Kandice Linwright No Comments

The Most Common Winter Pests

Most common winter pests in Phoenix, Arizona

It might not feel like winter outside, but we’re still in the thick of the winter season. And while temperatures are rising above 80 degrees, winter pests are still invading your home getting ready for the warm weather and influx of food.

Some of the most common winter pests are mice, spiders, rats and scorpions.

Mice – A mouse can act like a contortionist, squeezing and bending their bodies to get into houses through openings as small as 1/4 of an inch. Once inside mice reproduce quickly, and before you know it – your house can be overrun with mice. Not only are they destructive to property, building nests and chewing on wood and furniture, but mice present a health hazard through their bites, urine, and feces.

Rats – Slightly larger than the common house mouse, rats are rodents that destroy property by chewing electrical wires and building nests in walls and under appliances and leave a trail of potentially hazardous excrement. Both mice and rats thrive in the many nooks and unused spaces a house offers for nesting.

Spiders – While spiders are often thought of as beneficial pests because they eat other household pests, most people don’t want to share their homes with a bunch of creepy, crawly spiders. One of the most unfortunate things about spiders is that they often enter homes while hunting other pests that have come before them.

Stink bugs – Another nuisance pest, stink bugs don’t transmit diseases to humans or pets, nor do they cause damage in homes. Still, they are unsightly, and like their name suggests, can cause quite a nasty odor in your home. Stink bugs will sometimes leave stains on curtains and walls and can invade your home in large numbers, which they do simply to survive the low temperatures.

So, how can you prevent winter pests from invading your home? First of all, get yourself a reliable pest control professional, like Magic Pest Control. A great relationship with an expert in pest control can make all the difference.

Secondly, get those pest control professionals out to your home once a month. Have our experts seal up your home to keep winter pests away. All cracks, holes and soft wood needs to be patched and replace. All carpeting that doesn’t attach needs to be placed down correctly. All ceiling fans that do not fully cover the hole needs to be repaired.

Thirdly, keep a mindful eye on the floors at night when scorpions roam, and during the day when spiders and cockroaches invade.

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Termite Behavior Can Be Altered By Various Types Of Wood Fungus

Termite Behavior Can Be Altered By Various Types Of Wood Fungus

Termites mostly feed on natural sources of wood and dead plant matter located in regions that are largely uninhabited. Although termites are ecologically important for clearing land of dead wood and plant matter, numerous fungal species are also essential for wood degradation. Termites and fungi both thrive within hot, wet and humid conditions, and both compete for nutritional and water resources. In fact, termites and fungi have been known to partition their mutual habitat in order to fairly divide resources, and some termites have evolved symbiotic relationships with fungi. Not surprisingly, different species of wood-degrading fungi can alter termite behavior, which may play a part in facilitating their mutually cooperative relationship. Some species of wood-degrading fungi can even repel termites or slow their feeding. These forms of wood-degrading fungi could be used for developing new termite control strategies.

The species of wood-degrading fungus known as G. trabeum contains a chemical that is identical to a trail-pheromone that is emitted by termites. This fungus has also been found to influence the manner in which termites construct their tube shelters and select their food. Pest control researchers once created a bait-trap for termites by mixing G. trabeum with a slow acting poison that termite workers acquire before spreading the poison to the rest of their colony. A 2002 study had researchers expose termites to three different types of fungi. When eastern subterranean termites and Formosan subterranean termites were given a choice between a fungus-free sawdust pile and three other piles that had been colonized with white rot, brown rot and litter rot fungi, both termite species preferred all three of the fungal sawdust piles over the fungus-free sawdust pile. Both species preferred white rot and litter rot fungi over brown rot fungi. Also, all three of the fungal sawdust piles caused Formosan termites to increase their tunneling speeds while untreated sawdust had no effect on tunneling speed. It has been suggested that some wood-degrading fungi allows termites to absorb more nutrients in wood, which may increase their energy levels. Several different types of wood-degrading fungi have shown promise as bait components in termite traps.

Do you think that some types of wood-degrading fungi that could attract termites to bait-traps could be harmful to humans?

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

A Brown Recluse Spider Bite Caused A Woman To Hallucinate And Become Paralyzed, And There Are Dozens More Hiding In Her Home

The brown recluse spider may not look intimidating, but it is one of the most dangerous spider species in the United States. According to medical experts, around ten percent of brown recluse spider bites to humans result in tissue death, but negative health consequences can be felt by bite victims who never develop serious infections. For example, last summer a Tennessee woman, Angela Wright, experienced hallucinations and temporary paralysis in response to brown recluse venom alone. In fact, the one bite that Angela sustained nearly gave her a fatal stroke.

