Newsletter

May/Jun 2018

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Wed, May 02, 2018 @ 08:37 AM

Oh Those Spiders!

Spider

Spiders exist on this planet in greater numbers than most people realize. It's estimated that over 50,000 spiders on average live on a single acre of undeveloped land. Fortunately, the vast majority of these spiders are entirely harmless, even if they crawl on you.  They either don't have strong enough mouthparts to bite  through a person's skin, or their venom isn't strong enough to affect us.

     But occasionally a spider bite will cause itching, swelling, pain near the bite, or an actual open wound.  Some of these symptoms are due simply to a person's allergic reaction to the foreign proteins in the venom, even if the venom itself is not potent. People vary as to how sensitive they are to spider bites, just like they vary in their reactions to insect bites.

     Venom from some spiders is more potent than others. Brown recluse spider bites can develop into a wound that becomes open, festering sore that heals slowly. The good thing is we here in CA. we don't have Brown Recluse spiders.  Black widow and brown widow spider bites cause more generalized pain that can last for several days.  Their bites should always be treated promptly by a physician. It was thought that hobo spider bites leave an open wound, but now the consensus is that they don't. Yellow sac spiders cause a much more mild reaction.  If you are bitten, it's a good idea to capture the spider or insect for identification.

Moisture Sources that Lead to Wood Decay

Moisture

Moisture in wood results in wood decay, costing homeowners billions of dollars a year to repair. Not only does wood decay strongly attract termites and other wood-destroying pests, which can cause much more damage, but it also reduces the structural integrity of your home.

     We have found that often wood decay could have been prevented or repaired at a relatively minor cost if it has been detected early.  That's why a small investment in having us do a professional inspection often pays huge dividends. 

     Here a few of the many ways moisture gets to wood:

*Direct soil contact. Whenever wood touches soil directly it will soak up moisture..

* Wood seepage. Water most easily seeps into the ends of boards and where they are joined together, such as at the edge of a roof, house corners, and especially around door and window frames.

* Plumbing leaks.  A common problem that can cause constant wetting and promote wood decay.

* Condensation. This can happen in many places around a home-often around windows and under homes built over crawl space, especially if the ventilation is poor due to an inadequate number of vents. HVAC systems under homes can create moisture from warm exhaust vents hitting cold air. 

* Rain Water. Water may get inside a leaky roof or get backed up in clogged rain gutters and flow over onto wood.  Water may also splash against the side of a home if there is no splash guard at the downspout, or may seep back under a foundation if it is dumped at the base of a wall. 

 New Viruses & Super-bugs Found in Mice

microscope

Mice live where we live, so it can be easy for whatever germs they carry to be transferred to us.  A new, year-long assessment of mice in New York City discovered an amazing six new viruses, as well. as antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

     The study collected 416 mice in the city over a year period, and then analyzed their droppings for bacteria and viruses.  Running genetic tests, the researchers found 149 species of bacteria. Included were the most common causes of gastrointestinal problems: Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and C. difficile. Salmonella alone causes 1.2 million reported cases in the US each year, including 450 deaths.

     Also alarming was that the genes indicated antimicrobial resistance to several common antibiotics, meaning the mouse droppings contained bacteria that would be difficult to treat with common antibiotics.

     There were also 36 different viruses in the droppings, including six new viruses never seen before.  Fortunately, none of the known viruses were known to affect humans, but it is not known if the new viruses humans.

Many Mosquito Repellents Are Not Effective

spray repellent

Ever put on a mosquito repellent and then been bitten?  A study at New Mexico State University found that most mosquito repelling mosquito repellents being marketed actually do a very poor job of repelling mosquitoes.  Of the many spray-on and rub-on products tested, all of them were poor repellents except those that contained DEET or PMD (oil of lemon eucalyptus).

     Of the two DEET formulations, a 40% and 98% product, the higher concentration was the most effective product tested. (it usually is both a better repellent, and lasts longer.)  The oil of lemon eucalyptus that worked was a 30% concentration.  Other botanical and herbal products repelled fewer or no mosquitoes, and tend to be shorter-lived.

     In addition, several mosquito bracelets and wrist bands, and a wearable sonic repeller, were all found to be ineffective in repelling mosquitoes. (The sonic repeller uses ultrasonic sound, and sound has never been found to be effective at repelling mosquitoes--it's a waste of your money!)

     One wearable device fared well, it was a clip-on that had a nebulizer to vaporize its chemical repellent, Metoflurthrin.

     A repellent candle was also found to be ineffective.

     If you are outdoors and there are mosquitoes around, please use an effective repellent to protect exposed skin!

Are Gray Squirrels Smarter than Red Squirrels?

Squirrel

A recent study in the United Kingdom found that a greater percentage of wild gray squirrels solved more difficult food-finding tests that red squirrels.  The tests involved a process of pushing and pulling levers to get to hazelnuts.  The better problem-solving skills of invasive gray squirrels may explain why they have displaced red squirrels, and are now by far the most common squirrel there.

     The gray squirrel in the United Kingdom is the same as our Eastern gray squirrel, which the British imported in the 1870's when it was considered fashionable to have them on estates. Since then this squirrel has spread and displaced their native red squirrel (which is a different species of red squirrel than our American red squirrel).

     Squirrels are generally considered beneficial in forests, because they bury tree seed to eat later, and then forget where they buried some of them.  These seeds sprout and grow into trees.  However, gray squirrels are considered pests there because they have taken over much of the territory of their native red squirrels, plus they harm some of the native trees.

     This study still doesn't fully explain why gray squirrels are spreading in the United Kingdom. In the tests, some red squirrels solved the task more quickly that gray squirrels, and the successful red squirrels were quicker to change tactics after trying a method that didn't work.

     

Tags: Termite prevention, Spider fear

March/April 2018

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Mar 06, 2018 @ 08:21 AM

Perimeter Treatments Make Life Easier

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Many pests can be kept out of a home or office with our professional perimeter treatments. Fewer pests is great for many reasons, but one benefit often overlooked is that it means you have a naturally cleaner home. It saves you time and work cleaning up dead insect bodies, spider webs, insect excrement, and other messes and damage that pests leave behind.

     After all, you have enough cleaning to do! You shouldn't have to clean up after uninvited and wanted pest "guests", too!

