Posts Tagged ‘Best pest control in Florida’

Pest Alert

May 25, 2011

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Alerts for May:

Top 10 Bloodsuckers: Bedbug

May 20, 2011

A count down of the Top 10 Bloodsuckers: #3: Bedbug ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBwBgbLAMiM

News from AL Hoffer’s Termite Lawn Pest

May 6, 2011

News from AL Hoffer’s Termite Lawn Pest Services in South Florida

10 Most Diabolical Creepy Crawlies On Earth

April 28, 2011

10 Most Diabolical Creepy Crawlies On Earth

by Karl Fabricius

Electron_microscope_photo_of_a_Flea_86_times_magnificationPhoto:
Photo: RBirtles

Evil, diabolical call them what you will, the wingless microscopic or near microscopic critters we’ve gathered together here are a veritable roll-call of the repulsive and the abhorrent. Fleas, lice, ticks, mites and bedbugs make up the minuscule menagerie, and alongside the mug shots we’ve endeavoured to explain what it is each featured pest does to us that makes it equally if not more repugnant than it looks. Feeling itchy yet? These little guys are certainly getting bloated.

10. Bedbug: 4–5 mm long

Bed_bug_bites_and_sucks_up_bloodPhoto:
Photo via Alternative Health Journal

Ever been bitten by Bedbugs? Well, it isn’t pretty; in fact it’s excruciating. Feeding on the blood of humans and other mammals, these night-time nasties get their name from their preferred habitat of mattresses, bed frames, sofas and other furniture, and are often picked up in hotels. Although visible to the naked eye, they’re masters at moving undetected and hiding out of sight in nooks and crannies. They reach their host by crawling or by climbing the walls to the ceiling and jumping down, paratrooper style, on feeling a heat wave.

Elusive menace: Bedbug
Cimex_lectularius_the_common_bedbug_from_slides_at_the_University_of_EdinburghPhoto:
Photo: Adam Cuerden

Like fleas, Bedbugs are attracted by warmth and CO2. Once landed on their host, they pierce the skin with two tubes, one of which injects saliva while the other sucks up blood. The bites cannot usually be felt until much later, when the welts caused are often accompanied by a severe itching as the skin reacts to the anaesthetic injected. Stress, insomnia, and in rare cases nausea are among the reactions to Bedbug infestations, which are undergoing a global resurgence. Infected? The thermal death point for these insect horrors is 45°C.

Infest! Bedbug cases are on the rise
blood_fed_Cimex_lectularius_bed_bugsPhoto:
Photo: A.L. Szalanski

9. Cat Flea: 1.5–3.3 mm long

cat_flea_in_a_microscope_as_a_modelPhoto:
Photo: gucic

Like other fleas, the Cat Flea – one of the most widespread on earth – is an insect with mouthparts modified for piercing skin and sucking blood – to distinctly itchy effect. Housecats are its choice host, but it also commonly infests dogs, and will bite humans – albeit without being able to breed on us. A few Cat Fleas are unlikely to cause much harm unless their host is allergic to substances in their saliva, but they can transmit other parasites and infections to pets and humans including murine typhus and tapeworm. Nasty.

Flee! It’s the Cat Flea
Cat_Flea_head_showing_small_round_ocellus_(simple_eye)_Magnification_Approx_X225Photo:
Photo: Used with permission from the University of Bath

8. Human Flea: 1.5–3.3 mm long

slide_mounted_human_flea_Pulex irritansPhoto:
Photo: David Walker www.micscape.org

Despite its name, the Human Flea will gleefully infest a range of mammals and birds. Like all fleas, its hind legs are adapted for jumping about 130 times its own body height; its tough body is able to withstand great pressure; and it is compressed, allowing ease of movement through hairs, feathers or clothes. An adult flea’s number one objective is to find blood so that it can mate. Human Fleas can also act as ‘middlemen’ hosts for parasitic flatworms and tapeworms. No need to be a good host to these agile little suckers.

Up close and personal: Human Flea
Electron_microscope_photo_of_a_Flea_86_times_magnificationPhoto:
Photo: RBirtles

7. Oriental Rat Flea: 1.5–3.3 mm long

Plague_infected_male_Xenopsylla_cheopis_28_days_after_feeding_on_an_inoculated_mousePhoto:
Photo: CDC/Dr. Pratt

Although a parasite primary of rats, the Oriental Rat Flea is also a dark agent of potentially deadly diseases like bubonic plague. Transmission occurs when the offending flea first bites an infected rodent and then a human. The unsavoury pathogens are spread due to the way the flea’s mouth functions, squirting saliva or partly digested blood into the bite at the same time as sucking up blood. It should be jumping out at you by now that the Rat Flea – onetime bringer of the Black Death – can be much more than just an irritating nuisance.

