Protecting Your Family From Pests Since 1974!
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from pests, notes that Indian meal moths are the most common pantry pest, although beetles and weevils also problematic. Indian meal moths do not directly cause disease or damage to the home, but can be a major nuisance due to their quick breeding capabilities.
Certified Termite and Pest Control suggests that homeowners heed five tips to keep pantries in tiptop shape.
Why Can Bugs Access Homes So Easily?
Not long ago researchers published a study describing arthropod diversity inside of people’s homes. The study was troubling to homeowners who fear insects and spiders, as it turned out that our homes are more populated with creepy-crawlies than we had thought. The study’s results should not have been surprising since the world’s population of insects compared to humans is two hundred million to one. This estimate does not even include spiders. Since insects and spiders are so small and abundant on this planet it should be assumed that we have quite a few bugs living within our own homes. We humans have also been living among insects and spiders for well over one hundred thousand years. So some bugs have become accustomed to the human population. Perhaps some bugs follow humans for the food scraps that we tend to leave lying around within our environments. So now that we know that our homes are full of different insect and spider species, how can we keep them out?
Keeping insects and spiders from entering our homes will be difficult if not impossible, since the structural design of modern homes makes insect intrusions likely. If you ever want to live in a big house then you should be ready to coexist with insects and spiders. Houses with many entry points, such as doors and windows, contain a relatively high population of bugs. If you live in an apartment, then try to secure a unit that is above the ground floor. Not surprisingly, the amount of spiders and insects is high on the ground floors of houses and apartment complexes. If you like hardwood floors then you are in luck. Insects and spiders are more numerous in rooms that contain carpet. Hardwood floors are less hospitable to bugs. The areas of a home that are well ventilated are likely to contain a relatively high bug population. The most surprising finding in the study may be of concern to clean-freaks. Apparently, the more clean and tidy a home is, the more populated it will be with various forms of arthropod life. So if you hate insects and spiders, then you want to live on the top floor of a dirty and windowless studio apartment with no air conditioning or heat, and it must have hardwood floors.
Does it disturb you to know that several different insect species fight over living space in the hard-to-spot nooks and crannies of your home?
What Is The Difference Between Grasshoppers And Locusts?
Every so often people will see a massive swarm of thick bugs flying in the sky. These swarms become so large that they appear as enormous clouds on weather radar. These insects are usually described as being a nuisance. For example, these bugs have been known to dive-bomb into people’s faces, splatter their guts all over car windshields, and have also been spotted eating the plants in people’s gardens. So one thing is for sure; these bugs are not well liked. But what type of insects are they? Grasshoppers? Locusts?
The confusion over the difference between grasshoppers and locusts is widespread. Even some well regarded news sources print information about these bugs that is just flat out wrong. For example, a New York Times article once claimed that grasshoppers become locusts once they start swarming. A statement like this is more than a little misleading. In 2010 a leading entomologist wrote an article about grasshoppers and locusts for the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior. The author of the article, Alexandre Vsevolo Latchininsky, is an entomologist that works for the state of Wyoming. He claims that all locusts are grasshoppers, but not all grasshoppers are locusts. According to Latchininsky, locusts are “short horned grasshoppers”. All locusts belong to the Acrididae family of grasshoppers. Swarming behavior is the most obvious behavior that makes locusts distinct from other types of grasshoppers. To be clear, locusts are a subspecies of grasshoppers. Latchininsky’s article says that there are more than twelve thousand distinct types of grasshopper species in the world. Out of these twelve thousand species, only a dozen count as locusts.
The article also claims that swarming behavior is a relatively recent evolutionary ability that some grasshoppers have developed. It is particularly important to remember that sometimes grasshoppers can demonstrate swarming behavior while not being locusts. This is where most people become confused. Sometimes climatic conditions cause grasshoppers that are not locusts to swarm in a manner similar to locusts. A 2014 case in New Mexico saw a swarm of grasshoppers, but this was a rare case. A dry 2013-2014 winter and 2013’s monsoon season resulted in an overabundance of grasshoppers in parts of New Mexico. The grasshoppers began to swarm in 2014 because the populations were incredibly dense as a result of the previous year’s climate. A high number of grasshoppers in a region with too little space prompts grasshoppers to swarm. Since a grasshopper’s swarming behavior is a relatively new evolutionary trait, it would not be surprising to see more grasshopper species swarming in the future. Maybe one day all grasshoppers will swarm.
Do you believe that more grasshoppers will develop swarming behaviors as time progresses?
The Invasive Spotted-Wing Fruit Fly Population Is Growing Rapidly
Insects have been in the news a lot lately, and as usual with insects, the news is not good. The scientific community is concerned with the rapidly decreasing insect populations occurring all around the globe. Despite this recent and alarming trend, one species of insect seems to be more common than ever. Populations of spotted-wing drosophila fruit flies are increasing dramatically in the United States. These insects are invasive in the United States, as they destroy crops of berries and fruits in almost all regions. Recent studies have shown that these fruit flies and the harm that they cause could be controlled if growers removed all discarded fruit from their land. It turns out that spotted-wing fruit flies target discarded fruit that litters the countryside. Since these invasive fruit flies entered the mainland United States several years ago they have proliferated as a result of feeding on the vast amount of fruits that can be easily found in many regions.
