December News from Bug Busters USA

December 18th, 2014

December News from Bug Busters USA

Commercial Pest Control Services from Bug Busters USA

December 17th, 2014

Prevention is critical in protecting your business from a pest infestation. Below are just a few ways that your business can avoid pest infestations and the potential health and property threats that pests and rodents can pose.

  • “Pest-proof” your business by being vigilant of building maintenance needs
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your business, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation; install gutters or diverts, which will channel water away from the building.
  • Be sure your employees keep food sealed and stored properly.
  • Clean high-volume areas daily, such as public eating areas and kitchenettes, where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
  • Call a local pest control professional to inspect for pests and rodents, identify the problem and control the pest(s) using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.

Don’t Even Bother With Ultrasonic Bedbug Devices

December 16th, 2014

Don’t Bother With Ultrasonic Bedbug Devices

Ultrasonic devices sold to repel bedbugs are ineffective, a new study finds.

Many such devices have been marketed in recent years as ways to control insects such as mosquitoes, cockroaches and ants. Few of those products, however, have been demonstrated as being effective. New versions that are supposed to target bedbugs are now available.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Researchers K.M. Yturralde and R.W. Hofstetter tested four commercially available devices that claim to use sound to repel insect and mammal pests. They bought the devices online and followed manufacturers’ instructions.

A sound arena was created for each device, along with a control area with no sound. There were no significant differences in the number of bedbugs found in the sound or no-sound arenas, and bedbugs neither avoided nor were attracted to the arenas with the ultrasonic devices.

The devices may not have repelled or attracted bedbugs because they may not have produced the right combination of frequencies, the researchers concluded in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about bedbugs.

Bed bug control

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December 15th, 2014

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Rodent Infestations Signs

December 12th, 2014

Here are a few clues that rodents may be present in a home:

  1. Droppings: A trail of rodent droppings is typically found in kitchen cabinets and pantries, along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, and in boxes, bags and old furniture.
  2. Noises: Rodents often make scurrying sounds, especially at night, as they move about and nest.
  3. Gnaw marks: New gnaw marks tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
  4. Burrows: Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they are drawn to areas that are dark and secluded.
  5. Damaged food packages: House mice prefer to feed on cereals and seeds, while Norway rats prefer meat, fish and dry dog food.

Common Spiders You May See Around the House

December 11th, 2014

Common House Spider: These spiders don’t pose a health risk, but they can be quite a nuisance throughout the house. They spin a tangled web in upper corners, angles of window frames and around furniture.

Brown Recluse Spider: The bite from a brown recluse can cause a very painful ulcer. These spiders can be found in many undisturbed areas around the home, such as inside boxes, under furniture and in seldom-used clothing or shoes.

Black Widow Spider: Probably the most infamous species of spider, the black widow’s venom can have serious side effects, especially in children and the elderly. Widows often build nests in cluttered areas within garages, attics and basements.

Identifying common wild animal invaders

December 10th, 2014

Identifying common wild animal invaders

wildlife101While they might seem cute and cuddly scampering about in the great outdoors, wildlife presents a unique set of dangers if they try to make their homes inside ours. It can be very unnerving to discover wildlife in your home because one raccoon is a lot bigger than one ant, and animals can be more aggressive if they are frightened or feel threatened while trapped in an unfamiliar environment.

While many common pest-proofing techniques will keep out wildlife pests as well as insect pests, you should take several additional precautions to be sure your home is not attractive to wildlife. Opossums and raccoons can be attracted to garbage, so keeping trash in sealed bags and disposing of it regularly will reduce the chance that pests raid your garage or garbage cans. And cutting back tree limbs from the roofline is a good step to discourage squirrels from getting access to the attic.

