Tag Archives: Pest Control

Insects & Lights, What’s the Attraction?

insects are attracted to light

Have you ever wondered why certain insects are attracted to light, while other insects are repelled by light? Have you ever asked yourself what’s so interesting about your porch light, that moths, beetles, and stinkbugs just can’t get enough of it or why roaches scatter like “We’re busted, run!” when suddenly flooded by your kitchen light?


Though no one really knows why . . . several theories exist as to why some nocturnal flying insects are drawn to artificial light. One logical reason can be explained by phototaxis. A common behavior in many species, including insects and fish; phototaxis concerns survival and common logic. You can do things in the light that you can’t do in the dark. The light offers better chances of finding food and avoiding predators, increasing your survival chances.

Transverse orientation

Other entomologists point to a behavior known as “transverse orientation,” theorizing, as UC Berkley entomologist, Jerry Powell does, that somewhere in the internal navigation system of moths and other flying insects, these guys “navigate by flying at a constant angle to a distant light source,” such as the sun, the moon, and the stars. Because moths developed long before the invention of artificial light, in this theory, when insects see your porch light, candle flames or campfires, they become confused as the angle of navigation changes as they fly past the light. So, they continue to fly towards the artificial light source in effort after effort to correct their navigational compasses.

Critics of the transverse orientation theory point to the fact that, while electric lighting is a relative newcomer in the evolutionary scale of things, humans have been building fires for nearly 400,000 years. Critics argue moths, after all this time, would be extinct due to an uncontrollable urge to jump in a fire for no specific reason. Also, given the fact that not all moths migrate, especially the tiny ones dazzled by your porch light, they would need no reason for advanced navigation tools.

Pheromone mimicking

Taking a completely different approach to the question, “Why are bugs attracted to light?”

in the 1970s, US Department of Agriculture entomologist, Phillip Callahan found a connection between the infrared light spectrum of a candle’s flame and female moth pheromones. Callahan discovered that a few of the frequencies emitted by female moths’ pheromones are slightly luminescent; that is, they faintly glow.

Callahan conjectured that male moths, mistaking candle flames for frisky female moths sacrifice themselves for love, flying into the candle’s flame thinking it’s a female mating signal. However, this theory is not without controversy, either, as Powell noted that insects are much more attracted to UV light than infrared light, adding that “there’s no reason why UV light should remind moths of sex; it doesn’t contain the same wavelengths as their glowing pheromones.”

To the moon

In yet another theory, scientists discovered that moths were less attracted to artificial lights during the full moon week than during the new moon week. Urban myth had it that moths weren’t as active around porch lights and such during the full moon because they were all “flying to the moon.” Powell rejected this theory, saying, “That’s ridiculous, because they can’t carry on their life cycles if they’re flying to the moon.” As it turns out, during full moons, moths aren’t as active because there’s too much light when the moon is bright.

Just call Hulett!

Yellow lighting has been shown to deter moths on front porches. When it comes to household pests that are just annoying and those that pose threats to your home and loved ones, Hulett Environmental Services is your go-to locally-owned and operated professional pest control service for the greater South Florida area. Ranked as one of the top 20 pest control companies in the country, Hulett’s over 45 years in South Florida give them the skill and insights you need to pest-proof your home. Our Healthy Home programs use environmentally responsible methods and the latest technology and materials to guarantee you will be satisfied with our services.

With convenient options for your busy schedule, contact us to schedule a free pest inspection today. Just call Hulett!

Why You Need Pest Control All Year-Round

Pest Control All Year-Round

Homeowners who live in South Florida know that pest control services are a must, year-round. South Florida’s tropical climate keeps the weather on the warm and humid side, just the kind of conditions pests like. Because of moderate temps, many pests are active in the winter, as they don’t die off or go into hibernation. Finding a reputable pest control service is especially important to keep a pest-proof barrier around your home and a healthy lawn all year long.

Hulett’s Healthy Home

With Hulett’s Healthy Home approach, you can find customized pest control programs for your home and your lawn. In 2017, Hulett Environmental Services was rated as one of the top 20 pest control companies in the US. Locally owned and operated, Hulett has been in the business of eliminating household pests and keeping your lawn in shape and looking great for over 45 years. Calling the shots, Tim Hulett’s third generation knowledge and expertise follows him into the field, with each and every entomologist trained technician in our employ.

We are dedicated to environmentally responsible methods and materials

Focusing on environmentally responsible methods and materials, our advanced Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system utilizes the most current and effective methods. We use the appropriate amount of odorless liquid and gel baits to deter pests from setting up shop in your home. Strategic placement of materials works to fortify a pest-proof boundary around your home. As each home is unique, our Healthy Home programs are tailored to your home and loved ones’ specific needs.

Termites don’t take slow seasons off from trying to damage your home

In South Florida, several different types of invasive, aggressive termites threaten to impact more than half of the structures by 2040, according to University of Florida researchers, in a recent study. Hulett’s Healthy Home termite prevention begins with a free termite inspection.

  • Annual Termite Renewal – Keeping termites from entering your home entails treating your home annually to protect your most valuable asset. If you suspect you have a termite issue, we will deal with it swiftly and then focus on termite-proofing your home and property. We offer a broad spectrum of targeted solutions to any current termite activity in and around your home.

    • Termidor Liquid Defense for subterranean termites: Non-repellant material is odorless and faster than bait systems in destroying subterranean termite colonies.
    • Sentricon Baiting Stations for subterranean termites: Environmentally-friendly technique to rid your property of termites by causing colonies to collapse after ingesting bait.
    • No-tent termite control for drywood termites: Way to treat for drywood termites, with a non-repellant material injected directly into galleries to help get rid of colonies.
    • Tenting for drywood termites: In extreme cases where multiple colonies are discovered, fumingation may be the best solution and Hulett has many years of experience in tenting and fumigating South Florida homes and businesses.

Our Lawn Services help keep your lawn and landscaping healthy all year long

Just like termites and other household pests, South Florida’s mild and humid climate keeps lawn and garden pests active and looking to chow down on your lawn and ornamentals year-round. We take pride in nourishing and protecting your lawn with seasonal treatments using the latest technology and materials on the market.

