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Category: Sarasota Pest Control

Mild Winter Means More Pests!

Go Green This Spring!There’s a lot of talk about weather and the climate on the news these days.  Temperatures going up and down, flash floods, El Niño, winter storms, La Niña… It’s hard to wrap your head around sometimes.

Plus, you might think that weather conditions don’t have much effect on pests here in Florida since our weather stays pretty temperate most of the year. But scientists say that even a 2-degree difference warmer or cooler can have a dramatic impact on the life and reproductive cycles of insects (rodents too!).

2016 was the warmest year since records have been kept, and La Niña is still wreaking havoc as we move from a drier, warmer winter to an unusually warm spring, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.

So, insects that normally would have been dormant in the winter are already active. And in growing numbers.

Partho Dhang, an Urban Entomologist, reports that the overall warmer temperatures mean that pests usually restricted to certain areas far from Port Charlotte and Sarasota can travel increasingly larger distances, resulting in their spread to our coast.

Protect Your Home from Pests

While there’s nothing you can do about the weather, there are a few steps you can take to protect your home from invading pests:

  • Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house and around windows.
  • Keep tree branches and other foliage trimmed back from the house.
  • Check for plumbing leaks and cracked grout around bathtubs and toilets. A good caulk seal assures that even the smallest insects can’t enter.
  • Keep mulch at least 15-inches from your home’s foundation, and in older Florida homes, maintain at least an inch between wood and soil.
  • Keep trash cans clean and lids sealed. This helps eliminate food sources that can attract bugs.

Since winter has officially ended and April is on its heels, now is a great time to get started with our year-round Go Green Plus 3 program! Our technicians come out and do the spring cleaning for you, sweeping cobwebs from the eaves and windows and doing a full home health check up of your property.

We’ll treat your foundation, entry points, eaves, plant beds and trees with our 100% all-natural, green pest solutions that are safe for your whole family, including the 4-legged members. We’ll apply the same care to any problem areas inside your home, and we schedule 3 follow-up visits to make sure everything is still protected.

Honestly, there are only two types of homes in Florida – those with termites and those who will have them, but we’ve done our best in the past 30 years to extend the ‘without termite’ time as long as possible for our clients.

Term-Assure 365 combines our incredible Go Green Plus 3 with the most effective and environmentally friendly termite protection, including a $1-million termite damage repair warranty – a necessity since homeowners insurance doesn’t cover termite damage!

Contact us today to get started with either program or if you’re experiencing any other pest problems. We’re here to help!

Best Bug Pic of the Year

Bug Pic of the YearThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words. For Ed Freytag, senior entomologist at the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board, his latest picture was literally worth half of that.

This is really cool! Freytag was searching for catalpa caterpillars to snap images of when he spotted an acorn weevil under the lower leaves of the catalpa tree. He shifted gears quickly, prodding the insect to move higher so he could get a better shot – and it was worth it.

His highly detailed photo of the acorn weevil was the winner of Pest Control Technology’s annual photography contest, netting him the $500 prize.

Now that’s a serious commitment!

Freytag, who has been with the New Orleans Board for 27 years, took the photo while on vacation in August in Missouri. As lifelong bug enthusiasts ourselves, we can’t help but admire his commitment to the insect world.

But Freytag didn’t even know how great a photo he’d snapped until he reviewed the digital image on the camera’s LCD screen.

As he reviewed the several shots he had taken of the weevil, he noticed that its body was covered in scales and fine hair that was not easily visible to the naked eye.  Let’s be honest – most of us never want to get so close to a bug that we can see every hair.

But Freytag selected the best image and submitted it for the contest.

What a Winner!

The PCT judges were impressed with the detail on the shot, also noting the contrast between the green leaf and the brown weevil and the distinct drops of water.

PCT has been running the contest for 15 years.

Check out Freytag’s winning photo here, and click here to see the other 10 finalists!

If you’re seeing bugs you weren’t expecting in your house or yard, give us a call. We’re happy to come out and take a look – you might even qualify for our Term-Assure 365 program! You never know until you ask!

 

Doctors Found a Cockroach Where?!?

