Category Archives: PEST CONTROL

A Plague Of Insect Pests Return To A Small Town After A Long Absence

A Plague Of Insect Pests Return To A Small Town After A Long Absence

You don’t hear about insect or a group of insects infesting or taking over entire towns too often, but one town in the state of Oregon is experiencing a large-scale infestation of Mormon crickets. As a result of the recent infestation, the townspeople held a town meeting with state agriculture and Oregon State University Extension representatives in order to decide how to handle the infestation.

The Mormon crickets are neither Mormon nor crickets. Actually, these insects are relatives to the grasshopper, and they are referred to as shield-backed katydids. The “Mormon” part of this bug’s name was attributed to these katydids by early Mormon settlers that lived in the town. In the Salt Lake region within Utah, during the 1800s, these Mormon crickets descended upon the Mormon peoples crops, and eventually destroyed the crops. So the katydids already have a pretty bad reputation.

These katydids often destroy lawns, gardens, pastures and even farmland, as you just learned. These bugs cannot fly, but they average a full three inches in length. Mormon crickets also march in tight formations along with others of its kind, which is an interesting an unusual sight.

Residents are already angry to see that these Mormon crickets have returned after all these years. Some residents are spraying their own insecticides, and there is a lot of talk about burning trees in order to kill the katydid nests. Luckily, the OSU Extension agent has not recommended taking such action. Some visitors to the town are catching these katydids in order to sell them as fishing-bait.

The outbreak is reminding many residents of the similar, and more serious outbreak of Mormon crickets from 1942. During this time the Mormon crickets occupied a large stretch of highway 19 for several days, and eventual aerial insecticide spraying became necessary to rid the town of the unwelcome visitors.

Have you ever witnessed a particularly large swarm of insects travel alongside one another?

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Antarctica Is Under Attack From…Houseflies?

Antarctica Is Under Attack From…Houseflies?

Temperatures around the globe have been rising steadily over the past several decades. Even Polar Regions are losing ice and gaining vegetation. This means that Antarctica is becoming a haven for insects, particularly the housefly. Researchers have noted a marked increase in the amount of fly larvae and plant life around the southern regions of Antarctica. Cargo ships often bring flies to the Antarctic coast, but normally they don’t survive. However, the warmer climate is allowing flies, and other insects, to survive Antarctica’s harsh climate. During the last three decades the average temperature around the coastal regions of Antarctica has increased by three degrees Celsius. Experts are concerned about how insects will impact Antarctica’s ecosystem.

 

According o Dominic Hodgson of the British Antarctic Survey, flies arrive in Antarctica regularly by ship, and these invasive flies carry pathogens that could be devastating to other life forms that are native to Antarctica. Surprisingly, Antarctica is already home to several different species of insect, and moss grows in many southern regions of the continent. Both native insects as well as indigenous forms of moss are currently under threat from non-native insects that arrive in Antarctica through tourism and global warming.

Many people don’t realize that the continent of Antarctica sees a high amount of tourism. During the years of 2015 and 2016, thirty eight thousand people visited Antarctica. These tourists would unknowingly bring with them insects from other regions around the world. Insect larvae can sometimes find their way into polar soil when tourists set their bags on the ground. Tourism has been a major threat to the conservation of the Antarctic ecosystem for some time now, but when this threat from tourism is coupled with rising global temperatures, the threat facing Antarctica’s natural environment becomes much more serious. Under these conditions, the ecosystem of Antarctica will certainly face some degree of environmental harm from invading houseflies.

How far north have you traveled? And did you see any spiders or insects in any extreme northern regions of the globe? If so, what type of insects did you spot?

 

 

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What’s the Difference Between Rabbits and Hares?

What’s the Difference Between Rabbits and Hares?

You’ve probably seen both of these furry mammals hopping around at least once in your life, but did you know that while they may look similar, they are actually quite different animals in many ways. Hares and rabbits are in the same family, called Leporidae, but they are completely different species. It’s like comparing a sheep to a goat. And you wouldn’t mix them up would you? So, what exactly separates the two animals? Quite a bit, as you will see.

Rabbits and hares literally start diverging in different directions from the moment they are born. The first difference is in the length of their pregnancy. The hare will typically have a pregnancy lasting around 42 days, while a rabbit only has their bunny in the oven for 30 to 31 days. Hares actually come out fully developed at birth, with a full coat of fur and eyes wide open, and they are referred to as leverets. Rabbits, on the other hand, come out of the oven not quite fully formed, with no fur, closed eyes, and an inability to regulate their own temperature. In case you’re wondering, rabbits are called kittens or kits at birth.

That’s not the only major differences between these two furry critters. The nests, or homes, of hares and rabbits are also complete opposites. Rabbits live underground in a burrow or warren, hence why they have the stereotype of constantly burrowing holes underneath people’s gardens. Hares, however, live completely above ground, and don’t actually do any burrowing whatsoever. Did you know that Bugs Bunny is actually a fraud because of this rule? He’s technically a hare, but he burrows like a rabbit, making him a rather odd exception to the rule. I still love him, though.

Hares and rabbits live very different lives as well. Hares are quite light on their feet and are equipped with speedy reflexes. This is likely because they tend to live out on the open plain where they need speed and good reflexes to avoid predators. A hare can run as fast as 37 body lengths per second. That’s faster than a cheetah, which can run at only 23 body lengths per second. That’s also why these more flighty animals don’t make good pets the way calm and cuddly rabbits do, and never really relax around humans, even when raised in captivity from birth. You’d best stick to the more sedate bunny for a cuddle buddy.

Have you ever owned a rabbit? What do you think makes them such great pets?

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Sentricon Termite Control

Sentricon Termite Control in Tucson From Arizona Pest Control

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Why Are Male Spiders Willing To Sacrifice Their Lives For Mating?

Why Are Male Spiders Willing To Sacrifice Their Lives For Mating?

When it comes to humans, dating and romantic relationships can sometimes become messy affairs. Sometimes cheating is involved, or a restraining order may become necessary, but at least humans do not have to sacrifice themselves to their mate. As we all know, this is what many different types of spiders do regularly. The relatively small sized male will approach the female knowing that its chances of being eaten may outweigh its chances of mating. However, this is just the way it is in the spider world, and many male spiders don’t seem to mind this arrangement. Many researchers have witnessed willing self-sacrifice among some types of male spiders. So why don’t male spiders seem to mind ending their lives? You would think that an instinct for self-preservation would take over when a male spider is being approached by a ravenous female? Yet many male spiders literally roll directly into the female’s mouthparts.

One type of spider that is notorious for sacrificing itself for an opportunity to mate is the Australian red back spider. This spider, as mentioned above, will prepare for its own demise by summersaulting into the fangs of a female. Also, Honeybees offer up a good example of how insects, like spiders, also indulge in sexual cannibalism. Male honeybees have evolved explosive sexual organs. Once a male finds a female, his reproductive organs will explode, which often results in fertilization. Some ants are also known to resort to sexual cannibalism. For example, the type of ant that is known as Dinoponera quadriceps will kill her male partner by dismembering his sexual organ. This results in the death of the male, and a keepsake for the female.

Researchers are not certain as to why male spiders are so willing to sacrifice their lives for mating, but many believe that self-sacrifice is a necessary method in order to introduce a greater number of males into the population. The bodies of the male spiders may even be nutritious to the developing offspring, so females will consume the males in order to properly nourish their offspring. These types of nutrients are known as “somatic nutrients”, and they could also be necessary to optimize the physical fitness and/or number of spider offspring, which could be another motivator for male self-sacrifice. In any case, the next time you are involved in a dramatic breakup, just be thankful that you are not a spider.

Can you think of any other reason why it would be evolutionarily advantageous for male spiders to allow themselves to be eaten by female spiders?

 

 

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Extremely Rare Cockroaches Are Excellent Pollinators

Extremely Rare Cockroaches Are Excellent Pollinators

The worst aspect of living in any big city is all of the roaches that you will inevitably encounter. Roaches are not beloved creatures, but the world has many different species of cockroach crawling around, and not all of them are out to eat the leftovers in your sink, or catch a juicy glimpse in your shower. Unlike many of the roaches that you find in the big city, some roach species are not drawn to urban areas. Believe it or not, there are some types of roaches that are content in the wild, and not only that, but some roaches can even pollinate flowers. And you thought that only pretty and majestic-looking insects pollinated flowers.

As it turns out, the existence of roaches is more important to the world than keeping exterminators employed. For example, ninety nine percent of the worlds forty five hundred different species of cockroach thrive in wild regions, such as rainforests and even deserts. Most roaches are not pests at all, but are actually valuable members of various ecosystems.  But, however valuable some roaches may be to the environments in which they thrive, it is rare to find a roach that pollinates plants, but the Moluchia brevipennis does just that. These roaches are native to central Chile’s scrublands, and they are often found on the tops of flowers.

Roaches that are capable of pollination are extremely rare. At this time there are only two types of roaches that have been observed pollinating plants. One of these roach species is found in French Guiana, and the other is found in Malaysian Borneo. Between the years of 2000 and 2016, there have only been one hundred and seventy eight studies that focused on one of these pollinating roaches. This is compared the tens of thousands of studies conducted on bees or ants in that same amount of time. As of now, these pollinating roaches are understudied, but it is nice to know that some roaches are good for something.

Do you know of any other types of insects that can pollinate flowers, but people would never guess so?