Go Green with Hulett

We use green initiatives and methods for managing insect infestations. Besides countering insect activity, Hulett’s certified and trained lawn professionals are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, strict guidelines, and reference sheets to ensure your lawn gets the proper blend and amount of ingredients to keep it green and healthy throughout each season. Hulett’s lawn services also include:

  • Customized seasonal fertilization and weed control, based on your lawn’s needs
  • Equipment dedicated to specific procedures to avoid cross-contamination
  • Faster, more efficient sprayers to reach grass roots for better application of nutrients
  • Satisfaction with your greener and healthier lawn

With a happy and healthy lawn under your feet, many household pests are kept in check. Say farewell to human and pet health threats from fleas and ticks, as well as chinch bugs, ficus whitefly, spiraling whitefly, aphids, worms and the host of other lawn, shrub and tree pests that are prevented from a Healthy Hulett lawn and yard.

Healthy Home homeowners on the rise

Serving South Florida year-round, we invite you to schedule a free pest and/or lawn inspection. Contact us, like the other satisfied Healthy Home homeowners in your area for a pest-proofed home and a healthier, greener lawn all year long.

Just call Hulett!

Pest Control’s MVP Goes to… Hulett Environmental Services

Pest Control's MVP Goes to... Hulett Environmental Services

Hulett is the MVP of South Florida pest control. Ranked in the top 20 pest control companies in the US, Hulett takes the top prize in the game against pests in South Florida. Serving all of South Florida from locations in Palm Beach, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft Myers, Ft Pierce, and Naples, Hulett’s team of licensed, certified technicians not only puts up the points in Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties but extends coverage to all 12 South Florida counties.

Local company knows South Florida’s pests and answers the call on the green front

Locally family-owned and operated for over 45 years, with three generations dedicated to tackling all pest situations, including ants, termites, spiders, roaches, fleas, ticks and many other pests . . . such as mosquitoes, wasps or whatever pest control helped is needed.  Our customized IPM, Integrated Pest Management, system addresses your pest concerns, with your family and pets at the heart of Hulett’s game plan to keep your home . . . a Hulett Healthy Home!

Recognized as a leader in environmentally responsible pest control, Hulett runs defense for your home and loved ones, utilizing non-invasive materials and methods that, unlike traditional pest control methods don’t have to necessarily involve smelly sprays. Winning many thumb-ups from an increasing number of South Florida homeowners, our Healthy Home Program guarantees you’ll be cheering for Hulett!

Tim Hulett: Head Coach and graduate entomologist

As Hulett’s head coach, CEO, and University of Florida graduate entomologist, Tim Hulett is a life-long South Florida resident, committed to excellence in customer-centered pest control service. The former president of Florida Pest Management Association and a current active member of FPMA and the National Pest Management Association, Hulett motivates his staff with cutting-edge information and innovative techniques in pest management solutions and training. Supported by the highest caliber and knowledgeable employees available, we continually train and update our full-time, state-certified, pest control division on the latest products, along with proper usage protocols and handling, by way of our ongoing training camp regimen: Bugs University.

Proactive Healthy Home programs save money and time

Hulett believes that proactive preventative measures can keep your home and family in the pest-proof zone better than trying to control pest infestations. When you get onboard with Hulett’s Healthy Home programs, you can “take it to the house,” scoring big points with an assurance that your home and property are treated with environmentally responsible techniques and methods to create a pest barrier around your home.

  • During the initial service visit, we will focus on both the interior and exterior of your home. Inside your home, this will include treating cracks and crevices, kitchens, bathrooms, exterior doors and thresholds, plumbing penetrations, around windows, and your garage. On the exterior, our entomologist trained technicians will pinpoint placement treatment of areas conducive to pest infestation, removal of spider webs, and a perimeter baiting treatments to prevent future infestations.
  • Once your Hulett Healthy Home Program is in place, ongoing treatments are performed by our experienced and trained technicians to the exterior of your home. This will include perimeter baiting and monitoring to prevent future infestations, removal of spider webs, removal of any insect nests on the soffits, and application of granular and gel baits as needed.
  • We also apply pinpoint placement treatments to pest prone areas on the exterior of your property.
  • Our technicians also apply baiting treatments to your property’s pest prone areas to deter pest activity going forward.
  • With follow-up monitoring, you can rest assured that your home and loved ones are protected against household pests

Hulett’s Termite Control – Over 45 Years of Experience

Termites can be a problem anywhere but especially in South Florida because of the many different termite species prevalent here, particularly the invasive and highly destructive subterranean Formosan and Asian termites. With over 45 years of experience treating all types of structures, our termite treatment strategies include:

  • Sentricon Baiting Systems for subterranean termites
  • Termidor Liquid Defense treatment for subterranean termites
  • No-Tent Termite control for drywood termites
  • Tent fumigation for drywood termites

Hulett’s Termite Guarantee

With Hulett’s Annual Termite Guarantee Renewal programs, your home is protected for the long haul. If you suspect you may have termite activity, contact Hulett to schedule a termite inspection as soon as possible.

Through our experience in South Florida, Hulett can handle any other pest issue you may encounter in or around your home, such as ants or rodents. You can be assured that our technicians will treat your home as if it were their own and will make every effort to keep your home in the pest-free zone.

Hulett is revved up and ready to take on your pest control issues with the best environmentally responsible pest management programs and the most current methods and materials on the market. Contact Hulett to schedule a free pest inspection and see why we’re kicking the extra point and taking home the MVP award for pest control in your South Florida community. Go team!

To get your Home Healthy on Hulett’s pest control program, JUST CALL HULETT today and ask to schedule a free inspection!

Valentine’s Day, a Bug Edition

Valentine's Day, a Bug Edition

It’s February and romance is in the air. On Valentine’s Day, we take the time to share with our special someone how much they mean to us with flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, stuffed animals, special nights out-on-the-town and possibly some jewelry thrown in the mix. In the midst of Valentine’s Day, with all of the amorous atmosphere and lovey-dovey goings on, love bugs and kissing bugs are looking for that special someone to be their Valentine. Interested? Check out their dating profiles on BzzzSingles.com.

Name: Lovebug, nicknames include nuisance pest, honeymoon fly, united fly and other names with “expletives that are not repeatable,” according to the University of Florida’s EDIS site.

