All posts by Hulett Environmental

Which Mosquito is Responsible for the Large-Scale Outbreaks?

Which Mosquito is Responsible for the Large-Scale Outbreaks?

As many of you already realize, the most devastating outbreaks of the Zika virus have occurred in South and Central America as well as the Caribbean’s, while the United States is quickly mobilizing the best preventative methods to avoid similar devastation.  However, despite the best efforts on the part of health officials and scientists, the particular species of mosquito that is responsible for the greatest amount of infection had yet to be determined.  But now it seems as though public health officials have nabbed their culprit.

Public health officials had long suspected the particular species of mosquito known as Aedes aegypti.  This species has already been found to be largely responsible for the most rapid transmission of other insect-borne diseases such as Dengue and Yellow Fever.

Entomologists captured thousands of mosquitos and found A. Aegypti to be the most numerous of the mosquitoes caught, as well as the most infected.  This is likely due to the fact that this mosquito is very common in Latin America.  And Latin America has had to suffer much more terrible consequences than any other continent.

Hundreds of thousands of Latinos have been infected since the outbreak, which leads entomologist to believe that the A. Aegypti is the most deadly carrier of all Zika carrying mosquitos.  Extermination efforts will now be focusing on this particular mosquito, as it seems to cause more Zika outbreaks than any other mosquito on earth.  So if Latin public health officials manage to contain or exterminate this deadly species, then it follows that the rest of the world will feel some relief.  The question is how can they be killed? I do know that a great big fly swatter won’t do the trick.

Do you think pinpointing the exact species of mosquito spreading the disease will help scientists develop cures and better treatment? In what way?

 

A Colorectal Surgeons Love for Odd Bugs

A prominent colorectal surgeon named Dr Francis Seow-Choen is already fascinated with bugs of the parasitic sort found in the human gastrointestinal system.  However, he grew up fascinating over other types of creep-crawlies–Stick and Leaf Insects.

The surgeon has just completed his fourth and most comprehensive book covering the vast species of these types of insects.  So comprehensive in fact that the doctor dedicated twenty years of his life to studying the species found in his book, and the book itself took three years to complete.  His book looks extensively at fifty-two different and new species of leaf and stick insects located in Borneo.  Even the director of Natural History Publications of Borneo has found the doctors book to be a major advancement in entomological science.

What makes the good doctors discoveries so unique to bug-science is that finding these particular species of bugs is incredibly dangerous as locating them for study normally involves spending several days and nights in the harsh south east Asian jungles.  Also, stick and bug insects are, as you would assume, very difficult to find in the wild, as these bugs are known for their evolutionarily advanced forms of camouflage.  The doctor has risked his life in the harsh and dangerous wilderness to indulge his love for these unique bugs, or, just maybe, he needs a break from examining people’s rectums, you make your own call.

Do you have a labor of love similar to this? What is it?

Researchers Effectively Blindfold Spiders in the Name of Science

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you blindfolded a spider?  Well, a team of presumably very bored entomologists at the University of Nebraska have managed to do just that.  However, and to the scientists’ credit, the spider that they managed to somehow blindfold is not just any spider.  The spider in question possesses the largest eyes known to science.  This spider has been named Deinopis Spinosa and is found in Australia, Africa, and the Americas.

This spider hunts prey at night, which could be why this spider has evolved a pair of abnormally large eyes, which, combined, equal eight eyes in total.  A very dedicated biologist was not content with this theory and decided to camp out in the spider’s habitat for a total of eight months to see how it would behave after he blindfolded it with dental silicone.

It turns out that these blindfolded spiders could not catch ground dwelling prey as easily as they could with the use of their eyes, but their ability to catch flying prey remained largely unaffected.  This is likely due to the spiders preferred taste for ground dwelling insects, as they tend to be more nutritious.  Why do I get the idea that this entomologist just really loves camping?

Can you think of an insect that wouldn’t be negatively affected by being blindfolded? How would they adapt to survive without sight?

