Category Archives: Identification & Control

South Florida Spiders

Peter Parker fans rejoice! Sony Pictures Entertainment recently announced a new partnership with Marvel Studios that will bring a new Spider-Man film to hit theaters in the summer of 2017. The popular superhero’s upcoming return prompted Hulett to share some Spidey-tastic species of spiders found in South Florida.

Where you are likely to find them: Spiders can be found almost everywhere. Look for their telltale webs inside and out. They prefer dark and quiet garages and storage areas. Outside look in bushes, trees and hedges, under piles of dead leaves, under rocks and pots, along fences, on walls and windowsills. Inside, look in corners, especially along the ceiling, and around windows and in houseplants. Spiders vary in their hunting style. Some spin webs to catch their prey; others lie in wait for insects; still others actively hunt for prey. Hunting spiders can be found walking on walls and floors. Some spiders are active during the day, many are more active at night.

Florida spider removal services

Some common South Florida spider species include:

Black Widow

  • General Characteristics: The southern black widow spider is shiny black and is often feared because of their painful bite. The female usually has a red spot or hourglass-shaped mark on the underside of the abdomen.
  • Size: The body is about 3/4 inch long and the abdomen is about 3/8 inch in diameter
  • Hunting: By day, they hide by night in its web.
  • Found: It’s usually found outdoors under rocks and boards, and in and around old buildings.
  • Medical: Considered the most venomous spider in North America. These are shy spiders, and if you avoid placing your hands where you can’t see, bites are unlikely. They are timid and solitary, and often bite only when disturbed. However, the female injects such a small dose of venom that it rarely causes death. The bite of the black widow feels like a pinprick and the initial pain disappears rapidly, leaving local swelling and two tiny red marks. Muscular cramps in the shoulder, thigh and back usually begin within 15 minutes to three hours.

Brown Widow

In South Florida, one of the main types of venomous spiders are brown widow spiders.

  • General Characteristics: Brown widows are slightly smaller than the black widow and are gray to brown in color. If you can see it, the underside of the abdomen, contains the characteristic hourglass marking and is yellow to orange in color. Their legs have dark bands.
  • Size: Mature females are 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length
  • Found: In nature, most are found under rocks and logs, but they readily adapt to human-altered environments. It prefers secluded, protected sites around our homes. Some typical sites include inside old tires, empty containers, entry way corners, under eaves, cluttered storage closets and garages, behind hurricane shutters, underneath outside chairs, and under any item that has been undisturbed for a lengthy period such as a barbecue grill, slide, or sand box.
  • Hunting: nocturnal
  • Medical: Widow spiders are generally very timid and only bite in self-defense when they accidentally contact humans. Experts believe that the venom of the brown widow may be twice as potent as the black widow, but the brown widow is less inclined to inject larger amounts of venom. Brown widow bite symptoms can include pain, rigidity in the muscles of the abdomen and legs, swelling, nausea, vomiting and in severe cases a sharp rise in blood pressure.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider

  • General Characteristics: Its characteristic silver body and yellow-and-black markings make it easy to identify.
  • Size: 1 inch in length
  • Found: Their large webs can often be seen along the edge of woodlands. Argiope spiders tend to hang head down in the middle their web that has thickened, zigzag bands of silk in the center.
  • Hunting: These spiders have relatively poor vision, but are quite sensitive to vibration and air currents.

Crab Spider

Crab spiders get their name from they way they hold their legs to the side in a crab-like fashion.

  • General Characteristics: Some resemble tree bark, leaves, or fruits; others appear to mimic bird droppings.
  • Size: Most crab spiders are about 0.4 in in length, but the giant crab spider may reach 1.0 inch.
  • Found: These spiders do not spin webs to trap prey, but are often extremely well-camouflaged, blending in perfectly with the vegetation and flowers they live among. They wait on flowers and foliage for their insect prey and then ambush attack.
  • Hunting: Though their jaws are rather small and slender, many crab spiders possess potent venoms that quickly immobilize their prey. Crab spiders do not wrap their prey in silk after biting, but instead remain with the immobilized prey until they have sucked it dry.

