Tag Archives: Hulett Pest

OrlandoSentinel.com: Much Needed Rain Brings Blooms – and Tiny Bloodsuckers

OrlandoSentinel.com: Much Needed Rain Brings Blooms – and Tiny Bloodsuckers

Recent storms have brought much needed rain to Central Florida. But along with greener lawns and springtime blooms come the unwelcome mass of mosquitoes.

Mosquito control authorities in Orange and Volusia counties are breaking out their arsenal of trucks and helicopters rigged with spraying equipment to keep the insects at bay.

But Jim McNelly, director of the  Volusia County Mosquito Control Division, said it’s up to residents to make sure their homes aren’t turned into breeding grounds.

The tiny bloodsuckers are a mainstay in soggier climates but it may be surprising to know just how little water is needed for mosquito populations to thrive. They can lay eggs and grow in water collected in objects as small as bottle caps left behind in the rain.

Volusia mosquito control is responsible for nearly 350,000 acres of land – most of it taken up by the salt marshes east of Interstate 95. But this season, authorities in both Volusia and Orange counties are placing extra emphasis on “container species” that can grow in residents’ backyards.

McNelly said those “containers” could be anything from tree holes to bird baths, dog dishes and kid’s toys.

“And those mosquitoes are active during the day,” McNelly said. “They are out an about when you’re out and about.”

While most container mosquitoes are simply a nuisance for homeowners, one type – the Yellow Fever Mosquito – was linked to the spread of Dengue Fever in the Keys two years ago.

“There has been a resurgence of Yellow Fever Mosquitoes in Central Florida,” McNelly said. “Though we’ve seen no connection (to the disease) here, we’re vigilant.”

Although Dengue Fever has not been a major issue in the past, Dain Weister, spokesman for the Orange County Health Department said it’s important for residents to remember the two cases of West Nile Virushere in 2010. One of the infected died.

And although there were no cases reported in Orange in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 24 cases across Florida last year. Only eight states had more cases, the CDC reported.

“That’s why it’s so important for all of us to remember to protect ourselves,” Weister said. “Not only can you get sick but in some cases you can die from it.”

Both McNelly and Columbus Holland, supervisor of operations with Orange County Mosquito Control say those who are worried about the environmental affects of the nightly bug spraying can be at ease.

Minnows and bacteria that eat mosquito larvae before they take flight are used in the salt marshes in Volusia and once the bugs grow wings, the sprayers are loaded with Spinosad, a chemical that won the Designing Greener Chemicals Award in 2010.

Orange County uses a chemical called Permethrin, which Holland said is no more dangerous than household insecticide.

“It’s the same as a can of Raid,” he said. “Everything we use can be bought at Publix.”

McNelly added that the widespread spraying makes life in Florida more bearable this time of year.

“There’s a reason Mosquito Lagoon is called Mosquito Lagoon,” he said. Without the counties’ intervention, he said, the mosquito problem would be “almost intolerable.”

Hulett Environmental Services ~ Termite Control

Family owned and operated for over 40 years, Hulett provides the friendly, personalized service you expect from a family business while still remaining the leader in the latest pest prevention and control technology. Our services are available all over the State of Florida.

Florida Lawn Care

Information on Lawn Pests

AntsLooking for information on lawn pests in Florida? You have found the right place on the web! Most homeowners in Florida take pride in maintaining their gardens and landscapes. But healthy landscapes can bring certain Florida bugs, and these pests feed on plants and grass. Unless protective pest control measures are taken, various outdoor invaders can do extensive damage to your yard and garden.

Chinch bugs are seriously damaging to St Augustine and other turf grass species. They suck the plant juices through their needle-like beak and can also cause other internal injuries to the grass, which can result in yellowish and brown patches in lawns. These affected areas are frequently noticed first along concrete or asphalt-paved edges, or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.

Aphids and whitefly feed on vegetable plantings, ornamentals and tender plant parts such as grass shoots, sucking out essential fluids. Aphids and scale excrete a sweet substance known as honeydew that attracts ants and forms a sticky coating on leaves. The honeydew can form a fungus called “sooty mold,” which can make leaves, especially on ornamentals, look black and dirty. Aphids can also transmit plant viruses to their food plants, which can cause the plant to die. These pests, as well as chinch bugs, are particularly prevalent throughout the spring months.

Armyworms, sod webworms and grubworms eat the grass blades and shoots that make up healthy lawns, causing major damage to various kinds of turf grass. They are common during the fall months.