Doctors Found a Cockroach WhereOkay, fair warning, this story is bound to give just about anyone the heebie jeebies.

It sounds like a really creepy version of an Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft story. An episode of the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. David Cronenberg’s The Fly movie with Jeff Goldblum, or Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

You know that saying about truth being stranger than fiction? Well, this is one for the books.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Selvi, a 42-year old female domestic worker in Injambakkam, a community on the south central coast of India, came into the local hospital, complaining of “a crawling sensation” inside her head. More specifically, a tingling, crawling sensation that caused burning in her eyes.

Okay, last warning. This is not for the squeamish.

The doctors who saw the woman reported that she had…

A fully grown live cockroach lodged in her skull base, between her eyes and close to her brain.

They believe that while the woman slept Monday night, the insect made its way up her nostril and just kept going. And while the cockroach they extracted from Selvi was the largest, it was far from the first intracranial insect extraction they’ve done.

Apparently, a lot of bugs use the nasal cavity as a hiding place. There’s something that’ll keep you up nights.

For How Long?

And while they did eventually extract the bug from her brain, it took A WHILE. The cockroach didn’t want to leave and it took doctors 45 minutes to drag it out of the same place it crawled in, using suction and forceps – the medical version of needle-nose pliers.

And they said had they not removed the insect, its dead body could have caused an infection in her brain.

Yeah, we can’t wait to see this one on the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy or Code Black.

No Fear!

But before you go buying a full face mask to sleep in, it is rather rare for bugs to crawl into any human body orifice, at least in the United States. And being in fear constantly is no way to live.

Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we are all about eliminating fear. If you’re worried about cockroaches or any other infestations around your home, we encourage you to contact us to find out about all of the green, family-safe, organic pest solutions we offer at Good News.

The 9 Things Mosquitoes Hate – And You’ll Love

Things Mosquitoes HateYes, we sometimes jokingly refer to them as the ‘state bird.’ But even before there was the threat of the Zika virus spreading throughout the sunshine state, mosquitoes have been one of our least favorite Florida residents.

And unlike the snowbirds, they don’t have a season, although they do tend to be more active during the rainy summers.

Chances are you’ve been woken up a few mornings by low-flying mosquito control planes, or driven through a late night cloud of DEET in more rural areas, as state and county officials try to combat the nasty little biters the way they have for the past 50 years. But those aren’t the only solutions to the problem. Here are 9 ways you can combat mosquito bites without harmful chemicals.

9 Ways to Combat Mosquitoes Naturally

  1. DRYNESS: The first, and possibly most obvious way to win the war on mosquitoes is by keeping it dry. As we mentioned, the rainy season is the most populous mosquito weather. That’s because the momma mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water. They dry out, then hatch once the water returns. So avoiding any areas of standing water on your property, from pet dishes, to birdbaths, to those bright blue tarps is essential to cutting down the mosquito population.
  2. SMOKE: There’s a reason torches are so popular for background get-togethers in Florida – and it’s not because of their more tropical look. Whether dipped in citronella or just generating an ashen atmosphere, smoke is a natural repellent for mosquitoes. Of course, some citronella is better than none, but even just placing a burning paper egg carton on the edge of your barbeque grill is a great way to keep the biters at bay.

Clothing

  1. LOOSE-FITTING Clothes: Believe it or not, just covering up with long sleeves is not enough. In fact, if your outfit is too tight, it might make you more appealing to hungry momma mosquitoes. Wearing clothing that is more loose fitting or even baggy not only makes it harder for mosquitoes to find your exposed skin, but it also keeps you cooler – and harder for the heat–driven insects to gravitate towards. We don’t, however, recommend wearing those pants that fall off your rear…😜
  2. LIGHT COLORED Clothes: In the same vein, darker colors are more visible to mosquitoes and mark you as a more tasty treat to their insect eyes. Lighter, pale colors blend into the background in the biter’s sight. Darker colors can not only appear warmer to mosquitoes, but the contrast also makes you stand out more, potentially drawing them in.
  3. FAN: Believe it or not, a good stiff breeze – whether natural or generated by a good fan – also helps keep mosquitoes away. You might recall from your school biology class that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide for plants. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide, which the wind from a decent fan disperses and dilutes. Plus, mosquitoes are weak fliers, so the breeze keeps them from getting close enough to bite you.

Flavors

  1. OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS: When New Mexico State University looked for alternative ways to fight the spread of the Zika virus, they found that certain essential oils and plants naturally repelled mosquitoes. Most of us already know that Citronella works well, but cedar and garlic also have varying rates of effectiveness. The top two most effective were lemon eucalyptus oils and
  2. CITRUS: Citrus plants, as well as their crushed leaves and extracts made from them, naturally repel mosquitoes. Oranges, lemons, lavender, basil and catnip naturally produce oils that repel mosquitoes and are generally pleasant to the nose – unless you’re of the feline persuasion. The odor that mosquitoes most hate though is one you might not have heard of: Lantana. Their bitter citrusy smell is one that mosquitoes tend to avoid unless they’re really hungry. And they only cost a few dollars per home.
  3. BEER: Unfortunately, we aren’t about to tell you that drinking alcoholic spirits will repel mosquitoes. In fact, it’s the opposite. There’s something about the chemical reaction when the body processes alcohol, especially beer, that exudes a sweet smell in your sweat that attracts the hungry insects.
  4. PICARIDIN: We’re guessing you aren’t that familiar with this last one, at least by its proper name. But you may have heard of “Fisherman’s Formula.” Picaridin is a synthetic compound developed from the piperine plant – the same place we get table pepper. Unlike DEET, it doesn’t kill mosquitoes, but makes the user practically invisible to hungry mosquitoes. And if you’re planning a woodland hike, it chases off chiggers, too!

Of course, there’s another solution to preventing mosquitoes that we’ve found very effective. Our exclusive No Bite Zones technology not only keeps mosquitoes from biting you, it turns the hungry momma mosquitoes – and their offspring – into vegans, who don’t even feed on mammals. And unlike the dangerous chemicals you might find elsewhere, GardenPaqs from Good News Pest Solutions are safe for your family, your pets, and in this case, the mosquitoes, leaving them free to do their job as pollinators. Contact us today for more details!

 

Extreme Bugs: The Orchid Mantis

Extreme Bugs The Orchid MantisIt’s been a while, but we’re finally back with one of our fun fan favorites – Extreme Bugs! This time around, we’re taking a look at one of the most unique members of the insect community – the beautiful but deadly Orchid Mantis.

Hymenopus coronatus uses cryptic mimicry to draw in its prey – other insects – by taking on the appearance of a beautiful flower – or so we thought. Recent studies show that the insects the Mantis consumes aren’t fooled by their predator’s resemblance to flowers, but simply to its brightly colored and petal shaped body.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. As you can see from our title picture, the Orchid Mantis sports a brightly colored pink and white body, and that body is flattened, making it look more like a flower than its brown, angular Praying Mantis cousins. And while the Orchid Mantis is the first known animal to be a true flower mimic, all isn’t as it seems. Although the Mantis takes its name from the orchid flower, in fact, it doesn’t look like an orchid any more than just any generic flower.

For years, naturalists believed that the Mantis was drawing its victims by camouflaging itself among flowers. But it turns out those were assumptions made based on limited facts, the Mantis’ being very rare in nature. And while we think it looks like a specific flower, the bugs it attracts just like the pretty colors that, to their limited brains, appear as food sources, as opposed to their doom.

The Mantis’ aggressive mimicry is not unknown to the insect world – Bolas spiders mimic the mating pheromones of female moths to draw horny male moths to their death and the female Photorus firefly mimics the flash pattern of other species of fireflies to bring in male suitors for dinner. Basically, males ‘in the mood’ are easily distracted by sparkling lights and pleasant smells, leaving them confused and nearly helpless. Uh, male insects, that is…

The Orchid Mantis, however, doesn’t discriminate on what they will feed on, enjoying a variety of flying insects of all genders, using their flowery colors and sensory exploitation to attract houseflies, bees, blue bottle flies – even in some cases butterflies! And their flower-like appearance protects them from birds and other natural predators.

Orchid Mantis, just one more example of the wonder of God’s creation and another interesting chapter in our exploration of Extreme Bugs!

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