Serving all of South Florida

How to Beat Mosquitos

How to Beat Mosquitos

A recent wave of air-sprayed insecticide has been sweeping through cities as the preferred method for eliminating issues with mosquitos. Most of the time this occurs in Florida cities as the weather and humidity of the air result in some of the perfect breeding grounds for these insects.

Of course there are other instances that result in mosquitos breeding in large quantities. The perfect breeding grounds for these insects are standing water. While you can’t always count on getting rid of standing water such as lakes and puddles of streams, you can take care of things like water building up in trash cans or dirt holes around your property which can lead to mosquito breeding and infestation.

In fact, it is recommended that you spend some time after each rainfall, cleaning out gutters, pool covers, garbage cans, flower pots, or anything else that could potentially house still water. It doesn’t matter what the water is in, if mosquitos come across it they will take advantage of it for breeding purposes.

Even if your city does resort to air spray insecticide to handle mosquitos, you still need to do your part to make sure your home isn’t being invaded by these potentially dangerous insects out for your blood. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to make sure areas around your house are clean of free-standing water and it could save you some hassle in the long run.

Ant Slaves!

Ant Slaves

Scientists believed that the life of a Japanese oak blue butterfly caterpillar resembled that of a queen ant due to its loyal ant servants. A new paper, published in the journal Current Biology shows the Japanese species in a new light.  A three-member team at Japan’s Kobe University noticed that the ants who served a Japanese oak blue butterfly caterpillar did so constantly. They were pulled away from their daily duties even the search for food. Scientists assumed that they stayed with the caterpillar in some sort of symbiotic relationship for the sake of benefiting from a sugary syrup-like secretion from the caterpillar.

However, a free exchange would see lines of ants being pleased to serve the caterpillar for a time and then move on. The Japanese researchers showed that it was the same ants which constantly stood guard over the caterpillar.

With the help of both chemical and visual signals, scientists discovered that the caterpillar actually controls its “bodyguards.” The ants who sip its sugary secretions begin to take cues from the movement of the caterpillar’s ‘tentacles’ and abide by its instructions.

The caterpillar must secure safe transformation into a butterfly. During this metamorphosis, it needs protection from predators such as wasps and spiders. Its pheromones leave the vulnerable creature with an aggressive brigade of loyal ant bodyguards.

“There are glandular cells near the tentacles that could be secreting chemical signals,” researcher Masaru Hojo told New Scientist. “It is possible that both visual and chemical signals are stimulating the ant aggression.”

https://www.rt.com/news/311490-japanese-caterpillar-zombie-ants/

Deciphering The Most Painful Venom Known To Man: Milking The Bullet Ant

Deciphering The Most Painful Venom Known To Man: Milking The Bullet Ant

If you are a keen masochist, then perhaps a time dedicated to studying bullet ants would be your kind of thing. Bullet ants possess the most painful venom known to man, and researchers are actually interested in investigating the potent neurotoxin packed by these infamous creatures. They believe that by milking the bullet ant’s venom, they can then study it for potential medical use.

For now, here’s what we know about the bullet ant and its infamous, venomous sting:

  • According to the Schmidt Pain Index, which ranks insect bites according to the level of pain they inflict, the bullet ant is at level 4 — right up there at the top, certain in its spot as the most painful stinger. In fact, that’s why it’s even called a “bullet ant” in the first place.
  • A sting from this creature contains venom that is capable of rendering a human paralyzed and trembling with pain, akin to the pain that results from being shot by a gun.
  • Bullet ants are incredibly aggressive, ample-sized ants, considered to be among the largest types of ant. The worker bullet ant can range in size from 18 to 30 millimeters — almost an inch long, and is surpassed only by the Dinoponera ant in size, but not, by a long shot, in sting power.

Another unwelcome — or in the case of the truly excellent masochist, welcome — tidbit: bullet ants can actually sting multiple times in a single second. And when they sting, they release a pheromone that encourages any nearby ant to also sting. Braver men have wept under a raze of the bullet ant’s sting; ask the Satere-Mawe people of Brazil, who have intimate experience with this feral creature, as they make their men wear gloves containing hundreds of these ants as part of their initiation to adulthood.
And to cement the bullet ant’s level of notoriety, the impact of its sting lasts for 24 hours or more, which can leave the inflicted in a state of uncontrolled, excruciating tremors. If you believe yourself up to the task, then you can add that encounter to your bucket list. Otherwise, leave the experience to Brazil’s bullet ant warriors and the rest of ant extermination to your pest control experts.

