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Posts Tagged ‘Good News Pest Solutions’

Keep Your Cool in the Summer Months!

Green Ways To Keep Cool this SummerAs we move into the hottest months of the year, we thought we’d share some green tips on how to keep your cool in the house while still keeping your electric bill in check.

Cool Your Rooms!

For starters, cover your windows. As much as we enjoy a little natural light during the day, experts say that 30% of your home’s excess heat is coming through your windows. Using blinds, shades or curtains can reduce the temperature in your home on a hot day up to 20-degrees. Not to mention the electricity you’re not spending on air conditioning and fans.

Speaking of fans, make sure all your ceiling fans are turning counter-clockwise. This circulates the air and creates a wind-chill breeze effect, making you feel cooler, especially at higher speeds. In the winter, you can reverse the fans back to clockwise so the warm air that naturally rises is pushed down into the room. (Most ceiling fans have a switch in the base that changes the direction.)

If you don’t have ceiling fans, how about creating your own homemade DIY air conditioning. Fill a mixing bowl with ice or a frozen ice pack and position it at an angle behind a box or table fan. The fan will draw the cool air into the room, rapidly reducing the temperature. Or, if you’re feeling particularly industrious, check out these steps on how to build a “swamp cooler” that can reduce the temperature in a small apartment for only $25!

Cool Your Furniture!

Make sure your sheets are fresh – used sheets absorb sweat and body heat and hold onto it for longer than most people think. Cotton sheets breathe easier and stay cooler.

Water works! While you’re pulling off your sheets to change them, lay a large towel or two down before sliding the fitted sheet into place. Then take a clean, empty spray bottle and fill it with cool water. Spray the top sheet with a light misting of water from the bottle and the dampness will draw heat away from your body. And store the spray bottle in the fridge for the next night!

Also consider investing in a buckwheat pillow. Not only does the pillow not collapse under the weight of your head and neck, helping promote a more comfortable sleep, the buckwheat hulls also don’t hold onto heat – so both sides are the cool side!

Cool Yourself!

Sometimes the best way to beat the heat is by reducing your own temperature! We’ve heard lots of old wives tales about licking your wrists or plunging your head into an ice bucket. We’d like to think our methods are a little more sensible.

Of course, we endorse the standard approach of keeping yourself well hydrated through hot days. Technically, any liquid will do, but we recommend light and healthy beverages like iced tea, lemonade, and, of course, cool refreshing water!

Rather than licking your wrists, a cool compress on pressure points like your wrists and neck will make you feel cooler.

Consider a cold shower. The cool water is bracing and can reduce your body’s overall temperature. It’s especially effective right before bed, even if you don’t dampen the sheets.

(Don’t) Cool It on the Home Improvements!

Certain renovations may take longer to feel the effects from – but are definitely worth the expense for the long-term savings.

Trees can be valuable for shade, but also help cut down on the sun’s heat even when it’s not directly shining on them. Palm trees are less effective, but there are many native Florida fauna that will work well.

Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs – you know, the curlicue ones. The standard incandescent bulbs we’ve been using for generations expend 90% of the energy they use (which itself is much higher than CFL’s) on generating heat. CFL bulbs use less energy, last longer and will reduce the temperature in your home considerably.

You might already be considering insulation, but what about insulation that saves you considerably on your energy bills, reduces sound pollution AND helps control pests access to your house?

Our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control (TAP)  system is 32% more efficient than standard fiberglass insulation and provides a barrier for roaches, ants, silverfish and the sound of your neighbor’s dog that just won’t stop barking. It reduces heat in the summer, cold in the winter and, like all of our products, is 100% safe for your whole family, including pets! And while it’s not pink and doesn’t have a cartoon mascot, it is made with 87% recycled materials that would otherwise be filling a landfill – and is EPA certified!

Call us today to get more information on this remarkable product or any of our natural pest solutions!

Big Headed Ants – A BIG Problem

Big Headed Ants - A Big ProblemJust like most of our residents here on the Gulf Coast of Florida, a lot of our animals, plant life, and insects are also from other parts of the United States and the world. Sometimes that can be a good thing. But in many cases, bugs introduced from foreign sources are more invasive – taking over the native insects’ habitat and creating an imbalance in the natural ecosystem.

That’s definitely the case with Big Headed Ants (BHA).

Pheidole megacephala is considered one of the top 100 most invasive species on the planet. Big Headed Ants were first identified in 1793 on the Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Like many other species of ants, BHA’s managed to board the trading ships of the Silk Road – the routes between Europe, Asia, and the Americas – and then were transplanted all across the globe.

Including the Sunshine State…

Here in Florida, the Big Headed Ants were first introduced in the Everglades, Key West, and St. Augustine, but they quickly spread to Charlotte, Broward, Brevard, Hillsborough, Highlands, Lee, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Seminole and Monroe Counties.