 

 

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Puerto Rico Claims That The Zika Epidemic Has Passed Them By

Puerto Rico Claims That The Zika Epidemic Has Passed Them By

There have been many dubious claims made about the toll that the Zika virus is taking is some countries. A while back, Puerto Rican medical officials came under fire for not reporting the full extent of Zika’s devastation in the territory of Puerto Rico. And recently, government officials from India admitted that they withheld their Zika victims from the media, and instead claimed that no Indian citizen had contracted the virus. Most recently, Puerto Rican health officials have claimed that the Zika virus is no longer a

matter of concern on the island, and many find this claim doubtful.

Since April, only ten cases of the Zika virus have been reported in Puerto Rico, which is a great improvement from last year’s number of eight thousand. However, health experts are insisting that a decline in Zika cases is not necessarily evidence that the Zika virus is no longer a threat to the public. The CDC travel advisory for Puerto Rico remains unchanged.

According to Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, having less cases of Zika being reported is not sufficient to declare the battle against Zika over. As long as transmission is still occurring, then a risk to the greater population still remains.

Zika still remains a constant concern for pregnant women since contracting the disease can cause severe birth defects known as microcephaly. According to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the year of 2017 will see the births of many babies that have been afflicted with microcephaly, and these children must receive the best medical care possible.

There also still exists controversy about Puerto Rico’s past problem with underreporting Zika cases. Puerto Rican government officials are now working closely with the CDC to update their reporting system.

Do you think that the Zika virus is largely a disease of the past at this point?

 

 

 

 

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Spring Allergies Triggered By More than Just Pollen

Spring Allergies Triggered By More than Just Pollen 

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AZ Pest Control explores the impact pests can have on allergy symptoms and offers prevention advice

The beautiful bloom of a new spring season is most likely an unpleasant experience for those suffering from allergies and asthma. And since spring tends to bring on exacerbated allergy symptoms, May is often touted as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. But is it pollen or something else leading you to sneeze? Arizona Pest Control and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are doling out advice on some of the lesser-known allergy and asthma triggers found in the home and offer tips on how to find relief.

Cockroaches are often a surprising source of allergies. Their saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies comprise allergen proteins known to trigger symptoms, especially in children. They also spread nearly 33 kinds of bacteria, according to the NPMA.

Cockroaches are one of the most common pests that incite allergy symptoms, but there are others including rodents and dust mites that can leave you itching and reaching for tissues. Allergy symptoms are only one of the many health implications posed by pests. That’s why meticulous pest prevention is so necessary—it isn’t just about preserving a home’s aesthetics.

Arizona Pest Control recommends several tips to help prevent allergies:

  • Exclude pests by sealing cracks and gaps in walls and floors using a silicone-based caulk. Pay special attention to where utility pipes enter.
  • Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces. Consider running a dehumidifier in these areas to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter.
  • Dust hard surfaces frequently using a dust rag or damp cloth. Limit the amount of fabric items in each room since they attract airborne allergens like dust mites and pet dander.
  • Clean or replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioner each month.
  • Wipe surfaces daily, including counters, stovetops and sinks. Don’t leave dishes to pile up in the sink and make sure to clean crumbs and spills right away.
  • Store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving pet food out for long periods of time.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly in a sealed trash bin.
  • Encase pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers to control dust mites. Avoid down pillows or comforters.
  • Wash blankets, throw rugs and bedding in hot water, preferably at 130 degrees F, or take them to be dry-cleaned.

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How Do Termites Find Wood If They Are Devoid Of All Senses?

How Do Termites Find Wood If They Are Devoid Of All Senses?Termite Control

Termites are not talked about too often during social get togethers, and that is because termites are a major downer. But there are some pretty odd things going on with termites. For example, termites cannot smell, taste or even see anything at all, they are completely blind. However, termites have shown themselves to be picky eaters, and some types of wood will be outright rejected by termites. So how can termites find and feed on wood if they cannot even see? A recent study has demonstrated that termites refer to vibrations in order to get an idea of what type of wood they are munching on.

According to Ra Inta, an entomologist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, if you put two different sized pieces of wood in front of a termite, that termite would be able to distinguish the larger piece from the smaller piece, but not without taking a small bite of each one first. When a termite takes a bite out of a piece of wood, subtle vibrations result. These vibrations tell the termite about the size of the piece of wood.

Termites pull tiny wooden fibers from wood, and once a termite bites off a small piece, a vibration is emitted throughout the entire structure. This vibration is felt by the termite and lets it know what it is eating. So of course the researchers quickly discovered that they could manipulate the termites taste in wood by altering vibrations.

The researchers recorded the vibrations that a termite made when it fed on a large piece of wood. The researchers then reproduced these same vibrations on a much smaller piece of wood, and the termites could not tell the difference. They still thought it was a large piece of wood. Researchers are still trying to figure out what makes these vibrations so telling to termites.

Under what sorts of circumstances or situations would it be advantageous to not possess the sense of sight?

 

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Bed Bug Awareness Week! Tucson Bed Bug Control

Bed Bug Awareness Week!

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