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Protect Your Family. Preserve the Planet. Eco-Effective Pest Control.
As individuals across the world make great strides to preserve our planet and increase consumer awareness for environmentally responsible initiatives, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is excited to offer the world’s largest and most credible green certification program for pest management professionals – GreenPro.
The GreenPro certification means that your pest management provider must comply with a multitude of qualifications to ensure that you receive a safe and effective service each time they arrive at your door.
GreenPro is the most widely recognized certification available to companies in the pest management industry.
It has the most comprehensive standards of any available program.
Requires companies that participate to submit to independent audits.
Service technicians, salespersons and managers must be trained, tested and recertified.
In addition to green pest management service standards, participating companies are also evaluated on business operations, such as criminal background checks, reference checks, drug screening and more, prior to being able to participate in GreenPro.
It’s easy to go green…
When you are ready to hire a GreenPro company, it’s easy to get started. Just enter your zip code in the locator field at the top-right of the screen and know you’ve made the right decision for your family and the environment.
What is green pest management?
When hiring a GreenPro company for your pest management needs, understand that the technician sent to your account must meet tough standards to ensure that you receive an environmentally responsible service. This kind of service is frequently called integrated pest management (IPM), though GreenPro standards go beyond the requirements of traditional IPM. A GreenPro service includes:
The company must first inspect and monitor the property.
If the company finds a pest problem, it will first eliminate the sources of food, water and shelter that pests need to survive (for example, they may seal cracks, recommend the installation of screens or remove debris from the exterior of the building).
If they need to use a pesticide, they will use products in a manner that minimizes any risk to people, pets or the environment.
Before making a traditional pesticide application, they must first discuss it with you and obtain your consent.
Two new species of parasitic wasp have been identified in Portugal, and both parasitize the same species of spider.
The spider Zodarion styliferum belongs to the largest genus of ant-eating spiders, just one of over 100 species. It spends the day sleeping, only emerging at night to hunt its sole source of food. But it doesn’t sleep just anywhere – it builds itself an “igloo” using rocks and dead wood. This miniature house may protect it against a harsh environment or predators, but it’s no defence against the parastoid wasps Calymmochilus dispar and Gelis apterus.
Unfortunately for juvenile Z. styliferum, the wasps are perfectly evolved to negate the walls. When the spider is sleeping during the day, they push their narrow ovipositors (seen coiled beneath the wasp’s abdomen) through the cracks and gaps of its shelter. The wasps lay their eggs on the juvenile (at some point, it is immobilised) and feed on it.
But it’s not only the food source the wasps end up with – they get a nice home to pupate in. The wasps differ in their metamorphoses; while G. apterus spins itself a cocoon before pupating, C. dispar does not. It seems a tragic irony that while the spider’s house cannot protect it against the wasps, it does an excellent job of protecting the wasps themselves.
What are the most common pests that healthcare facilities encounter, and what health threats do they pose to patients and staff?
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.
Northern Arizona researchers Kasey Yturralde and Richard W. Hofstetter tested four different products, none of which successfully drove away bed bugs.
With bed bugs bunking just about everywhere these days, people battling the bloodsucking insects may be tempted to try their hand at driving them away. But ultrasonic bug zappers, which retail for less than $25, aren’t the solution, say entomologists who tested some of the devices.
Northern Arizona researchers Kasey Yturralde and Richard W. Hofstetter tried out four different ultrasonic devices available on Amazon: one designed specifically for bedbugs and three that claimed to repel insects and small furry mammalian pests.
Their simple experimental design consisted of two 5-gallon buckets lined with sound-muffling insulation that were connected by a tube. An ultrasonic device was placed in one bucket, and eight to 10 bed bugs were placed in the tube.
More care was given to how the bedbugs were housed in the lab. The researchers kept them in large jars, like those used for canning, which were placed in bins full of soapy water. And every lip or edge over which a rogue bed bug would have to crawl was covered in a slippery substance a little like liquid Teflon, Yturralde says, to keep them from escaping.
In test after test, the bed bugs showed no preference for either bucket. None of the four devices drove the bed bugs away.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM KEY TO SUCCESSFUL PEST CONTROL
Hulett Environmental discusses the importance of creating an integrated pest management (IPM) program
IPM is a process involving common sense methods and environmentally friendly solutions for controlling pests. The approach incorporates three basic steps: inspection, identification and treatment by a pest professional.
The goal of IPM is to stop pests before they invade homes. Developing an IPM program with a professional will give homeowners peace of mind that they will be protected against pest-related health and property threats.”
There are a few standard pest prevention protocols in every IPM program. Pest experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Hulett recommend the following techniques:
Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
Screen vents and openings to chimneys, and keep tree shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
Eliminate sources of moisture and keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated.
Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
Keep counters, floors and other surfaces clean and free of crumbs.
Store food in plastic or glass containers with secure lids.
From the West Nile virus and Yosemite Hantavirus outbreaks to Lyme disease and the plague, it could be argued that 2012 was the year of pest-related infectious diseases. But, there were also some weird and wacky pest stories that grabbed headlines over the past twelve months. Here’s the list of the top five pest stories of 2012, as ranked by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA):
West Nile Virus (WNV) Outbreak: The mosquito-borne WNV outbreak became the second-worst in the history of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 5,387 cases of WNV disease in people, including 243 deaths in 2012.
Hantavirus and the Plague: Ten people fell ill and three died from exposure to deer mice infected with Hantavirus after staying in tent cabins at Yosemite National Park. A Colorado girl was also infected with the Bubonic Plague, a rare disease that wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th century.
Acorn Crop Boosts Ticks: This spring, the tick season was heavier than in previous years due to an increase in 2010’s acorn crop and a decrease in the white-footed mouse population this year. These strange events forced many ticks to find new warm-blooded hosts – humans, which caused a surge in Lyme disease.
Spider Calls Woman’s Ear Home: One of the strangest and most unusual stories of 2012 has to do with a spider that was recently removed from a woman’s ear canal after doctors found it living inside for five days.
Termite Species Re-Identified: An aggressive termite species was recently re-identified in Broward County, Fla. Native to the Caribbean, tree termites — once thought to have been eradicated in the United States — can cause widespread property damage in a short period of time. This species is being carefully watched by experts because it’s difficult to control with existing treatment methods.
For more pest news or to locate a qualified pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.
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.
QualityPro is an initiative designed to increase professionalism in the pest management industry. This dynamic program certifies companies based on comprehensive standards. Known as “the mark of excellence in pest control,” the QualityPro designation can be achieved by ensuring that all employees voluntarily ascribe to a set of standards far above what is required by state and federal regulations.
Reserved exclusively for member companies of the National Pest Management Association, QualityPro companies are a distinguished group that continue to act as leaders and pioneers to better serve consumers across the country. Therefore, it is with great pride that we recommend you look for the QualityPro logo the next time you select a professional to eliminate your pest problems.
Here are some examples of QualityPro standards that must be met before a company can achieve this exclusive designation:
All Employees must undergo a comprehensive background check before ever showing up to service your account.
Companies must have a drug-free workplace policy that not only prohibits illegal drugs, but also requires employees to notify management if they are using prescribed medication that may impair their judgment, driving ability, performance or behavior.
Motor vehicle record checks must be conducted on all employees that drive a company vehicle or a personal vehicle for company business.
Each employee that shows up to your residence or business is required to adhere to a strict uniform dress code and service vehicle maintenance and appearance policy. (We want to make a great first impression…no leaking oil on your driveway or dirty boots on your carpet!)
QualityPro ensures that companies must provide you with a warranty/service agreement that clearly outlines the scope of service in BOLD type on the first page of the contract.
Clear communication practices must be followed, including procedures for contacting the customer to schedule the inspection and notification.
Sales and service technicians must first meet testing minimums before they are eligible to work on your account. QualityPro feels that testing and training are among the most important aspects of any service industry.
The QualityPro program also contains an environmental stewardship aspect that requires companies to offer integrated pest Management services (IPM) to its customers. If you would like more information on what “IPM” means, just ask your service provider.
