Category Archives: PEST CONTROL

How Did South American Termites Wind Up In New Zealand?

How Did South American Termites Wind Up In New Zealand?

In the island country of New Zealand, termites are considered one of the most devastating of all insect pests. Agricultural officials with New Zealand’s Government take great care to prevent invasive insects from accessing the island, and termites are the primary concern. The nearby continent of Australia is home to many different species of termite, some of which are highly destructive to man-made structures. Due to Australia’s close proximity to New Zealand, preventing Australian termites and other Australian insects from entering New Zealand is a top priority. Given the strict attitude that New Zealanders have toward the control of termites, any termites that could invade the country would have been spotted promptly by pest control officials. This is why it was strange to discover thousands of non-native termites infesting a residential home in New Zealand. After examining some specimens, researchers discovered that the strange-looking termites are native to South America and Australia.

The home that had been infested with these exotic termites ius located in the populous New Zealand city of  Waikanae. It may seem clear to most people that these termites must have originated from nearby Australia, but there are reasons to doubt this scenario. The termites may have originated from South America, as the two residents of the infested home returned from the continent ten years ago after a long period of overseas work. The termites may have hitched a ride to Australia along with the home’s returning owners a decade ago. During the entire ten year period, the residents never discovered a single termite until one year ago. It may have taken ten years for a few reproductive termites to establish a new colony.

Eventually an exterminator arrived at the home in order to assess the damage caused by the infestation. The home’s damaged condition warranted a call to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in order to have them investigate the infestation. According to officials with the ministry, the termite colony will probably not go on to infest another home. The area surrounding the home will have to be thoroughly treated with certain insecticides for a period of ten years in order to ensure the destruction of the non-native termite colony. This ten year eradication program will cost New Zealand’s Government four hundred thousand dollars.

Do you think that signs of termite activity would have been noticed sooner than ten years if the termites had hitched a ride to New Zealand from South America?

 

 

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Insect Repelling Plants And Other Ineffective, Yet Common Ways People Fight Mosquitoes

Insect Repelling Plants And Other Ineffective, Yet Common Ways People Fight Mosquitoes

There is literally nobody on earth who enjoys mosquito bites. In fact, being bitten by several mosquitoes on a hot day is like a nightmare for all people on the planet. Due to the natural desire to be rid of mosquitoes once and for all, several products and remedies have been suggested as effective mosquito-control methods over the years. History is full of different absurd insect-control methods, but surely in today’s world outdated and ineffective mosquito-control remedies are not taken seriously, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case, as several anti-mosquito products are still making snake-oil entrepreneurs millions of dollars every day. Given the modern and widespread concern people have about mosquito-borne diseases, you would think that only the most scientifically reliable mosquito-control methods would be used by the public today. Sadly, there remains several worthless anti-mosquito products and methods that are still used with enthusiasm. You may be surprised to learn which mosquito-control methods have been scientifically dismissed as worthless.

 

Back in the ‘90s everybody was using citronella candles in order to keep mosquitoes from ruining people’s outdoor fun. Ideally, these candles emit a certain scent that mosquitoes cannot tolerate. So if you surround yourself with citronella candles you will remain free from mosquito-attacks, correct? Actually, not so much. According to Dr. Stan Cope with the American Mosquito Control Association, the only thing about citronella candles that may keep mosquitoes away is the smoke. Since smoke is blown away by wind, these candles do not do much good. There has also never been any scientific evidence that suggests that citronella candles can keep mosquitoes away. Some people are convinced that certain plants work to keep mosquitoes away, but once again, this is not true. In fact, having plants in your yard or on your deck only provides mosquitoes with more dark and moist forms of shelter. Some plants produce essential oils that mosquitoes do not agree with, but these oils can only be obtained by crushing and processing certain plant leaves. Of course, there are also bug-zappers. These devices can be bought in stores and they look like blue-light bulbs enclosed in a cage that hangs from an awning. Bug-zappers work to keep many insects away, but not mosquitoes. According to a study conducted at Notre Dame, only four to six and a half percent of bugs killed by zappers in one day were mosquitoes. When it comes to preventing mosquito bites, Dr. recommended mosquito-repellent is the only way to go.

