Tag Archives: FLorida pest control

Experts Warn of Mosquito Population Explosion

MyFOXOrlando.com: Experts Warn of Mosquito Population Explosion

ORANGE COUNTY, FL – Perhaps the biggest obstacle to enjoying the outdoors in Florida in the summer is dealing with all the mosquitoes, and this year, several southern states are issuing warnings about the annoying insects.

The mild winter has many experts fearing a big bug outbreak.  Some believe it could be the worst year on record for mosquitoes.  Experts say if you live anywhere along Florida’s coastline, you had better break out your bug spray.

Dr. Thomas Breaud monitors and studies mosquitoes for Orange County and says populations are not out of hand so far, thanks in part to our recent drought.

“A lot of times people will say we had a mild winter — this is ‘X’ therefore we’re going to have ‘Y’ and that’s not always the case.  What I can tell you is a mild winter certainly didn’t help us.”

With the ever present threat of encephalitis and West Nile virus, Dr. Breaud said we should always be on guard against mosquitoes carrying disease.

“It just takes the right conditions for them to spill out of the bird populations, because they’re bird diseases. If the conditions are right, they can get into us. They can get into horses, and they can cause death!”

Numbers from Orange County show some mosquito species are down this year while others are up, but experts say mosquitoes breed quickly.  It could be a totally different story this time next week.

A Virus May Make Mosquitoes Even Thirstier for Human Blood

A Virus May Make Mosquitoes Even Thirstier for Human Blood

Florida Pet Control

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The dengue virus may actually make mosquitoes thirstier for human blood, new research has found.

In a study published last week in PLoS Pathogens, mosquito experts at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the dengue virus altered the production of proteins made by 147 different genes.

Some changes appeared to make the antennae more sensitive to odors — making them better at hunting humans, the virus’s only known mammalian host. Other changes in salivary gland genes appeared to make it easier for the virus to get into a mosquito’s saliva, ready for injection.

Those tests were done on a genome microarray — snippets of the DNA of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes coating a glass slide. But when the researchers tried to replicate the results in live mosquitoes, they could not prove they were hungrier.

“Since we can’t infect humans for our experiments, we think it’s a problem with the model,” said George Dimopoulos, lead author of the new study.

In his laboratory model, mosquitoes had to drink infected blood from a balloonlike membrane and then were offered mice to bite.

“Mosquitoes will feed on other animals if they get hungry, but it isn’t their favorite dish,” Dr. Dimopoulos said.

Up to 100 million people are infected with dengue each year; it is known as “breakbone fever” for the joint pain it causes. Up to 15,000 die of it annually, most of them children, according to the World Health Organization. There is no vaccine or cure.

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.

Ants Top List of Concern for Homeowners

Ants Top List of Concern for Homeowners

Homeowner Advice on Keeping Ants Away

As of 2006 there are 9,000 to 10,000 known ant species and researchers believe that there may be more than 20,000 species worldwide. With this fact in mind it is no surprise that 25% of homeowners listed ants as their main pest concern according to research conducted in 2005 by the National Pest Management Association.  This same study revealed that more than half of all homeowners have had problems with ants – making them the most prevalent pest nationwide.

Ants are social insects and form highly organized colonies with up to millions of members each having a role. Spotting one ant unfortunately signifies that the troops are somewhere close by.

Homeowners should particularly watch out for fire and carpenter ants. Fire ants, found mainly in the south, are vicious and can sting repeatedly if disturbed. Carpenter ants attack wood that is or has been wet or damaged by mold and can build tunnels through dry, undamaged wood causing costly property damage.

Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips for minimizing invasion by ants:

  • Keep wood and debris away from exterior siding
  • Keep kitchen clean: seal containers, wipe counters frequently, empty the garbage religiously, and avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Seal up cracks and small openings along bottom of the house.
  • Store sugar, syrup, honey, baked goods, and other sweets in closed containers that have been washed to remove residues from their exterior surfaces.

For more information on other ant species and preventative tips visit

www.pestworld.org and www.bugs.com

“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.

7 Amazing Insect Ninja Skills

7 Amazing Insect Ninja Skills

If insects were ninjas… well… they’d be pretty good at it. Many of the advanced technologies humans have developed for combat purposes, insects possess naturally. In some cases, their nature has our tech beat.

 

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.