Beware of the Stings This Summer

Beware of the Stings This Summer

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Hulett Environmental Services profiles the most dangerous summer stingers

The summer season is a time to enjoy the sunshine and the great outdoors, but it’s also the time when stinging insects can make an appearance at picnics, cookouts and pool parties. Hulett Environmental, a pest management company servicing South Florida warns that yellowjackets, wasps, hornets and other common stinging insects can pose an increased threat to one’s health. In fact, they send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year, according to the National Pest Management Association.

From painful stings to severe allergic reactions, stinging insects can put a damper on summer fun.  Whether you plan to fire up the grill, go to the playground or relax by the pool this summer, it’s important to be aware of the risks posed by certain stinging insects.

Below are the most common stingers people might encounter during the summer months.

Yellowjackets – Yellowjackets are distinguished by the black and yellow color pattern banded across their abdomens. They are territorial and may sting repeatedly if threatened.

European Hornets – European hornets are active at night. They have smooth stingers that carry venom known to cause itching, swelling and pain for about 24 hours. Like yellowjackets and wasps, European hornets can sting repeatedly during an attack.

Paper Wasps – Paper wasps are not an aggressive species by nature, but they will sting if their nest is threatened. Wasp stings are painful and can cause the same risk of allergic reaction as other insect stings.

Killer Bees – Africanized “killer” bees defend their colony and will attack in large numbers when threatened. However, they can only sting once as their stingers are barbed and tear off when trying to get away. Killer bees have been known to chase people for more than a quarter mile.

The best way to prevent an unwanted encounter is to exercise caution when outdoors. If you come in contact with a bee or wasp, do not swat it, as that may actually provoke an attack. Remain calm and the insect should fly away without causing harm.

For more information on stinging insects, visit www.bugs.com

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Hulett Environmental Services shares tips on how to keep pests from disrupting Summer picnics or BBQs

Hulett Environmental Services, an organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, offers these tips to help pests from ruining your summer gathering:

  • Prior to the party, check screen doors and repair any holes.
  • Remove sources of standing water in your yard, including birdbaths, wading pools or garden ponds.
  • Have insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET or Picaridin available for you and your guests.
  • Adorn your deck or patio with citronella candles that can help minimize the presence of mosquitoes.
  • With guests coming in and out of your house, make sure the doors close behind them.
  • Plan to serve food and beverages indoors, and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.
  • Keep food sealed in containers whenever possible, and wipe tabletops frequently.
  • Clean trash, spills and crumbs immediately from tables and other surfaces.
  • Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.
  • Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.

If pests become intolerable, you may have a larger problem and need professional assistance. Sometimes, pest pressure can get out of hand. For example, if homeowners notice large mounds of ants or stinging insect nests around the property, they’ll want to contact a professional to help them safely remove these infestations as they can be a threat to our safety. Just Call HULETT!

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Choosing a Pest Professional

Missy Henriksen with the National Pest Management Association shares some recommendations on selecting the best pest professional to keep you, your family and your home safe from pests.

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Florida Pest Control Reviews of Hulett Environmental services via Yelp

Florida Pest Control Reviews of Hulett Environmental services via Yelp:

FloridaPestControlReviews“They inspected our home and showed us the termite damage.  We needed the traditional tenting, not the tentless method.  Theyare very professional about their work, and explain everything they do. We will now follow up with the bi-monthly pest control service for maintenance.  Jonadab, who will be doing this for us, is very thorough and, again, explains everything he does.”

 

  • Carefully inspect the perimeter of the home for mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and rotting wood.
  • Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches up off the ground, and inspect it closely before bringing it indoors.
  • Divert water away from the property through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
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Chikungunya Virus | Information on Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Chikungunya Virus

– National Pest Management Association

Information on Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

ChikungunyaChikungunya, a viral infection transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, originated in southeast Africa and was first described in Tanzania in 1952. Subsequently, it has spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa and has become well established in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and islands of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

More recently, Chikungunya has been reported in at least 15 Caribbean islands, including Hispaniola (Haiti & Santo Domingo), as well as French Guiana on mainland South America.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of June 10, a total of 39 chikungunya cases have been reported from U.S. states and territories. One locally transmitted case has been reported from Puerto Rico. All other cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas in the Caribbean or Asia. To date, no local transmission has been identified in the continental United States.