Wright woke one morning with pain in one of her arms and small bumps on her chest. Angela eventually visited the doctor where she was prescribed medication for the bumps, but her symptoms became worse. Soon after, Angela began to hallucinate and she developed seemingly bizarre symptoms such as sharp chest pains, flu-like symptoms and eventual paralysis. It turned out that the bite had formed two blood clots within Angela’s lungs. These clots brought Angela dangerously close to having a stroke. The doctors who treated Angela claimed that the neurotoxic components within brown recluse venom caused her to experience hallucinations.

Angela refused to sleep within her apartment for one more night, as she had found dozens of the spiders infesting her apartment unit before she visited the hospital. Angela had complained to the apartment managers about the infestation, and the managers responded by sending a pest control professional to her room to spray insecticide, but the spiders remained. Sadly, this one bite may have caused lasting medical problems, as doctors believe that Angela will have to remain on blood-thinning medication for her entire life as a result of the clots. Angela is also experiencing sudden bouts of pain in her chest. Due to the risks associated with blood clots, Angela’s doctors recommended that she avoid having children for life.

Have you ever killed a brown recluse spider that you found indoors?

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

A University Student Is Not Tolerating Her Insect And Spider Infested Dorm

A University Student Is Not Tolerating Her Insect And Spider Infested Dorm And One Company Is Forcing Employees To Eat Cockroaches

Many people who are currently attending college can tell you that dorm rooms leave much to be desired. There are not many 18 year old college freshman who expected their dorm room to resemble a hotel suite, but certainly no dorm resident should have to tolerate cockroach and spider infestations. While finding a cockroach or two within one’s dorm room may not be uncommon for many college students, one student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky is making the whole world know that officials are doing nothing to clear the cockroach infestation from her dorm room.

The student recently posted pictures of the cockroaches and spiders in her dorm room to social media sites in an effort to motivate university officials into hiring a pest control professional to address the infestation. The pictures were posted with an accompanying description of her situation. The student’s plan worked, as her situation was reported by a local news station, which prompted the university’s housing authorities into responding to her complaints. A spokesperson for the university even went as far as to send a letter to the news station explaining how seriously the university is taking the student’s complaints. The letter claimed that other past complaints from students concerning insect infestations in their dorm rooms were promptly addressed by university officials, and the university is working closely with the current student in order to resolve the problem. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe in China, employees are being forced to eat cockroaches by their managers.

Three managers that worked at a home improvement store in southern China have been jailed for making employees consume cockroaches and other disgusting items. The managers reportedly made only those employees who failed to make sales targets consume cockroaches. The managers were arrested after a former employee posted pictures and a description of the humiliating punishments to a social media site. Hopefully the victims of this cruel form of abuse can find satisfaction in the perpetrator’s incarceration, but at least the managers were dedicated to maximizing company profits.

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Which Venomous Arthropods Are Considered The Deadliest In America?

Which Venomous Arthropods Are Considered The Deadliest America?

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There is no shortage of online articles and blogs that discuss dangerous insects and spiders. Despite how commonly this topic is covered, there seems to be disagreement among experts concerning which arthropods are truly the most dangerous to humans. This is partly due to the fact that “dangerous” is not the same as “deadly,” and arthropods differ in the types of injuries that they inflict. For example, not all arthropod bites are dangerous solely because of the toxic venom that they transmit, as deadly infections can also develop in bite wounds that are inflicted by arthropods with relatively benign forms of venom. The rate of venomous arthropod fatalities is also increasing dramatically in the United States. Africanized honey bee attacks are becoming more frequent and they are far more venomous than many other arthropods, but these bees did not even exist in America prior to the 1960s. Also, medical technology is changing the statistics on arthropod fatalities, as people with venom allergies now carry emergency epinephrine shots known commonly as epipens. These devices save many human lives that would otherwise have been lost to venomous arthropod injuries. Between 2008 and 2016, an average of 86 deaths occurred each year as a result of venomous animal attacks, but only 46 fatalities of this sort occurred between 1950 and 1959. Considering these factors, declaring one single arthropod as “the most dangerous” is not as clear cut as it may seem.