Big Headed Ants have been a problem for decades – even displacing many of the other invasive ant species, like red fire and white footed ants. But scientists are saying that in recent years, they’ve become an even larger problem. They believe the large spate of hurricanes that struck the Gulf Coast, from 2003 to 2005, the most active tropical activity for our area since the ’60’s, destroyed lawns and trees, which resulted in importing replacement soil and vegetation, which may have been infested with BHA’s.

What do Big Headed Ants Look Like?

Despite their name, only 1% of the Big Headed Ants population sports the larger head – the major worker or soldier ants. The front half of the soldier’s head is sculptured while the back half is smooth and shiny. Minor workers look much like other ants, except for small spines on their midsection pointed upward and the long hairs that cover their entire bodies.

Colonies are very large and will contain a high number of fertile queens, another reason for their rapid spread. Because of our subtropical weather, the ants reproduce almost year round. You may see the winged queens flying about in the winter and early spring, but once fertilized, they shed their wings and nest in loose soil. They will burrow down and can lay almost 300 eggs per month.

The BHA’s feed on dead insects and sometimes live ones, devouring the honeydew extracts from sap-sucking aphids, whiteflies and planthoppers. Strangely, Big Headed Ants have a symbiotic relationship, since both are targeted by the same predators, lady beetles and certain butterfly larvae.

Should I be Worried?

Like their other invasive ant neighbors, the red imported fire ants, Big Headed Ants do bite when defending their nest or colony. Unlike fire ants, BHA bites don’t sting, but some people may still have an allergic reaction to them.

The real problem, though, is food contamination. Once the ants find a food source – sugary items to them are similar to their natural nourishments – they quickly alert any and every Big Headed Ant in the area – drawing them in large numbers. Trust me, you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to find your bed or carpets crawling with hundreds of ants because a cracker crumb wasn’t picked up.

Check With the Experts!

BHA’s are sometimes mistaken for termites because of the way they burrow into trees and their dirt leaves small tubes that they travel through, similar to those created by subterranean termites. Because of this, if you think you have an infestation, call us right away. Our highly-trained staff can quickly identify and properly treat whatever infestation you’re experiencing. We cover most of the Gulf Coast – from Lakewood Ranch to Punta Gorda, and we specialize in natural products that are safe for the whole family!

The Latest on When Mosquitoes Attack! (An Update)

Mosquito UpdateNo, they’re not really attacking, This isn’t one of those Friday night, B-level science fiction horror movies!

But, if you’ve lived in Florida any time at all, you’re aware that the extensive rains we’re having this month will lead to a larger than usual mosquito population in short order. In fact, Sarasota County is already warning their residents about an outbreak and taking specific measures to minimize the effect on their residents.

This time last year, we were all talking about the Zika virus and how mosquitoes were instrumental in spreading it across South America and our own Sunshine State. But as we’ve mentioned in the past, Zika isn’t the only virus that the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are known to spread.

Wait, What Else Do Mosquitoes Spread?

In fact, long before Zika was on our collective radar, we’ve known that those same mosquitoes are linked to the spread of dengue fever and Chikungunya virus, but we had no clear proof.

Since the first mosquito-related case of Chikungunya virus was discovered in the Caribbean in 2013, more than a million cases have been reported, including almost 200 in the United States. But until recently, those were all attributed to travel-related circumstances.

There are three strains of Chikungunya virus that have been genetically identified and named for their origins – West African, Asian and East-Central-South African (ECSA)

Now, researchers have discovered a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in Brazil specifically carrying the East-Central-South African strain of Chikungunya virus. Luckily, none of the mosquitoes scientists captured for this sample tested positive for Zika or dengue.

What Does This Mean for Us?

While Brazil might seem far away, it’s only a few miles as the mosquito flies. And proof of the virus present in a local mosquito there means that it could start spreading further north and that our own mosquitoes could have a higher likelihood of biting an infected person and then spreading it to the other hosts they snack on.

A more troubling thought is that because of certain conditions in Brazil, it’s much easier for the virus to spread rapidly. Although people infected with the virus aren’t contagious, the mosquitoes don’t check anyone’s medical alert bracelet before biting down, allowing the virus to spread easily in highly populated, tightly packed communities.

What Can We Do?

It’s never our intention here at Good News Pest Solutions to spread fear, so this is just interesting information. But why not take precautions now to prevent potential problems in the future – not to mention, virus or not, nobody likes being nibbled on by a pregnant, hungry mosquito.

That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to consider our exclusive No Bite Zones technology – the same all natural, organic solution they used to protect our athletes in Brazil last year. No Bite Zones uses a safe, natural process to transform the female mosquitoes from craving blood to feed the babies growing in their bellies, to complete vegans. And just as if they’re living in California, their offspring become vegans too! For life. That means fewer bites – period. And prettier flowers – since mosquitoes are the number two pollinators after bees.

Contact us today to protect your family and pets from annoying – and potentially painful – mosquito bites. Because even if you’re living all the way down in Punta Gorda, you can’t avoid the mosquitoes – so teach them to avoid you!

