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Avoiding Issues With Indoor Insect Pests Means Becoming A Good Housekeeper And Handyman

Avoiding Issues With Indoor Insect Pests Means Becoming A Good Housekeeper And Handyman

Modern pest management focuses more on the prevention of insect pest infestations rather than eradicating existing infestations. When homeowners keep their indoor living space sanitary and free from structural defects, insect infestations are highly unlikely to occur. Generally, insect pests prefer to remain within their natural outdoor habitat, but they will invade homes when indoor conditions are more hospitable than their natural habitat. Homes contain all the resources that most insect pest species need to survive, such as food, water, shelter, and agreeable temperatures. This is why homeowners and apartment tenants should learn to be conscientious housekeepers, and if possible, knowledgeable of common home repair techniques.

It should be no surprise to anyone that unsanitary homes are particularly vulnerable to insect pest infestations. Homes that contain piles of dirty dishes, overflowing garbage bins, empty soda cans, food crumbs, pets’ bodily waste, piles of dirty laundry, clogged drains, and improperly stored foods attract a variety of insect pest species. The most common insect pests that thrive within unsanitary homes include several cockroach species, filth flies, ants, gnats, midges, mosquitoes and wasps. Also, failure to keep stored food items and pet food properly sealed will invite a variety of pests of stored food products, including Indian meal moths, black carpet beetles and a variety of larval moth species.

Another essential form of pest infestation prevention involves the removal of clutter that provides insect pests with abundant forms of shelter where they can easily remain hidden from a home’s occupants. Insect pests like bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, pantry pets, clothes moths, and although they are technically arachnids, spiders and scorpions, particularly black widows and Arizona bark scorpions, rely on indoor clutter for successfully maintaining a presence within homes. Also, many insect pests, like termites, silverfish, ants and cockroaches, prefer to dwell in dark and moist conditions where they can remain obscured from human view. This makes homes with plumbing leaks, defective gutters, and rainwater leaks particularly attractive to insect pests.

Could you do more to make your home less inviting to insect pests?

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Silverfish Often Establish Nuisance Infestations Within Homes, But They Can Damage Valuable Indoor Items As Well

Silverfish Often Establish Nuisance Infestations Within Homes, But They Can Damage Valuable Indoor Items As Well

Silverfish are bizarre looking and common insect pests in homes and buildings all over the world. Like their common name suggests, silverfish closely resemble fish, or shrimp-like crustaceans, and they grow to be a relatively sizable ¾ of an inch in body length. Silverfish are capable of living in homes and buildings throughout their life cycle, and females deposit their eggs within indoor cracks and crevices in walls and ledges. Larvae emerge from their eggs within a period of three weeks, and it takes 4 to 6 weeks before larvae develop into adults. Females lay around 100 eggs during their lifetime, and considering that eggs can develop into adults in less than two months, silverfish can become abundant within homes in a relatively short amount of time. Silverfish are particularly common in homes located in dry areas, making silverfish frequent home-invaders in Arizona. While silverfish are largely considered nuisance pests within homes, they can have an economic impact as well, due to their habit of chewing away at certain items, such as paper and stored food.

Silverfish have long lifespans for insects, as they live for a period of 6 to 8 years, and they are able to survive without food for over a year before succumbing to starvation. These pests can survive long periods within homes without being noticed by residents, as silverfish forage at night, and they are able to skitter along floors at fast speeds. However, silverfish require specific conditions in order to survive indoors, and they generally remain on the first floor of homes or in crawl spaces, cellars, and basements. Occasionally silverfish are found in large numbers in attics, but only under certain environmental conditions. These insects prefer to dwell in environments where the temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees, and they are particularly sensitive to moisture, as they require 70 to 90 percent humidity levels in order to survive.

Silverfish are unpleasant to look at and they can become a nuisance in a home when large numbers congregate indoors, but silverfish are also in the habit of seeking out and consuming human food, even unopened packages of stored food items. Silverfish prefer to consume human foods that are rich in carbohydrates and protein, such as flower, dried meat, oatmeal and cereals. These pests also feed on just about any item containing paper, such as books, important documents, photo albums and cardboard boxes. Silverfish also seem to have a taste for glue, which makes the binding of books a preferred snack for the pests.

Have you ever found items in your home that you believe had been damaged by silverfish?

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Pacific Deathwatch Beetles Infest Structural Wood Which Can Lead To Devastating Structural Damages In Some Cases

Pacific Deathwatch Beetles Infest Structural Wood Which Can Lead To Devastating Structural Damages In Some Cases

Termites are not the only wood-infesting insect pests in the United States, as carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and several beetle species in the country are well known for nesting within the structural wood in homes and buildings. Hemicoelus gibbicollis, is one wood-boring beetle species that is common in the southwest. This species is commonly referred to as the Pacific deathwatch beetle, and they are sometimes referred to as powderpost beetles despite this common name being attached to another wood-boring beetle species. Deathwatch beetles prefer to nest within softwoods, such as fir, or within weak, damp and decaying wood sources, which is why infestations are often found in high-moisture areas around homes, particularly in basements, cellars and crawl spaces. However, infestations can occur in a variety of indoor locations including floors, door frames, window sills, rafters, beams, stair railings and furniture. The damage these beetles inflict to wood can be devastating if infestations are not noticed for a long period of time, as infested structural wood has been known to collapse as a result of being hollowed out by deathwatch beetle larvae.

