Archive for August, 2010

Melbourne, Vero Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Stuart, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Coral Springs, & Fort Lauderdale bedbug control tips

August 30, 2010

The EPA has listed the top ten bedbug control tips to take into account when you have bedbugs…take a look!

1. Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas or ticks or other insects.

You can verify your insect on our bed bug web page or check with your local extension agent.

2. Don’t panic.

Eliminating bed bugs is difficult, but it is not impossible. Don’t throw out all of your belongings; most of them can be treated and saved. Throwing out belongings is costly, may spread the infestation, and could be unnecessarily stressful.

3. Think through your treatment options — Don’t immediately reach for the spray can.

Be comprehensive in your approach. Integrated pest management techniques may reduce bed bug populations and limit pesticide exposure to you and your family. If pesticide treatment is needed, it is best to bring in a professional. There is help available to learn about integrated treatment options.

4. Reduce the number of hiding places — Clean up the clutter.

A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating for them more difficult. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using a mattress/box spring encasements makes it more difficult them to get to you while you sleep. To be effective they must be left in place for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.

5. Frequently wash and heat-dry your bed linens.

Wash bed spreads, and clothing that touches the floor to reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers so clean them when you do the laundry.

6. Do-it-yourself freezing is not usually reliable for bed bug control.

While freezing can effectively kill bed bugs, temperatures must remain extremely low for an extended period of time. Home freezers typically are not cold enough to kill bed bugs. Freezing temperatures outside may be used to kill bed bugs, but can take several days (at 0oF) to almost a week (at 20oF).

7. High temperatures can kill bed bugs.

Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job, though. Space heaters must always be used with care, as they have the potential to cause fires and serious burns. Specialized equipment and very high temperatures are required to successfully heat treat a structure. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items, provided the contents become hot enough (approximately 110oF for at least 3 hours).

8. Don’t pass your bed bugs on to others.

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. If you throw out a piece of furniture that is harboring bed bugs, take steps to destroy the item so that no one else adopts it (along with the bugs!).

9. Reduce populations to reduce bites.

Thorough vacuuming reduces populations. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, under beds, around bed legs, bed frames, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. Change the bag after each use so the bed bugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin. will reduce the populations.

10. Turn to the professionals, if needed.

Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase the likelihood and the speed of success in eliminating bed bugs from your home. If you hire an expert, ensure it is company with a reputable history and ask them to use an IPM approach.) Contact your State pesticide Agency for guidance about hiring professional pest control companies.

Looking for bebdug control services in Melbourne, Vero Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Stuart, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Coral Springs or Fort Lauderdale?


Pest Control Links and Resources from Al Hoffer’s Pest Protection

August 25, 2010

The bug doctor had a great post on the Truth about America’s most deadly spiders.

Watch James McHale talk bed bugs on ABC 7 New York.

Ants Attack Flying Termites on PMP Editor Pete Grasso’s great blog

The Bug Busters USA touch a truck event was a success according to their blog at

Also check out the fun with scorpions post from The Daily Entomologist Blog

If you haven’t had the chance you should visit our Self Service Center located in Melbourne, Florida.

Dengue Fever: Symtoms

August 24, 2010

Signs and symptoms of dengue fever vary, depending on the form and severity of the disease.

Dengue fever
With the mild form of the disease, you may experience some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • High fever, up to 105 F (40.6 C)
  • A rash over most of your body, which may subside after a couple of days and then reappear
  • Severe headache, backache or both
  • Pain behind your eyes
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Sign and symptoms usually begin about four to seven days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying a dengue virus. Mild dengue fever rarely causes death, and your symptoms will usually subside within a week after starting.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever
More-severe forms of the disease usually begin the same way as the mild form (dengue fever) then become worse after several days.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever — a more severe form of the disease than initial dengue fever — can cause signs and symptoms of dengue fever plus:

  • Significant damage to your blood and lymph vessels
  • A decrease in the number of blood cells that help your blood clot (platelets)
  • Bleeding from the nose and mouth
  • Bleeding under the skin, which gives the appearance of bruising
  • Death

Dengue shock syndrome — Dengue shock syndrome — the most severe form of the disease — may cause signs and symptoms of mild dengue fever plus:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Fluid (plasma) leakage from blood vessels
  • Heavy bleeding
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure (shock)
  • Death

Severe signs and symptoms may appear after your fever has improved. In a small number of cases, people with a severe form of the disease die of it. Modern supportive hospital care decreases this risk.

When to see a doctor
If you have any signs or symptoms of dengue fever, see your doctor. If you’ve recently traveled to a region in which the disease is known to occur, be sure to inform your doctor.