Harbinger of disease: Rat Flea
Scanning_Electron_Micrograph_of_a_FleaPhoto:
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / Janice Carr

6. Scabies Mite: 0.2–0.45 mm long

Sarcoptes_scabei_under_the_microscopePhoto:
Photo: Kalumet

The name Sarcoptes Scabiei is a bit of a giveaway of the sin this critter commits as it quite literally gets under our skin: the skin infection scabies. The fertilised female of this pernicious parasite tunnels into the skin, laying eggs in the ever-lengthening S-shaped burrow she digs using her mouthparts and blade-like front legs. The larvae then hatch in 3-10 days, climb out onto the skin’s surface, roam about the place, and turn into nymphs, before maturing into adult Mites to begin the cycle all over again.

Under the microscope: Scabies Mite
Sarcoptes_scabei_Scabies_mitePhoto:
Photo via liberty4you

All this moving about on and inside the skin causes some pretty intense itching, but it’s the presence of the eggs that seals the scabies deal, bringing about a massive allergic reaction and yet more often unbearable itching. The resultant scratching of this rash can severely damage the skin, particularly through the introduction of infective bacteria, which may lead to nasty secondary infections like impetigo. Making matters worse, Scabies Mites are easily spread through the house by skin contact with carriers, clothing and bedding.

Scabby? Could be Sarcoptes Scabiei
Photo_taken_at_100x_magnification_through_a_microscope_of_a_scabies_mite_(Sarcoptes_scabiei)Photo:
Photo: Joel Mills

5. Body Louse: 1–3 mm long

body_louse_microscopic_imagePhoto:
Photo via Impact Pest Control

It’s time to deal with the true cooties, beginning with Body Lice. While indistinguishable to look at from Head Lice – indeed the two interbreed under lab conditions – in their natural state Body Lice have evolved to attach their eggs to clothes. These dress rather hair styled insect parasites are not only an annoyance due to the intense itching they cause, but are also vectors of diseases such as epidemic typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever, whose recurring symptoms include fever and chills. If in doubt get boiling your linen.

Engorged: Body Louse on human skin after blood feeding
A_female_human_body_louse_(Pediculus_humanus_corporis)_on_human_skin_after_blood_feedingPhoto:
Photo courtesy of Richard Webb

4. Head Louse: 1–3 mm long

Pediculus_capitis_Human_Head_LousePhoto:
Photo: Department of Biology, Gettysburg College

Next up is the Head Louse, the foul parasite that spends its entire life on the human scalp feeding solely on our blood and laying eggs called nits. This light-shunning vampire is so specialised, its stumpy legs are unable to even walk capably on flat surfaces. Its mouthparts are highly adapted for piercing skin and bloodsucking – when it may also excrete dark red faeces. Nice. Infesting new hosts usually comes about via head-to-head contact. About the only nice thing you can say about the Head Louse is that it is not a known transmitter of disease.

Itchy, flaky scalp? Male Head Louse
Male_of_head_louse_under_the_microscopePhoto:
Photo: KostaMumcuoglu

3. Pubic Louse: 1.1–1.8 mm long

Pediculus_humanus_Human_Body_LousePhoto:
Photo: Creepy Dreadful Wonderful Parasites

Pubic Lice, commonly known as crabs, are infamous for infesting the – ahem – human genitals, though they may also live on other areas with hair, including eyelashes, armpits and beards. While sharing the flattened body and claw-like legs of its cousins – ideal for crawling from hair to hair – the Pubic Louse is otherwise distinct in appearance and more distantly related. Still, this is one mean sucker as those infested will testify – albeit discreetly. Infection usually comes through sexual intercourse. To ensure full removal of nits, shaving is advised.

Nice claws: Pubic Louse or crab
Pthius_pubis__crab_lousePhoto:
Photo: PHIL

2. Sheep Tick: approx 5mm

Ixodus_ricinus_5x_sheep_tickPhoto:
Photo: Richard Bartz

Last to grace the stage, it’s the not so loveable ticks, represented first up by the Sheep Tick. Small arachnids similar to mites, ticks are external parasites, living by feeding on the blood of various animals as well as humans. Like others of their kind, Sheep Ticks are found lurking in tall grass and shrubs where they lie in wait. They then attach themselves to passing hosts by inserting their cutting mandibles and feeding tubes into the skin, with backward pointing teeth-like spikes acting as an anchor. The Sheep Tick is an agent Lyme disease in humans.

