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Forward Thinking Pest Control

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Boston’s new method of killing rats will give you the chills

28 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

The City of Boston is experimenting with a chilling new way to kill rats: dry ice.

“We’re seeing tremendous, tremendous success,” said William Christopher, commissioner of the city’s Inspectional Services Department.

For the past several weeks, workers from the agency have been using picnic coolers to pick up dry ice from a local company.

They take the supercold substance to known trouble spots. The workers use steel scoops and wear gloves as they place the dry ice into the multiple exits of each burrow. They use their regular work boots to pack the dry ice in.

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. As it melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas, which fills the burrow, suffocating any rats inside.

Christopher said it is a more humane way of killing the rodents — and significantly cheaper than using rat poison.

He said his staff has used more than 400 pounds of dry ice over the past six weeks, and that altogether it cost just $225.

“The stuff is dirt cheap,” he said.

“The simplicity of this process is one of the things that most intrigues me,” he added. “And the success is what has me very excited.”

Using dry ice reduces the risk to other animals and children that poison can pose, he said.

Dry ice can burn if it comes into direct contact with skin, but workers monitor the substance after it’s placed in the burrows, Christopher said.

“It’s simple science,” said Christopher. “It has not hurt anyone or any other wildlife or plant life. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, it’s been excellent.” Boston, MA - 4/27/2016 - A rat looks out from a burrow hole as city of Boston's Inspectional Services fill rat burrows with dry ice to exterminate them at the Central Burying Ground during a demonstration on how the extermination is done for a workshop on rodent extermination in Boston, MA, April 27, 2016. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)

Keith Bedford/Globe staff

A rat looked out from a burrow hole.

Christopher said officials from other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, have inquired about the dry ice method because they are interested in adopting it. He said Boston officials got the idea from local colleges that use carbon dioxide to euthanize lab rats.

John Meaney, the department’s assistant commissioner, said the dry ice method would be demonstrated for attendees at a rodent control summit the city is hosting this week for local officials and other interested parties.

One of the first places the city tested out the new pest control method was in the Public Garden. The work was done in the early morning hours, and Christopher said the burrows there were picked because they are away from homes and away from the garden’s walking paths.

He said the method would not work to eradicate rats in spaces that aren’t confined like burrows. In those settings, bait, traps, and poison will continue to be used. And the city will continue to try to educate residents, landlords, and business owners about rodent control, including how to properly seal trash and to contact the city if you see signs of rats or other pests.

“The dry ice is just one tool in our toolbox,” he said.

The method does have at least one opponent.

Stephanie Bell, an activist with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement that killing rats is ineffective.

She agreed with the city officials on one point: Areas should be made less attractive to the rodents, including by disposing of trash properly and sealing buildings.

“Wild animals of any sort are attracted to places where there’s a reliable food supply, and until that changes, the city will always find itself two steps back if it depends on killing,” Bell said.

To learn more about rat control, contact EHS Pest.

Source: bostonglobe.com

EHS Rat Control in MA, RI - Dry Ice Experiment

Mosquitoes and Ticks are Serious – Boston, Norwood, MA

27 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

A bad bug year may be in the offing, and Health Departments are jumping out in front of the issue.

With recent news about mosquito-borne illnesses and a growing list of maladies attributed to ticks, there is much to consider, especially when a heavy bug season may be just around the corner.

Alpha gal to Zika, Chikungunya to West Nile, Diethyl-meta-toluamide to Picaradin, those who enjoy the outdoors from the patio to the beaches may do well to expand their bug-related vocabularies.

Wet and very cold is what we look for, and we really didn’t have that this winter,” said entomologist Rick Grantham with Oklahoma State University. Ticks that were plentiful last year have the conditions to repeat a good breeding season this summer.

Mosquito reproduction is a different story. It’s impossible to predict, but they always are plentiful in some areas.

Mosquito season runs from May to September, with the worst of the lot emerging in June. But people can take backyard preventative measures now.

The best mosquito prevention is to eliminate places where they can reproduce. Mosquitoes can reproduce in anything that holds water for five to seven days, even shallow pools.

Mosquito eggs can last months on dry ground and can hatch in a small amount of water. You get a rainfall and two hours later they’re hatched.

Koi ponds and well-kept landscape water features and birdbaths are fine if they are kept clean or have a good filtration system.