Advertising practices are put in place to ensure that companies don’t make false claims when soliciting your business. No images, words or misleading terminology!
All companies that enroll in the QualityPro program must have insurance minimums in place for workers comp, general liability and vehicles.
In addition, we here at QualityPro, strive to ensure that all companies in the program are meeting these criteria through continually conducting random audits on all program members.
Many countries have seen a surge in infestations of the bloodsucking pest over the past decade. Brooke Borel examines what’s needed to tackle the re-emerging threat.
Why do we need to sleep?
Nothing makes the skin crawl more than the idea that tiny bloodsucking bugs could be living in our bedrooms. Around the size of a lentil, the common bed bug*, Cimex lectularius, can drink up to seven times its own weight in blood in one feeding, leave nasty, itchy bumps on their human hosts, and hide unseen for months on end.
Since the late 1990s, the bed bug has become an increasingly common urban nuisance in homes and hotels worldwide. A 2010 survey from the University of Kentucky and the National Pest Management Association found that 95% of US pest control companies had treated a bed bug infestation in the previous year, up from 25% a decade before, and 11% before that. Only last month, New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a resource for other people with bed bug infestations, had to fumigate one of its floors.
According to the survey, the majority of pest control operators from Europe, Africa, Australia and North America said bed bugs were the most difficult insect pest to control, more so than ants, termites and even the formidable cockroach. Another study showed that in London alone, bed bug treatments grew by a quarter each year between 2000 and 2006.
The worst aspect about this is that we thought we had tackled the bed bug problem before. Clive Boase, a pest management consultant in Suffolk and author of the London survey, says that UK bedbug numbers began decreasing in the 1930s, thanks to changes in social housing and public health policies, which led to the demolition of old publicly-funded housing and teams of inspectors checking homes for vermin, respectively. New pesticides introduced in the 1940s, including DDT, also helped to bring numbers down, and by the 1950s infestations were rare. The US saw a similar drop in infestations from the late 1940s onwards, thanks to the advent and widespread use of DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides.
So, where is the chemical cure this time around? Or, is there any relief to be found in the myriad bed bug products and services on the market, from growth regulators to heat treatments?
The pesticides currently available, says Dini Miller, an entomologist and bed bug expert from Virginia Tech, are “not practical to use in a widespread way because of the cost.” New, cheaper pesticides are too expensive and time consuming to develop, she adds. Because bed bugs live primarily in the bedroom, chemical companies must provide extensive toxicity data to prove it is safe for indoor use, as it might come into contact with people or pets.
But, proving that a pesticide works and is safe could cost a company up to $256 million over eight to ten years for each active ingredient, according to a 2010 industry study conducted for Crop Life America and the European Crop Protection Association. The investment may not be worth it. The US accounts for over a fifth of the world’s pesticide use, the vast majority of which is used in agriculture, followed by herbicides and then insecticides. Compared to the vast expanse of farmland and orchards, the real estate of all of the apartments and houses in the world combined is small and brings in less money, says Miller. This is especially a problem considering patent protection on a novel ingredient runs out after around 20 years, after which the tech is open to generic competitors.
Even if making a new bed bug insecticide were lucrative, there are other challenges. There is the problem of figuring out how a chemical has to function in order to best kill bed bugs cheaply, efficiently and safely. This requires intimate knowledge of the bed bug’s basic biology. But, because bed bugs were at such low levels for decades, interest in studying them waned. Starting in the early 2000s, once it was clear the resurgence was real and that bed bugs weren’t going anywhere, scientists had to relearn bed bug basics from scratch, starting with fundamental aspects as how to raise them in a lab.
Then there is the problem of paying for the research. While dozens of labs now work on the basic science of bed bugs worldwide, funding remains low in part because bed bugs are not known to spread disease.
Finally, there is the problem of insecticide resistance. Even DDT, the supposed miracle cure, wasn’t immune to this. Five years after the pesticide was in widespread use in the US, DDT-resistant bed bugs popped up in Hawaii; in the 1950s and 1960s, resistant strains were found elsewhere in the US and in Japan, Korea, Iran, Israel and French Guiana, to name a few.