  • Location: the Southern United States, especially the gulf coast and Central America. Originally from Central America, lovebugs are thought to have landed in North America in shipping containers by way of Galveston, TX or New Orleans, LA. Most likely seen in South Florida as swarms of quarter-inch black flies with luxurious wings and sexy crimson thoraxes, lovebugs like March and September the best.
  • Looking For: Another adventure-seeking lovebug to mate with and fly around near highways in heavy traffic. Soulmate must love sandy sites with adequate moisture, dead leaves, grass clippings, cow manure, other decomposing organic debris and UV irradiated aldehydes, a major component of automobile exhaust fumes that smell just like decaying matter. Must enjoy the heat, make it 84° F and it’s on.
  • Hobbies: Swarming near highways, baking on cars, grills and liquid-cooled engines, pitting your car paint, making a complete nuisance of themselves, at least twice a year. While they’re a huge bother to motorists and homeowners, as they also enjoy sticking to light surfaces, preferably freshly painted, lovebugs don’t bite, sting or cause any health threats to humans or pets. They’re also not easy to eliminate.
  • Fun Fact: Contrary to popular urban myth, lovebugs weren’t created in the lab by a University of Florida experiment gone awry. Fake news has it that in an attempt to produce a mosquito predator, a lovebug pair, escaped from the lab and landed on your car.

The best way to reduce your run-ins with lovebugs is to keep driving on busy roads to a minimum in March and September, between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM, in temps above 84° F. Wash your car immediately after a lovebug encounter. In your home, keeping your air-conditioner fan running during these times can keep lovebugs out of your home. Contact a professional pest control company, such as Hulett, a local family business and one of the top 20 pest control companies in the US, to schedule a free pest inspection and show you how to pest-proof your home and property.

Our other love-seeker is looking for an exciting love date with a certain Dracula flair.

Name: Kissing Bugs, nicknames include vampire bugs, conenose bugs and assassin bugs.

  • Location: Originally found in Latin and Central America, kissing bugs have now spread to 28 US states that include Florida, Louisiana, Texas and most southern states. Known in Latin America as barbeiros, chinches, vinchucas and pitos, kissing bugs have pear-shaped, one-inch long bodies, with sassy brown, red or yellow stripes and one pair of transparent wings. Nocturnal, sleeping out of sight during the day, lovebugs enjoy nights out. Attracted to flying near lights, in and around your home, kissing bugs carry trypanosoma cruzi parasites, in their digestive tract that can enter the bloodstream and trigger Chagas Disease.
  • Looking for: Someone who digs warm bodies at rest and exhaled carbon monoxide, a good blood meal and staying out late. Outdoorsy type that gets into a good woodpile and also delights in frequenting chicken coops, and goat corrals. Must love to crawl into crevices in beds and cracks in walls for some quiet time before dinner.
  • Hobbies: Transmitting Chagas Disease through excretions in uncooked food, laboratory accidents or infected organ donor transplants. Causing a stir! Shaking it up! In reality, the likelihood of kissing bugs infecting humans and pets with Chagas is improbable, at best.
  • Fun Fact: In 1909, a Brazilian physician and epidemiologist named Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas described a parasite he found in the intestines of people who lived in a rural area of the Amazon – hence the name.

Exclusion is the best prevention plan for kissing bugs, as well as practicing vigilance in cleaning in and around your home. Removing rock piles and other clutter from your yard can reduce kissing bug activity. When removing a kissing bug from your home, the CDC warns against touching the insect with your bare hands but instead, picking it up with a plastic bag and drowning it in alcohol.

With Hulett’s Healthy Home approach you won’t be worried about kissing bugs and lovebugs this Valentine’s Day. With 45 years of pest-proofing experience in South Florida homes and businesses, Hulett’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system takes care of your home and loved ones with the most environmentally responsible methods and materials, tailored for your lifestyle. This Valentine’s Day, give the gift that keeps on giving.

Just call Hulett!

Homeowner’s Resolution: Pest-Proof Your Home

Homeowner’s Resolution: Pest-Proof Your Home

The New Year brings endless resolutions and changes. This year, getting organized may be on your list of things to get better at. Specifically, if you are a homeowner, keeping your home organized is a must. When you skip washing dishes for a few days or take a little longer to patch up holes in walls, you are inviting unwanted guests inside your home or asking them to stay a bit longer. While pest-proofing your home entails a regular regime of cleaning in and around your home and developing an awareness of pest behaviors, it sure beats the drudgery of most New Year’s resolutions. Think of it as ongoing maintenance, like you would for your car. If you do not keep up with the routine maintenance, your car will likely start to have mechanical issues down the line. Routine home maintenance includes managing your pest issues so you can keep them under control and prevent them before they happen. Tips to help pest-proof your home include making your home unattractive to pests, along with cutting off pest access to your home.


Most household pests need very little food and water to survive in your home. Those dishes that are piling up in the sink offer a virtual smorgasbord to rodents and insects alike. Getting in the habit of discarding all food scraps and washing all dishes after meals goes a long way to reducing pest food sources, as does wiping down all food prep and dining surfaces, then sweeping or vacuuming food areas.

Wiping down spills in your pantry

An entire field of entomology is devoted to food pests, meal moths, various weevils and other bugs that love quiet, dark places, such as your pantry to settle down and reproduce. One step better than developing an awareness of pest behavior to alert you to possible pest activity, such as tiny moths flying out of your pantry involves storing all dry goods, especially grains, cereal and sugar in air-tight metal, glass or hard plastic containers. Additionally, you know that flour you used during the holidays and might not touch again until next November or December, you might want to go ahead and throw that away soon. Also, dry dog food, dried fruit ornaments and open bags of birdseed make great pest fare, as well.

Decluttering your home and attic

Pests love clutter, places they can hide and go about infesting your home, undetected. Clear all clutter from your home. That might involve organizing closets, giving the garage a good cleaning and/or eliminating stored cardboard boxes in attics and basements. Mice and rats love to stuff their nests with cardboard. Roaches and other insects love to hitch a ride into your home in boxes and set up shop.

Sanitizing outside

Now that the inside of your home is clean, uncluttered and crumb-free, think about the “pests welcome” signs on the outside of your home. Make sure that your outdoor trash receptacles and pad are washed and cleaned of any food substances and your trash receptacle lids fit tightly.

