Jul/Aug 2018

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Jul 03, 2018 @ 11:40 AM


Biting & Stinging Pest of Summer

Biting and stinging pest are out in force this summer. While some of these pest stings are "just" painful or itchy, others can be more serious, and dangerous to our family and pets.

     Biting pests see people as "fast food". Most are very efficient at sucking out our blood, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, lice, bed bugs, chiggers, conenose bugs, biting flies, and no-see-ums.  While in most cases it's not our loss of blood that causes the most concern-it's what these pests can transmit directly into our blood stream that is much more dangerous. These include hundreds of organisms that cause everything from Lyme disease, to West Nile and Zika.  Plus, the chemicals in the insects saliva causes us itching and swelling that is especially unpleasant.

     Stinging pests, including bees, all kinds of wasps, and some ants, usually sting because they perceive us as a threat to themselves or their colony.  Most of these pests inflict a lot of pain-it's their way of saying, "leave us alone, or else..." We get the message instantly when we yell "OUCH!"

     But these pests can deliver much more than just a painful sting.  The real danger is a mass attack-being stung over 200 hundred times can be fatal, although in some cases victims with over 1000 bee stings have survived with proper medical treatment. Plus, for up to 4% of our population that is hypersensitive to these stings, just one sting, if not treated quickly, can be deadly.

     Also watch this summer for stings from other kinds of venomous pests, such as spiders, centipedes, and scorpions!



Signs of Termite Trouble

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 already 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 many other wood-destroying organisms that can damage your home. Termites are usually well hidden.  They can continue eating wood for years

     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.

Myth Exposed!

Q. I have heard that wearing strong perfumes and brightly colored clothing increases my chances of getting stung.  Is this true?

A. Although it may sound logical, and you can find this advice on the internet, there is no evidence that what you wear has any impact on your chance of being stung by bees or wasps.

     Most stings occur when you disturb a nest, step barefoot on a bee or wasp, press against one with your body, or are outdoors and drink from a glass where an insect is drinking the same liquid.  In all these cases, the clothes you wear or the aroma you exude t the outcome of the encounter!

     Bees and wasp sting only when defending their colony, or their own life.  They are not going to sting you because you look or smell like a giant flower, and they are not going to mistake you for a pretty petunia and besiege you. Bees and wasps aren't so easily confused.

     LED Bulbs & Insects

While most LED light bulbs are less attractive than standard incandescent light bulbs, some LED's do attract insects. If you are using a light bulb outside, or where it will be seen from outdoors, such as through a window, keep the following in mind to attract fewer flying and crawling pests.

     For these areas, choose LED bulbs that have more "warm white" and yellow tones, because bulbs that produce more "cool white", or bluish tones attract more insects. Also some specialty LED bulbs, especially plant grow lights, contain UV light and these attract insects. 

     Keep in mind that if everything else is equal, a brighter light bulb will attract more insects that a dimmer light.  Use only the number lumens, or watts, that you need for adequate visibility.


Tags: summer pest,, Scorpions on planes, blood sucking pests

July/Aug 2017

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Jul 03, 2017 @ 10:47 AM


Pests Love Our Blood

We like to think our blood is used only by ourselves, and maybe a local blood bank we donate to.  But the fact is, a lot of pests use our blood as food and suck it out of us without us even knowing we are sharing.  They do this with surgeon-like precision, slicing through our skin with their razor-sharp mouthparts. While they are doing this they inject an anesthetic into the cut that numbs the area so we don't even feel it.  This is good stuff for horror movies!

     You might never know that a pest took some of your blood, except that the pest saliva and other compounds they inject into you often causes those familiar welts that itch.  And because these pests tap directly into our blood stream, they can also put dangerous disease-causing pathogens directly inside our bodies.

     So who are these culprits?  One that we are hearing about recently is bedbugs, which are spreading.  Knowing that these bugs feed on people while we are sleeping is enough to give us the creeps!

     There are a wide variety of other pests that suck blood, and they are so good at it that they can do it in broad daylight when we are wide awake, and we still don't know they are taking it!  These include mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, biting midges, blood-sucking flies, chiggers, mites, bird bugs, and kissing bugs.

    Fighting bugs is what Greenleaf is all about, and we are proud to know we help save your blood too.  Local blood banks are always looking for more supplies of blood-don't "donate" it to the local blood population!

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Termite Damage is Often Hidden

Like many criminals, termites operate mostly in the dark, hidden from view.  Termites tunnel INSIDE wood, away from light and drying air, rather than on the surface.  Because of this, they often remain unnoticed by homeowners for years while they gradually weaken a wood structure.

     Termites also work unnoticed and uncontrolled because the common subterranean termites attack a structure directly from their already hidden colonies in the soil.  They find their way into an unprotected home in a variety of ways.  Concrete seems impenetrable, but in fact as a concrete foundation and piers age they develop cracks that termites can easily crawl through.  Termites can crawl through tiny crack in cement as small as 1/16 of an inch wide, directly into wood-all well hidden from view!

     In addition to cracks, concrete has other hidden "termite highways". Holes from electrical conduits and plumbing, as well as expansion joints, are often used by other pests to enter to a structure.  Even porches made of concrete often have a dirt fill underneath that piles soil right up to various cracks and openings.  Termites can travel through such cracks and openings.  Termites can travel through such cracks directly to structural wood, completely hidden from view.

     In this way termites can remain undetected for years while they slowly eat a structure. Our professional termite services are a wise investment that can help detect and control termites and other wood-destroying pests, protecting your property from extensive damage.

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Pests Love Pet Food

Pet food is very attractive to pest. Scientists surveyed eight retail pet stores in Kansas for insect pests during a seven month period, and collected an amazing 30 species and over 41,000 insects. The insects were often concentrated near bulk food bins, in stockrooms, or on the shelves that held wild bird seed and food for small animals.

     When anyone brings pet food home, it should be considered a potential source of pests.  These pests then spread and contaminate human and other pet food packages that are open or are easy to chew into the package. 

     Always inspect pet food before you bring it home.  Besides looking for actual beetles, moths, and small caterpillars, check for signs of pests, such as holes in bags or boxes where insects may be emerging, tears or gaps where moths and beetles could get into the packages, and webbing produced by stored food caterpillars.

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Birds Sing Differently in Cities

When songbirds move to cites, they change their tune, research shows.  At least that is true for the great tit, a small bird with a yellow breast and belly.  Research on the great tit in 10 European cities, including London and Paris, showed that in every case, their singing was different that the great tit singing in nearby forests.

     The city bird songs were faster, shorter, and at a higher pitch.  The researchers believe city birds change their singing to drown out the background noise created by cars and other city noises.  City noises apparently disrupt the exchange of vital information contained in their normal country songs, such as when the males sing to attract females.


Scorpions on Two Planes

The Snakes on a Plane movie is a horror film, but recently scorpions were found on two planes-in real life.

     A scorpion was found crawling on a passenger's cloths in May.  The scorpion did not sting anyone, but the flight from Houston was delayed three hours and as a precaution a new aircraft was arranged for the flight.

     One month before that, a scorpion stung a passenger on another flight out of Houston.  It fell on the man's head from an overhead bin.  The passenger was stung when it landed on his plate and he picked the creature up.


Tags: Scorpions on planes, blood sucking pests