Tag Archives: Florida Lawn Services

Protect yourself from stinging insects over the next few months

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.

Top Five Pest Stories of 2012

Top Five Pest Stories of 2012

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.

The mark of excellence in pest control

What Is QualityPro

QualityPro is an initiative designed to increase professionalism in the pest management industry. This dynamic program certifies companies based on comprehensive standards. Known as “the mark of excellence in pest control,” the QualityPro designation can be achieved by ensuring that all employees voluntarily ascribe to a set of standards far above what is required by state and federal regulations.

Reserved exclusively for member companies of the National Pest Management Association, QualityPro companies are a distinguished group that continue to act as leaders and pioneers to better serve consumers across the country. Therefore, it is with great pride that we recommend you look for the QualityPro logo the next time you select a professional to eliminate your pest problems.

Here are some examples of QualityPro standards that must be met before a company can achieve this exclusive designation:

  1. All Employees must undergo a comprehensive background check before ever showing up to service your account.
  2. Companies must have a drug-free workplace policy that not only prohibits illegal drugs, but also requires employees to notify management if they are using prescribed medication that may impair their judgment, driving ability, performance or behavior.
  3. Motor vehicle record checks must be conducted on all employees that drive a company vehicle or a personal vehicle for company business.
  4. Each employee that shows up to your residence or business is required to adhere to a strict uniform dress code and service vehicle maintenance and appearance policy. (We want to make a great first impression…no leaking oil on your driveway or dirty boots on your carpet!)
  5. QualityPro ensures that companies must provide you with a warranty/service agreement that clearly outlines the scope of service in BOLD type on the first page of the contract.
  6. Clear communication practices must be followed, including procedures for contacting the customer to schedule the inspection and notification.
  7. Sales and service technicians must first meet testing minimums before they are eligible to work on your account. QualityPro feels that testing and training are among the most important aspects of any service industry.
  8. The QualityPro program also contains an environmental stewardship aspect that requires companies to offer integrated pest Management services (IPM) to its customers. If you would like more information on what “IPM” means, just ask your service provider.
  9. Advertising practices are put in place to ensure that companies don’t make false claims when soliciting your business. No images, words or misleading terminology!
  10. All companies that enroll in the QualityPro program must have insurance minimums in place for workers comp, general liability and vehicles.

In addition, we here at QualityPro, strive to ensure that all companies in the program are meeting these criteria through continually conducting random audits on all program members.

Hulett Environmental reminds people to take extra precautions to guard against stinging insects

Hulett Environmental reminds people to take extra precautions to guard against stinging insects

The late summer and early fall are popular times for people to flock outdoors to enjoy the summer sun. Unfortunately, it is also the most active and aggressive season for stinging insects including wasps and yellow jackets, warns Hulett Environmental Services a pest management company servicing Florida.

“Whether completing home maintenance projects or attending a holiday cookout, anyone spending time outside during the warmer months is likely to encounter stinging insects,” said Greg Rice, Marketing for Hulett Environmental Services “These pests are known to dole out painful stings, which can be life-threatening to people who have an allergic reaction.”

In fact, the National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, reports that stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year.

“It is important that people don’t provoke stinging insects by swatting at them. Instead, they can take a few extra precautions to prevent an unwanted encounter with these pests,” added Rice. Experts at the NPMA and Hulett offer the following tips to avoid being stung:

  • Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition.
  • When dining outside, keep food covered until ready to eat.
  • Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered.
  • Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
  • Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.
  • Paint/stain untreated wood.
  • Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.
  • Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.
  • Do not attempt to remove a hive or nest on your own.

For more information on stinging insects, visit www.bugs.com

Mosquitoes are Thriving in Water Left Behind by Tropical Storm Debby

TampaBay.com: Mosquitoes are Thriving in Water Left Behind by Tropical Storm Debby

While Tropical Storm Debby has exited the Tampa Bay area, something else that is troublesome is on the horizon: a mosquito outbreak.

Between moist junk in trash containers and back yards transformed into swamps, plenty of new breeding grounds for mosquitoes have appeared in Debby’s wake.

On Monday, Pinellas County Mosquito Control technicians began inspecting and treating sites where there were mosquitoes already.

“That’s sort of just the Band-Aid – just getting the mosquitoes that are out at that time,” said Nancy Iannotti, district operations manager. “It’s like treating a sore with the bandage instead of taking antibiotics.”

