Posts Tagged ‘Florida Termite inspection’

Pest Alert

May 25, 2011

Subscribe to the Pest Alert-L listserv to receive brief notices of additions to Pest Alert sent directly to your mail box.
Click here for details on subscribing and UNsubscribing.

Alerts for May:

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

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)

Swarming Eastern Sub Termites

May 10, 2011

Florida Termite Inspection

The Happiest Bug You’ll Ever See

April 26, 2011

Mantis

See to Believe: Insect Store

April 20, 2011

South Florida Customs stops 5 insect pests never seen in U.S.

April 15, 2011

South Florida Customs stops 5 insect pests never seen in U.S.

MIAMI (AP) — Customs inspectors in Miami have intercepted five pests that had never been seen before in the U.S. during this year’s first three months.

The list includes a longhorn beetle found in railroad ties from Argentina, a leafhopper in a mint shipment from Colombia and a moth in a container of fresh okra from Honduras.

The bugs were found by Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport and Port Everglades in Broward County.

Some of these insects can cause agricultural or environmental damage and they often have no natural enemies in the U.S. Officials say it’s particularly important to keep problem insects away from the environmentally sensitive Everglades, which has recently been invaded by nonnative Burmese pythons.

Bug Bites: Which Ones You Should Worry About

April 12, 2011

Bug Bites: Which Ones You Should Worry About

AP/The Huffington Post By LAURAN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON — It’s that time of year when the bugs emerge to bug us.

Some can pose real threats – Lyme disease from tiny ticks, West Nile virus from mosquitoes, or life-threatening allergic reactions to bee stings. But most bug bites in this country are an itchy nuisance.

How itchy or big the welt depends in part on your own skin, how much of the chemical histamine it harbors. Yes, some people really are mosquito magnets. And no, most of the bites people blame on spiders aren’t from them at all.

In fact, chances are you won’t be able to tell the culprit unless you catch it in the act. Yet doctors and entomologists alike field calls asking, “What bit me?”

“People call up really bummed out,” says spider expert Jonathan Coddington of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, who points to just two worrisome types in the U.S., the black widow and brown recluse family. Spider phobia, he says, is “out of all proportion to actual risk.”

It’s not uncommon to have a large skin reaction to any bite or sting, and Dr. Reid Blackwelder, a family physician from East Tennessee State University, sees a couple of them a week in the early spring and summer.

“Most of the time, what people need is reassurance,” he says.

To explore the most bothersome biters, Coddington offered the AP a behind-the-scenes look at some of the millions of specimens in the Smithsonian’s entomology collections that scientists use to identify and study insects and arachnids.

Mosquito bites probably are the most common. Sure we’ve been told to watch out for them at dusk and dawn. But the Asian tiger mosquito – a fairly recent immigrant that has spread to 30 states since arriving hidden in some tires in Texas – bites all day long. It’s a more aggressive, harder-to-swat version than native species, Coddington says.

If it seems every mosquito’s after you, well, there are about 3,500 species around the world and Coddington says most don’t bite humans, preferring other animals instead. But those who do can be attracted by sweat, alcohol, perfumes and dark clothing.

Bedbugs are the latest headline-maker. Scientists can’t explain why they’ve suddenly rebounded in many U.S. cities after all but vanishing in the 1940s and `50s. But once they’re in a building, they’re famously hard to eradicate. You won’t feel their needle-like bite, but you might see a line of red dots in the morning.

Not so with horse flies and black flies. They cause painful welts, and they’ll chase any blood meal. And yellow jackets may be a bane of summer picnics, but they’re most aggressive in the fall, the reproductive mating season, Coddington notes.

Most people face no risk other than infection from scratching, but there are some important exceptions:

_Blacklegged tick species, commonly called deer ticks, that are as small as poppy seeds can transmit Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted more than 35,000 confirmed or probable cases of Lyme in 2009, the latest data available. These ticks are most active from May through July, and are most common in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest and Pacific coast.

If a tick’s been biting for less than 24 hours, chances of infection are small. So do a daily tick check. And the CDC recommends using insect repellent with DEET.

Antibiotics easily cure most people of Lyme. But other than Lyme’s hallmark round, red rash, early symptoms are vague and flu-like. People who aren’t treated can develop arthritis, meningitis and some other serious illnesses.

Different tick species around the country can transmit additional diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tickborne relapsing fever, and STARI or Southern tick-associated rash illness.

_West Nile virus is the main mosquito concern in the U.S. Although cases have dropped in the last decade, the CDC recorded 45 deaths from West Nile last year. Severe symptoms fortunately are rare but include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, muscle weakness and paralysis, and the neurological effects sometimes are permanent.

To avoid mosquitoes, the CDC advises wearing insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Empty standing water where mosquitoes breed.

_At least 40 people a year die from allergic reactions to stings from bees or other insects, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Potentially life-threatening reactions occur in fewer than 1 percent of children and 3 percent of adults.

But seek care quickly for signs of an emergency, Blackwelder stresses: Swelling on the face or neck, shortness of breath or feeling dizzy. People who know they’re allergic should carry an EpiPen.

_Bites from a black widow or brown recluse can require medical care, although fatalities are incredibly rare. You may not feel the black widow’s bite, but within about an hour pain spreads through the abdomen, with cramping or rigid abdominal muscles. Poison centers stock antivenom, but most people do fine with muscle relaxants and other care, says Blackwelder, a spokesman for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

A brown recluse bite eventually forms an ulcerlike lesion that can get fairly large but usually requires just good wound care, he says. But other infections can be mistaken for these bites, so Coddington says bringing in the suspect spider helps identification.

Ant & Termite Institute

March 24, 2011

BASF (The world’s leading chemical company) has recently launched a couple of very useful, informational websites for consumers. The Ant Institute is a site dedicated to relaying vital ant control information to home owners. The site features great tips on how to avoid an ant infestation, and also contains facts about colony behavior, and the biology of ants. Another cool aspect of the site is it has an ask the expert feature, which is always a useful resource. Remember, you can always ask us about your pest & termite control questions.

The other site BASF recently launched is The Termite Institute. The site has many similar aspects as the ant institute does except the focus is on termite inspection & control. The site provides homeowners with many answers to questions that people constantly have about these common invaders. You can find the answers to questions such as…

Can termites tunnel through cement?

Does homeowners’ insurance cover the cost of termite damage?

Can I treat my termite infestation myself?

You can also find a useful termite identification chart to help you identify this particularly annoying pest. Be sure to let us know what other pest and termite control resources you use when looking for a professional to protect your home and famil

March News

March 15, 2011

March news from Al Hoffer’s Termite-Lawn-Pest