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.
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.
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:
- All Employees must undergo a comprehensive background check before ever showing up to service your account.
- 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.
- Motor vehicle record checks must be conducted on all employees that drive a company vehicle or a personal vehicle for company business.
- 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!)
- 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.
- Clear communication practices must be followed, including procedures for contacting the customer to schedule the inspection and notification.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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
JACKSONVILLE, FL –
Mosquitoes big, buzz, bite, breed and just plain bother most of us. But the pesky insects can also spread disease and last year, they left behind 18 reported cases of West Nile Virus in Duval County.
Division Chief John Shellhorn of Jacksonville Mosquito Control said his team has already started fogging against the insects.
“It’s much easier to destroy mosquitoes before they take to the wing and begin flying off,” Shellhorn said.
As the weather warms up after a rather mild winter, many wonder if this season will be as bad as last summer, when two people died from West Nile.
He said it’s tough to predict, but the area hasn’t seen any signs of a rough season yet-which is good news. He said the small amount of rain Jacksonville recently saw hasn’t been enough to activate the mosquitoes.
“One is warm weather, lack of wind, the other is standing water,” Shellhorn said. “That’s the key ingredient that’s been missing here, and that’s really helped us, in terms of not seeing a preponderance of mosquitoes out in the neighborhood.”
Even still, he said it’s a full-time effort for mosquito control.
“We’ve got staff out every day, monitoring ditch basins, storm drains, ditch lines, swamps,” he said. “The water levels, even after a rainfall event, the water is just absorbed into the ground. That’s good in terms of the mosquitoes.”
Shellhorn said education is vital to helping prevent mosquito bites and the spread of diseases like West Nile or Encephalitis. He says to remember the 5 D’s: Dusk, Dawn, Dress, DEET and Drainage.
DUSK and DAWN: The two times of day when mosquitoes are usually more active.
DRESS: A reminder that long sleeves, pants and closed-toed shoes protect you.
DEET: The best kind of insect repellant available.
DRAINAGE: Get rid of any standing water near your home or business.
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.
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!