On Wednesday, she said, technicians began to see additional mosquitoes hatching. Technicians will need to locate and eradicate the larvae to stop their growth into blood-sucking adults.

Last week Mosquito Control targeted about 2,500 acres in North Pinellas and about 1,500 acres in South Pinellas as prime areas to search and treat.

They quickly determined that North Pinellas had the most immediate problem, so helicopters were deployed to access and spray areas that were large or not accessible by foot, starting on Thursday. Iannotti said they planned to reassess on Friday whether to fly over and treat South Pinellas.

“We have a lot of acres to cover,” Iannotti said. “We’ll be working extra hours. We’re going to get to as much as we can.”

The agency was evaluating areas that might need treatment with fogging trucks and was responding to calls for service from the community.

However, it isn’t just the government’s job. Mosquito Control urges residents to survey their own properties as well. Puddles, pools, flower pots holding excess water, boat tarps and water at the bottom of recycling and trash bins are ideal places for mosquitoes to lay eggs. All they need is a teaspoon of water, according to the county.

The eggs hatch into larvae, which then grow into the pupa stage, and finally become adult mosquitoes.

“If you don’t have the water, you don’t have the larvae and pupae,” Iannotti said. “You have to check anything that can hold water. Dump it or drain it.”

Everyday Bed Bug Prevention Tips

Everyday Bed Bug Prevention Tips

It is important to be aware of ways to prevent bed bugs in your everyday life. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • 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.

Pest World Contest

SUBMIT a photo or video of your reaction to seeing a bug for a chance to win an amusement park trip valued at $4,000! http://t.co/zcntpSYY via www.pestworld.org

Bee Swarm Unleashed in Pasco Garage

MyFOXTampaBay.com: Bee Swarm Unleashed in Pasco Garage


PORT RICHEY – A swarm of bees has been causing some big problems for a family in Port Richey. They made the discovery while cleaning out the garage and they’re having a devil of a time getting rid of them.

The Pizzuto’s certainly had a crazy start to their Thursday morning.  They were doing some spring cleaning in the garage, when suddenly, within minutes it was filled with hundreds of angry bees.

“They’re like swarming, there are millions of them,” said Selena Pizzuto, a 14-year-old, who caught the swarm in-motion on her cell phone camera.

The bees filled the garage, and covered the side door. Rose Pizzuto got a frantic call from her mother Mildred.

“And she said there were some bees moving around in the garage and she had been cleaning, and I came home and I thought, okay, we’ll just buy some spray,” Rose said.

She quickly found out she would need a lot more spray to fix the mess.

“We have bees, like everywhere!,” said her daughter in their home video.

It was a buzzing black cloud of bees, irritated because their nest had been disturbed by her mother’s cleaning.

“I couldn’t believe it, there were bees just swarming everywhere!,” Pizzuto said.

Worried for her kids, she called 911, who then put her in touch with an exterminator. But she didn’t have the extra $150 to pay for it.

“Were you freaking out?,” we asked.  “Yes, I was freaking out majorly!,” she said.  “It was very scary, I’ve never seen such a large swarm before.”

The nest was two shelves up from where she keeps frying pans they use every day. She never noticed the bees until now.  The good news is no one got stung. The bad news is, no matter how much they sprayed, more new bees kept showing up!

“Your neighbor sprayed a few, right?,” we asked. “Yes, my neighbor Michael sprayed the bees the first time,” said Pizzuto.  “And what happened after that?,” we asked. “After that he ran for it and then they all came out of the bees nest!,” said Pizzuto.

“I just saw like hundreds of bees everywhere,” said Selena Pizzuto. “Had you seen something like that before?,” we asked. “Never,” she said. “Like only on TV.”

“Then her looked out the window and her said, Mom, there’s a huge lot of bees out there,” said 5-year-old Ryan, who told us he was not scared of the swarm.

Ryan Willingham with the County Extension Office, who is a bee specialist, explained that we’re in bee season right now. And when hives get full, part of the worker bees branch out with a new queen to find a home.

“Half the workforce takes off and finds another place,” said Willingham.

We asked him if the family was in any danger?

“I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as dangerous, but yet, you don’t know where the bees are from,” said Willingham. “They need to be handled by a professional.”

And the Pizzutos still have lot of work to do. At the top of their downspout near the garage, we found another cluster of bees.  Willingham said that it could take several days to get rid of all the bees, from the garage, to the gutter, to another cluster we saw in the yard.

Bed Bug Frequently Asked Questions

Bed Bug Frequently Asked Questions