Cockroach Exhibit in Japan Features Man-sized Trap

Cockroach Exhibit in Japan Features Man-sized Trap

When you think about an animal exhibit, you usually imagine it displaying something as typical as bears, elephants, seals, giraffes or lions — the usual public favorites. But in an an act of unprecedented, innovative insight, a zoo in Japan has come up with a cockroach exhibit, complete with man-sized cockroach trap, as an alternative to the usual animal fanfare.

Interestingly, the zoo already has experience with featuring less-than conventionally savory types of animals in their repertoire. Tokuyama Zoo has already held special exhibits featuring a variety of insects and reptiles before and, due to popular demand, have decided to focus solely on the surprisingly well-patronized cockroach for their next exhibit.

According to the zoo’s spokeswoman, Tokuyama Zoo, located in Yamaguchi prefecture, will display a total of 100 up to 200 cockroaches at its event, with a kickoff event featuring 15 kinds of cockroaches sourced from different parts of the world — with rare kinds among them such as the  Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.

Now, regarding cockroaches in a controlled environment from a spectator’s, even a pseudo-scientist’s perspective may seem like a worthwhile enterprise, but if you ever come into contact with the same party cavorting around unchecked in your home, then a call to your pest control experts should be the proper — and immediate — recourse.

Want To Buy Your Own Butterflies For Your Special Occasion? This Startup Can Make It Happen

Want To Buy Your Own Butterflies For Your Special Occasion? This Startup Can Make It Happen

As worldwide contests for picture-perfect parties are doing their rounds on Pinterest, a couple’s butterfly-selling startup offers a unique and ethereal touch to celebrating special occasions.

Rose Franklin’s Perennials, has been run since 1991. The Pennsylvania-based nursery is owned and personally managed by Rose Franklin and her husband, Andrew Smith.

The couple sells about 80 different plants from their nursery, but hope to scale back on plant selling and instead expand the side of their business related to selling adult butterflies. The couple started by selling butterfly eggs and caterpillars to citizens and other homeowners during the summertime, and come August, would sell to schools, so children can get to watch the metamorphosis and butterfly life cycle in progress. Franklin hopes that with an increased demand for butterflies, they can eventually scale back their plant inventory from 80 to 40 types, and bring their focus to raising the former, delightful creatures.

Targeting the events market seems like a viable option for increasing butterfly appreciation. The thought of releasing live butterflies in a wedding as an alternative or complement to the traditional pigeons is an enchanting idea worth realizing. And if you move on to other parties, such as a debutante ball, or a little girl’s fairy-themed party, or a boy’s safari-themed birthday, a mother-to-be’s baby shower, a bridal shower, a play or a musical, the possibilities become endless and more fascinating to imagine than the last.

The couple are holding open houses on schedule to showcase their butterflies as well as to teach proper care. Online order information and other details can be found on their site at butterflybushes.com.

Is It A Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket, Or A Bee? How To Tell

Is It A Wasp, Hornet, Yellow jacket, Or A Bee? How To Tell

Knowing the ‘enemy’ is a fundamental law of survival. In simpler terms, knowing who or what to avoid is key to keep from suffering unnecessary pain or worse — death. On a lighter note, telling one creature from the other is a way to identify if it is dangerous, if it is a predator or prey, if it can or cannot be domesticated, or if a peaceful level of coexistence can be established.

Which brings us to our topic, which is a basic lesson of identification: is it a wasp, a hornet, a yellow-jacket, or a bee? Here’s how to tell.

  1. All wasps and bees have three-part bodies, but wasps have thinner, pinched waists while bees have thicker waists.
  2. Most bees are hairy; most wasps are smooth and hairless.
  3. Wasps have fairly longer legs than bees. Bees have expanded hind legs for carrying pollen
  4. Bees collect pollen; wasps are carnivorous. Wasps attack, sting, and collect their insect prey to feed their larval offspring. There is only one known carnivorous bee specie — the Trigona hypogea, found in South America.
  5. Bees are usually not aggressive unless handled roughly. They usually only sting when defending their hive. Hornets do not sting when left alone but can be aggressive when defending their nests. Yellowjackets can sting even when out hunting or unprovoked.
  6. Honeybees can only sting once. A honeybee dies after stinging. Solitary bees, bumblebees, wasps, hornets and yellowjackets can sting multiple times.
  7. Most bees are brownish-yellow and black. Yellow jackets generally have body segments in alternating bright yellow and black stripes while hornets are black and white in color. Wasps can range in color from black to metallic greens and blues.
  8. Most wasps, including hornets and yellowjackets, fold their wings laterally, along the length of their body when at rest, giving their wings a thin, long appearance. Bees’ wings remain flat and open on their backs even when at rest. Yellowjacket wings are as long as their bodies.
  9. Yellowjackets are known scavengers. They are attracted to meat, fish, and sugary substances, so they can draw near open picnics and areas where there is trash.
  10. Hornets measure 1 to 1 ½ inches long. Yellowjackets are smaller, and measure 10 to 16 millimeters in length. Bees can measure from 3.9 centimeters up to 2 millimeters long. Wasps can range in size from microscopic up to several centimeters long.