Even when following steps to prevent wildlife, it is important to look for signs of a possible intrusion. These pests tend to be more of an issue in fall and winter as the animals search for a place to stay warm over the winter. Gnaw marks on wires, insulation, or walls, feces in the attic or garage and scurrying sounds in the walls can all be indicators of a wildlife pest infestation. Here is a guide to some of the most common critters that bother homeowners:

Bats

Bat

  • Appearance: Bats have hairy bodies and can vary in color from tan to black. They have four appendages. The front two are used as wings and all four are used for crawling. Different species are different sizes but the average adult bat is 2 3/16” to 7 ½” (5.5cm – 18.8 cm) in length with a wingspan anywhere from 6-15” (15.2cm – 38 cm).
  • Region: Bats occur throughout the U.S. except in colder regions where tree growth is limited.
  • Habitat: Where bats prefer to roost depends on the species, but all enjoy dark, secluded and protected areas that can include attics, churches, tree cavities or caves.
  • Threats: Having bats in a structure can pose several serious health threats to humans. Bats are known carriers of rabies in the U.S. and can infect other animals and humans. It is important to seek medical attention if you’ve had any unprotected contact with a bat. Bat droppings can also cause disease such as histoplasmosis, and bat mites and bat bugs may become common in a home with an infestation.
  • Unique fact: In many states, bats are protected mammals. Check with animal control or your local wildlife service for any regulations before bat-proofing your home.

How to control Ants

December 9th, 2014

What to do about ants in Atlanta Georgia | Bug Busters USA

A trained and licensed pest professional is the best person to make a recommendation based on the proper identification of a particular ant species and the threats they could pose to health and property. Also, homeowners may have a preference as to which treatment is used, so it is important that they have a detailed conversation with their pest control company.  The cost of the treatments can vary depending on the size of the infestation and the property being treated.

There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population.  The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, rinse and remove empty soda cans or other recyclables and mop/sweep the floors. Homeowners should also keep food in sealed containers and keep pet food/water dishes clean. Outside the home, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water such as birdbaths or kiddie pools. Finally, seal cracks and holes around the home to close entry points.

Insects are everywhere

December 8th, 2014
Insects are more numerous than any other animal, making up over 80% of all species. Estimates of the number of kinds of insects vary wildly, because new ones are being discovered all the time, but there are at least a million, possibly as many as ten million, which means that you could have an “Insect of the Month” calendar and not need to re-use a species for well over 80,000 years. Take that, pandas and kittens! At any one moment, say while you are reading this sentence, approximately 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects surround you in the world.

Insects are a mirror

Off-putting behaviors like consuming your mate after sex aside, insects seem to do much of what people do: they meet, mate, fight and part, and they do so with what looks like love or animosity. Ants tend aphids and scale insects as if they were tiny cattle. Bees convey the location of food using symbols. Unlike any other non-human animal, some insects live in sophisticated hierarchical societies, with specialized tasks assigned to different individuals and an ability to make collective decisions that favor the common good. They mirror most of our familiar behaviors.And yet they do all those things in stunningly different ways from humans, getting to what look like the same destinations without any of the same highway systems or modes of transport. That reflection we recognize is eerily superficial, because what drives the behaviors is not what drives our own. Underneath the maternal care, the language, the elaborate system of social favors given and returned, is a handful of nerve cells casually strung together in a few small clusters along the body wall. No cerebrum, no right and left hemispheres, not even that so-called “reptilian” brain part, the cerebellum. 

Insects are a window

Instead of a mirror, sometimes insects hold up a window, so that we can see through it and imagine what life with different ground rules. Insects wear their skeletons on the outside, and they insouciantly transform from egg to grub to gleaming adult in the space of days. Insects use their antennae to smell and hear in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend, with male moths detecting the odor of a receptive female from a single molecule released miles away. Some bees and butterflies can see in the ultraviolet range, giving them an array of colors we don’t have names for.All of that difference means that we can learn from insects without having to claim kinship so insistently, the way we do with the feathered and furred. To me that lack of identification with insects is precisely why we can look to them to gain insight into our own lives — we simply cannot anthropomorphize them into cute caricatures of humans. 

