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What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Most Common Drywood Termite Treatments?

What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Most Common Drywood Termite Treatments?

There are two drywood termite species in Arizona that are considered to be of major economic importance. The most destructive drywood termite species in the state is known as the dark western drywood termite, and the other is the light western drywood termite, which is also known as the southern drywood termite. Drywood termite infestations are difficult to prevent, detect and treat because, unlike subterranean termites that infest homes from the soil, drywood termites infest structures while they swarm. Therefore, drywood termites can start an infestation in any area of a home, including wood located beneath shingles. After drywood termite swarmers (alates) infest external wood sources on a home they often tunnel their way into internal structural woods.

While subterranean termites infest structural wood around a home’s foundation before possibly moving to higher points, drywood termite infestations can occur in areas of a home where infested wood cannot be accessed. There is little a homeowner can do to prevent drywood termite infestations, but using chemically treated and/or pressure treated wood as lumber to build a home can effectively repel drywood termites for a period of time. There exists several ways in which a home is treated for a drywood termite infestation, and while all commonly used methods are effective at eliminating infestations, each method has its pros and cons.

The most popular method of treating drywood termite infestations is full structure fumigation. This method is especially necessary when a pest control professional cannot easily access infested areas of a home, or when an infested home is hosting multiple colonies that may not all be accounted for. The only drawback to fumigation is that it does not prevent future infestations. Another method involves heating a home to 124 degrees for a period of at least 30 minutes. This method is preferred by some, but whole structure heat treatments may damage certain items, but simply removing such items, like vinyl records, will prevent unwanted damage. Researchers are currently exploring biological drywood termite control agents in an effort to develop an optimal form of drywood termite control.

Have you ever needed a fumigation?

 

 

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Arizona Is The State That Sees The Greatest Number Of Venomous Arthropod Species

Arizona Is The State That Sees The Greatest Number Of Venomous Arthropod Species

Generally, warmer regions of the world see a greater number of venomous arthropods than colder regions of the world. Knowing this, it should not come as a surprise to learn that Arizona sees the greatest number of venomous arthropod species when compared to the other 49 US states, at least according to the Hazardous Animal Database. This database was created by the Armed Forces Pest Management Board, and it includes 500 venomous species worldwide that have been known to cause serious injury or death to humans.

Venomous arthropods in Arizona include scorpions, tarantulas, honey bees, wasps and spiders. There are several scorpion and tarantula species in Arizona, but none of these species will cause serious medical complications or fatalities except for the Arizona bark scorpion. Honey bee stings have led to hospitalizations and fatalities all over the US, but Arizona is one of only a few states where the aggressive and often deadly Africanized honey bee resides. In fact, studies show that all Arizona honey bees are now “Africnaized” due to nearly 30 years of interbreeding between common honey bees and Africanized honey bees.

The potentially deadly southern black widow species is abundant in Arizona, and the non-native brown widow has been spotted throughout the southern half of the state. Brown widows are not quite as dangerous as black widows, but their bites should not be taken lightly, and fatalities have occurred in response to brown widow bites. While the notoriously harmful and potentially deadly brown recluse cannot be found in Arizona, five other recluse species inhabit the state, out of the 13 total found in the US. This makes Arizona home to more recluse species than can be found in any other state.

The five brown recluse species in Arizona include L. apachea and L. sabina in the far southeastern corner of the state and L. kaipa, L. deserta, and L. arizonica in the western half of the state. With the exception of L. arizonica and L. deserta, these recluse species dwell in uninhabited regions where they are not likely to be encountered by people. However, a few documented reports described bites by other recluse species in the US as being just as harmful as brown recluse bites. Of all venomous arthropods in Arizona, Africanized honey bees cause the most annual fatalities.

Have you ever encountered a venomous arthropod?

 

 

 

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Pharaoh Ants Establish Nests Within Homes, And They Spread Disease-Causing Microorganisms Wherever They Go

Pharaoh Ants Establish Nests Within Homes, And They Spread Disease-Causing Microorganisms Wherever They Go

More than 700 ant species have been documented in the United States, but only a small minority are considered pests within homes and yards. Much like other eusocial insect groups, many ant species have established permanent habitats outside of their native range. Some ant species have even managed to thrive in a variety of environmental conditions on nearly every continent, with the exception of Antarctica, of course. The relatively small group of ant species that have spread to virtually every urban region of the world are known as “tramp ants.” This name comes from their habit of hitchhiking to new areas all over the world via cargo shipments, much like a tramp or vagrant.

