. Unsurprisingly smaller bats are more vulnerable to spider web entanglement (and in some cases, it was exhaustion and dehydration resulting from this entanglement that killed bats rather than direct spider attacks).

To read the paper: http://bit.ly/13Z3QwT

Photo: A small bat entangled in the web of a Nephila pilipes spider in Australia. The spider appeared to be feeding on the dead bat. Credit to Carmen Fabro.

http://www.livescience.com/27947-bat-eating-spiders-worldwide.html

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/03/bat-eating-spiders/

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Never Forget – 9/11

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Lawn Pest Information

Information on Lawn Pests

Fort Pierce Pest Control Company

Fort Pierce Pest Control Company

Looking for information on lawn pests in Florida? You have found the right place on the web! Most homeowners in Florida take pride in maintaining their gardens and landscapes. But healthy landscapes can bring certain Florida bugs, and these pests feed on plants and grass. Unless protective pest control measures are taken, various outdoor invaders can do extensive damage to your yard and garden.

Chinch bugs are seriously damaging to St Augustine and other turf grass species. They suck the plant juices through their needle-like beak and can also cause other internal injuries to the grass, which can result in yellowish and brown patches in lawns. These affected areas are frequently noticed first along concrete or asphalt-paved edges, or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.

Aphids and whitefly feed on vegetable plantings, ornamentals and tender plant parts such as grass shoots, sucking out essential fluids. Aphids and scale excrete a sweet substance known as honeydew that attracts ants and forms a sticky coating on leaves. The honeydew can form a fungus called “sooty mold,” which can make leaves, especially on ornamentals, look black and dirty. Aphids can also transmit plant viruses to their food plants, which can cause the plant to die. These pests, as well as chinch bugs, are particularly prevalent throughout the spring months.

Armyworms, sod webworms and grubworms eat the grass blades and shoots that make up healthy lawns, causing major damage to various kinds of turf grass. They are common during the fall months.

During fall and winter, mites and scale are common. Scale insects live in the soil and suck the juices from the grass roots of turf grass; they can also be harmful to ornamental plants. Symptoms attributed to scale insects include yellowing of the grass, followed by browning; scale damage becomes most noticeable when the grass is under stress due to drought, nutritional deficiencies and other afflictions. Ordinarily not a pest in well-managed lawns, mites are known to attack grasses. They suck the sap and cause leaves to appear blotched and stippled, and severe infestations can also kill plants.

Some of these pests are especially damaging since they are literally born and raised on lawn turf grass in the surrounding soil. Sod webworms eat various grasses as larvae and continue doing so as adults. Others, like mole crickets, destroy lawns by tunneling through the soil near the lawn’s surface, which loosens the soil so that the grass is often uprooted and dies due to the drying out of the root system. They also feed on grass roots, causing thinning of the turf, eventually resulting in bare soil. Mole crickets are common when the temperatures are the warmest and rainfall and humidity is high. They can also be found in and around your home in dark, damp places.

Slugsandsnails often move about on lawns and may injure adjacent plants. They are night feeders and leave mucous trails on plants and sidewalks. Plaster bagworms, close relatives of the clothes moth, are often found in sheds and garages.

Do you live in Florida and have a lawn pest problem in your landscape? Hulett Environmental Services offers custom designed lawn care treatments to control and prevent these pests!

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The Keys to a Green Lawn

Most homeowners strive for that perfect lush green lawn and landscaping with bright green tropical plants.  It is a time consuming and labor intensive process which leave you frustrated when it is ruined by bugs and insects.  South Florida is home to several bugs that not only do damage to your lawn, but pose health and safety risks as well.  It’s essential you get your lawn treated from a professional to ensure your family’s safety and preserve your hard work.

Fire Ants

Fire Ants are a common insect in South Florida that can attack humans and pets.  They not only attack, but with force with hundreds and sometimes thousands in a colony. According to a there are several varieties of fire ants that thrive in the warm climate of South Florida.  One variety is a mound building type that can wreak havoc on your landscaping building mounds up to 18 inches in diameter.  It is essential that you get your lawn treated when you first see these ants or before to prevent a colony from forming.

