May/June 2016

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 01:43 PM

Spider Alert!


This year we'll most likely see an abundance of spiders.  You might even see more kinds you've never seen before!  That's because whenever insects become abundant (and the weather this year has been perfect for insects to increase), the spiders that feed on them also multiply.

     Here's the good news.  Most spiders are not dangerous.  In fact, most can't even pierce our skin with their mouthparts, Even the most tender-skinned person among us has skin that is just too tough and thick for spiders. Fortunately, too spiders generally try to avoid us, and the venom of most spiders isn't strong enough to harm huge giants like us.

     However, some spiders can deliver a nasty bite. Of the over 3,000 species of spiders in the United States, about 50 of them are able to bite us. Of these, black widows (and some of their relatives) and brown recluse spiders are medically the most well-know, and have the most powerful venom. More good news, these spiders are not in California.  However, there has been a lot of research published recently that is showing that many reported "spider bites" are actually the bites or stings of other pests like fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies, as well as bacterial infections, etc.

     Remember to never pick up a spider with an unprotected hand. Reduce clutter around your home. Properly light entryways so that you don't attract insects and spiders to these areas. Because spiders reinfest, regular professional treatments are needed to keep them controlled and prevent them from building their messy webbing.


Preventing Termites Saves Money

Termites are among the most damaging and costly of all insect pest. Each year termites cause over 5 billion dollars of damage to structures in the United States.

     Why so costly?  Partly because termites do their destructive work deep inside a home, hidden from view, so homeowners are completely unaware their home is infested.  Sometimes they see the winged termites (swarmers) that start new colonies, but it typically takes a new colony three to five years to start producing swarmers.  By the time the colony has spread and already may have caused substantial damage,  In many cases homeowner never even notices the swarmers, either because there aren't a lot of them, or because they are exiting the colony from somewhere outdoors rather than inside the home.

     How fast do termites work? A typical mature colony of subterranean termites has 240,000 termites.  This number of termites consumes about 20 grams of wood in a 24 hour period which equates to about 16 pounds of wood eaten in a year. As you can imagine, removing this amount of wood each year greatly weakens a structure.

     Termites are like a slow-spreading, hidden cancer.  It's much better to catch the problem early, and control it then.  That's why it's so important to have us do monitoring or regular inspections to detect these and other wood-destroying pests.  Consider this an important cornerstone of preventative maintenance to protect your investment in your home. 

     Catching these pest early means you spend less to control them and repair damage, often saving you thousands of dollars.


Bed Mattresses Can Spread Bed Bugs

     Most people would never pick up a discarded mattress they saw on a sidewalk. These mattresses are not on the clean, but increasingly they are also infested with bedbugs.

     But what about "renovated", "reconditioned", or "refurbished" mattresses?  There are state laws that require companies that process these mattresses to sanitize them, but has been found that bed bugs are not adequately controlled by some companies.  Think twice about buying these mattresses, and look for the white tag that is placed on new mattresses, not the yellow or red tag on second hand mattresses.

     If you know anyone who is discarding a mattress infested with bed bugs, be sure to tell them to slit it open, bag it, label it "Bed Bugs", and dispose of it properly, so that hopefully no one will re-use it.


Car Burns Because of Bed Bugs

     A Long Island, New York, man who saw bed bugs in his car was told by a friend that rubbing alcohol kills the bugs, so he proceeded to dump the flammable liquid all over the car's interior.   Then he decided to sit in the car, relax, and light a cigarette!  The resulting flames engulfed the car plus two cars parked nearby.  The man suffered second degree burns as he escaped out of the car, and a helicopter rushed him to the hospital.

     The car was so badly burned that detectives could not read the VIN number or the license plate.

      Friends, alcohol in any form does not do a good job of controlling insects.  Not only is it a danger because it is highly flammable, but in a recent published test it only killed about half the bugs.  It's best to contact a professional that deals with these pest. 


Where you are Stung Matters

Researcher Michael Smith allowed himself to be stung at 25 different places of his body by honey bees, and discovered that where you are stung determines how painful the sting is.  The three least painful locations were the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm, all scoring 2.3 pain rating on a 1-10 scale. Some of the most painful places to be stung were the penis and upper lip, scoring 7.3 and 8.7, respectively.   The nostril was the most painful place to be stung, scoring 9 out of 10.

     This is a dedicated researcher!  Sounds like a very painful research.  Best not to get stung at all.