Once adult deathwatch beetles emerge from pupation during the spring, females place their eggs within narrow cracks and pores on natural and structural wood sources. Once larvae emerge from the eggs, they bore into wood where they excavate long tunnels, eventually causing infested wood to become hollow and in urgent need of replacement. Deathwatch beetles can remain in their larval stage for months or even years depending on environmental conditions, and larvae can also overwinter within structural wood before emerging. Larval feeding within wood produces a sawdust-like material that the larvae tightly pack within their tunnels, sometimes resulting in a blistered appearance on the surface of infested wood. Eventually, pupation takes place within the tunnels, causing newly formed adults to break through the surface of wood in order to fly away. Larvae inhabiting structural wood communicate with each other through tapping sounds which can be heard under some circumstances within infested homes. Centuries ago, many people interpreted this tapping as the ticking sounds made by a clock. This “ticking” indicated that an elderly or sickly person’s death was fast approaching, and this is how the insect pests got their common name.

Have you ever heard sounds produced by any type of insect pest within a home, with the exception of chirping crickets?

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Government Employees Working In A Bed Bug Infested Office Building Inadvertently Transported The Insect Pests Into Their Homes

Government Employees Working In A Bed Bug Infested Office Building Inadvertently Transported The Insect Pests Into Their Homes

A few weeks ago, an anonymous individual called reporters with the Phoenix New Times in order to announce that bed bugs have been infesting a branch office where employees for the Department of Economic Security (DES) work daily. This office is located at 115th Avenue and Bell Road in Phoenix, and the caller stated that the heavy infestation has lasted for weeks and authorities are doing little, or nothing at all to have the infestation eliminated. This whistle-blower claimed to be a government employee working at the office where his/her colleagues are also distressed about the high probability of tracking the bed bug pests back to their home. The anonymous employee further claimed that the bed bugs have been biting both employees and disabled residents visiting the office for financial assistance. After being contacted by reporters, DES spokesperson, Taysa Peterson, confirmed that the office is, in fact, infested with bed bugs.

After learning that the office houses case workers for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, reporters questioned another employee at the office about this matter, and she was happy to answer questions. The employee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, claimed that bed bugs had been found in several cubicles, and she also claimed that office management had done nothing to address the long-running infestation which is causing psychological distress among employees at the office. The infestation has become so bad that employees have become used to removing their clothes before setting foot within their homes after work, and both case workers and their clients are concerned that the infestation will lead to further infestations at schools, daycare facilities, homes and other government offices. The employees seem to agree that the entire building needs to be fumigated, but officials are merely having repeat inspections conducted within the office.

Just a week ago it was revealed that agency officials had been struggling to have the building’s landlord fulfill his legal obligation to have the bed bugs eradicated, but he has yet to fulfill this obligation. The office recently closed due to the infestation, and officials announced that the infestation in the office is now so advanced that the bed bugs have probably dispersed to new locations on the clothing of employees and clients. This infestation has displaced 135 government employees for an indefinite period of time.

Have you ever struggled to get your landlord to address an insect infestation in a rental unit?

 

 

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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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Researchers Claim That Arizona Will Always Be Home To Mosquitoes Infected With The West Nile Virus

Researchers Claim That Arizona Will Always Be Home To Mosquitoes Infected With The West Nile Virus

Several mosquito species are well established in Arizona where they often establish a significant presence in urban and residential areas of the state. Luckily, the Aedes Aegypti species, which is the most significant disease-carrying mosquito species in the United States, does not inhabit Arizona. As with most regions of the US, however, mosquito populations and west Nile disease rates are increasing in the state. In fact, the west Nile virus is now a permanent part of the state’s ecosystem.

The west Nile virus was first documented as being contracted by an individual in Arizona back in 2003, and since then, hundreds of residents have fallen victim to the disease. One of these residents, Bruce Gran, was diagnosed with the disease 7 years ago, and since then, he has experienced unpleasant symptoms of the disease on a daily basis. Gran, a resident of Tucson, is only 52 years old, but due to his unfortunate diagnosis, he experiences frequent bouts of memory loss in addition to migraine headaches. While Arizona has not seen west Nile disease rates increase to the extent which many other states have, many more residents will be at a greater risk than ever of contracting the disease in the state.

Residents of southern Arizona are at much greater risk of contracting west Nile than residents in the north, as mosquito populations are significantly higher in the south. The two most significant disease-spreading mosquito species in the state, Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus, maintain a year round presence in the south due to the regions warm winters. The original west Nile strain appeared in New York, but over the years, the disease has moved across the entire country. Another strain was discovered in Texas not long ago, and now this strain has become a permanent fixture in Maricopa County.

Do you apply mosquito repellent before stepping outdoors?