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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.
While Tropical Storm Debby has exited the Tampa Bay area, something else that is troublesome is on the horizon: a mosquito outbreak.
Between moist junk in trash containers and back yards transformed into swamps, plenty of new breeding grounds for mosquitoes have appeared in Debby’s wake.
On Monday, Pinellas County Mosquito Control technicians began inspecting and treating sites where there were mosquitoes already.
“That’s sort of just the Band-Aid – just getting the mosquitoes that are out at that time,” said Nancy Iannotti, district operations manager. “It’s like treating a sore with the bandage instead of taking antibiotics.”
On Wednesday, she said, technicians began to see additional mosquitoes hatching. Technicians will need to locate and eradicate the larvae to stop their growth into blood-sucking adults.
Last week Mosquito Control targeted about 2,500 acres in North Pinellas and about 1,500 acres in South Pinellas as prime areas to search and treat.
They quickly determined that North Pinellas had the most immediate problem, so helicopters were deployed to access and spray areas that were large or not accessible by foot, starting on Thursday. Iannotti said they planned to reassess on Friday whether to fly over and treat South Pinellas.
“We have a lot of acres to cover,” Iannotti said. “We’ll be working extra hours. We’re going to get to as much as we can.”
The agency was evaluating areas that might need treatment with fogging trucks and was responding to calls for service from the community.
However, it isn’t just the government’s job. Mosquito Control urges residents to survey their own properties as well. Puddles, pools, flower pots holding excess water, boat tarps and water at the bottom of recycling and trash bins are ideal places for mosquitoes to lay eggs. All they need is a teaspoon of water, according to the county.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which then grow into the pupa stage, and finally become adult mosquitoes.
“If you don’t have the water, you don’t have the larvae and pupae,” Iannotti said. “You have to check anything that can hold water. Dump it or drain it.”
FAIRFAX, Va., Jun 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Summer has barely begun but it’s likely many people have already encountered one of the season’s most ubiquitous pests — the mosquito. As is the case with many other insects, mosquitoes have made an early emergence after a mild winter and rainy spring. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that this might be one of the worst seasons yet, so break out the repellant.
“Mosquito season is highly dependent on rain events, and states are monitoring rainfall and pest management companies are applying treatments accordingly,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “This summer, mosquito numbers have the potential to grow significantly and it’s important for people to take precautions to avoid exposure.”
Although mosquitoes are known to carry a variety of diseases, West Nile virus (WNV) is of most concern in the United States.
“In most cases West Nile Virus is a mild infection with symptoms so slight they can go unnoticed, or feel like a summer flu. In extreme cases, it can be a potentially life threatening infection with higher fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention,” advised Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA.
The NPMA offers the following tips to avoid becoming a mosquito meal:
– Eliminate areas of standing water around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools, grill covers and other objects where water collects. Mosquitoes need only about 1/2 inch of water to breed.
– Screen all windows and doors. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
– Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
– If you must spend time outdoors during peak mosquito times, wear long pants and sleeves and use an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
– If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or your local mosquito abatement district.
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.
SOURCE: National Pest Management Association
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.
A plan by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control district to release genetically altered mosquitoes in an attempt to curb their numbers will have to wait. According to the Miami Herald the ultimate delay is due to confusion over government permits. The plan is to have the altered mosquitoes compete with the natural mosquitoes and the altered mosquitoes have been bred to produce offspring that die young. They are expecting to move the promising plan back to late spring. If you want to learn more about Florida Mosquito control checkout our bug database!
SW Fla. fighting mosquitoes, thanks to rainy Oct
The Associated Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A rainy October has mosquito control officers buzzing in southwest Florida.
Officials say they are experiencing the worst mosquito season in two decades, thanks to weather patterns that created the ‘perfect storm’ for the pesky insects.
Lee County Mosquito Control District spokeswoman Shelly Redovan says the region began the year under a drought. That provided salt marsh mosquitoes a greater area to lay their eggs. The rainy season resulted in lots of standing water, which compounds the mosquito problem. The result? Officials say they’re still seeing thousands of mosquitos nightly.
The Fort Myers News-Press ( http://newspr.es/rRRcmS) reports the district is using airplanes, helicopters and trucks to spray.
The newspaper reports that southwest Florida received 10.40 inches of rain in October. That’s 6.94 inches above the normal rainfall for the month.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/02/2483338/sw-fla-fighting-mosquitoes-thanks.html#ixzz1cb2DYIUo
A CLOSER LOOK: Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes bite with their mouthparts and have scales on the back of their wings.
Approximately ½-inch long.