Clearing outside clutter and debris

While you’re outside, take a look at your yard and surrounding areas. If you see debris in the way of leftover construction materials or overgrown vegetation, you are unintentionally inviting pests to your home. Some good rules of thumb to help pest-proof your property include:

  • Keep grass cut short
  • Eliminate areas of overgrown vegetation
  • Keep branches trimmed away from your home
  • Make sure your downspouts are draining properly away from your home
  • Repair or replace all torn screens
  • Use screens in outside vents
  • Correct water prone areas and standing water in your yard
  • Store kids’ toys indoors

Keeping pests out

One of the best ways to pest-proof your home is to deny insects and rodents access to entry points. Even tiny cracks in foundations, or around windows and doors can provide enough room for pests to make your home theirs. Also, replacing any damp wood can help reduce the chance of carpenter ants and termites entering your home.

Because South Florida experiences relatively mild winters, many pests are active year-round. Proactive homeowners in South Florida who want the peace of mind of knowing that their home and property are protected from pests year-round seek the advice and protection that a reputable, professional pest control company can provide. At Hulett Environmental Services, our team of experienced professionals will design a pest-proofing program suited to your specific needs. An educated Hulett professional knows how to handle products safely, when and where to apply them, and how much application is necessary. A Hulett professional knows many non-toxic ways of managing an insect infestation, making sure you and your loved ones feel comfortable with our approach.

Hulett Environmental Services Healthy Home Program—it’s guaranteed

Hulett’s advanced Healthy Home Program utilizes environmentally responsible, pet and people friendly pest control methods and materials.

  • Our initial interior pest-proof service includes treating cracks and crevices in your kitchen, bathrooms, exterior doors, windows, and thresholds, around plumbing and in your garage.
  • On the exterior of your home, we perform pinpoint placement treatments to pest-conducive areas. Removing spider webs, we then apply a perimeter baiting treatment to deter future pest activity.
  • Following-up, Hulett monitors for pests, applying preventative perimeter gel and granular baiting treatments as needed, in addition to removing all spider webs and any insect nests from your soffits.

Just call Hulett!

Recently ranked as one of the top 20 pest control companies in the US, Hulett technicians take care in strategically placing pest control materials in and around living areas, creating a protective barrier against potential pest threats that we maintain throughout the year. Regular ongoing maintenance of your home that includes pest control will help to keep your home free of unwanted pests. As many Hulett Healthy Home customers can tell you, Hulett guarantees you’ll be satisfied – or your money back. In this New Year, make a resolution you can count on to pest-proof your home and property.

Contact us to schedule a free pest inspection and keep your New Year’s resolution!  Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Ant Spotlight: White-Footed Ants

Ant Spotlight: White-Footed Ants

Another pesky ant that persists in annoying South Florida homeowners, the white-footed ant, an “old-world” species is often confused with other ants, such as Argentine and crazy ants.  The white-footed ant, a nuisance pest in South Florida, fortunately does not sting, bite, or possess powerful mandibles that would cause structural damage. So, what’s the problem?

Well, the problem seems to be that white-footed ant populations can number 3 million members and that is a lot of ants foraging around in your kitchen, surprising you in your bathroom and just basically irritating homeowners by foraging up exterior walls and into your home in search of sweet things to eat.

White-footed ants can present bigger problems for agriculture

This farmer’s nightmare is a medium-small, black-brownish colored ant with yellowish-white feet, white-footed ants have a single segmented waist and measure 2.5mm in length. These small ants can be fierce defenders of their food sources, preferring sweet plant nectars and honeydew produced by many sap-sucking insects, such as mealy-bugs, scale and aphids, these white-footed ants protect these sap-sucking insects, causing big problems for commercial greenhouses by negatively affecting the imported exotic orchid and fruit markets.

White-footed ants were first collected in 1986 at a nursery in Homestead, Florida.  By 2002   white-footed ants had spread to Brevard, Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, Hendry, Lee, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Polk, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Seminole, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in Florida. 2004 saw suspected infestations in Indian River and Charlotte counties. These prolific white-footed ants have managed to spread to urban and suburban areas in south and central Florida as well.  Like many non-native insect species, white-footed ants were probably transported to the US in residential landscaping plants and materials accidentally.

White-footed ants can be difficult to control for several reasons

The fact that white-footed ants can reproduce quickly and in large numbers make these ants difficult to control. Close to half the colony of white-footed ants consists of fertile, reproductive females that are inseminated by wingless males. These reproductive females, or intercastes, eventually leave the nest with other nest mates to form new colonies, a process known as “budding” or causing new problems in the neighborhood.

These fertile, winged reproductive ants, known as alates swarm between July and August in South Florida. During their nuptial flights, pairs of alates mate and form new colonies. These nests form part of the intricate networks of nests that can make up an extended white-footed ant colony, which is often spread out over a large area.

White-footed foraging workers do not ingest food and then share it with other colony members, like other ants. Also, sterile workers lay unfertilized eggs, called trophic eggs, that are fed to non-foraging adults and developing offspring. The eating habits of the white-footed ants make them difficult to control for professionals and a hopeless endeavor for the do-it-yourselfer.  They do not share their food with other ants, so only half of the colony is affected by using baits.

Nesting habits also make white-footed ants a persistent problem for South Florida homeowners

Many locations in, and around your property, can be inviting to white-footed ants. In the wild, white-footed ants prefer to nest at ground level or above in shrubs and bushes containing sap-sucking insects, in old trees, under loose bark, in rotten tree trunks and limbs, in the palm petiole bases, under piles of leaves, in compost piles, under rocks, following fence lines and in outdoor furniture, in addition to abandoned termite galleries. While these ants tend to prefer outdoor nests to indoor nests, getting too close for comfort, white-footed ants can be found nesting under doormats, in wall voids, in attics, under roof shingles and in cardboard boxes. Any damp spaces in and around your home can be fair game for white-footed ant nesting places.

This ant’s need to colonize a big slice of real estate adds to homeowners’ frustration. White-footed ants like to spread out around your property. Ants in the same colony can live in a primary nest with many satellite nests, some indoors and some outdoors. Nesting sites house the eggs, the developing young, the pupae and the adult ants. With numerous nests making up a colony, delineating the limits of a single colony is sometimes impossible, as all nests in an area seem to be interconnected.

