Tag Archives: Ant Exterminator

7 Amazing Insect Ninja Skills

7 Amazing Insect Ninja Skills

If insects were ninjas… well… they’d be pretty good at it. Many of the advanced technologies humans have developed for combat purposes, insects possess naturally. In some cases, their nature has our tech beat.


Don’t forget to declare your…Insects?

A man crossing into the United States from Mexico forgot to declare his bugs as food at the port of entry. The unidentified driver told agents he forgot to declare the bags as food items. He was given a $175 fine and the insects were seized. Agents sent the bugs to the U.S.  Department of Agriculture where they were identified as a type of stink bug. Pests must be reported when brought into the country because they feed on plants, CBP officials said in a release.

Moral of the story is don’t forget to report pests when crossing the border since they feed on plants!

Checkout the full story

Homeowner Advice on Keeping Ants Away

Homeowner Advice on Keeping Ants Away

As of 2006 there are 9,000 to 10,000 known ant species and researchers believe that there may be more than 20,000 species worldwide. With this fact in mind it is no surprise that 25% of homeowners listed ants as their main pest concern according to research conducted in 2005 by the National Pest Management Association.  This same study revealed that more than half of all homeowners have had problems with ants – making them the most prevalent pest nationwide.

Ants are social insects and form highly organized colonies with up to millions of members each having a role. Spotting one ant unfortunately signifies that the troops are somewhere close by.

Homeowners should particularly watch out for fire and carpenter ants. Fire ants, found mainly in the south, are vicious and can sting repeatedly if disturbed. Carpenter ants attack wood that is or has been wet or damaged by mold and can build tunnels through dry, undamaged wood causing costly property damage.

Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips for minimizing invasion by ants:

  • Keep wood and debris away from exterior siding
  • Keep kitchen clean: seal containers, wipe counters frequently, empty the garbage religiously, and avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Seal up cracks and small openings along bottom of the house.
  • Store sugar, syrup, honey, baked goods, and other sweets in closed containers that have been washed to remove residues from their exterior surfaces.

For more information on other ant species and preventative tips visit www.bugs.com

The inside scoop on occasional invaders

The inside scoop on occasional invaders

Florida Pet Control

Occasional invaders are pests that find their way into your home once in a while. They are typically looking for food, warmth, or just lost their way and stumbled into your home.  Traditionally they are not disease-spreading pests and will not cause any kind of structural damage to your property.

Ladybugs, boxelder bugs, spiders, and cluster flies are all examples of this type of pests.

The good news about occasional invaders is that once they are inside they don’t reproduce or feed, but are just a nuisance with their presence.  Some of these pests, like the ladybug, are actually beneficial pests! Remind yourself of this as you scoop them up from your windowsills during the winter months. Ladybugs feed on a wide range of insects making them a pest that you want to have around – just not INSIDE your home!

The best strategy for dealing with occasional invaders is preventing them from penetrating your home. However, once they are already inside, depending on your tolerance level you can remove small amounts of nuisance pests simply by vacuuming them up.  If there are too many pests inside or if you have a lower pest tolerance, a pest control professional will be able to assist you in controlling your infestation.  Just remember, if you vacuum them up you should remove the bag when finished. Seal it in a plastic bag and dispose of it with your normal garbage.

There are many steps homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of occasional invaders:

  • Keep all kitchen areas clean (including floors) and free of useless clutter. Kitchen appliances should be kept free of spills and crumbs. Clean shelves regularly and store foods such as cereal, flour, and dog food in resealable containers.
  • Periodically sweep and vacuum floor areas in the kitchen, under furniture, and around dining areas.
  • Keep garbage areas clean. Garbage should be stored in sealed containers and disposed of regularly.
  • Seal cracks, crevices, and other gaps around doors and windows. Doors and windows should always be kept closed or well screened.
  • Check pipes and pipe areas around the house for leaks, cracks and gaps and seal and patch any problems if necessary. Leaky faucets should also be fixed.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. If you have mold and mildew in your home or office crawlspace, it’s a symptom of an excess moisture problem.
  • Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly. Insects have also been known to come in on potted plants and in luggage.

Just Call Hulett!

Butterfly wings are what talented artist Vadim Zaritsky needs to make unsual paintings

Meet artist Vadim Zaritsk. He is like nay other artist except for the fact that he uses a very unusual material for his paintings – butterfly wings. He is well known for using butterfly wings to paint pictures of various politicians, landscapes, fellow artists, landscapes, and still life’s.  To see some of Vadims pieces of work check out: Butterfly wings for politicians’ faces



How Hungry Mosquitoes Cool Themselves

NYTimes.com: How Hungry Mosquitoes Cool Themselves

Most blood-sucking insects urinate while they feed so they can avoid filling up on fluid and get more nutrients out of their meal.