Between 2001 and 2013 an average of seven people died each year from spider bites. Most of these deaths were caused by brown recluse bites, as no antivenom yet exists to treat brown recluse bites. Between 1999 and 2007 only five people were killed from stings inflicted by Arizona bark scorpions. Children, the elderly, and immunocompromised people are the only groups of people that are at risk of dying from bark scorpion stings. Bees and wasps are easily the most deadly types of arthropods, as they were responsible for a total of 509 deaths between 1999 and 2007. Yellowjackets and Africanized bees are the most aggressive of this group, and if their nests are disturbed, they can swarm for a full 24 hours, attacking every human and animal in sight.

Have you ever found a brown recluse spider in your home? Did you mercifully transport it outdoors? Or did you kill it?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

A Dangerous Scorpion Was Found Hiding In Cargo Before It Could Establish A Potentially Devastating Invasive Presence On A Highly Populated Island

A Dangerous Scorpion Was Found Hiding In Cargo Before It Could Establish A Potentially Devastating Invasive Presence On A Highly Populated Island

Every region of the world contains invasive insects. Invasive insects are non-native insects that have the ability to establish a presence, and reproduce, within a foreign land. Invasive insects can have a tremendously negative impact on the ecosystems that they inhabit. In addition to being environmentally damaging, invasive insects can also pose a threat to public health and can be economically disastrous as well. For example, here in America, the highly destructive Formosan subterranean termite is invasive. Formosan termite colonies reproduce more rapidly than native termite colonies, and they are responsible for at least one billion dollars in damage every year in America alone. While Formosan termites may only cause economic and, to a lesser extent, environmental damage in America, Africanized honey bees are a perfect example of invasive insects that pose a threat to public health in the US.

Although invasive insects are bad news in any region, island ecosystems are more negatively affected by the presence of invasive species than larger areas of land. This is because an island’s wildlife and vegetation evolved independently from the plant and animal life on continents. Invasive insects on islands are not held in check by natural predators. In these situations, invasive insects can hunt native island-wildlife into extinction. Invasive insects on islands are particularly alarming when the invasive insect or arachnid in question is naturally aggressive by nature. Recently, a scorpion was spotted and removed from cargo destined for Bermuda. By spotting this scorpion before the cargo left for the island of Bermuda, a potentially disastrous economic and environmental catastrophe may have been averted.

The residents of many islands around the world, Bermuda included, are urged by the government to be on the lookout for invasive species. Once the scorpion was spotted among cargo destined for Bermuda, the man who found the arachnid immediately called government employed environmental officers who cleared the rest of the cargo. In response to the important find, Mark Outerbridge, a wildlife ecologist at the government’s environment and natural resources department, publicly thanked the staff members who spotted the scorpion, as they may have saved Bermuda from an environmental disaster. The species of scorpion spotted within the cargo was the dangerous striped bark scorpion that is native to North America.

Have you ever spotted a striped bark scorpion in the wild?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Rock Squirrels Are The Most Dangerous Wild Animals At The Grand Canyon, And They Hate Selfies

Rock Squirrels Are The Most Dangerous Wild Animals At The Grand Canyon, And They Hate Selfies

The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the United States, and is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The desert canyon contains several long pathways for hikers, two of which form a continuous 15 mile long trail. As you can probably guess, visiting the Grand Canyon can be dangerous, and many tourists have sustained injuries while visiting the national park. It may come as a shock to learn that the region’s wildlife pose the biggest threat of injury to Grand Canyon visitors. Coyotes, foxes, bats, and mountain lions are all dangerous animals that Grand Canyon tourists may encounter.  However, the most dangerous wild animal that dwells in the Grand Canyon region happens to be the rock squirrel. Also, rodents and other wild animals in the Grand Canyon area can spread infectious diseases such as Hantavirus, rabies, and plague. In fact, all three of these diseases have been found in the region’s wildlife in recent years. Squirrels have become the most dangerous animals at the Grand Canyon partly as a result of the many attacks that tourists have suffered while attempting to take selfies with the nut-eating rodents. Selfie-related squirrel attacks have become so common at the Grand Canyon that park rangers have begun warning tourists about the dangers associated with “squirrel selfies.”

Red rock squirrels attack more tourists at the Grand Canyon than any other wild animal. Feeding squirrels and even holding a hand out to one will likely result in a bite, but it is turning one’s back on a squirrel for a perfect selfie that is causing a surge in rock squirrel attacks in the park. Rock squirrels are also one of the only wild animals in the region that maintain a constant presence around the park’s gift shop, snack shops and welcome center, making dangerous encounters with these squirrels more likely, especially near the snack shop. The park has launched the #FindYourDistance and #SafeSelfie campaign in order to increase awareness concerning the dangers of posing for selfies with the park’s wildlife.