Jumping Spider

  • General Characteristics: Many are brightly colored and strikingly patterned and are among the most ornate of spiders. They have stout bodies, short legs, and very large eyes on the front of the face. They are easily identified by their eye arrangement, which is in three rows.
  • Size: Relatively small, usually 1/2 inch less. Jumping spider females are generally larger than males.
  • Hunting: Jumping spiders do not make webs, but actively hunt prey during the day, “jumping” or pouncing on their victims.
  • Found: Commonly seen around the home because they are active predators during the day. Juveniles may make their nests rolled leaves, while adults frequently make their nests along the inner mid-veins of palm fronds

Golden Silk Spider (aka Banana Spider)

  • General Characteristics: The female is one of the largest orb-weaving spiders. Distinctively colored, the female is a large orange and brown spider that has noticeable feathery hair tufts on her long legs. Males are dark-brown, and are often found in the webs of females.
  • Size: The female is 1 inch to 1.5 inches long; Males are about 0.2 inch long
  • Found: They are most commonly found in forests, along trails and at clearing edges.
    These spiders feed primarily on flying insects, which they catch in webs that may be greater than 3 feet wide.

Green Lynx Spider

  • General Characteristics: This is a relatively large, bright green spider. The body is a vivid, almost transparent green, with red spots and some white markings. The legs are long, slender and covered at intervals with long black spines. This spider is capable of “spitting” venom in self-defense.
  • Size: Ranges from 0.5 to 0.75 inch long
  • Found: This spider is commonly found in shrubs and bushes during the day and almost always choose light green foliage. They prefer to be near flowers, but still tend to be perfectly camouflaged.
  • Hunters: They do not spin webs and are not active hunters but prefer to sit-and-wait for unwary bees, flies, and other insects.

Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

  • General Characteristics: The spiny orb-weaver spider is one of the most colorful and easily recognized spiders in Florida. The back of the abdomen is usually white with black spots and large red spines on the margin.
  • Size: range from 0.2 to 0.5 inch wide.
  • Hunting: Spiny orb weavers make the familiar flat, ornate, circular webs. The webs typically contain tufts of silk, which may prevent birds from flying into them.

Wolf Spider

  • General Characteristics: Relatively common, wolf spiders are large, hairy spiders which are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray, and brown. They look particularly malicious and often frighten people, however they are not are poisonous and will not bite a human unless provoked.
  • Size: Range from 1/2 to 2 inches in length
  • Hunting: This spider does not spin webs and may hunt actively at night or wait in ambush at the mouth of its burrow or hide under debris, where it hides during the day. Like other hunting spiders, they have good eyesight and are sensitive to vibrations.
  • Habitat: Usually found on the ground, where they are well-camouflaged by their hairy bodies under leaf litter, rocks, and logs. When they come inside, they normally stay on the ground floor and are active in dim light.

Yellow Sac Spider

Yellowish in color (almost albino looking), with dark markings on the jaws and feet

  • Size: relatively small, approximately 1/4 inch.
  • Habitat: Look for their egg sacs are laid in corners of all sorts. They get their name from the sac of silk they produce daily for resting. The egg sacs are white and spun with silk.
  • Hunting: These active spiders are nocturnal and actively hunt their insect prey at night. Yellow sac spiders are nighttime hunters that search for prey rather than catching their prey within a web.
  • Medical: The fangs of yellow sac spiders are powerful and can penetrate human skin, delivering a painful bite and mild venom that is usually restricted to area of the bite.

Prevention

Hulett’s Healthy Home program takes a proactive approach and focuses on pest prevention, not just pest control. We use only the highest quality products and treat in an environmentally responsible fashion. This means you receive the most effective and convenient pest protection system there is, guaranteed! So if you see any of these spiders crawling around your home Just Call Hulett today! All of our spider removal services – they are all covered under Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee

Your satisfaction is our top priority! That’s why we offer you a money back guarantee. We pledge to swiftly and effectively resolve any concerns you may have at no additional charge. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with our service we will return to make it right or we will refund your last service payment. This steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction has been our guiding principle for three generations Hulett.

Hulett understands that when you need us, you need us right away! We pledge to respond within 24 hours so you can rest easy knowing your home will be protected from spiders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What Are the Most Effective Termite Control Treatments and How Much Do They Typically Cost?

Our warm and humid climate provides the perfect conditions for all types of termites to call South Florida home. There are two types of homes in Florida: those that have termites and those that will. Termite infestations can be a major problem for home and business owners and can cause dangerous and expensive damage. You may never actually see them – until you discover that they’ve done serious damage. And the “do-it-yourself” products will seldom eradicate an existing termite problem and can sometimes compound the issue making the situation worse.

