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Hulett Environmental Offers Advice on How to Keep Uninvited Insects Out of Your Backyard

Summer Barbeques Attract Unwelcome Pests

Florida Pet Control

Hulett Environmental Offers Advice on How to Keep Uninvited Insects Out of Your Backyard

According to research conducted by the National Pest Management Association in 2005, 67% of homeowners are most concerned about pests during the summer. Barbeque season begins when the temperature heats up, the same time that insects become the most active.  These prevalent summer pests can cause painful stings and carry diseases, as well as becoming a nuisance for you and your guests.

If ants, mosquitoes and wasps aren’t on the guest list for your barbeque this summer, the National Pest Management Association recommends taking these precautions to discourage those unwanted pests from attending:

  • Ants are attracted to typical barbeque fare.  Plan to serve food and beverages indoors, and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.  Keep food sealed in containers whenever possible, and wipe tabletops frequently. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.  Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.
  • Mosquitoes feed on blood, causing painful bite marks and carrying diseases such as Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Encephalitis.  Remove or drain any sources of standing water in your yard that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths, wading pools, or garden ponds.  When outside, wear insect repellent on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Wasp stings can be painful and even send guests with allergies to the emergency room.  Avoid decorating with fragrant candles or planting fragrant flowers that may attract wasps.
  • Ensure all doors and windows in your home have mesh screens that are in good condition, and keep doors closed when possible so pests cannot enter your home.
  • If you’re still concerned about an abundance of pests in your yard, contact Hulett Environmental to help control the problem.  A pest professional can identify, treat and remove pest-breeding grounds, allowing your guests to enjoy their hamburgers and hot dogs in comfort.

For more information on summer pests, visit www.pestworld.org and  www.bugs.com

Hulet Environmental Gives Tips to Avoid Flea Infestations

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Hulett warns that flea populations are on the rise, especially during warmer months.

“Fleas are parasites that feast on any warm-blooded body, including humans,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Fleas and flea-infested animals were the cause of the Bubonic Plague, which wiped out much of Europe during the Middle Ages.” While the plague is an extremely rare disease today, fleas also transmit a bacterial disease, murine typhus, to humans through infected rats. Most commonly, homeowners with flea infestations will find themselves with itchy, painful red bumps resulting from fleabites.

“If a person has a flea infestation, it is time to call a professional pest control company to treat the problem quickly and effectively. If someone has a severe reaction to flea bites, they should take precaution and seek immediate medical attention,” said Henriksen.

Hulett Envionmntal offers these tips to help avoid flea infestations:

  • Clean and vacuum frequently to help remove flea populations already in existence and discourage egg laying
  • Keep your lawn groomed. Untended lawns provide hiding spots and food sources for rodents and other animals that may harbor fleas.
  • Fleas hitch rides with mammals on the move, including rodents. If you have a rodent problem in your home or on your property, fleas may be soon to follow. Call a pest professional to rid your home of both.
  • If you have pets, keep them leashed when outside. Visit a veterinarian annually, bathe and groom your pets regularly, and use flea treatments according to direction.

For more information, visit www.pestworld.org and www.bugs.com

Beware of Summer Pests

What are some examples of summer pests?

There are many different types of summer pests although some of the most prominent home invaders include ants, cockroaches, and termites.  Of course outdoors will bring us a different set of pests – mosquitoes, ticks, and flies are some of the most prevalent.

Are these pests dangerous?

Summer pests are much more than a nuisance – consider these statistics:

  • Termites destroy more homes each year than fires and floods combined; they cause over 5 BILLION dollars of damage.
  • Stinging insects send 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.
  • Recent medical studies show that cockroach allergens trigger asthma attacks in children.

Should we expect more summer pests than usual in our area this year?

We should expect an average amount of pests – comparable to last year – this summer.  A good indicator of pest pressure is winter moisture.  We didn’t have a terribly wet winter this year, so we should have an average summer for pests.