Tramp ant species tend to be nuisance pests around homes due to their ability to tolerate a wide variety of environmental conditions. Tramp ants are also well adapted to surviving long periods within human habitats, as all tramp ants have endured long journeys across the world on cargo ships and other human forms of transportation. Naturally, several tramp ant species can be found throughout the US, and some of the most commonly encountered tramp ants in Arizona include Argentine ants, crazy ants, odorous house ants, and Pharaoh ants. Monomorium pharaonis, or “Pharaoh ants” as they are commonly known, are notorious for establishing stubborn indoor infestations where the ants pose a health threat due to the disease-causing microorganisms that the ants carry.

Pharaoh ants are one of the smallest sized ant pest species, as they usually do not grow any larger than 1/16 of an inch in length, but the tiny ants can still be recognized within homes for their strikingly yellow exterior. Pharaoh ants prefer to nest within obscure indoor locations that are difficult to access, such as within wall voids, beneath baseboards or within attic spaces. Since Pharaoh ant colonies can contain more than 30,000 individual ants, infestations can be hard to eradicate. Workers often forage around homes where they will consume just about any human food source that they encounter, such as meats, sweets, and fats. These ants also require copious amounts of water, and they can harvest water from any source, including from the wounds of debilitated and/or immobile people.

Pharaoh ants also nest outdoors, often beneath leaf-litter and stones, and while these ants do not damage lawns, their population can reach nuisance levels in residential yards where they frequently congregate within homes in order to secure easy human food sources. Considering the disease risk that these ants pose to the occupants of an infested home, a pest control professional should be contacted when Pharaoh ants are found indoors.

Have you ever spotted Pharaoh ants within your house?

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A Massive Art Exhibition Is Allowing Visitors To Explore Termite Habitats From A Termite’s Perspective

You probably have not heard many artists claim to have been inspired by insects, let alone termites, but one famous artist, Nicholas Mangan, is an exception in this regard. Mangan has recently contributed an art display to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum as a part of the museum’s exhibit titled: Post Nature–A Museum as an Ecosystem. Most of Mangan’s work highlights aspects of the ecosystem that many people are unfamiliar with. For example, Mangan’s latest exhibit focuses on the positive effect that termites have on the ecosystem.

Mangan is calling his exhibit Termite Economics, and it consists of 3D printed models of different termite habitats, including nesting mounds, earthen tunnel networks and dwelling chambers within blocks of wood. All of his 3D models were constructed from plaster, dirt, synthetic polymer paint, and plywood. In addition to the habitat models, Mangan also commissioned drone footage of particular regions of Australia’s arid landscape where termites are known to be active. This footage is played on a continuous loop in order to provide spectators with a termite’s point of view as it navigates terrain and approaches its nest. The footage is played on a computer that is situated amongst Mangan’s models. This exhibition was inspired by current termite research being conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO.

Researchers working for CSIRO are currently studying how subterranean termites can lead humans toward rare mineral sources that are located far below the ground where they cannot be viewed by humans. Mangan believes that CSIRO research shows how social cooperation among termites allows the insects to achieve feats that are beyond human capabilities, such as complicated mound architecture, and in this case, mining, so to speak. Mangan’s exhibit allows people to understand how the mining and world-building capability of termites reflects manmade economic systems and social hierarchies. For Mangan, a termite colony is like a tiny universe that closely resembles human sociality.

Do you believe that termite sociality is similar to human sociality?

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Why Cockroaches Are Sometimes Found In Toilets, Bathtubs And Sinks

Why Cockroaches Are Sometimes Found In Toilets, Bathtubs And Sinks

The relatively mild winter climate and mountainous landscapes in southern Arizona make the region an ideal place to live for many people. Unfortunately, Arizona is also home to a large number of cockroach species that invade houses where they often establish a sizable infestation. The most common cockroach pest species worldwide can all be found in Arizona, including American, Oriental and German cockroaches. A few other species, like the desert cockroach, maintain a habitat solely within the desert southwest, and other species in the state, such as brown-banded, Turkestan and Surinam cockroaches, live in habitats that are limited to the southern US.

Cockroaches have adapted to living within human dwellings, and they are capable of exploiting a variety of access points in order to invade houses. This is especially true when it comes to domestic cockroach species, like German and brown-banded cockroaches, that dwell primarily within structures. The peridomestic cockroach species, the 2 inch American cockroach, is even capable of traveling through sewage pipes in order to enter houses through drains, and once inside, cockroaches expertly navigate indoor areas to gather food and maintain a safe shelter. Despite being well adapted to thriving indoors, many residents have found cockroaches struggling to escape toilet bowels, bathtubs and sinks.

As anyone can understand, people are perplexed upon finding cockroaches in their toilet. This sort of discovery begs the question as to how cockroaches can wind up in a toilet. Finding cockroaches in a sink makes more sense, as sinks often contain food scraps that cockroaches seek, but roaches are often found in bathtubs and sinks that are completely clean. The cockroaches found in toilets, sinks and tubs are most likely Oriental cockroaches. These cockroaches are not capable of flight and they move slowly and sluggishly. Oriental cockroaches cannot climb vertical surfaces well, and when they fall into sinks, tubs and toilets, they are unable to escape due to the smooth surface. Since cockroaches prefer moist conditions, it is not surprising that they often gravitate into bathrooms, and while finding roaches in a toilet may be perplexing, a toilet is probably the best place to find cockroaches within a home.

