Here are a few facts to help homeowners protect themselves from stinging insects over the next few months:
- Stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year. They can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life threatening especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction.
- Unlike some stinging insect species, wasps are known for their unprovoked aggression. A single colony of wasps can contain more than 15,000 members, so an infestation should not be taken lightly.
- Common nesting sites include under eaves, on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds and under porches. Some stinging insects can build their nests in the ground, including yellowjackets and velvet ants (which are actually a species of wasps). Over-seeding the yard provides more coverage and discourages these pests from nesting around the property.
- Painting or staining untreated wood in fences, decks, swing sets and soffits will help keep stinging insects such as carpenter bees out. Carpenter bees create nests by drilling tunnels into soft wood, which can severely compromise the stability of a structure over time.
- Only female carpenter bees have stingers. Female carpenter bees will only sting if threatened, but reactions to these stings can range from mild irritation to life-threatening respiratory distress.
Q & A: Healthcare Facilities & Pest Management
What are the most common pests that healthcare facilities encounter, and what health threats do they pose to patients and staff?
Healthcare facilities are susceptible to most of the pests common in most houses and businesses. Ants, fire ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, ticks, fleas, mice, mosquitoes, rats and spiders, among others, can all slip into buildings as people and deliveries come in and out. Pests can gain access in backpacks, boxes, delivery vehicles and on people and their belongings.
Pests can transmit a host of diseases to humans and animals with effects ranging from minor discomfort to death. Some diseases spread by pests include:
* Bubonic plague * Rabies
* Cholera * Rocky Mountain spotted fever
* Dengue * Salmonellosis
* Encephalitis * Shigella
* Dysentery * Staph
* Hantavirus * Strep
* Lyme disease * Tapeworms
* Malaria * Trichinosis
* Murine typhus * Typhoid fever
* Polio * West Nile virus
A study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a report in the New England Journal of Medicine show that even among many common asthmatic triggers, cockroach allergens cause the most health problems for asthmatic children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.
Pest-transmitted diseases can be controlled through proper pest management techniques. Identification of species, habitat and behavior can help a pest management professional control infestations and subsequently suppress outbreaks of pest-transmitted diseases.
Is it feasible for a facility to employ its own staff members to sustain a pest-free environment?
Just as a facility wouldn’t employ an unlicensed nurse or doctor, the National Pest Management Association recommends that they not take a chance with an untrained and unlicensed pest control professional. If in-house pest management is required, make sure that the individuals are qualified. Arming untrained personnel with pest management tools can be dangerous and most facilities depend on outside pest management firms.
Licensed and professionally trained pest control professionals are best suited to keep health and property-threatening pests in check. Today’s pest control professionals are experts in every sense of the word. They are trained in the latest techniques and necessary to identify pest problems and recommend the safest and most responsible pest management methods available.
Pest control professionals undergo training to meet state regulatory and certification requirements. They participate in industry workshops and forums to further their knowledge of the field. All states offer pesticide applicator certification programs, which require testing on chemical properties, selection, usage rates and safety. To remain certified, most states require continuing education, which includes the latest information about on-site pest management needs assessments and state regulatory requirements.
What are the most important steps to ensure proper pest management?
Pest management plays a major role in allowing us to live healthier, more prosperous and comfortable lives. To ensure proper pest management always deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national, state or local pest management associations. Membership in the national, and state or local pest control associations is a good indicator that the company has access to modern technical information and is committed to further education.
Reach a complete understanding with the company before work starts; find out what the pest is, how the problem will be treated, how long the period of treatment will be, and what results can be expected. Effective treatment depends on correctly identifying the pest species and developing a treatment that takes the pest’s biology and habits into account.
In between professional pest control visits, employees can take a variety of steps to reduce the likelihood of infestation and ensure proper pest management. They should remain vigilant in assessing their environment. Encouraging employees to wipe down exposed areas, secure trash lids, maintain a clean floor space and keep windows and doors fastened will go along way in helping to prevent infestations. Employees can also track pest sightings in a pest sighting log – recording the type of pest, location and behavior. This will help a pest management professional when they come in to evaluate the facility.
Can pest-control be managed without the use of insecticides?
While it’s true that insecticides are used in pest control, the pest management industry is in the forefront of widespread efforts to make insecticides part of the program, not the only means to pest control.
The result is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a process that goes beyond traditional pest management techniques. Though centuries old, the latest IPM techniques have found broad-based support from the scientific community, government, and the pest management industry.