Some of these insects can be harmless when left alone to pollinate, or hunt their prey, while some can be pesky and even dangerous  if you’re trying to clean up your trash or have an al fresco picnic, as they may also choose to partake of your meal and may sting if you swat at them. Telling these insects apart is vital, especially during more outdoorsy spring and summer seasons. Identification leads to understanding, and understanding leads to the highest possibility of a relatively safe coexisting relationship.

Hybrid Termites Flourish Under Unusual Palm Beach County Heat

Hybrid Termites Flourish Under Unusual Palm Beach County Heat

The arrival of spring and summer seasons have always heralded the arrival of tourists and local vacationists. But recently, Florida has also been teeming with something — or in this case, some things, a little more than unwelcome: termites. And if the presence of exotic tourists lounging under the Palm Beach County heat are not unheard of in this time of year, the presence of exotic termites have now also been discovered to swarm aplenty, thriving almost maniacally under the same unusual warmth of the season.

University of Florida entomologists announced the discovery of a new “super termite hybrid”, believed to be a product of climate-directed mating seasons that, due to the unusually hotter and extended summer, now overlap. All through March to May, South Florida reached its warmest recorded season, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. In West Palm Beach, temperatures were also higher than the historic norm by 4.1 degrees, which resulted in a field day for heat and humidity-loving termites.

“There is no exactly correct answer as to why it’s such an active swarm season this year, but it is,” said Greg Rice, marketing director for West Palm Beach-based Hulett Environmental Services.

They may not be sure about what’s causing the recent termite swarms, but those intense infestations are certainly the culprit for why Hullet’s termite business went up 27% in May compared to the same period in 2014; Guarantee Floridian’s termite treatments doubled over 2014 according to sales manager Carlos Pedroso; and business went up 40% last year and geared for another increase this season for West Palm Beach-based Beach Environmental owner, David Sprague.

It just goes to show that where there’s a field day for pests, there’s also a peak in the pest extermination business, as they get down to the nitty and gritty with not only their old nemesis, the original dry-wood termite — but now have the added pleasure of meeting the newcomer hybrids.

How to Choose the Best Termite Warranty for Your Home

termites wreak havoc

Did you know that termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year and that the damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance? All pest control companies are not the same and the same is true for their warranties. There are a variety of companies that offer a wide range of options that differ in what they cover and what they don’t. Choosing the right termite warranty can be tough, but protecting your largest investment shouldn’t have to be.

Questions to ask when reviewing your warranty options

What is the deductible?

no-deductibleThe Hulett warranty provides you with a zero dollar deductible! This is not true for all pest control companies. Make sure you know what your deductible will be when comparing the cost of treatment options presented by other companies.

Is there a limit to the life of the agreement?

renewableWhile some companies put a limit on the life of their warranty, Hulett’s renewable agreement is extendable for the life of the structure as long as annual coverage is maintained. It can be transferred at no additional charge to the new homeowner if you choose to sell your home! Other companies limit coverage making a full retreat necessary.

Will the cost increase after a certain period of time?

rising-costBe sure to ask when you might expect a rate increase on your warranty. Some companies in their agreements can change the cost of the renewal at any time without notice. But Hulett guarantees your renewal price with no increase for 4 years! Understanding the “real cost” of treatment will ensure you are comparing apples to apples when choosing a professional termite control company.

Are annual inspections included?

annual-inspectionsNot all companies provide a free annual inspection with their termite warranty. The Hulett warranty provides you with annual exterior inspection as well as offers a perimeter spray at no additional charge at the time of your annual inspection! Annual inspections are critical to ensuring your home remains protected helping to prevent long-term structural damage to your home by identifying early warning signs.

What happens when I sell my home?

sell-houseIf your home is sold, your Hulett warranty can be transferred to the new homeowner at no additional charge. Most companies will not allow for transfer of ownership and this can be detrimental to the marketability of your home.

