We are in the midst of National Termite Week 2017 and it’s that time of year when folks like us warn folks like you to be on the lookout for swarming subterranean termites as the weather starts turning warmer. But why, you may ask, is that important to us here on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where the temperatures are always pretty, well, temperate?
Well, it just so happens that, according to the National Pest Management Association, Florida has the highest termite ‘pressure’ in the US. And where pressure builds, there’s bound to be a release sooner or later.
And guess where one of the highest concentrations of Coptotermes formosanus and Reticulitermes flavipes is? That’s right, the Gulf Coast of Florida. Check out the interactive map here!
Did you know that termites are responsible for $5 billlion in annual damages – more than floods and fires combined! And the swarming subterranean termites take the credit for 80% of that total!
So, as the snowbirds begin to plan their annual trek back to the Midwest and Canada and the college kids stop by for their annual week of sandy beach going, the rest of us will be on the lookout for the signs of subterranean swarming termites in our future.
Regardless of which termites might be trying to invade your home, Good News Pest Solutions has the plan that’s right for you, from Bradenton to Lakewood Ranch. To find out about our Termite Inspection for your property – before or after it’s built on, or our highly effective and affordable Term-Assure 365 for complete insect control year round, just contact us!
And like all of our solutions, our termite protection is 100% safe for your whole family. Don’t delay – as soon as you see signs of a termite problem, let us get to work for you!
Yeah, we know we haven’t been talking about the Zika virus lately, and that’s mostly because, thankfully, there hasn’t been much to talk about.
The last case of locally transmitted Zika virus in Florida was on December 21, 2016, in Miami-Dade County. There have only been 13 cases of travel-related Zika so far in 2017, with one case in Collier County, this is as close as the virus has come to the Gulf Coast.
But the Center for Disease Control is warning people not to let our guard down completely. Although cases across the globe have slowed down – mostly due to the unusually cooler weather even in warmer regions this winter – the CDC cautions that Zika has not been completely eliminated in Brazil and the Caribbean, the source, of the most recent outbreaks. And with the weather turning warmer, there’s even more cause for concern.
According to the CDC, the disease can never be truly eradicated, and the unusual spread of the virus – from its South American roots to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific – means that it is not geographically isolated like most mosquito-bourne viruses. Add that to the fact that there is still no known cure for Zika, and you can see why they’re worried.
And while we’re doing okay in the sunshine state, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa and several other states reported almost 4000 cases (combined) between November of 2016 and when we’re reporting this in March of 2017.
So, while we can breathe a little easier on the Gulf Coast of Florida, we should be prepared for the eventuality that an outbreak could reoccur, especially through visitors to our shore. Luckily, now is the perfect time to prepare a mosquito prevention plan.
As always, try and eliminate the typical mosquito breeding ground of standing water whenever possible. That’s sometimes hard to do when it’s raining more often, but keeping your yard in check always helps. When we start seeing more mosquitoes again, cover up your exposed legs and arms to prevent bites, especially if you’re pregnant.
And, hey, why not give us a call and see what it would take to get one of our exclusive NoBiteZones established for your front and back yards. Like all of our solutions, this one is safe for everyone – from your youngest children to your faithful pets. This one’s even safe for the mosquitoes, turning them and their offspring into vegan dieters. No soy necessary.
There are lots of Top Ten lists for cities: best beaches, most friendly, lowest crime, most bed bugs? Yeah, that’s the last list any city wants to top off, but unfortunately somebody has to – and for the first time in five years, it wasn’t Chicago. Baltimore, the ‘city of 1,000 slogans,’ has a new, unfortunate moniker, the leader of bed bug outbreaks for 2016. Meanwhile, the Windy City isn’t in the clear, dropping just 2 slots on the annual list.
Just 10 years ago, most people hadn’t even heard of bed bugs, as Cimex lectularius (and its tropical cousin Cimex hemipterus) had been pretty much dormant in the United States since the 1960’s. But shortly after we celebrated surviving the virtual computer bugs of Y2K, very real bed bugs began re-emerging as a significant threat.
What’s worse, bed bug populations are booming so much that they’ve begun spreading from their normal feeding grounds – beds in homes and hotels where humans are at rest for an extended period of time – to office building complexes. In fact, more than 70 percent of people in urban environments have encountered bed bugs.
In Florida, infestations are down: the Tampa-St. Petersburg area dropped down to #35 on the list, Orlando-Daytona is #44, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale dropped to #46.
Experts say that education and preventative measures are the best defense against bed bugs. In the past 10 years, the annual amount spent to treat for Cimex lectularius has increased more than 600 times.
However, the fact that the most popular vacation spots – including most of the Sunshine state – are low on the list, if at all, is a clear indicator that efforts in these areas are making an impact on the increase of the bugs, despite a higher chance of their spread.
Because of their size and the fact that many people don’t react to their bites, bed bugs can be hard to find. They can hide in the smallest of cracks, mattress seams, even thick carpet, and can survive for nearly a year without feeding. The first signs are often the small dark stains the bugs leave behind. And while opinions vary, it seems that black or UV lights don’t make bedbugs any more detectable.
When traveling, remember the SLEEP acronym:
At home, decrease clutter, check your bed and bed clothes regularly and inspect any secondhand furniture before bringing it into your home. And if you find a potential infestation on your bed linens or stuffed animals, run them in the dryer at the highest heat the fabric can sustain for 15-30 minutes. And while you’re waiting on that, contact Good News Pest Solutions to come and treat your home with the safest and most affordable organic pest control on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
In the 1970’s, the unusual loss of several colonies of bees across the United States led to a bit of a panic among scientists and farmers. It seemed that there was a global crisis in the making. That scare was mined by science fiction authors and moviemakers, even as recently as the 2008 film, The Happening. Ultimately, in real life, it was discovered that the so-called “Disappearing Disease” had been recorded as far back as the 17th century and was part of the normal cycle of bee colony life, albeit a rarer occurrence.
Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we deal with and study a lot of different insects and bugs – yes, they are two different things – and one of our favorites has always been the humble bumblebee. While they don’t produce enough honey to harvest, they are excellent pollinators, especially for wildflowers and cranberry bushes, and you could call them the original AirBnB-ers, reusing mouse holes, compost heaps, and piles of leaves for their homes.
Unfortunately, one science fiction nightmare is coming true. Bombus affinis, also known as the rusty patched bumblebee, has now been placed on the endangered list. The rusty patch bumblebee is a native to North America, at one time blanketing the upper Midwest. But their numbers have been declining since 2003. By 2014, the state of Vermont and then Canada declared the bombus affinis an endangered species. Now, after an estimated 87% decline, as tracked by the Xerces Society, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has given the species endangered status.
Unfortunately, the biggest threat to Bombus affinis is other bumblebees. In the 90’s, several efforts were made to commercialize the bumblebee populations for better crop pollination. One such effort involved shipping queens of two species of bumblebees, Bombus occidentalis and Bombus impatiens to breeding facilities in Europe. The resulting colonies were then shipped back to farms in the United States. Recent studies have theorized that these colonies were infected by wild European bees in the same facility and brought the disease back to North America, devastating bee populations that had not built up a natural resistance.
Additionally, all bumblebees are at risk from pesticides and environmental encroachment (that’s a big phrase for the problems caused when we keep building more stuff). Even the farmers bumblebees are meant to help and the fertilizers they spread can have a negative effect on the bumblebee population. Planting more crops leaves less space for milkweed and other wildflowers that the bumblebees rely on for the feeding of the colony.
The easiest way to identify the Bombus affinis is by their unique markings. Unlike the round markings on the back of most bumblebees, the rusty patched bumblebees have an almost mushroom shape, that tapers to a V in their back.
So what can you do? The rusty patched bumblebee is seldom found in Florida, but in general, just leave bumblebee nests alone. Except for the queens, the bee colony dies off each season, and bumblebees in general are not that aggressive, so just relax and let them go about their way. And when more tips are offered, we’ll be the first to let you know!
Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we care about the environment and endeavor to use cutting-edge, natural, eco-friendly pest control measures that are safe for our earth and you, while being highly effective at controlling pests. If you are looking for a green pest control company, look no further! You have found the Gulf Coast’s leader in natural pest control; contact us today!
Most folks like to do something special for New Year’s Eve – shoot off some fireworks, drop in at Disney, maybe even brave the crowd in Times Square to watch the ball drop. But one prime celebration location is suffering from an ages-old infestation that the most romantic city in the world just can’t get a handle on – the Parisian rat population.
We all remember from our history classes that the nasty little rodents spread the Bubonic plague – in fact, recent examinations of history have proven that the Black Death of the 1300’s that ravaged close to half of the population of Paris was not spread by rats and other rodents, although most people still assume they were to blame. Given their history, it’s no surprise that, despite the Pixar film, most rats are still not welcome at Parisian dinner tables.
Yet, despite the city government’s pledge to completely “de-raticize” the Renaissance tourist attraction in 2014, it’s apparently more visibly infested than ever before, forcing the closing of nine popular parks in the City of Light – including the famous Parc du Champ-de-Mars, home of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, animal control officers say this is the worst the city has seen in almost 40 years.
And there’s a reason that we said a visible problem – it appears the rats are overrunning the above ground city because of a huge overpopulation below ground. Now there’s something you don’t want to hear, especially if you were planning a trip to the city’s historic catacombs. And the most popular plan of attack? To drive the rats back into the sewers – not, we’re thinking, a viable solution to stopping the spread of a disease, should that recur.
The problem is apparently, two-fold – new European regulations, meant to mirror ones in the United States, changed the way rats were poisoned, as the old ways could also lead to water contamination as well as being accidentally ingested by curious pets and children. So now the rats have to seek out the poisoned bait in enclosed boxes – a lot harder draw for the rodents who can easily find a smorgasbord fit for the Rat King in open garbage pails.
In fact, in the weeks since the new regulations took effect, not a single rat has ventured into the boxes of death – and the ready supply of food means the rats can continue to reproduce at an alarming rate. Rats can mate every 3 weeks, producing a litter of 4-5 baby rats, and those newly born babies can get pregnant themselves within 6-9 weeks.
What’s worse – even if the rats in Paris’ past (Rattus rattus) didn’t spread the Black Death, their distant Asian cousins– Rattus norvegicus – which was responsible for the Modern Plague in the 1860’s, arrived in the French capital about 200 years ago and are now the dominant species as well as known spreaders of salmonella and swamp fever.
Still, the Parisian animal control people do believe the rats have a place in their city – just out of sight. When properly maintained, the rats work well as composting agents, devouring waste that would otherwise need to be disposed of, and their furry little bodies – they also work great as pipe cleaners. Once again proving that every living creature has its own God-given purpose. Who knew? 🐭
If you see rats in your home or on your property, give us a call. Good News Pest Solutions has been recognized as the Gulf Coast’s leading expert on keeping rats and mice out of your home and in reducing the rodent population outdoors as well. We guarantee your property for a year after treatment and, like all our solutions, employ biologically safe alternatives to harmful chemicals that protect your pets and family while eliminating the pests. Contact us today!