How can a homeowner get rid of summer pests once they are inside their home?

The best way to eliminate summer pests once they ALREADY infest your home is to call a pest professional.

What steps can homeowners take to reduce the likelihood of summer pests inside their homes?

There are many steps homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of occasional invaders:

  • Keep all kitchen areas clean (including floors). Kitchen appliances should be kept free of spills and crumbs. Clean shelves regularly and store foods such as cereal, flour, and dog food in resealable containers.
  • Periodically sweep and vacuum floor areas in the kitchen, under furniture, and around dining areas. Pay particular attention to pet food and water dishes.
  • Keep garbage areas clean. Garbage should be stored in sealed containers and disposed of regularly.
  • Seal cracks, crevices, and other gaps around doors and windows. Doors and windows should always be kept closed or well screened.
  • Check pipes and pipe areas around the house for leaks, cracks and gaps and seal and patch any problems if necessary. Leaky faucets should also be fixed.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces dry. If you have mold and mildew in your home or office crawlspace, it’s a symptom of an excess moisture problem.
  • Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly. Insects have also been known to come in on potted plants and in luggage.

Do you have any good rules of thumb for dealing with summer pests?

  • When it comes to your home – the cleaner the better.  Many summer pests are attracted to food and water sources left out around your home.
  • Standing water attracts thirsty pests.  Try to remove all stagnant water sources in and around your home.
  • A safe bet about pests – there is almost always more than one.  Pests breed extremely quickly. If you notice cockroaches or termites in or around your home, chances are great that there are many more where they came from.

Tell me a little bit about ants…

There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population.  The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Kids are home more in the warm weather so wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, remove empty soda cans and mop the floors.

Tell me a little bit about cockroaches…

Cockroaches enjoy damp, dark places with a plentiful food supply, They like to hide during the day, often behind kitchen appliances or in cupboards. Inspect these areas vigilantly and clean regularly.

Tell me a little bit about mosquitoes…

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water that collects in ditches, birdbaths,  flowerpots and old tires.  Check those areas and remove the standing water to help eliminate the threat.

Tell me a little bit about termites…

Termites build mud tunnels on the foundation of a home for covert access to wood. They can also be found by looking for broken-off wings .

Pest World Contest

SUBMIT a photo or video of your reaction to seeing a bug for a chance to win an amusement park trip valued at $4,000! http://t.co/zcntpSYY via www.pestworld.org

Mitigating the Downside to Summer Fun

Mitigating the Downside to Summer Fun

Slide1Hurray – summer is finally here! This is a glorious time of long hours of sun and warmth, walks and hikes, swimming, camping and barbecues. There’s something for everyone in the great outdoors.

But sometimes, don’t you just wish the mosquitoes, bees and other pests would get the memo about being on vacation and just leave you alone? Unfortunately, we all know there are downsides to communing with nature and enjoying our summer fun.

So, let’s go over some of the more common summer insects, why we should be concerned about them and what we can do to mitigate the problem. Remember —especially when it comes to summer insects — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Bees, Hornets, Wasps and Yellowjackets

  • The upside: They pollinate plants and flowers and help give us fruits and vegetables. They also eat other harmful pests such as grubs and flies.
  • The downside: They dole out painful stings and give us anxiety about being stung. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are at risk for suffering severe allergic reactions.

Although typically a source of great anxiety for fear that they might sting you, in fact, bees and yellowjackets rarely do sting unless provoked. So, the number one rule is not to panic and swat at a bee when it comes for a visit. If it lands on your skin, just blow gently rather than smack at it. There are more aggressive species, particularly wasps that can sting in painful attacks if they feel threatened or you wander too close to their nest. While painful, most insect stings usually result in a limited local reaction, with pain and swelling. Unfortunately, about 3 percent of people have more widespread allergic reactions, with rash and hives. The most extreme cases of allergic reactions are called anaphylaxis and symptoms include tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness or even life threatening shortness of breath and drop in blood pressure. If these symptoms arise, call 911. If you are allergic to stinging insects you should know how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.

