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Can Sources Of Cockroach Allergens Be Found In Homes That Have Been Free Of Roach Pests For Years

Can Sources Of Cockroach Allergens Be Found In Homes That Have Been Free Of Roach Pests For Years

Cockroaches are more than just nuisance pests that are disgusting to look at, as cockroaches carry dozens of disease-causing microorganisms due to their habit of congregating within filthy areas, such as outhouses, sewers, garbage receptacles, landfills, and dirty drains. In addition to smearing dangerous pathogens on indoor surfaces and human foods, indoor cockroaches leave droppings, urine, egg cases and shed skins within homes. These cockroach byproducts also contain a plethora of pathogens, and they frequently contaminate stored food items.

For more than 30 years, it has been well understood by entomologists and urban pest control professionals that the shed skins, feces, egg cases and urine of cockroach pests collect in homes where the serve as indoor allergens. In fact, many experts now believe that cockroach allergens may be the most significant type indoor allergens, as multiple studies have demonstrated that children living in homes where cockroach allergens are abundant develop asthma at disturbingly high rates. In order to avoid cockroach allergens, it is important to thoroughly sanitize indoor areas that were known to be infested with roaches.

While it’s obvious that cockroach allergens exist within homes where cockroaches are, or were active, cockroach allergens are usually abundant in homes that have been free of cockroach pests for a long period of time. This is because the proteins that are responsible for cockroach allergies are also present on the bodies of dead cockroaches and the fecal material, egg cases, and shed skins left in homes by past roach invaders. Dead roaches and their byproducts within wall voids, beneath floors and other inaccessible areas within homes that cannot be readily sanitized. Therefore, pest management professionals frequently remove walls in order to eliminate sources of cockroach allergens. For example, one professional stated that he frequently finds roach feces 6 inches deep at the base of wall voids.

Are you concerned about cockroach allergens within your home?

 

 

 

 

 

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Brown Grass Bugs Invade Homes In Large Numbers Where They Emit A Foul Odor And Stain Indoor Surfaces And Fabrics With Excrement

The term “true bugs” refers to insects in the Heteroptera order. These winged insects possess needle-like mouthparts that allow them to suck fluids from plants and insects. There are around 40,000 documented true bugs worldwide, and nearly 4,000 in the United States. Unsurprisingly, a great number of true bugs are plant pests, and some are known for inflicting extensive damage to crops. While most true bugs feed on plants and/or insects, some species use their sharp mouthparts to puncture human skin in order to collect blood-meals.

Assassin bugs in the Triatoma genus, or “kissing bugs,” as they are more commonly known, suck human blood and are frequent home invaders. Kissing bugs spread chagas disease throughout Latin America, and public health officials in the US are now rethinking this insect group’s disease spreading capability in the southern US states where several species can be found, including Arizona. Since residential yards throughout the US see large populations of many true bug species, it is not surprising that some are in the habit of invading homes, often in excessive numbers.

The most common group of true bug house pests are boxelder bugs, including the western boxelder bug, which is abundant throughout the southwest. In addition to this species, the “brown grass bug,” or “weed bug” is a very common home-invading true bug pest in southern Arizona. As their common name suggests, these bugs are brown in color and around 9 mm in length. Brown grass bug invasions are common in newly developed residential neighborhoods and in homes located near uncultivated fields. Pest control professionals have collected enough indoor brown grass bug specimens to fill a one liter container.

While their massive numbers certainly make brown grass bugs a nuisance in homes, it should also be noted that their excrement permanently stains indoor fabrics, such as carpeting, furniture upholstery, drapes, bedding and clothing, and the insects themselves are malodorous. These insect pests invade homes frequently in the southwest, as the arid climate often dries up their plant food sources, prompting the bugs to move indoors. Brown grass bugs are particularly attracted to light colored homes, and they gain indoor access by squeezing through narrow exterior entries on the exterior walls of houses.

Has your home ever been invaded by odorous insect pests?