     By reducing pests coming indoors, our perimeter treatments also make your home a healthier place to live.  The treatments decrease the number of disease-causing organisms pest spread, and reduces the chances of being bitten or stung by bugs. Plus, pests, their bodies, cast off skins, and droppings, can unfortunately cause allergic responses in some people.

     These are some of the reasons our perimeter treatments are so popular and important.  These professional, protective treatments outdoors create a barrier that helps keep out invading pests. Without these treatments, pests find their way inside your home through countless cracks, crevices, and openings in the exterior walls and foundation.  Many of these openings are so small that we humans don't even notice them, but pests easily find them and crawl or slither through them.

     Our perimeter treatments are just one of the many tools we use to help prevent nasty pest problems.  It's our contribution to making your housekeeping easier, and it also guard your home, your possessions, and your health.

 

Termite Swarmers Coming!

It is estimated that over 2 million homes are damaged by termites every year.  Unfortunately most of these homeowners are completely unaware that a hoard of wood-destroying pests is silently eating the wood in their homes.  One of the most common ways people first learn their home has termites is when they see winged termites, called "swarmers" , are the males and females that start new colonies.  These emerge and fly up into the air, often for only a few minutes, then, then land, lose their wings, pair up, and begin searching for places to start new colonies.

     Termites swarm at various times of the year, but many come out in the early spring, often on a warm day after a rain.  Hundreds of these pests often emerge from a single colony.  They may all come out at once, or in batches over several days or weeks when the conditions are right.

     Swarmers are a good warning that termites are present, but it's not an early warning.  A termite colony is generally four to five years old before it begins to produce swarmers.  So if you see numbers of swarmers indoors, they are coming either from a colony that has been active for at least four years, or from an established colony that has moved into your home.

     Don't take a chance if you see swarmers indoors-call us right away to schedule and inspection by a trained and licensed professional.  Termites are an invisible threat that you want to take care of properly, before they cause more damage.

 

Rat Steals Mail

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Recently a women in Brooklyn had been complaining that the U.S. Post Office wasn't delivering her mail. She had been getting late notices for bills she never received.  It turns out the postal worker tossed the onto the woman's porch each day, but before she retrieved it, a rat was dragging some of it off into its nearby burrow to use as nesting material.  The pest management professional who discovered what was happening found between 30 and 40 pieces of mail, shredded by the rat, in the nest.

Bug Found Embedded in van Gogh Painting

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Surprise!  A tiny grasshopper was recently discovered embedded in the paint of one of Vincent van Gogh's famous masterpieces, Olive Trees. 

     The small grasshopper was hiding in plain sight on the painting but had never been noticed before.  It must have landed in the paint in 1889, while it was still wet.  It is well known that VanGogh liked to paint outdoors.  In one letter he wrote to his brother, he spoke of flies landing on his canvases as he was painting, and needing to remove them.  Watch for those grasshoppers, too!

Invading Ants Hurt Ecosystems

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 Many of the most persistent ant pests are not native to this country.  Two of these, Argentine ants and red imported fire ants, are well known to drive out less aggressive native ants, often resulting in severe consequences to the ecosystem.

     This has been well documented with red imported fire ants, and more recently with Argentine ants.  A study showed that the coast horned lizard in California is threatened because the Argentine ant has taken over areas where native harvester ants use to live.  Harvester ants are the primary food for the lizard.  The lizard won't eat Argentine ants, apparently because they taste bad.

     Another study in South Africa showed that native ants bury large seeds of many kinds of native plants.  When fire comes through, these buried seeds germinate and new plants emerge.  But when Argentine ants take over, they don't bury plant seeds. Any fire coming through burns  most plant seeds that are above ground.  There is a ten-fold drop in the number of large-seeded plants that germinate after a firs in areas infested by Argentine ants.

 

Tags: Spider fear, prevention, Landcape issues

Jan/Feb 2018

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Jan 02, 2018 @ 12:43 PM

Health Care-Prevention is Best

With health care getting expensive, complicated, and time-consuming, it really pays to take steps to protect your family, pets, and yourself.

     One important cause of health issues is pests.  By eliminating or greatly reducing pest indoors, people are bitten less by spiders, ants, fleas, and other biting and stinging pests, and they also get sick less often.  Pests transmit diseases to us in different ways.  Creatures like flies and cockroaches carry many different kinds of disease-causing organisms in and on their bodies.  They spread these when they crawls across a surface, and in their droppings.  Flies also regurgitate their food, then drink it again.  Flies typically carry a load of 500,000 disease organisms on the surface of their bodies-and many more than that inside their bodies!

     Many insects transmit diseases directly into our blood stream when they suck out our blood. For instance, ticks transfer pathogens to us that cause Lyme disease and many other diseases.  Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus, Zika, malaria, dengue fever, and many other diseases.  

     Breathing in airborne insect debris is another problem. Just a few years ago it was discovered that the deadly hantavirus is transmitted when people breath in dried, airborne bits of mouse feces containing the virus.  And it is now well documented that a major cause of asthma are the bits of airborne feces and dried insect parts of various insects, especially cockroaches.

     These are just some of the many important reasons that make our professional pest control services an essential ingredient for maintaining great health.

 

Termites Swarming Soon

Within the next months, a big event will happen in the life of millions of termite colonies-they will begin to swarm in our area.

     Why is that so important?  There are two reasons.  First, this is the first sign many homeowners see that tells them their home is infested with termites.  Seeing termite swarmers act as a "wake-up" call, alerting them to take action and call us for a professional inspection. Second, unlike wingless worker termites that can't reproduce, winged termites swarmers mate and start new colonies.  And many of these swarmers, or "reproductives," as they are sometimes called, will start new colonies within several blocks of where they emerged.

     Winged termites emerge from mature termite colonies in the hundreds or thousands. Fortunately, most will not survive to start new colonies-they'll either be eaten by predators, or die from adverse weather conditions.

     Often, ant swarmers emerge at about the same time as termite swarmers, so it is important to tell the difference between these two pests, because control methods are very different.  We've included a handy drawing that shows differences between winged termites and ants-notice that unlike ants, termites front and rear wings are about the same length, termites have a broad "waist" or middle section, and termite antennae are curved and not sharply bent like ant antennae.AntTermite.gif

Call us if you see either of these pests in or around your home.  We'll conduct a professional inspection, and whichever pest you have, design the best strategy to control them.