6 Plants that Keep Mosquitoes Away

6 Plants that Keep Mosquitoes AwayNow that school’s out for the summer and the days are longer, chances are, like us, you’re spending a bit more time outdoors with the family. For the next couple of months, we’ll enjoy picnics, barbeques, outdoor concerts and movies, maybe even take a trip or two to the beach.

But we all know that the summer months on the Gulf Coast of Florida are smack dab in the middle of rainy season, from Punta Gorda to Bradenton and beyond. And with rain comes our unofficial mascot – the mosquito.

Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we’re always looking for innovative new ways to solve pest problems with natural, organic methods that are safe for your family and pets. So we thought we’d share a few of the plants you can cultivate that naturally help repel mosquitoes – as well as a few added benefits!

Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

  1. Citronella – this may be the most obvious choice, due to its popularity in insect repellents and torches. That’s the oil, of course. You may not know that it’s also a small shrub you can plant around your yard, or grow in pots that can be placed around your patio. Their strong smell masks the odors that attract mosquitoes. Unfortunately, the smell can also trigger allergic reactions for some folks.
  2. Catnip – this is, of course, your cat’s favorite solution. In fact, you might find that this herb makes your yard the number one gathering spot for all of the neighborhood cats! Catnip is related to mint and is easy to grow. The range of catnip is not as wide as some other solutions, but you can easily crush up some leaves for added effect.
  3. Lemon Balm – also known as horsemint, the smell not only repels mosquitoes, but also attracts other pollinators like bees and butterflies – which may be why it grows and spreads so easily! Plus, it’s drought resistant and reseeds itself, so it’ll always be around when you need it.
  4. Basil – not only is it a popular herb for cooking, but its natural smell repels mosquitoes as well as ants, whiteflies, cabbage maggots and mice. Unlike some of the other solutions, basil has a pleasant aroma for humans and you don’t even have to crush the leaves for the effect. The most popular varieties are lemon and cinnamon basil.
  5. Lavender – another strong, but generally pleasant smelling solution, lavender can be grown in your garden alongside your vegetables, or in pots distributed around the house. Along with mosquitoes, lavender also wards off gnats. Many people find the smell of lavender soothing, promoting a more restful sleep and relaxation during the day. The dried leaves can also be placed in closets and wardrobes as natural moth balls.
  6. Marigolds – finally, the prettiest of the solutions we’ve seen. The popular flowers you probably planted in grade school have a distinct smell that mosquitoes and other pests don’t care for. And similar to basil, marigolds also help your vegetable garden – repelling the annoying aphids that tend to infest your tomato plants.

Of course, there are other all-natural options for dealing with mosquitoes – like our exclusive No Bite Zones technology, that turns biting mosquitoes and their offspring into vegans. Give us a call to find out more!

Dragonfly Spies: Coming to a Town Near You?

Dragonfly Spies Coming to a Town Near You?There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about spy satellites and drones and having our conversations monitored. But you might not realize just how advanced the technology is… or how small.

We’ve talked in the past about cockroaches that could be electronically programmed to be used as remote control insects, going places humans can’t or won’t go. They even used them in a movie!

Now scientists are launching their technology to all new heights. Creating the perfect insect drone – from Dragonflies! Seriously, it’s like they’re right out of a James Bond film.

Technology Takes Flight

Dubbed DragonflEye, biomedical engineers at Draper, with the help of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at Janelia Research Campus have developed a hybrid drone micro-aerial vehicle.

Similar to the RoboRoaches, scientists are experimenting with installing a technology-filled ‘backpack’ on actual dragonflies. Technology that includes a miniaturized solar unit, optical stimulation technology and guidance systems equipped for advanced navigation.

Dragonflies are the perfect covert operatives – they exist on every continent except Antarctica, and their God-given design of 4 wings allows them to hover, change direction rapidly, darting capabilities and even the ability to fly in reverse!

But That’s Far From All

What’s more, the tech teams say that their advances could mean more than just the potential espionage uses. For example, in their experimentation to further control the dragonflies, they created more innovative fiber optics.

Traditional optical fibers were too stiff to be wrapped around the tiny dragonfly’s nerve cords, so Draper developed innovative flexible ‘optrodes’ that can bend light around sub-millimeter turns.

Say What?

For the dragonflies, that means scientists can stimulate specific neurons for flight or vision, without hurting the insect. But the hope is that the same technology could be utilized to create far less invasive laparoscopic surgery techniques, as well as advance replacement limb integration and control for prosthetic use.

And that’s just one potential advance.

They also hope to adapt the technology for other insects – enabling them to more closely study honeybees, learning flight patterns, migration habits and pollination techniques and finding ways to improve them. And that’s good news for everyone.

Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we’ve been studying insects, including dragonflies – which are great mosquito repellents – all up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Ruskin to Punta Gorda. We specialize in 100% natural and organic pest solutions, safe for the whole family and more effective than nasty chemical treatments. If you need help, give us a call!

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