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April is National Pest Management Month!

April is National Pest Management MonthFor most home and business owners, there’s only a couple times you think about pest control. Either when it’s time for your regularly scheduled checkup and treatment, or when you spot cockroaches, ants, mice, termites or other insects and vermin you don’t want inside – or in your yard, for that matter.

But as pest control professionals, we think about it all the time. And we don’t just focus on the best methods, or how to get in and out of your home quickly. A large part of our focus is on the consequences of a pest infestation.

For the past 30 years, The National Pest Management Association has celebrated April as National Pest Management Month. And they make a big deal out of it because there’s more to really good effective pest control than the average person thinks about.

You see the problem as the pests – the insects and rodents – and you want us to eliminate them.

But we think a little differently, especially here at Good News Pest Solutions. We see our mission as not just to eliminate the creepy crawlies from your home, but also how to keep you and your family safe from the potential health and property risks that come with those pests.

Some are obvious – cockroaches carry certain diseases with them, as do rats. Termites clearly are a threat to your home’s structure and your family’s safety.

But it also means we look at how the treatments we’re using affect you, your family, and your pets. And what are the long term advantages and disadvantages of certain applications of pest control solutions.

It was this concern for you and your family’s well-being that led Good News Pest Solutions to lead the industry in finding and using only 100% natural, organic, family-safe treatments. Even though they initially cost more, it was important to us to move to an entirely green approach to pest control – and why we use ‘Solutions’ as part of our name. We don’t just control the pests – we offer you solutions.

It’s why we selected TAP – the Thermal Acoustical Pest insulation that is safe for everyone, adds value to your home with better quality, recycled-use material that is soundproof and prevents insects and rodents from gaining entry into your home.

It’s why we offer our exclusive No Bite Zones technology that turns biting female mosquitoes and their offspring into vegans, allowing them to continue their God-ordained purpose of pollinating, so you stay safe and our ecosystem is protected.

It’s also why we offer Term Assure 365 – the only complete home protection for termites and other bugs that comes with a $1-million termite damage repair warranty at an affordable price. Termites are too big a risk to Florida homes to be unprotected – and your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover it.

It’s not a marketing gimmick when we say we think of our clients as part of the Good News Pest Solutions family – we really do see you that way and we do our best to treat you like  family. In our extended ‘family’, we have brothers and sisters and cousins from Lakewood Ranch to Port Charlotte. And if you’re not one yet, we can get you started on the adoption process today! Just give us a call!

Genetically-Modified Rats: Great Idea or Ecosystem Disaster?

Genetically Modified RatsNot too long ago, any type of genetic manipulation was the stuff of science fiction books and movies like Jurassic Park and Gattaca. And while we’re still decades away from the human genome being selected or edited, the same is not true for the lab rats of the world. That is to say, literally, the rats that are in the lab.

The experimental technology, known as Gene Driving, was first developed to try and eliminate malaria carrying mosquitoes.

If you remember your high school biology lessons, you’re familiar with the fact that there are two sets of genetic markers that make up each strand of DNA – one from the father and one from the mother. To simplify, when an egg is fertilized, the two strands of 23 alleles combine to form 23 pairs of chromosomes to form the DNA of every cell in a human being.

And the system works similarly for other mammals, just in different quantities.

Gene Driving interrupts the natural genetic process by overriding the natural biological processes with engineered genes that cause the rats to have, instead of shared genetics between their father and mother rats – they only have the mother’s genes.

If all rats were female, they couldn’t reproduce. And if this sounds familiar, it’s a variation on the method Michael Crichton proposed in his dinosaur novels. After 4 movies and a 5th on the way, I think we all know how that ended. (Hey, weren’t mosquitoes part of that too?)

Life Finds a Way?

And while no one is worried that rats are going to escape from their island and eat the humans, there are some in the scientific community that are concerned about other consequences when “Life finds a way.”

To put it more specifically, they’re concerned that such genetically engineered organisms could have an irreversible impact on the ecosystem. It’s not just about genetically engineering sterility or reducing aggression. It’s more that they’re concerned that we are fiddling with nature without fully comprehending what the consequences could be.

And while some are calling for a complete halt to all of the research related to gene driving, the researchers who developed the process point out that completely abandoning the research means that we may never understand it, and it could be a very effective way to cut down on several disease-carrying and crop-devouring insects and rodents.

Unlike the typical science fiction B movie plot, however, the original researchers are adamant that they need to better understand the animals and the ultimate result of their existence in nature before releasing them from the lab.

The next step in the process, they say, would be to develop an engineered gene drive that is self-limiting. Instead of taking out a whole species, it could temporarily slow generational growth – for example, stop rabbits from breeding, allowing the population to be more easily controlled.

The hope that these scientists in Scotland cling to is that we can find a better way to try and control the spread of harmful parasitic viruses and diseases that cause things like malaria and dengue and zika virus. It is becoming harder to develop vaccines and the diseases themselves mutate to be resistant to treatments, while at the same time their transmission partners (the mosquitoes) become more resilient to traditional pesticides.