The mosquitos that carry the Chikungunya virus (aedes egypti and aedaes albopictus) can bite during the day and at night, both indoors and outdoors, and often live around buildings in urban areas.

Symptoms and Treatment

Typical symptoms of Chikungunya infection include the rapid onset of severe joint pains (especially in the hands and feet) and fever. In fact, the name “Chikungunya” derives from a word in the Kimakonde language of south east Africa, meaning “to become contorted” and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain. Symptoms start four to eight days after the mosquito bite (range from two to 12 days). Infected persons can also have headache, muscle pain, rash and joint swelling. Generally, symptoms resolve after one week, although some people may experience long-term joint pain. Chikungunya is generally not fatal, but the painful symptoms have led people to say “It won’t kill you, but it may make you wish you were dead!”

Because there is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, physicians direct patients to use over the counter analgesics and medication to control fever, and to get plenty of rest and fluids.

Several methods can be used for diagnosis.  If you develop the symptoms of Chikungunya and have recently traveled, see your doctor. Your doctor may order blood tests to look for Chikungunya or other similar diseases.

Prevention

Since a vaccine to prevent Chikungunya does not exist, it is best to try and avoid infection in the first place.

As the Caribbean is a popular vacation spot for many Americans, avoiding travel may not be a realistic or desirable option. Rather, travelers are advised to take a number of precautions when staying in countries where Chikungunya is endemic.

Travelers should don protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats) that is treated with insect repellent. When spending time outdoors, travelers should use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535, on exposed skin.

When choosing a hotel, ensure the rooms are equipped with fully functioning air conditioning systems, as well as door and window screens. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets afford good protection, as do mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporizers to reduce contact with mosquitoes indoors, especially in high risk areas.

During outbreaks of Chikungunya – or if mosquito populations surge – community-wide insect/vector control programs may be activated and travelers should heed these warnings.

Finally, patients who are diagnosed with Chikungunya should avoid additional exposure to mosquitoes to help prevent the further spread of the virus to other mosquitoes and subsequently to other people.

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Just Call Hulett! South Florida Pest, Termite, and Lawn Care Services

Part of the 2012 television campaign for Hulett Environmental Services.

A lush green landscape can be a sense of pride for you and your family, while also adding value to your home. Hulett Environmental Services offers a full array of lawn pest, plant disease, weed control, and specialized fertilization services to meet your landscape’s specific needs.

We will provide you with a level of service that is backed by over 40 years of local experience and enhanced by our ongoing training that keeps all of our technicians on the leading edge of the pest control industry of South Florida.

https://www.bugs.com/lawn_care_servic…

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Mosquito Prevention Tips from Hulett Environmental Services

Hulett experts suggest the following mosquito prevention tips in and around the home:

  • Prevent mosquito nesting and breeding sites by eliminating standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, baby pools, sandboxes, children’s toys and other objects that can collect water. Mosquitoes need only about ½ inch of water to breed. To keep birdbath and pond water fresh, homeowners should add a fountain or drip system.
  • Keep windows and doors properly screened. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
  • Clean clogged gutters and periodically check them to ensure water is flowing freely.
  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Ask veterinarians about bug repellants for pets before using them.
  • If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or local mosquito abatement district that may be able to treat your back yard, specifically trees and shrubs where mosquitoes hide during the day.
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Tips from Hulett Environmental Services to keep Pantry Pests out

Pantry pests can easily contaminate stored food and can also be brought into the home undetected in already infested purchases. Hulett Environmental recommends some proactive practices to keep your pantry pest-free:

  • Store food in airtight containers. It’s recommended to buy plastic or metal containers in a variety of sizes to accommodate the foods you keep.
  • Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage. Make it a habit while grocery shopping to carefully inspect boxes of cereal, grains, nuts, flour and sugar, etc. for signs of damage prior to placing it in the cart.
  • Dried food products should be inspected regularly, especially before use, for any signs of infestation.
  • Add bay leaves to canisters and packages of dry goods like flour, rice and other grains — their pungent scent repels many pantry pests. One bay leaf in each container should do the trick.
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Bug Disco | Happy Friday!

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Tips for Hiring a Professional South Florida Exterminator

Tips for Hiring a Professional South Florida Exterminator:

Cooperation is a must in preventing and controlling pests and rodents. Choosing a pest control professional to share in identification and treatment responsibilities is an important decision. The recommendations provided below will help you to better understand how to select a pest control professional and make a decision that best serves your business:

  • Always work with a qualified, licensed pest management company; evaluate companies that are members of national, state or local pest management associations.
  • Ask other business owners 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 management firms.
  • Don’t rush a decision. Since you are paying for professional knowledge and skill, 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.
  • Buy value, not price. Beware of bargains that sound too good to be true.

Locate a licensed pest control professional in your area who can assist you in proper identification and treatment of your pest problems.

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Hulett Environmental urges homeowners to protect properties against crazy ants

To prevent crazy ants from gaining access to a structure, experts at Hulett Environmental Services recommend: 

  • Trim vegetation away from the home to prevent pathways inside.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including around doors and windows.
  • Clean up food spills and other potential attractants as soon as possible.
  • If an infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.

For more information on crazy ants, please visit www.bugs.com

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South Florida Pest Control Experts

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It’s National Pollinator Week!

It’s National Pollinator Week!

HulettHulett

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Pest Control Versus Pest Prevention ~ A Proactive Solution

Pest Control Versus Pest Prevention

A Proactive Solution

Pest PreventionPreventing pests from entering your home is even more important than controlling them once you have a problem. That is why Hulett’s Healthy Home program focuses on pest prevention, not just pest control.

Traditional pest control companies simply apply pesticides in and around your home in a routine manner, but Hulett’s programs are designed by Graduate Entomologists and offer a more specific, customized approach.

From a health and environmental standpoint, this is a much more responsible treatment method for you and your family; which means no unnecessary smelly sprays in your home!

With Hulett you receive a more effective and convenient pest prevention system with guaranteed results!

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6 Termite Warning Signs

Here are a few clues that termites may be present in a home:

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint
  5. Small piles of feces that resembles sawdust near a termite nest
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home

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Where do ants hide?

A recent survey of pest professionals across the country, conducted by the National Pest Management Association, found kitchens (96%) and bathrooms (89%) to be particularly vulnerable to ants.

Kitchen

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.

Bathroom

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%)

To keep ants from finding a way inside, homeowners should pest-proof around the outside of the home. Experts recommend sealing any cracks with silicone caulk, repairing holes in window and door screens, replacing weather-stripping, fixing loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows, and keeping tree branches trimmed back and away from the house.

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Hulett Environmental Services shares five simple steps to avoid an ant infestation

Hulett Environmental Services recommends the following five simple steps that homeowners can do today to thwart an ant infestation.

1.       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.

2.       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.

3.      Keep a clean kitchen. Wipe down counter tops and sweep floors to removecrumbs and residue from spills. Store food in sealed containers, and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Also, make sure to dispose of garbage regularly.

4.       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.

5.       Work with a pest professional. Eliminating ants can be challenge without the proper treatment. Some species of ants, like carpenter ants, can cause serious property damage while others can pose health threats. If you see ants in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment.

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Important Tips to Stay Safe from Pests Outdoors

Important Tips to Stay Safe from Pests Outdoors

Small wasp nestStinging insects such as yellowjackets, wasps and hornets send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. And, if that’s not bad enough, they become extra feisty in late summer and early fall when their colonies forage for food to sustain their queens during the winter months.

While the thought of encountering a bee hive on the porch or a hornets nest under the patio is enough to make anyone want to stay indoors over the next few weeks, don’t fret. There are a handful of ways to ensure these pesky stingers won’t ruin your fun in the sun.