The Things a Wasp Will Have to Do to Feed Her Young

The Things a Wasp Will Have to Do to Feed Her Young

Although it is hard to picture a wasp attacking an enormous tarantula, this scenario can happen.  Your ordinary wasp has been known to attack the Baboon Spider.  The Baboon Spider can grow to be as large as a small bird.  It has large fangs, hairy legs, and a very sticky web, whereas the typical wasp has only the advantage of its ability to fly and, of course, its sting.  So can the wasp emerge as the victor if these two creatures are pitted against each other

Well, as it turns out, yes!  But the wasp does not just kill the tarantula.  The wasp easily breaks through the tarantula’s web, and proceeds to rudely invade the tarantula’s home, craving the three and a half ounces of protein that this particular tarantula is packing.  Naturally, this home invasion catches the tarantula off guard, forcing them to retreat.  The ordinary wasp can easily catch up to the tarantula and sting the poor guy, putting him into a coma.

The rest of the tarantula’s days involves it being used as an incubator for the wasp’s offspring only to be eventually eaten by the wasps larvae.  Not a bad story if you cannot stand tarantulas, and cannot get enough of wasp babies.

Have you ever seen a smaller insect attacking a larger one? Do you know of any animals that do this as well?

Memorial Day Marks the Beginning of the Insect Party

Memorial Day weekend officially marks the start of the most wonderful season of all: Summer. This means fun in the sun, no school, pool parties, trips to the beach, and…mosquitos. With the Zika virus on the rampage, people need to be especially careful of avoiding mosquito bites. The biggest problem the country has when it comes to these bloodsuckers is people who are misinformed.

Health officials across the country are banding together to try and spread education about mosquitos and the Zika virus to every person in the U.S. Prevention of infection is actually pretty straight forward. You need to carry around some insect repellent containing DEET at all times, and make sure you keep yourself liberally covered in the stuff.

The CDC is advising pregnant women, in particular, avoid traveling to areas where the Zika virus is active. I’d say everyone needs to postpone travel to these areas until this epidemic is over, but it seems people just can’t seem to understand how dangerous this virus is and are still determined to go on their vacation even if it means they might catch it. Well, if you’re still set on going, at least wear insect repellent. Some clothing companies such as L.L. Bean and ExOfficio have come out with shirts treated with permethrin, which they promise can repel mosquitos and other bugs for up to 70 washings.

Are you making sure to stay covered in insect repellent this summer? How many people do you know are still uninformed about the Zika virus?

Parents Concerned with the Zika Virus Need to Prep Kids for Protection this Summer

Although the Zika virus has not infected anybody in the United States Locally we cannot say the same about our closest neighbors such as South America and The Caribbean.  It seems as though it is only a matter of time before the Zika virus makes itself a threat in the US.  Naturally parents are concerned about this looming threat and want to take every measure to ensure the safety of their children, and Mosquito nets draped over their bunk beds are not enough.  So here are a few ideas to better protect your children from the Zika virus this summer.

EPA Registered insect repellent is a must for any child going away to camp this summer.  But first make sure that the repellent contains DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus just to name a couple.  The center for disease control has a list of recommended products on their website.  No kid wants to spend summer being the butt of jokes over his clothing, and although it may be hot, it is still the safest to dress in long pants and long sleeves.  By doing this kids drastically reduce their chances of bites.  Permethrin treated clothing can repel ticks and mosquitos, so it may be worth it to shell out an extra few bucks if it means increasing the chances that your kid will come home from camp safe and disease free.  Be safe kids!

How are you preparing for the Zika virus?

Why So Many Insects Are Named After Celebrities

Why So Many Insects Are Named After Celebrities

You may have already known that it is not difficult for entomologists to discover new species of insects.  Many insects that inhabit this planet have yet to be discovered and named.  And it turns out that whenever a new insect is discovered, which is quite often, scientists have a tendency to name the newly discovered insects after famous people.  Why is that?  Perhaps the scientists choose a celebrity whom they do not like, or the opposite.   Actually it is most often just a way to get the public interested in insects.

By naming a new species of insect after a celebrity, scientists increase the likelihood that certain fans of the celebrity will take an interest in insects.  And most often there exists no connection between the species found and the celebrity the species is named after.  When it comes to naming insects scientists can name them whatever they please.

For example, a species of insect recently discovered in California has been named after our current president Barack Obama.  The entomologist that discovered this species dedicated the bug to President Obama because of his funding of science.  Other examples include our previous president George W. Bush, Stephen Colbert and Darth Vader.

