July/Aug Newsletter

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 @ 07:43 AM

Crickets and Earwigs-OH MY!

Crickets and earwigs are two of the many insects which occasionally invade homes for outdoors, especially in the summer and early fall months. They are annoying when just a few invade, but are especially aggravating in large numbers.

There are many kinds of crickets that invade homes. Field and Mole crickets do not survive more than a few weeks indoors, but both house crickets(which look very similar to field crickets) and camel crickets can survive indoors, and even start reproducing. Females are nice and quiet--it's the males which chirp to attract the females, and the chirping can be extremely annoying. Both males and females occasionally eat holes in cloths, draperies, carpeting, and upholstery, especially if the item is in a dark, damp area, or is soiled.

Earwigs have a characteristic set of "pincers" or forceps on their rear end which they use for defense and to capture prey. They sometimes multiply so rapidly that they start wandering into homes and other buildings in large numbers. Earwigs are normally minor pests of plants outdoors. Indoors some kinds smell but mainly they are nuisance

Do earwigs actually enter ears? Yes, there have been reports of earwigs in ears, but it is extremely rare. The ear is a nice dark, moist place an insect can enter, especially when the person is asleep. The most common object in ears, according to hospital reports, is actually cockroaches, not earwigs. (Maybe they should be called "ear roaches"?) Fortunately, unlike the horror movies, none of these pest bore into a person's brain. Or at least this has never happened...Yet!

Don't Underestimate Termites!

Termites are an extremely successful life form. Too often people underestimate the destructive abilities of termites, and end up suffering the consequences. A mature colony of some termites may have a population of several million. Termites cost homeowners over five billion dollars each year in the United States in repairs and treatment cost.

Unfortunately, we humans unintentionally aid termites by building structures that concentrate wood-their only food-where they can get to it fairly easily. A concrete foundation doesn't stop them. Cracks, often hidden, develop in the concrete. There are also holes in concrete where pipes and electrical wire pass through. Sooner or later termites find holes and cracks, or build protective mud tubes over the concrete to invade the wood structure.

Not fully realizing the danger from termites, homeowners inadvertently do many things that further increase the likelihood that termites will enter a structure. They plant trees and shrubs too close to a foundation, and the roots from these plants may eventually crack the concrete. They let wood contact the ground, giving termites easy access to the wood. And they do many other things that encourage termites, like allowing moisture problems to continue and leaving form boards, tree stumps, and other wood laying around, which provides extra food for the termites.

Don't take these common pests for granted! Have your home inspected regularly-it's the best defense against these aggressive wood-destroyers.

Ticks & Mites Infest Exotic Reptiles

About 1.8 million reptiles are imported into this country each year for pets. Some of these pets escape, or are set free. In a study reported in a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology, exotic reptiles were caught in the wild in Florida, and then inspected for ticks and mites. More than half of these non-native reptiles were infested. Both native and non-native ticks and mites were found-and some of these blood-suckers had never before found wild in this country.

This is very dangerous situation. Not only will some of these parasites jump to our native reptiles (lizards, snakes, turtles, etc.) and affect their populations, but parasites like these may be carrying new disease agents. The disease may eventually affect local wildlife populations, as well as domestic animals and humans.

These are important reasons not to let loose exotic reptiles and other pets, or not to buy them in the first place.