But some species of mosquito also do what is called preurination – they excrete drops of freshly ingested blood without extracting any of the nourishing blood cells.

The behavior has always confused scientists because “blood is a very precious resource,” said Claudio R. Lazzari, an entomologist at François Rabelais University in Tours, France. “The risk of taking it is very high.”

New research, conducted by Dr. Lazzari and colleagues and published in the journal Current Biology, shows that the preurine may serve to keep the cold-blooded mosquitoes from overheating while they take their blood meal, which can be as warm as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the host animal.

Roughly one to two minutes after she starts feeding, an Anopheles stephensi mosquito will excrete urine and preurine through the anus, at the end of the abdomen. Sometimes a drop of the fluid will form and cling to the body before falling off; when this happens, some fluid evaporates like sweat and cools the mosquito’s abdomen by almost four degrees.

Mosquitoes also feed on nectar, but they tend not to preurinate when they eat lower-temperature, sugar-based meals.

The mosquito is not the only insect that uses ingested food to regulate its temperature. Aphids excrete honeydew to prevent their abdomens from getting too hot, and some bee species regurgitate a bit of nectar to keep their heads cool while they fly.

Ant poison paralyzes prey from afar

By Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience Staff Writer

Ant-nest invaders beware: The African ant species Crematogaster striatula has venom so potent that termites don’t even need to come in contact with it to feel its wrath. The chemical can kill at a distance as a group of ants approach the termite butt-first.

The poison is emitted by a gland called the Dufour gland, near the worker ants’ stingers, and seems to have three functions. The chemicals emitted by the gland not only paralyze and kill termite prey, they also attract ant nestmates nearby to assist them. The ants invoke the chemicals the same way to repel alien ants.

Learning more about how insects defend their homes may also help us defend our homes against pesky invaders. The researchers, led by Angelique Vetillard of the University of Toulouse, in France, characterized the specific chemicals in the venom, providing initial clues about the source of the venom toxicity, which could help researchers produce natural insecticides.

This research provides “a basis from which further studies can be conducted in the search for natural insecticides, including new molecules effective against insects resistant to currently used insecticides,” Vetillard said in a statement.

These African ants live among rotting branches on the ground in cocoa-tree plantations. They prey upon the termites, even though these termites have developed elaborate architectural, behavioral, morphological and chemical means to defend themselves.

To figure out how the ants’ chemicals work, Vetillard and colleagues set up field experiments. They found that the chemical was more deadly to the termites than to other ants. Invader ants tend to back off and run when cornered, but the termites are more likely to stand their ground in the face of danger. When cornered, the ants were able to poison the termites from a distance of 0.2-to-0.4 inches. The researchers suggest their thin skin may also make them more sensitive to the poison.

When an ant detected a termite, it approached with its abdominal tip (containing its chemical-laden stinger) pointed toward the prey. By raising its stinger the ants create tiny particles of the toxins, which fly through the air. The chemicals their stingers emit seemed to draw their nestmates to help them take down the termite invader. As expected, the termite boldly stood its ground; but after about 10 minutes it fell down and rolled onto its back, its legs batting the air, paralyzed.

Next, one lone ant approached, watching for the leg movements to subside. When there were fewer movements of its legs, all of the ants approached the termite and prepared to seize it by an appendage and bring it back to their nest.

When the ant workers discovered several Camponotus brutus, an alien ant species, imbibing honey on their territory, they defended their turf by again very slowly approaching butt first, stinger tip pointed toward the aliens, causing them to retreat. Without there being contact between the antagonists, the intruding ants slowly backed away from the smell of the chemical, though they seemed unhurt.

The study was published Dec. 14 in the journal PLoS ONE.

You can follow LiveScience staff writer Jennifer Welsh on Twitter @microbelover. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescienceand on Facebook.

Discovery of new ant may signal wave of expansion

Discovery of new ant may signal wave of expansion

By HARRY EAGAR – Staff Writer (heagar@mauinews.com) , The Maui News

There are no ants native to Hawaii, so whenever a researcher sees an ant, it’s an invader. While scouting for the long-established Argentine ant along Waipoli Road in 2009, University of Hawaii entomologist Paul Krushelnycky discovered an extensive field of odorous house ants.

It was a surprise, because although these ants are native to much of North America, they hadn’t been found in Hawaii before. In a research paper published in Myrmecological News (online in September, scheduled for print early next year; www.myrmecologicalnews.

org), Krushelnycky and Grzesiek Buczkowski, an entomologist at Purdue University, wonder whether it may signal a new wave of ant expansion.

Over the past century, tropical ants, including fire ants, have swept the world, but temperate zone ants have not been as adventurous.

The mysterious colony of odorous house ants in remote Waipoli raises more questions than it answers.