If stung and the stinger is still in place, first remove the stinger. Then clean the area with soap and cold water and apply ice. Benadryl and over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone ointment may help calm the reaction. Consider taking a pain reliever as needed.

Mosquitoes

  • The upside: Is there one?
  • The downside: Mosquito bites are a common, insect-related reason parents seek medical help for their children. The local reactions and itchy lesions that are results of mosquito bites are no fun, but luckily, severe reactions are extremely uncommon.

Mosquitoes bite most intensely around dawn and dusk. If you must or want to be outside during those times, it’s best to be inside a screened-in porch or dressed in clothing that leaves very little exposed skin. Your best protection will be insect repellant, such as DEET or picaridin.

A mosquito bite typically results in a pink bump that itches. As tempting as it may be, don’t scratch it! Scratching only agitates the venom and increases your itching. In addition, over-scratching might cause breaks in the skin that can serve as a port of entry for bacterial superinfections. Although less common, some people can be more sensitive to mosquito bites and have more severe reactions, such as welts or hives. All bites should be washed with soap and cold water. Benadryl and over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone cream may be indicated for intense itching and the larger reactions. If there are signs and symptoms of infection you may need to see your doctor for antibiotics.

Unfortunately, mosquitoes can leave more than a local reaction. Sometimes they may transmit infections like malaria, dengue, or West Nile Virus (WNV). Luckily, in the United States we rarely encounter malaria or dengue, but WNV has become widespread. The good news is that in most cases WNV is a mild and self-limited infection. Symptoms may be so light as to go unnoticed, or present as a “summer flu,” with mild body and headaches and low-grade fever. In rare and extreme cases WNV is a potentially life threatening infection. Symptoms include higher fever, head and body aches, confusion and worsening weakness and such symptoms should prompt you to seek medical attention.

Ticks

  • The upside: None.
  • The downside: The serious illness that ticks can transmit, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesia (“tick malaria”), amongst others.

Obviously, the best way to avoid ticks and their associated problems is to not pick them up in the first place, but that can be easier said than done. It’s a good idea to wear clothing that leaves less skin exposed that can act as a barrier to the ticks. So flip-flops, sandals, shorts and T-shirts are out when planning a hike to areas that are likely to have ticks. Wear boots and long socks, and remember to tuck your long pants into your socks when hiking. The best protection against ticks consists ofpermethrin-treated clothing and gear, combined with DEET applied to exposed skin.

Keep in mind that most ticks need to feed for hours before they can successfully transmit infections. So, it is very important that after hikes you do a full body check (including in the hair) to look for ticks. If removed promptly, the risk of infection decreases significantly.

If you do find a tick on your body or that of a family member or pet, it’s important to carefully remove the tick right away. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. Avoid squashing the tick because spreading tick blood in the bite wound might increase the risk of infection. Once the tick is removed, clean the area with soap and water and perhaps an antiseptic. If you develop a rash, headaches, pains or fever, call your doctor immediately.

The lowdown on bug repellant

The good news is bug repellants really do work in deterring mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, chiggers and other insects. The bad news is that they are ineffective against spiders and stinging insects, such as yellowjackets, wasps, bees or hornets.

The gold standard of insect repellant is DEET. It has been in use for more than 50 years and is recommended for use in persons above 2 months of age. The alternative repellant of choice is picaridin is also effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and sand flies.

Mosquito Season Is Here — How Bad Will it Get?

Mosquito Season Is Here — How Bad Will it Get?

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

Bee Swarm Unleashed in Pasco Garage

MyFOXTampaBay.com: Bee Swarm Unleashed in Pasco Garage


PORT RICHEY – A swarm of bees has been causing some big problems for a family in Port Richey. They made the discovery while cleaning out the garage and they’re having a devil of a time getting rid of them.