Do you know of any insects named after celebrities? What kind of insects are they and why are they named after that celebrity?

 

Signs You May Have Termites

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home.
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped.
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint.
  5. Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.

Pest Proof Your Home This Spring

To best pest proof the home, Hulett Environmental Services recommends homeowners follow these tips:

  • When de-cluttering and storing items, use durable, sealed containers that pests can’t easily infest or chew through instead of cardboard boxes or plastic bags.
  • Remove all of the items from cabinets and pantry. Go through them and discard stale spices and other dated items such as flour and grains. These baking ingredients attract pantry pests, including several types of beetles, Indian meal moths and ants.
  • Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves.
  • If you keep fresh fruit on the counter, check it often for signs of over-ripening or decay, which can attract fruit flies.
  • Run the garbage disposal regularly.
  • Don’t let dirty dishes pile up and stand in the sink.
  • Don’t leave pet food and water bowls sit out for long periods of time.
  • Take notice of any built up moisture and eliminate these sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.

 

Ticks: A Major concern for Pets and Pet Owners

ticks

Reported cases of tick-related diseases have been on the rise in recent years. This has put local veterinarians and pet owners on high alert. And rightly so; researchers in Florida say the U.S. will see more than 300,000 new cases of tick-transmitted diseases this year. In South Florida, pet owners need to be aware that many types of ticks exist and therefore, there needs to be a prevention plan in place.

Milder winter equals three times more ticks

With a milder than usual winter in 2016, an increase in ticks, as many as three times the normal population is predicted for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Hulett Environmental Services recommends that pet owners take extra precautions to protect their four-legged family members, as well as themselves from exposure to the diseases ticks carry.

Hulett Environmental Services: Pet-friendly

While many topical, ingestible and ultrasonic flea and tick prevention pet products on the market today help prevent pet flea and tick infestations, Hulett Environmental Services offers pet-friendly flea and tick control services that go beyond your pet’s pest control defenses to address the needs of your home and property in trying to fend off potential disease threats.

Pet-friendly Healthy Home Service

Our pet-friendly pest control program is an important part of our Healthy Home service. Designed to provide pet-friendly pest protection for your family dogs, cats and other pets, Hulett’s Healthy Home pest control program is part of getting any existing pest issues under control and in the long-term, the goal is to prevent future pet pest problems.

What if you think you have a flea issue?

If your pets are scratching and chewing on their fur in excess, chances are, you have a flea issue. Contact Hulett today for your free flea inspection by one of our graduate trained entomologist inspectors and technicians.

Our Pet Friendly Resource Guide

Some preventive measures you can take to help protect your pets from common pests such as fleas and ticks, like these:

  • Vacuum your home regularly to help control flea infestations by removing eggs, larvae and adults. Along with carpets, pay attention to cushioned furniture and baseboards.
  • Wash pet bedding and remove any old pet bedding. Frequently clean areas where your pets lounge.
  • Groom pets frequently; flea shampoos can help relieve the itching temporarily. Using a flea comb can help remove fleas from your pets.
  • Insist on Huletts Pet Friendly treatments for the interior and exterior of your home.

Ticks carry diseases that affect humans as well as pets

Because ticks carry diseases, pet owners must take extra precautions this spring and summer. Some things to consider:

  • Consult your veterinarian for tick and flea prevention options for your pets.
  • Check hair and skin after outdoor activities.
  • Check your pets regularly for ticks, especially after pets run through tall grass or after woodland hikes.
  • Wear light colored, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when going near grassy or wooded areas.
  • Wear closed-toed sneakers or boots in areas of possible tick activity.
  • Tuck pant legs into the top of your boot or sock, so all skin is covered.
  • Use insect repellant.
  • If you find a tick on yourself or if you’re experiencing fever, pain in the joints, or a painful rash, seek medical attention immediately.

Exterior precautions include:

  • Keeping grass cut low.
  • Eliminate all weedy areas.
  • Remove all woodpiles, garbage and debris from your yard.

Most importantly, contact Hulett Environmental Services to pest guard your yard and your home’s interior against fleas and ticks with pet-friendly prevention programs for your healthy home. Just call Hulett at 1-866-611-BUGS!