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Category: Good News Pest Solutions

Florida Has the Best Bug Scientists Around!

Best Bug Scientists Around at UFWe don’t like to brag, but we have a lot of great things here in Florida. In St. Augustine, we have the oldest existing (and still settled) European settlement in North America; the Miami Dolphins are the only NFL team to play a perfect season;  we invented Gatorade, Coppertone sunscreen and air conditioning; and we have the strongest hurricanes… okay, so maybe not that last one!

And recently, the entomology department at the University of Florida was honored as the best in the entire world by the Center for World University Rankings.

How do They Know?

The Center ranks universities across the globe in 227 subject categories, ranking the education and training of students as well as the prestige of faculty, based on several factors, including the number of articles published in top-tier research journals.

The center uses data from Clarivate Analytics, formerly part of the Reuters news service, and is the only such list to rank universities worldwide.

The Center started the ranking project in 2012 as an experiment to rank the top 100 out of 25,000 degree granting universities in the world. Two years later, they expanded to the top 1000, the largest ranking of universities in the world – far more than the US News & World Report or Forbes reports.

That’s Impressive!

And did we mention, UF got a perfect score? Number 2 was the University of California, Riverside with a 95, with Cornell, Kansas State, and North Carolina State University rounding out the top 5.

And speaking of the best, we’ve made it our mission to be the number one provider of 100% natural, family-friendly, truly green pest solutions for the entire Gulf Coast of Florida, from Port Charlotte to Lakewood Ranch. Whatever your issue is, from rodents to ants to mosquitoes, we have the answer that’s right for you. Contact us at your earliest convenience.

And if you’re thinking of getting an entomology degree, we know the perfect place!

Pest of the Month: Love Bugs!

GNPS Pest of the Month LovebugsWe love our temperate weather here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. But when it’s 80-90 degrees every day, sometimes it gets hard to keep track of the seasons. So we come up with our own seasons – Tourist season, Hurricane season, Citrus season, Rainy season, and, of course our favorite – Love Bug Season!

Love Bug Season! That glorious time when the air on our highways and side streets alike are filled with overly-excited, amorous insects that end up splattered all across our windshields and radiator grills, as well as ruining the paint job on our freshly-washed cars and trucks (although newer vehicle paint has cut this problem down significantly).

Actually, Love Bug Season is twice a year – the month of May and the end of September, a great way to frame the summer months here in the Sunshine State.

Making Love… Bugs

Love Bugs are actually Plecia nearctica from the fly family. Their common name comes from how we usually see them… Car exhaust is a natural aphrodisiac, so they start getting busy in mid-air right before the source of their pheromone fix ‘knocks them into next week,’ as my daddy used to say.

Unlike many other insects, male and female love bugs do not have any distinguishing color differences to separate them. They are black with a red or orange strip on the top of their thoraxes. Size is a factor, though. The males are slightly longer than the females, but the females weigh an average of 3x more, and 70% of that is their ovaries.

They DO Have a Purpose

Speaking of ovaries, female Love Bugs that survive their romantic encounters lay 100-300 eggs at a time. The eggs are laid in swampy areas, moist roadside swales, and damp wooded areas. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae are much like their maggot cousins. The difference is, they devour the leaves and detritus, essentially recycling the organic matter.

Additionally, those Love Bugs that survive also serve as pollinators. Not to the extent of our friends the bees, or even the mosquitoes, but they do contribute significantly to the ecosphere.

Blame it on Texas

There’s a persistent urban legend/internet rumor that claims the University of Florida introduced Love Bugs accidentally while they were trying to genetically mate flies with mosquitoes.

In reality, Love Bugs are native to Central & South America, but growing industrialization during and after the first World War caused them to migrate further north. The first recorded sighting of a Love Bug swarm was in Galveston, TX in the 1920’s, most likely traveling as stowaways on a ship. From there the little buggers spread all along the Gulf of Mexico, and more recently, into the Carolinas.

So, whether you’re headed up I-75 to Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch, or down US 41 to Punta Gorda & Port Charlotte, there’s really nothing you can do to avoid Love Bugs this time of year. Just give your hood a good rinse down when you get home and try these other ideas for getting rid of them naturally. For all your other pest control needs, drop us a line! Good News Pest Solutions is always happy to help out!

Pest of the Month: The Mosquito

Pest of the Month Mosquito As we start preparing for the annual rainy season, we decided to focus on everyone’s favorite Florida state mascot – the Mosquito!

We know everyone has stories about how annoying mosquitoes are, but we’d like to focus first on the good that mosquitoes do.

Yes, really.

Yes, yes they do. For starters, mosquitoes provide a steady protein diet to birds, fish, dragonflies, frogs, salamanders and other reptile and amphibious life. That’s actually a huge impact on our ecosystem.