Like it or not, and despite the moral implications, we might find ourselves having to develop mutations to fight nature’s mutations in order to survive.

Luckily, we have a solution – for the mosquito problem at least – that doesn’t require  potentially harmful pesticides. Our exclusive No Bite Zones have turned biting, blood-seeking female mosquitoes into vegans, from Punta Gorda to Lakewood Ranch, and lets them pass it on to their offspring. Suddenly your rainy season isn’t as buggy and the mosquitoes get to fulfill their God-given purpose of pollinating. Give us a call today to find out more!

Pest of the Month: Rats!

Pest of the Month-RatsWas there ever a mammal more reviled and maligned than the rat? First to leave the ship, the nickname for anyone who acts in their own interest at the expense of others, accused of spreading disease (even when they don’t). Even animal rights activists don’t get as riled up when they’re used for scientific testing as they do about other, cuter animals. In fact, any sympathy they get is mostly from that Pixar film.

And to be sure, some of the criticism is well-earned. They are well-known to be scavengers. They have helped circulate some diseases – 35 according to the CDC – in populated areas, just not the Black Plague. That particular outbreak was likely caused by another rodent renowned for evil – or maybe not – the Gerbil. Rats eat their own feces – apparently for its nutritional value. They also can’t control their bladders. As they walk, they dribble urine everywhere.

A Problem of Perception

So it might surprise you to find out that rats are actually some of the cleanest animals around. They can spend several hours a day on their grooming. They’re actually less likely to catch or transmit diseases than dogs and cats!

They’re also incredibly loyal, loving, and community-oriented animals. A single rat will get despondent if left without companionship. By the same token, they suffer some of the same social complications as humans do – being bullied, succumbing to peer pressure, often eating new things just because all the other rats are doing it.

But as a community – known as a mischief – they care for their sick and injured, have dreams while sleeping, and make laughing sounds when they play.

It’s rumored that both Queen Victoria and Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter kept rats as pets. And along with Laika & Ham the Astrochimp, one of the first mammals in space was a brown rat, launched by France.

Clone Wars?

When scientists started seriously studying genetic diversity and cloning, they began by inbreeding rats, brother to sister, for 300 generations. The resulting rats were 99% genetically identical, even closer than we’ve yet been able to achieve with cloning.

One of the reasons that rats seem to be everywhere is because of their mating schedule. A female rat can mate as many as – wait for it – 500 times the 6 hour period that she’s in the mood. And she gets feeling that way about every 3.5 weeks. So in the average rats lifespan of 2-3 years, she can produce somewhere between 4 and 18 THOUSAND descendants.  That might explain how they originated in Asia and Australia but conquered the rest of the world long before man did.

Despite that, there are 7 species of rats on the Endangered Species list.

Smarter Than They Look

Their eyesight is poor, so rats use their whiskers and scent organs in their feet to find their way around. Rats are more intelligent than rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs. They can learn their own name and once they’ve solved a maze, they never forget which way to go. Maybe we should harness them for our GPS’s!

Did you know rats are trained to detect land mines without setting them off? They’ve even trained some to drag cable through walls for electricians.

Recent Reputation

Rats weren’t always a harbinger of doom. In Rome they were considered good luck; they’re one of the more positive signs on the Chinese Zodiac, and to this day there’s a Hindu temple in India where pilgrims come to worship and feed the rats.

Other Fun Facts:

  • Rats chew through everything in an attempt to wear down their long teeth that never stop growing. You might say that they’re in a perpetual teething period.
  • A rat can go longer than a camel without having a drink of water.
  • Rats’ tails help them to balance while climbing and regulate their body temperature since they can’t sweat.

But despite all the really cool things about rats, we know most people don’t want to see them in their homes – especially if they’re not pets! A rat can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, so it’s important to closely check your home if you happen upon one of the wild rodents inside. Or simply call an expert like us.

We’ll exclude all visible entry points and seal your roof vents with our proprietary covers. We then eliminate the rats or mice already in your home and set up hidden bait stations around the outside perimeter to minimize the potential intruders.

Or you can take it one step further and get our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control (TAP). It keeps insects as well as rodents out, helps soundproof your home, and is a high efficiency insulation that is not only more effective than the pink stuff, but far less dangerous for your family.  Give us a call and we can help you figure out which program is best for you!

Give the Gift of a Pest-Free Home This Christmas

Give the Gift of a Pest-Free HomeThanksgiving was only last week, and with it, the 2 busiest shopping weeks of the year: Black Friday (and Thanksgiving itself for many retailers), Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – or is it Cyber Week? – finishing off with Giving Tuesday.

Some reports are saying that Americans spent up to $17 Billion, on discounted TV’s, video games, clothes and other (presumably) Christmas presents. $17 Billion.

Here’s some other numbers to consider – 90% of homes in the United States are infested with some sort of insect. It’s a little higher here in Florida, as we’re the number one worst state for bug infestations. I know, not the number one we were hoping for, is it?

That’s a LOT of Bugs!