Homeowners often detect white-footed ants when they forage in distinctive trails

With millions of members in a white-footed ant colony, food is a priority.  Preferring sweet foods, white-footed ants can be found foraging on bushes and ornamental plants that contain nectars and are frequented by aphids, mealybugs, scale and other sap-sucking insects. Foragers lay down a trail of pheromones that lead to food sources. As nest mates move back and forth from food sources to their nests, they can be spotted trailing in lines, along external walls that leads to a small crack or crevice in your home’s foundation or walls. Often, trailing inside walls, following electrical cables, white-footed ants find their way into rooms where liquids and solid food sources can result in heavy trailing activity, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.

Contact a licensed and certified professional pest control company

If you suspect you are dealing with white-footed ants, the most reliable way to control these insects with huge colonies and networks of satellite nests is to contact a pest control professional. Do-it-yourself baits and other materials may work to cut down a percentage of a white-footed ant population for a while, but unless nests are pinpointed for treatment with industry-tested and proven methods and materials, by certified and licensed professionals, chances are white-footed ants will continue to pester you and your loved ones.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee

Hulett Environmental Services, locally owned and operated for over 35 years by Tim Hulett, utilizes the highest quality, most efficient, environmentally responsible methods and materials to eliminate white-footed ants from your property. Strategically placing liquid and gel materials where they will kill the reproductive queens causes the colony to collapse. Locating many satellite nests, using our integrated pest management system, Hulett gets to the multiple sources of your white-footed ant concerns.

Things you can do to deter white-footed ants and other pests

As a preventative measure, Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee offers a variety of annual pest protection plans that create a pest-proof barrier around your home and property. We are confident that you will be so satisfied with our services, we guarantee them. Homeowners can also take some common-sense measures to prevent white-footed ants and other household pests from finding your home attractive. These measures include:

  • Trimming all tree branches and shrubbery away from your home
  • Eliminating all debris and clutter in and around your home
  • Keeping grass cut short and eliminating areas of tall vegetation
  • Regularly cleaning your home, wiping down countertops, tables and other food and dining surfaces
  • Sweeping or vacuuming after every food event
  • Storing dried goods in metal, glass or hard plastic air-tight containers
  • Storing opened bread, pastries and other sweet items in air-tight containers or in the fridge.
  • Repairing all leaky faucets and drains
  • Eliminating water prone areas in your yard
  • Sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles and keeping all trash contained in air-tight containers
  • Sealing all cracks and crevices in your foundation and around entryways

South Florida is a haven for many household pests. Let Hulett safeguard your home and loved ones from white-footed ants and all other pesky would-be intruders. Contact us to schedule a free pest inspection today!  Hulett nips your white-footed ant issue in the bud! Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Rats, a Rat!

Rats, a Rat!

As winter approaches, days get shorter, temps begin to finally fall, and rats start to look for places to settle in for the season. Even in South Florida, where temps stay relatively warm, cool spells can send rodents scurrying for warm and cozy places to escape predators, where they can find food, water and focus on enlarging their families. They don’t take up much space or eat that much food but if your home becomes a winter retreat for rats, you could be in for a rough season.

Rats create fire hazards, cause structural damage and carry diseases

Rats not only cause damage to structures and create fire hazards, they can carry at least ten diseases including bubonic plague, murine typhus, jaundice, rabies and ratbite fever as well as cause food-related illnesses. Resilient and intelligent, rat brains closely resemble human brains and by studying lab rats, researchers can better understand how the human brain works. But that’s a different story for a different day. For now, let’s focus on how to identify rats in your home and eliminate them from your property.

Two of the most persistent rats in South Florida are the roof rat and the Norway rat:

  • Roof rats: These rodents are also known as fruit rats, citrus rats and black rats
    • Ranging in color from black to gray with tan to white undersides, roof rats have large ears and eyes and measure up to 16 inches, including their tails, which are longer than their bodies.
    • Roof rats like to live above the ground, usually in trees and in your attic.
    • Maturing in 3-5 months, roof rats produce 6-8 young per litter, up to 6 times per year
    • Roof rat droppings average ½ inch long and are spindle-shaped
  • Norway rats: Rodents are known by their more popular names such as sewer rats, wharf rats, brown rats and river rats
    • Reddish-brown, with scattered black hairs, gray to white undersides and blunt noses, Norway rats are larger than roof rats, measuring 18-20 inches, including their tails.
    • Norway rats live near water and burrow under homes as well as in your basement (should you have one in Florida) and crawlspaces.
    • Reaching maturity in 3-5 months, the more prolific Norway rats can produce 8-12 young per litter up to 7 times per year.
    • Norway rat droppings average ¾ inch long and are capsule–shaped.

Rats need to gnaw and will chew through almost any substance

With teeth harder than platinum and incredible jaw strength, rats can chew through wood, metal, stucco, electrical wiring and even concrete (CBS). Rats, also excellent swimmers have been known to chew through sewer caps, entering homes through toilets. To survive they must constantly chew to manage their rapidly growing teeth, rodents make up the list of prime suspects in house fires of unknown origins. Norway rats can cause foundation damage by burrowing under concrete slabs and under home foundations. Rats possess superior balance, running easily on pipes, ledges and utility wires. Roof rats will climb anything they can hold onto, including pipes, wires and rough walls.

Rats can spread diseases and other pathogens in a variety of ways

Rodents are vectors for Bubonic Plague, Hantavirus and a number of serious diseases.  Rats carry fleas and ticks that feed on their blood, infecting them with pathogens that pose risks to human and pet health. Hantavirus, a respiratory condition, can be contracted from inhalation of airborne particles in dried rat feces, urine and saliva. Rats can transfer bacteria to food sources causing salmonella and E-coli.

Rodents coming into direct contact with humans and your pets spread diseases and viruses by:

  • People and animals handling or touching dead rats
  • Live rodents biting people and/or animals
  • Humans inhaling dried rodent excrement, while cleaning rodent affected areas- Never clean-up without a mask.
  • Humans ingesting food contaminated by rats

Nocturnal pests, rats tend to sleep and stay put during the day, moving about at night in search of food and water

Unless you actually see a rat in your house, chances are you might not even know there’s a population growing in your attic, basement or inside your walls. Since rats multiply at an alarming rate, Hulett suggests homeowners learn to recognize tell-tale signs of a rat issue early on, in order to prevent an infestation.

