Posts Tagged ‘Boca Raton’

Florida Do It Yourself Pest Control Store

May 23, 2011

At our Melbourne pest control and lawn services store, not only can you get professional products, but you can also get advice from our professionally trained technicians. They will give you information like how, what, where, and why to apply different products for different pests.

Florida DO It Yourself Pest Termite Control & Lawn Care

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Bug factory to help Everglades fight plant invaders

May 17, 2011

Bug factory to help Everglades fight plant invaders

By Shurna Robbins

MIAMI | Fri May 13, 2011 5:37pm EDT

(Reuters) – Scientists are planning to scale up deployment of laboratory-bred insects to battle invading plant species that threaten to throttle parts of Florida’s ecologically fragile Everglades wetlands.

The plant- and seed-eating bugs, which include moths, mites and weevils, act as biological control agents — basically environmental gamekeepers — against the invaders.

They are to be produced in their hundreds of thousands at a new research laboratory planned jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District.

The new “bug factory” facility is scheduled to open on September 2012 and aims to saturate areas infested with invasive plant species in a $16 million program over 20 years.

This is considered a modest investment compared to the untold billions in environmental damage that can be inflicted by the nonnative invaders.

While herbicides and physical eradication have been used for decades, scientists consider mass-produced biocontrol bugs a more effective weapon

“The goal (for each insect type) is to control 90 percent of the proliferation,” said USDA’s lead scientist for the project, Ted Center. “It won’t eradicate the invasive species, but it will do a lot of the work for us.”

The Everglades wetlands at the southern end of the Florida peninsula are one of the United States’ most famous natural attractions.

Covering two million acres and designated as an endangered World Heritage site by UNESCO, they are a mosaic of marshland and tree islands, famous for crocodiles, manatees, panthers, and exotic birds, including plants and animals found nowhere else.

In recent decades, the Everglades ecosystem has been weakened by growing urbanization and polluted run-off from nearby farming and cattle operations.

“When you are flying over the Everglades, you will see houses and malls just on the other side of the levees,” said LeRoy Rodgers of the South Florida Water Management District.

HAVOC TO THE HABITAT

While public attention has focused on the more visible invasive animal species, such as the Burmese Python that has tangled with local alligators, experts say the plant invaders can cause just as much, if not more, havoc to the habitat.

One leafy invader is the fast-growing Old World Climbing Fern which creeps up trees, blankets land with vegetation and accelerates the spread of wildfires.

“Some tree islands have collapsed from the weight of the ferns,” said Center, adding that one biocontrol agent, an Australian moth, has achieved some limited success in pushing back the plant.

Another creeping interloper is the Brazilian pepper, which has infested over 700,000 acres of public and private lands.

Some 1,400 of more than 25,000 nonnative plants imported into Florida have established populations in the wild, with nearly 70 identified as ecosystem-damaging plants, according to research studies.

The USDA has targeted 11 invasive plants as serious threats to the Everglades.

Scientists believe the trespassing species come from the hundreds of exotic plants imported into nurseries in Florida every year.

The nurseries are virtually unregulated, catering to an extensive gardening market that must meet demand for new varieties of ornamental plants.

Some of the exotic plants propagate into the wild tropical wetlands, where they have no natural predators, said Center.

Pushing back against the invaders can take much longer.

Searching for an insect predator for the Brazilian pepper, the USDA is three years into the hunt for a winning biocontrol bug with scientists making several trips to Brazil, collecting 12 species to be used to build lab colonies for testing.

Due to a “glacially slow” regulatory process, it can take several more years for a biocontrol insect to be released into the Everglades. The period from identifying an invasive species through to its eventual reduction can run to about 20 years.

U.S. scientists are also traveling to China, Australia and Argentina to look for potential biobug gamekeepers.

(Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Jerry Norton)

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!

Freeze won’t kill chinch bugs

February 7, 2011

Freeze won’t kill chinch bugs

By Tom MacCubbin

Q: How much cold weather is required to kill chinch bugs? I heard South Florida residents have to treat all year long?

A: It’s wishful thinking to expect the cold to control most lawn pests including the chinch bugs. South Florida residents may have to stay alert for these pests year-round but residents of Central Florida and northward normally get a break during a cold winter.

Chinch bugs activity is greatly reduced during the cooler weather and controls are seldom needed until spring. They do survive even the freezes and can be expected to start feeding in local lawn around the middle of March. As soon as the consistently warm weather arrives it would be a good time to apply an insecticide treatment if these pests are a persistent problem in your lawn.

Q: I purchased tree seedlings during Florida Arbor Day and I would like to grow them in large containers as I am not ready to plant them in the ground. What kind of soil mixture should I use?

A: Select a good potting mix found at your local garden center. This mixture should be free of weeds, insects, nematodes and similar pests that might affect the young trees. A good potting mixture should be loose and well-drained to give trees the best growing conditions. Many also have up to a 3-month supply of nutrients to help encourage new growth.

Ryegrass cannot take Florida’s heat

Q: Can ryegrass be grown in the winter, spring and summer? Is it a hardy grass?

A: Ryegrass flourishes during the winter weather but it cannot take Florida’s heat. Lawns seeded during the cooler months are still green and may need frequent mowings even after the recent frosts and freezes. It seems like a miracle grass until around mid March when the heat returns and ryegrass begins to decline. Most temporary ryegrass lawns are sown between November and February.

Is it safe to prune dead stems, leaves?

Q: Frosts and freezes have shriveled the hibiscus, bougainvillea and other plants in my yard. In the past I have waited to do the pruning until new growth started but I would damage or remove these at the same time. Can I trim off the dead portions now?

A: Some may argue that brown stems and leaves give plants protection from future cold but it’s hard to believe those few shrived portions are of much benefit. As you noted, more plant damage to the new shoots might be done if you wait until the warmer weather returns. Most gardeners are busy trimming off the brown and reshaping their plants at this time. You probably should too.

