Tag Archives: Termite Experts

Tips to protect your home from termites

There are many steps homeowners can take to protect their greatest investments from termites. Experts at Hulett Environmental recommend the following tips:

  • Carefully inspect the perimeter of the home for mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and rotting wood.
  • Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • 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 5 inches up off the ground, and inspect it closely before bringing it indoors.
  • Divert water away from the property through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

“Rate My Rat” Photo Contest

When you hear of a photo contest you generally think of the usual. City skylines, pets, families, insects would all fall into the category of “usual”. This particular photo contest does not fall into that “usual” category.  New York Subway Workers are Running a “Rate My Rat” Photo Contest in which they urge commuters to capture and upload the biggest, fattest vermin. The grand prize you ask? A month free transit pass. If you don’t believe me just visit www.ratfreesubway.com and take a look around for yourself. If you encounter rats I suggest you just call Hulett Environmental Services for all your rat control needs.

Butterfly wings are what talented artist Vadim Zaritsky needs to make unsual paintings

Meet artist Vadim Zaritsk. He is like nay other artist except for the fact that he uses a very unusual material for his paintings – butterfly wings. He is well known for using butterfly wings to paint pictures of various politicians, landscapes, fellow artists, landscapes, and still life’s.  To see some of Vadims pieces of work check out: Butterfly wings for politicians’ faces

 

 

Commercial Environmental Services: Health Care

Healthcare facilities are susceptible to most of the pests common in most houses and businesses. Ants, fire ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, ticks, fleas, mice, mosquitoes, rats and spiders, among others, can all slip into buildings as people and deliveries come in and out.   Pests can gain access in backpacks, boxes, delivery vehicles and on people and their belongings.

Pests can transmit a host of diseases to humans and animals with effects ranging from minor discomfort to death. Some diseases spread by pests include:

* Bubonic plague              * Rabies

* Cholera                            * Rocky Mountain spotted fever

* Dengue                            * Salmonellosis

* Encephalitis                    * Shigella

* Dysentery                        * Staph

* Hantavirus                      * Strep

* Lyme disease                  * Tapeworms

* Malaria                            * Trichinosis

* Murine typhus * Typhoid fever

* Polio                                 * West Nile virus

A study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a report in the New England Journal of Medicine show that even among many common asthmatic triggers, cockroach allergens cause the most health problems for asthmatic children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.

Pest-transmitted diseases can be controlled through proper pest management techniques.  Identification of species, habitat and behavior can help a pest management professional control infestations and subsequently suppress outbreaks of pest-transmitted diseases.

Is it feasible for a facility to employ its own staff members to sustain a pest-free environment?

Just as a facility wouldn’t employ an unlicensed nurse or doctor, the National Pest Management Association recommends that they not take a chance with an untrained and unlicensed pest control professional. If in-house pest management is required, make sure that the individuals are qualified. Arming untrained personnel with pest management tools can be dangerous and most facilities depend on outside pest management firms.

Licensed and professionally trained pest control professionals are best suited to keep health and property-threatening pests in check. Today’s pest control professionals are experts in every sense of the word. They are trained in the latest techniques and necessary to identify pest problems and recommend the safest and most responsible pest management methods available.

Pest control professionals undergo training to meet state regulatory and certification requirements. They participate in industry workshops and forums to further their knowledge of the field. All states offer pesticide applicator certification programs, which require testing on chemical properties, selection, usage rates and safety. To remain certified, most states require continuing education, which includes the latest information about on-site pest management needs assessments and state regulatory requirements.

What are the most important steps to ensure proper pest management?

Pest management plays a major role in allowing us to live healthier, more prosperous and comfortable lives.  To ensure proper pest management always deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national, state or local pest management associations. Membership in the national, and state or local pest control associations is a good indicator that the company has access to modern technical information and is committed to further education.

Reach a complete understanding with the company before work starts; find out what the pest is, how the problem will be treated, how long the period of treatment will be, and what results can be expected. Effective treatment depends on correctly identifying the pest species and developing a treatment that takes the pest’s biology and habits into account.