Tick love: Male Sheep Tick copulating with a much larger female
male_Ixodes_ricinus_tick_(smaller)_shown_copulating_with_a_female_tick_(larger)Photo:
Photo: WHO

1. Deer Tick: approx 5mm

Adult_deer_tick,_on_skin.Photo:
Photo: University of Wisconsin

However, the Deer Tick that is by far the most notorious vector for Lyme Disease, a condition transmitted by the bite of infected ticks whose more serious symptoms may involve the joints, heart and central nervous system. Given its name due to its habit of parasitizing the white-tailed deer, the female Deer Tick latches onto a host and drinks its blood for several days, then once engorged, drops off and overwinters on the forest floor. Naturally this little glutton has a taste for humans too. A suitably disgusting, not to say dangerous, critter on which to end the post.

Ticked all the boxes? Deer Tick
A_deer_tick_Ixodes_damminiPhoto:

See to Believe: Insect Store

April 20, 2011

Florida Pest Termite & Lawn Services

February 25, 2011

AL Hoffer’s Pest Termite & Lawn has been serving South Florida since 1975! We have been providing superior Florida lawn care, Florida pest control, Florida termite control, and Pest inspections for over 30 years!  Now you can follow Al Hoffer’s on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, and other social media sites for your entire pest, termite, and lawn care needs! Also be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed while you’re here. We thank you for visiting our blog and encourage you to come back real soon!

New ‘super termite’ moving in

February 23, 2011

Florida’s list of non-native bugs causing problems continues to grow, including one nicknamed the “super termite,” also known as the Formosan subterranean termite.

So far the termite hasn’t hit St. Johns County, but it has arrived in Putnam and Duval counties.

“They were first discovered (in the U.S.) in South Florida near Hallandale and then they were discovered in the Panhandle around Fort Walton. From there they’ve just moved in,” said Bruce McCowan, an entomologist with Florida Pest Control in Gainesville.

The Hallandale discovery was made in 1980. University of Florida researchers estimate the termites were actually there five to 10 years earlier.

The Formosan termite has been found in areas around the state in Ocala in Marion County and Leon County and well as Putnam and Duval counties.

The good news about the termite is that “they don’t seem to travel very well. It’s unfortunate if you’ve got them. It’s fortunate they don’t spread very well,” McCowan said.

The Formosan subterranean termite is actually a native of Southern China that was transported to Formosa, Taiwan, where it picked up its name. From there it went to Japan prior to the 1600s. It has slowly spread since, with the first colonies in the U.S. found in the 1960s in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina.

The South is likely to remain the major target of the Formosan termites since they prefer warmer climates and their eggs don’t hatch at temperatures below 68 degrees.

McCowan said the Formosan termite is “very similar in habits” to native subterranean termites that plague Florida. While their appetites are about the same what’s different is the size of the termite colonies. A subterranean colony can have up to 500,000 termites. The Formosa termite colony can have several million termites.

“There’s that many more mouths in the same amount of space. They really do damage, it’s just the sheer number that do the damage,” he said.

Treatments are available.

“It’s something you don’t want to try yourself. As professionals we do have the ability to control them for you,” he said.

Tenting is rarely needed, he said, noting that’s for dry wood termites, a different breed. Soil treatments are the most common means for controlling the Formosa termites.

“The peculiar thing about Formosa termites is that once they get above ground, if they find moisture from a roof leak or a leaking pipe, they can survive even a soil treatment,” said McCowan.

About Formosan termites

* Sometimes referred to as the “Super Termite”

* Resemble the native subterranean species.

* Colonies can have several million termites

* Found in structures including boats and high-rise condominiums.

* Most aggressive and destructive timber pests in the U.S.

* Also attack non-cellulose materials including plaster and asphalt looking for food and moisture.

* As of 2010, found in Alabama, California (an isolated infestation in San Diego County), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Source: www.floridabugs.com and http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/termites/formosan_termite.htm

Read More: http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2011-02-22/new-super-termite-moving

December newsletter

December 8, 2010

Be sure you check out the December newsletter!

AL Hoffer’s is on social sites-check us out!

May 5, 2010

AL Hoffer’s Pest Termite & Lawn has been serving South Florida since 1975! We have been providing superior Florida lawn care, Florida pest control, Florida termite control, and Pest inspections for over 30 years!  Now you can follow Al Hoffer’s on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, and other social media sites for your entire pest, termite, and lawn care needs! Also be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed while you’re here. We thank you for visiting our blog and encourage you to come back real soon!

Keep Spiders Out!

March 22, 2010
To prevent spiders from entering your house, take these steps:
  • Seal home foundation cracks and other access holes
  • Inspect window and door screens for good. seals that keep out spiders and the insects they prey on.
  • Keep areas around home foundations free of clutter.
Manage spiders using these tips:
  • Indoors, regular housecleaning provides adequate spider control.
  • Vacuum up the spider and its web.
  • Prevent clutter buildup that can provide hiding places.
  • Remove spider webs from the exterior of the house with a broom or high pressure hose.
  • Indoors, squash spiders or capture them in a jar and release them outdoors.

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/QT/spiderscard.html