 

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The Common Southern House Spider Produces Venom That Contains Proteins Found In Brown Recluse Venom

The Common Southern House Spider Produces Venom That Contains Proteins Found In Brown Recluse Venom

Kukulcania hibernalis, or the “southern house spider, may be the most frequently encountered spider species within homes located in the southern US states, with the possible exception of cobweb spiders. According to an online survey, of the 120 separate southern house spider sightings documented by citizen scientists, 98 occurred indoors, and most of the remaining 22 sightings occurred near homes. These spiders commonly nestle into crevices on the exterior walls of homes before covering the crevice with their silk webbing for shelter. Adult males are brown in color and can grow to half an inch in length, not counting leg span, while black females can grow to be ¾ of an inch in length, making these spiders relatively large in size.

Southern house spiders are very common in all structures in Arizona, but particularly older structures. The are also somewhat similar to brown recluse spiders in appearance, but southern house spiders are generally dismissed as being largely harmless to humans. However, recent research suggests that the venom produced by these common spiders may be more toxic to humans than previously thought, and many experts believe that a large number of brown recluse bites documented in the past may have been misdiagnosed southern house spider bites.

One of the first studies to find similarities between southern house spider venom and brown recluse venom was carried out in 2002 when researchers were working to find a treatment for tissue necrosis caused by brown recluse bites. The study compared venoms produced by several different spider species, and it turned out that the venom of southern house spiders shared a significant number of proteins found in brown recluse venom. Today, many researchers believe that the southern house spider is responsible for inflicting bites that induce tissue necrosis around the wound. Southern house spiders invade homes in Arizona all year round, and their indoor presence can be recognized by webs in corners and largely uninhabited areas within homes. They are most frequently found hidden behind and underneath furniture, crawl spaces, attics, garages and basements. Despite recent findings concerning southern house spider venom, they are very rarely responsible for inflicting harmful bites, and are not nearly as dangerous as brown recluse spiders.

Have you ever found what you believed were southern house spiders in your home?

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Which Common And Potentially Dangerous Home-Invading Insect Pests In Arizona Remain Largely Understudied By Researchers

Which Common And Potentially Dangerous Home-Invading Insect Pests In Arizona Remain Largely Understudied By Researchers

Generally, the amount of scientific publications concerning common and potentially dangerous insect pests within homes are numerous. Of course, this is a good thing, as residents and their families who rent, own or lease homes should be made aware of the potential hazards posed by the insect pests that can be found in various areas throughout the US. For example, of the three primary cockroach pests in the US, the German roach species carries a number of disease-causing microorganisms, and is the most commonly encountered of all roach species within homes in every state. This is why the German cockroach is one of the most thoroughly studied of all medically significant home-invading insect species in the US. Other examples include mosquitoes, numerous fly species, and several arachnids, most notably, black widows, recluse spiders, and Arizona bark scorpions.

Surprisingly, kissing bugs are relatively understudied for being a group of disease-carrying insect pests that frequently invade homes throughout the southern half of the United States. However, and perhaps most important to US citizens, kissing bug bites are the most common cause of insect-related anaphylaxis in the US, which is an extreme and often fatal immune response. These airborne and ravenous bloodsuckers feed on a plethora of different animals, including birds, amphibians, horses, livestock, dogs, cats, and humans. Kissing bugs trigger anaphylactic shock in humans more often than Africanized honey bees, yellow jackets and red-imported fire ants. This response is triggered by an allergy that many people have to certain compounds found within the saliva of kissing bugs, but these pests do not transmit venom; instead, they travel miles in order to invade homes where they puncture skin with their bites.

After inflicting bites to humans, kissing bugs habitually deposit their parasitic feces near the wound. Once itchiness begins to develop around the bite, humans unknowingly smear the parasite-contaminated feces into the wood, allowing the T. cruzi parasite to enter the bloodstream, which often results in a potentially fatal infection known as chagas disease. Arizona is home to seven kissing bug species, most of which are found with human blood in their digestive tract after being trapped and collected by researchers. Chagas disease is common in South America, and based on recent research, experts are concerned that this disease may soon become common in the southern US states. Beyond this information, not much is known about the disease-spreading potential of kissing bugs inhabiting the country.