  • Scratching and scurrying noises in your walls and attic can indicate rodent activity, as rats make for your kitchen at night
  • Chewed food bags and rat droppings in your kitchen indicate rat activity
  • Chirping and squeaking noises in your walls and attic are indicators of rats nearby
  • Rats like to use regular pathways, so packed down areas near walls and greasy marks on walls indicate rodent activity.

Your first line of attack when dealing with a suspected rat situation: Contact a professional

Rats are intelligent and leery of anything new in their environments, relying on trained and licensed pest control professionals can save you time and money investing in traps and baits that either don’t work and/or in retrieving rat carcasses from hard to reach places, due to improper placement of traps and baits you are exposed to disease and unpleasant smells.

At Hulett, our integrated pest management system (IPM) uses the most current rodent capture equipment, in addition to non-toxic, environmentally responsible baits, placed in strategic locations to reduce rat populations. We then remove carcasses, until rats are eliminated. Monitoring for additional rodent activity, Hulett affixes locked, tamper-proof feeding stations to patio stones around your home’s perimeter that use an anticoagulant material to finalize your rat elimination process.

Exclusion seals the deal

  • Rats can squeeze through holes no larger than a nickel. Sealing or caulking all small cracks, crevices and holes in your home’s foundation and around   windows, doors and other entryways makes a huge difference in rats gaining     access to your home and loved ones.
  • Fitting all pipes, drains, vents and other potential entryways with screens can further deter rats from entering your home.

Make your home uninviting to rats

  • Maintain an uncluttered clean home, with attention to food storage and wiped down food surfaces.
  • Eliminate clutter inside and outside your home.
  • Remove debris and leftover construction materials from your property.
  • Repair or remove moisture-prone areas in and around your home.
  • Keep tree limbs and branches trimmed away from your home and your lawn cut short.

Hulett offers a variety of options in our Healthy Home programs that create a pest-proof barrier around your home, so you won’t have worry about rats, mice, and other household pests any time of the year. Customer satisfaction is our priority; we guarantee it. Contact Hulett for a free pest inspection today! Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Name this Native Floridian: Common Bugs of Florida and What You Need to Know About Them

Common Bugs of Florida

On a top ten list of reasons people love Florida, her vast variety and copious amounts of insects never makes the cut. However, in addition to her stellar tropical weather, her pristine beaches, world renowned tourist attractions and exotic plant life, the Sunshine State is also home to a wealth of household pests. Hulett Environmental Services wants homeowners to be informed about the most common bugs in Florida and how to prevent them from invading your home. As some of these bugs are invasive species, they are here on a mission and are more aggressive than native species. As many proactive Floridians can tell you, pest prevention is much more desirable than pest control.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee

That’s why Hulett’s Healthy Home Program focuses on creating a boundary that deters pests from entering your home, removing conditions that attract bugs to your home and maintaining a hostile environment for bugs that may be brought in on pets or clothing or in boxes, firewood and shopping bags. Our innovative Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program uses environmentally-friendly methods and materials, customized for your home, instead of the traditional smelly sprays used by most pest control companies. Homeowners can also help prevent bugs from entering their homes through some common-sense DIY (Do-it-Yourself) pest control practices.

The list of the most common bugs in Florida goes something like this:


In South Florida, since there are several common types of ants, they tend to be a problem year-round. Here’s a closer look at some specific types:

  • Red Imported Fire ants

Known for their powerful, burning stings, red imported fire ants, an invasive species from South America, appear reddish-brown and measure 1/8” to 1/4” long. Usually preferring to stay away from humans, fire ants build rather obvious mounds in open spaces, such as your backyard. Humans and pets encounter trouble when they inadvertently step on or mow over a fire ant nest. Disturbed fire ants will aggressively swarm intruders and sting repeatedly.

Fire ants are notoriously difficult to get rid of. With no natural predators and commercial products that do little to reduce fire ant numbers, the best way to deal with fire ants is to avoid them and call an experienced pest control company, like Hulett.

  • Florida Carpenter Ants

Florida’s largest ant, some measuring 3/4” long have ash brown to rusty-orange thoraxes and heads and black abdomens. Florida carpenter ants are covered with long, abundant golden hairs all over their bodies and have segmented, elbowed antennae. Often mistaken for wood-damaging black carpenter ants or termites during mating season, when these winged Florida carpenter ants swarm in alarming numbers often alarming homeowners. Nesting in hard to locate places, in wall voids and expansion joints, as well as any place near water and food sources, Florida carpenter ant nests are difficult to find and DIY baits and repellents don’t really work effectively.

Florida carpenter ants prefer sweets and will nest in almost any place near food and water, so the best way to prevent these pesky bugs from entering your home is to clean up crumbs and spills after sweet snacks, store all sugary foods and other foods in secure containers or in the fridge. Eliminating clutter in your home and around your property can also help prevent Florida carpenter ants from finding your property attractive.  Don’t hesitate to call a pest control specialist, such as Hulett, to locate and deal with these hard to find nests.

Subterranean termites:  Asian and Formosan

Two invasive subterranean termites from Southeast Asia, Asian and Formosan termites, are much more aggressive than native subterranean termites and can damage structures at incredibly rapid rates. With populations running in the millions, Asian and Formosan termites have a lot of mouths to feed and all wood is fair game, including utility poles and live trees, as well as the wood in your home.

Termites can be difficult to detect because they usually enter your home where wood to ground contact allows them to tunnel into your home. Subterranean termites live in the soil around your home, constructing tunnels from their nests into structures, where they consume as much cellulose (wood) as possible.

Spotting these earthen tunnels running up walls, trees and other wooden structures indicates subterranean termite activity and should be addressed by a pest control professional. Armed with expert termite knowledge and over 30 years as a leading South Florida pest control company, Hulett’s technicians know where and how to administer termite fighting materials that get to the source of termite populations, the colony’s queen. Homeowners can protect against termite activity by ensuring that the wood around the home’s foundation doesn’t directly contact the soil, replacing damp wood and by getting on board with a termite protection program, such as Hulett’s Total Termite Protection program, to safeguard your home from termites, year-round.