Will anything void my warranty?

protectedRead your agreement carefully. Some companies will void your warranty for structural issues like foundation cracks and masonry failure and other things like soil disruption. Other companies do not cover common things like soil disruption caused by new landscaping as enough to invalidate your warranty. But not with Hulett. You can rest assured that Hulett has you covered. Structural issues and/or soil disruption like these will not invalidate Hulett’s warranty! With Hulett’s professionalism and experience we take pride in taking care of our customers.

What treatment method would Hulett recommend to protect my home from termites?

termiteDifferent types of termites require different types of treatments. Drywood termites require treatments such as Hulett’s structural (tent) fumigation or Hulett’s unique “No Tent” Termite Control. Both services are effective and customized by Hulett to meet your needs. Subterranean termites are treated with Hulett’s Liquid Defense treatment or a Termite Baiting System. No matter the type, Hulett provides all of the most effective and environmentally responsible treatments! Hulett can help you decide which one works best for you during your FREE inspection.

Annual termite inspection

It is estimated that termites annually cause more damage to South Florida homes than all fires and hurricanes combined. That is why it is so important to inspect your home regularly. Termites can be “silent invaders” and can gain access into your home without you ever knowing it. As part of Hulett’s inspection, a HealthyHomeTM certified inspector will perform a complete inspection of your home to ensure no new threats have developed. For over 45 years Hulett has treated thousands of homes and buildings throughout South Florida for termites!

Award-winning service

Hulett has been awarded the Dow AgroSciences “Commitment to Excellence” Program in fumigation every year since the awards inception in 2000. Admission into the program requires extensive and continuous training with special emphasis on all mandatory safety practices including proper aeration and the use of secondary locks. To ensure that all members maintain the high standards established by the program, a series of written examinations must be passed without exception. Hulett is proud to provide you with only the best in fumigation services.

Your satisfaction is our top priority. We pledge to swiftly and effectively resolve any concerns you may have at no additional charge. Our steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction has been our guiding principle for three generations. Do you live in South Florida and think termites may be invading your home or office? Call Hulett today at (866) 611-BUGS (2847) to schedule your FREE Termite Inspection with no obligation!

*See full agreement for details

Drug Bugs May Be Flying at an Airport Near You

Drug Bugs May Be Flying at an Airport Near You

Dog training certainly seems accessible for any interested owner, and lab mice and rats are well heeled with the assistance of their scientist overlords, but trained bugs?

Turns out bees are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.  Maybe it’s the prejudice of their small size, or alien insect natures, but humans have figured out how to communicate with bees. And in the process, these friendly little yellow and black critters may be the next big thing in security.

Airport security, that is.  Bees work cheap, and don’t take up a lot of space.  Not only that, they bring their own uniforms.

But how do we know when they’ve found drugs, or bombs?  At this stage, they have only proven their ability to locate cocaine and heroin, and it’s the antennal response.

Cockroaches and moths did a pretty decent job, too, but the honeybees had the most sensitive antenna.

As bizarre as trained bugs may seem, they have some definite advantages over highly trained dogs.

First, dogs have difficulty re-learning to identify new drugs – and bees show no such problem. Dogs also can adopt human prejudices, because they are so well tuned to our behavioral cues.  Bees don’t pick up on our opinions.

 

So far, bees have only been tested at sniffing drugs, but the future for bug-training is wide-open.

Soybean Fields Fertile Ground for Bug Control

Soybean Fields Fertile Ground for Bug Control

A widely used food staple, soybeans provide a nutritious food source to more than just humans.  A huge variety of bugs go after the plant, and as conditions change due to weather and bug resistance, researchers have to go farther afield to protect them.

At Louisiana State University, the Agricultural program has its hands full monitoring soybean crops for how effective current pest management approaches are.  Teams of agricultural researchers are studying how well various integrated pest management approaches work.  By comparing past pest control methods with new ones, they hope to find the best way to keep the bugs away.

Part of pest control is insecticides, and another part of an integrated program is using other bugs to prey on plant-eating insects. In addition, every season brings a slightly different type of bug into contact with soybeans.  Last year, red and black banded stinkbugs proliferated, while this year it’s the green and brown kinds.

Insects also develop resistance to insecticides, but the level of resistance can change.  Researchers work closely with farmers to determine how much pesticide needs to be used to optimize growth and minimize economic harm.

 Serving All of South Florida Since 1968 (All 12 Counties)

Pest Control Palm Beach

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West Palm Beach, FL 33411

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