- Hulett Environmental Services encourages homeowners to take precautions against common household pests October 30, 2014
- How do mice fit into such small spaces? October 29, 2014
- Cockroaches and rodents can trigger allergies and asthma attacks during the fall season October 28, 2014
- Dampwood Termites October 27, 2014
- FAQ’S About Commercial Pest Management October 24, 2014
- How to keep your home from turning into a haunted house this Halloween October 23, 2014
- Ant Farm | Hulett Environmental Services October 22, 2014
- itv news | itv news on News4Jax.com: This Year’s Mosquito Predictions
- Hulett More Helpful Rodent Control Tips | Absolute Pest Services – Pest Control on Rodent Control Tips
- Termite problems on Florida Termite Control
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- Weekly Pest Control News | #PCO News - Bulwark Ext | Pest Control and Bug Exterminator Blog on Rodent Control Tips
Cool New Species Discovered
Though it looks like a spider, has a web like a spider and moves like a spider, it’s not a spider. It’s actually a decoy built by a newly-discovered species in the Cyclosa genus.
When biologist Phil Torres was leading a group of visitors into a floodplain in Peru, he saw a white inch (2.5cm) long spider sitting its web. Its flaky appearance, seemingly covered in fungus, suggested it had been dead a while – until it started moving. It wasn’t until Torres got closer that he realized the illusion. The actual spider, only 5mm long in body length, was sitting above the decoy and shaking the web to create the illusion of movement.
The spider seems to be a completely new species, but its sculpting abilities have led experts to place it in the genus Cyclosa. Spiders in this genus are known to use debris in their webs to attract or confuse prey, but haven’t been seen to make anything as detailed as these decoys. The web-shaking behavior is also new. However more observations are needed before it can be declared a new species, as there is always the chance that this is a named spider engaging in never-before-seen behavior.
Photo credit: Phil Torres.
Sources (where several more photos are available)
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Rugose Spiraling Whitefly Control
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.
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
- 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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Where Do Ants hide?
It’s probably not a surprise the kitchen is considered a favorite ant hangout. In addition to food access, the sink provides a water source that ants need to survive. If you’re lax about immediately cleaning up crumbs and spills, you may be inviting ants in. Here are a few tips to keep ants out of the kitchen:
- Store sweet staples like sugar, syrup and honey in plastic containers that snap shut, and wipe them down to remove any sticky residue. You can also place a bay leaf inside canisters of dry goods like flour to keep the ants out. The herb’s pungent scent repels ants and other common pantry pests.
- Clean up grease spills from countertops and floors as soon as they happen.
- Any empty juice or soda containers should be rinsed out before recycling or throwing away. And, make sure to take the trash out regularly.
- Check the fruit bowl – any over ripe fruit will attract ants.
- Keep an eye out for water buildup in the sink and leaks around the faucet.
- If you have pets, be sure to pick up any leftover food and wash the bowls regularly.
Areas around the house with excess moisture are known to attract ants, so bathrooms are highly susceptible to an infestation. Carpenter ants, for example, often build nests in damp areas like behind bathroom tiles or under sinks. To prevent an infestation in the bathroom, homeowners should:
- Occasionally, inspect sinks, toilets and tubs for any leaks or drips.
- Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning by scrubbing the floors with disinfectant cleaner, and wiping down the inside of drawers with warm soapy water.
- Check to ensure shampoo, lotion and soap bottles are secured and no contents have spilled out of their containers.
Other Common Hideouts
Ants can easily find a way indoors through even the tiniest cracks, so other areas of the home are also common hideouts. The NPMA survey revealed ants are also found in the following areas:
- Inside walls (73%)
- Bedrooms (61%)
- Living rooms (60%)
- Basements (54%)
- Air conditioning and heating units (37%)
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Information on Lawn Pests
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.
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!
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 lawn pest control professional to ensure your family’s safety and preserve your hard work.
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 University of South Florida publication 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 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.
There are two types of whiteflies 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 contact us at 866-611-2847 or online to schedule your free lawn analysis and receive a $50.00 coupon