January/February 2013 Newsletter

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Jan 07, 2013 @ 10:41 AM


Storms Result in Pest Outbreaks

In late October hurricane Sandy, which became known as Superstorm Sandy,tragically caused 131 deaths in the United States and many more in other countries. It also caused an astounding 63 billion dollar damage in this country alone, making it the second costliest Atlantic hurricane, behind only Katrina.

     Whenever there is a severe storm, serious pest problems can result. Some of these increased pest problems may continue for months or even years. For instance, these hurricane caused rats and mice to disperse and look for new food sources and new places to live. In New York City alone, the subway flooding forced many thousands of rats onto the city streets. These rats would likely head to higher ground and invade apartments and other buildings inhabited by people. When rats do this, they bring many diseases into closer contact with People.

     Bed Bugs are another pest problem that increases after hurricanes and major castastrophes. Bed bugs spread rapidly when there are more people living in shelters and other close quarters, and when more people using donated furniture and clothes.

     In addition, pests like cockroaches become worse and spread as they are forced out some areas, and where sewage and garbage problems exist. Flies also breed in these conditions. Mosquito problems often multiply after storms. Fortunately the cold weather that followed Hurricane Sandy reduced the problem of an outbreak. Finally, there will be a resurgence of many other kinds of pests, including termites and ants, in the years ahead.     

     These type if issues don't need a storm the size of Sandy here in California to create some of the same pest issues. Making sure you continue your pest control program year round will help insure you don't have to share your home with pest during the winter.

Termite Swarm

Termite Swarmers Are Coming!

Millions of winged termites will burst out holes in the ground and in wood, and take to the air during the months ahead. The sole mission of these "swarmers" is to mate and establish more colonies.

     Winged termites typically fly for only a few minutes, and they are weak fliers. Most will end up within a block or two of where they emerged, although a breeze can scatter them much further.

     The termites soon break off their wings and begin looking for a suitable place to start a new colony. Although the vast majority of swarming termites are eaten by birds, lizards, spiders and ants, there are plenty that survive.

     Those that make it through these dangers and find a nesting site become reproductive queens and kings of destructive new termite colonies.

     The queen lays eggs slowly at first, but as the colony grows and her abdomen expands, her egg laying capacity greatly increases.  She continues laying eggs for the rest of her life. Just three to five years after the new colony was started, it will begin sending out its own swarmers that will start even more new termite colonies.

     Homeowners sometimes see the swarmers, or they may just see the discarded wings. If there are good numbers of them indoors, it is a sign that you have an established termite colony attacking the wood in your home.

     Whether you see these inside or outside, don't ignore them-call us right away and arrange for a professional inspection. Early detection and control can prevent expensive damage to your home.

Jumping Roach resized 600

Jumping Cockroach!

A new cockroach has been discovered in South Africa that has the ability to jump like a grasshopper. This is the only jumping cockroach known to exist. It has enlarged hind legs and an elastic protein in one of its leg joints that can catapult the roach up to 13.8 inches, or an amazing 48 times its body length.

     While some cockroaches in this country can fly, lets hoppe we don't get jumping cockroaches as well!

Virus resized 600

Deadly Virus Lurks in Sleeping Snakes

The deadly brain-swelling disease known as Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) infects horses, many other animals, and people. Although EEE is rare in humans, about 35% of those infected die, and half of those who survive infections have permanent neurological disorders. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected birds in the summer, and then pass on the virus when they bite. But how does the virus survive the winter months in states where there are no mosquito populations and no host birds available?

     Surprising new research shows the virus actually overwinters in hibernating snakes. Because a snake's metabolism and immune system slows during winter hibernation, the virus lingers on in snakes throughout their hibernation. Mosquitoes apparently pick up the virus when they suck blood from snakes as the snakes first come out of winter hibernation and bask in the sun. The virus multiplies in birds, and mosquitoes biting birds during warm season pass the virus onto other animals, as well as people.

Millipede resized 600

World's Leggiest Creature No Longer "Extinct"

The animal with the most legs is a millipede species, Illacme plenipes. This millipede was first discovered in 1928 but later was believed extinct. Recently it was re-discovered alive and well in central Californai.

     Females have up to an amazing 750 legs and are just over an inch long. Males have a maximum of 562 legs and are a little shorter. The word "millipede" is actually a misnomer because it means "thousand-legged" creature. Most millipede species have "only" between 80 and 100 legs each.

Tags: Termites, cockroaches, deadly virus, storms, Swarming termites