Not enough? Okay, fine. Here’s a better one: after bees, mosquitoes are the number TWO pollinator in the world. There are certain flowers, like the various orchids, that are almost exclusively pollinated by mosquitoes!

And really, your beef is only with the momma mosquitoes. The males only consume pollen and nectar. And the females only drink blood when they’re pregnant.

How Many?

Did you know there’s more than 3500 species of mosquitoes? Only about 175 of them exist in the United States, and only 80 of those species are interested in our blood. Unfortunately, Florida has most of those species. And really, it’s partly our fault – most mosquitoes would much rather bite cattle, livestock and wild game. There’s just not as many of those around as our Florida communities grow and build.

Mosquitoes are some of the oldest insects in recorded history. Aristotle mentions them in his writings about 300 years before Jesus was born. And if you remember the movie – Jurassic Park got that part of their science right – mosquitoes have been found encased in amber and fossilized from the Jurassic period, 210 million years ago.

The bumps on your arms and legs are an allergic reaction to the momma mosquito’s saliva that she pushes into you to thin your blood, making it easier for her to draw it out. It also contains a mild sedative, which is why you don’t always feel her “biting” you.

Now That’s a Momma!

When the momma mosquito reaches full term, she gives birth to 2-300 eggs at one time, in standing water. The water dries up and the eggs lay dormant until they get exposed to water again – sometimes for years!

Female mosquitoes live for about 2-3 months, and can get pregnant 3 times during that lifespan. The males only live about 10 days – and they identify the females of their specific species by listening for the sound of their wings beating. Each species has a slightly different pitch.

But What I Really Want to Know…

We know what you’re thinking – that’s all super interesting, but the main thing I care about is not getting bit. We hear you. Mosquitoes can sense our body heat, smell the carbon dioxide on our breath, and the more than 300 chemicals your skin secretes. Wearing dark clothes makes your body warmer and more obvious target, and drinking alcohol makes your CO2 smell sweeter and is a big draw for the biters.

Like everyone else, we’ll mention that it usually helps to keep exposed skin to a minimum, but, c’mon, this is Florida – it’s hot, it’s muggy, and besides… We have a better way!

A Better Solution?

Good News Pest Solutions’ exclusive No Bite Zones Mosquito Protection Program protects your family and pets, now and for the future. The 100% safe, organic treatment doesn’t even harm the momma mosquitoes – it just turns them and their soon to hatch babies into vegans! That means no harmful chemicals, annoying aerosol sprays, or slathering on calamine lotion.

Now is the best time to get started on the program, whether you’re in Lakewood Ranch, Apollo Beach or Port Charlotte. As much as we love them, we have to admit that mosquitoes also spread diseases like Malaria, Zika virus, and West Nile virus. And in the last 6 months, it looks like St. Louis Encephalitis might be making a return (at least in California).

By the way…

Mosquitoes also carry heartworms. That’s bad news for our four legged family members. But not to worry, not only are our No Bite Zones safe for your pets, they’re vastly more affordable than the cost of de-worming your dog or cat (yeah, cats get them too).

You really shouldn’t delay. Getting started with No Bite Zones is quick and easy. Give us a call and we can get you a quote and explain the process over the phone. And if you’re not one of our Go Green Plus 3 or Term Assure 365 customers, we’d be happy to explain those programs to you too.

For now, let’s raise a cup of the perfect summertime drink, lemonade, to our incredible insect neighbors, the mosquitoes!

Going on Vacation? Make it a GREEN One!

How to Take a Green VacationIt seems like the calendar just changed from winter to spring, but before too long, the Summer Solstice will be here. At these times of the year, we often start planning for vacations.

Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we’re always looking for innovative ways to better steward our planet, for ourselves and our future generations. So, whether you’re planning a short trip for when your kids go on spring break, or a full-fledged summer adventure, we’ve got several ways to go greener when on vacation!

Let start with how you’re getting there.

Travel Arrangements

    • If you’re flying to your vacation destination, try to fly as direct as possible, non-stop flights cause fewer carbon emissions than several connecting flights.
      Of course, it’s impossible to eliminate carbon emissions when flying, but there are several non-profits that will accept your donation and use the money to offset carbon emissions by planting trees or promoting programs that educate about cutting down on emissions.
      One of our favorites is Climate Stewards that supports community forestry and clean water projects in Ghana, Kenya and Mexico, not only helping the planet, but also the people in less industrial areas.
    • Once you’ve arrived, if you need to rent a car, ask for fuel efficient options – most rental companies provide hybrids if not purely electric cars to rent. The cost might be a little higher, but isn’t it  worth it to keep the air cleaner?
    • If you can avoid using a car, even better! Not only is walking and bicycling better for your personal health, but it helps preserve the environment while giving you a first-hand view of the city and a stronger connection to the place you’re visiting – not to mention the opportunity to discover a hidden local gem!

While You’re There

    • But where will you stay? With family or friends is great or consider doing an AirBnB! But if those aren’t an option, check out the local hotels to see which ones emphasize and utilize green programs. That could be anything from LED lighting, extensive recycling programs, and some hotels even use alternative energies like solar to reduce their impact on the environment. A popular program in many hotels cuts down on water and electric by offering guests the option of only changing out the towels and sheets once or twice per stay.
    • Consider e-receipts. Many hotels, department stores, and banks now offer the option to have your receipt emailed or texted to your mobile device. It’s easier to keep track of (and digitally search) for needed receipts – whether it’s for returns or reimbursements, they’re all in one place and not dependent on remembering where you stuffed everything.
    • Carrying reusable bags with you helps cut down on excessive plastic bag pollution as well as the fossil fuels that are used to create the bags. Reusable bags are great for your souvenir shopping as well as food purchases. And in some states like California, stores charge additional fees if you don’t bring reusable bags.
    • Speaking of food purchases – eating at local restaurants not only puts money back into the community you’re visiting, but those great hole in the wall places often use locally grown and sourced vegetables, meat and dairy, cutting down on transportation costs and the branded napkins, etc., that you see at a chain restaurant. Not to mention, you’re on vacation – it’s a time for new experiences not the McDonald’s or Chili’s you could stop by anytime on the way home from work.
    • Avoid plastic water bottles. Yeah, we know they’re convenient, but they’ve become one of the highest sources of pollution and oil use, almost outpacing cars! Even if you don’t believe the stories of companies using tap water to fill their bottles (they’re mostly true), consider the cost – your 8 glasses of water a day costs less than a dollar a year, even if you’re using a filtered pitcher. The average cost for the same amount of bottled water = $1,400/year.
      Bringing a reusable water bottle from home (or getting one from your hotel) and refilling it yourself with purified water can save your pocketbook and the environment.

We love being green and there’s no reason that has to stop when you leave the house. Even if you only implement a couple of these tips, you’ll be doing your part to make the world a better place and save yourself a few bucks in the process!

Are there any we missed? Share your tips for a greener vacation in the comments!

Bat Maternity Season Is Coming!

Bat Maternity SeasonIn the recent trailer for The Justice League movie, Commissioner Gordon tells Batman, “It’s good to see you playing well with others again.”

According to the comics, Bruce Wayne chose to dress like a bat to strike fear into the hearts of villains, typically a “superstitious and cowardly lot.” And from Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, through present-day Halloween, we tend to focus mostly on the, well, scarier aspects of these flying rodents.

(One notable exception – Rosita, the bilingual muppet on Sesame Street was designed to resemble one of her native Mexico’s fruit bats, her full name being Rosita, La Monstrua de las Cuevas.)

There’s so much more about bats that makes them interesting: they breastfeed their young – called pups – they are great at pest control – by eating mosquitoes and other pesky insects, they save us billions of dollars in unneeded pesticides, not to mention saving us from the side effects of those toxic chemicals. And even the truly scary ones – vampire bats, don’t suck your blood and are only found in South America.  Only 1% of all bats carry rabies, and those that do die within hours.

There are 13 distinct bat species in Florida – where, by the way, bats are an endangered species. That means, just like Manatees, Red Pandas and Gopher Tortoises, you can’t intentionally kill or threaten them. Bats are some of the longest living mammals, especially for their size, and they all give birth at about the same time, from April 15 – August 15 every year. Imagine how busy those bat maternity wards must get!

Because of their endangered status, we have to be very careful not to kill or wound bats when we have to deal with them – not that we would anyway! As always, Good News Pest Solutions looks for the best, safest solution for our clients and the environment. That means we don’t hurt them, rather, we do what’s called bat exclusion.

Bats are very territorial and will always return to their ‘home roost,’ given the opportunity. So, we have to help them relocate. We determine entry points by observing the bats and inspecting for their guano (bat droppings). Once we’ve targeted their point of entry, we drape netting, so that the bats can leave to feed but cannot return. Within a week, the bats have infested and imprinted a new roosting site and the entry points can be sealed.

Because bat pups cannot fly until they’re older, we cannot do bat exclusion during their maternity season – that’s April 15 – August 15, remember? Otherwise, the baby bats die and nobody wants that.

So, if your home in Port Charlotte or Sarasota is infested with bats, well, either contact us now, or enjoy your role as a happy bat pup nursery until mid-August. Think of all the good you’ll be doing when those birds, er, bats, fly the coop, and start harvesting mosquitoes!

Whether you call now or in the fall, we’re always happy to help our flying pest control friends find a new home!

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