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Posts Tagged ‘Good News Pest Solutions’

Modified Mosquitoes May Lead to a Natural Zika Solution

Experimental Mosquitoes Released in the Florida KeysFor almost two years now, we’ve kept a close eye on the Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito along with the Center for Disease Control, Florida universities and the National Institutes for Health, because of their role in spreading the Zika virus (along with other Dengue based illnesses).

Concerns reached a fever pitch last summer when steps had to be taken to protect United States athletes and their families traveling to Brazil, one of the hotbeds for the Zika virus, followed shortly by instances of the virus appearing in the United States that didn’t arrive with infected travelers.

In addition to the fever, rash, joint & muscle pain and pink eye, pregnant women infected by Zika can pass the virus on to their unborn children, and can cause a birth defect called microcephaly.

Various methods to deal with the problem have been suggested, including avoidance, eradication, sterilization and our own incredible No Bite Zones, which turn mosquitoes from carnivores to vegans.

Using Bacteria to Control Mosquitoes

But earlier this year, in a groundbreaking experiment, scientists in the Florida Keys are trying a new approach. One that fits with our mission of natural, organic solutions to pest control.

60% of insects in the world have Wolbachia bacteria present in their system, including some mosquitoes, but not in the Aedes aegypti mosquito.  Scientists have known about and studied this bacteria for years, primarily looking for a way to prevent Dengue fever. Mosquitoes with Wolbachia are less able to transmit viruses to people, so the risk of outbreaks in those areas is reduced, and the bacteria itself is safe for humans, animals and the environment.

However, when the yellow fever mosquito is infected with Wolbachia, it has an unusual effect. When the males are infected with Wolbachia and then mate with wild, uninfected females, they will lay eggs, but they don’t hatch.

The Florida Keys experiment involves releasing 20,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, infected with the Wolbachia bacterium onto Stock Island. Twice a week for 12 weeks, the manually infected mosquitoes will be released at various spots around the island, in an effort to eliminate the yellow fever mosquitoes in the area. The hope is that the species will be eliminated, reducing the possibilities of Zika.

The experiment is based on a similar trial tried in Clovis, California last year. However, some researchers think that the Keys experiment is only a short-term solution. Yes, there is a potential for cutting back on the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, but that doesn’t keep yellow fever mosquitoes from other places moving back into the area.

They propose a different approach – releasing male and female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria. When females infected with Wolbachia mate with wild, uninfected males, all of their offspring are born with Wolbachia. This method would maintain the mosquito population and allow them to fulfill their God-given purpose as pollinators. And the Wolbachia bacterium would significantly reduce the chance of spreading Zika, Dengue and yellow fever.

Regardless of how the experiment in the Keys turns out, we’ve had great success with our exclusive No Bite Zones technology in Port Charlotte, Sarasota and Bradenton, really all over the Gulf coast of Florida, and we’re sure it’ll work for your backyard too. Give us a call and we’ll get you started!

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!

The One Area People FORGET To Search for Bed Bugs

Area People Forget to Search for Love BugsDid you know that bed bugs, while some of the oldest insects on the planet, have really only been a problem in North America for about 20 years? Well, this time. Prior to World War II, there were some instances of infestation, but it tapered off in the 1950’s until more recently.

There are many reasons for the resurgence of bed bugs, not the least of which is our changing global economy. First, we start with the fact that bed bugs can remain dormant for some time, living in clothing, furniture & carpet until they get the opportunity to feast on human blood while the humans are asleep.

So, What Changed?

World travel has increased, thanks to more people having the means and ability to do so. In point of fact, travel is not the main source of the bed bug explosion, but it did contribute to bringing some of the nasty buggers across the seas to our shores.

Much more significant in the spread of bed bugs is the increasing industrialization of our country. As we moved from farms and ranches to cities, and from individual homes to apartments and condos, our physical closeness, shared infrastructure and ventilation and shared storage and laundry facilities allowed bed bugs to move more freely between our domiciles.

Unexpected Dangers of Resource Sharing

And the most recent factor in bed bug spread? Our growing preoccupation with secondhand society. Whether it’s Airbnb, Uber, Lyft or popping tags at the local Salvation Army, repurposing used items is the wave of the future. Only one problem: as nice as that recliner you spotted at Goodwill or that curbside alert couch you found on Craigslist, there’s a chance it might be harboring some unexpected additional Cimex lectularius.

So, in addition to checking your bed frames, mattresses and sheets, we recommend also checking the seams of chairs and couches, drawer joints, and even areas of loose wallpaper.

What to Look For

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: • …)
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • And, of course the obvious: Live bed bugs.

Another factor that contributed to the spread of bed bugs was the changing attitude and approach to pest treatment and prevention. Instead of an ongoing topical treatment, many hotels moved to baiting for ants and cockroaches. Partly it was convenience, and partly in response to the public’s concerns with dangerous and often cancer causing chemicals.

While we applaud the effort to be safer, some of the alternative choices for pest control were poorly researched or only served as a stopgap for the most obvious pests, ignoring insects like bed bugs that don’t respond to bait.

Luckily, there are far better approaches now—safe for your family and pets—and Good News Pest Solutions is the leading provider of 100% organic solutions for all of the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Bradenton to Punta Gorda. Contact us to handle bed bugs or any other pest problem in your home or business.

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!

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