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are a common outdoor insect that most homeowners don’t think of as a pest.  In some areas their population can become out of control and they do severe damage to common landscaping plants.  They constantly feed on green vegetation and often times the plants you cherish and maintain on a regular basis.

Whitefly

There are two types of in southern Florida which affect a variety of trees and plants including ficus, palms and some fruit trees. Symptoms of an infestation include a large number of small white-colored flies, discolored leaves or an excessive amount of fallen leaves or branches. Treatment for these is necessary as they not only damage your landscaping but can affect your outdoor pool and ponds.

If you are concerned about your lawn or have an existing pest problem at 866-611-2847 or online to schedule your free lawn analysis and receive a $50.00 coupon

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South Florida Lawn Care Services

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Termite FAQ’s

What do you do when you’ve found your dream home, but discover that it’s crawling with termites?

The truth is, there are two kinds of homes: those that have had termites and those that will get them.  And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to run away from the purchase.  A pest control professional can correct the problem so that you can live comfortably in your dream home.

How difficult are termites to treat?

Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own.  On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise, equipment, and technology to eliminate termite infestations.

How much does a termite treatment cost?

They can range anywhere from $800 to $1,800 dollars, depending on where you live, the construction of your home, severity of the infestation, and the type of contract offered by Tips on how to protect against termite damage.your pest control professional.  Your pest control professional will give you a free estimate.

What are the different types of termite treatments?

There are two primary types of treatments available for use by the professional: liquids and baits.  Liquids are used around a home area to ensure long-term protection or used to treat wood directly. Baits systems involve placing monitoring stations in the ground.

Are these products dangerous to kids and pets?

All professional pest control products have been registered for use by the EPA.

When they are applied according to label instructions by technicians who have been trained and licensed to use them, they pose little risk. Also, the products are applied in areas not frequented by people (under soil surface, in walls, in stations under the soil).

What is the most effective type of termite treatment?

A trained and licensed pest control operator is the best person to make a recommendation for each particular property. Also, homeowners might have a preference as to which technology to use so it is important that they have a detailed conversation with their pest control company.

Why should someone hire a professional instead of attempting to control their pest problems by themselves?

Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control termites – or other pests — on your own. The products and the expertise offered by professional pest control far surpasses what a homeowner could do on their own.  Leave it up to the experts for peace of mind. Why risk it?

What questions should homeowners ask during a professional termite inspection/treatment?

  • What type of treatment is recommended?
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take to get rid of the termites?
  • What type of contract or guarantee is offered?
  • Are they a member of the National Pest Management Association?

How long does a termite treatment typically take?

Termite treatments typically will take no more than a day.

How long until the termites are gone?

That depends on the location, extent of damage, and the products used to treat the infestation.  After a thorough inspection, your professional pest control company should be able to tell you what they will use to get rid of the termites and how long it will take.

What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?

  • The most common types of termites love moisture, if you have any moisture around the foundation of your home, take steps to remove the moisture and eliminate the source.
  • Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation.
  • Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents.
  • Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building.
  • Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.
  • It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.

Can pests other than termites damage property?

Absolutely. Carpenter ants, carpenter bees and powder post beetles are all categorized as wood destroying insects.  That’s why it’s important to have a professional identify the source of your problem and provide the treatment to control it.

What should a homeowner look for when selecting a PCO?

  • A qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national, state or local pest management associations.
  • Ask friends and neighbors to recommend companies they have used successfully.
  • Buy value, not price.
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest to be controlled, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
  • Find out if the 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 prevention and management are necessary. 

If you hire a pest control professional, are you guaranteed a pest-free home?

Pest control companies differ in their guarantees. Pests and pest conditions constantly change around a home, so pests can come back. 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 prevention and management are necessary.

It is important that homeowners remain active participants before, during and after all pest control treatments.   This type of vigilance helps the homeowner better understand their contract and possible guarantee, and helps the PCO understand the homeowner’s expectations.