Seal cracks and crevices

One effective way to prevent an infestation of these insects and most other pests is to eliminate access and harborage sites around of the home. Stinging insects often build their nests inside attics and chimneys, behind porch lights and under decks or eaves. Homeowners should seal all visible cracks and crevices to keep these pests from moving indoors, and regularly inspect around the yard and along the perimeter of the house for nests.

Keep food covered

Have you ever been to an outdoor gathering where bees are swarming around the table of hamburgers, chips and fruit? Stinging insects are attracted to exposed food and open garbage cans. To avoid an unwanted encounter with a yellowjacket or bee during a picnic or cookout, cover all food when outside and be sure to keep tight fitting lids on trash bins.

Avoid excessive use of fragrances

Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to sweet-smelling fragrances. If spending long periods of time outdoors, avoid excessive use of perfume or cologne. When possible, also choose unscented shampoos, soaps, lotions and sunscreen.

Adjust your wardrobe

Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, since these patterns are known to attract stinging insects. It’s also important to wear closed-toe shoes, especially in grassy areas as bumblebees and some hornets often nest there.

Remain calm, cool and collected

If a stinging insect is flying nearby, many people’s first reaction is to either swat the insect away or flail their arms in panic. However, these movements may actually provoke an attack. Do not swat the pest, but rather remain calm, slowly walk from the area and it should fly away with causing any harm. If you do get stung, carefully remove the stinger and seek medical attention, as reactions can be severe in some cases.

Just Call Hulett! 

If a nest is found on the property, keep yourself and other members of the family away and do not attempt to remove it on your own. Depending on the species, a nest could contain hundreds (if not thousands) of stinging insects, which could swarm and sting en masse if they are disturbed or feel threatened. Instead, contact a licensed pest professional who will be able to identify the species and aid in stinging insect control by either destroying the colony or removing it to a safe location.

Stinging insects can be hard to avoid as they often show up to picnics, cookouts and pool parties. The best way to prevent an unwanted encounter is to exercise caution when outdoors. To learn more about stinging insects, watch this Stinging Insects 101 video.

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Information on Pet Pests

All about ticks

  • Must love dogs – Some tick species have preferred hosts. The American dog tick prefers to feed on domestic dogs and therefore is one of the most common tick species brought into homes.
  • All you can eat buffet – Ticks are much easier to spot after a meal. Some species will grow almost four times in size when engorged with blood.
  • High four – To find a host, ticks clasp onto shrubs or grass with their back legs and reach their front legs out to grasp onto passing fur or clothing.
  • Moving up in the world – Wherever they attach, ticks will crawl toward the head of their host. The skin around the neck and ears is thinner and these areas are also hardest for animals to groom.

All about fleas

  • Good vertical – Fleas can jump up to eight feet, which is 150 times their own height.
  • Here to stay – Unlike other pests, fleas typically remain on their host at all times. However, they are easily transferable to furniture or between animals.
  • Black sheep of the family – There are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, but one species – the cat flea – accounts for the majority of infestations in the United States.
  • Don’t blame the dog – Fleas infest many animals like rodents and raccoons as well. If you suspect a rodent infestation, fleas may soon follow.
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What to do if a spider bites you

What To Do

  • If you suspect a spider has bitten you, try to bring it with you to the doctor so they can determine the best course of treatment based on the species.
  • Clean the site of the spider bite well with soap and water.
  • Apply a cool compress over the spider bite location (using a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice).
  • If you suspect the bite is form a black widow or brown recluse spider, and the bite is on an extremity, elevate it.
  • Consider tying a snug bandage above the bite and elevate the limb to help slow or halt the venom’s spread. Ensure that the bandage is not so tight that it cuts off circulation in your arm or leg.
  • Adults can take aspirin or acetaminophen and antihistamines to relieve minor signs and symptoms (but use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers).
  • Seek medical attention for any severe signs and symptoms, or if signs and symptoms continue to worsen for more than 24 hours.
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