During fall and winter, mites and scale are common. Scale insects live in the soil and suck the juices from the grass roots of turf grass; they can also be harmful to ornamental plants. Symptoms attributed to scale insects include yellowing of the grass, followed by browning; scale damage becomes most noticeable when the grass is under stress due to drought, nutritional deficiencies and other afflictions. Ordinarily not a pest in well-managed lawns, mites are known to attack grasses. They suck the sap and cause leaves to appear blotched and stippled, and severe infestations can also kill plants.

Some of these pests are especially damaging since they are literally born and raised on lawn turf grass in the surrounding soil. Sod webworms eat various grasses as larvae and continue doing so as adults. Others, like mole crickets, destroy lawns by tunneling through the soil near the lawn’s surface, which loosens the soil so that the grass is often uprooted and dies due to the drying out of the root system. They also feed on grass roots, causing thinning of the turf, eventually resulting in bare soil. Mole crickets are common when the temperatures are the warmest and rainfall and humidity is high. They can also be found in and around your home in dark, damp places.

Slugsandsnails often move about on lawns and may injure adjacent plants. They are night feeders and leave mucous trails on plants and sidewalks. Plaster bagworms, close relatives of the clothes moth, are often found in sheds and garages.

Do you live in Florida and have a lawn pest problem in your landscape? Hulett Environmental Services offers custom designed lawn care treatments to control and prevent these pests!

Bugs won’t harm plants, will stain your clothes

Bugs won’t harm plants, will stain your clothes

Golden rain tree flowers and seed pods. UF/IFAS Extension

By Adrian Hunsberger

Q. I found a whole bunch of black and red bugs on my lawn. Are they eating my plants?

J.L., Miami

These insects are called the Jadera or golden rain tree bugs. They feed on the seeds of the golden rain tree and the seeds of balloon vine and the invasive Chinaberry but don’t cause noticeable plant damage.

Avoid crushing them since they cause stains and spraying them with pesticides is not warranted.

You can hose them off with water to move them off walkways and porches. Jadera bugs are seasonal and are most noticed when the seeds have dropped from the tree. If this insect is causing a nuisance on lawns and playgrounds, rake up and remove the golden rain tree pods and seeds.

The golden rain tree is a handsome flowering tree well suited to south Florida soils and conditions. The flowers are yellow and the tree produces pink papery seed pods that look like triangular-shaped balloons that are persistent on the tree for a few months.

Insect Samples

Send undamaged (live or dead) insects in a crush-proof container such as a pill bottle or film canister with the top taped on. Mail them in a padded envelope or box with a brief note explaining where you found the insects.

Do not tape insects to paper or place them loose in envelopes. Insect fragments or crushed insect samples are almost impossible to identify.

Send them to the address of your county extension office, found in the blue pages in the phone book under county government.

Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; email dade@ifas.ufl.edu.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/29/2771093/bugs-wont-harm-plants-will-stain.html#storylink=cpy

Ticks season is coming: They’ll bug you this spring

Courtesy of CDC

Because of the extra-mild winter this year, the early spring could bring an unwelcome guest: the tick. Be warned: The warmer weather is good news for people and pets who want to be outside, but beware of an uptick of the hard-to-detect pest.

The basic reason is that the eggs will hatch sooner. “Eggs are already in the ground, but this is the time that they will be coming out in great numbers,” said Pollie Rueda, an entomologist stationed at the Smithsonian and Walter Reed Army institute of Research. He noted that the normal tick season is from May through August, but with the 70-degree temperatures in some places, the ticks may get a jump on the season.

Ticks that are already out and about are the visible adult, sesame-sized ones, noted Kristen Nordlund of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Think of these little buggers as the arachnid form of vampires. They hang out in blades of grass for a host to come along — a mouse, a dog, or a human — to attach themselves and feed off your blood over days, or until discovered, and they often leave disease behind — sometimes multiple illnesses.

The big concern for humans, according to the CDC, is that most tick infections occur during the “nymph” stage. Those recently hatched ticks are the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and they have four sets of legs and the ability to suck your blood. Because they are essentially invisible, preying on a host can easily go undetected.

In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. Infections from ticks, such as Lyme disease (plus babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosisis), are on the rise and are difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are awful: from headaches to long-term joint pain and even heart problems.

Since 1992, the cases of Lyme disease have doubled, according to the CDC, and more than 21,000 cases are reported every year.