And while odorous house ants do not bite people or chomp on buildings, they could pose an additional threat to native insects by outcompeting them.

Krushelnycky said he is concerned because invaders have already made huge inroads at lower elevations, and the odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile), which lives as far north as Canada, might find a home in the higher elevations of Haleakala National Park, where tropical ants find it too cold.

Odorous house ants have already found a happy home in Kula. In North America, they are inconspicuous, living in small colonies in leaf litter, but when they move to the city, or to warm Maui, they learn different habits.

The Waipoli infestation covers a huge area, about half a mile across at least, and it may be a supercolony. DNA testing will be needed to confirm that, but ant fights suggest it.

In the wild, odorous house ant colonies are small, with a single queen. In warm buildings at Purdue University in Indiana, Buczkowski said, they have formed supercolonies with 25,000 queens and 5 million workers.

By putting workers from different nests in a glass vial, Krushelnycky and Buczkowski observed whether they made antagonistic movements or got along quietly.

Ordinarily, ants from two nests would not get along. In Kula, the ants were peaceable, although less so the farther apart any two nests were, suggesting that all are closely related.

That does not mean the ants are gathered densely together. The nests are widely dispersed, and the ants share their territory with seven other species, including the Argentine ant and the big-headed ant.

This raises questions for the entomologists, because past work has found odorous house ants to be outcompeted by Argentine and big-headed ants. They seem to be holding their own in Kula, though.

Cas Vanderwoude, who devised a novel bait that allowed eradication of a colony of little fire ants in Waihee before they could irrevocably establish themselves, wrote in an email: “It’s really hard to predict what a new species will do once it arrives in a different environment. . . . Certainly Paul’s research on Argentine ants in midelevation parts of Maui show there could be cause for concern” with odorous ants as well.

“The issue here is that we have a very narrow window of opportunity to eradicate something once it is discovered. Without certainty about potential impacts, it is difficult to present an economic case for funding.”

Funding is scarce now, anyhow, and nobody knows how long the odorous ants have been at Waipoli, according to the researchers.

Because they already cover such a big area, Krushelnycky said he is doubtful they could be eliminated.

The little fire ant colony that was destroyed was in a much smaller area.

There is a difference of opinion about what odor odorous house ants emit.

They come from a family notable for the smelly defensive chemicals they make. Some think their smell is like coconut, although Krushelnycky said that, at best, it smells like rotting coconut to him.

Buczkowski described it to a Purdue journalist as reminiscent of pina colada.

Vanderwoude, who works in the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaii-Hilo and with the state Department of Agriculture, participated in the Waipoli surveys, but he said he doesn’t know why Tapinoma smells as it does.

Many ants have distinctive smells (and tastes; Vanderwoude sometimes tastes ants). “There is another species in Australia that smells like mint-chocolate!” Vanderwoude wrote. But, “some ant species taste vile, so choose carefully!”

* Harry Eagar can be reached at heagar@mauinews.com.

Beyond Bedbugs: 8 Insects Businesses Should Really Worry About

Beyond Bedbugs: 8 Insects Businesses Should Really Worry About

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite” used to be just a cute expression to say before saying goodnight. Today, it’s an actual warning. Bedbugs are back and they continue to attack a variety of businesses, from clothing retailers to hotels to movie theaters. According to a new study by the National Pest Management Association, 95 percent of pest-control companies nationwide have had run-ins with bedbug infestations in the past year.

While bedbugs get all the attention, plenty of other interesting, rather ominous insects are out there wreaking havoc on consumers and costing companies millions. So if you feel like being unnerved by bedbugs isn’t enough and you’re wondering what other creepy, crawling critters your business should be scared of, check out this list.

What they threaten:
California’s $1.3 billion citrus industry.

Modus operandi:
The Asian citrus psyllid isn’t such a bad bug on its own, but it can carry the devious and deadly Huanglongbing (HLB) bacteria, which kills all varieties of citrus trees. And what’s truly sneaky is that it’s often not evident for years that a citrus tree has been infected, so if the owner of the trees isn’t aware of what’s going on, the psyllids continue to eat away at the tree, allowing HLB to continue to spread.
“Left unchecked, the Asian citrus psyllid will spread throughout California,” warns Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell, a University of California entomologist working to minimize the Asian citrus psyllid population. As for the disease it carries, “There is no cure,” Grafton-Cardwell says, “and it is a death sentence for citrus.”

Fun fact:
“The adult psyllid tilts its rear end up in the air when it feeds — a unique posture among citrus pests,” Grafton-Cardwell says.
What they threaten: Wooden furniture manufacturers, lumber companies and at least one famous baseball bat company.