The invasive spotted wing fruit fly technically invaded the US back in 1980 when they arrived in the Hawaiian islands from their native Asian regions. At the time of their arrival in Hawaii, agricultural experts were not threatened by their presence, and no eradication efforts were undertaken. However, this all changed in 2008 when these invasive flies managed to find their way to the coast of California near Santa Cruz. Today these invasive spotted-wing fruit flies exist in every US state. These fruit flies have even managed to invade colder regions of North America, such as all of the Canadian provinces. The invasive fruit flies cause as much as eighty percent yield losses in fruit and berry crops within the US.
Typically, insecticides would eradicate invasive spotted wing fruit flies from affected regions. But lately, the fruit fly populations have become so numerous that other beneficial insects could be destroyed if these fruit flies are targeted with insecticides. In response to this problem, researchers found that invasive fruit fly populations could be effectively reduced by simply disposing of all fruit wastes on cropland. Researchers are also investigating the use of different animal manures as fertilizer. The hope is to find an animal manure that repels fruit flies, instead of attracting them.
Have you ever found insects feeding on fruit that you were keeping in your home?
Crucial Evidence Provided By Forensic Entomologists Is Sometimes Dismissed In Court Cases
Forensic entomology can sometimes put a murderer behind bars, or worse. But this is not always the case. Prosecuting attorneys will not always make use of evidence provided by forensic entomologists, as the law does not always consider this sort of evidence to be reliable. However, when attorneys do prosecute crimes that hinge on evidence gathered by forensic entomologists, the evidence is typically pretty damning. Lawyers prosecuting an alleged murderer in an ongoing murder case have relied heavily on the strength of entomological forensic evidence. Unfortunately for the prosecuting attorneys, the testimony of the forensic entomologist tasked with investigating the murder case will be dismissed by the court. This particular case serves as a good example of how easily evidence gathered by forensic entomologists can be thrown out.
Neal Haskell, a forensic entomologist, provided testimony recently concerning evidence found at a murder scene in 2013. Four years ago the decomposing bodies of Joyce and Clifford Snow were found within their insect-infested home. The primary suspect in the murders has always been the couple’s now thirty eight year old son, Thomas Snow. Snow had led authorities on a high speed chase after the murders had been discovered, and for several days after the murders, Snow had claimed that his parents were in Germany. Thomas Snow lived with his parents.
The timeline for the Snow murders, which has been determined using forensic entomology, is the primary and most useful form of evidence that the state has against Snow. Forensic entomologists determined the date of death as falling between October 18th and the 22nd of 2013. The temperature of the home following the time of the deaths is one of the most important factors for determining time of death. Since the temperature control system had been turned off when authorities discovered the bodies, the forensic entomologist had to estimate a temperature. The defense attorney attacked the forensic entomologist’s testimony by saying that “arbitrary estimates lead to arbitrary results”. And with that, the testimony was thrown out. So no matter how damning the evidence collected by forensic entomologists may be, it does not always ensure justice for the guilty, or innocent.
Do you believe that forensic entomological evidence relies too heavily on guesswork?
Soldier Bugs Are Being Dispatched To Kill Harmful Stink Bugs
If you have ever stepped on a stink bug, or have vacuumed one up from your carpet, then you likely know that these bugs are aptly named. The smell these bugs emit is foul, but the smell is not the worst aspect of the invasive stink bug. Stink bugs are major crop pests within the United States. They were first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and they have since moved into nearby states where they get right to work destroying sizeable portions of commercial crops. Luckily, researchers at West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture believe that they have found a novel method of effective stink bug eradication. Researchers have raised spiny soldier bugs within laboratory conditions. The researchers are planning on releasing these soldier bugs into stink bug populated environments. The soldier bugs are native to the United States and they are predatory in nature. Most important of all, soldier bugs love to kill and feed on stink bugs.
Raising insects in order to have them eradicate other insects is a type of biological pest control that researchers are hoping will work, but there is one problem. Fully grown stink bugs are too large for soldier bugs to kill. This means that soldier bugs are only useful for pest control as long as the stink bugs have not reached full maturity. However, the soldier bug’s talent for killing and consuming young stink bugs and their egg is undeniable.
Unfortunately, during this time of year stink bugs are commonly found within people’s homes. Stink bugs waste no time invading homes when the temperatures drop during the fall season. The researchers have also worked with the United States Department of Agriculture in order to mass produce a parasitic wasps that has a particular taste for stink bugs. However, this plan was scrapped as using the parasitic wasps as a form of biological pest control was too risky. This is because the parasitic wasps that hunt for stink bugs are actually native to Asia, making them an invasive species within North America. The researchers were not sure if the Asian wasps would cause damage to native insect or plant species within America.
Do you think that using soldier bugs as a form of biological pest control is risk free?