 

Another New Ant Invades

A new ant was discovered in Fort Lauderdale, yellow ant is a tropical species that is native to Madagascar and has slowly been spreading around the world. It is likely already in other warm areas of our country but just hasn't been discovered yet.

     This ant is extremely small-less than 2 millimeters long, or only .07 inches.  That's much smaller than almost all other ants, so it is easy to not even notice it.  But what it lacks in size it makes up in sheer numbers. Think of inter-connected super colonies of millions of worker ants, with not one, but thousands of egg-laying queens in each colony.  By the time they are detected going into a home, it is likely that their colonies are gigantic-that's what happened when the first little yellow ants were discovered.  These ants become so numerous that it can out compete other ant species, and has the potential to become the dominant ant each area it invades.

     Fortunately, the little yellow ant does not bite.  But at this time very little is known about this new invader.

More Pests Coming

Many of our worst pests are not natives, but came from other parts of the world via ships and planes.  As modern transportation has improved and travel between countries increases, more pests are accidentally being introduced into the U.S.

     Inspectors of the U.S. Department of Agriculture are charged with finding and intercepting these pests at airports and shipyards, and they stop many thousands of destructive pests from entering our country every year.

     According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, increasing travel has multiplied the workload of these inspectors, making pest invasions more likely.

     If you go to another country, please don't bring back fruit or any other items that may contain pests.

 

What about the Zika Virus?

     Here's a bit of good news.  Many people thought that we would see an explosion of mosquito-transmitted Zika cases in 2017 in the U.S. and around the world. But it never happened.

     As you will recall 2016 the Zika virus, and the devastating birth defects  it causes, exploded in Latin America and the Caribbean, and this spilled over to the U.S.  There were 5,000 Zika cases reported in the U.S. from travelers who were bitten by mosquitoes in other parts of the world and returned here with the virus, plus another 224 cases of local transmission where people were bitten and contracted the disease in Florida and Texas.

     But in 2017, there were only about 367 travel-related cases of Zika in the U.S.  There were only two cases suspected local transmission, plus another four cases were the virus was acquired through sexual transmission.  This reduction was seen in other areas of the world as well.  For instance, Puerto Rico had 35,000 Zika cases in 2016, but less than 500 in 2017.  This type of drop-off in infections is a pattern that has occurred with other viruses similar to Zika-when some of the human population is exposed and develops an immunity, the percentage of susceptible people to infect drops, and the virus loses steam.

     Zika will continue to be a highly important mosquito-transmitted virus to be cautious about.  There will likely be occasional flare-ups in different areas, and no one knows how long the immunity will last.  If many people in a region lose their immunity, we may have more very dangerous outbreaks.  It is important to remain vigilant about the mosquito-borne virus because it causes not only birth defects, but also ongoing neurological effects in adults.

Crickets Fight Back if...

Crickets fights have been part of Chinese culture for thousands of years.  One problem with batting crickets is that once defeated in a contest, a cricket loses its aggressiveness and won't fight again for about 24 hours.

     But German entomologists discovered a trick to restore a cricket's will to fight within minutes of a lost battle.  They simply throw the crickets up into the air, forcing it to fly briefly. 

     The scientists also tried tumbling crickets in a tube, and shaking them in cupped hands, but these were not nearly as effective as forcing crickets to fly.

 

Nov/Dec 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 @ 01:39 PM

Pest Are Still Active

You would think that pest problems would be gone this time of the year, but unfortunately, that is wishful thinking.  Many pest can breed and multiply all winter indoors, thanks to central heating.  Here are just a few pests that are problems during late fall and winter, and what to do about them.

     Christmas trees- various pests take up residence in Christmas trees, then become active when you bring them into a warm home.  Shake trees well before you bring them home. Shake and hose out the tree before you bring them indoors.  

     Holiday feasts- Crumbs and spills attract all sorts of pests.  Clean them up, place trash in containers with tight-fitting lids, and empty regularly.  Leave dirty dishes and pans in a sink full of soapy water if you will not be cleaning them that night.

     Woolen items- Clothes moths and carpet beetles attack wool clothing and anything else made of wool.  Clean clothing is less likely to be attacked than worn or dirty clothing.

     Fall invaders becoming active- pests that invade in late August and September, like certain kinds of flies, stink bugs, and others, may "wake up" on warmer days and start falling out of cracks and crevices.  Some of these can stain curtains and walls.  Vacuum up small numbers.

     Also watch for ants nesting indoors, pest coming from Firewood, invading rats and mice, and bed bugs brought in from travels or overnight quests.  Because of these and other pests, ongoing  pest services are important in making your life healthier and better, and helping to protect your belongings.

 

Tree Stumps Cause Termite Troubles

Yards are often havens for termites.  One common source of food for them is decaying stumps and roots.  These often become "termite magnets" 

     Stumps are especially likely to become infested because their root systems underground spread out far and wide, often across property lines, and under buildings.  If the tree is within 10 feet of a foundation, the roots can gradually crack the concrete.  These cracks create hidden entryways to the building's structural wood.  Termites not only eat roots, they also follow them, so the roots may lead them directly to  a crack in the foundation.

     Stumps and their roots provide a large food source for termites.  A termite colony may spend years eating them.  As the termite colony grows they start depleting the food in the stumps and roots, and the termites become more and more aggressive in looking for new food sources.

     As stumps decay, they are ore likely to be found by termites, because wood that is decaying and moist is very highly attractive to termites.  Research shows that termites can actually detect the odors given off by decaying wood, and they will tunnel towards those odors.

     For all these reasons it is important to remove dead trees and shrubs, stumps, and as much of their root system as possible.  Stumps can be dug out, but hiring a company with a stump grinder is often more practical.  Stumps should be ground down to at least 10-14 inches below soil surface, and any large roots removed as well. 

 

Dirty Clothes Attract Bed Bugs

In a just-published study, when bed bugs were released into an empty room that had bags of clean and dirty clothes, they were much more likely to seek out the bags of dirty clothes than the clean clothes.

     Bed bugs use odors in our skin as an important way to find us and get a blood meal.  These odors remain in our clothes after we wear them.  In the study, the "dirty" clothes were worn for just three hours-long enough to pick up our human scent.

     What does this mean?  If you are in a hotel or anywhere else that may have bed bugs, having dirty clothes and shoes on a bed, or on the floor (especially near a bed) will increase the likelihood that bed bugs crawl into a pile of clothes or shoes and be carried home with you, potentially starting a new bed bug infestation.  Based on these new findings, it would probably be better to have worn items in a sealed plastic bag, and when you get home, empty the entire bag contents into the washing machine.

Ant Causes Eye Problems

We are still discovering unexpected ways pests cause problems.  An ant called the little fire ant causes eye lesions that can hinder vision or even cause blindness, according to a recent article in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

     It has been suspected for many years by many scientists and veterinarians that the little fire ant can cause lesions of the cornea, called leukomas.  But there has been no proof, and the cause of the condition was debated in the medical community.

     The little fire ant, about as long as a penny is thick, has a painful sting, like other fire ants. It often falls from trees when the wind blows. If it gets on an eye of a person, pet, or wild animal, the natural instinct is to blink, which triggers the ant to sting.  Apparently it is the toxin the ant injects that causes the lesions.

     The little fire ant has spread from Central and South America and is now in parts of Florida, south Texas and Hawaii.  The eye lesions were first reported in cats of Florida in 1979, and later dogs and other animals.  Soon after the ant invaded Hawaii in 1999, veterinarians, in areas where the ants had invaded, started seeing animals with these eye lesions.

     Interestingly, people in parts of Columbia, where the ant is native, have long attributed the eye lesions to the ants.  As early as the year 2000 there were reports that these people knew the ants caused the lesions because they had experienced the ants falling into their eyes while they worked in the jungle.

 

 

Sept/Oct 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 @ 10:58 AM

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Stink Bugs Are Invading

The brown marmorated sting bug (sometimes called BMSB for short) is continuing to spread around the country and cause increasing problems. These stink bugs have a pungent, unpleasant, cilantro-like odor.  First found in Pennsylvania in the late 1990's, it has now spread to at least 43 states.

     The BMSB is one of many species of stink bugs we have, but most of these don't invade homes and other buildings in the fall. The BMSB congregates in large numbers in late summer, and as temperatures cool and day lengths shorten, in September and October, they are more likely to move indoors.  Favored overwintering places in nature include rocky outcroppings and standing dead trees with loose, thick bark.  A building with cracks and void areas to invade are perfect for them, and they may invade in large numbers.

     These stink bugs hibernate indoors, but they often become active and cause problems on warmer days throughout the winter.  Then anytime from March to May they emerge from hibernation and will try to exit the building.  Many become trapped indoors, leaving their dead bodies all over.

     Besides their stink, these bugs will buzz around light fixtures on warmer winter evenings, plus they leave spots that can stain curtains and other surfaces.  When crushed the BMSB excretes chemicals that can irritate skin.  Besides all these problems, a small percentage of people have an allergic reaction to large numbers of them indoors.

     Call us to treat for this pest, and other fall invaders, in late summer or early fall before they come indoors.

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Signs of Termite Troubles

Some Primal termite knocked on wood

And tasted it and found it good

And that is why your Cousin May

Fell through the parlor floor today

-Odgen Nash

Don't let what happened to Cousin May happen to you too!  People really do fall through termite-weakened floors, although more often they sink a little first, before falling all the way through.

     If we are not ready inspecting or monitoring your home on a regular basis, it's wise to call and have us conduct a thorough, professional inspection for termites and the many other wood-destroying organisms that can damage your home.  Termites are usually the homeowner doesn't even know they are there,  It takes a trained professional to find it early,preventing costly repair work.

     Meanwhile, there are a few things you as a homeowner should keep an eye out for, and call us if you see any of these more conspicuous signs that subterranean termites are present:

     *Mud "shelter tubes".

Termites build these over foundations and in other places to connect their colony to wood.

     *Winged termites ("swarmers"), or their broken-off wings, often in places like window sills.

     *Obvious damage to wood. Look for wood hollowed out along the grain, containing bits of mud or soil. Often termites will leave the outer layer of wood undamaged, as a way to keep their galleries protected and humid.

     Also keep an eye out for conditions that favor termites, like excess moisture or soil in contact with wood.

 

Dwarf Deer Tick Found

Deer ticks crawling on you can be hard to find, especially if they are immature ticks.  Now an adult female deer tick has been found feeding on a person in New York State that is only 1.5 millimeters (.06 inches) long.  This is about half the size of the usual deer tick.

     This is especially a concern because deer ticks are frequent Lyme disease carriers.  Tiny ticks are probably just as likely to go unnoticed on a person's body.  The scientists are calling this an example of dwarfism, but as of yet no one knows how common these tiny ticks are.

     This year ticks are of even more concern than normal because many areas of the country are reporting increased number of tick bites.  In addition, the percentage of ticks that carry the pathogen that causes Lyme disease is higher than normal this year, according to the tick testing laboratory in Connecticut.

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Boozy Beetle Bores into Lawn Mower Gas Tanks

Some insects cause damage you would never expect.  It turns out that a small bark beetle called the camphor shoot borer is causing havoc because they been boring through plastic lawn mower gas tanks.

     That's crazy!  Don't they realize gasoline will kill them?  They don't find out until it is too late, and they have already damaged the gas tank.  Apparently it is the alcohol in the gas that they are strongly attracted to.  Since most gasoline these days contain alcohol, a lot of gas tanks could be damaged by these pest.

     The camphor shoot borer is not native to this country.  It was first reported in 2004 and is currently found from North Carolina to Texas, and is still spreading.  These beetles are mostly active in the spring, so keeping plastic gas canisters and mowers in an enclosed shed might be helpful in the spring.  Keeping the outside of fuel canister free of spilled gas also may help.

 

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Mosquitoes Breeding at Gas Stations

A recent study published in the journal Medical Entomology found that mosquitoes are unexpectedly breeding in windshield wash basins at gas stations.

     The discovery of mosquito larvae, pupae, and emerging adults at nearly one third of the gas station wash basins inspected was surprising because normally you would expect the soapy windshield wash water to kill them.  The study found the Asian tiger mosquito, which can transmit the Zika virus, only inhabited basins with clearer water.  Another mosquito, the southern house mosquito, was breeding in basin liquid that had a wide range of color and cloudiness, including some that seems to have high levels of detergent.

     This study was only done at gas stations near Raleigh, North Carolina, but it is probably a nationwide problem in gas stations that don't change their water at least weekly.  It is really surprising how some mosquito species so easily breed in any man made containers, and how adapted they are to living with us.

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Zika Virus Reached Miami at least Four Times

A recent ground-breaking study using sequencing of the DNA from the Zika virus found that the virus reached Miami not just once, but at least four times last year, and potentially up to forty times.

     The study also found that there was a direct correlation between the number of mosquitoes and the number of Zika cases-when the mosquito control campaign lowered the number of mosquitoes, it stopped new locally-transmitted cases from occurring. Although Zika infections could break out in most areas of the country, Miami is especially susceptible to outbreaks of the virus because it is home to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are very good transmitters of the virus, plus it has more people who travel there from Zika-infested areas of the world.  Even though Zika has spread throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean, most of the Zika lineages in Miami were traced to strains of the virus from the Caribbean.  Over half of the international travelers that enter Miami by air or via cruise ships come from the Caribbean.

July/Aug 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Jul 03, 2017 @ 10:47 AM

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Pests Love Our Blood

We like to think our blood is used only by ourselves, and maybe a local blood bank we donate to.  But the fact is, a lot of pests use our blood as food and suck it out of us without us even knowing we are sharing.  They do this with surgeon-like precision, slicing through our skin with their razor-sharp mouthparts. While they are doing this they inject an anesthetic into the cut that numbs the area so we don't even feel it.  This is good stuff for horror movies!

     You might never know that a pest took some of your blood, except that the pest saliva and other compounds they inject into you often causes those familiar welts that itch.  And because these pests tap directly into our blood stream, they can also put dangerous disease-causing pathogens directly inside our bodies.

     So who are these culprits?  One that we are hearing about recently is bedbugs, which are spreading.  Knowing that these bugs feed on people while we are sleeping is enough to give us the creeps!

     There are a wide variety of other pests that suck blood, and they are so good at it that they can do it in broad daylight when we are wide awake, and we still don't know they are taking it!  These include mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, biting midges, blood-sucking flies, chiggers, mites, bird bugs, and kissing bugs.

    Fighting bugs is what Greenleaf is all about, and we are proud to know we help save your blood too.  Local blood banks are always looking for more supplies of blood-don't "donate" it to the local blood population!

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Termite Damage is Often Hidden

Like many criminals, termites operate mostly in the dark, hidden from view.  Termites tunnel INSIDE wood, away from light and drying air, rather than on the surface.  Because of this, they often remain unnoticed by homeowners for years while they gradually weaken a wood structure.

     Termites also work unnoticed and uncontrolled because the common subterranean termites attack a structure directly from their already hidden colonies in the soil.  They find their way into an unprotected home in a variety of ways.  Concrete seems impenetrable, but in fact as a concrete foundation and piers age they develop cracks that termites can easily crawl through.  Termites can crawl through tiny crack in cement as small as 1/16 of an inch wide, directly into wood-all well hidden from view!

     In addition to cracks, concrete has other hidden "termite highways". Holes from electrical conduits and plumbing, as well as expansion joints, are often used by other pests to enter to a structure.  Even porches made of concrete often have a dirt fill underneath that piles soil right up to various cracks and openings.  Termites can travel through such cracks and openings.  Termites can travel through such cracks directly to structural wood, completely hidden from view.

     In this way termites can remain undetected for years while they slowly eat a structure. Our professional termite services are a wise investment that can help detect and control termites and other wood-destroying pests, protecting your property from extensive damage.

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Pests Love Pet Food

Pet food is very attractive to pest. Scientists surveyed eight retail pet stores in Kansas for insect pests during a seven month period, and collected an amazing 30 species and over 41,000 insects. The insects were often concentrated near bulk food bins, in stockrooms, or on the shelves that held wild bird seed and food for small animals.

     When anyone brings pet food home, it should be considered a potential source of pests.  These pests then spread and contaminate human and other pet food packages that are open or are easy to chew into the package. 

     Always inspect pet food before you bring it home.  Besides looking for actual beetles, moths, and small caterpillars, check for signs of pests, such as holes in bags or boxes where insects may be emerging, tears or gaps where moths and beetles could get into the packages, and webbing produced by stored food caterpillars.

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Birds Sing Differently in Cities

When songbirds move to cites, they change their tune, research shows.  At least that is true for the great tit, a small bird with a yellow breast and belly.  Research on the great tit in 10 European cities, including London and Paris, showed that in every case, their singing was different that the great tit singing in nearby forests.

     The city bird songs were faster, shorter, and at a higher pitch.  The researchers believe city birds change their singing to drown out the background noise created by cars and other city noises.  City noises apparently disrupt the exchange of vital information contained in their normal country songs, such as when the males sing to attract females.

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Scorpions on Two Planes

The Snakes on a Plane movie is a horror film, but recently scorpions were found on two planes-in real life.

     A scorpion was found crawling on a passenger's cloths in May.  The scorpion did not sting anyone, but the flight from Houston was delayed three hours and as a precaution a new aircraft was arranged for the flight.

     One month before that, a scorpion stung a passenger on another flight out of Houston.  It fell on the man's head from an overhead bin.  The passenger was stung when it landed on his plate and he picked the creature up.

 

Tags: Scorpions on planes, blood sucking pests

May/June 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, May 01, 2017 @ 11:44 AM

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Summer-Time Pests Are Coming

Summer-time and hordes of pests go hand in hand.  One reason is the warm weather causes pest to multiply much faster.  For instance, the common house fly can take up to 6 weeks to grow from egg to adult fly in cool weather, but in warm weather this takes 6 days!  Many of these pests find their way into homes.

     While these pests aren't big and impressive like bears and alligators, they nevertheless cause serious damage and health problems.  They also can be a nuisance and an embarrassment. Among the summer pests we encounter are cockroaches (a health hazard because of the any disease organisms they carry, and the allergies they cause) and silverfish, which eat into books, magazines, and documents.  Ants are the most common summer pest, and they cause all sorts of problems.  Stored food pests like flour beetles, moths, and mites spoil stored human and pet food, and rats and mice are health hazards that spoil food and leave behind their droppings, urine, and hairs. 

     Other pests can inflict painful or irritating stings or bites or transmit diseases, including fleas, ticks, spiders, mites, bees, wasp, bedbugs, mosquitoes and others.  Some pests, like carpet beetles and clothes moths, damage clothing, rugs, and other fabrics.  Carpenter ants, termites, and other pests destroy wood in our homes.

