Hulett Environmental Services recommends the following steps to pest proof your home this winter:
- Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home. Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests that other pests feed on.
- Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
- Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
- Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
- Hulett Environmental is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.
When the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches, many opt to stay indoors and bake treats for friends and family. When digging through your cabinets and storage for baking necessities, like cookie cutters and containers of flour, make sure you are leaving unwanted “pantry pests” out of the mix. The National Pest Management Association offers consumers tips for keeping these pesky pests from spoiling your holiday baking traditions.
“Pantry pests” are insects that tend to gather around food often stored in pantries and cabinets such as flour, dry cereals, spices, candies and chocolate. Common pantry pests include Indian meal moths and Merchant Grain Beetles.
“Many families enjoy baking during the holiday season, and spotting a pest in your ingredients or supplies is a surefire way to ruin the fun,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “By following a few helpful tips, homeowners can feel comfortable in their kitchens and safe when enjoying their fresh baked treats.”
The National Pest Management Association suggests the following steps to avoid pantry pests:
- Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
- Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods like flour, rice and other grains- their pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
If you suspect a pest infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify
Everyday Bedbug Prevention Tips
- Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
- Check your sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
- Consider bringing a large plastic trashbag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
- Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
- Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult to detect an infestation without training.
- Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation.
By Adrian Hunsberger firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. My plants are getting covered in white fluffy stuff and a black mold. Even my car is turning sticky. What can I do?
A: You sent me a sample of the gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly (the new name is the rugose spiraling whitefly). This pest has been in the Miami area for a few years and now infests much of southeast Florida. It is not a serious pest to most plants but it does create a mess.
You can treat infested plants yourself or hire a landscape pest control company. Use a soil applied systemic insecticide and always follow the label directions. This type of insecticide is available at garden centers, retail nurseries and agricultural supply companies. Many products last up to a year, so don’t apply them more often. They take a few weeks to work but they are long-lasting.
To learn more about whiteflies and other South Florida pests, visit this website: http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/ If you have questions, you can call your local University of Florida Extension office (Broward County 954-357-5270, Miami-Dade County 305-248-3311 x 228 or x 222, Monroe 305-292-4501, Palm Beach 561-233-1700).
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have a pest related question for the experts at Hulett Environmental Services? Hulett is the Florida pest control expert! Please fill out the following form and a Hulett representative will contact you within 24 hours or the next business day. Please call 866-611-2847 if you need immediate service.
What are some examples of summer pests?
There are many different types of summer pests although some of the most prominent home invaders include ants, cockroaches, and termites. Of course outdoors will bring us a different set of pests – mosquitoes, ticks, and flies are some of the most prevalent.
Are these pests dangerous?
Summer pests are much more than a nuisance – consider these statistics:
- Termites destroy more homes each year than fires and floods combined; they cause over 5 BILLION dollars of damage.
- Stinging insects send 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.
- Recent medical studies show that cockroach allergens trigger asthma attacks in children.
Should we expect more summer pests than usual in our area this year?
We should expect an average amount of pests – comparable to last year – this summer. A good indicator of pest pressure is winter moisture. We didn’t have a terribly wet winter this year, so we should have an average summer for pests.
How can a homeowner get rid of summer pests once they are inside their home?
The best way to eliminate summer pests once they ALREADY infest your home is to call a pest professional.
What steps can homeowners take to reduce the likelihood of summer pests inside their homes?
There are many steps homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of occasional invaders:
- Keep all kitchen areas clean (including floors). 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. Pay particular attention to pet food and water dishes.
- 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 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.
Do you have any good rules of thumb for dealing with summer pests?
- When it comes to your home – the cleaner the better. Many summer pests are attracted to food and water sources left out around your home.
- Standing water attracts thirsty pests. Try to remove all stagnant water sources in and around your home.
- A safe bet about pests – there is almost always more than one. Pests breed extremely quickly. If you notice cockroaches or termites in or around your home, chances are great that there are many more where they came from.
Tell me a little bit about ants…
There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population. The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Kids are home more in the warm weather so wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, remove empty soda cans and mop the floors.
Tell me a little bit about cockroaches…
Cockroaches enjoy damp, dark places with a plentiful food supply; They like to hide during the day, often behind kitchen appliances or in cupboards. Inspect these areas vigilantly and clean regularly.
Tell me a little bit about mosquitoes…
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water that collects in ditches, birdbaths, flowerpots and old tires. Check those areas and remove the standing water to help eliminate the threat.
Tell me a little bit about termites…
Termites build mud tunnels on the foundation of a home for covert access to wood. They can also be found by looking for broken-off wings.