Newsletter

January/February 2015

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Jan 02, 2015 @ 11:15 AM

Pantry Pests are 'Oh So Common

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We can safely say that every kitchen has had pantry pests, and either has an infestation now, or will in the future. They are a universal problem.

     By pantry pests, we mean the various moths and beetles that infest stored food. Even your great grandmother had problems with these-they spoil a lot of food! The Indian Meal Moth is the most common pantry pest we have in this area, so we'll describe it in more detail here.

     The indian meal moth was named by early American entomologist who found it feeding on corn meal. Corn meal at the time was called 'Indian meal',hence the name. The larvae feed on many items, not just corn meal. They especially like course or finely ground grain, including cake and muffin mixes. They also readily eat dried fruits, dried milk, popcorn, nuts, chocolate, candy, and even spices, as well as bird seed and dry pet food.

     Sometimes infestations begin by a moth flying in from outdoors, but most problems start when infested food is brought home from the grocery store. Mice can make a problem even worse-they often hoard food in hidden caches, which eventually get infested with moth larvae,

Watch for Termite Swarmers!

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One way homeowners discover they have termites is when they see winged reproductive termites, called swarmers. During swarming season, hundreds of termites with wings will make a mass exodus out of a colony and take to the air. Usually this happens after a rain as the temperatures begin to warm and the days lengthen, but it can happen at other times as well.

     Once these termites emerge from their nest, they quickly begin flying, and any wind will spread them even further. They quickly pair up, pry off their wings, and retreat to a cozy dark place where they mate and start a new colony. Swarmers that emerge indoors are attracted to bright lights and are often found around windows and lights and are often found windows and lights. Finding termites or their indoors is almost always a sign that the house is infested and being attacked by these wood-destroyers.

     Termites in periods of low rainfall are less likely to swarm. At those times they often go deeper into the ground, waiting for more favorable conditions. Also, only mature colonies produce swarmers. So termites may be eating your home even if you don't see swarmers or other signs of termites. A professional inspection is the best way to determine if your home is infested with termites.

     Call Greenleaf if you haven't had a recent inspection for wood-destroying pests, or if you find swarmers or other signs of termites, and we will schedule a FREE (non-escrow). Finding infestations early and eliminating them before they cause major structural damage can easily save you hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars.

New Wood-Eating Cockroach Found

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A new species of wood-eating cockroach was recently discovered in China. Entomologist found a colony of more than 100 cockroaches when a rotten log was split open.

     This is not the first cockroach discovered that eats wood. So far 55 species have been identified, in various places around the world. Very little is known about these cockroaches because of their secluded lifestyle. They usually live in decaying wood, but sometimes in debris on forest floors and cracks in rocks. Hopefully, none of them will find their way to our area!

Bigger Bugs in Human Habitats

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Have you ever wondered if our urban areas produce bigger bugs? Well, we now know the answer is, 'Yes!'

     While some bugs don't do well around our homes and other buildings, other species thrive in this environment. The size of the pest is one good indicator of whether it is an 'urban exploiter' or not. If the pest is bigger in urban environments, it shows that being around humans and our structures greatly benefits it.

     A recent study of a common pest in Australia, the golden orb-weaving spider, Nephila plumipes, should that these spiders grow larger as the amount of urbanization increases. (Increases in urbanization was measured by increases in hard surfaces in an area, and decreases in leaf litter.)

     Not only did they find spiders in urban areas were larger, but the weight of the spider's ovaries also increased. Bigger ovaries means that these spiders produce more and healthier eggs in urban environments.

     Scientists do not completely understand why some bugs become 'urban exploiters" while others do not. But sometimes certain areas around homes and buildings are warmer than natural settings so pests multiply more rapidly, and there may be more food or places to dwell, or fewer predators.

     This spider is rarely numerous in natural settings. However, it is a good example of how, in an urban setting with houses and buildings, as organism can turn into something much more serious. The spiders not only become bigger and more threatening, but unless they are controlled somehow, they multiply...and multiply...and multiply.