January/February 2012 Newsletter

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 @ 03:29 PM

Grandma Had Kitchen Pests!

Grandma-and even her great grandma-had some of the same problems with pests in her kitchen we face today. She had bugs in flour, plus rats, mice, flies, cockroaches, and other pests in her kitchen. How did she contend with such problems without access to modern pest management services? Did she just put up with the pests? You've got to be kidding-not those tough, hard-working grandmas!

Grandma was smart, and you can use some of the same principles she used. She inspected incoming goods for pests. She learned to rotate her food supplies, especially spices and grains, so food wasn't sitting around for months. She put many of her goods in tins and glass jars to keep critters out. If she lived where winters were cold, and before freezers came along, she may have left contaminated containers outdoors in the snow to kill off pests.

Of course, they also ate more bugs! Yuck! She used the flour anyway, picking out what bugs she saw, or sifting them out. Eating a few didn't harm anyone usually, and the bugs provided extra protein. However sometimes the food turned rancid because of the pests and their droppings, and hopefully she threw it out. People also had more serious intestinal problems because of the bacteria and pests in their food. Among other problems, the hair on certain flour beetles break off easily and cause intestinal problems.

So, don't worry about your grandma! She worked hard and did the best she could. We're just fortunate today to have professional pest control services make our lives so much healthier and better.

Watch Out for Swarming Termites

WHAT THEY ARE: Swarmers are the winged, reproductive members of termite and ant colonies. They are not strong flyers. Most land within a block or two of where they emerged, although they can be blown by the wind much further. After landing, they lose their wings, pair up, and then begin searching for a suitable place to start a new colony.

TIMING: The exact time when termites swarm caries year to year depending on weather, but sometime soon winged termites will start emerging from their nest in large numbers. Most swarmers will emerge after a rain as temperatures begin to warm. A colony may send them out in one big burst, or in smaller numbers over several weeks. And each colony may vary a little as to when they send them out. For instance, if a colony is located in a warmer spot, such as near a heater, it may start sending out swarmers weeks or even months before a colony located outdoors in a cooler area.

THEIR SIGNIFCANCE: A termite colony does not start producing swarmers usually until its 4th year or later, so finding swarmers indicates the colony is mature and has been around awhile. But sometimes part of a mature colony moves into a home and starts producing swarmers much sooner.

One ot two swarmers may fly in through an open door or window, but if you find more than that outdoors or on a porch, it is a sign you probably have a problem, You need to call us right away for an inspection, and to determine what should be done to prevent these wood-eating pests from causing damage.

Bird Feeders Can Spread Diseases

Several wild bird experts have advised against the practice of feeding birds by heaping food on large tables. Bird tables tend to concentrate bird droppings, and these droppings often become contaminated with Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. In one study, 90% of 116 dead birds found near bird tables had died of infections from these bacteria.

If you feed wild birds, experts recommend you keep the feeding area areas free of droppings, and place smaller quantities of food in a variety of locations rather than concentrating it all in one spot.

Of course, bird food also attracts rats, mice and other pests. Be sure bird feeders are inaccessible to rodents. Daily clean up any food that has spilled on the ground. If the area can't be kept clean, at a minimum place all feeders well away from your house so that rodents won't be lured closer to your home.

Vampire Bats Sense Their Victims

Here's a chilling new fact. Vampire bats have special nerves in their faces that can sense the heat of blood in our veins. This tells them where blood flows closest to the skin of their prey, and helps the bats know exactly the best place to bite.

Vampire bats are the only bats that feed on blood. There is one kind of vampire bat that feeds on the blood of mammals, including humans, whereas other vampire bats feed on bird blood. All vampire bats need a blood every one or two days.

Fortunately, the bats we have around here feed exclusively on insects-vampire bats occur only in Central and South America, and on movie screens!

Sterile Medical Packs Contaminated by Cockroaches

A study found that cockroaches were able to chew through double-wrapped sterile medical packs prepared for surgery, and contaminated these packs with bacteria. The study reinforces the importance of controlling cockroaches, as well as storing medical packs in truly cockroach-proof wrapper.