South Florida Hybrid | Termite Control Experts

Researchers in South Florida have recently found that the two most invasive termite species in the world may eventually produce new termite hybrid that cold be devastating. This new species could reproduce faster than their parent species and might have a larger range.

The Asian (Coptotermes gestroi) and Formosan (Coptotermes formosanus) subterranean termite species cause an estimated $40 billion worth of damage worldwide, the researchers reported. Both types of termite have evolved separately for hundreds of thousands of years. Due to human expansion and trade, the species were brought together in Taiwan, Hawaii and South Florida.

The study’s lead researcher, Thomas Chouvenc, an assistant research scientist of entomology at the University of Florida, has observed the two mating. This raises concerns that the hybrid offspring might have developed a temperature tolerance that stretches from North Carolina to Brazil. “That is the worst-case scenario,” said Chouvenc who has observed the hybrids growing in the lab.

In South Florida, the Asian termite typically mates in February, and the Formosan usually mates in April. In March 2013, Chouvenc found the two species mating at the same time. He believes that the warming climate has changed the termites’ mating seasons, but more evidence is needed to find the root cause.


The size of the hybrid brood, nearly twice the size of either parent group, is another concern, According to Chouvenc, when the researchers observed a Formosan colony and an Asian colony that were kept separate in the lab, each colony had about 80 offspring after a year. However, when the Formosan mated with the Asian termites, their colony produced about 150 termites in a year. The researchers are currently replicating the experiment to see if they get the same results.

The new study details a “fascinating situation” and “a sobering picture,” said Ed Vargo, a professor of entomology at Texas A&M University. “You have the two most destructive subterranean termite species in the world, and here they are, brought together through human activity, being introduced together in a place where they’re not native, and they’re hybridizing,” Vargo said.



Death Stalker | South Florida Spider Control

Death Stalker

The venom of the “death stalker” scorpion of North Africa and the Middle East, also called the most venomous scorpion known to man, may be the best friend to pets suffering from certain types of cancer. Death stalker venom contains a molecule can prolong the life of dogs inflicted with the deadly disease.

Whiskey, Hot Rod, and Browning developed malignant tumors. Their owners decided to enroll them in a clinical trial at Washington State University Veterinary School. The dogs, along with 25 other patients, were given intravenous injections of a chemical derived from the death stalker’s venom prior to surgery. The venomous chemical “paints” cancer cells so the cells will be become fluorescent. This makes the cancerous cells easier to distinguish from normal cells and allows veterinary surgeons to know the exact limits of the cancer and ensures removal of all cancer cells during surgery.

According to Pediatric oncologist Dr. Jim Olson, developer of the tumor paint, this is far superior to the present method of “taking wide margins” and hoping cancer cells do not get left behind. “I predict that in a decade or so, surgeons will look back and say ‘I can’t believe we used to remove tumors by only using our eyes, fingers, and experience.’ Those hidden deposits of 200 or so cancer cells? They won’t go undetected.”

Olson re engineered the molecule in the venom to latch on and identify cancer cells without causing the clinical symptoms associated with a scorpion sting. He uses the technique at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to help people, but he says it is also a way to help the pets they love.

“Many animal tumors resemble those that arise in humans, so it only makes sense for the two groups to reap the benefits that tumor paint can provide during cancer surgery. As WSU uses the technology to help dogs, the dogs provide information that’s applicable to human cancer.”

Hulett Environmental Services offers pest-prevention tips to keep ants from marching indoors

Hulett Environmental Services offers pest-prevention tips to keep ants from marching indoors09_Carpenter Ant

Spring is officially here and with it comes one of the most persistent warm-weather pests—ants. As temperatures rise, Hulett Environmental Services warns that America’s number one nuisance pest will invade homes across South Florida in search of food. While most species present problems in people’s pantries and kitchens, some species can deliver painful bites while others inflict property damage. According to a survey from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), more than half of consumers list ants as their top pest concern.

Although ants can be difficult to control once they have entered a home, the following preventative measures can play a major role in helping to avoid infestations:

  • Wipe up crumbs and spills immediately
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and remove from the home frequently
  • Keep food packages closed or sealed and store products in air-tight containers
  • Avoid leaving food out on the counter or pet food out on the floor for long periods of time
  • Repair holes or gaps in window and door screens
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows
  • If you suspect an ant or any pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and treat the problem



This April, Hulett Environmental Services is proud to celebrate National Pest Management Month, a public observance formally recognized each year by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to acknowledge the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health and property from household pest threats. Additionally, as spring is an especially busy time for pest-related activity, <Company Name> encourages homeowners to take proactive pest proofing steps in the coming weeks.7987321_s

We are proud to be members of an industry which plays an important role in people’s everyday lives and are committed to helping homeowners protect their homes and ensuring public places and residences are free of disease-carrying pests.

As pests emerge from their overwintering spots, we encourage the public to tackle simple home improvement and landscaping projects that will make a big difference in staving off infestations during the warmer months.

Pest experts at Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following tips to pest-proof the home this spring:

  • Seal any cracks on the outside of the home with a silicone-based caulk, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  • Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles.
  • Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  • Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Contact a licensed pest professional if an infestation is suspected.

Spider Dating | Florida Spider Control

New research from Susquehanna University biology professor Matthew H. Persons, published in the the November 2014 issue of “Ethology, shows that female wolf spiders increase their dragline silk advertisements to attract uninterested males. “Previous studies have assumed that females passively produce silk and that males exploit these cues to search for and locate the female,” Persons stated. “We were interested to know what kinds of silk females are making, and if they change how much or what kinds when they see males in the area, or if they change how much or what kinds they make based on what the male is doing.”

Persons and his team scoured corn and soybean fields for wolf spiders. “Most of the time you can collect about 50 per hour and you only need to step a couple of feet into the edge of a soybean or corn field to do it,” he said. “For this study, I think it took maybe a couple of afternoons to collect our study subjects.”

According to Persons, females placed in a petri dish were moved to a larger “arena” that contained a male that they could see but not touch. “Some of the males had access to female silk and would court vigorously. Other males didn’t have access to female silk and so didn’t court much. We then measured the kinds of silk and how much females deposited on the ground while watching these males,” he added.

Over time female spiders were mostly interested in attracting male attention when the males were ignoring them. “What we found was that females produced a lot more silk when they watched males that were not courting compared to when they were. This indicates that they are using silk to try to get a male’s attention.”

Persons reported that the females deposited three different kinds of silk: dragline, cord and attachment disks. Each probably corresponds to a different kind of communication. His study shows that sex pheromones or female-produced silk aren’t produced at a constant rate. Instead, this production is dependent entirely on the male’s actions. The female spiders are actively seeking out mates. The silk is not “a passive cue for males,” but rather an “active sexual advertisement or courtship signal that females are sending to males,” Persons concluded.  This revelation is changing the way researchers view the mating habits of spiders.

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