Mosquitoes have caused countless problems for man throughout history. In order to lay eggs, a female mosquito must feed on the blood of a human or animal. It can leave behind serious health threats such as viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.
Mosquitoes require as little as 2 inches of standing water to successfully breed. Mosquitoes that attack people in their own yard are usually breeding close by. Other mosquitoes, such as container breeders, do not seek out a natural body of water, but rather lay eggs in any container that is holding water (bird bath, tire, bucket, etc…). Tree hole mosquitoes, for example, lay their eggs in standing water that has accumulated inside of the hollows within trees.
Mosquito-borne diseases, such as encephalitis and West Nile Virus, cause many deaths in developing countries.
Do you live in Florida and think that this pest may be invading your home or yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty pest control treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!
By Reg Gale
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — Scientists, attempting to halt Dengue fever, for the first time released mosquitoes into the wild that had been genetically modified to pass on deadly DNA that kills their offspring.
About 19,000 lab-altered
insects were released into 25 acres on Grand Cayman Island in 2009, according to a study, published yesterday in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Later tests showed they made up about 16 percent of the mosquito population and that the fatal gene was carried by about 10 percent of larvae. Scientists estimated the modified insects — all males — were about half as successful in mating as normal.
There are as many as 100 million cases of Dengue reported each year worldwide, making it one of the most medically significant viruses carried by mosquitoes, the report said. There’s no vaccine, boosting the need to limit the insects that carry it, the researchers said. The experiment, by scientists from closely held Oxitec Ltd., a biotechnology company based in Oxford, England, has spurred concern that there may be unintended environmental consequences.
“These data also allow us tentatively to estimate how many mosquitoes might need to be released in this area to suppress the target population,” the researchers said.
The use of genetically enhanced mosquitoes was discussed in a series of articles in the magazine Scientific American this month. In those articles, Helen Wallace, the director of GeneWatch UK, said she was concerned that the new form of insect would become part of a complex system involving predators and prey that scientists have no control over.
She cited a 2010 report by the European Food Safety Authority that raised the potential for illnesses to evolve into more dangerous forms and for other insects to move into the ecological niche created by the absence of mosquitoes.
In the report, the scientists said the percentage of successful couplings by the altered mosquitoes may have been limited because they didn’t fit easily into the insect social system, the physical effects of handling and distributing them or negative effects of the genetic changes on their performance.
Dengue fever, most common in the tropics, causes high fever, headache and rash, along with severe joint and muscle pain.
Oxitec developed the technology, which the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, backed by the Cayman Islands government, implemented for the study, Oxitec Chief Executive Officer Hadyn Parry said in an interview.
–With assistance from Makiko Kitamura in London. Editors: Chris Staiti, Bruce Rule
To contact the reporter on this story: Reg Gale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at email@example.com.
When it comes to the world of weird sports, there are certainly some offenders. As People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) states on their website concerning animals used for entertainment purposes: “There is nothing remotely “sporting” about sports that involve unwilling animal participants.” However, there are plenty of ways that insects display their athleticism without provocation. To fans sports that involve insects are viewed as on par with any major championship. But let’s be honest—to most they are still seen as weird.
Australian cockroach racing
Who says cockroaches are good for nothing? In Queensland, Australia, the annual championships of theCockroach Races are held. Despite the fact that racing the world’s most unwelcome guest is strange, there are actually corporate viewing boxes at the event. Altogether over 5,000 cockroach fans participate, and have the option of bringing their own racer or buying one from the event’s bug ranch.
The refined sport of cricket spitting
A newcomer to the world of weird sports, spitting dead crickets as far as you can was developed in 1996. Created by Jonathan Neal the BugBowl is still popular at Purdue University, where Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology. On his blog, Neal lists several rules for the competition, including the species limitations, weight ranges of the dead crickets and a requirement that the Brown House Crickets are previously frozen.
Japanese bug fights
In Asia, it is common to find plenty of prize winning insect owners for the purpose of bug fighting. In particular there is a type of rhinoceros beetle that is favored for competition, called the kabutomushi. Although it is not referenced academically, lovers of the popular Japanese Bug Fight website will tell you that this was once a performance exclusively for Asian kings.
While the origins are still disputed, this show has now grown to include different types of insects. Millipedes, grasshoppers and the praying mantis have all been featured in Japanese Bug Fighting videos. Despite the popularity, there is plenty of outcry from insect lovers all over the world. In the InsectGeeks.com forums, many people feel that insects fighting to the death is ethically inappropriate. Unlike other weird sports involving insects, this means that bug fighting might be locked into the weird category forever, since there may come a time when voters decide to ban it.
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