Have you ever found a kissing bug species within your home?

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Researchers Map Areas Of Arizona Where West Nile-Carrying Mosquitoes Are Most Abundant In Order To Reduce Human Infection Rates

Researchers Map Areas Of Arizona Where West Nile-Carrying Mosquitoes Are Most Abundant In Order To Reduce Human Infection Rates

Historically, mosquitoes in southern Arizona have never posed a significant disease threat, but this year the state saw an unprecedented surge in the number of reported West Nile virus cases. During 2019 alone, more than 170 people in Arizona contracted the West Nile virus from mosquito bites, 17 of whom died as a result of the disease. This makes Arizona the state with the highest number of West Nile virus cases by far, and surprisingly, the majority of victims contracted the disease in urban and suburban areas of Maricopa County.

Due to this abrupt and disturbing disease trend, researchers at Northern Arizona University have been collecting mosquitoes from Maricopa County and other urban portions of southern Arizona in order to determine which areas in the state see the greatest number and highest density of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes. The researchers are also hoping to better understand how infected mosquitoes arrived in the state in such large numbers. Unfortunately, the West Nile virus is now said to be a permanent part of southern Arizona’s ecosystem, so there is little to no hope at all that disease-carrying mosquitoes will be eradicated from the state.

According to genetic analysis, many West Nile virus strains are being found in Mosquitoes originating from southeast Maricopa County. This explains why West Nile infection rates were particularly high in the southeast valley this year, but since area-wide mosquito fogging is not feasible in populated areas, researchers must pinpoint specific sites where West Nile-carrying mosquitoes breed. According to Crystal Hepp, an evolutionary biologist at NAU, many infected mosquitoes are emerging near the intersection of Loop 101 and Loop 202 in Tempe. This did not come as a surprise to researchers, as shallow pools of water are littered throughout this area due to backup from the Salt River.

The largely residential town of Gilbert was also found to be a major source of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes, and this may be due to the significant amount of lawn irrigation and water-filled objects often found in yards. These sources of standing water provide disease-carrying mosquitoes with their primary breeding source. Hepp stated that if these areas of shallow and stagnant water are not removed within 72 hours, they become dangerous sources of mosquito-borne disease.

Do you make a point to remove standing water from your yard in an effort to reduce the mosquito population?

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Several Common Arthropod Pests That Infest Homes Can Also Spread Disease To Humans, But One Pest Is Capable Of Spreading Disease Only Within Southern Arizona Homes

Several Common Arthropod Pests That Infest Homes Can Also Spread Disease To Humans, But One Pest Is Capable Of Spreading Disease Only Within Southern Arizona Homes

Disease-spreading arthropod pests can be found throughout the US, the most common of which include mosquitoes, fleas, flies and cockroaches. Unlike mosquitoes and fleas, flies and cockroaches are “mechanical disease vectors,” which means that disease-causing pathogens do not live in concert with their physiology; instead, flies and cockroaches acquire pathogens from filthy conditions, such as sewers, porta potties, manure, and in the case of blow flies, rotting animal carcasses. The many pathogenic organisms that collect on the exterior body of flies and cockroaches are easily smeared on indoor surfaces, human food sources, and on humans themselves. This is why people should think twice before consuming food that has been exposed to even one fly or cockroach.

Mosquitoes and fleas acquire pathogens from the blood-meals they collect from infected birds and other animals. These pathogens rely on the biology of mosquitoes and fleas in order to survive and develop into infectious microorganisms. Infected mosquitoes and fleas transmit pathogens into the human bloodstream with their bites, causing disease. This makes fleas and mosquitoes “biological disease vectors.” Ticks are the most significant arthropod vectors in the US, as they transmit diseases to humans more frequently than any other arthropod vector in the country. For example, during 2013, the most common tick-borne disease, lyme disease, infected more than 36,000 people in the US, while the most common mosquito-borne disease, the west Nile virus, infected only 2,469 people in the country. Although lyme disease is not a threat in Arizona, the state currently sees the greatest number of people infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) when compared to all other US states.