Entomologists From All Over The World are Flocking To A Region Full Of Mysterious Bugs
Exotic regions that are located in warm tropical climates contain an abundance of different forms of insect life. Entomologists and other scientists visit insect populated regions regularly in order to conduct studies on particular insects and their environment. Continents like South America, Africa, Australia and parts of Asia are all home to numerous nature reserves that grant special access to researchers hoping to shed more light on the nature of some of the world’s more interesting and lesser known types of insects. When you try to recall the locations of well known nature reserves from around the world, you probably don’t consider Great Britain. However, Britain is home to one of the most popular biodiversity hotspots today.
Canvey Wick, also known as Brownfield Rainforest, was going to be the sight of an oil refinery during the seventies. Luckily for the well being of the environment, and many curious bug experts, the oil crash of 1973 caused British officials to cancel the planned construction of the oil refinery, but by this time construction efforts had already taken place. Today, the manmade landscape is the most significant aspect of this particular reserve.
When the refinery was undergoing the initial phases of construction over forty years ago, construction workers installed large concrete slabs into the ground and transported different types of soil to the region. Sediment from the Thames river was also regularly dumped into this region. All of these different types of soil are still present in the region today, and this allows for a variety of different habitats to coexist in this one small area. If the construction of the oil refinery had not been cancelled when it was, then this area would never have become so rich in different insect species.
The abundance of different soil types located within the Brownfield Rainforest has allowed for the survival of certain insect species that would have otherwise become extinct. In fact, experts are regularly finding insects in this region that have long been assumed extinct. The Brownfield Rainforest is Great Britain’s first and only rainforest to ever exist.
Would you be interested in exploring the Brownfield Rainforest?
Maggot Infested Cheese Is Illegal In Europe, But It Is Still Considered A Delicacy?
The world is full of bizarre foods that some cultures consider to be delicacies. Some treasured dishes that come from exotic countries sound downright disgusting to Americans. However, Americans have likely never even heard of the most repulsive of all foreign delicacies–casu marzu. Sardinians cannot get enough casu marzu, as this type of food originates from Sardinia, where it is in high demand. Sardinian and Italian speakers are well aware of what casu marzu is made of, and since this type of prepared food is illegal to possess and to make in most of Europe, many other native Europeans have probably heard of casu marzu as well. For those of us living in America, casu marzu can be translated as “maggot-cheese”.
I hate to sound culturally insensitive, but casu marzu is so disgusting that the European Union made it illegal to possess and to make. The reason behind the ban of casu marzu should be obvious, but in case you cannot guess, the maggot infested cheese is dangerous to consume. Ever since the EU made casu marzu illegal, many Sardinians in need of a maggot fix turned to the black market. This is hard to believe, but maggot-infested-cheese is highly sought after on the black market, and criminals are paid top dollar for smuggling the maggot-cheese across Europe.
Many Sardinians have protested the decision to have casu marzu banned in all EU member states. Sardinians have long been hoping to see casu marzu reclassified as a “traditional food.” If casu marzu is reclassified, then it could bypass all food inspections, and become legal. However, keeping contaminated food off of the marketplace, especially foods that contain maggots, is tremendously important from a public health perspective. Today, the legal status of casu marzu is questionable.
The live maggots contained within the fermented cheese belong to the Piophilidae family of flies. The flies are also referred to as “cheese skipper flies”. Not surprisingly, the maggots of this family are known for being pests to ham and cheese. What makes the Piophilidae family notable is the fact that the larvae are capable of jumping into the air when threatened. These small larvae (that people eat) use their bodies in a way that enables them to jump into the air. There are not many maggots in the world that can jump, but for cheese skipper maggots, jumping looks easy, but don’t eat them.
Would you be willing to chew and swallow a spoonful of casu marzu that contained live maggots?
CREEPY CRAWLY PESTS THAT GIVE HOMEOWNERS A SCARE THIS HALLOWEEN
Certified Termite and Pest Control shares information on common pests that may take up residence during the colder months
While it’s normal to see bats, spiders and other creatures invade your front doorstep on Halloween in the form of trick-or-treaters or spooky décor, Certified Termite & pest Control advises people to be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall.
“Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy and crawly, but it also serves as a reminder that actual pest infestations can cause quite the fright. In the spirit of this spooky holiday, we are reminding homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence indoors.”
Here’s a guide to some common critters that may spook homeowners this fall, along with tips to prevent them from turning the home into a haunted house.
Rats – One of the most reviled pests, rats can contaminate food, spread dangerous diseases and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wires. Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings.
Bats – Bats are frequent carriers of rabies, which can be fatal if left untreated. They often enter homes through attics, belfries and under fascia boards. Homeowners should screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home.
Spiders – Some species of spiders, mainly the brown recluse and black widow, can administer a painful bite when disturbed. Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time and shaking out shoes before wearing them.
Bed bugs – Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. These elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin. Before dressing up in a costume that came from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs.
Here are some additional tips to prevent a pest infestation this Halloween season: