March/April 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Mar 03, 2017 @ 01:36 PM

Those Busy Ants


Around the country, both native and new ant species are spreading and invading new areas. Many of these ants are new species from other parts of the world, and they are especially serious pests. Newer, spreading ants include various species of fire ants, crazy ants, trap jaw ants, white-footed ants, Argentine ants, and pharaoh ants, to name a few.

     Together with our native ant species, these ants have become the nation's #1 pest in terms of the number of people who call to have them controlled. Ant invasions are common and persistent.

     Ant colonies will be humming with activity in the months ahead. There is an abundance of food, and queen ants are laying eggs at their top capacity. At various times ants wander indoors, searching for food, moisture, or a better nesting site.  If they find what they are looking for, expect more ants to follow-often hundreds or thousands of ants within an hour of the discovery.

     Most people don't realize that honeydew is an important food for many ant species. Honeydew is especially abundant outside during the months ahead, and ant colonies grow in size rather quickly when honeydew and other food sources are plentiful. What is honeydew? It is a very sweet substance excreted by aphids and other plant sucking insects. Honeydew is so important to ants that some species actually tend and protect the aphids that produce it, much like cowboys care for a herd of cattle.

     Ants are persistent invaders that require professional treatments to keep them controlled. If you are having problems with ants, call us-we are the area ant experts. 


Termites Swarmers Coming!


It is estimated that over 2 million homes are damaged by termites every year. Unfortunately, most of these homeowners are completely unaware that a hoard of wood-destroying pests is silently eating the wood in their homes. One of the most common ways people first learn their home has termites is when they see winged termites, or their broken off wings.

     Winged termites, called "swarmers", are the males and females that start new colonies. These emerge and fly up into the air, often only for a few minutes, then land, lose their wings, pair up, and begin searching for places to start new colonies.

     Termites swarm at various times of the year, but many come out in the spring, often in the spring, often on a warm day after a rain. Hundreds of these pest often emerge from a single colony. They may all come out at once, or in batches over several days or weeks when the conditions are right.

     Swarmers are a good warning that termites are present, but it's not an early warning. A termite colony is generally four to five years old before it begins to produce its first swarmers. So if you see numbers of swarmers indoors, they are coming either from a colony that has been active for at least four years, or from an established colony that has moved into your home.

     Don't take chances if you see swarmers indoors-call us right away to schedule an inspection by a trained and certified professional. Termites are an invisible threat that you want to take care of properly, before they cause more damage.

Advice When Choosing a Kitchen Counter

Kitchen Counter.jpg

A study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management showed that not all kitchen countertops are equal when it comes to how well they can be cleaned. In the study, each different surface was contaminated with nearly 2 billion E. coli bacteria, then the surfaces were washed and rinsed with soap and water, and finally with vinegar and water solution.

     The results demonstrated that stainless steel countertops are easiest to clean, with very few germs left after the simple cleaning procedure described above. More germs survive cleaning on surfaces like plastic laminate and wood surfaces, so stronger cleaning compounds are needed to sanitize these surfaces.


Stainless Steel-----------------------------------------85,000,000 to 1

Granite---------------------------------------------------79,000,000 to 1

Plastic laminate--------------------------------------------500,000 to 1

Tile------------------------------------------------------------300,000 to 1

Concrete------------------------------------------------------33,000 to 1

Wood------------------------------------------------------------2,000 to 1

     The study suggests that stainless steel is an excellent choice for a new residential or commercial food preparation counter.

(As a point of reference, after cleaning a stainless steel counter contaminated with 2 billion bacteria, there would only be 23 remaining. For a wood countertop, there would still be almost 1 million bacteria remaining after cleaning.)


Did You Know

     Pest carry disease organisms both on the inside and outside of their bodies. Pest like roaches and flies are known to carry an especially large variety of germs, some of which cause serious illness in humans. Pest contaminate kitchen countertops by simply walking across them, as well as by regurgitating food, and leaving droppings. This is one common way countertops become contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites.


Migrating Birds Spread Ticks


Scientists have found that birds are an important way that ticks are carried to new areas, and that sometimes those ticks are carrying disease-causing organisms.

     In one study, 9 species of ticks were collected from 33 species of passerine birds (those are songbirds or perching birds).  Some birds migrate from as far away as South America, then redistribute the ticks as they fly throughout North America.

     In another study, researchers found that about 7% of the birds examined were carrying ticks.  Over half of these ticks were infected with microorganisms that cause disease in humans, including Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), and human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME).