The Plentiful Pests of Summer
In the summertime the pests are abundant-multiplying like crazy as the weather warms. Here are some of the many summer pests that can become problems.
Stinging and biting insects: Bees, wasp, hornets, yellow jackets, scorpions, and certain ants and spiders pack stings that can be painful and even dangerous. Other pests suck our blood, usually without us knowing it while it is happening. These include fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting gnats and flies, and others. Bed bugs are nightmarish blood-suckers that have returned with a vengeance, after being free of them for decades.
Food Contaminating Pests: Stored food moths and beetles find their way into many foods we keep for ourselves or our pets. Cockroaches, ants flies, rats and mice can be problems anywhere food is stored, cooked, or served-and often throughout our homes. Watch your pet food to make sure you aren't feeding bugs or other creatures at nght.
Fabric Damaging Pests: Cloths moths and carpet beetles favor wool, but also damage other fabrics. Silverfish, crickets and other pests will occasionally damage fabrics as well as papers.
Wood Destroying Pests: Termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, powderpost beetles, and decay fungi all eat wood for food, and carpenter ants chew into wood to create space for their expanding colonies. Either way, these pests cause serious damage.
Occasional Invaders: Hundreds of different pests may invade a home occasionally, and just be a nuisance and clean-up problems, or even cause allergic reactions.
With our professional services, you can enjoy a great, pest-free summer!
Termite Colonies Larger than Expected
For a long time it was thought that the average subterranean termite colony contained about 250,000 termites. It was thought that these colonies might have as many as one million individuals only in unusual situations.
But in recent years new research has shown that some termite colonies are much larger. Dr. Grace has evidence that colonies can consist of up to 3.2 million termites. These estimates were made in Canada, where we expect termite colonies to be smaller that in warmer areas. In Florida, Dr. Su has shown that some native subterranean termite colonies there actually reach 5 million termites!
Why is termite colony size important? Larger colonies can cause a greater amount of damage in a shorter period of time than smaller colonies, and they can be eating wood in larger area-perhaps in several homes at once. For instance, a large colony of 3.2 million termites can consume over 1.5 pounds of wood every day, and they are able to find and infest unprotected wood in an area covering 2.5 acres!
Formosan termites, which are spreading every year, have even larger and more destructive mature colonies, ranging from 2-10 million individuals. They can tunnel an amazing 110 yards-the length of a football field! Formosan termites can cause significant damage to a home in just 6 months, and have been known to actually bring down a home in as little as two years.
Call us to arrange an inspection or treatment for these hidden pests-finding and controlling them early can prevent a lot of damage to your home.
New Tick-Transmitted Disease
While Lyme disease is the most common tick-transmitted disease, with 30,000 reported cases a year, ticks continue to be in the news because of the other virus they transmit.
A Kansas man died died last year from Bourban virus, a new virus named after bourban County where he lived. He was a healthy man who died after only 10 days in the hospital. At this point it is not known for certain how he contracted the disease, but this kind of virus is usually transmitted by a bite from a tick or other insect. The Bourban virus is similar to viruses found in other parts of the world, but nothing like it has been in this country before.
The Powassan virus occurs from Virginia up to Maine, and east to Minnesota. This is a tick-borne encephalitis virus that is low in numbers, but has been increasing in recent years.
The new Hartland virus infected two men in Missouri in 2009. While they fortunately recovered the US Centers for disease Control Prevention anticipates that more people will become infected. The virus is transmitted by lone star ticks.
Finally, besides sometimes transmitting disease, bites from some lone star ticks are causing another problem-making some people allergic to red meat. Unlike most food allergies, the symptoms, including vomiting, abdominal cramps, hives, and anaphylaxis, typically come three to six hours after an infected person eats red meat. The only good news is that the allergic reaction seems to fade after a few years if people avoid additional tick bites.
True Amphibious Insects Discovered
There is always a new and exciting discovery in the insect world!
In Hawaii's freshwater streams, 14 new species of amphibious caterpillars have been found. While many insects larvae live in streams and lakes, these are the first truly amphilious insects (they are equally at home in water or on land) that have ever been discovered, anywhere in the world.
It is still not understood how the caterpillars, which grow to be small moths, can breathe under water. A clue may be that they only live in fast moving streams. The water in these streams have high oxygen levels, so somehow they may be absorbing oxygen by a process not yet understood.
Allergists: A Pest-Free Home is Important
A survey of 500 allergists showed that an overwhelming 97% think that a pest-free home is an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms. The survey of medical professionals was conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Many common household pests, including cockroaches and rodents, can trigger allergic reactions in certain people. Using our professioanl services to prevent pest problems is asimple way to help avoid pest-related allergies.
Hybrid "Super" Termites Discovered
Scientest were shocked recently to find that two different species of very destructive termites are mating in the wild. Formosan subterranean termites are mating with Asian subterranean termites in South Florida. Currently these hybrid colonies are only in South Florida, because while formosan termites have spread to 11 states, Asain termites have invaded more recently, and so far are only in Hawaii and parts of Florida.
The scientists have also discovered that the resulting colonies appear to be even more destructive that their parents, primarily because some of these "hybrid" colonies are growing in size twice as fast as their parent colonies.
"Hybrid vigor" is well known, because it happens sometimes when two plant varieties combine. Hybrid means that the resulting offspring are in some ways superior to either variety. Unfortunately, that is what is happening with the termites-the colonies become larger, faster. With animals, two species normally can't produce fertile offspring. (For example, the mule, a cross between a donkey and a horse, is sterile.) It is still not known if these hybrid termite colonies will be able to reproduce.
But even if a colony can't reproduce itself, the sheer numbers of termites in a hybrid colony can be incredibly destructive. It is expected that these hybrid colony will contain a million termites after five years or so-that's a very short time to grow so large. It is a case of "hybrid vigor" at its worst.