Tag Archives: Florda pest expert

Mosquito Season Is Here — How Bad Will it Get?

Mosquito Season Is Here — How Bad Will it Get?

FAIRFAX, Va., Jun 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Summer has barely begun but it’s likely many people have already encountered one of the season’s most ubiquitous pests — the mosquito. As is the case with many other insects, mosquitoes have made an early emergence after a mild winter and rainy spring. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that this might be one of the worst seasons yet, so break out the repellant.

“Mosquito season is highly dependent on rain events, and states are monitoring rainfall and pest management companies are applying treatments accordingly,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “This summer, mosquito numbers have the potential to grow significantly and it’s important for people to take precautions to avoid exposure.”

Although mosquitoes are known to carry a variety of diseases, West Nile virus (WNV) is of most concern in the United States.

“In most cases West Nile Virus is a mild infection with symptoms so slight they can go unnoticed, or feel like a summer flu. In extreme cases, it can be a potentially life threatening infection with higher fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention,” advised Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA.

The NPMA offers the following tips to avoid becoming a mosquito meal:

– Eliminate areas of standing water around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools, grill covers and other objects where water collects. Mosquitoes need only about 1/2 inch of water to breed.

– Screen all windows and doors. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.

– Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

– If you must spend time outdoors during peak mosquito times, wear long pants and sleeves and use an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.

– If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or your local mosquito abatement district.

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.

SOURCE: National Pest Management Association

USDA Urges Americans to Prevent Invasive Pests, Protect American Agriculture

USDA Urges Americans to Prevent Invasive Pests, Protect American Agriculture

WASHINGTON, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that it is dedicating the month of April to sharing information about the threat that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America’s fruits, vegetables, trees, and other plants—and how the public can help prevent their spread. APHIS works each day to promote U.S. agricultural health and safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries.

“Invasive pests hit close to home and threaten the things we value,” said Rebecca A. Blue, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “We need the public’s help because these hungry pests can have a huge impact on the items we use in everyday life, from the fabric in our clothing, the food on our table, the lumber used to build our home and the flowers in our garden. During one of the most successful periods in history for U.S. agriculture, it is important that we step-up our efforts to educate Americans about USDA’s good work to protect our nation’s food, fiber, feed and fuel from invasive pests.”

Invasive pests are non-native species that feed on America’s agricultural crops, trees and other plants. These “hungry pests” have cost the United States billions of dollars and wreak havoc on the environment. USDA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection-working closely with state agriculture departments and industry-are dedicated to preventing the introduction and spread of invasive pests. The goal is to safeguard agriculture and natural resources from the entry, establishment and spread of animal and plant pests and noxious weeds.

But federal and state agencies can’t do it alone. It requires everyone’s help to stop the unintended introduction and spread of invasive pests. The number-one action someone can take is to leave hungry pests behind. USDA urges the public to visit www.HungryPests.com to learn more about invasive pests and what they can do to protect American agricultural resources by preventing the spread of these threats. Here are a few actions that people can take today:

  • Buy Local, Burn Local. Invasive pests and larvae can hide and ride long distances in firewood. Don’t give them a free ride to start a new infestation-buy firewood where you burn it.
  • Plant Carefully. Buy your plants from a reputable source and avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.
  • Do Not Bring or Mail fresh fruits, vegetables, or plants into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand.
  • Cooperate with any agricultural quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property for pest or disease surveys.
  • Keep It Clean. Wash outdoor gear and tires between fishing, hunting or camping trips. Clean lawn furniture and other outdoor items when moving from one home to another.
  • Learn To Identify. If you see signs of an invasive pest or disease, write down or take a picture of what you see, and then report it at www.HungryPests.com.
  • Speak Up. Declare all agricultural items to customs officials when returning from international travel. Call USDA to find out what’s allowed:
    (301) 851-2046 for questions about plants
    (301) 851-3300 for questions about animals

At www.HungryPests.com, a website available in both English and Spanish, visitors can access the interactive Pest Tracker to see what pests are threatening in a selected state, and to learn how to report suspected invasive pests. The public can also engage on the invasive pests issue via Facebook and Twitter. HungryPests.com is optimized for mobile devices. Public service announcements in both English and Spanish will air on television and radio throughout April and at peak times for domestic travel this summer. APHIS has also been actively collaborating with a number of state partners who will conduct targeted stakeholder engagement on invasive pest issues with state-specific outreach materials.

Added Blue: “The USDA and its partners are fighting invasive pests on three fronts: abroad, at the border, and across the homeland. We’re also developing new tools, improving our systems, and working hard to educate the public on how they can join the fight and help stop the spread of invasive pests.”

There has been success in the fight against invasive pests. The Asian longhorned beetle, detected in Illinois in 1998, was declared eradicated from Illinois in 2008 with the help of local, state and federal partners and Illinois residents. The beetle was also declared eradicated from Hudson County, NJ; and Islip, NY. Extensive efforts by USDA and its partners in California reduced European grapevine moth populations in 2011 by 99.9 percent. That pest was first detected in California in 2009.

With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

“Rate My Rat” Photo Contest

When you hear of a photo contest you generally think of the usual. City skylines, pets, families, insects would all fall into the category of “usual”. This particular photo contest does not fall into that “usual” category.  New York Subway Workers are Running a “Rate My Rat” Photo Contest in which they urge commuters to capture and upload the biggest, fattest vermin. The grand prize you ask? A month free transit pass. If you don’t believe me just visit www.ratfreesubway.com and take a look around for yourself. If you encounter rats I suggest you just call Hulett Environmental Services for all your rat control needs.

Which Parks and Recreation Star Got Bed Bugs?

EOnline.com: Which Parks and Recreation Star Got Bed Bugs?

Making movies isn’t as glamorous as you might think.

Especially indie flicks.

Just ask a certain Parks and Recreation star about the time she got bedbugs…

Aubrey Plaza ended up with a case of the creepy parasites while filming a comedy called, of all things, Safety Not Guaranteed.

Shot on a shoestring budget in about 24 days in rainy Seattle, Plaza stars as one of two magazine editors (the other is newcomer Karan Soni) who are helping a writer (New Girl‘s Jake Johnson) track down a man (Mark Duplass) who claims he can travel back in time.

“It was  a nightmare,” Plaza told me about the bedbug bites while the cast was promoting the movie at South by Southwest at the W hotel in downtown Austin. “But, you know, it happens in hotels.”

Her costars couldn’t help but mess with her about it. “I thought she was just freaking out too much and giving herself hives,” Duplass cracked.

Added Johnson, “I told her, ‘The bedbugs seem to only bite when you have a lot of anxiety.’ I think it may have just been a rash from stress.”

Kidding aside, it seems to have all been well worth it. Writer Derek Connolly actually wrote Safety with Plaza in mind. It first picked up buzz at Sundance and was a must-see at SXSW. “I read it and immediately attached myself to it,” Plaza said. “I had so much fun making the movie. It was a lot of fun.”

And that included getting to shoot a gun. But, Plaza smiled, “we were doing it at such a fast pace, I thought I was going to shoot myself in the eye.”

Hey, it certainly would have made her forget about the bedbugs.

Miami.CBSLocal.com: Elderly Broward Woman Speaks Out About Termite Scam

Miami.CBSLocal.com: Elderly Broward Woman Speaks Out About Termite Scam

DANIA BEACH – An 88-year-old Dania Beach woman is speaking out after paying $1100 to two men in what BSO says was a termite scam.

Now, the Broward Sheriffs Office is also warning residents about the two men and their unlicensed company: Legend Tree Service.

“I think they’re both crooks,” said the victim. “I think it was very dishonest.”

She asked that CBS4 not reveal her identity, but she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she wants to speak about the two men who she said took her money, and who she said are on the BSO flyer.

D’Oench spoke to her at a nursing home where she was visiting her husband.

The two men on the flyer are Michael Scott Goodwin, 51, of Pembroke Pines and George B. Scott, 52, of Hollywood.

The BSO flyer said they “have a history of exploitation of the elderly.”

The flyer said they have been handing out business cards for “Legend Tree Service” and been advising victims that their trees or gardens are infested with termites and that they must “spray immediately” to prevent the termites from destroying their homes.

The flyer says Legend Tree Service is not licensed as a company and is not licensed to spray. It said the two men have collected initial payments from victims, and then have returned on the following day to collect a second payment, even though no further work was done. The flyer says they recently targeted elderly residents in a mobile home park in Dania Beach.

A similar warning was issued by the BSO Tamarac District, which notes, “A business card alone is not sufficient documentation to proceed with an agreement for services.”

CBS4 spoke with a victim who lives at the Estates of Fort Lauderdale Mobile Home Park off Stirling Road in Dania Beach.

She said she felt she could trust the men who told her that her Robellini palm tree was infested.

“He said termites were going to get under my house,” she said. “I live in a mobile home. It was going to destroy my house. The minute I heard termites, I got all shook up so I just gave him the money, $550 on the first day and $550 on the second day.”

“He said he wanted to prune that tree and I’m going to spray all the foliage around your home for $550,” she said. “First it was $330, then $550. Then he came the next day and charged me another $550.”

She said very little work was done.

“I’ve got over a thousand dollars invested in this Robellini that he trimmed a little bit and supposedly sprayed with insecticide for termites,” she said.

The case drew a strong warning from BSO.

“These predators always look for people in the community who are vulnerable,” said BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright.

“If someone comes to your home, then be aware,” she said. “You have the right to say give me your card. Give me your information. I’ll get back to you. You have the right to say no thank you. I don’t want to do business with you.”

“The best thing to do, the best course of action is to get the information. Research it. Get the referrals on your own. Check them out through the Better Business Bureau. Call your local Police Department to see if they’ve had any complaints on these individuals. If anything sounds suspicious, if anything tells you it is wrong, then it probably is. You need to listen to it.”

The victim told CBS4 that she has learned a lesson. “Check the guy that is supposed to do the work,” she said. “Make sure they are licensed and insured.”

She hopes her story will raise awareness about these issues and hopes she can get her money back.

While BSO is warning the public about the two men, authorities say there is no probable cause to arrest them.

CBS4 placed phone calls to the numbers listed in the BSO Event report. He was not able to reach Goodwin, but George Scott called him back and said that he was hoping to pay the victim back with a cashier’s check for $1100.

At first Scott said he would meet with D’Oench for an interview but then said he could not.

Scott said that he wanted to help the victim and said, “I’ve been working my whole life.”

The BSO Event Report says that “the subject cut hedges and put mulch down, but it is unknown what he actually did do for her and what if anything was actually needed.”

The report says Scott has a suspended license and an active warrant for driving license revoked.

“I know the police may be looking for me because of that warrant,” Scott said, “but that has nothing to do with my work.”

Mild Winter Brings More Pests

To guard against the early emergence of pests, Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips for homeowners:

  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
  • Keep mulch at least 15-inches from the foundation.
  • Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants trimmed back from the house.
  • Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • If you suspect a problem, contact a qualified pest professional who can recommend the best course of treatment.

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!

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.