     Don't let any of these pests get the upper hand in your home!  We are the area pest management experts.  If you know anyone whose home is unprotected from constantly-invading pests, let them know we can help them!

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Spiders and Their Venoms

Few creatures are feared as much as spiders.  There are over 3,000 species of spiders in this country.  Fortunately most of them can't penetrate our skin with their fangs.  When they do bite people they either don't inject any venom, or not enough to affect us.  Keep in mind, spiders do not actively seek out people to bite.

     Nevertheless, there are two types of spider venom that can cause a serious reaction.  The black widow and its cousins have a neurotoxic venom.  This kind of venom can cause pain as well as muscle cramping, sweating, weekness, and breathing difficulties.  Fatalities from their bites occur but are rare.

     Brown recluse spiders (not found in California) have a cytotoxic venom that can result in a necrotic (ulcerating) wound that is slow to heal.  Bites from these spiders are less common that it might seem.  Research shows that many people who think they have been bitten by this kind of of spider have not been.  There are other things that can cause a necrotic wound.  They include bites from other pests, as well as conditions completely unrelated to pests, such as certain kinds of bacterial and fungal infections, and ulcers from diabetes or bed sores.

     Recent evidence shows that the common sac spiders, which many people believed caused necrotic wounds, don't cause those wounds at all.  Their bites cause a sharp pain like a bee sting, so it is a neurotoxin.

     We are the area experts at spider control.  Keep in mind that re infestations occur when young spiders catch a breeze and use it to "parachute" to your home on a silk strand.  Also, some spiders are "hunting spiders" that frequently wander indoors.

Pest Prevention Tip of the Month

Remove bird nests from eves and branches touching your home immediately after young birds stop using the nests.  Various blood-sucking and scavenging bugs live in these nests, and leave the nests when the birds leave.  These pests sometimes crawl into homes from the abandoned nests.

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What's That Bug in My Ear?

Another study has confirmed that cockroaches, not earwigs, are by far the most common insects that enter people's ears, according to the records of physicians who have extracted insects form people's ear.

     The report, in the South African Medical Journal, studied insects removed from ears by South African hospital physicians over a two year period.  Almost half of all insects removed from ears were cockroaches, followed by flies, beetles, moths, and a tick.  Cockroaches usually enter people's at night as they sleep.  More cockroaches were removed from the ears of children that adults.

     These findings are similar to a 1998 study in a Los Angeles hospital, which found that over 3/4 of all insects removed from ears at the hospital were cockroaches.

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Termites: Arch Enemies of Wood

With proper care, the wood in your home can last centuries.  But termites, and their accomplice, decay fungle, can consume and destroy wood in a relatively short time.

     Wood may seem like an unappealing food, and it is for the vast majority of insects that are unable to digest wood cellulose and extract any nutrients from it.  But termites have overcome this problem and eat wood voraciously.  Living in their guts are certain tiny protozoa microorganisms that digest the tough wood cellulose for them.  This gives termites the unusual-and devastating for wood structures-ability to consume wood as food.  

     Once a termite colony finds a good supply of wood, it multiplies and grows until it destroys the structure strength of the wood-unless the termites are stopped.

     Only part of the damage done by termites is from what they eat.  Termites carry with them the spores of wood-decaying fungi, and these start growing in the termite tunnels.  The fungi get their nutrition from the wood, and as they grow and spread they often soften and weaken the wood even further.

     Our homes and other buildings, as well as fences, porches, and outdoor structures, are ideal for termites because they concentrate so much wood in a small area.  If these structures are not protected from termites, it's like offering them a free meal.

     That's why it's so important to have us professionally inspect your home and protect it from these wood-eating pests with voracious appetites.

     

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The Smell of Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants are a common household ant throughout most of the U.S.  They can easily be mistaken for other ants, except for their distinctive odor when crushed.  The odor is often described on the internet as rotten coconuts or just coconuts, but various websites describe the ants as smelling like blue cheese, rancid butter, cleaner spray, and other scents.

     So what do the ants really smell like?Recent tests were conducted that asked people to sniff and describe the ant's smell.  blue cheese was the most common scent chosen, with rotten coconuts the next most common choice. 

     Chemical analysis confirms that the odor is closest to the smell of blue cheese.  The distinctive scent of blue cheese is from Penicillium mold on it.  As coconuts start to rot, they too are colonized by Penicillium mold-which is why some people who are familiar with the scent of rotting coconuts identify that odor as how ants smell.

     Now you know what these ants really smell like, despite the variety of descriptions found on the internet!

Your Questions Answered

Q.  Why do mosquito bites itch?

A. When a mosquito punctures your skin in search of a blood meal, she (only female mosquitoes bite-they need blood before they can produce a batch of eggs) also inject some saliva.  The saliva contains several substances, including a very effective anticoagulant that prevents your blood from clotting while she sucks it up through a thin tube.

     The first time we are bitten, nothing happens.  But gradually our body becomes sensitized to the foreign proteins in the saliva and a small itchy red bump appears about 24 hours later.  After many more bites a pale, swollen hive or wheal appears minutes after the bite, in addition to the red bump 24 hours later.  With repeated bites, some people stop reacting, and others become increasingly allergic and develop even larger bumps.

     The bumps and itching are the result of our own immune system recognizing the saliva as a foreign substance and releasing histamine at the wound.  It's actually our own histamine that makes us itch, not the mosquitoe's saliva.

 

 

March/April 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Mar 03, 2017 @ 01:36 PM

Those Busy Ants

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Around the country, both native and new ant species are spreading and invading new areas. Many of these ants are new species from other parts of the world, and they are especially serious pests. Newer, spreading ants include various species of fire ants, crazy ants, trap jaw ants, white-footed ants, Argentine ants, and pharaoh ants, to name a few.

     Together with our native ant species, these ants have become the nation's #1 pest in terms of the number of people who call to have them controlled. Ant invasions are common and persistent.

     Ant colonies will be humming with activity in the months ahead. There is an abundance of food, and queen ants are laying eggs at their top capacity. At various times ants wander indoors, searching for food, moisture, or a better nesting site.  If they find what they are looking for, expect more ants to follow-often hundreds or thousands of ants within an hour of the discovery.