Courtesy of Mayo Clinic:

The Golden Silk Spider

August 20, 2010

Florida’s biggest spider at its peak

Heading outside with spiders on your visual menu? These days, you may get to feast your eyes on the golden silk spider.

These impressively large arachnids – the super size of Florida’s spiders – are most visible in August and September, and later if the hot weather holds.

Oh, and they’re also more visible because this is the time when they’re the biggest they’re ever going to get.

“They are reaching their full size and maturing, especially the females, and they suddenly seem to appear,” said G.B. Edwards, taxonomic entomologist with the Florida Department of Agriculture. He’s also known as “the state spider man.”

“In the last couple of instars (developmental stages), they enlarge quite rapidly, and their webs get bigger too,” Edwards said. “It’s probably the largest spider that most people will see” in Florida, he added.

The females, which are larger than the males, have long legs that can spread as long and as wide as a man’s hand. The spiders, which are orbweavers, can ensnare small birds in their strong, densely woven golden silk webs, which can reach 3 feet or more in size, but more common prey include mosquitoes, small flies, wasps, beetles, grasshoppers, moths and butterflies.

“They catch a lot of mosquitoes,” Edwards noted.

Also called the banana spider because of its long yellow body, the golden silk spider has legs with black tufts at the joints. A tropical species, it’s found throughout most of the Americas and across the Southern states, but in the United States, the spiders are more common in Florida, Edwards said.

They’ll bite if provoked – for instance, if you pick one up – but the bite is not poisonous (most say it’s less painful than that of a honeybee) and they’d rather flee than fight.

Look for them in citrus groves, in webs attached to shrubs and trees, treetops or clustered in a mass of webs between utility wires or near the water.

“They’re basically solitary, but in an area with high prey density, they’ll tend to congregate,” Edwards said. “They’ll end up filling large spaces between telephone poles, over a stream between trees.”

Roy Beckford, agriculture/natural resources agent with the Lee County Extension Office, noted that some organic citrus farmers like seeing those huge webs woven between their trees because the golden silk spiders catch so many pests.

And the silk they spin is so strong that some native people in tropical countries mat and twist the webs to make strong bags and fishing nets, according to information provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A group of people in Madagascar collected more than 1 million golden silk spiders and extracted their silk before returning them to the wild, then wove the silk into a golden rug, the FWC said. It took four years.

These days, hikers and other nature lovers need to keep an eye out for them, because while the golden silk spider isn’t dangerous, its webs are very sticky.

“They end up building across paths, so watch where you’re going. Carry a stick, and carry it ahead of yourself,” Edwards said.


Broward director of mosquito control discusses dengue fever

August 18, 2010

Broward director of mosquito control discusses dengue fever


Broward Mosquito Control

Industry links and resources

August 17, 2010

Enjoy these great industry links and resources!

The No Pests Blog had a great post on the Dengue Fever case in the South Florida region.

Arizona Pest Control is reporting increasing termite swarms in the Arizona region and encourages regular termite inspections in Tucson.

The Griffin Pest Blog had a great post on 10 bed bug truths and myths

The Bug Busters USA Blog had a great post on Pest Quest for Kids.

The Myers Pest Blog posted a great article on the findings of the comprehensive global bedbug study.

Pete Grasso featured the Al Hoffer Blog on the Keeping it Simple Blog a few weeks ago.

Broward County dengue case raises mild concern

August 16, 2010

With confirmation of the first locally acquired dengue fever case in Broward County, South Florida health officials Friday urged people not to worry — but they also ramped up efforts to control the offending mosquito.

Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of the Broward Health Department, confirmed the new case. She would not reveal the patient’s identity or residence.

“The individual, who has fully recovered, reported no out-of-county travel in the two weeks prior to becoming ill,” she said, adding that residents should take some precautions. “People should not be worried . . . we all need to take steps to avoid mosquito-borne diseases.”

In Broward, mosquito control officers said prevention efforts would include spraying pesticides from trucks; in Miami-Dade, officers said residents should empty standing water from outdoor and indoor containers.

Dengue fever has been on the rise in Florida in the last two years — the first appearance of the disease in the state in 40 years, health officials have said.

Key West has reported 53 cases of locally acquired dengue fever in 2009 and 2010. All other cases in Florida — there were two in Leon County and an earlier one in Broward — were found in victims who contracted the disease in Key West. No cases have been confirmed in Miami-Dade County.

The fact that the disease in the new Broward case was acquired locally means it apparently was contracted from the bite of a mosquito that had bitten another Broward resident who was infected, health experts said.