60% of all Florida homes report infestations of ants and 27% of people believe it’s likely that they will suffer from a termite invasion. Of course, you know we have a saying here at Good News Pest Solutions: “There are two kinds of homes in Florida, those who have termites and those who will get termites.

And that’s not just our sales pitch – researchers at the University of Florida found that more than half of all buildings in Florida will have subterranean termites by 2040 – and it already costs homeowners in the state more than $500 Million a year in damages from existing termites.

So, perhaps instead of getting that great new 3D 4K 1080p television at Walmart that you’ll give away when the new ones come out, you should invest in Term-Assure 365!

What’s Term-Assure 365?

What better gift for the whole family than a completely pest-free home? Year round. And it stays that way without any harsh, potentially dangerous chemicals, no leave behind bait that your kids or pets could accidentally eat; a 100%  all-natural and highly effective insect treatment.

You can get all of that with our Go Green Plus 3.

But, for just a few dollars more (and a lot less than that discount TV) you can upgrade to Term-Assure 365. The same coverage you get from Go Green Plus 3, which keeps your home and perimeter pest-free, but also world-class termite protection that can’t be matched.

We’ll perform a thorough Home Health Check Up of your entire home for termites to make sure you don’t already have a problem. Then, we’ll apply our revolutionary Go Green plus 3 interior and exterior pest control service that’s safe for the whole family and completely organic. Go Green takes care of most every creepy crawly you might encounter in Florida, from ants to spiders to cockroaches – even palmetto bugs – and more. Then, we install termite monitoring stations around the outside perimeter of your home.

Every 4 months we come back – that’s the PLUS 3! – and make sure your home is free of insects and check the termite monitoring stations. And, of course, if you happen across some insects between scheduled visits, give us a call and we’ll be right back out, lickety-split.

If evidence of termites is found, we will schedule a treatment of the outside perimeter of your home with the most effective, yet environmentally-friendly, termiticide ever invented. And we’ll continue monitoring.

It’s hard to put a price on that kind of peace of mind. And we haven’t even mentioned the warranty yet!

Did You Say Warranty?

We’re so confident about our process that we offer a $1 million termite damage repair warranty. That’s more than your homeowners insurance would cover – if it didn’t already exclude termites.

So, you can get your family a big screen TV and feel like you’re right there in the game (or Hugh Grant’s arms), or you can get your family total peace of mind. Or do both – our price really is affordable!

Give us a call today to schedule your Check Up appointment and then relax knowing your family and pets are protected and safe and you’ve found a pest control solution that will serve you for life. And if you’re already one of our Go Green Plus 3 or No Bite Zones customers – consider upgrading and adding the extra protection of Term-Assure 365.

Are Mice Causing Asthma in Schools?

Mice and AsthmaWhen temperatures start to drop, most warm blooded creatures– ourselves included – tend to seek out places and situations where they’ll stay a bit warmer.

If you’ve been in Florida for more than a few months, you’ll mysteriously find, regardless of where you came from, that you have a lower threshold for colder weather, even when the mercury is only dropping below 60-degrees.

Living in Florida causes physiological changes, that, combined with higher humidity, causes us to feel like 50 degrees around here is like 32 in Ohio, Michigan or Indiana.

What you may not know is that we’re not alone in this phenomenon. All mammals on the Gulf Coast of Florida: dogs, cats, mice and rats feel the “chill,” and subsequently also seek to bundle up if they can or move into places where it’s warmer. And thanks to our own adjusted cold tolerance, those places are often our homes, our schools and our churches.

An unfortunate side effect of the rodents seeking shelter is the spread of various allergens carried on their fur into the buildings, especially those with centralized heating and cooling systems.

Is There A Connection Between Mice and Asthma?

According to the CDC, more than 6-million kids suffer from asthma, including 17% of black children.

In the past, scientists and doctors studied the primary place where kids spend most of their time – their homes (and even their yards, although that’s less frequent these days).

And while there are many different allergy triggers that can be encountered in life, recent studies seem to show that kids who develop asthma and asthma like symptoms do so after being exposed to these allergens in their secondary home – their schools.

While the researchers are quick to point out there is no clear causal relationship between mouse-borne allergens and asthma, they did discover that they are universally present in schools. Further, in the inner city schools they tested, those with higher levels of mice-related allergens suffered symptoms at least one more day a week than kids in the other schools.

Other allergens, like dog and cat dander and dust mites were also found, but at much smaller levels and none of them appeared to increase the chance of asthma like the mouse-related allergens.

Further studies are being planned, but it seems clear that limiting exposure to mice, however cute, and the allergens they carry is important to help control asthma. Scientists will look into improving the air quality in schools and taking steps to control the pests by removing clutter and sealing up building cracks.

Of course, you can also take steps to control the exposure of your family to the allergens these rodents carry by taking steps at home.  Good News Pest Solutions has been recognized as the Gulf Coast’s leading expert on keeping rats and mice out of your house and in reducing the rodent population outdoors as well. We guarantee your property for a year after treatment and, like all our solutions, employ environmentally safe alternatives to harmful chemicals. Contact us to find out more today!

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