The Pizzuto’s certainly had a crazy start to their Thursday morning.  They were doing some spring cleaning in the garage, when suddenly, within minutes it was filled with hundreds of angry bees.

“They’re like swarming, there are millions of them,” said Selena Pizzuto, a 14-year-old, who caught the swarm in-motion on her cell phone camera.

The bees filled the garage, and covered the side door. Rose Pizzuto got a frantic call from her mother Mildred.

“And she said there were some bees moving around in the garage and she had been cleaning, and I came home and I thought, okay, we’ll just buy some spray,” Rose said.

She quickly found out she would need a lot more spray to fix the mess.

“We have bees, like everywhere!,” said her daughter in their home video.

It was a buzzing black cloud of bees, irritated because their nest had been disturbed by her mother’s cleaning.

“I couldn’t believe it, there were bees just swarming everywhere!,” Pizzuto said.

Worried for her kids, she called 911, who then put her in touch with an exterminator. But she didn’t have the extra $150 to pay for it.

“Were you freaking out?,” we asked.  “Yes, I was freaking out majorly!,” she said.  “It was very scary, I’ve never seen such a large swarm before.”

The nest was two shelves up from where she keeps frying pans they use every day. She never noticed the bees until now.  The good news is no one got stung. The bad news is, no matter how much they sprayed, more new bees kept showing up!

“Your neighbor sprayed a few, right?,” we asked. “Yes, my neighbor Michael sprayed the bees the first time,” said Pizzuto.  “And what happened after that?,” we asked. “After that he ran for it and then they all came out of the bees nest!,” said Pizzuto.

“I just saw like hundreds of bees everywhere,” said Selena Pizzuto. “Had you seen something like that before?,” we asked. “Never,” she said. “Like only on TV.”

“Then her looked out the window and her said, Mom, there’s a huge lot of bees out there,” said 5-year-old Ryan, who told us he was not scared of the swarm.

Ryan Willingham with the County Extension Office, who is a bee specialist, explained that we’re in bee season right now. And when hives get full, part of the worker bees branch out with a new queen to find a home.

“Half the workforce takes off and finds another place,” said Willingham.

We asked him if the family was in any danger?

“I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as dangerous, but yet, you don’t know where the bees are from,” said Willingham. “They need to be handled by a professional.”

And the Pizzutos still have lot of work to do. At the top of their downspout near the garage, we found another cluster of bees.  Willingham said that it could take several days to get rid of all the bees, from the garage, to the gutter, to another cluster we saw in the yard.

Ticks and Fleas Pose a Threat to Family Pets

Ticks and Fleas Pose a Threat to Family Pets

The National Pest Management Association Offers Tips to Protect Dogs and Cats from Pests

Fairfax, VA (May 23, 2012) – As the weather warms everyone is spending more time outdoors, including dogs and cats. Just like us, pets are at risk for attracting ticks and fleas when outside, which can pose serious health risks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds pet owners to take precautions to protect their pets from pests when outside this season.

“The NPMA predicted an especially heavy tick season, making it all the more important that pet owners understand the dangers posed by pests and learn how to prevent them,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA.

Ticks are one of the most common pet pests. Blacklegged deer ticks can spread Lyme disease to pets, which causes fever, decreased appetite, painful joints, limping and lethargy. In serious cases, kidney disease can also occur.

American dog ticks, which are larger than deer ticks, can spread Rock Mountain Spotted Fever and cause tick paralysis, which occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord. Tick paralysis can lead to muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.

Fleas are another common pet pest. They cause itchy, red bumps that lead to excessive scratching, anemia, dermatitis and tapeworms. Fleas can also infest a pet owner’s home when they fall off a pet onto bedding, carpets or furniture and reproduce.

The NPMA recommends these tips to protect your pet from pests:

  • Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
  • Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where fleas and ticks often hide.
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
  • Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
  • Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.
  • If you suspect a pest problem, contact a licensed pest professional immediately.