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a broad approach to pest management that focuses on addressing the reason that the pest problem exists rather than on just the pest itself. IPM accomplishes this by eliminating the three things pests need to survive: food, water and shelter. There are three common steps involved in practicing IPM. They include inspection, pest identification, the establishment of control measures(such as caulking cracks in sidewalks or walls, moving dumpsters away from buildings and appropriate pesticide applications),. To be acceptable, the pest management measures must be both environmentally compatible and economically feasible. The NPMA has advocated IPM for years through seminars, publications, and by supporting its techniques nationwide.
IPM is the springboard of pest management into the new century. It is the smart way to conduct pest management.
From the West Nile virus and Yosemite Hantavirus outbreaks to Lyme disease and the plague, it could be argued that 2012 was the year of pest-related infectious diseases. But, there were also some weird and wacky pest stories that grabbed headlines over the past twelve months. Here’s the list of the top five pest stories of 2012, as ranked by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA):
West Nile Virus (WNV) Outbreak: The mosquito-borne WNV outbreak became the second-worst in the history of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 5,387 cases of WNV disease in people, including 243 deaths in 2012.
Hantavirus and the Plague: Ten people fell ill and three died from exposure to deer mice infected with Hantavirus after staying in tent cabins at Yosemite National Park. A Colorado girl was also infected with the Bubonic Plague, a rare disease that wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th century.
Acorn Crop Boosts Ticks: This spring, the tick season was heavier than in previous years due to an increase in 2010’s acorn crop and a decrease in the white-footed mouse population this year. These strange events forced many ticks to find new warm-blooded hosts – humans, which caused a surge in Lyme disease.
Spider Calls Woman’s Ear Home: One of the strangest and most unusual stories of 2012 has to do with a spider that was recently removed from a woman’s ear canal after doctors found it living inside for five days.
Termite Species Re-Identified: An aggressive termite species was recently re-identified in Broward County, Fla. Native to the Caribbean, tree termites — once thought to have been eradicated in the United States — can cause widespread property damage in a short period of time. This species is being carefully watched by experts because it’s difficult to control with existing treatment methods.
For more pest news or to locate a qualified pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.
While rodents are unwelcome house guests, the real concern is that these pests can cause property damage and carry disease. Rodents such as mice and rats spread salmonella and Hantavirus by contaminating food and preparation surfaces. They can also chew through wood and electrical wires, in some cases sparking house fires.
It’s much easier to prevent a rodent infestation than to remove them after they’ve turned your home into their new residence. Here are a few steps homeowners can take to keep their homes rodent-free:
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent rodents from finding easy entryways.
- Keep shrubberies cut back from the house and store firewood a good distance away. The NPMA recommends that you tore firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five inches off the ground.
- Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep areas clear and store boxes off of the floor.
- Keep food in tightly sealed containers and clean up crumbs and spills.
- If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.
For further information on rodents or if you have other questions related to your pest control needs, visit www.bugs.com
Box, director of training at Hulett Environmental Services, retired after a life-long career in pest control, including the last 15 years at Hulett.
|Ron Box being recognized during his retirement celebration.|
Editor’s note: Hulett Environmental Services announced that James Ronald “Ron” Box, Board Certified Entomologist, retired after a life-long career in pest control, including the last 15 years at Hulett, which submitted the following article recalling Box’s involvement in the pest control and some of his many contributions.
Little did Ron Box know back in 1959, when as a 12-year-old kid helping his Dad spray his first lawn that his life-long career in pest control would stretch all the way into 2012, and would have such a positive impact on families living throughout Florida. He worked for his Dad throughout high school and after serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force. Married with three children to support, he went on to earn his Associate of Science degree in Pest Control Technology from Broward Community College where he was introduced to the research and teaching aspects of the industry. He also taught a couple of semesters for entomologist, Doug Palmer.
He bought his Dad’s company in 1978, and later sold the business in 1985, with every intention of enjoying an early retirement playing golf in the Bahamas. But, he couldn’t stay away, especially when he saw a need to improve the living conditions around him that were being destroyed by natural pests both on Grand Bahama Island and in Florida.
After returning to the U.S., he wanted to get back into doing what he knew best, and while thumbing through a copy of Pest Control Magazine, Ron found an opportunity to learn a new treatment to get rid of dry wood termites using liquid nitrogen to kill these invasive insects. Later, he worked as the manager of 26 technicians who serviced properties for a large management group.
Then in 1997, he heard about an opening to work for Tim Hulett with Hulett Environmental Services, and that was when Ron found himself presented with opportunities to do more of what he loved to do — research, training, and education. Tim recognized Ron’s talent as an educator and put him in charge of the company’s training and certification programs.