Insects are essential

We also keep coming back to insects because they are, however we may feel about them, extraordinarily important to the earth’s functioning as well as our own. Insects help aerate the soil by burrowing through it, and nourish it by leaving their droppings. They eat dead plants and animals that otherwise would clutter up the planet, and release the nutrients back to the soil. They control populations of other invertebrates and vertebrates alike, by eating them or their food or by making them sick. In turn, insects provide food for other organisms.

John Losey from Cornell University and Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation calculated the economic value of four crucial tasks performed by insects: pollination, recreation, dung burial, and pest control of animals that eat crops, including other insects. The total bill? Over $57 billion in the United States alone, and that just includes so-called “wild” insects, not domesticated honeybees or silkworms or other species that are reared commercially by people.

Insects are equal opportunity

Insects are the great equalizers. There is not a corner of the globe where people — rich, poor, old or young — have not had some encounter with insects, even if only to swat a mosquito or crush a cockroach. Because of that ubiquity, insects are the easiest portal to the animal kingdom, an inadvertent and often unwilling reminder that other creatures live here besides us, whether we want them to or not. Insects also provide a much more uplifting egalitarianism. If you want to learn about the natural world, but are too young or too poor or otherwise lack an opportunity to study the stars or put droplets of pond scum under a microscope, bugs are always there for you. I grew up in the middle of Los Angeles in a modest neighborhood without creeks or woods or much in the way of encouragement to do a project for the science fair. But I reared the fritillary butterflies that lived on a passion flower vine in our yard, year after year, never tiring of watching as the eggs hatched into threadlike caterpillars that grew and grew inside my jars, eventually hanging upside down from a stick and becoming a gaudy spangled adult. No special equipment necessary, no need to venture anywhere my mother would disapprove of or that cost any money at all. And the results were just as compelling, maybe more so, than if I’d had a telescope or a dissecting kit or a way to watch the social lives of wolves.

Insects are hidden

Despite all of the aforementioned virtues, it is undeniable that insects will never fall into the category of what biologists call “charismatic megafauna”, the large showy animals like elephants and eagles that attract the attention of the public and help make the case for conservationists. When whales are endangered, people want to pass legislation and protest in storm-tossed boats. When the Quino checkerspot butterfly is endangered, people chuckle, and that’s if they are feeling sympathetic. Yet this seemingly innocuous, easily overlooked quality of insects, belying the extraordinary activity going on under our noses, is exactly what draws those of us in the know to them.

Insects have personalities

Insects are stereotyped as mindless automatons, operating on instinct. But recent evidence suggests that they have, if not the full range of personality types we see in humans, something that could be called “personality.” Insects can be bold or shy, and if they are bold under one set of conditions, like their inclination to come out of a shelter, they are also more likely to be aggressive to their fellows. The idea that behaviors come in suites like this has some important implications for how behaviors can evolve. And certainly this mantisfly, and the jumping stick insect, seem full of personality, not to mention charm.

The world of pollination goes far beyond honeybees

More than 218,000 of the world’s 250,000 flowering plants, including 80% of the world’s species of food plants, rely on pollinators, mainly insects, for reproduction. According to some estimates, 15-30% of our diet in the United States relies on food sources requiring animal pollinators. In a typical fast food meal of a hamburger, fries, and a milkshake, most of the components required an insect somewhere along the way; although the wheat in the bun is wind-pollinated, the other plants, from the cucumber for the pickle to the feed eaten by the cow, are insect-pollinated. And researchers with the Forgotten Pollinators Campaign in Arizona calculated that one in every three bites of food is made possible by a pollinator. We tend to think primarily about honeybees when it comes to pollination, but honeybees are the plain vanilla of the pollinator world — they are well-known, but not as flashy or exciting as many of the others. Hundreds of other insect species help pollinate crops, including the blue orchard bee, the southeastern blueberry bee, and the squash bee.

Are insects gay?