Have you ever found success with any of these supposed mosquito-control methods?

 

 

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Researchers Learn That Three More Mosquito Species Can Carry The Zika Virus

Researchers Learn That Three More Mosquito Species Can Carry The Zika Virus

The Zika virus has caused much heartache throughout the world. The aedes aegypti mosquito is now infamous for being the primary Zika carrier. However, the aedes aegypti is not the only mosquito that carries Zika. You may have already known this, but you probably do not know that the Zika virus has been discovered in the salivary glands of five different mosquito species. Researchers did not realize until a week ago that three of these five mosquitoes have never been identified as Zika carriers.

The three undocumented Zika carriers include Cx. coronator, Cx. tarsalis, and Ae. vexans. These three mosquitoes were collected in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, but it appears as though the Aedes aegypti is the primary Zika carrying species of mosquito. Health authorities in Guadalajara have reported one human case of Zika this year. As of September of 2017 there were nearly ten thousand Zika infected citizens of Mexico. Out of these ten thousand nearly six thousand were women.

The Zika virus is a part of the genus known as Flavivirus. The main vector of this virus is the aedes aegypti mosquito. Scientists have repeatedly observed the Aedes aegypti mosquito acquiring and then infecting different types of mammalian life with the Zika virus. Recent studies show that the Zika virus arrived in Mexico from Brazil in late 2014 or early 2015. The virus was first introduced to Mexico in the southeast region of the country in the state of Chiapas. Once the virus arrived in this region it moved on to twenty six more Mexican states. Researchers now have to test several more of these three mosquito species in order to determine how much of a threat these mosquitoes are to the public. The three undocumented Zika-carrying mosquitoes may not be much to worry about, but only further testing can determine this for sure.

Do you believe that the Zika virus is commonly spread by more than one species of mosquito?

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Bed Bug Infestations Can Lead To Mental Illness

Bed Bug Infestations Can Lead To Mental Illness

Nobody wants to catch a disease from a bug. What could be worse than having malaria, or lyme disease? Although, a bed bug infestation would be stressful, at least they do not spread disease. Although bed bugs are not disease vectors, bed bugs can, nevertheless, cause people to become emotionally scarred after living through an infestation. Termites are not disease vectors either, but having your house destroyed by these tiny critters can have a long lasting negative impact on your mental health. Everybody sympathizes with the person who lost their house to termites, but not much sympathy is reserved for those who have suffered through bed bug infestations. Some experts believe that living with a bed bug infestation can be stressful enough to cause long term mental illness.

According to a physician who works at Montreal Public Health, Stéphane Perron, bed bug infestations can cause people to develop mental health issues even if they have never experienced mental health issues in the past. A 2012 study compared the mental health of apartment tenants who had lived through bed bug infestations, with a group of tenants who had not. There were thirty nine participants in the bed bug group and fifty two participants who had never lived through a bed bug infestation. Using sleep quality indexes and anxiety scales the researchers learned that the group that had experience with bed bugs were more likely to suffer from poor sleep and more likely to show signs of anxiety and even depression. People who have been deemed mentally healthy their entire lives can still develop anxiety and depression in response to a bed bug infestation. This anxiety can be much worse for those who have experienced a bed bug infestation and are already afraid of bugs. Just one single spider can freak some people out, so imagine how those people would be affected by a house full of tiny arachnids that are constantly biting them. People who have experienced bed bug infestations have described coping with feelings of hopelessness, and anxiety over the possibility of bed bugs returning to their homes.

Do you think that a person can develop long lasting mental issues as a result of living through a bed bug infestation?

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Termites Are Literally Eating Away At Democratic Institutions In Some Countries

 

Termites Are Literally Eating Away At Democratic Institutions In Some Countries

Democratic institutions are a part of every democratic nation. For example, Parliament is an important democratic institution because it allows people to express their political beliefs and preferences through their elected lawmakers. The official “head of state” is another democratic institution. For example, the American Presidency is an institution that is now being fulfilled by Donald Trump. Surprisingly, this particular blog article is not a lesson in the basics of government; instead this article is about the termites that are destroying democratic institutions in Kenya and Zambia. Only in this case the word “institute” is not referring to anything intangible, like the institute of law; instead the term is being used to refer to a physical establishment, like a building.

Many democratic leaders around the world have used rhetoric involving termites when describing the actions committed by their corrupt opponents. These supposedly corrupt politicians have been described as “eating away” at the foundation of democratic institutions with their despotic actions. This comparison has been used by political leaders in South Africa, America and India. However, it looks as though two African countries are having more literal problems when it comes to termites destroying democratic institutions. In the country of Zambia, the home belonging to the country’s head of state is on the verge of collapsing over its inhabitants. The poor state of the Zambian version of the White House was caused by a long time termite infestation. In addition to that, Kenya’s Parliament has raised concerns over the termite-infested floor located in Parliament’s press room. Not long ago, a member of Parliament (MP) nearly fell through the floor while issuing statements to the press.

A report recently released by the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Transport, Works and Supply in Zambia has called for a vast increase in funds in order to renovate the head of state’s residence. According to officials, the foundation is excessively weak and portions of the building’s roof have been eaten away by termites. The structure’s timber frame is also falling apart due to repeated termite attacks. The head of state’s home cannot safely accommodate state functions and it has been deemed dangerous to live in. Member’s of Zambia’s Parliament are unsure if the required renovations can be afforded. In Kenya a faction of MPs have demanded that Parliament’s press room floor be repaired. The floor is reportedly made from thin boards that have sustained a tremendous amount of termite damage. After an MP nearly fell entirely through an open hole in the floor, several MPs gathered together in order to protest the termite-infested conditions.

Have you ever heard about termites infesting the White House or any other historical and/or significant building in America?

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The Sentricon® System: Death to the Termite Queen | Tucson Sentricon Experts

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The Only Type Of Hornet That Exists In America Is Not A Native

The Only Type Of Hornet That Exists In America Is Not A Native

It can be hard making distinctions between hornets, wasps and yellow jackets. Simply put, yellow jackets and hornets are both types of wasps. Hornets and yellow jackets both belong to the same family of wasps known as Vespidae. However, hornets and yellow jackets are often considered distinct types of insects due to their different features. There exists several different yellow jacket species within the United States. Surprisingly, hornets are not nearly as prevalent in the US as many people may think. Today there are about twenty hornet species known to science. Most of these hornet species dwell within Asia, but there are also some species living in Africa, Europe, South America and of course, the United States. Actually, there is only one hornet species existing in North America, and it is not native to the country.

Back in the 1850s the European hornet was introduced into North America after a group of specimens were brought to New York City. Since then the European hornet has spread to many different regions in North America, but this hornet remains the only hornet species to reside on the North American continent. Most states that are located east of the Mississippi River are home to European hornets. These hornets can be beneficial as they feed on many problematic insect pests. However, the hornets themselves are considered hazardous to humans.

European hornets are capable of damaging fruit crops in America, but the greatest concern experts have with this hornet species is its aggressiveness. It is not uncommon for Americans to find themselves near a nest of European hornets. Experts recommend that the nests of European hornets be left alone unless removal is absolutely necessary. All hornets, besides the queen, die during the winter, so removing their nests is often unnecessary. European hornets are also distinguished from other wasps by their habit of hunting during nighttime hours. This makes removing hornet nests at night just as dangerous as doing so during the day. If a hornet nest must be removed from a person’s property, then contacting a licensed pest control professional is essential.

Have you ever been stung by a European hornet? If you have, where were you located at the time? And how did you know that you were stung by a European hornet?