In 1998, Ron’s wife, Jeannine, suggested perhaps now was the best time to pursue his lifelong dream, to go to the University of Florida and earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology. When Ron explained to Tim what he wanted to do, Tim graciously arranged it so that Ron would have time to do it. And though it took Ron until 2001 to finish his degree, shortly after graduating, he took his board examinations with the Entomological Society of America, and in 2002 he was awarded his Board Certified Entomologist status.
When asked about his experience working at Hulett, Ron replied, “It’s the esprit de corps and I love the people. They’re very upbeat and driving, and so is management. And our commitment to quality and service is unparalleled in the pest control industry.”
“Tim Hulett allowed me the opportunity to work with manufacturers, get involved with conducting trials, and dealing with Experimental Use Permits on new products such as Indoxacarb, as well as working with BASF on Phantom for its use on subterranean termites.,” added Ron, “and I have Tim to thank.” Ron was also involved in the first eradication program down in Davie, Florida, for the Florida Tree Termite, Nasutitermes corniger, where he worked on that project for close to five years, doing everything from the actual treating and through to the inspections. He was the first one in Palm Beach County to find, locate, and identify Coptotermes gestroi. Both Drs. Rudi Scheffrahn and Brian Cabrera helped him on that, which in turn, helped to expand their own research on Asian subterranean termites. He also identified the Heterotermes termite species in the Palm Beach area.
“You never had a dull moment at Hulett,” continued Ron, “there was always something going on, and it was always different. Whether it was writing the Certified Field Technician (CFT) Program, which is still in place at Hulett, or creating the support manuals to match up with the CFT manuals.”
As an industry leader, Tim Hulett knew that Ron was the man to create these comprehensive written programs. Ron has also mentored many of the certified operators he has trained while at Hulett, encouraging several of them to take their exams to become Associated Certified Entomologists. He also helped Chris Scocco get his own Board Certified Entomologist status.
Now that Ron and his wife, Jeannine, have retired to Georgia, she’s planning to expand her candy making business, Gifts of Love — and plans to sell her chocolates online and through local retail outlets. While Ron enjoys being the chief chocolate taster, he’s happier doing projects around the house and in the garden tending his small orchard of fruit trees — all the while keeping a watchful eye out for any pesky bugs.
Hulett is grateful for Ron’s many years of dedicate service to the company, for inspiring his co-workers, and his commitment to helping Florida families. He will be sorely missed and everyone at Hulett wishes him the best always.
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.
Your source for termite information
What is the difference between a termite and a flying ant?
There are 3 ways to tell termites and flying ants apart:
Termite wings are all equal in length and extend well past the abdomen. However, ants have wings which are unequal in length and generally end at the tip of the abdomen.
Antennae on termites are straight and beadlike, but on ants they are elbowed.
Ants have a pinched waist (abdomen), but termites have no constriction in the body and are more streamlined.
Whether you found a termite or a flying ant, you could have an infestation problem. Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty termite control treatments designed to control and eliminate these pests!
Summer Barbeques Attract Unwelcome Pests
Hulett Environmental Offers Advice on How to Keep Uninvited Insects Out of Your Backyard
According to research conducted by the National Pest Management Association in 2005, 67% of homeowners are most concerned about pests during the summer. Barbeque season begins when the temperature heats up, the same time that insects become the most active. These prevalent summer pests can cause painful stings and carry diseases, as well as becoming a nuisance for you and your guests.
If ants, mosquitoes and wasps aren’t on the guest list for your barbeque this summer, the National Pest Management Association recommends taking these precautions to discourage those unwanted pests from attending:
- Ants are attracted to typical barbeque fare. 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. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal. Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.
- Mosquitoes feed on blood, causing painful bite marks and carrying diseases such as Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Encephalitis. Remove or drain any sources of standing water in your yard that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths, wading pools, or garden ponds. When outside, wear insect repellent on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites.
- Wasp stings can be painful and even send guests with allergies to the emergency room. Avoid decorating with fragrant candles or planting fragrant flowers that may attract wasps.
- Ensure all doors and windows in your home have mesh screens that are in good condition, and keep doors closed when possible so pests cannot enter your home.
- If you’re still concerned about an abundance of pests in your yard, contact Hulett Environmental to help control the problem. A pest professional can identify, treat and remove pest-breeding grounds, allowing your guests to enjoy their hamburgers and hot dogs in comfort.