BED BUGS A NATIONAL PROBLEM – Some are calling it an epidemic. Maybe that’s a stretch – unless it happens to you? Indeed, all across our nation Bed Bugs are showing up – usually in places where transient people pause. Like in motels, hotels, apartments – even in nursing homes, hospitals and such. Yes, some are thusly transferred into homes. The personal invasiveness of this little critter brings out wrath like no other pest. Well, maybe head lice and crab lice are similar! The problem is growing rapidly and media is really having a hey-day with it. While you are tucked away asleep they attack – and, you may not even know it. If you wake up in the middle of the night and turn the light on, you might see them scurrying away – a small brown glob. You might have some itchy spots – maybe a few specks of blood on the sheet – BUT YOU WANT OUT OF THERE – NOW! The American Hotel and Lodging Association is so alarmed about this growing problem they recently met near Washington, D.C. with representatives of our National Pest Management Association to get updated on how best to avoid – or deal with Bed Bugs. Are they here in S.E. Texas? Yes! And, control is not an easy task. But, we are prepared! Carry attached card with you on trips. Review it as a reminder of how to avoid, or, deal with Bed Bugs.
CONDUCIVE CONDITIONS MEANS WHAT? Often you will hear members of our staff refer to “Conducive Conditions”. This may apply to a multitude of pests such as termites, fleas, ticks, roaches, ants, rodents, honeybees, flies, etc. This simply means we observe “conditions” that may help the cause of a given pest to develop. Considering that each pest is different from another pest, such “conducive conditions” would be specific to an identified pest. A problem may already exist, or, “conditions” are such that a problem is likely to occur. An example might be high soil level around the perimeter of a structure allowing and even encouraging termites to enter without being readily observed. Sometimes, again on termites, a water leak or a structural flaw may favor a termite problem to develop. Poor sanitation conditions may be a “come-on” for roaches or ants to develop. Openings into a structure, if not dealt with, is a wide-open invitation for rodents to enter. A place where a honeybee colony has occurred, if not corrected, is highly likely to attract honeybees in the future. Just the existence of pets (dogs & cats) is a “conducive condition” for morethan-normal occurrence of ticks or fleas. Standing water is a “conducive condition” for you “growing” your own mosquitoes. So, we often will convey to you a “conducive condition” per above. Obviously some “conducive conditions” may be difficult to correct. But, many can be corrected to reduce the more-than-normal likelihood of a specific pest problem.
EXCLUDE PESTS FROM ENTERING – If every structure was gone over with a fine-toothed-comb to seal and caulk every point of potential pest entry, the “need” for our services would be greatly reduced. Yes! But, in reality, such is seldom accomplished and we frequently find ourselves dealing with pests that have found points to enter. It is hard to realize how small openings allow a multitude of pests to enter. Virtually all structures are like magnets in attracting pests to the vicinity where they search for – and usually find – openings sufficient in size for them to enter. This is especially true in the fall of the year as cool weather develops and “pushes” pests to find better cold weather harborage. Some pests can do quite well inside – others get “trapped” inside unable to find their way back outside. In many cases we can lay down barriers outside to discourage certain pests from “searching” for entry points. But, this is not a perfect art given varying weather conditions. So, as and when you have any carpentry work done, strive to inspect and seal openings to avoid pests ready entry.
OUR NEW FIREANT PROGRAM – Early in 2006 we launched a new approach to help keep fireants out of a given area. This might be for a lot your home sits on, or, acreage such as found with schools or large commercial tracts of land. New products and technology allowed us to launch this program giving a one-year guarantee. Many of our clients took us up on this offer – and it is working. If you haven’t done this, we encourage you to get aboard. Call us, or, talk to your Service Technician. The benefits are tremendous and you will be amazed at how economical the program is. Given the one-year lasting effects, any time is a good time to do it.
HURRICANE RITA’S EFFECTS ON PESTS – Perhaps we are prone to blame any unusual pest problem on RITA. Indeed, some problems have been enhanced by the effects of RITA. Lots more “termite food” exists given the massive tree removals where food (wood) is prevalent under ground. Yes, termites will have unusually favorable conditions to enhance their development in years to come. Debris – some yet to be cleaned up – is a mecca for a multitude of pests. Openings into structures created by RITA allows many pests to enter at will. Natural environmental conditions were altered allowing for a much greater than normal mosquito problem. The reality check of folks dealing with RITA damages has, in many cases, put normal pest control and prevention on a back burner. Thusly pest problems develop that might not normally exist. So, yes, RITA can be blamed in one way or another for lots of our enhanced pest problems.
LAWN PROBLEMS – CHINCH BUGS, BROWN PATCH AND OTHER DISEASES – Earlier in the year we had a bit of a drought period that caused an early outbreak of lawn chinch bugs. Since then rather frequent rains have helped to suppress chinch bugs development. A negative offset brought on by the rains is the early and unusual outbreak of brown patch and other lawn diseases. Realistically, controlling and/or preventing such diseases is not feasible given disease resistance and the frequency of applying fungicides necessary to attain control and prevention. A healthy lawn can usually endure diseases to the point where total wipe-out of the St. Augustine doesn’t occur. The surviving root system, even if it is next spring, will usually come out and be OK. Not so with the lawn chinch bugs which can literally kill areas of the turf. If you see problems of yellowing or browning in your lawn, you might want to get us out to identify the cause and act on it if chinch bugs are the problem.