Modus operandi:
This metallic-green, beautiful-but-devastating insect is attempting to destroy 7.5 billion ash trees in the United States. They were first discovered in Michigan in 2002. How they got here is anyone’s guess, but most international insects travel to America for a better life as stowaways in luggage or on humans traveling on planes, or they burrow in cargo on ships or in packages sent through the mail. The emerald ash borer is now found in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Maryland. Pennsylvania’s trees, meanwhile, are the source for the Major League Baseball bats manufactured by the famed company Louisville Slugger, and the state has been girding itself for the emerald ash borer’s arrival but has so far kept them at bay.

Fun fact:
Minnesota is introducing stingless wasps into the state to combat the emerald ash borer.

What they threaten:
California’s $320 million avocado industry, where 90 percent of the nation’s avocados are grown, as well as the peach and apricot industries.

Modus operandi:
They like to feed on avocados, which causes the plant’s leaves to fall prematurely. As the leaves fall too soon, the bark becomes sunburned, the fruit doesn’t grow properly and the avocado trees in general get stressed out.

Fun fact:
The average persea mite only lives 15 to 40 days. The warmer the weather, the shorter the life. Sixty-seven degrees Fahrenheit seems to be the sweet spot.
What they threaten: Every business in parts of Texas, mostly in Houston. Reportedly seen in southern Arkansas.

Modus operandi:
Crazy rasberry ants are named for exterminator Tom Rasberry, who first identified the critters in Houston in 2002. These ants bite humans and are oddly attracted to electrical equipment — they enjoy nesting in it and chewing it up. In fact, the NASA Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake City, Texas, had some crazy rasberry ant sightings and brought in Rasberry to exterminate them.
After exterminations, “I’ve seen them in piles of two to three inches,” says Ron Harrison, technical director for Orkin, the national pest control chain. Harrison says the businesses that seem to be the most in danger of infestation are manufacturing firms that have warehouses and storage areas among trees. Fun fact: They’re called “crazy” because the ants don’t move in a straight line — they move all over in a lot of different, zigzag directions.
What they threaten: The grape and wine industries — and any business that has a building

Modus operandi:
Basically, this is the Asian version of the ladybug, and mostly, they’re harmless. But during the winter, they fly into buildings and crawl into windows, walls and attics. Before dying, they’ll often release an annoying stench and a yellow fluid that stains. But if you’re a fruit grower, you’ll be much more than annoyed. This is war. After all, these Asian lady beetles like to munch on peaches, apples and grapes, among other fruit, and as wine growers have found, if even just a small number of these beetles are accidentally processed along with the grapes, it can taint the wine’s flavor.

Fun fact:
The Asian lady beetle’s stench, which you’ll discover if you try squashing them, Harrison says, “is their way of discouraging things from eating them.”Varroa Destructor

What businesses they threaten:
The beekeeping industry — a $12 billion industry in the United States alone.

Modus operandi:
The varroa destructor is a blood-sucking parasite, attacking both adults and kids. The juvenile honeybees born under the influence of a varroa destructor often are deformed, missing legs or wings. It’s a very bad situation for the bees and not a great one for the honeybee industry, and considering how we depend on bees to pollinate flowers and crops, it’s a bad situation for the world at large.

Fun fact:
The varroa destructor was first discovered in Southeast Asia in 1904. They first turned up in the United States in 1987.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

What they threaten:
Farmers, and they could embarrass some business owners in their own stores.

Modus operandi:
Although the United States has plenty of stink bugs, this one first showed up in Pennsylvania in 1998. Since then, they’ve been attacking farmers’ crops, including apples, figs, peaches, citrus and mulberries. On the plus side, “Often, they just do cosmetic damage rather than actually destroying the fruit,” says Ron Harrison. Of course, try telling a potential customer the apple he’s eying isn’t as disgusting as it looks. As for getting into a place of business, they won’t — unless you have cracks around your windows or doors, or if they can find a way through the utility pipes or by invading your siding.

Fun fact:
Once stink bugs move into your storefront, they will come year after year. They return because they can smell the odor they left behind. It’s kind of like leaving out a sign to other stink bugs that your establishment is a fun vacationspot.Coffee Borer Beetle

What they threaten: Hawaii’s coffee growers, an estimated $60 million industry.

Modus operandi: These insects, which are well-known in Central America and South America, were recently discovered in Hawaii by a University of Hawaii graduate student. The bug bores into the coffee cherry and lays its eggs. As soon as the larvae, the juvenile coffee borers, arrive on the scene, they instantly feeding on the coffee bean. Borers typically ruin about 20 percent of a crop and do an estimated $500 million in damage every year.

Fun fact: The coffee cherry borer is a small beetle, about the size of a sesame seed.

Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to AOL Small Business. He is also the co-author of the book Living Well with Bad Credit.

The *Hulett Environmental* Daily