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Early Arrival of Winter Weather Drives Rodents Indoors

Posted on: November 21st, 2012 by pelican

Across the country, chilly temperatures and early snowstorms are forcing more than just people indoors. Rodents including mice, rats and squirrels are seeking food, water and shelter in homes. Unfortunately, more bad weather could be on the way as the Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from rodent infestations during colder months.

“Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “But with many places already experiencing cold weather conditions, it is important to be proactive and vigilant in preventing these pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests.”

The accumulation of feces from mice and rats can spread bacteria and contaminate food sources. These rodent droppings are known to trigger allergies and cause diseases including Hantavirus and Salmonella. In addition to health risks, rodents can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the risk of a house fire.

NPMA offers the following tips to avoid a rodent infestation:

  • Store items in boxes and plastic sealed containers, rather than cardboard boxes.
  • Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Install screens over chimney vents and openings.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around basement foundation and windows.
  • Install gutters or diverts to channel water away from your home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground.
  • Inspect wires, insulation and walls for any signs of gnaw marks.
  • If you find rodent feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.

 

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

Six Bed Bug Facts

Posted on: August 16th, 2012 by pelican

1. Bed bugs can live anywhere.

When most people think of bed bugs, they think of hotels. But the truth is, bed bugs can thrive in single-family homes, apartments, hospitals, college dorm rooms, office buildings, schools, buses, trains, movie theaters, retail stores and just about anywhere that humans are. In fact, according to the “Bugs without Borders” study, 89 percent of pest professionals report treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes, and 88 percent report treating bed bug infestations in apartments/condos. Respondents also report other common areas, with 67 percent treating bed bug infestations in hotels/motels, 35 percent in college dormitories, 9 percent on various modes of transportation, 5 percent in laundry facilities, and 4 percent in movie theatres.

2. Bed bugs aren’t just city dwellers.

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not just in big cities or third-world countries. They are found in all 50 states. The “Bugs without Borders” survey found that 17 percent of pest control professionals report treating bed bugs in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West. However, the incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased mobility, which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.

3. Bed bugs are hardy.

These pests can live for several months without a blood meal. This means they can linger in furniture, bags and suitcases for a long time until they are near a human host again. In addition, bed bugs can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 122 degrees. Because of this, bed bugs are not a pest that can be treated with DIY measures. Professional pest control is the most effective way to treat an infestation.

4. Bed bugs are smart.

As a survival instinct, bed bugs are elusive. They know to stay out of view during the daytime, hiding in mattress crevices, box springs, baseboards, behind electrical switchplates, in picture frames, and even behind wallpaper. But at nighttime, the carbon dioxide we exhale drawls them out of their hiding spots.

5. Bed bugs are methodical.

Bed bugs have a predictable feeding pattern. Once a bed bug finds a host, it will usually feed three times, for 5 to 10 minutes each time. These three meals are often jokingly referred to as breakfast, lunch and dinner. But the three bite marks they leave behind – usually right in a row and on exposed skin on the chest, arms or legs – are telltale signs of a bed bug infestation.

6. Bed bugs could have a degree in anesthesiology.

People often wonder why a biting bed bug doesn’t wake up its human host when it feeds. The answer is that bed bugs feed by inserting two hollow, beak-like feeding tubes into their host. The first tube injects the bug’s saliva, which contains anesthetics to numb the feeding area. The second tube draws blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate and lay eggs.

If you have a bed bug infestation, don’t try to treat it alone. Instead, contact a licensed pest professional who is trained on the (unique, often sneaky) habits of bed bugs. They will be able to inspect your home and recommend an effective course of treatment.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

Summer’s Most Dangerous Pest (Part1)

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by pelican

Most people consider Memorial Day Weekend to be the unofficial start to summer, but in the pest control industry, we consider it the official start of pest season. It’s true, household pests are a concern year-round, but there is no doubt we see an increase in many types of pests once the weather heats up. If you’re like most and are planning to spend lots of time out in the sun this summer, it’s important to be aware of the risks posed by summer’s most dangerous pests – and learn how to keep yourself and your family safe.

1. Mosquitoes

Overview

Mosquitoes are perhaps the most dangerous of summer pests. They are most well known for their pesky biting habits, which can leave itchy, red bumps. But the real threat posed by this pest is their ability to transmit numerous diseases including West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue and encephalitis.

Risks

Although many of these diseases are rare in the U.S., some – including West Nile virus – are more common. In fact, the CDC reports there were more than 700 cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. in 2011, resulting in 43 deaths. According to the CDC, symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and in some cases, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

Prevention

Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
Eliminate or reduce standing water on your property, which can be a breeding site for mosquitoes. Drain flower pots, swimming pool covers, barrels and other objects that can collect water on a weekly basis. Add a fountain or drip system to ponds and birdbaths on your property to keep water fresh.
Repair or replace any torn screens on windows and doors.
Use an insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin whenever outside for prolonged periods.

http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-articles/articles/summer%E2%80%99s-most-dangerous-pests/

Summer’s Most Dangerous Pest (Part 3)

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by pelican

3. Bees & Wasps

Overview

Yellowjackets, Africanized ‘killer’ bees, wasps, hornets and other stinging insects are a summer staple, frequently showing up at pool parties, barbecues and baseball games —especially in the late summer months. But these pests can pose a serious health risk if a hive is threatened or provoked, causing them to swarm and sting en masse.

