Spider Bites 101
Do all spiders bite? All spiders have fangs and venom, but thankfully, it’s rare that the common household spider is poisonous. In fact, of all the spiders prevalent in the Unites States, only two types can cause harm: the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse.
This video by Pestworld does a great job discussing these potentially dangerous spiders. For example, male Black Widows rarely bite, but female Black Widows bite as a defense mechanism, particularly if she is guarding eggs.
So what happens when someone gets bitten by a Black Widow? Symptoms include fever, increased blood pressure and nausea. If you think you’ve been bitten by a Black Widow seek medical attention right away.
The Brown Recluse also bites in defense and can produce open, ulcerating sores in their victims. Again, if you think you have been bitten, seek medical attention.
What else can you do if you’re worried about spiders? Call in a professional exterminator to evaluate your home.
Have an old game console lying around? Instead of throwing it away, consider making bugs out of it!
That is what UK artist Julie Alice Chappell did. According to ign.com, “Chappell came across a big box of electronic components, and eventually started creating bug sculptures while enrolled on a Fine Arts degree.”
The “Nintendo Bug” sculptures are primarily made out of old circuit boards from discarded Nintendo consoles. And these sculptures aren’t just cool to look at: they also serve as an important reminder of the dangers of e-waste in our environment. They are also beautiful to look at with vibrant colors and intricate details.
What do you think? Will you be repurposing your old game consoles to create “Nintendo Bugs”?
Here’s a handy room-by-room guide of specific things to do to keep pests at bay this spring.
Ants, among other common pests, are known to infest kitchen spaces because this room provides easy access to food and water sources. They often march one-by-one through the heart of the home while searching for crumbs left behind from dinner, sticky residue from liquid spills and overripe fruit sitting out on the countertop. Although you may make a concerted effort to keep the kitchen clean on a daily basis, there are still a few other projects you can do to make it less attractive to pests.
First, remove all of the items from your cabinets and pantry. Go through them and discard of stale spices and other dated items such as flour. These baking ingredients attract pantry pests, including several types of beetles, Indian meal moths and ants. Next, wipe down the inside of your cabinets and install fresh shelf paper. Then, pull out your appliances from the wall as much as possible and vacuum behind them. You might be surprised how much dust, dirt and crumbs you find! Lastly, give the kitchen counter and floor a good scrub-down. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.
Many pests like cockroaches and silverfish are attracted to moisture, so they are commonly found in bathrooms. Eliminating sources of water in the bathroom is the best way to prevent pest infestations, especially because this pest can only survive for one week without water. In addition to washing the shower curtain and liner, and cleaning out the medicine cabinet, you should check under the sink and around the tub and toilet to ensure there are no moisture issues from leaky pipes or faucets.
Rodents, spiders and a slew of other pests can make themselves at home in the basement. The main reason that pests often take up refuge in this underground space is because this room tends to harbor dark corners and clutter, which provides the ideal place for rodents and spiders to hide. Take some time to go through your valuables and eliminate clutter where possible. Steer clear from using cardboard boxes to store items, using plastic bins with secure lids instead. You should also be sure to seal any cracks or crevices with a silicone-based caulk that pests could use to enter your home. Remember, mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime and other small insects need only a paper-thin crack to gain entry.
Once you complete your list of tasks inside, conduct an audit of your home’s perimeter, taking stock of any damage done over the winter months. Start on the roof by repairing fascia and rotted roof shingles, as some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood. Then, clean out clogged gutters and downspouts to ensure they are properly functioning before the April showers roll in. You may also find you need to repair ripped screens, replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
When landscaping, don’t forget to trim bushes and branches away from the home to prevent easy access for pests to move indoors. Also, remove rotted tree stumps and keep mulch at least 15 inches away from the home’s foundation – both of which could be magnets for termites.
The Bottom Line
The arrival of warm weather brings with it a renewed energy needed to tackle home improvements. Take advantage of this to maintain a healthy living environment for your family and deter pests from infesting your living space this spring.
A tractor-trailer carrying millions of honeybees overturned on a highway north of Seattle last week. According to post.jargan.com, there were 448 hives with 13.7 million bees on board.
As you can imagine, the company who owned the bees sent as many beekeepers as possible to the site to salvage as many bees as they could.
Company owner Eric Thompson said the beekeepers he sent recovered 128 hives before the sun came up but he said the damage would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and future profit.
Luckily, everything was insured, but we’re sure the incident caused Eric a bee in his bonnet!
Researchers at Purdue University have identified a new class of chemical insecticides. This new class should provide a safer and more selective means of controlling mosquitoes. A new class is needed to key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis.
According to Catherine Hill, professor of entomology and Showalter Faculty Scholar, researchers used the mosquito genome to pinpoint chemicals that will be more selective than current insecticides, which bind readily to molecules in humans and non-target insects. Know as dopamine receptor antagonists (DAR antagonists), “these are sophisticated designer drugs,” she said. “They’re like personalized medicine for mosquitoes — but in this case, the medicine is lethal.”
Hill’s team showed that the “designer drugs” have high potency for both the larval and adult stages of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This species of mosquito transmits yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya and Culex quinquefasciatus, West Nile virus and the disfiguring disease elephantiasis. Effective pest control measures are important as they slow the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. But “overuse of antibiotics and insecticides has led to the rise of drug-resistant strains of infectious diseases and the emergence of mosquitoes that can withstand conventional pesticides, a “double whammy,” Hill said.
“There’s an urgent need for new insecticides,” she said. “We are seeing a resurgence of infectious diseases that for the last 50 years we had the luxury of controlling with antibiotics and modern medicine. These diseases are increasingly going to become a problem for people everywhere.”
The team is mining a group of about 200 DAR antagonists to find the most promising chemicals for commercial products. The insecticides could be cost-effective compared with current products and would have low environmental impact because of their selectivity, Hill said.
Similar protein receptors are apparent in the African malaria mosquito, the sand fly and the tsetse fly. This suggests to researchers that DAR antagonists could be implemented to control these disease-transmitting insects. “We’re going after all the big ones,” Hill said.
If not addressed properly, small flies in a processing plant could become a major public health concern. Basically, the flies will feed, breed, and live in contaminated areas. At some point and more often than not, they will land on food or food surfaces and transporting pathogens and the risk of foodborne illness in humans. Fruit flies and drain flies are commonly found in these facilities. Experts from the pest product industry address why these pests are such a problem and what can be done
According to Syngenta Professional Pest Management Technical Services Representative Nicky Gallagher, facilities that process and store liquid foods are vulnerable to fruit fly and drain fly infestations, “Food facilities can provide all the resources that these flies need, whether it is accumulated moist food, drains in need of sanitation, garbage receptacles, unmaintained floors with cracks and crevices, broken food containers, or even employee break rooms,” Gallagher said.
“Fruit flies and drain flies need certain conditions to thrive, including an available food supply and moist, warm conditions for breeding,” said BASF Global PSS Product Education Manager Thomas Nishimura. “Most food processing plants have these conditions readily available.”
Fruit flies have many attractants, said Aunt Fannie’s CEO Mat Franken, including color, scent, yeast content, fermentation, sugar, and others. They most frequently come into a plant by their “hitchhiking” on the foodstuffs brought into a facility, but they also can come in from the outdoors, he said.
Additionally, Rockwell Labs Founder and CEO Cisse Spragins added that fruit flies feed and breed in fermenting material, even very small amounts. So when food and moisture collects in a crack or crevice and remains undisturbed, fermentation can occur and the area can become a breeding site.
Drain flies, on the other hand, tend to originate from filthy sources that contain sewage, rotting food, or other organic materials, Gallagher said.
This is because, Spragins said, drain flies lay their eggs in organic gunk that builds up in drains, particularly drains that are actively used and kept moist. Such drains are prevalent in food processing areas, and food particles contribute to the organic build-up, creating the ideal environment.
Additionally, she said, “the wash-down cleaning used in many food plants can make matters worse, regularly pushing moisture and food particles into cracks and crevices.”
Scientists are interested in finding out how bugs can fly. So much so that a group of researchers from the University of California Berkeley and Nanyang Technology University in Singapore are conducting experiments.
According to Tech Times, these researchers are attaching tiny electric backpacks to learn how beetles take off, steer, and more. The tiny backpack contains a wireless transmitter, battery and electrodes that are connected to the optic lobes and flight muscles of the beetle.
So far, the experiment shows that a muscle used to control the folding of wings plays an important role in steering.
Scientists hope to use wireless sensors similar to the beetle’s tiny backpack to answer other, larger questions in the scientific community.
Perfection Pest ( Kentucky Pest Control Eperts) celebrates the important role of pest professionals
This April, Perfection Pest is proud to celebrate National Pest Management Month, a public observance formally recognized each year by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to acknowledge the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health and property from household pest threats. Additionally, as spring is an especially busy time for pest-related activity, Perfection Pest encourages homeowners to take proactive pest proofing steps in the coming weeks.
“We are proud to be members of an industry which plays an important role in people’s everyday lives and are committed to helping homeowners protect their homes and ensuring public places and residences are free of disease-carrying pests,” said Tim Leatherman, Owner at Perfection Pest.
“As pests emerge from their overwintering spots, we encourage the public to tackle simple home improvement and landscaping projects that will make a big difference in staving off infestations during the warmer months,” added Leatherman.
Perfection Pest Experts recommend the following tips to pest-proof the home this spring:
- Seal any cracks on the outside of the home with a silicone-based caulk, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
- Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles.
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
- Eliminate sources of standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
- Contact a licensed pest professional if an infestation is suspected.
For more information on common household pests or more pest-proofing tips, please visit www.perfectionpest.com
Argentine Ants: Colonies of Argentine ants are found throughout the southeastern parts of the U.S. and California usually in wet environments near a food source. Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and give off a musty odor when crushed.
Carpenter Ants: This aggressive species of ant is found nationwide, especially in the northern region. Carpenter ants attack wood and can cause severe property damage, which is usually not covered by homeowners' insurance.
Crazy Ants: First found in Texas in 2002, crazy ants have spread to other southern states, nesting in both dry and moist habitats. This species does not pose a health threat, but they can become a nuisance.
Odorous House Ants: This species is found in every region of the U.S. and commonly nests in basements, crawl spaces and adjacent structures. Odorous house ants do not pose a health risk, but they give off a strong, rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
Pavement Ants: These black ants are found throughout the eastern portion of the U.S., and in California and Washington. They get their name from making nests in or under cracks in pavement. Pavement ants can contaminate food and should be avoided.
Red Imported Fire Ants: These red ants are found in the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Texas, as well as California and New Mexico. They are commonly introduced to new areas through potted plants, shrubbery and trees. Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest, often causing painful welts.