Have you ever found roaches in the toilet?

 

 

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Velvety Tree Ants Are Nuisance Pests That May Damage A Home’s Structural Wood And Inflict Bites

The velvety tree ant is one of many nuisance ant pest species commonly found around and within Arizona homes. These ants establish nests within dead wood sources that have become decayed or waterlogged. This species’ most common nesting sites are located within tree stumps, dead trees, isolated logs, beneath the bark of living trees, and within soil located beneath dead wood. These ants have also been known to nest within structural and cosmetic wood sources, especially in damaged structural wood that makes contact with the ground soil. While velvety tree ants do not feed on structural wood like termites do, they can cause further damage to structural and cosmetic wood sources that have already become compromised by rainwater, plumbing leaks or lawn irrigation. Velvety tree ants may also infest yards where they build an extensive network of foraging trails below and above the ground. Although these ants do not sting, they may bite when disturbed.

In addition to nesting within damaged structural and cosmetic wood sources, velvety tree ants may also establish centralized nesting sites within decayed natural wood sources located on residential lawns. These ants sometimes become abundant near or alongside structural foundations where the pests can easily invade indoor areas in large numbers. Reproductive swarmers emerge from colony nesting sites every summer, and these swarms have been known to emerge from infested structural wood within homes. The nests that these ant pests excavate within wood resembles a honeycomb, and workers venture back and forth between the nest and the outside environment where they prey upon honeydew-rich aphids and other insects. Velvety tree ants feed on a variety of human foods as well, which may attract large numbers of worker ants into indoor living areas, particularly kitchens and pantries.

Black to brown colored velvety tree ant workers range from ⅛ to ¼ of an inch in length, and they are often confused with odorous house ants due to their similar indoor foraging habits, appearance and for the unpleasant odor that workers emit when they become threatened or crushed. Velvety tree ants are also frequently confused with carpenter ants due to their habit of nesting within decayed structural and cosmetic wood within homes.

Have you ever found ants congregating in your cupboard or pantry?

 

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The Small Flies That Arizona Residents Often Mistake For Fleas Or Chiggers

Flies are disgusting and annoying insect pests that are, unfortunately, all to common within homes. In Arizona, one of the most common fly pests belonging to the Diptera order are commonly known as no-see-ums, also known as sandflies or biting midges. No-see-ums belong to the Ceratopogonidae family, which consists of more than 5,000 species that span all regions of the world, even polar regions. The no-see-ums that exist in Arizona and the rest of the southwest belong to the Culicoides genus. This genus includes species that are known for facilitating the spread of disease. While no-see-ums in Arizona are not considered disease vectors, they can still spread disease causing bacteria to humans and human food sources. When these insects bite, their saliva is injected into the human bloodstream, causing initial pain and lasting irritation. Persistent scratching of bite wounds has been known to lead to infection.

No-see-ums are nearly invisible to the naked eye, and they are sometimes referred to as gnats. Despite their small size, these insects are known for inflicting painful and irritating bites. Each year, entomologists who specialize in pest control at the University of Arizona’s extension office receive numerous calls from residents who believe that they have been bitten by fleas or chiggers. However, after discussing the bite wounds and symptoms with residents, the entomologists learn that these residents were actually bitten by no-see-ums.

Since no-see-ums are no larger than 1/16 of an inch in body length, they can easily fly through window screens before biting residents within their homes. The presence of these insects are virtually impossible to prevent within homes, but keeping garbage and open food sources minimal can go a long way to prevent these insects from becoming an issue within homes. No-see-ums are most active in Arizona during the summer months in the morning and early afternoon.

Have you ever found what you believe were no-see-ums within your home?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

The Small Flies That Arizona Residents Often Mistake For Fleas Or Chiggers

Flies are disgusting and annoying insect pests that are, unfortunately, all to common within homes. In Arizona, one of the most common fly pests belonging to the Diptera order are commonly known as no-see-ums, also known as sandflies or biting midges. No-see-ums belong to the Ceratopogonidae family, which consists of more than 5,000 species that span all regions of the world, even polar regions. The no-see-ums that exist in Arizona and the rest of the southwest belong to the Culicoides genus. This genus includes species that are known for facilitating the spread of disease. While no-see-ums in Arizona are not considered disease vectors, they can still spread disease causing bacteria to humans and human food sources. When these insects bite, their saliva is injected into the human bloodstream, causing initial pain and lasting irritation. Persistent scratching of bite wounds has been known to lead to infection.