Risks

Stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. Young children, the elderly and especially those with allergies are most at risk.

Prevention

Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.
Paint/stain untreated wood.
Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered.
Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.
Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition.
Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.

http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-articles/articles/summer%E2%80%99s-most-dangerous-pests/

Summer’s Most Adngerous Pests (Part 2)

Posted on: June 21st, 2012 by pelican

2. Ticks
Overview

Ticks are always an issue during the summer months, but with their populations expected to be unusually high this season, they will be a major concern for those spending time outdoors. Of greatest concern is the blacklegged deer tick, found in the Northeastern U.S., from Virginia to Maine, in the north central states, mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota, and on the west coast, primarily in northern California.

Risks

Blacklegged deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease to humans, as well as pets. The CDC describes the symptoms of Lyme disease as fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, which forms in the shape of a bull’s eye. According to the CDC, Lyme disease can also affect joints, the heart and the nervous system if left untreated.

Prevention

Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors, especially in wooded areas or tall grasses.
Wear light colored clothing, which makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects.
Wear a bug spray containing at least 20% DEET when outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label.
When hiking, stay in the center of trails, away from vegetation.
Keep your own yard tick-free by cutting grass low and remove weeds, woodpiles and debris.
Inspect yourself and your family members carefully for ticks after being outdoors.

http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-articles/articles/summer%E2%80%99s-most-dangerous-pests/

Cockroaches Linked to Increased Asthma and Allergy Attacks

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by pelican

In recognition of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, celebrated in May, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is reminding people that cockroaches can trigger bug allergy and asthma attacks, along with other pertinent diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 25.7 million people, including almost 7.1 million children, have asthma. Many of these cases are caused by one of the most dangerous allergens – cockroaches – that may be crawling inside your home.

“Cockroach droppings, saliva, shed skin and other body parts contain potent allergen proteins known to cause allergic reactions and exacerbate asthma symptoms, especially in children,” said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA. “Unfortunately, people who are exposed to these allergens during childhood are at an increased risk for bronchial hyperresponsiveness and asthma problems later in life.”

In addition to being a culprit behind running noses, itchy eyes and wheezing, cockroaches spread nearly 33 kinds of bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella. They pick up germs on the spines of their legs as they crawl through decaying matter, which may be transferred to humans on hard surfaces and through food contamination.

Following tips to prevent cockroach infestations:

Seal cracks and holes around the outside of the home including utility pipes.
Properly ventilate basements and crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup.
Keep counters free of crumbs and vacuum the floors often to reduce the accumulation of cockroach allergens.
Keep garbage in a sealed container and dispose of it regularly to avoid attracting pests.
Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms – especially under appliances and sinks – as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
If you find signs of a cockroach infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.

http://www.pestworld.org/pest-news-views/press-releases/press-releases/cockroaches-linked-to-increase-in-asthma-and-allergy-attacks/

It’s Bed Bug Awareness Week – Brush Up On Information Before Vacation

Posted on: April 26th, 2012 by pelican

As part of National Pest Management Month, which has been celebrated in April for more than 30 years, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is marking the week of April 22 – 28 as Bed Bug Awareness Week. As people begin to move about more frequently in the warmer months and embark on summer vacations, the NPMA is spreading awareness, promoting public vigilance and providing essential prevention advice about bed bugs.
“Bed bugs are still a problem in America. A survey of pest professionals conducted by the NPMA and the University of Kentucky in 2011, found that bed bug encounters have become more common in public places than in previous years; in some cases, the numbers of professionals who reported treating certain types of businesses and commercial facilities saw double digit growth from the prior year,” said Missy Henriksen, NPMA’s vice president of public affairs.
“With summer travel around the corner, NPMA reminds travelers to arm themselves with bed bug knowledge and prevention tips. A watchful eye can go a long way in preventing an infestation upon returning home,” advised Henriksen.
Bed Bug prevention tips when traveling:
• At hotels, pull back sheets and inspect mattress seams, for telltale bed bug stains. Inspect the entire room before unpacking, including sofas and chairs and behind the headboard. Notify management of anything suspect and change rooms or establishments immediately.
• If you need to change rooms, don’t move to a room adjacent or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
• Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during your stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there.
• When home, inspect suitcases before bringing them into the house and vacuum them before storing.
• Wash all clothes – even those not worn – in hot water to eliminate any bed bugs and their eggs.