Because I study sex in animals, people often ask me questions about how animal sexuality reflects that of humans. One of the most popular questions is about homosexuality in animals, and whether they ever exhibit it in the wild. The answer is yes, and even insects have sometimes been observed in same-sex pairs. Damselflies, for example, will occasionally form the characteristic “mating wheel” with two males. Genetic changes in fruit flies can produce males that court other males as well as females. But this doesn’t mean that they have a “gay gene,” or that human homosexuality is caused by genes. This is another case where just because a behavior in animals looks superficially like something in humans, we tend to lump the two together, even though our own sexual responses are far more complex.

Insects are great parents

Another stereotype about insects is that, other than honeybees and other social species, they simply lay their eggs and walk (or fly) away, with no parental care. But that too is a myth. I have never understood why nature shows on animal families are filled with images of doting monkeys nursing their infants, or diligent songbirds delivering a beak full of worms to the nest, when much more tender sacrifice takes place under leaf litter in the garden. If you want an ideal example of a good animal mother, for my money you can’t do better than an earwig. Now there’s a parent for you. After they lay their eggs, earwig mothers stand protectively over the clutch, scrubbing them clean of fungus and other nasty contaminants and keeping predators at bay. Other insects guard their eggs and young, and the mother may even digest the food first and then regurgitates it to her begging offspring, as if offering a squalling infant a bottle.

Insects can learn – and teach

Learning happens in many kinds of animals, and in many different ways. Bees learn to find nectar by following their nestmates to a field of flowers, for example. But true teaching is a different story, requiring that an animal help the pupil while paying some price for the lesson, usually the time and effort required for the demonstration. Finding an occurrence of this narrowly defined behavior in nature has been daunting, and until very recently scientists had essentially no examples of real teaching by animals. Just within the last few years, however, researchers have found three cases of it — one in a bird, one in a mammal (the meerkat), and one, incredibly, in ants.

In at least one ant species, a single worker will actively recruit another ant to follow her to a food source or a new nest, or just to explore a new area, in a process called tandem running. The lead ant goes in front, while the follower keeps contact by tapping her with her antennae. If the follower gets behind, the leader waits for her to catch up. According to Ellouise Leadbeater and her Queen Mary University of London colleagues, “The intimate interaction between leader and follower in a pair of tandemly running ants at first sight bears all the hallmarks of a parent teaching a child to ride a bicycle.”

Ant Control Tips

December 5th, 2014

There are more than 700 species of ants in the United States. Some of the most common include argentine, carpenter, odorous house, pavement and red imported fire ants.

All ants are social insects that live in colonies. They can be identified by their three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. However, the biology and habits of each ant species is different and understanding these differences is necessary to effectively control an infestation.

Ants are commonly attracted to the food in a kitchen, especially sweets and protein-containing substances. Ants are most often found on floors, countertops and in food items. Some species prefer to build nests in soil – such as landscaping – or cracks in concrete on your driveway, walkway or in your garage. Carpenter ants build nests in wood. Ants are typically found indoors the spring and summer months as they search for food.

Most species of ants are considered ‘nuisance pests,’ meaning that they don’t pose a significant threat to health or property, but are an annoyance when found indoors. In fact, ants are the number one nuisance pest in the United States.

Some species of ants, however, can pose threats to health and property. Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their nests, which can cause extensive damage to a structure. Fire ants, on the other hand, sting when threatened, resulting in painful welts that can be dangerous to allergic persons. These species should always be handled by a professional.

Regardless of the species all ants can contaminate food sources and small infestations can grow quickly, so any sign of an infestation should be dealt with promptly.

A trained and licensed pest professional is the best person to make a recommendation based on the proper identification of a particular ant species and the threats they could pose to health and property. Also, homeowners may have a preference as to which treatment is used, so it is important that they have a detailed conversation with their pest control company.  The cost of the treatments can vary depending on the size of the infestation and the property being treated.

There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population.  The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, rinse and remove empty soda cans or other recyclables and mop/sweep the floors. Homeowners should also keep food in sealed containers and keep pet food/water dishes clean. Outside the home, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water such as birdbaths or kiddie pools. Finally, seal cracks and holes around the home to close entry points.