Bed Bug Prevention Tips

May 25th, 2016
  • At hotels, thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in furniture. Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress seams for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
  • Set your luggage away from walls and never place it on the bed. Use a large plastic trash bag or a protective cover to store suitcases during your hotel stay.
  • Immediately notify management of any signs of bed bugs and ask for a new room. Ensure the new room is not adjacent to and/or directly above/below the original room. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets.
  • If staying at a residence, inform the homeowner immediately of a suspected bed bug problem.
  • Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum your suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs.
  • Dry all fabric items (even those that have not been worn) in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet.
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional immediately.

Zika Virus Q and A

May 24th, 2016

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a disease that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. According to the CDC, Zika was first discovered in 1947, and in 1952 the first human cases of Zika were detected. Since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. More recently, epidemics have spread across the Eastern Pacific and into South and Central America. There have also been reports of Zika cases across the United States.

How is Zika transmitted?

Zika virus is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes genus of mosquitoes, which is the same type of mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. Aedes aegypti, which live predominantly in tropical and sub-tropical regions, are the primary carriers of Zika. Aedes albopictus, commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito, might also transmit the virus and is found much farther north in the summer.

What are the chances of a Zika outbreak in the United States?

While the probability of infected mosquitoes traveling to the United States is unlikely, there is reason to believe that Zika virus can spread locally. If more imported cases continue to surface, especially as the summer months near, it may result in human-to-mosquito-to-human spread of the virus in areas of the country where mosquito vectors are present. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations are monitoring the situation closely. Please find more up-to-date information at PestWorld.org and at CDC.gov.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

For the complete information regarding Zika symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see here from the CDC.

Does Zika have any adverse effects?

According to the WHO, there are reported potential neurological and auto-immune complications associated with Zika virus disease. Recently, local health authorities in Brazil, have reported an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome which coincided with Zika infections in the general public, as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly. More investigation is needed to better understand the relationship between these conditions and the Zika.

For more information about Zika and pregnancy, the CDC has more information here.

What should I do if I suspect that I have Zika?

If you start experiencing symptoms of Zika, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, especially if you are pregnant.

How can I prevent Zika Virus?

Following the NPMA provided prevention tips can help protect your home and family from biting mosquito populations, additionally, it is important to follow updates from the CDC and WHO regarding transmission to limit your risk. If you are traveling, check for travel advisories declared by the CDC.

Bug Buster USA

May 23rd, 2016

Mosquito Q and A

May 20th, 2016

Why are mosquitoes considered a dangerous pest?

Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases and are often described as one of the deadliest animals on earth. Some of the most common and well-known diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include Zika, West Nile virus, malaria, dengue and equine encephalitis (EEE). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito bites result in the death of more than 1 million people every year — the majority of these deaths are attributed to malaria and not in the United States.

Where are mosquitoes found?

Mosquitoes are found throughout the U.S., although some species are more common in certain regions. One of these, the Asian tiger mosquito, is found primarily in the South, but it has gradually expanded into the northeast over the past few years. Asian tiger mosquitoes are unique in that they feed during the day, unlike many mosquitoes that feed only at dusk and dawn.

Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a ½ inch of standing water. This underscores the importance of homeowners regularly checking their property for containers that could be collecting water and providing a safe harbor for mosquitoes to breed.

Are mosquitoes more prevalent during a specific season?

Mosquitoes are considered one of summer’s most dangerous pests, but they also thrive in the spring and fall. In fact, mosquitoes will remain active as long as the temperature is above 60 degrees.

What are some precautions that can be taken to help prevent mosquito bites?

There are a number of precautions that people can take to protect their home and family from mosquitoes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips:

  • Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home. This includes birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, baby pools, unopened swimming pools, tires and other objects where water collects.
  • Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any source of standing water that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
  • Screen windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh, sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry.
  • Use mesh that is 18X18 strands per inch, or finer.
  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. But, also take proactive measures during the day to protect against daytime biters, like the Asian tiger mosquito the main carrier of Zika.
  • When outdoors, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors.

You Would Not Believe How Crazy Insect Sex Can Be

May 19th, 2016

I would hate to see an insect version of the Kama Sutra since nearly all insects mate in seemingly torturous and overall unpleasant ways.  It would be reassuring to find at least one insect penis that does not look and act like a torture device, and why do all those female insects have to kill their man after the deed is done?  They may not have sex solely for the pleasure, but that does not mean that animals that don’t have sex solely for pleasure do not enjoy the act of sex, but it is hard to imagine sex as a satisfying activity in the insect world.

For example, let’s take the male Bean Beetles.  These Beetles have penises with spikes on them, much to the discomfort of their female counterparts.  So what purpose do these spikes serve?  Well recently scientists have discovered the likely answer, but I will tell you now that it is not pleasant.  Apparently the beetle’s spiked penis serves to lacerate and puncture the inside of the female beetle’s vaginal canal.  And no, the females do not prefer this method as researchers noticed that the females were often injured permanently afterwards.  The punctures in the female beetles vaginal canal serve to allow the male’s sperm to flow in and fill up her entire body cavity and the sperm even enters the bloodstream.  It goes without saying that these bugs must have vastly different anatomies than us.

Can you think of any bizarre ways humans have sex? Are any of them similar to this?

Does Loud Bug Sex Attract Predators?

May 18th, 2016

Does Loud Bug Sex Attract Predators?

The question posed above has NOT been baffling philosophers and scientists for ages, but we still want to know the answer.  And the answer is yes, according to researchers in Germany.  Well at least when it comes to flies.

These German researchers, who clearly had too much time on their hands, noticed that when flies are alone they will emit very low frequency sounds with the fluttering of their wings.  But this sound is so quiet that normal echoes produced from the environment will drown out the sound of the flies rapidly moving wings.  However, when the flies were mating the females would spread their wings in such a way that it emitted sounds loud enough to catch the attention of certain bats.  When the flies in the study mated over half of them were eventually consumed by bats, while the lonelier sexless flies remained relatively safe from bat attacks.

This study helps to confirm an idea scientists have hypothesized for some time.  This idea being that perhaps many animals attract predators when mating, and the chance of being attacked by predators during sex probably goes up the more loud and intense the female orgasms are.  Well, the first part about the danger facing flies mating has been genuinely hypothesized anyway.  So apparently sex can be dangerous for animals as well as for humans.  We have to worry about STDs, but that is far less unpleasant than being eaten by a bat.

Why do you think insects even take the chance of making so much noise during sex that they would attract predators? Do you think this is something they can’t control or could they possibly change that?

Ants Attempt Daring Rescue of Trapped Relatives

May 17th, 2016

Scientists have discovered that ants will actually form rescue teams to go and save relatives that have become caught in traps. After hearing of reports about ants attempting these recue attempts, scientists put together their own study to test the theory.

Researchers took one ant from a colony and tied it up with a nylon thread and half buried it into a pile of sand. They stood by watching in amazement as other ants from the colony teamed up and worked together to free their trapped relative. The daring group slowly dug away at the sand and expose the threads of the nylon. They then bit at the threads until their comrade was free of the snare.

The researchers believe that the fellow ants know to go and rescue their relative because the struggling ant will release pheromones that call the other ants to them. When the other members of the colony smell these pheromones, they are alerted to their friend’s need and choose ants to form a team to go to the rescue.

Are you surprised by these ants’ selfless actions? Have you seen similar altruistic behavior in other insects?

Why Does Evolution Favor Insects More Than Other Animals?

May 16th, 2016

As it turns out insects can breathe in air and they expel carbon dioxide into the air just like us, and all that!  Oh…you knew that?  I did not.  How can they breathe?  Where are their lungs?  Okay I won’t give myself a headache, and I feel one coming on, but I must share something with you concerning why an insect is, from mother nature’s point of view, better than you.

Insects are favored by evolution probably in large part because of the manner in which they breathe.  Scientists call it “discontinuous gas-exchange cycles,” and this means exactly what you think it would: insects are able to survive a good length of time releasing very little or no carbon dioxide into the air at all.

So why is that so great you ask?  Well it is pretty clear.  If an insect can go without breathing, then pathogens are much less likely to enter into its respiratory system, and, therefore, insects are much less likely to die as a result of an offense to its organism.  Is this the only advantage accorded to insects for not expelling as much Co2 as other animals?  No, it is not.  In addition to astronomically decreasing the risk of infection with airborne pathogens, insects are also less likely to have tiny mites and other undesirable creatures make a home in their trachea.  I cannot believe a cricket has a trachea!

Do you know of other insect traits that make us look like weak little mice? Can you think of any invention that could give humans that trait as well?

 

 

 

The Cutest Moth Ever

May 13th, 2016

The Cutest Moth Ever

The Venezuelan Poodle Moth was discovered in 2009 and has been extensively photographed since then, but surprisingly not many people seemed to acknowledge the strangeness of this bug’s features until recently.  Even if you have a fear of creepy-crawlies it cannot be denied that this bug is cute.

The Poodle Moth was discovered by Dr. Arthur Anker of Kyrgyzstan while visiting a Venezuelan Park.  The moth has been described as having a fuzzy white coat, Bulging Black Eyes and a strange looking antennae.  The bug looks a bit like a snowflake.  The Moth is so unique looking that researchers are having a hard time finding other similar looking bugs that are closely related.

The Venezuelan Poodle moth is similar to the Muslin Moth in that both have fuzzy coats.  However the Muslin Moth is still too dissimilar to the Muslin Moth to be considered a relative of the same species.

Could it be that the Venezuelan Poodle Moth is an entirely new species of bug?  This is quite likely given how often entirely new species of bugs are found in the South American rain forest. What do you think?

Bugs Can Get Into Your Home Easier Than You Think

May 12th, 2016

Bugs Can Get Into Your Home Easier Than You Think

During the summer months it is common to see insects crawling around your home.  Many insects are out and about exploring different territories to find shelter and it can be off-putting when your home becomes a venomous insects target.

The southwestern United States is of particular concern during the summer months when potentially dangerous insects such as Scorpions, Black Widows, which are venomous can squeeze into your home through the smallest spaces for cooler shelter.

If a credit card can fit in between a small crevice, such as around your door, then a roach or Scorpion can as well.  One desert resident uses Diatomaceous Earth, which is a powder solution, used to ward off insects from opening around his home.

Scorpions and Black Widows may not be dangerous to adults, but to children and the elderly their venom can be fatal.  So make sure your homes are tightly secured.

What do you think of this pest control method? What do you do to ward off insects around your home?