 

http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/press-releases/press-releases/its-bed-bug-awareness-week-brush-up-on-information-before-vacation/

Brown Widow Spider

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by pelican

ScienceDaily (May 10, 2007) – A dangerous spider is making itself known to Louisiana residents. The brown widow spider is becoming more common, according to entomologists with the LSU AgCenter.
Generally found in tropical areas, the brown widow spider is closely related to the black widow spider and is poisonous, according to LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dennis Ring.
Experts say the spider ranges in color from gray or tan to dark brown and may reach 1 inch to 1½ inches long. Like its better-known black widow cousin, the brown widow spider has a yellow-to-orange hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen. It also has black and white marks on the top of the abdomen and often has dark bands on its legs. “Its venom is more toxic than the black widow’s,” Ring said. “But it doesn’t put out as much venom in its bite.”
Ring said the brown widow spider is most often found in areas that haven’t been disturbed, such as brush piles, wood piles and areas where hurricane debris has accumulated. They also can show up in crawl spaces, under chairs, in garbage can handles and under flower pots, eaves and porch railings.


“These spiders are shy and are less likely than black widows to bite humans,” Ring said. “Nevertheless, they can bite when they come in contact with a person’s skin.”
Ring suggests wearing gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when working outdoors, especially in areas that don’t get a lot of human activity.
In addition to recognizing the spiders themselves, Ring points out that the egg sac of the brown widow is different from that of the black widow. The white-to-tan-colored egg sac of the brown widow is lumpy. The black widow’s egg sac is smooth. The egg sac can be found attached to the web and is about one-half inch in diameter.
The best remedy for controlling brown widow spiders is to remove areas where they may nest, according to Ring. The LSU AgCenter entomologist recommends picking up clutter and sealing cracks and crevices around doors and windows, as well as in driveways and sidewalks.
Ring added that brown widow spiders also can be controlled by using spray or powdered insecticides labeled for spiders.

 

LSU Agricultural Center (2007, May 10). Venomous Brown Widow Spiders Making Themselves Known In Louisiana. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2007/05/070510083028.htm#.T5AQlwKcyuc.email
A brown widow spider. (Credit: Dr. Chris Carlton, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum).

More Ticks This Season!

Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 by pelican

Acorns, Not Weather, To Blame for More Ticks

National Pest Management Association explains why 2010′s crop puts people at risk for tick-borne disease

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is forecasting a heavier tick season than in previous years, but it’s not due to the unseasonably mild winter as one might expect. Rather, acorns can be blamed for the predicted surge in tick populations this year, particularly in the Northeastern U.S.

Oak trees produced an extremely large acorn crop in 2010, which led to a boom in the white-footed mouse population last year. As a result, the blacklegged (deer) tick population also increased because the ticks had an abundance of mice to feed on when they hatched. However, this spring those same ticks will be looking for their second meal as nymphs, but a decline in the mice population may force them to find new warm-blooded host – humans.

Experts are concerned about an increase in human cases of tick-borne disease. “Many of these nymphal ticks may have contracted Lyme disease from feeding on infected mice as larvae,” said Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. “These hungry ticks will soon be looking for another blood meal, which puts people at risk as they head outside to enjoy the weather.”

Tick Tips:

Use tick repellent when outdoors and wear long sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light in color, so ticks are easier to detect.
Use preventative medicine on pets, as prescribed by your veterinarian.
Once indoors, inspect clothing and your entire body. Check family members and pets that have been outdoors.
Keep grass cut low, including around fences, sheds, trees, shrubs and swing sets. Remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris from the yard.
If you find a tick on your body, remove it with a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. Then, wash hands and bite site thoroughly with soap and water. Ticks should be flushed down a toilet or wrapped in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle.
If you suspect a tick bite, seek medical attention.

 

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

Pest Can Suck The Fun Out of Spring Break

Posted on: March 1st, 2012 by pelican

Every spring, millions of Americans plan vacations during their annual Spring Breaks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds those travelers that the best way to prevent pests like mosquitoes and bed bugs from ruining their trips is through preparation and awareness.

“Everyone looks forward to escaping to warmer climates during Spring Break,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “However, many travelers forget that whether visiting the tropics or cities in the US, they must be vigilant to avoid bringing pest-related illnesses and issues home with them.”

While bites may seem inevitable, mosquitoes can leave behind more than just an itchy welt. Travelers in tropical areas are susceptible to contracting mosquito-borne diseases, like West Nile virus and Dengue Fever, both reportedly on the rise in the US as well as South America, Mexico and the Caribbean islands.

Travelers must also take steps to prevent bed bugs from hitching rides home with them in luggage and clothing. The 2011 Bugs Without Borders survey found a significant increase in the prevalence of bed bugs in public places, including hotels/motels and college dorms.

To remain pest-free both during and after Spring Break:

  • Use insect repellant containing EPA-registered active ingredients like DEET or Picaridin.
  • Limit time outdoors or wear long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • If bitten by a mosquito, clean the area thoroughly, avoid scratching, and apply anti-itch cream.
  • To inspect a hotel room for bed bugs, pull back bed sheets, inspect mattress seams, box springs, headboards, sofas and chairs for telltale brownish or reddish spots, shed skins or bugs.
  • Avoid putting luggage on beds or upholstered furniture and store it in a plastic bag.
  • Once home, inspect and vacuum suitcases before bringing them inside. Wash and dry all clothes on hot.
  • Consumers suspecting an infestation should contact a licensed pest professional.

 

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

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