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Expert Advice For a Bed Bug-Free School Year

Hulett Environmental Services shares back-to-school tips to prevent a bed bug infestation

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Summer vacation is over and before we know it schools and universities will be back in session. While shopping for school supplies and a new wardrobe might take precedence over the next few weeks, Hulett Environmental Services a pest management company servicing South Florida, encourages parents and students to also spend some time brushing up on bed bug prevention tips.

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and thrive in heavily populated places. This makes classrooms and dorms the perfect settings for bed bugs to take up residence.

A study conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky found that bed bug infestations are on the rise in many different types of dwellings, including school and college settings. According to the survey, 47 percent of respondents had treated for bed bugs in college dorms in 2013, while 41 percent had reported bed bug infestations in schools and daycare centers.

Hulett Environmental Services experts recommend the following tips for students in grades K-12 to avoid bringing bed bugs home:

  • Parents should regularly inspect their children’s belongings for hitchhiking bed bugs
  • If the school has reported an infestation, consider housing all related items in a sealed plastic bin
  • Wash and dry cloth items returning from school in hot temperatures
  • Ask school administrators whether they have bed bug detection and elimination plans

Hulett Environmental Services  also advises college students to take steps to protect against bed bugs, including:

  • Fully inspect suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially after any summer trips
  • Before putting sheets on the dormitory bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, and box springs for telltale stains or spots
  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs
  • Inspect any “secondhand” furniture for bed bugs before bringing it into dormitory rooms or off-campus housing

For more information on bed bugs, please visit www.bugs.com

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Hulett Enviornmental Services offers advice on pest-proofing this fall to keep spiders out

Florida Pest Control

Hulett Environmental Services, a pest management company servicing South Florida warns that homeowners might begin to notice more spiders in and around their home as the cooler weather rolls in.

Much like humans, spiders seek shelter from cooler weather in warm environments. Unfortunately, our homes provide the perfect harborage site for these creepy crawlers to ride out the colder months, which can lead to a larger infestation.

Spiders prefer to spin their webs in dark, undisturbed areas around the house, so homeowners should pay special attention to basements, garages and attics. recommends keeping these areas particularly clean and free of clutter. Experts also suggest the following tips to avoid contact with spiders:

  • Install screens and weather stripping on windows and door sweeps on doors.
  • Fix any cracks in siding and walls, especially where pipes or wires enter the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • Wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time.
  • Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
  • Store clothing inside plastic containers and check shoes before putting them on, as spiders often hide in these items.
  • If you suspect that a spider has bitten you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.
  • If you have a spider infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

Spiders are a beneficial part of the ecosystem, as they provide a natural form of pest control by catching insects in their webs, but that doesn’t mean they have an open invitation to wander inside our homes.

For more information on spiders and other common household pests, please visit www.bugs.com

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Protect yourself from Stinging Insects

Here are a few facts to help homeowners protect themselves from stinging insects over the next few months:

  • Stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year. They can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life threatening especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction.
  • Unlike some stinging insect species, wasps are known for their unprovoked aggression. A single colony of wasps can contain more than 15,000 members, so an infestation should not be taken lightly.
  • Common nesting sites include under eaves, on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds and under porches. Some stinging insects can build their nests in the ground, including yellowjackets and velvet ants (which are actually a species of wasps). Over-seeding the yard provides more coverage and discourages these pests from nesting around the property.
  • Painting or staining untreated wood in fences, decks, swing sets and soffits will help keep stinging insects such as carpenter bees out. Carpenter bees create nests by drilling tunnels into soft wood, which can severely compromise the stability of a structure over time.
  • Only female carpenter bees have stingers. Female carpenter bees will only sting if threatened, but reactions to these stings can range from mild irritation to life-threatening respiratory distress.
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Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!

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Video Captures Ants Working Together

Someone captured footage recently of an ant colony working together to haul off an enormous dinner.  Some ants crawl under and support the meal, while others form a chain to pull it away. Together, the ants are able to move something hundreds of thousands of times their weight.

The footage was posted to LiveLeak. Check it out:

 

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