MOSQUITOES – WOW, HOW BAD CAN THEY GET? – Compounded by the publicity on West Nile Virus, folks are concerned about the elevated population of mosquitoes. For several years now, such concerns have grown. Indeed, 2006 has been the worst year of mosquito problems that I have seen in this area in my almost forty-nine years of being in business here. Hurricane RITA certainly was a factor in “rearranging” natural conditions. Rather frequent rains have also benefited the mosquito populations. Our Jefferson County Mosquito Abatement District has been very, very busy. Our providing Mosquito fogging service to large tracts of private property such as refineries has been busier than ever. So, what can you do about it? Remember this – MOSQUITOES WILL BITE THE HAND THAT BREEDS THEM! This meaning, of course, we all need to continually inspect and eliminate standing water like in containers, stopped up gutters, flower pot bases, etc. Avoid being outside, if you can, in the evening hours. If it’s a must, wear long pants and sleeves and use repellant. So, doing those things appropriate to reduce the mosquito population on your property, then taking evasive action against mosquitoes when you are outside in the evening hours is about all we can do. We can perform fogging service just before evening activities should a special occasion arise.
RATS & MICE ANNUAL FALL MIGRATION INTO STRUCTURES – It happens every Fall – but this years’ annual migration may be worse than usual – thanks to RITA. Populations of rats and mice build up every year in outside areas. As cool fronts occur in the fall, these rodents will begin to search for more favorable winter harborage. Structures will be gone over by these rodents for points of entry. That is how and when they get inside – garages, attics, etc. – as they seek winter shelter. We are always amazed at how small an opening can be for rats and especially mice to push their way in. Once inside they manifest their presence by their noise, odors, droppings, gnawings, etc. Hearing, smelling, or seeing these “signs” is when you become alarmed. Obviously excluding them from entering before the fact is the best bet. Once they are inside you must deal with that problem PLUS sealing out others from entering. Wherever a rodent enters, others will follow the odor trail. Lots of pest problems can occur in structures. But, few are as annoying or frustrating as rats and mice. We would again remind you to exclude these entry points by carefully sealing every possible point of entry. A small opening can “grow” via their gnawing to allow entry.
TERMITES – PROBLEMS WORSENED BY RITA – OK, here we go again – blaming bad things on RITA. Yes, termites are “bad things”! The damage we see is incredible. All too often folks wait until damage is found to act on controlling termites. By then the damage – some hidden – may be significant. Prevention of termite infestation in every structure in this area should be a requirement. If you do not have a termite prevention agreement with us, consider getting it. Termites – both native and the introduced Formosan – will be far worse over the next few years – thanks to RITA’s downing so many trees and damage to structures. Don’t wait for termites and damage – deal with protection against them to avoid damage and costly repairs. Your worst nightmare is hidden termite damage you don’t know about. If you have a termite agreement with us – keep it up. You need our expertise ongoingly to be on watch.
VENOMOUS (STINGING/BITING) PESTS – All insects and related arthropods build up populations to max numbers by fall. So, they are more prevalent and incidents of unintended contact are greater during the next few months. Wasps, hornets, honey bees, bumble bees, and spiders are but a few of such “venomous” pests. Some get more aggressive and surly as cool weather approaches. Some vacate nests and move into structures for better over-wintering conditions. Point is, you should really be on the defensive at this time. Children, the elderly, those with allergies, those with immune deficiencies are all at greater risk. Our staff has been involved in putting on several programs for groups of outdoor workers where incidents of contact is greater. How to observe, identify, avoid, and deal with such problems is helpful to such workers. We wanted to remind you as our client to have an elevated awareness of these problems and BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Do call us if you encounter such problems!
BILL’S BITS ‘BOUT BUGS….Love Bugs have come & will soon be gone again. They appear twice annually usually in April-May and August-September. “Grin & Bear” them as control is not an option. Clean ‘em off your car paint as frequently as you can to prevent paint damage….Depending on whose data you choose, Formosan Termites may be as serious as Native Termites – times ten….Remember that Termite Damage never goes away once inflicted. “Seeing it” is not always possible….Several species of Ants – and we have a dozen or so – have evolved to be the nations number one pest problem…. …Speaking of Ants, researchers in an effort to understand how ants can so accurately go back to the same food site or nest, have determined they have an internal pedometer. This was found by both mounting leg extension and cutting off part of legs thus disrupting their pedometer…. Many well-intended insect and animal introductions into the U.S. have backfired. Two examples would be the English Sparrow and the Asian Lady Bug – both of which have grown to be “pest problems”….Yes, Killer Bees have now been found in our area and expanded on into Louisiana. You will see our “Techs” wearing Bee Suits – for good reason….As cool fronts come in, heat will be turned on eventually. Especially among the elderly, this “drying out” will cause dry skin and
sometimes a sensation of something crawling on the skin (enhanced by poor eyesight). Every fall we get calls of concern thusly. These “conditions” we refer to as Entomophobia or Delusionary Parasitosis – “feeling” or “seeing” things that don’t exist….By Christmas we will be beginning our 49th year in business here….Positive Identification of “bugs” is extremely important to know what we are dealing with. Bring any “bug” of concern by for us to identify as whether or not you are having a problem….Quote from a peer company – “we removed 500 lbs of honey and about one million bees from a church’s wall and roof” Wow!….Malaria, the mosquito-borne disease is showing up with increased frequency all over the globe….Firewood is a great source of pest introductions into homes with fireplaces….Cobwebs seen in your home are nothing move than abandoned spider webs. The “silk” is tough and very long-lasting…..