No chemical insecticide is immune to resistance, particularly if it is overused. Today, roughly 90% of bed bugs have a genetic mutation that makes them resistant to pyrethroids, a class of insecticides commonly used for bed bugs that work in a similar way to DDT.
So, chemicals are not the sole answer. Neither, it seems, are any other options when used alone. “There is no silver bullet,” says Michael Potter, an entomologist from the University of Kentucky. Still, chemicals and other tactics can be used in an integrated pest management strategy, where they are sometimes used sparingly along with heat treatments (bed bugs die at 45C), desiccants such as silica gel and diatomaceous earth that fatally dry the bugs out, or vacuuming and getting rid of clutter.
Biological tactics are emerging as another possible option. Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, are chemicals that prevent bed bugs from completing their lifecycle, stunting their growth so they can’t reproduce. But, IGRs are slow-acting, and the bugs will still bite even if they can’t breed. On the horizon, perhaps, are genetically modified versions of symbiotic bacteria that live in the insect’s gut, including Wolbachia, which may be exploited for pest management. Or, the bugs’ pheromones, which tell them where to go and who to mate with, may also be reengineered and used against them.
In the meantime, public awareness measures can keep bed bugs from spreading. Good practices include: checking hotel room beds before unpacking, being mindful of belongings like a coat draped carelessly on an unknown couch, washing clothing in hot water and vacuuming suitcases after travelling, and avoiding discarded furniture on the street. Some experts also recommend sealing mattresses and box springs in encasements specifically intended to keep away bed bugs, which may make the bed easier to treat and could save it from permanent damage.
These combined efforts have knocked down infestations in some areas, says Boase, particularly among high-end hotels and the rich. Both can afford to throw money at the problem. Right now, he adds, the most severe infestations in the UK are in low-income housing – not because poor people are more apt to get them, but because they are less likely to be able to afford the treatments. The US has a similar problem. Better control will depend on cheaper, more efficient options entering the market.
“I feel that it is possible to bring infestation levels down in that residual housing area, but we don’t have the tools of infrastructure to support it,” says Boase. Then again, he says, “we’ve never had [total] eradication before.” But, with cheaper tools, we may be able to knock bed bug levels back down everywhere. Or at least, he adds, “we love to think we can.”
* Many people write “bedbugs”, but entomologists use two words when describing Cimex lectularius, because it is a “true bug” (Hemiptera). Entomologists always use two words for insects that are true to the common name they have – so for example, house fly is two words because those are actually flies, but butterfly is one word because they aren’t flies.
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Bedbugs, Spiders, Bats and Other Pests Give Homeowners Nightmares During the Halloween Season
This Halloween, vampires, ghosts and goblins will not be the only ghoulish creatures haunting the night; bedbugs continue to make a startling resurgence in U.S. residences, spider infestations are up, and wildlife pests such as bats plague homeowners across the country.
Scary movies aren’t the only thing giving homeowners nightmares this season. As temperatures begin to plunge, pests everywhere begin to seek respite in the very areas you want them the least – your home.
Pests such as bedbugs are actually very similar to one of our favorite Halloween characters – the vampire. A nocturnal creature, bedbugs are bloodsucking pests. As they bite human skin, they inject an anesthetic-like liquid that numbs the skin and allows them 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.
Luckily, a bedbug bite doesn’t transform you into a bedbug; the way a vampire bite makes you a vampire. In fact, the only good news about bedbugs is that their bites do not transmit disease to humans.
Other ghoulish pests cannot make the same claim. Bats are the culprits behind 72% of rabies cases in the U.S. between 1990 and 2002; and various species of spiders found in the United States pose serious health threats and require vigilant control procedures.
“Homeowners have an easy way of waking up from this type of house nightmare,” commented National Pest Management Association Vice President of Public Affairs Missy Henriksen. “Pest professionals have the training and expertise to assist homeowners through this type of home horror.”
For further information on these nightmarish pests or to find a pest professional in your area, visit bugs.com and www.pestworld.org.
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