The only tick species that establishes infestations in homes is the brown dog tick, but luckily for most Americans, this species generally does not spread disease to humans. However, brown dog ticks spread RMSF in a region of northern Mexico and southern Arizona, and this is the only area in the US were brown dog ticks spread disease to humans. Researchers have collected infected brown dog tick specimens from southern Arizona homes, and this species’ ability to spread disease within homes may explain the high rate of Rocky Mountain spotted fever infections in the state.

Have you ever found ticks in your home?

 

 

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The Most Important Housekeeping Tasks For The Prevention Of Fabric-Pest Infestations

The Most Important Housekeeping Tasks For The Prevention Of Fabric-Pest Infestations

Carpet beetles and clothes moths are two groups of insect pests that feed on a variety of indoor fabrics, including clothing, carpeting, furniture upholstery, and drapery. Their feeding habits sometimes result in serious economic damage, and these pests are particularly prone to consuming clothes and furniture that have become saturated with human perspiration. Animal-based items containing keratin proteins, such as wool, fur and leather are favored by the larvae of clothes moths and carpet beetles. Carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations can be difficult to eradicate, and fumigations are sometimes necessary to eliminate heavy infestations. The best way to avoid carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations is for homeowners to take measures to prevent the pests from establishing a presence indoors.

When it comes to preventing fabric-pest infestations, the vacuum is the most important tool at a homeowner’s disposal. Every room in a home should be vacuumed frequently enough to prevent lint and hair from accumulating on carpets and rugs. The presence of sweaty lint from clothes and hair provides nutrition for fabric-pests, allowing their indoor population to grow. It is also important to remove bird nests on the exterior window sills and ledges on a home, as dead insects and bird feathers provide an attractive source of sustenance for fabric pests. The same goes for dead insects that have collected within certain indoor areas, but this can be difficult when dead insects are abundant in hard-to-access areas, such as wall voids. Dog kennels and bedding for pets should be kept clean, and taxidermied animals should be stored away while indoor fabric pests are being combatted. Dry-cleaning will kill the larvae and eggs present on contaminated clothing, and pest control firms often apply clothing treatments that protect against fabric pest infestations. When fabric pest infestations demand the intervention of a pest control professional, carpeting may have to be lifted for the application of insecticide. Whole-structure fumigation is generally the last resort for fabric-pest eradication, but infested items, like mattresses, rugs and furniture, can be fumigated individually as well.

Is your home currently at risk for a fabric pest infestation?

 

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The Small Honey Ant Thrives In Cold Temperatures And They Swarm Within Homes During The Winter Season

The Small Honey Ant Thrives In Cold Temperatures And They Swarm Within Homes During The Winter Season

A great number of ant pests are well known for invading Arizona homes during the spring, summer and fall seasons, but once the winter season arrives, ant pests become a rare sight within homes in the state. However, one ant species, Prenolepis imparis, is unique for being most active during the winter when both workers and swarming alates are frequently found within and around Arizona homes. This ant species is more commonly known as the honey pot ant, and most infestations see workers invade homes in large numbers from outside nests, but they are also known for frequently establishing indoor nests. Honey pot ant workers invade homes to seek out human food sources, and while these ants have a preference for sugar-rich foods, they frequently consume pantry items containing vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats.

Honey pot ant workers forage within homes during the winter months, and the common emergence of swarming alates in homes during January through March indicates that these ant pests also establish nests within hidden indoor areas during the winter. Unlike many other ant pest species commonly found in Arizona homes, such as southern fire ants and harvester ants, honey pot ants do not sting and they rarely inflict bites to humans. Surprisingly, honey pot ants become most active outdoors when temperatures range from 35 to 55 degrees, and they have been spotted emerging from subterranean nests during bouts of winter cold that see temperatures drop to the single digits. While these ants are common household pests during the winter, honey pot ant mating swarms are most frequent during the spring, but new colonies can also be formed by ground-dwelling reproductive specimens. These ants are relatively small, and workers may be pale, brown or jet black, but their head is generally lighter in color than their abdomen.

Have you ever encountered ants in your home during the winter?