The CDC is conducting tests on actual households to confirm if spraying a pesticide in the backyard helps to reduce the incidence of human disease. Check its website for good information on preventive measures.

Bed Bug Control

NATIONAL PEST MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION REPORTS RESURGENCE IN BEDBUG INFESTATIONS

Bedbugs Infesting Residential and Multifamily Homes, Apartment Complexes, Residence Halls, Hospitals and Hotels

According to the National Pest Management Association, pest control companies are reporting a significant increase in the number of calls regarding bedbug infestations. Renowned hitchhikers, bedbugs catch rides in luggage, shoes, pant hems and any other mobile material.  Although there is no way to determine the actual cause of the resurgence, experts are attributing the increase to several things, which include global travel and the mobility of the pest.

These infestations can be difficult to detect due to the elusive, nocturnal and transient nature of the pest. Although their name suggests otherwise, bedbugs can be found in carpets, peeling wallpaper, light fixtures, and any crack small enough for a thin insect to hide. Bedbug infestations are not a sign of unsanitary or unclean living areas.

Adult bedbugs are about the size and shape of a lentil.  Their color depends on how recently they have eaten.  They turn red after consuming a blood meal and then begin to gradually turn a brownish color. Capable of living up to ten months without a meal, a single bedbug can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime.

As bedbugs bite human skin, they inject an anesthetic-like liquid that numbs the skin and allows the pest to bite undisturbed.  In fact, humans don’t usually wake up when they are being bitten; however, they do find themselves scratching circular, red, itchy welts in the morning.

Bedbug infestations should only be treated by trained, licensed professional pest management companies. This is not an infestation that can be treated by do-it-yourself measures.  Professionals know where to look and can offer the most up to date methods of bedbug control.

For more information on other ant species and preventative tips visit

www.pestworld.org and www.bugs.com

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.

Rodents & Foreclosures

How One Empty Home Can Lead to Pests for the Whole Block

More than 800,000 homes across the U.S. were foreclosed in 2011, and that number is expected to climb 25 percent this year to more than 1 million homes, according to the RealtyTrac. While the effects of a foreclosure are obviously most devastating to the homeowners and their family, neighbors can also be impacted.

For one, a foreclosure can drive down the value of the rest of the homes in a neighborhood. In addition, a foreclosed home that is empty and uncared for can attract a variety of pests, including termites, spiders, ants, mosquitoes, stinging insects and rodents. An overgrown or unkempt yard, for example, can harbor many more pests than a well-groomed one.  In addition, a foreclosed home is more likely to be in need of repairs to the structure. Small holes in siding, rips in screens, broken window glass and cracks in foundation provide easy access inside for pests.

Pests find that an empty house makes a great home for them – providing shelter and even food (in the form of other pests, crumbs, abandoned pantry items and decaying material) and water (from leaky pipes, toilet bowls and standing water). Once these pests find their way into a foreclosed home, it is only a matter of time before the population grows and offspring venture out, seeking food and shelter in other homes on the block.

A rodent infestation is especially likely to spread from a foreclosed home to other nearby houses. As it is, rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the U.S. each winter, and with rapid reproduction rates (a female house mouse, for example, can give birth to up to a dozen babies every three weeks) a small infestation can quickly spread to neighboring homes. Rats, on the other hand, can travel up to a mile in a single night. They are also known as exceptional diggers and often build intricate systems, called burrows, which allow them to travel around a neighborhood undetected.

Once rodents do invade a home, they can pose serious health and property risks. Rodents contaminate food and spread diseases like Hantavirus, a viral disease that can be contracted through direct contact with, or inhalation of, aerosolized infected rodent urine, saliva, or droppings. They can also carry and spread fleas, which can pose serious health risks to family pets. Additionally, rodents can pose a significant property risk as they have a tendency to destroy insulation in attics and gnaw wiring, causing up to 25 percent of house fires in the U.S.

Unfortunately, if a house in your neighborhood is under foreclosure, there is little that you can do to prevent pests from infesting that home. But there are many steps that you, as a homeowner, can take to prevent those pests from finding their way into your home. Your first step should be to contact a licensed pest professional who will be able to determine what types of pest infestations your neighborhood is most at risk for, and recommend a prevention plan to help keep your home pest-free. Of course, any pest prevention plan works most effectively when a homeowner carefully follows the recommendations of their pest professional and follows simple pest-proofing tips.