     Most people don't realize that honeydew is an important food for many ant species. Honeydew is especially abundant outside during the months ahead, and ant colonies grow in size rather quickly when honeydew and other food sources are plentiful. What is honeydew? It is a very sweet substance excreted by aphids and other plant sucking insects. Honeydew is so important to ants that some species actually tend and protect the aphids that produce it, much like cowboys care for a herd of cattle.

     Ants are persistent invaders that require professional treatments to keep them controlled. If you are having problems with ants, call us-we are the area ant experts. 

 

Termites Swarmers Coming!

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It is estimated that over 2 million homes are damaged by termites every year. Unfortunately, most of these homeowners are completely unaware that a hoard of wood-destroying pests is silently eating the wood in their homes. One of the most common ways people first learn their home has termites is when they see winged termites, or their broken off wings.

     Winged termites, called "swarmers", are the males and females that start new colonies. These emerge and fly up into the air, often only for a few minutes, then land, lose their wings, pair up, and begin searching for places to start new colonies.

     Termites swarm at various times of the year, but many come out in the spring, often in the spring, often on a warm day after a rain. Hundreds of these pest often emerge from a single colony. They may all come out at once, or in batches over several days or weeks when the conditions are right.

     Swarmers are a good warning that termites are present, but it's not an early warning. A termite colony is generally four to five years old before it begins to produce its first swarmers. So if you see numbers of swarmers indoors, they are coming either from a colony that has been active for at least four years, or from an established colony that has moved into your home.

     Don't take chances if you see swarmers indoors-call us right away to schedule an inspection by a trained and certified professional. Termites are an invisible threat that you want to take care of properly, before they cause more damage.

Advice When Choosing a Kitchen Counter

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A study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management showed that not all kitchen countertops are equal when it comes to how well they can be cleaned. In the study, each different surface was contaminated with nearly 2 billion E. coli bacteria, then the surfaces were washed and rinsed with soap and water, and finally with vinegar and water solution.

     The results demonstrated that stainless steel countertops are easiest to clean, with very few germs left after the simple cleaning procedure described above. More germs survive cleaning on surfaces like plastic laminate and wood surfaces, so stronger cleaning compounds are needed to sanitize these surfaces.

REDUCTION IN BACTERIA BY CLEANING

Stainless Steel-----------------------------------------85,000,000 to 1

Granite---------------------------------------------------79,000,000 to 1

Plastic laminate--------------------------------------------500,000 to 1

Tile------------------------------------------------------------300,000 to 1

Concrete------------------------------------------------------33,000 to 1

Wood------------------------------------------------------------2,000 to 1

     The study suggests that stainless steel is an excellent choice for a new residential or commercial food preparation counter.

(As a point of reference, after cleaning a stainless steel counter contaminated with 2 billion bacteria, there would only be 23 remaining. For a wood countertop, there would still be almost 1 million bacteria remaining after cleaning.)

 

Did You Know

     Pest carry disease organisms both on the inside and outside of their bodies. Pest like roaches and flies are known to carry an especially large variety of germs, some of which cause serious illness in humans. Pest contaminate kitchen countertops by simply walking across them, as well as by regurgitating food, and leaving droppings. This is one common way countertops become contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

 

Migrating Birds Spread Ticks

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Scientists have found that birds are an important way that ticks are carried to new areas, and that sometimes those ticks are carrying disease-causing organisms.

     In one study, 9 species of ticks were collected from 33 species of passerine birds (those are songbirds or perching birds).  Some birds migrate from as far away as South America, then redistribute the ticks as they fly throughout North America.

     In another study, researchers found that about 7% of the birds examined were carrying ticks.  Over half of these ticks were infected with microorganisms that cause disease in humans, including Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), and human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME).

 

 

Jan/February 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 02:15 PM

Spring Pests Waiting to Emerge

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Spring is just around the corner, so where are all of those pests that will start invading homes in just a few months?

     Pest have developed a number of clever ways to wait out cold conditions. Some, such as carpenter ants, actually produce an anti-freeze-glycerol-that allows them to survive at colder temperatures without their bodies freezing.

     Ants move deeper into the ground to escape colder temperatures. Many ant colonies move up and down in the soil daily throughout the year. They bring their ant larvae and pupae up to where the sun warms the top layer of the colony during the day, and then move them lower at night to keep them warmer. So it is an easy matter for ants to move a little deeper during cold winter months.

     Some pests hide in protected places and go into a state of diapause where their body functions slow way down, allowing them to survive until conditions are better again.

     For other pests, all the tender adults may die, and only a tougher life-stage survives. For instance, adult moths are easily killed by cold temperatures, but their eggs or pupae are much more weather-resistant and survive cold periods. These continue their development as soon as weather warms.

     Of course indoor pests like cockroaches, pantry pests, mice, and others continue to feed year-round in warm areas indoors. Before we know it, these pests, plus pests that wintered outdoors, will once again become more active and troublesome!

Termite Swarmers Coming!

It's estimated that over 2 million homes are damaged by termites every year. Unfortunately, most f these homeowners are completely unaware that a hoard of wood-destroying pests is silently eating the wood in their homes. one of the most common ways people first learn their home has termites, called "swarmers", are the males and females that start new colonies. These emerge and fly up into the air, often for only a few minutes, then land, lose their wings, pair up, and begin searching for places to start a new colonies.

     Termites swarm at various times of the year, but many come out in the early spring, often on a warm day after a rain. Hundreds of these pests often emerge from a single colony. They may all come out at once, or in batches over several days or weeks when the conditions are right.

     Swarmers are a good warning that termites are present, but it's not an early warning. A termite colony is generally four to five years old before it begins to produce its first swarmers. So if you see numbers of swarmers indoors, they are coming either from a colony that has been active for at least four years, or from an established colony that has moved into your home.

 Don't take a chance if you see swarmers indoors-call us right away to schedule an inspection by a trained and licensed professional. Termites are an invisible threat that you want to take care of properly, before they cause more damage.

Zika Update

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that pregnant women should now avoid Brownsville, Texas, where local mosquitoes have infected five people with the spreading Zika virus. The virus can cause birth defects to a fetus when a women becomes infected during pregnancy.

     The Miami and South Beach area of Florida, where local mosquitoes had started infecting people with Zika starting last July, was declared free of locally-transmitted Zika in December by Governor Scott. This is a welcome development, just in time for the winter travel season! (In all, Florida has reported 249 locally transmitted cases of the virus.)