In between professional pest control visits, employees can take a variety of steps to reduce the likelihood of infestation and ensure proper pest management.  They should remain vigilant in assessing their environment.  Encouraging employees to wipe down exposed areas, secure trash lids, maintain a clean floor space and keep windows and doors fastened will go along way in helping to prevent infestations. Employees can also track pest sightings in a pest sighting log – recording the type of pest, location and behavior.  This will help a pest management professional when they come in to evaluate the facility.

Can pest-control be managed without the use of insecticides? 

While it’s true that insecticides are used in pest control, the pest management industry is in the forefront of widespread efforts to make insecticides part of the program, not the only means to pest control.

The result is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a process that goes beyond traditional pest management techniques. Though centuries old, the latest IPM techniques have found broad-based support from the scientific community, government, and the pest management industry.

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a broad approach to pest management that focuses on addressing the reason that the pest problem exists rather than on just the pest itself. IPM accomplishes this by eliminating the three things pests need to survive: food, water and shelter. There are three common steps involved in practicing IPM. They include inspection, pest identification, the establishment of control measures(such as caulking cracks in sidewalks or walls, moving dumpsters away from buildings and appropriate pesticide applications),. To be acceptable, the pest management measures must be both environmentally compatible and economically feasible. The NPMA has advocated IPM for years through seminars, publications, and by supporting its techniques nationwide.

IPM is the springboard of pest management into the new century.  It is the smart way to conduct pest management.

5 Disgusting Bugs That Could Invade Your Home

5 Disgusting Bugs That Could Invade Your Home

Written by MikeDeHaan

Head LousePhoto: CDC/ Dr. Dennis D. Juranek

Here is my selection of the worst home invaders from the world of insects. You want to keep these bugs out of your home – or get rid of them once they get in!

1) Bedbugs

BedbugPhoto: JLplusAL

Bedbugs are small insects. They feed on blood and prefer humans over birds or other mammals. They are quite small and are mainly active at night. They tend to nest near their human host, rather than staying on the body or in the hair.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Infestations

Look for visible signs that bedbugs have invaded bedding. These signs include: smears of blood; fecal spots; and moult casings.

Victims of bedbug bites may develop a red rash and sometimes experience intense itching; but some people do not show any symptoms. Others may become allergic and have more severe reactions.

Scratching the bites may lead to bacterial infection. There is no evidence that bedbugs pass disease from one person to another.

Treatments to Kill Bedbugs

Treat building and possessions, since people do not ‘harbor’ bedbugs. They prefer to sneak away and nest in or near beds.

Several treatments are possible. Hot steam cleaning of buildings and possessions will kill bedbugs. Place diatomaceous earth where the insects would walk – the rough material abrades the waxy shell, causing the bedbug to dry out. Wash clothing and bedding in very hot water for a long cycle. Some chemicals are available. Bedbugs will try to migrate away from one room or apartment to another, so it is important to get them all.

2) Carpenter Ants

Carpenter AntPhoto: KaCey97007

Carpenter ants are also known as wood ants. They excavate wood in order to build their nests; unlike termites, they do not eat wood. They actually eat sweet foods, fat, grease and meat. They mainly work at night.

Signs of Carpenter Ants

You may find small piles of frass (bits of wood, soil, and insects) outside of nest exits, or in window sills. The excavated nest is smooth and does not have ‘mud’, which is a sign of termites. They prefer already-decaying wood but will work with healthy wood if other conditions are right. You might see these large ants marching in your home in the spring.

Preventing a Carpenter Ant Invasion

Use these steps to make it difficult for carpenter ants to invade your home:

  • Keep tree limbs away from the roof.
  • Keep wood piles away from the home and elevate the wood so it does not rest on the ground.
  • Seal the home’s foundation (and windows and doors) with caulk.
  • Seal vents with very fine mesh.
  • Repair any leaky plumbing and ensure air conditioners do not drip onto the side of the house.

Treatment for Carpenter Ants

Four insecticide options are available to get rid of carpenter ants:

  • Dust or spray the perimeter at ground level
  • Dust or foam the interior wall voids
  • Spot-treat specific infested wood, and adjacent wood
  • Apply bait indoors and outdoors

Note that bait is a combination of food and very slow-acting insecticide. Never combine the two approaches, because the quick insecticide makes the bait useless. Bait is a rather finicky approach, but might result in the best outcomes.

