Sept/Oct 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 @ 10:58 AM

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Stink Bugs Are Invading

The brown marmorated sting bug (sometimes called BMSB for short) is continuing to spread around the country and cause increasing problems. These stink bugs have a pungent, unpleasant, cilantro-like odor.  First found in Pennsylvania in the late 1990's, it has now spread to at least 43 states.

     The BMSB is one of many species of stink bugs we have, but most of these don't invade homes and other buildings in the fall. The BMSB congregates in large numbers in late summer, and as temperatures cool and day lengths shorten, in September and October, they are more likely to move indoors.  Favored overwintering places in nature include rocky outcroppings and standing dead trees with loose, thick bark.  A building with cracks and void areas to invade are perfect for them, and they may invade in large numbers.

     These stink bugs hibernate indoors, but they often become active and cause problems on warmer days throughout the winter.  Then anytime from March to May they emerge from hibernation and will try to exit the building.  Many become trapped indoors, leaving their dead bodies all over.

     Besides their stink, these bugs will buzz around light fixtures on warmer winter evenings, plus they leave spots that can stain curtains and other surfaces.  When crushed the BMSB excretes chemicals that can irritate skin.  Besides all these problems, a small percentage of people have an allergic reaction to large numbers of them indoors.

     Call us to treat for this pest, and other fall invaders, in late summer or early fall before they come indoors.

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Signs of Termite Troubles

Some Primal termite knocked on wood

And tasted it and found it good

And that is why your Cousin May

Fell through the parlor floor today

-Odgen Nash

Don't let what happened to Cousin May happen to you too!  People really do fall through termite-weakened floors, although more often they sink a little first, before falling all the way through.

     If we are not ready inspecting or monitoring your home on a regular basis, it's wise to call and have us conduct a thorough, professional inspection for termites and the many other wood-destroying organisms that can damage your home.  Termites are usually the homeowner doesn't even know they are there,  It takes a trained professional to find it early,preventing costly repair work.

     Meanwhile, there are a few things you as a homeowner should keep an eye out for, and call us if you see any of these more conspicuous signs that subterranean termites are present:

     *Mud "shelter tubes".

Termites build these over foundations and in other places to connect their colony to wood.

     *Winged termites ("swarmers"), or their broken-off wings, often in places like window sills.

     *Obvious damage to wood. Look for wood hollowed out along the grain, containing bits of mud or soil. Often termites will leave the outer layer of wood undamaged, as a way to keep their galleries protected and humid.

     Also keep an eye out for conditions that favor termites, like excess moisture or soil in contact with wood.


Dwarf Deer Tick Found

Deer ticks crawling on you can be hard to find, especially if they are immature ticks.  Now an adult female deer tick has been found feeding on a person in New York State that is only 1.5 millimeters (.06 inches) long.  This is about half the size of the usual deer tick.

     This is especially a concern because deer ticks are frequent Lyme disease carriers.  Tiny ticks are probably just as likely to go unnoticed on a person's body.  The scientists are calling this an example of dwarfism, but as of yet no one knows how common these tiny ticks are.

     This year ticks are of even more concern than normal because many areas of the country are reporting increased number of tick bites.  In addition, the percentage of ticks that carry the pathogen that causes Lyme disease is higher than normal this year, according to the tick testing laboratory in Connecticut.

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Boozy Beetle Bores into Lawn Mower Gas Tanks

Some insects cause damage you would never expect.  It turns out that a small bark beetle called the camphor shoot borer is causing havoc because they been boring through plastic lawn mower gas tanks.

     That's crazy!  Don't they realize gasoline will kill them?  They don't find out until it is too late, and they have already damaged the gas tank.  Apparently it is the alcohol in the gas that they are strongly attracted to.  Since most gasoline these days contain alcohol, a lot of gas tanks could be damaged by these pest.

     The camphor shoot borer is not native to this country.  It was first reported in 2004 and is currently found from North Carolina to Texas, and is still spreading.  These beetles are mostly active in the spring, so keeping plastic gas canisters and mowers in an enclosed shed might be helpful in the spring.  Keeping the outside of fuel canister free of spilled gas also may help.


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Mosquitoes Breeding at Gas Stations

A recent study published in the journal Medical Entomology found that mosquitoes are unexpectedly breeding in windshield wash basins at gas stations.

     The discovery of mosquito larvae, pupae, and emerging adults at nearly one third of the gas station wash basins inspected was surprising because normally you would expect the soapy windshield wash water to kill them.  The study found the Asian tiger mosquito, which can transmit the Zika virus, only inhabited basins with clearer water.  Another mosquito, the southern house mosquito, was breeding in basin liquid that had a wide range of color and cloudiness, including some that seems to have high levels of detergent.

     This study was only done at gas stations near Raleigh, North Carolina, but it is probably a nationwide problem in gas stations that don't change their water at least weekly.  It is really surprising how some mosquito species so easily breed in any man made containers, and how adapted they are to living with us.


Zika Virus Reached Miami at least Four Times

A recent ground-breaking study using sequencing of the DNA from the Zika virus found that the virus reached Miami not just once, but at least four times last year, and potentially up to forty times.

     The study also found that there was a direct correlation between the number of mosquitoes and the number of Zika cases-when the mosquito control campaign lowered the number of mosquitoes, it stopped new locally-transmitted cases from occurring. Although Zika infections could break out in most areas of the country, Miami is especially susceptible to outbreaks of the virus because it is home to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are very good transmitters of the virus, plus it has more people who travel there from Zika-infested areas of the world.  Even though Zika has spread throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean, most of the Zika lineages in Miami were traced to strains of the virus from the Caribbean.  Over half of the international travelers that enter Miami by air or via cruise ships come from the Caribbean.