Spiders: Wolf and Widows

While Carolina wolf spiders look menacing due to their size, reaching almost an inch in length, they tend to steer clear of human involvement. Carolina wolf spiders feast on other pest insects making them beneficial and the females are known to carry their young on their backs, very maternal.

Southern black widow spiders are considered the most venomous spider in the US with venom 15 times more poisonous than rattlesnake venom. The good news is that black widows only attack when disturbed from rock piles and old tree stumps.

The best way you can help prevent spider bites is to be aware of potential spider nesting areas and to have your property regularly swept for spiders by a pest control professional.


In South Florida homes, it is common to find a roach from time to time but that does not mean that South Florida homeowners are rolling out the welcome mat for them. House-invading roach species vary in color from brown to black and tropical species can be green, orange and other colors. They typically grow to 1½ inches in length and as you may already know, have a strong preference for dark, warm and moist areas.

The best way to prevent roaches from entering your home is to exclude them by sealing all cracks in your foundation, repairing all water leaks, keeping your house clean of crumbs, spills and clutter, and your trash and recycling receptacles sanitized. However, regular pest control from professionals like those at Hulett should also be considered to keep roaches away from your home and family.

Some common roach species in South Florida are:

  • American Roach
  • Asian Roach
  • Australian Roach
  • Brown Banded Roach
  • Cuban Roach
  • Florida Woods Roach
  • German Roach
  • Oriental Roach
  • Smoky Brown Roach
  • Surinam Roach

Mosquitoes: Yellow Fever, Asian Tiger and Equine Encephalitis mosquitoes

Florida is home to 80 mosquito species, 33 of these species pose threats to humans and animals. In South Florida, the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito are common vectors of yellow fever and the dengue virus. Culiseta melanura mosquitoes transmit Eastern equine encephalitis, along with Psorophora ciliate, a mosquito species closely associated with floodwater mosquitoes. The Zika virus, which made headlines in 2016 across South Florida, is carried by the same mosquito that carries yellow fever, Chikungunya, and dengue.

You can help prevent mosquitoes by eliminating standing water around your property including water that collects in toys, patio furniture, planters, etc. left outside. Removing clutter and debris from your property, cleaning your gutters regularly and correcting moisture prone areas can help reduce mosquito populations. Additionally, you may want to consider Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Program and Mosquito Fogging Service for immediate and effective relief from mosquitoes on your property.

Don’t let South Florida’s common bugs be a constant problem. Contact Hulett to get started on our environmentally responsible programs designed to safeguard your love ones from unwanted visitors. Call us to schedule a free pest inspection today to start getting results with Hulett’s Healthy Home program that guarantees your satisfaction. Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Ant Spotlight: Florida Carpenter Ants

Ant Spotlight: Florida Carpenter Ants

The source of more South Florida homeowner complaints than any other of the sunshine state’s ant species, Florida carpenter ants, make more appearances inside structures than all of Florida’s ant species combined. One reason homeowners panic when they detect these large bi-colored ants seems to be a case of mistaken identity. It doesn’t help these arboreal ants’ reputation that they swarm in alarming numbers during mating season, between April and November and can be mistaken for termites. While winged ant reproductives, called alates and winged subterranean termite alates look similar, on closer inspection, slight but significant differences in termites and ants include:

Ant alates (Winged Ants)

  • Elbowed antennae
  • Larger fore wings than hind wings
  • A constricted waist

Termite alate: (Winged or Subterranean Termites) 

  • Beaded antennae
  • Two sets of equal length wings
  • A broad waist

The Florida Carpenter Ant vs the Black Carpenter Ant

Homeowners, fearing for the structural integrity of their homes, also mistake Florida carpenter ants for the destructive black carpenter ant that burrows through the structural wood in your home, causing almost as much damage as termites. Florida carpenter ants will nest in damp or decaying wood cavities inside structures but don’t carve out galleries in sound wood and damage your home.

Two species of Florida carpenter ants are common in South Florida homes

Camponatus floridanus, is widely distributed throughout Florida and neighboring states, while Camponatus tortuganus is limited to central and southern Florida. According to the University of Florida’s (UF) insect index, “the ratio of C. floridanus to C. totuganus is about 2:1 in South Florida.”

Largest ants in South Florida

Florida carpenter ants range in size, with workers measuring 1/4” to 3/8” in length and the largest, winged female alates measuring little over 3/4” in length. With ash brown to rusty-orange thoraxes and heads and black abdomens, Florida carpenter ants sport long, abundant golden hairs all over their bodies and 12 segmented, elbowed antennae.

Stinging vs. biting

Another reason homeowners contact pest control professionals more about Florida carpenter ants, has to do with the myth that these large ants sting and can cause allergic reactions. However, this is not the case. Florida carpenter ants do not possess stingers; however, these ants do have large mandibles and when threatened, will bite intruders. Their bites can break the skin and cause pain because they may inject a defensive chemical, called formic acid into the bite site. Although painful, the formic acid in carpenter ant bites is not venomous and poses no serious health threats to humans or pets.

Florida carpenter ants are attracted to sugary foods

Tending to forage at night, with peak foraging hours just before sunset and just before dawn, some Florida carpenter ants forage in loosely defined trails, as well as some wandering individual ants. In nature, Florida carpenter ants prefer floral nectars and honeydew produced by aphids, scale and mealy bugs. Carpenter ants also eat other living or dead insects. In your home, Florida carpenter ants can be found in your kitchen in search of sugary snacks.

Damp places to nest are best

Florida carpenter ants seek moisture and damp places to nest, like under your dishwasher or other places in your kitchen and bathrooms near water leaks. Preferring damp voids for nesting, Florida carpenter ants prefer locations close to sweet food sources, safe from predators, such as birds and lizards and out of the heat and other environmental extremes, such as flooding.

Indoors: In addition to moist wall voids, Florida carpenter ants nest under attic insulation and under eaves, as they are acrobatic in trailing across wires and cables attached to your home. These ants are prone to nest under damp windows and door frames, in bags and boxes, under appliances, in flat roofs and behind wooden panels. Sometimes, Florida carpenter ant nests have even been located in electrical boxes and computer printers.