Call The Professionals at Hulett.

Getting rid of termites in your home requires professional skills and knowledge, particularly when trying to identify potential points of entry that are hidden or difficult to access. Termite infestations can be difficult to manage but you can rest easy knowing that Hulett can guide you through the entire process—from identifying the infestation to completing the inspection and following through with the proper treatment, customized for your home.

Professional Termite Treatment

As soon as you see any signs of termite damage, you know that getting rid of termites is an important and urgent problem that needs to be addressed. If left untreated, termites can continue to cause costly damage. Whether your home is infested by drywood termites or subterranean termites, addressing the issue as quickly as possible is the key to limiting the damage caused by these “silent invaders.” Just call Hulett immediately if you suspect you have termites.

Not All Treatments Are The Same.

As part of your free termite inspection, Hulett’s trained HealthyHomeTM inspectors will evaluate your home’s layout, locate all potential sources of termite nesting and identify penetration points in and around your home. Hulett will find the solution that is right for you and will recommend a customized treatment method that is right for your situation. Factors like type of structure, size and age of home, type of construction and foundation, severity of infestation and type of termite will determine the best solution for your home. Hulett can treat termites in several ways:

Hulett takes pride in taking care of our customers and uses only the highest quality products and equipment while treating in an environmentally responsible fashion. Termite colonies thrive in South Florida’s environment but you can stop them before they do their damage. Safeguard your home today, Just Call Hulett to schedule your FREE Termite Inspection with no obligation.

Wood, Termites and Lighters Don’t Mix

Wood, Termites and Lighters Don’t Mix

Have you ever been out chopping wood only to find a horrible termite infestation? What would you do to try to get rid of them?

That is exactly what happened to a young man and his father in East Jefferson on Sunday. The father and son duo were chopping logs together when the son noticed the infestation of termites. What happened next neither of them expected. The son used his lighter in an attempt to try to burn out the termites. Unfortunately, he was also standing in some very dry grass at the time causing a simple burn out to turn into an ignited brushfire that consumed approximately 1/10th of an acre before two separate fire departments were able to put extinguish the fire.

East Jefferson Fire Rescue was first on the scene, with neighboring Naval Magazine Indian Island firefighters helping in the attempts as well.

Neighbors to the location of the fire site noticed the blaze and a plume of smoke and called 911. With the hard work of these two fire teams, 11 firefighters from Navy, and four extra firefighting trucks, they were able to have the fire put out in approximately 15 minutes. They later overhauled the site. Any time there is a flame near wood and especially if that is also near dry grass, you are asking for trouble!

For more information on this termite burnout disaster please click here

Expensive Bites

Do you have any idea of the damage a termite can cause? Termites can cause up to 5 billion dollars in home and property damage a year and much of this damage may not even be covered by your insurance. They will silently destroy support beams, stairs, floors and walls. This can be a very hard expense for you to chew on. These tiny pests have a very large appetite and will eat all day, every day. That’s right. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They love to eat the cellulose in wood and what many people don’t realize is that cellulose is also in books and your wallpaper too. These pests will have no problem diving into your home library or believing your wallpaper comes from Willie Wonka’s factory. Your home is filled with tasty delights for them to graze away! The fact that damage happens at a very slow pace is good news for a home owner. This will give you the time needed to take careful precautions. An annual inspection can help not only prevent termite damage, but also stop them in action before it gets serious and causes un-repairable damage. An experienced, licensed inspector is recommended. For more information on termites click here  

Anteaters and their Eating Habits

Anteaters and their Eating Habits

When it comes to ant and termite extermination there really is nothing that beats the power and stomach of an anteater. Even the very method that anteaters clean up a mound of termites just beats anything most exterminators could hope to achieve. Unfortunately part of the method that anteaters utilize is that they leave behind the breeding group of a termite or ant mound so that the anteater can then go back to that mound at some point and clean them out of workers and soldiers once again.

Anteaters utilize a simple system of an incredibly long tongue that is also immensely sticky, which serves as a method for them to get deep down into the mounds of ants and termites and they pull their tongue back up with ants or termites on it. Because they can also manipulate this tongue it lets them scouring around throughout the chambers and tunnels that termites and ants make until the anteater is satisfied.