     People become infected by Zika when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. Most people with Zika were infected while traveling to Central or South America where the virus has spread, but the virus could become established in parts of the U.S. Besides birth defects, the virus can cause rash, high fever, and other symptoms. Only 20% of people infected with the virus show symptoms.

     Recently it was discovered that the virus can be transmitted sexually. Because of this, people travel to areas where there is Zika, even if they show no symptoms of the disease, should abstain from sex or use safe measures for six months after returning.

     About 5,000 cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S.

Germs & Kitchen Sponges

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When testing 500 wet dishcloths and towels from five cities, researchers at the University of Arizona found 2/3 contained bacteria that can make people sick!

     Remember, wash your dishcloths frequently and replace kitchen sponges often. Many people do not realize that they can wash sponges in the dishwasher-simply place them on the top rack, away from the heater coil. Or place them in the microwave for two minutes to eliminate harmful bacteria.

     When cleaning up juices from poultry and other meats, use paper towels so you are less likely to contaminate other foods.

New Study: Mice Are A major Cause of Allergies in Children

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A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that children's asthma symptoms can be triggered by exposure to rodent allergens, especially in school.

     In the study, dust samples were taken at 37 inner-city schools in Northeast, and analyzed for allergens. Allergens from mice were found in almost every sample mice were found in almost every sample taken, and the levels of allergens were generally even higher than allergens levels in homes. The study also found that children who attended schools that had higher mouse allergen level also tended to have asthma symptoms, including decreased lung function, more often.

Other allergens were also detected in the schools, from cockroaches, rats, dust mites, and cat and dog dander, but at lower levels, and only mouse allergens level were linked to the severity of student's asthma symptoms.

     Asthma is a serious problem. Over 6 million children, or 15% of children in the U.S., have asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention.

     Previously a lot of studies looked at allergen levels in homes, but since children spend so much time in school, exposure there is also important. Previous studies have found mouse allergens in 95% of the homes tested. This means that children are exposed to mouse allergens for part of the day in schools, and then continue to be exposed at home.

     Cleaning removes allergens, but not all of them. That is why it is so important to not allow pests like mice and cockroaches to become problems in the first place. Prevention is the key.

 

 

Nov/December 2016

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Nov 01, 2016 @ 11:41 AM

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Safeguarding Children's Health

Whether it's our children at home or in schools and other public places, we all want to protect them from any threat to their health and well-being. Pests are one important threat to children, A wide variety of pests are involved, but listed below are the four top pest health threats to our children.

     1. COCKROACHES. This was a surprise threat no one was aware of until research showed roaches are a top cause of allergies among children.  The allergens are the proteins in the cast skins and excrement of the roaches.  The cockroaches' ability to transmit a vast array of other diseases in legendary, including food poisoning as they wander over food and food-preparation surfaces.

     2. RATS & MICE. These pests are another source if allergies in children. Rodents also transmit hantavirus and many other disease, can bite babies, contaminate food with their droppings, and carry fleas and ticks which then can bite children and transmit disease.

     3. STINGING INSECTS. Insects like wasps and yellowjackets are everywhere, and fire ants and Africanized honey bees are spreading in this country. One or several stings from any of these insects is usually painful but not life-threatening unless a child is highly allergic to them. But even children who aren't allergic are in danger if they wander too close to a hive and are attacked by large numbers of stinging insects.

     4. MOSQUITOES. Because these insects transmit everything from West Nile virus to Zika, these pests  are frequently in the news. West Nile is only one of many encephalitis-type diseases that mosquitoes can transmit. All cause a dangerous inflammation of the brain, and children are particularly vulnerable.

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Puzzled About "Dry Rot"?

Many people are confused by the name dry rot, sometimes called wood rot. Contrary to what its name seems to imply, dry rot needs moisture. To understand why it is named dry rot, you need to know how it develops.

     Dry rot is caused by a fungus. The fungus gets its nutrition by consuming wood, which must be damp for the fungus to grow and multiply. How can a moisture-loving fungus thrive where wood is dry? It brings water to the wood! This amazing fungus grows water-conducting strands called rhizomorphs that carry moisture from damp soil and other moisture sources to dry wood. In that way the fungus keeps dampening new areas of wood, thus continually enlarging its food supply.

     After the fungus absorbs all the nutrition it can from the wood, leaving it crumbly and weak, it dies. With it dies its rhizomorphs, and gradually the wood dries out again. This is why the wood may be perfectly dry when damage is discovered.

     There is no way to reverse dry rot damage, but as soon as it is discovered and the source of the moisture is eliminated, the fungus stops destroying more wood and dies.

     This is a good example of how early detection and correction of moisture problems can greatly reduce huge future repair bills. Our regular professional inspections find dry rot and other developing wood-destroying fungal problems, as well as destructive termites and many other wood-damaging insect pests.

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Can Spiders Hear You?

It has always been thought that because spiders don't have ears or eardrums, they can "hear" sounds only up to a couple inches away. A recent discovery with jumping spiders showed that these spiders actually have a much more acute sense of hearing that ever believed.

     Spiders have very sensitive  hairs on their legs that can feel vibrations. These hairs are so sensitive that they can feel the vibration that sounds make.

     Using a new technique, researchers were able to get in the spider's brain and see when neurons fire. The spiders were able to hear sounds up to 16 feet away.

     So, could spiders be overhearing our conversations?  Much still unknown about what spiders can and can't hear. The jumping spiders were most sensitive to sound frequencies that would enable them to hear the beating wings of certain kinds of wasps that parasitize them-the spiders would stop and remain motionless when they heard those sounds. Spiders may never have developed an ability to hear voices, or other sounds that do not immediately threaten them.

     These tests were done with jumping spiders. Other kinds of spiders are now being tested, to determine what they can and can't hear.

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Mice Make Ultrasonic Sounds

Mice are able to make ultrasonic "songs" to attract mates as well as help them defend their territories. The sounds are high frequency whistles, and are completely inaudible to the human ear.

     Until now, it was not known how the mice were making these sounds. It turns out they are making the sounds in a way never seen before in any animal-they shoot air from the windpipe against the inner wall of their larynx. This causes a resonance and produces the ultrasonic "whistle".

     The only thing that has been known before to make these high frequency sounds is the engines of supersonic jets. It is possible that other animals, including bats, may be using the same mechanism.