3) Head Lice

Head lice (see top) colonize a person’s head, in the hair and skin. They drink human blood and can cause itching. A louse is about the size of a sesame seed.

Symptoms and Signs of Head Lice

Your scalp may itch, although it may take several weeks for the itching to develop. Bites may be visible if the hair is moved aside. Eggs or lice may be seen on close examination; you may need to use a magnifying glass. Use a louse comb to check, especially near ears and nape of neck.

Lice do not transmit any specific diseases. Scratching may introduce germs and cause infection. Only in rare cases will the bites cause swollen lymph nodes.

Transmission of Head Lice

Head-to-head contact is the most common way lice move from one person to another. Sharing hats or pillows is rarely a cause. Victims are usually children.

Treatment of Head Lice

Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend specific medicated shampoos or rinses, and these will have specific instructions. Generally, comb the shampoo through the hair and remove the eggs (‘nits’, hence ‘nit-picking’). This is not usually effective on first treatment, since eggs may be missed and survive. Therefore repeat in about 10 days. Only treat people with live lice, since the chemicals are somewhat harmful.

4) Termites

TermitePhoto: Aaronyx

Termites invade the wooden structures of homes because they eat cellulose. Termites are hard to detect at an early stage because they stay inside the wood structures. An above-ground tunnel outside the home is easily seen. Damaged wood might be detected by feeling that it is soft.

Preventing a Termite Invasion

Concrete or steel foundations, and other barriers should prevent underground access. It’s best to keep 18 inches between the soil and wood. Chemical treatment of the base timber is possible prior to construction, but physical barriers are preferred. Chemical treatment of the soil is usually performed on older homes rather than for new buildings.

Killing Termite Invaders

Bait is the preferred method. A bait is a slow-acting poison which will eventually kill the whole colony. Dust toxins are also available but are not recommended for amateurs. Soil treatment is the least preferred, since it uses a large amount of insecticide which leaches fairly quickly into the environment. Pesticides may be injected into the basement wall and also into nearby fences, sheds or trees.

Often it would be wise to get rid of any damaged wood. This is a large and tricky job if the damage is extensive. On the other hand, you do not want to rest your home on load-bearing timbers that have been hollowed-out by termites.

5) Wasps

WaspPhoto: kevinzim

Wasps are social insects that may nest near, or in, homes. They eat many leftover foods: fruits, fruit drinks, pop, and meat. They also prey on flies, caterpillars and aphids. They are active during the day, and return to the nest in the afternoon.

Keeping Wasps Away

Unless you have had a problem with wasps in the past, you probably do not need to take pre-emptive measures. To discourage wasps from nesting in or near a home, apply an insecticide spray several times a year. It is important to use one that is safe for people and pets, but repels insects.

Eliminating a Wasps’ Nest

Locate the nest during the day, but wait until dusk to apply any insecticides. One good way is to ‘puff’ the insecticide dust into the nest’s entranceway – six to a dozen puffs will start the process, but may lead to swift retribution. It is best to go back several evenings in a row.

Poisoning wasps in voids (in a home) follows a similar procedure, and may take several applications. The exact chemicals and applicators may be different between a visible nest and a colony in a void.

This is my top-five list of insect home invaders. Do you have others to recommend?

PEST PROFILE: Subterranean Termites

PEST PROFILE: Subterranean termites

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas above ground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks — workers, soldiers and reproductive’s. The characteristics of a subterranean termite are dependent on the termite’s role in the colony. Cream-colored Worker subterranean termites are 1/8 to 3/8′s of an inch in length. Soldier subterranean termites are of a similar body length, but are distinguished by their powerful mandibles. Solider termites have cream-colored bodies and brown heads. Reproductive subterranean termites are approximately one inch long.

Habits

Subterranean termites live underground and build tunnels, referred to as mud tubes, to reach food sources. Like other termite species, they feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring — groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.

Habitat

Subterranean termites need contact with the soil to survive and live underground. They can build tunnels through cracks in concrete.

Threats

Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.

Prevention

Avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building. Also, always receive a regular termite inspection from a trained and licensed company.