Outdoors: While Florida carpenter ants will hollow out damp wood, dead tree trunks and other damaged wood, they do not attack sound wood.  They are also attracted to old leaf petioles in palms, under bark, tree roots, especially citrus trees, all kinds of debris, coconuts on the ground, old fences and decks, old shoes, in expansion joints, under rocks, exterior wood, patio ceilings and the list goes on.

Contact a professional

Finding the nests created by carpenter ants can be challenging and carpenter ant colonies can number several thousand and contain many satellite nests. Hulett suggests contacting a trusted pest control professional. The entomologist-trained technicians at Hulett will inspect your property and recommend environmentally responsible materials and treatments utilizing our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system.

South Florida homes are subjected to numerous household pests that can damage your home, harm your loved ones and just be downright annoying. Hulett’s Healthy Home Program creates a barrier around your home to safeguard your property and loved ones year-round, from household pests. We guarantee you will be satisfied. Contact us to schedule a free pest inspection today. Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

New Invasive Ant Identified in Fort Lauderdale: Little Yellow Ant

New Invasive Ant Identified in Fort Lauderdale: Little Yellow Ant

As a South Floridian homeowner, you probably know more about ants than you care to, as the tropical climate you enjoy supports over 200 ant species. While not all of these ant species are considered nuisance household pests, you have also probably encountered some of the usual suspects including white-footed ants, Florida carpenter ants, crazy ants, fire ants, ghost ants and other pesky foragers that enter your home in search of food.  Now, it seems, there is another contender on the horizon for the most annoying pest title.

According to the University of Florida’s (UF) press release, UF researchers are concerned about the discovery of a “new invasive ant species in south Florida.” A Madagascar native, the little yellow ant, Plagiolepis alluaudi, “is already invasive in several Caribbean Islands, including Barbados, St. Lucia and Nevis, among others,” said Thomas Chouvenc, UF/IFAS Assistant Professor of Entomology. Chouvenc said that in addition to the Caribbean, the little yellow ant has also been detected in Hawaii and Australia.

First US sighting of yellow ants occurred in a Ft. Lauderdale neighborhood

Discovered in early 2017 in the Riverland neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, Chouvenc said this is the first sighting of the little yellow ant in the continental US, but that “over a period of six months, the big headed ants that were dominant in that area were apparently displaced by this tiny yellow ant, which was quite surprising.” Based at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale, Chouvenc revealed that subsequent surveys indicated that yellow ants may have been establishing a presence for “several years without being detected.”

What does this mean to South Florida homeowners?

On the upside, the little yellow ant does not bite or sting; however, these ants are so small that they can reach extremely high population densities before being detected which can cause them to become difficult to control. Like many invasive species, little yellow ant populations can grow rapidly into super colonies “due to their intricate nesting system with multiple queens,” Chouvenc said, adding that because little yellow ants go undetected for such a long time, by the time that they are noticed, colonies containing upwards of three million members can spread out in a network of nests that are difficult to control.

Hurricane Irma may have contributed to the yellow ant’s infestation in the Riverland area

Researchers think that because Hurricane Irma’s winds and rain flung massive amounts of plant debris around as she wound through South Florida, little yellow ants from the Caribbean may have been dispersed to the Riverland area during and after the storm. Chouvenc said that because the little yellow ant is a tropical species, the hope is that this species will be contained to South Florida. However, Chouvenc indicated that “looking at the patterns of invasive ants in the southeast US over the past 50 years, it may be a small ant, but is still going to be a big problem.”

Researchers found that baits can knock out home infestations temporarily

In the Riverland neighborhood, researchers found little yellow ant nests in dead vegetation that included dead branches on living trees, as well as dead wood as small as twigs, lying on the surface of the soil. Eventually, researchers detected little yellow ant foragers inside a home and used baits to stop the infestation.  While baits worked to initially control the home infestation, within a week the home was reinfested with little yellow ants, as the bait only affected a small percentage of the foraging ants and had no effect on the established population outside the home. Chouvenc speculated that homeowners could regularly bait little yellow ants “with sweet bait liquids but in areas with high ant densities, recurrent infestations may be unavoidable,” saying that little yellow ants are probably another invasive ant species “that will cause homeowners problems down the road.”

Also, researchers speculate that because little yellow ants are attracted to insects like aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects, all of which produce honeydew, this invasive species may potentially impact agriculture by harming crops and ornamental plants. UF/IFAS plans to publish more information about the little yellow ant as they learn more about its habits and potential impact on homeowners, the industry, and the environment.

Contact a licensed pest control professional

In the meantime, Hulett suggests that homeowners contact a licensed professional pest control company to tackle ant infestations, especially large ant populations that involve a network of nests. South Florida’s owned and operated Hulett Environmental Services utilizes an integrated pest management system that uses environmentally conscious methods and materials to manage pests in and around your home.

Under the direction of a Graduate Entomologist for over 35 years, Hulett technicians are trained and licensed in the most current and effective materials on the market. Using granular and gel baits, our professional staff addresses the source of your infestations: the nest, or nests, and the queens. Once the queens are gone, the colony collapses. Strategic bait placement and skill in locating nests are some of the ways Hulett can save homeowners a lot of money, time, and peace of mind.

Homeowners can do a number of things to prevent household pest infestations

Little yellow ants, like some other ant species, are attracted to sweet, sugary substances in your home. Making your home inaccessible to little yellow ants and other household pests begins with:

  • Excluding pests by sealing or caulking entryways, such as cracks and crevices in your foundation and around doors and windows
  • Regularly cleaning all surfaces where sugar and sweets are consumed in your kitchen and dining areas
  • Storing all dried goods in glass, metal or hard plastic containers with air-tight lids
  • Keeping pet bowls cleaned between feedings
  • Eliminating clutter and debris from the interior and exterior of your home- Get that Hurricane debris picked-up.

Hulett’s Healthy Home program helps prevent pests with regular treatments and monitoring

Keep little yellow ants and other household pests away from your loved ones and off your property. Hulett’s Healthy Home program involves pet and people-friendly pest prevention protocols that create a pest barrier around your property. We quickly deal with any current infestations and monitor pest prone areas for any sign of further pest activity. We are so confident you will be so satisfied with your Hulett Healthy program, we guarantee it! Protect your home and loved ones from little yellow ants and all household pest invasions.

Just call Hulett!