Archive for May, 2010

Outbreak of Dengue Fever Is Reported in Florida

May 28, 2010

Dengue fever, a growing scourge in the tropics, has established itself in a popular American tourist destination, federal health officials reported last week.

Last August, an alert doctor in upstate New York realized that one of his patients, whose only recent travel had been to Key West, Fla., had dengue — a mosquito-borne virus that causes joint pain so severe it is nicknamed “break-bone fever” in Latin America and Asia. According to last week’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida health authorities have since found 27 more cases, all in Key West, the last in April. Most victims had a fever and pain in the head, body and eyes, and some had a rash.

The C.D.C. advised doctors to consider a dengue diagnosis in patients with similar symptoms who have been to subtropical parts of the United States. Although there have been outbreaks along the Texas-Mexico border since 1980, the disease had not been seen in Florida since 1934.

Unlike malaria, which is caused by a parasite, dengue is a virus, and there is no cure. Patients usually recover on their own. But in rare cases it can turn into dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which can be fatal. Dengue cases have increased in the past 20 years in travelers returning from the Caribbean, South America and Asia, and people with the virus in their blood may transmit it to local mosquitoes. Now Florida has increased its mosquito-control measures.



Check out some of our older posts below!

May 27, 2010

Repossessed homes ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes

South Florida Pest Prevention Tips

Man takes a bite of a rodent bone

Termite warranty up to date?

How do mosquitoes effect us?

Tips for selecting a pest control company in South Florida


Bees involved in fatal crash in Minnesota

May 27, 2010

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Florida bee removal company

Killer bees attack dog in Miami

May 26, 2010

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Florida Bee Control Service Company

Termite Control in South Florida~ Al Hoffer’s

May 24, 2010

Habitat: The most common type, subterranean termites, cause 95% of all termite damage in North America. Found in every state except Alaska, termites are most prevalent in the South; the so-called termite belt stretches across the Southeast from Virginia to Texas.

Clues: You can suss out an infestation by poking wood with a screwdriver; if the tip goes in easily or you hear a hollow sound when you tap the wood with the handle, you might have a problem.

Be on the lookout for a thin gritty gray-brown film on the surface of damaged material. And look for narrow mud tubes on both the interior and exterior of your walls and foundation. Termites travel though these tubes between their colony below the ground and their dinner above—your house.

The one time they come out in the open is when they swarm. Swarms consist of flying “reproductives” that leave the colony, mainly in spring, to mate and start new colonies. You may not spot the swarm itself because the love bugs shed their wings and head underground within a few hours.

Instead, look for discarded wings that resemble fish scales. Swarms can emerge indoors or outdoors. Evidence of an indoor swarm, such as discarded wings or the corpses of termites that couldn’t find a way out, is a sure sign your home is infested.

Most likely to damage: “Almost anything that contains cellulose, the main component of wood, including wood paneling, paper products, cardboard boxes, art canvases, the paper covering of sheet rock, carpeting,” according to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Obama’s guest at the White House

May 21, 2010

Check out the creature that paid Obama a visit at the White House. “Some kind or rodent — maybe a rat, maybe a mouse, perhaps a mole — scurried in front of Obama’s podium, drawing chuckles from reporters and rapid clicks from camera people.”

Al Hoffer’s Florida Rat Control

May 20, 2010

Check out RATZILLA!!!!

Image from

Contact Al Hoffer’s for all your South Florida rat control services.


May 19, 2010

Pet medication warning

LEE COUNTY, Fla.– If you buy flea medicine for your dog or cat, it could end up harming or even killing your pet.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008 more than 40,000 dogs and cats were reported to have had bad reactions to their flea and tick medication. 600 of them died.

Eula Storrs only has pictures and two death certificates as rememberances of her dogs, Bear and Snowball.  She tells WINK News a bath with flea shampoo killed her dog, Bear. She says a spot treatment killed her other dog, Snowball, just days later.

“I was in tears, they were my life,” Eula tells WINK. “First I was upset because I couldn’t believe this was happening to my dogs.”

The family’s veterinarian said the products were to blame.

“I found out the hard way,” Eula says.

Fort Myers Veterinarian, Richard Carpenter says he has seen first hand pets poisoned by flea drops, shampoo and spot treatments and half of the cases he’s treated don’t survive.

“The chemicals are the problem, they’re poisonous, they’re toxic,” Dr. Carpenter told WINK.

He says some of the formulas on the market use old technology and are too concentrated.  But despite his and other veterinarians’ concerns, over-the-counter spot on treatments are still approved by the EPA and are still sold in stores.

Dr. Carpenter warns that “it’s important people understand the truth about what’s on these store shelves.”

We confronted local pet stores that carry the products and no one would answer our questions on camera.  The company Pet Smart says it won’t pull the products because the EPA doesn’t require them to and that the products are effective if used properly.

But in a report obtained by WINK News, the EPA admits it doesn’t know the exact cause of the bad reactions.

In an e-mail to WINK news the EPA said, “at this time we do not have adequate data to conduct an analysis to determine whether some active ingredients are worse than others.”

But the EPA is increasingly concerned about the large number of incident reports.  It found smaller and younger dogs seemed to be the most at risk.  In some of the cases it studied, the owner bought the wrong medication for their size pet, which proved too toxic.  But in other cases, pet owners say they followed the directions exactly and their pet still reacted badly or died.

Dr. Carpenter explained to WINK, “My concern is the EPA knows these things exist and this problem exist. Why do they not regulate this thing?”

We asked the EPA why they weren’t pulling the products and they said along with not being able to pinpoint a cause for the bad reactions, that “flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting pets and public health because fleas and ticks can transmit disease to animals and humans.”

But the EPA is taking some action right now by ordering pet medication manufacturers to improve warning labels.  The agency promises to monitor new products closely and restrict some ingredients.  The EPA is also launching a campaign to raise awareness and says for small dogs, products need to be less concentrated.

But even with the changes, the EPA still urges pet owners to talk to their vet about these products.

We also got reaction from two top flea and tick medication manufacturers.  Hartz says all of its products meet the strictest EPA standards.  Sergeants says it welcomes the actions taken by the EPA.  Sergeants launched an educational campaign a few years ago to help customers use their products safely and effectively and has taken steps to make the labels easier to read.

To read the complete EPA report on pet medications, click here.

Final 2009 West Nile Virus Activity in the United States

May 18, 2010

This map reflects surveillance findings occurring between January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009 as reported to CDC’s ArboNET system for public distribution by state and local health departments.

Map of West Nile Virus activity

South Florida Termite Control Company

May 17, 2010

It’s termite season in South Florida, and the wood-destroying pests can cause big problems for local homeowners. South Florida is home to three primary species; the subterranean, Formosan and drywood termite.

Here are some tips:

What should homeowners do if they have a swarm in their home?

• Use a vacuum to remove the winged termites fluttering or crawling around the home. They are not likely to survive and pose little or no threat to your home.

• Save some of the captured swarmers in a re-sealable plastic lunch bag for a professional to identify them.

• Attempt to mark the point where the swarm emerged from their colony.

What can homeowners do to help keep termites out?

• Clean and repair gutters, and ensure downspouts direct moisture away from the home.

• Fix all plumbing leaks. Whether a leaky sink or dripping spigot, these small water problems can be enough to support a termite colony.

• Prevent mulch from piling up against the home’s exterior. Mulch beds are generally areas of high moisture, and some organic mulch can serve as a primary food source for termite colonies.

• Maintain adequate ventilation in crawl spaces.

• Move all firewood or wood debris away from the foundation of the home and store it off the ground.

South Florida Termite Control Company