Newsletter

Sept/Oct 2016

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Thu, Sep 01, 2016 @ 09:35 AM

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Pest Invade in Fall

Now and during the months ahead our weather starts a gradual change, causing changes in pest problems as well.  Some of the fall-invading pest in our are have already begun looking for food indoors, or a more protected place to spend the winter. Unfortunately, homes and other buildings are exactly what many of the fall invaders are looking for.

Some common fall invader:

     Rats and Mice are like a "pest from hell"- who wants them? These have been multiplying outdoors all season, and now are searching more aggressively for ways to get indoors.

Ladybugs, particularly the spreading multicolored Asian lady beetle can become a major invader. This insect was introduced to control crop pests, and then starting unexpectedly becoming and indoor pest. Some people are allergic to this beetle when it invades in large numbers.

Wasp and yellow jacket queens overwinter in protected places and start new colonies in the spring.

Ant colonies are huge this time of the year, and some species become constant invaders.

     Many kinds of crickets invade homes in the fall, sometimes in large numbers.

     Other common fall invaders include stink bugs, box elder bugs, cluster flies, clover mites, elm leaf beetles, root weevils, cockroaches, millipedes and centipedes.

It's during these months ahead that our professional pest management services are especially important to protect you and your pets, as well as your home and belongings, from pests that can cause either damage or can sting, bite or spread disease.

 

Termite Prevention is Wise

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Termites are among the most damaging and costly of all pests. Their damage to structures now causes over five billion dollars a year in this country alone.

One reason termites can cause so much damage is that homeowners are often unaware for years that termites are eating their home. Most homeowners first see termites when they swarm, but a young colony doesn't send out swarmers until it is three to five years old. By the time swarmers are seen, termites may have caused substantial damage. Worse yet, an indoor colony often release swarmers outdoors, so the homeowner never sees them.

     How fast do termites work?  A typical mature colony of 240,000 subterranean termites (some colonies are much larger) consumes an average of about 20 grams of wood in a 24 hour period.  This converts to about 16 pounds of wood each year year per colony. You can be sure to wood was put there for a purpose, so removing it makes the structure weaker.

     Like a slow-spreading cancer, it's much better to catch the problem early. That's why it's important to have us either monitor for termites or do a regular, professional inspection to detect them and other wood-destroying pests, as part of a preventative maintenance program to secure and protect your home.

     Catching these pests sooner rather than later means you spend far less to control them.  In addition, catching them early means the wood-destroyers have done less damage, which can save you thousands of dollars in repair cost. Benjamin Franklin would agree this is an especially wise investment!

The Amazing Monarch

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Monarch butterflies are starting their annual migration to various  warmer areas of the country, as well as the mountains of central Mexico.

     These amazing creatures migrate south in the fall, with some populations traveling as far as 4,580 miles. In the spring, it takes several generations of the butterflies to cover this distance. The butterflies mate and lay eggs along the way, with each new generation of adult butterflies continuing the journey north along the migratory route.

     How do they keep flying in the right direction?  It turns out that monarchs use two completely different navigation systems, depending on whether it is a sunny or cloudy day. When the sun is shining, monarchs navigate by the sun and use a time-compensated sun compass.

     Until recently, scientists were stumped about how monarchs navigate on cloudy days with no sun to navigate by. It turns out that monarchs use geomagnetic clues-they use a sophisticated magnetic inclination compass system, using the angle of the Earth's magnetic field to guide their movement. This is similar to that used by much larger-brained migratory vertebrates such as birds and sea turtles.

     But the new research shows that the navigation system monarchs use on cloudy days uses light as well as geomagnetic cues. Monarchs have special cells in their antenna that can detect ultraviolet light, and since that light penetrates clouds, it is a cue that they can use even on cloudy days.

     In effect, on cloudy days monarchs use a very sophisticated light dependent magnetic inclination compass. It turns out that these beautiful butterflies have a navigational system that is truly amazing!

Mouse Meningitis

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When we think of diseases associated with mice, we generally think of Hantavirus, Salmonella, and other diseases. But as we enter the busy rodent season people need to be aware of another mouse-borne disease. Called "mouse meningitis" by some, its full name is lymphocytic choriomeningitis, or LCM for short. The virus that causes this disease is lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, or LCVM.

Like Hantavirus, people can get LCM when they are exposed to fresh urine, droppings, saliva, or nesting materials from infected mice. Only the common house mouse carries the virus (although pet hamsters can catch it from mice). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 5 percent of house mice in the U.S. catty LCVM virus. The virus occurs throughout the country. Once mice are infected, they remain infected for their entire life and can continue to infect people and other mice.

     Although mice never show any signs of the illness themselves, infected people start off with "flu-like symptoms", then the disease starts to have neurologic symtoms. Pregnant women who become infected with the virus can pass the virus along to their baby, who may suffer serious consequences, including mental retardation.