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Protect your property against tawny crazy ants

Protect properties against tawny crazy ants

Fire ants have long been a threat in the southern United States, but another aggressive ant species known as the tawny crazy ant is taking over in many areas of the region. These ants can invade structures in extraordinary numbers and, Hulett Environmental, a pest management company servicing South Florida is advising homeowners to take preventative steps to protect their properties from infestations.

Unlike fire ants, crazy ants don’t sting, but they can become a nuisance once inside. They are highly adaptable, nest everywhere and are even known to damage electrical equipment, so it is important for homeowners to take steps to curb their activity.

Crazy ants enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce their supply of honeydew. Once inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or in wall voids. Outdoors, their nests are commonly found in soil under objects or next to foundations.

To prevent crazy ants from gaining access to a structure, experts Hulett Environmental

  • Trim vegetation away from the home to prevent pathways inside.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including around doors and windows.
  • Clean up food spills and other potential attractants as soon as possible.
  • If an infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.

Tracking Giant Hornets That Have Killed at Least 42 People

n a village on the outskirts if An Kang, China, a little girl, just 18-months-old, is dressed head-to-toe in clothing far too hot for the mild fall weather. Her mother removes one of her tiny socks and a still-gaping wound is revealed. An Asian Hornet stung the little girl there one month ago, releasing venom so potent multiple stings can cause kidney failure and death.

It was the only place her flesh was exposed, her mother explained. She gestures over the foot and up the shin, describing how swollen her daughter’s leg became. She was lucky to be stung just once, and survived. So now the girl’s parents make sure she wears socks. It is their best, and their only, defense.

An Kang is ground zero for the horrifying recent outbreak of Asian Hornet, or Giant Asian Hornet as the larger species is known, attacks on humans. Government figures put the death toll at 42 and the number of injured at 1,600. But officials at An Kang tell ABC News the actual number is much higher.
“These hornets have been killing people for some time,” said a city official who requested anonymity, “This year, just in this district more than 20 people have been killed. The number should be a lot higher than that. The number is shocking.”
The Asian Hornet, or Vespa Mandarinia, can grow to be thumb-sized. It is capable of flying at speeds of up to 25 mph and a distance of 50 miles. Their stingers carry a lethal mix of foreign protein that when mixed in the human bloodstream can cause sepsis. Without proper treatment, such as dialysis, a victim will die.

The insect’s existence in An Kang is not new. Nor is this the first time humans have been attacked. For years the Asian Hornet has lived among inhabitants here and elsewhere across East Asia. Parts of Japan in particular have been home to significant populations for years. But they have never attacked like they are attacking now.

Ren Chengan, 28, has lived on the outskirts of An Kang all his life. He remembers seeing hornets quite regularly while playing in the mountainside forest and along the riverbanks as a young boy. When he was around 8, he remembers, he was stung on the back of his head but suffered only minor swelling. Today, his family watches his young niece very carefully. Ren says it is no longer safe for children to play so freely.

During his youth, his family farmed a small piece of land. Eventually, with China’s rise, he says government officials instructed his family to stop farming and open a restaurant to cater to tourists. Ren believes the disruption in the co-existence of his family’s old way of life and the ecosystem of the forest has contributed to the outbreak in hornet attacks.

“If you didn’t bother them,” he says, “they would not bother you.”

Ren points out a hive across the river. It is high in a tree and on a mountain slope, far enough from the road so that passersby do not come close to it. It is possible to see a small swarm of hornets flying above it, but Ren is nonplussed. He guesses it contains up to a thousand of the killer insects.

10 Tips to Help Keep Pests Outdoors

Cold weather brings everyone indoors. Sitting in your living room with a pair of slippers and a blanket wrapped around your shoulders can be a comforting feeling… until a mouse scurries across the floor.

Your family may not be the only ones enjoying the warmth of your home. Pests such as rats, mice, cockroaches and some species of spiders have life cycles longer than a year, meaning they need to find shelter during the winter to survive. These pests can pose serious risks to both people and homes.

When making their nests in walls, rodents can chew on electrical wires and drywall, and they are known to pass on diseases such as salmonella and Hantavirus. Cockroaches can contaminate stored food, leave droppings around the home and trigger allergic asthma, especially in children. On top of all that, some spiders commonly found around homes are poisonous.

Tips every homeowner can follow to keep pests outside during the fall and winter:

  1. Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and any other areas where homes may be open to the outdoors, like mail slots and animal doors.
  2. Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Pests are attracted to areas of moisture, something they need to survive. Using dehumidifiers in basements and garages will help keep these areas dry.
  3. Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure. Some rodents can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
  4. Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Crumbs and a buildup of garbage are attractive to pests scrounging for food. It is recommended to clean up after each meal and to properly close garbage cans when they are stored in the home or garage.
  5. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows. These are easy ways to keep not only pests, but also cold air out of the house.
  6. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed. Removing areas where pests can hide near your home can reduce the chance of them finding a way inside.
  7. Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens. Torn window screens and cracks under doors are an ideal entry point for household pests. When you open the window, you could be letting in more than just fresh air.
  8. Inspect items such as boxes of decorations, package deliveries, and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Pests can find creative ways to get inside a home. Shake out or inspect anything that has been left or stored outside.
  9. Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time. Pests don’t discriminate between people food and cat food. Pet dishes that have been left sitting out are enticing for all kinds of insects and rodents.
  10. Have a proper outdoor drainage system. Installing gutters or repairing an existing system will help draw water and moisture away from your home, preventing any leaks or build up that might attract pests.

Black Widow Spider Bites: Should I Worry?

More on black widows: http://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/s…
Black widow spider bites are less common and more severe than other spider bites. Dr. Parada explains the symptoms in detail.

A Closer look: American Cockroaches

A Closer look: American Cockroaches (Click on the image below to learn more)

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Sphecius spheciosus

That is a male cicada being dragged off to a burrow by a wasp called a cicada killer Sphecius spheciosus. Don't get to see Nature in action like this often.

This is a male cicada being dragged off to a burrow by a wasp called a cicada killer; Sphecius spheciosus. Don’t get to see Nature in action like this often!

Why are crazy ants problematic?

Although these ants usually nest outside, they will forage indoors in large numbers in cooler temperatures or after rainfall. Inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or carpeting, inside wall voids and soffits.

Crazy ants can become a problem when they infest a home or another structure for a couple of reasons:

  • Extremely large colonies resulting in massive infestations which can be difficult to treat, often requiring multiple treatments.  Colonies may grow to about 1 million.
  • These ants also have an odd propensity to nest in electrical boxes and around electrical equipment, causing short – outs and electrical equipment failure.

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Tips for homeowners to help guard against termites

Hulett Environmental offers the following prevention tips for homeowners to help guard against termites:

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  • Carefully inspect the perimeter of the home for mud tubes and rotting wood.
  • Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and check it for pests before bringing it indoors.
  • Divert water away from the home through properly functioning downspouts and gutters.

For more information on termites, please visit www.bugs.com

World’s Weirdest: World’s Biggest Spider

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