If you have not had the opportunity to explore our bug database you don’t know what you’re missing! We have one of the most comprehensive and elaborate database of bugs across the entire web. If you can’t find your bug in our database you can always upload a picture to our Ask the Experts section on our website and we will tell you what it is you’re dealing with.
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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.
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!
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.bugs.com
As if you needed another reason to not “Do -it-Yourself” JUST CALL HULETT!
Ant-nest invaders beware: The African ant species Crematogaster striatula has venom so potent that termites don’t even need to come in contact with it to feel its wrath. The chemical can kill at a distance as a group of ants approach the termite butt-first.
The poison is emitted by a gland called the Dufour gland, near the worker ants’ stingers, and seems to have three functions. The chemicals emitted by the gland not only paralyze and kill termite prey, they also attract ant nestmates nearby to assist them. The ants invoke the chemicals the same way to repel alien ants.
Learning more about how insects defend their homes may also help us defend our homes against pesky invaders. The researchers, led by Angelique Vetillard of the University of Toulouse, in France, characterized the specific chemicals in the venom, providing initial clues about the source of the venom toxicity, which could help researchers produce natural insecticides.
This research provides “a basis from which further studies can be conducted in the search for natural insecticides, including new molecules effective against insects resistant to currently used insecticides,” Vetillard said in a statement.
These African ants live among rotting branches on the ground in cocoa-tree plantations. They prey upon the termites, even though these termites have developed elaborate architectural, behavioral, morphological and chemical means to defend themselves.
To figure out how the ants’ chemicals work, Vetillard and colleagues set up field experiments. They found that the chemical was more deadly to the termites than to other ants. Invader ants tend to back off and run when cornered, but the termites are more likely to stand their ground in the face of danger. When cornered, the ants were able to poison the termites from a distance of 0.2-to-0.4 inches. The researchers suggest their thin skin may also make them more sensitive to the poison.
When an ant detected a termite, it approached with its abdominal tip (containing its chemical-laden stinger) pointed toward the prey. By raising its stinger the ants create tiny particles of the toxins, which fly through the air. The chemicals their stingers emit seemed to draw their nestmates to help them take down the termite invader. As expected, the termite boldly stood its ground; but after about 10 minutes it fell down and rolled onto its back, its legs batting the air, paralyzed.
Next, one lone ant approached, watching for the leg movements to subside. When there were fewer movements of its legs, all of the ants approached the termite and prepared to seize it by an appendage and bring it back to their nest.
When the ant workers discovered several Camponotus brutus, an alien ant species, imbibing honey on their territory, they defended their turf by again very slowly approaching butt first, stinger tip pointed toward the aliens, causing them to retreat. Without there being contact between the antagonists, the intruding ants slowly backed away from the smell of the chemical, though they seemed unhurt.
The study was published Dec. 14 in the journal PLoS ONE.
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.