This process can actually clean out entirely colonies if the anteater is truly hungry and doesn’t care about keeping the ant colony functioning so it can come back. But because they can consume somewhere around 30,000 ants in a day, they often spread this around to 100-200 different ant or termite nests. This means that if you really did want to clean out an entire colony of ants, as long as the ant network doesn’t extend more than directly around your house, you could actually use an anteater to clean the whole thing out.

Unfortunately anteaters aren’t exactly easy to get a hold of, and it would go against the very nature of the anteater to eat everything in a nest, especially in one sitting. Anteaters eat at one nest for only a minute or so, because the longer they are at the nest the more soldier ants they have to deal with and the less worker ants there are. This means the anteater has to deal with more defenses the longer it eats at one nest and it doesn’t like that, nor does it like the taste of soldier ants as much as workers.

So until we figure out some way to adapt anteaters as a method for cleaning out entire colonies, we will just have to stick with the normal ways of pest control.

Hybrid Termites Flourish Under Unusual Palm Beach County Heat

Hybrid Termites Flourish Under Unusual Palm Beach County Heat

The arrival of spring and summer seasons have always heralded the arrival of tourists and local vacationists. But recently, Florida has also been teeming with something — or in this case, some things, a little more than unwelcome: termites. And if the presence of exotic tourists lounging under the Palm Beach County heat are not unheard of in this time of year, the presence of exotic termites have now also been discovered to swarm aplenty, thriving almost maniacally under the same unusual warmth of the season.

University of Florida entomologists announced the discovery of a new “super termite hybrid”, believed to be a product of climate-directed mating seasons that, due to the unusually hotter and extended summer, now overlap. All through March to May, South Florida reached its warmest recorded season, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. In West Palm Beach, temperatures were also higher than the historic norm by 4.1 degrees, which resulted in a field day for heat and humidity-loving termites.

“There is no exactly correct answer as to why it’s such an active swarm season this year, but it is,” said Greg Rice, marketing director for West Palm Beach-based Hulett Environmental Services.

They may not be sure about what’s causing the recent termite swarms, but those intense infestations are certainly the culprit for why Hullet’s termite business went up 27% in May compared to the same period in 2014; Guarantee Floridian’s termite treatments doubled over 2014 according to sales manager Carlos Pedroso; and business went up 40% last year and geared for another increase this season for West Palm Beach-based Beach Environmental owner, David Sprague.

It just goes to show that where there’s a field day for pests, there’s also a peak in the pest extermination business, as they get down to the nitty and gritty with not only their old nemesis, the original dry-wood termite — but now have the added pleasure of meeting the newcomer hybrids.

Termite Prevention Tips and Termite Destruction Signs

Termite Prevention Tips and Termite Destruction Signs – Tips for Recognizing an Termite Infestation

Experts at Hulett Environmental Services propose several tips to avoid termite infestations for your home:20304955_s

  • As most termites are attracted to moisture, avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Quickly repair house damage from a leaky roof or window as termites can thrive in this moisture.
  • Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard, especially near the building. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building.
  • Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. Maintaining a 1-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.

34553763_sRecognizing the destruction termites can cause, it is important to be aware of infestation warning signs:

  • Swarming of winged forms in the fall and spring – termites can easily be confused with flying ants.
  • Evidence of mud tunneling in, over and under wood structures
  • Wooden structures exhibit darkening or blistering
  • Damaged wood becomes extremely thin and can be easily punctured by a knife or a screwdriver

As termites are known to cause over $5 billion dollars in damage each year, virtually all experts recommend calling a pest professional to protect one of your most important investments, your home, from termite infestation.

Professionals offer the specialized skills necessary to rid a home of termite infestation: knowledge of building construction, an ability to identify termite species and the knowledge of applicable methods of termite control.

Termite Infestation Signs

Here are a few clues that termites may be present in a home:

55_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 resembles sawdust near a termite nest
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home

 

If homeowners notice any of these signs, they should contact a pest professional who can best determine the extent of the problem and recommend a proper treatment plan.

 

For more information on termites, please visit www.bugs.com

What To Do If You Have Termites

The best way to effectively treat an existing termite infestation is through professional pest control, but there are steps homeowners can take to help keep the pests from invading in the first place.

For instance, simple things, such as keeping tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house can help.

Termite Pest Control
Termite Pest Control

We recommend these tips for controlling termites:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units.
  • Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
  • Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Visit Pestworld.org to find a qualified pest professional for additional advice and treatment if necessary.