The Broward dengue fever case was from the Type 3 strain of dengue, meaning it did not come from Key West, where the cases are the Type 1 strain.

Having the painful disease passed from one individual to another locally might suggest the disease is becoming endemic — meaning it occurs widely in a local area, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s early in the investigation, and we don’t have all the answers,” said Carina Blackmore, a mosquito-disease specialist with the Florida Department of Health. “We’re looking for additional cases and trying to eliminate the infection in the mosquito population to reduce the number of people exposed.”

She said health officials are sending samples from the new case to the CDC dengue fever clinic in Puerto Rico for genetic testing to see if they can discover its country of origin.

Dr. Gary Clark, a mosquito-disease expert with the USDA Research Service, said it’s too early to label the disease a serious problem in South Florida.

“There may be sporadic cases here and there, but I don’t expect anything like an epidemic,” he said.

Clark spent years in the CDC’s main dengue fever clinic in Puerto Rico, where a dengue epidemic was declared in March with more than 2,000 cases.

On Friday, experts were debating how best to stop the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the dengue virus from one human to others.

Broward Mosquito Control director Joseph Marhefka said his staff is doing extra spraying in the neighborhood of the person who contracted the virus.

“We’re stepping it up there to knock down the chain of transmission of the virus. And we’re setting mosquito traps to see if the mosquito population there is higher,” he said.

In Miami-Dade, Mosquito Control Director Sandra Fisher said she is not increasing spraying.

“The dengue mosquito is not controlled by spraying, regardless of the images we saw on TV news of the [Broward] trucks going out,” she said. “It’s not how we would respond to an outbreak of dengue here.”

Mosquitoes that carry dengue fever live very close to humans, who make up 95 percent of the blood meals that keep them alive, Fisher said. The mosquitoes live in flower pots, birdbaths, old tires and other containers that fill with water during rains. They try to get inside houses to breed in vases, pet dishes, even bottle tops, she said.

Spray from trucks doesn’t reach those areas, she said, and the way to stop the mosquitoes is to empty all such containers. For containers too big to empty, homeowners can buy commercial larvicides at home improvement stores, she said.

Symptoms of dengue fever include a fever above 101 degrees, severe headache and pain behind the eyes and in the bones, nausea and vomiting and a rash. Nicknamed “breakbone fever,” the disease has no vaccine. Doctors mostly treat its symptoms with pain killers. It is seldom fatal, although a more severe strain, dengue hemorrhagic fever, is more dangerous. No case of the more severe strain has been reported in the United States.

Read more:

Mosquito Control Services ~ Al Hoffer’s

Last chance to get your account credited $5 and be entered into our drawing!

August 13, 2010

Today is your last chance to participate in our survey and get your account credited $5. In addition, it’s your last day to take the survey for your shot at the $100 Visa gift card!

South Florida Bee Control

August 12, 2010

Florida Man Survives Killer Bee Attack and Returns to Work

While Ralph St. Peter described it as a cartoon, some would say it was more like a horror movie. A swarm of angry bees stung the 44-year-old tree trimmer as he was removing an old tree in Safety Harbor, Florida.

“It was horrible. I had to keep my hands over my eyes,” St. Peter said. “I’m trying to tell the guys on the ground what to do, but every time I’d open my mouth my mouth would get full of bees and I’d have to spit more bees out.”

St. Peter was rushed to the hospital. Doctors, nurses, and even his wife plucked 500 stingers from head-to-toe.

St. Peter was believed to have been stung by Africanized bees, but beekeeper Jonathan Fisher says it is too early to tell.

“To determine what type of bee they are, you have to actually send the bees to Tallahassee,” said Fisher. “They actually do genetic testing on them.”

Fisher says it doesn’t take much for a bee attack to turn deadly.

“It varies on the human being,” said Fisher. “If someone is allergic to stings it could only take one sting.”

Alex Delarosa removes beehives for a living and says loud noise will trigger an attack; so can a human scent released during a bee sting. Experts say it is like a pheromone alarm, telling the colony they are under attack.

“If they smell the pheromone, it’s like a target,” explained Delarosa. “They could smell it and if the hive is nearby most of the time … the whole hive will come after you.”

While no one wants to ever be attacked by a swarm of bees, Fisher hopes the public respects and remembers how important bees are to our ecosystem.

“We’ve got to have them to [pollinate],” said Fisher, “and of course everybody loves the honey.”

The best ways to avoid a bee attack include heading for indoor shelter, staying out of water because bees will wait until a person comes up for air, and never swatting at the bees, which just makes them angrier.

Florida Bee Control Services

Take our survey get a chance at an $100 gift card!

August 10, 2010

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