 

 

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Free Pest & Termite Inspections in Tucson, Arizona

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Two Mutually Antagonistic Termite Species Can Peacefully Inhabit The Same Nest

Two Mutually Antagonistic Termite Species Can Peacefully Inhabit The Same Nest

It may come as a surprise to learn that two different, and even mutually hostile termite species can dwell within the same nest. In these situations there are “host” termites, which built the nest and were its first occupiers, and there are “inquiline” termites, which leech of of the hosts. Inquiline termites are like the lazy roommates to host termites. Today, scientists are still not sure how two mutually hostile termite species can coexist peacefully within one single nest. However, one particular study has shed some more light on how host and inquiline termites respond to specific situations. Do inquilines defend their hosts when they are at risk of a predatory attack? Or do inquilines only look after themselves in such situations? Can inquilines understand the communication that takes place between hosts? These questions have long puzzled many termite researchers.

Two entomology departments from two Brazilian Universities teamed up recently in order to study how two different species of termite behave while occupying the same nest. Much to the surprise of researchers, the two species were never found to engage in hostile relations, and the hosts seemed to tolerate their rude and uninvited guests. Most people are unaware that an entire class of termite inquilines exist. These termites are specialized to leech of other more productive termite species. In the recent study the Inquilinitermes microcerus species of termite inquiline was observed living with their hosts of the Constrictotermes cyphergaster species.

Termites often notify their nestmates of disturbances with alarm cues. These disturbances are often caused by invading predators. Termite alarm cues are communicated through vibrations or by pheromone release. The inquiline termites in the study were able to understand their host’s alarm cues, but instead of coming to the defense of their hosts, they acted selfishly by protecting only themselves. This is understandable, as any predator that is interested in the hosts are more than likely to be interested in the inquilines as well. However, the hosts were unable to recognize alarm cues that came from the inquilines. This suggests that termite inquilines have adapted to survive while inhabiting the nest of a host, but non-inquilines that don’t inhabit other nests have no reason for understanding the alarm cues of other termite species.

Do you believe that some inquilines may risk their lives fighting predators alongside their hosts in order to preserve the architectural integrity of the nest?

 

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Biting Insects May Be Responsible For The Extinction Of Dinosaurs

Biting Insects May Be Responsible For The Extinction Of Dinosaurs

Today it seems that the cause of dinosaur extinction is no longer shrouded in mystery. Many scientists agree that dinosaurs went extinct due to an asteroid’s violent impact with earth. However, not all scientists agree that this was the cause. In any case, one thing is for sure, a serious global catastrophe must be responsible for dinosaur extinction, right? Of course we hear about alternative theories that are commonly entertained, such as the ice age or volcanic eruptions, but one theory is not so common. One entomologist has recently published a book accusing biting insects of causing dinosaur extinction.

When it comes to the possible causes of the dinosaur extinction, scientists typically refer to one single event. According to entomologist George O. Poinar, the extinction of dinosaurs was gradual and not sudden. Poinar believes biting insects and arachnids killed-off dinosaurs by spreading a deadly disease. Early biting insects that may have been responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs include mosquitoes, mites, ticks and biting flies.

Poinar found a biting insect encased in amber that dates back to the Late Cretaceous period. A DNA analysis of the insect’s gut contents revealed that it was carrying a deadly disease called leishmania. This disease still exists today and it causes disease in humans and other vertebrates. Poinar also found another fossilized insect that contained a form of malaria that kills modern birds and lizards. Poinar has also noted that fossilized dinosaur feces have been found containing parasitic worms and single celled organisms that result from infection. Poinar has stated that other biological catastrophes certainly helped to wipe out vast dinosaur populations in the distant past, but these events alone could not have been the sole cause of extinction. Poinar insists that infection was the primary driver behind the eventual dinosaur extinction. Poinar has also claimed that dinosaur DNA can be extracted from insects that are found fossilized in amber. This scenario is reminiscent of the film Jurassic Park. Many experts view this DNA extraction method as impossible and purely a matter of science fiction.

Do you believe that vector-borne disease may have wiped out the dinosaurs since the human race is also threatened with extinction from the vector-borne disease?

 

 

 

 

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