Would you be willing to take an African safari in spite of the risk of being attacked by wildlife?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

How Could Forest Dwelling Termites Possibly Survive Massive Wildfires

It is a shame that termites are commonly regarded with disdain. Although it is true that termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage every year in the United States alone, these admittedly destructive insects are capable of feats that no other insect, animal or even human could accomplish. It is becoming increasingly well known that termites promote vegetative growth by removing dead plant matter from the ground before converting it into matter that contributes to soil fertility. Therefore, just by consuming wood, termites provide two seperate environmentally beneficial services. Even more impressive are the naturally air conditioned and architecturally complicated 30 foot tall nesting mounds that higher termites build in African and Asian regions. As impressive as these abilities are, no degree of inventiveness or mutual cooperation among termites can prevent them from becoming incinerated in forest fires. After all, forest fires can span hundreds of acres and can travel at fourteen miles per hour, destroying absolutely every animal, plant and insect in its path. Despite the small amount of studies concerning termite morality during wildfires, their does exist valid scientific evidence to suggest that forest-dwelling termites can indeed survive wildfires.

It goes without saying that a great number of termites parish during wildfires, but given their high abundance relative to other forest dwelling arthropods, an unexpectedly high amount also survive. The reason for this has to do with their subterranean nature, as termites can seek refuge from wildfires several feet below the soil’s surface. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood and dampwood termites are not afforded the same protection from wildfires, and subterranean termites must already be present well below the ground’s surface in order to survive a wildfire. Some studies have demonstrated that mound-building termites can survive wildfires by remaining within their nesting mounds. Due to the unique composition of termite mounds, which is best described as “hard clay,” they are well insulated from the extreme heat emitted by a wildfire. Several studies have also revealed that termite populations are more abundant than other insect populations following wildfires. While termites certainly have an advantage over other insects when it comes to surviving wildfires, studies on this topic differ in their results and further research is necessary before positing that termites are relatively unaffected by wildfires.

Do you believe that any other forest-dwelling insect groups could have an advantage when it comes to surviving wildfires?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Termites Are Threatening Mexican Vacation Homes

Termites Are Threatening Mexican Vacation Homes Owned By Americans

Mexico is a common destination for American expats during the winter season. Most American expats in Mexico are retired senior citizens, and some simply own second homes in the country. Although taking annual winter vacations in a tropical paradise would be nice, the country’s termite problems should be taken into account before any American purchases a home in the country. Unfortunately, both termite control professionals and reliable termite control methods are relatively difficult to come by in Mexico. Not only is it comparatively more difficult to find assistance with eradicating termites from infested homes in Mexico, but the scientific literature concerning native and invasive termite species in the country is almost non-existent. According to the United Nations, studies concerning termite diversity and termite ecology in Mexico have never been carried out. Therefore, buying a Mexican timber-framed home that will remain uninhabited for most of the year can be a bit of a gamble in termite-rich Mexico. For example, back in 2011, officials with the Mexican Government worried that Americans would avoid purchasing Mexican homes due to a termite-induced property recession that had been occuring at the time. Property purchases in the country continued to take a hit after the United States Government, which was also experiencing a property recession at the time, warned Americans against buying homes in Mexico.

You would be surprised by how many American expats in Mexico have struggled with the country’s native termite population. The rainy season in Mexico causes an influx of termite swarms in well populated cities at a time of year when American snowbirds are typically not around to monitor possible termite activity on their mexican property. Subterranean termites are a major problem in Mexico, just as they are in America, but surprisingly, drywood termites are almost equally as destructive in the country. Drywood termites in Mexico can be as large as ants, and they attack a variety of different portions of a home as well as various forms of infrastructure such as untreated softwoods, particle board, paper, plastic, cardboard, and even insulation around pipes. Unfortunately, many homes in Mexico were not constructed to survive termite attacks, as untreated timber is often used to construct homes on termite-rich soil that is never treated with insecticides. Much of the furniture that is bought and sold within Mexico is also constructed with untreated lumber. The shipping of termite-infested furniture items is a serious issue in Mexico due to the lack of treated wood available in the country. In fact, it is even recommended that paper grocery bags and cardboard packaging be immediately and safely disposed of in Mexico due to the probability of a termite presence in such materials.

Do you think that the availability of termite control professionals in Mexico may be greater in regions that see many tourists?