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The Hulett Environmental Daily


PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING

PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING

Hulett Environmental Services offers tips to help homeowners pest-proof their home

Spring is here and that means weekends throughout April will find homeowners opening windows, packing away the winter clothes and returning patio furniture outdoors. While partaking in these annual “spring cleaning” routines, Hulett Environmental Services is also encouraging people to add pest-proofing inside and outside of the home to their spring to-do lists.

“As the weather continues to warm, homeowners should expect to see increased activity from various insects such as ants, termites and cockroaches,” said Greg Rice at Hulett Environmental Services. “Taking preventive measures early in the spring season is the best approach to avoiding infestations and the subsequent health and property risks associated with these pests.”

Experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following steps homeowners can take to keep unwanted pests outside where they belong:

  • Seal cracks and holes along the foundation of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and on a raised structure such as concrete blocks or poles.
  • Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
  • Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects — typically found in the eaves under roofs.

If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit www.bugs.com

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.

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.”

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

App Store – Bug Heroes

App Store – Bug Heroes

From the creators of N.Y.Zombies comes an all new blend of action, adventure, castle defense, and role playing elements! Master up to nine legendary Bug Heroes, including a sword wielding Spider assassin, an armored Beetle warrior, a machine gun toting Ant engineer, and more! Shoot, slice, dice, and bash your enemies with a variety of skills, abilities and equipment. Stockpile food, fortify your base, and defend it from hordes of hungry bugs. Explore a variety of familiar landscapes from an all new miniature perspective, collecting food, coins and other items. Enter Bug Heroes, an epic fantasy world you never knew existed!

Flowers wilt. Candlelight fades. Roaches are forever.

Flowers wilt. Candlelight fades. Roaches are forever.

Can’t decide on what to get that special someone for Valentine’s Day? Sometimes the answer is all around us, and right where it’s been for millions of years—like cockroaches! How better to express your appreciation for that special someone than to name one of the Bronx Zoo’s 58,000 Madagascar hissing cockroach after them? Best of all, when you purchase this everlasting gift, you’ll help support the Wildlife Conservation Society and its five parks in New York City.

http://www.bronxzoo.com/roach/

Scary Food Fact: Beetle Eggs In Canned Asparagus? The FDA Says It’s OK

Scary Food Fact: Beetle Eggs In Canned Asparagus? The FDA Says It’s OK

Scary Food Fact No. 1: FDA Allows Rodent Hairs And Bugs into Peanut Butter, and Beetle Eggs in Canned Asparagus

When dealing with produce that has been harvested from the field, it’s pretty difficult to ensure that every teeny tiny critter that may have hopped onto a leaf or a stem, or nibbled their way inside of a tasty fruit is removed before the produce is processed and sold to the consumer. And after all, if you eat a little maggot, insect larvae or even a smidgen of mammalian excreta, you’ll probably be just fine. In fact, the FDA is so certain you won’t suffer any adverse effects from ingesting minuscule amounts of insects, or “excreta” or rodent hairs (well those rodents, they do get everywhere) that it has published a little booklet called the Defect Level Handbook that advises food manufacturers as to what amounts of contamination from (harmless) foreign material are acceptable. When it comes to frozen or canned asparagus, the maximum level of contamination is “10% by count of spears or pieces {that} are infested with 6 or more attached asparagus beetle eggs and/or sacs.” With frozen broccoli, come in under  an “average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams” and it’s all good. As for cinnamon bark, more than an “average of 1 mg or more {of} mammalian excreta per pound” will get you in trouble. And when it comes to peanut butter, manufacturers can turn a blind eye to an “average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams,” but no more.

As seen on Forbes