Tag Archives: Pest Control

How to Choose A Pest Control Professional

How to Choose Pest Control Pro

We who own homes spend much of our free time maintaining our space to prolong the value of the house and keep ourselves (and family members) comfortable.  Even if you are a diehard do-it-yourselfer, pest management is a task most people contract with a professional.

Typically, homeowners call the exterminator only after insects arrive. Whether doing preventive treatments or responding to an emergency, you should know where to go.

When it comes to choosing the right exterminator, following these general guidelines:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends and family
  • When evaluating a company, ask for credentials
  • Compare companies and search for value rather than price. If the job is expensive, get bids.
  • Make deliberate decisions, don’t rush

Read the guarantee and know what it covers.  It is your responsibility to educate yourself about what you are paying for.  You should understand what the guarantee does and does not include, how long it lasts, and what kind of continuing prevention, treatments, or inspection may be necessary.  What is your role in keeping the guarantee enforced?  Additionally, make the company is insured in case of an accident.

Do your research: check with your regulatory agency – typically the state Department of Agriculture – for details about any company doing business in your area.  It is also helpful to become informed about the nature of whatever pest you are dealing with before and during your negotiations with a pest control company.  Your own knowledge helps create a more productive dialogue with the technician who comes to your home.

How Bugs Solve Crimes

How Bugs Solve Crimes

Scientists who study the clues left by bugs are forensic entomologists, and are moving the field – quite literally – forward by watching bodies decay.  As a corpse lies outside in the elements, it is visited by a crowd of tiny creatures, and researchers in forensic science watch, and wait.

Researcher and entomologist Natalie Lindgren worked for a full year at the Southwest Texas Applied Forensic Science facility to observe what kinds of insects visit bodies, and the nature of the evidence they leave behind.  She found some fascinating new facts.

What can insects and other arthopods (like spiders and tics) tell us about crime?  More than you might expect, even if you’ve seen CSI detectives explore insect behavior. Bugs land and feed on dead bodies in a certain order, and hang out for a period of time that can reveal a lot about the stage of decomposition of the body.  Knowing the timeline of corpse decay is a key factor in establishing time of death.

Lindgren watched as scorpion flies were the first to find the decomposing bodies, and stayed for more than a day and a half.  Next, through extended observation, she discovered a type of caterpillar that left bite marks resembling wounds.  Even trained crime scene investigators can mistake bug activity for wounds inflicted during the crime, so her insights have added important information to the field.

Common Pest Control Myths | Hulett Environmental Services

Sprinkle grits on the counter to provide a barrier against ants.

FICTION. I suppose in the south, where grits are revered, they are considered good for most anything. However, in this case, you are better off saving them for your dining pleasure, as they are NOT a deterrent for ants. In fact, ants may enjoy them as much as you do! This southern staple will ATTRACT pests rather than DETER them.

Bait your mousetrap with cheese.

FICTION. Thanks to television, cheese seems to be the food lure most often thought of for mice. Remember the old cartoon where Tom the Cat frequently tried to attract Jerry the Mouse to mousetraps with cheese treats? Silly Tom. He might have been more successful if he knew that mice prefer peanut butter.

Use bay leaves to keep pests away.

FACT. To protect your cooking supplies, place a bay leaf in or around your flour, rice, and other dried pantry staples. Some people prefer to place the leaves directly in contact with the food, while others favor taping the leaves around the canisters. Caution: While bay leaves are a deterrent, they are not a substitute for properly cleaning the pantry of spilled products.

Put a penny in a bag of water to repel mosquitoes and flies.

FICTION. This notion is so wrong. In fact, it’s actually backwards. Research has shown that shiny pennies might actually do more to attract insects then repel them. Keep your change in your pocket.

Vinegar can eliminate fruit flies.

FACT. Have you heard of the expression “you can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar?” Well, that adage is only half true when it comes to fruit flies! They are frequently attracted to your kitchen by the sweetness of rotting or decaying fruit; however, a cup of vinegar covered with plastic wrap (with a hole in it) is incredibly effective in combatting a fruit fly infestation.

Spraying peppermint oil on webs will eliminate spiders.

FICTION. Generally speaking, spraying anything that isn’t water on a spider web can cause them to abandon it…and construct a new one nearby. That leaves you with increased housing for spiders, which is never a good idea.

I could spend days and days exploring this topic. I will write again soon in the continuing effort to separate pest control fact from fiction. In the meantime, if you have any questions on natural remedies you’ve heard about, I’d love to hear from you.

Parasitic Control!

Parasitic Control!

A new study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, is among the first to link parasites to cannibalism. It seems that according to researchers at the University of Leeds, that some parasites can make an animal more likely to eat its own kind.