No-see-ums are nearly invisible to the naked eye, and they are sometimes referred to as gnats. Despite their small size, these insects are known for inflicting painful and irritating bites. Each year, entomologists who specialize in pest control at the University of Arizona’s extension office receive numerous calls from residents who believe that they have been bitten by fleas or chiggers. However, after discussing the bite wounds and symptoms with residents, the entomologists learn that these residents were actually bitten by no-see-ums.

Since no-see-ums are no larger than 1/16 of an inch in body length, they can easily fly through window screens before biting residents within their homes. The presence of these insects are virtually impossible to prevent within homes, but keeping garbage and open food sources minimal can go a long way to prevent these insects from becoming an issue within homes. No-see-ums are most active in Arizona during the summer months in the morning and early afternoon.

Have you ever found what you believe were no-see-ums within your home?

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Why Are Mosquitoes Infecting So Many People With The West Nile Virus In Arizona?

Authorities in the Phoenix metro area are asking residents to keep their properties free of standing water sources, and to keep themselves protected from mosquito bites while outdoors. The number of West Nile virus cases has skyrocketed this year in Arizona, and the mosquitoes that spread this disease are urban-dwelling species that rely on small sources of standing water on residential properties in order to breed. Rainwater that collects in flower pot saucers, flower beds, kiddie pools, children’s toys, solo cups, aluminum cans and many other objects that are commonly found in yards attract massive amounts of disease-causing mosquitoes into neighborhoods. These water sources have ultimately been fueling the ongoing West Nile epidemic in Arizona, and therefore, removing standing water from properties can dramatically reduce the annual rate of  West Nile infections and even save lives.

Last year, only eight cases of West Nile occurred in Arizona, two of which resulted in death. However, as of August 28th, 135 West Nile Cases and eight deaths have occurred in the state, making Arizona the state with the highest number of West Nile infection cases. Despite California’s significantly higher population and greater size in terms of area, that state has seen 57 West Nile cases so far this year, far fewer than in Arizona. Surprisingly, California is second to Arizona when it comes to the number of West Nile cases per state, so why has Arizona become the number one state in the nation for West Nile virus cases? According to Dr. Stefanie Schroeder, medical director for ASU Health Services, West Nile cases increase during and after the monsoon season, and the virus is spread by both birds and mosquitoes, but it is not yet known which of the two is responsible for the current epidemic. In other words, nobody knows exactly why Arizona leads the nation in West Nile infection cases this year, but keeping properties free of standing water sources will certainly reduce the rate at which these cases occur..

Do you have more mosquito bites this year than you did last year?

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How to Silence Constantly Chirping Crickets

While many people find the sound the chirping crickets pleasant enough, it can begin to grate on a person when they are trying to catch some z’s while a cricket is playing its melody in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, crickets are also just about impossible to track down, as they are incredibly sensitive to movement, and thus immediately cease playing their music when you move to find them in the dark. And while their chirping may seem to drive you insane at night, it is their tendency to eat anything they come across, including clothing, paper, fungi, other dead bugs, leafy vegetables, and even other crickets, in your home that can really turn them into a pest. In addition to this, they attract other visitors to your home that are a more serious problem such as their natural predators, scorpions and spiders.

Ideally, you want to prevent crickets from ever entering your home in the first place. You can do this by removing possible nesting spots around the outside of your home such as piles of wood, leaf litter, and rock piles. Make sure your landscaping stops a good six inches from your houses exterior walls, cutting back bushes and any other ground cover. Outdoor clutter also works as great nesting places, so get rid of any clutter left in your yard such as cardboard boxes, tarps, and pool toys. Damp moist areas will draw crickets, as they prefer to hide from the blistering Arizona sun in these areas. Make sure to seal any cracks or small crevices in your walls and around windows and doors, and cover vents with mesh to prevent crickets from slipping inside. If you do find a nest in your walls, it is likely hundreds of crickets will come pouring out after you spray it with pest spray.

If crickets have already entered your home, there are a few ways you can try and rid yourself of them before calling in the pest control professionals. Getting rid of any sources of food and water is one way to handle the situation. Just like humans, they need food and water to survive. Eliminate any possible sources of water around your home and make sure there are no damp corners hiding in any rooms. Since crickets can survive on just about anything, even sawdust and glue, you need to meticulously clean any areas you think chirping is coming from. Take away their food and water, and the crickets will often move on to greener pastures. Crickets also prefer and are most active in warm temperatures, thriving between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can try lowering the temperature in your home or placing a portable air conditioner in any area you think the chirping is coming from and the cold temperature should make them lethargic, hopefully getting them to stop their chirping. If your infestation is too serious to deal with on your own, then call in the pest control professionals to get the job done right.

Have you ever had to deal with an infestation of crickets?