Bed Bug Registry

February 3, 2011

Be sure you check out the Bed Bug Registry before booking your next vacation. http://www.bedbugregistry.com allows users to get online and post bedbug sightings on the web in order to alert others as to where bed bug infestations are. A great tool for any traveler.

http://bedbugregistry.com/location/FL/

Lodgings in Broward, Central Florida lead state in 2010 bedbug violations

January 27, 2011

Lodgings in Broward, Central Florida lead state in 2010 bedbug violations

For the Gipson family of Harvey, La., last summer’s trip to the Liki Tiki Village condo resort in Winter Garden is one that they will never forget.

“Pretty much all of them went to the doctor and got creams,” Archie Gipson said about eight of his dozen relatives, including a 9-month-old baby, who vacationed together and who, he said, were bitten by bedbugs. “No one got fever, but the bites were kind of severe.”

Bedbugs are persistent parasites that have likely been around as long as the human hosts from whom they suck blood. Since 2000, there has been a resurgence of bedbugs around the world. The bugs’ resistance to pesticides, international travel and the growth in human population all have been blamed.
But no expert can pinpoint the reason for the parasites’ defiant prominence.

They prompt headlines when they bite people in movie theaters and clothing stores or hitchhike in children’s backpacks.

In 2010, inspectors from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation found bedbugs in 68 accommodations, accounting for just 0.18 percent of 36,947 licensed hotels, motels, apartments and condos, an agency spokeswoman said.

In 2009, when there were slightly fewer lodgings, 30 establishments, or 0.08 percent of 36,866 licensed facilities, had bedbug violations.

People, who can carry the bugs in their clothing, laptop computers and luggage, brought them to Florida counties with the most popular destinations: Broward (with 13 establishments cited) and Orange County (10 accommodations with bedbug violations) led the state with confirmed parasite infestations.

And no lodging, whether fancy, family-friendly or budget, is immune from the scourge.

In New York City, even the Waldorf- Astoria on Park Avenue has been stricken by bedbug infestations and is reportedly being sued by customers who claim to have been bitten by the parasites.

The glamorous landmark has hosted President Barack Obama, as well as other heads of state, royalty and celebrities. A spokesman for Hilton Worldwide, which owns the Waldorf-Astoria, said that for hotel management, “the safety and comfort of our guests are our top priority” and that the hotel “maintains high levels of vigilance and performs regularly scheduled inspections.”

“If the Waldorf can get ’em, anybody can get ’em,” said Allen Fugler, executive vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association. “Bedbugs are not respecters of property or prestige. They are equal-opportunity offenders.”

While Broward leads the state in bedbug violations, Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said of the county’s approximately 565 hospitality business owners: “Unfortunately, any location that hosts world travelers is susceptible. Broward hoteliers, many of which carry the top flags in the hospitality industry, are aware of the global issue and are diligent in their operating procedures to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and fix any problems that might arise.”

The global issue is fueling “a steady number of calls for support,” Fugler said of the growth industry for the pesticide control group’s 800 members.

“It’s good, steady business, at a higher level than two years ago,” he said. Those were the days when the state’s exterminators did not even report doing bedbug work, Fugler says. “Now there is a segment of the industry dedicated to it.”

Specialists use tactics like bedbug-sniffing dogs and heat treatments for building interiors to bake the bugs to death.

Fugler thinks international travel is the most probable cause, considering that Broward and Orange counties attract tourists from around the world.

“Aircraft containers are likely prospects, with luggage adjacent to each other in dark holds for a long time,” Fugler said. “Because aircraft are not kept on the ground for long, with luggage holds there are not large opportunities to do treatment, and holds are not the most frequently thought of places to treat. More often, experts are treating the galley for cockroaches because of food and beverage service.”

Though travelers rely on websites like bedbugregistry.com to see if hotel rooms and apartment buildings are infested, Fugler says, “those sites are consumer-driven, not monitored, not verified and information cannot be considered conclusive or authoritative.”

But such sites can give peace of mind, along with searching a hotel bed’s headboard, mattress seams and the 8-foot floor area surrounding it for the bugs, blood spots and fecal matter, as Fugler advises.

And if the telltale bites appear on your body, or the bugs scurry in your luggage or bedroom, experts advise you to forgo home remedies and use a licensed pest-management professional with experience in the identification and treatment of bedbugs.

That’s what community college instructor Archie Gipson did after his family’s long, itchy trip home to Louisiana.

“We had an exterminator come to two houses as a precaution,” Gipson said. “Total it all up, it was close to three or four grand, with the exterminators and doctors.”

He called last summer’s trip “a lost vacation.”

“It killed the whole spirit of the thing,” he said. “We were talking about that for weeks.”

He said that he asked Liki Tiki, which did not respond to the Sun Sentinel’s request for comment, to make amends.

“It’s a beautiful place. You wouldn’t expect that to happen because of all the staff they have on duty,” Gipson said. “Seems like housekeeping should have found it.”

He said he belongs to a time share, and that Liki Tiki was the family’s destination to enjoy Walt Disney World Resort or the Universal Orlando Resort every two years for the past 15 years. But Orange County won’t be the family’s 2012 destination.

“We would always go there, but I’m going to another [time share] instead near Daytona, because it’s brand new and will be near the beach,” Gipson said. “The kids don’t want to be bit no more.”

Florida Bed Bug Control

Bed Bug Registry

January 24, 2011

Be sure you check out the Bed Bug Registry before booking your next vacation. www.bedbugregistry.com allows users to get online and post bedbug sightings on the web in order to alert others as to where bed bug infestations are. A great tool for any traveler.

Florida Bed Bug Control Experts