There is sufficient evidence that certain parasites can influence and even directly control the behavior of those they infect. Mandy Bunke of the University of Leeds and her team assert that both parasites and cannibalism are ever-present in nature and documented in more than 3000 species, including humans.

“Increased demand for food by the parasites may drive the host to be more cannibalistic,” Bunk said. Co-author Mhairi Alexander of Stellenbosch University added, “We do know that parasites can affect foraging behavior and also vulnerability to predation in a range of species.”

During the study, researchers focused on the shrimpGammarus duebeni celticus, native to waters off Ireland. A tiny parasite called Pleistophora mulleri lives off of the shrimp.

Bunke and her team collected the shrimp from Downhill River at County Antrim, Northern Ireland. “We found that parasites had a surprising effect on their shrimp hosts, making them stronger cannibals,” Bunke said. “Adult shrimp with parasites ate more young shrimp of the same species than the uninfected shrimp did.”

Although the parasites are just 5 micrometers long millions of them invade the host’s muscles. Once inside, the parasites severely damage the shrimp’s muscles and continue to crave more nutrients. The host becomes hungrier too.

According to senior author Alison Dunn of the University of Leeds, “being more cannibalistic might help the host to deal with the cost of the infection as it gains more food.”

“Interestingly,” she continued, “we have also found in earlier work that infected shrimp may be able to catch and eat less prey of other animal species, so perhaps cannibalism of smaller shrimp is the only way these sick animals can survive.”

http://news.discovery.com/animals/parasites-may-fuel-cannibalism-in-many-animals-150317.htm

Darth Vader Meets Bugs

Darth Vader Meets Bugs

What do you get when you combine a mask of Darth Vader and a bunch of bugs? Surprisingly, a really brilliant and unique piece of art!

Artist Klaus Enrique was sketching a tarantula one day when he realized how similar the spider looked to the mouth and noise of the Darth Vader mask. He decided to explore what other insects he could use to create his own Darth Vader mask.

Accroding to Wired.com, Enrique spent four months arranging dead butterflies, moths, scorpions, and millipedes along with a fly and a cicada on a plasticine bust. The finished product is amazing and shows this iconic character in a light we have never seen before; a blend of beautiful, yet scary. The finished product took nearly 300 hours and used over 150 different insects sourced from around the world.

Enrique said of his creation, “When I saw [the finished statue] I was like ‘I think this Darth Vader happens to be even scarier than the real Darth Vader.”

What other iconic movie characters would you like to see made out of insects? The possibilities are endless!

Cheese, crackers, crickets?!

Cheese, crackers, crickets?!

Believe it or not, there is a growing appetite for edible insects.

According to the Seattle Times, there is a growing trend of “Entropreneurs” who are trying to persuade Americans to eat more bugs, which require less land, food and water, than other animal protein. Plus, some insects are packed with nutritional benefits.

At least 2 billion people worldwide include insects in their diets, and if the “entropreneurs” are successful, Americans will add to this number. However, there is no doubt that this will be a tough sell.

“Insects are viewed as what ruins food — a roach in your soup, a fly in your salad. That’s the biggest obstacle — the ick factor,” said Daniella Martin, the “Girl Meets Bug” blogger and author of “Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet.”

What do you think? Do the environmental and nutritional advantages of insects outweigh the ”ick” factor?

Read More: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/entopreneurs-feed-growing-appetite-for-edible-insects/

Dampwood Termites

As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen dampwood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker dampwood termites are up to 3/4 inch.

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How to keep your home from turning into a haunted house this Halloween

It’s no wonder that haunted houses are decorated with fake rats, rubber bats, plastic spiders and stringy spider webs. After all, having these pests in your home can be a true nightmare – and unlike the spooky decorations, real pests can hang around long after Halloween is over. In order to keep your home from turning into a haunted house, the National Pest Management Association recommends that homeowners take steps to pest-proof this Halloween.

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“In the fall, we often hear from homeowners who are dealing with pests like spiders, bats and rodents, so it’s no coincidence they are associated with Halloween,” explains Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy, crawly, but the holiday also serves as a reminder that the real-life versions of these pests can cause serious issues inside our homes.”

Spiders, while beneficial in controlling other bug populations in the home, can sometimes bite humans. Brown recluse spiders, for example, inject poisonous venom with their bites. These spiders are commonly found in woodpiles, basements and closets.

Bats tend to enter our homes through chimneys or vents, and may hide out in attics or other dark, secluded areas of a home. Infected bats can spread rabies, and their droppings can spread organisms that cause the lung disease, histoplasmosis.

Rodents like mice and rats can spread hantavirus and contaminate food. They can also gnaw on electrical wires, which can spark fires.

The NPMA offers these tips for preventing a pest infestation this Halloween season:

  • Seal cracks around the home’s exterior, especially where pipes and wiring enter homes.
  • Do not leave food lying around, as it attracts pests.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • If you see signs of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.