Newsletter

Jan/Feb 2016

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Jan 04, 2016 @ 11:33 AM

Pests Survive Adverse Weather

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In this El Nino year where weather around the country won't be typical, the question arises, "How will this affect household pest?" A common myth is that floods or unusually cold weather eliminates household pest outdoors. But we have seen in the past, that pest populations are surprisingly resilient. Once the weather warms up, the surviving pests are ready to start invading again, sometimes with an apparent vengeance!

     Floods force many pests to flee and spread out to new areas. The decaying organic material that floods leave behind also provides food for population explosions of pests like flies, rodents, and roaches. Mosquitoes also increase after rains and floods.

     Rats and cockroaches are two pests that simply head to higher ground when flooding begins. Apparently they are able to detect the quick drop in barometric pressure which signals sudden downpours-weather records sometimes show they flee to higher grounds just before flooding actually starts.

     It was once thought that flooding would eradicate termite colonies. But it turns out that termites don't easily drown-they are able to shut down their body processes to reduce oxygen consumption. These are amazing weather survivors!

     Not all pest can survive unusual cold spells, but some do it with ease. They may burrow into the ground where it is warmer. Many pests, including carpenter ants, survive because their bodies actually produce glycerol, a very effective antifreeze.

     Once again, "primitive" insects and rodents are not only equipped to survive, they actually thrive in adverse conditions.

Termites Swarming Time

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If you've ever seen termites swarmers pouring out of the ground or out of holes in wood, you've witnesses the single most significant annual event in a termite colony. Each colony sends out many hundreds of winged termites. These become the future kings and queens of new colonies.

     Most swarming occurs in the spring (often on a warm sunny day after a rain), although some can occur during fall and at other times of the year as well. Colonies infesting heated homes often are the earliest to send out swarmers.

     Unfortunately, if you find many swarmers indoors, or coming out of areas next to your foundation, it is usually a sign that the structure in infested with damaging termites. It is also a sign that the colony is a larger, more mature colony, because a termite colony usually doesn't send out winged termites until it is four or five years old. As colonies mature, they gradually send out more swarmers.

     If you find swarmers inside or next to your home, call us right away so we can schedule a professional inspection. We'll determine if the pests are termites or swarming ants (which are easily mistaken for termites) and we'll help you select the best and most cost-effective control strategy for your particular pest situation.

Yes! It's OK to S-c-r-e-e-a-m!

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As a dinner guest, have you ever been in the awkward position of spotting a spider, cockroach, or other pest on or near the dinner table? Perhaps in years past, in some situations, the polite thing would have been to ignore it.

     Thank goodness proper etiquette no longer requires us to pretend we don't see it! According to a book titled "Miss Manners," by Judith Martin, you can now shriek loudly, if you so desire.

     We must add that proper social etiquette (and friendship) would require you to go one step further-help your host solve their problem and avoid any future embarrassment with pests by recommending our services. We'll take care of their problem, and chances are they'll be so glad you told them about us that you will be invited back again real soon-to a bug free home!

Keep Your Garage Pet-Safe

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Garages are common storage areas for pesticides, fertilizers, cleaning agents, and other chemicals. Using our professional services reduces or eliminates the need for many of these products. But there is one common item people often aren't aware of that can be deadly if ingested.

     The common antifreeze, ethlene glycol, tastes and smells sweet to pets (as well as children), but is deadly if they lap it up. A single teaspoon of regular antifreeze can kill a cat. Clean up any spills immediately, or buy "safe" antifreeze (propylene glycol), which is non-toxic for pests and wildlife.

     Keep antifreeze and all cleaners, insecticides, etc., in a closed cabinet where curios pets can't get to them and tip them over.

Moths That Drink Blood?

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In nature there are many kinds of organisms that drink blood-mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, some flies and gnats, some other insects, leaches, and vampire bats. But vampire moths? It's true-there is a group of moths in the genus Calyptra that are known as vampire moths because they are capable of drinking blood.

     Vampire moths normally pierce fruit to suck the juice, but they will also drink blood from humans. Vampire moths can pierce even the tough hides of animals like elephants and buffaloes, so our skin is easy for them to penetrate. Interestingly, only the males drink blood. They have been recorded to continue sucking blood for almost an hour if left undisturbed! Plus, the place where they bite becomes red and sore.

     Fortunately, these moths are not found in the Americas, but in parts of Europe and other areas of the world. There is one species of vampire moth here in North America, but unlike it's cousins, it apparently does not feed on blood. That's one less pest to be concerned about!

Electric Mosquito Swatter Causes House Fire

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 In the Philippines, a person swatted a mosquito with one of those electric insect swatters, killing the insects. Unfortunately, the dead mosquito fell on and ignited some firework rocket fuses that were going to be used for the holidays, setting them on fire. The resulting fire completely burned the house to the ground and injured two of the residents.

     These electric insect swatters, avaiable widely in hardware and other stores, have an electrically-charged grid that zaps and kills insects. However, the dead, sometimes still-smoldering insects present a fire hazard people need to be aware of.

Tags: Swarming termites, pesticide