Solutions to problem areas might be as simple as using a couple shovelfuls of fill dirt or as complicated as creating a new landscape drainage system.

Residents who live near shallow-water depressions or are concerned about other water-holding areas can call the health department.

They can go out and take a look at it, it may be a place that they will apply some larvicide.

One mosquito of particular interest is the Culex and its subspecies, which are known carriers for West Nile virus. They like to reproduce in warm, stagnant, smelly water.

Aedes mosquitos are smaller, black-and-white, mosquitoes that are aggressive daytime biters. They like clean water and they are capable of carrying the Zika and Chikungunya.

However, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns, “There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers.” There is always the potential for dengue fever and malaria as well.

As information spreads about tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses, people are becoming more sophisticated in their prevention methods, according to a major retailer with a growing share in the insect repellent market.

“We have seen incredible growth the past two to three years. We are in major retailers REI, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Academy, and it’s one of the top-reviewed products on Amazon,” Sawyer Products spokesman Patrick Hurst said of the company’s Permethrin spray, which is used to treat clothing rather than sprayed on the skin.

Sawyer also is an early and large U.S. distributor of picaridin-based repellents. Popular in Europe, it was typically blended in a 5 percent solution.

“What was learned is you need 20 percent for the more aggressive mosquitoes here in the U.S.,” he said.

The good old-fashioned ways of avoiding bugs still work as well, including wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants instead of shorts in the summer and tucking those pants into your socks when walking near the woods or in areas of deep grass. DEET-based repellents, of course, are still the gold-standard insect repellents.

And of course when you get home you need to do ‘the check’ and make sure you don’t have any ticks on you, and if you do, remove them without leaving any portion of the body in the skin.

For more information on tick and mosquito control, contact EHS Pest Control.


New Research Provides Clues into Ant Communication - MA, RI

27 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Ant Control, MA, RI

Arizona State University researchers developed a new computer model to manipulate several ant behaviors and to see how they affected the social structure of a colony. This model explains the complexity and diversity of social hierarchies in ants.

In many animal species, physical battles and other aggressive acts determine a certain “pecking order.” In the world of ants, fights that involve biting and restraining often determine winners and losers.

But what about battles that do not result in a pecking order, but instead lead to groups of winners and losers? Does this require a new type of aggressive interaction?

“We were curious as to whether dueling behavior in ants results in a winner and a loser, or if it is a winner-winner interaction that allows workers to express aggression without requiring a loser,” said Jürgen Liebig, associate professor at Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences and senior author of a new study published in the current online issue of American Naturalist.

To help answer this question, the researchers developed a new computer model to manipulate several ant behaviors and to see how they affected the social structure of a colony. This model explains the complexity and diversity of social hierarchies in ants.

The scientists began by examining the behaviors and social hierarchy of the Indian jumping ant (Harpegnathos saltator). When a colony’s queen dies, the female workers engage in ritual fights to establish dominance. Although these battles can be fierce, they rarely result in physical injury to the worker ants. Ultimately, a group of approximately 10 workers will establish dominance and become a cadre of worker queens called “gamergates.”

A social hierarchy like this is called a “shared-dominance hierarchy.” Other ant societies establish pecking orders in which one individual is dominant and all others share a subordinate status.

To learn more about ants, contact EHS Pest.

Source: Arizona State University Press Release

CDC Official: Zika Virus is 'Scarier Than Originally Thought'

21 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

WASHINGTON --The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, federal health officials said Monday as they urged more money for mosquito control and to develop vaccines and treatments, CBS News reports.

Scientists increasingly believe the Zika virus sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean causes devastating defects in fetal brains if women become infected during pregnancy.

"Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought," Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a White House briefing.

And while experts don't expect widespread outbreaks in the continental U.S., "we absolutely need to be ready," she said.

President Barack Obama has sought about $1.9 billion in emergency money to help fight the Zika epidemic internationally and to prepare in case the virus spreads here, but the request has stalled in the GOP-controlled Congress. Last week, the administration said it would use $589 million in funds left over from the Ebola outbreak for some of that work.

But that "is not enough for us to get the job done," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, whose agency hopes to have a possible vaccine ready for first-stage safety testing in early fall. "It's just a temporary stopgap."

Zika was long considered a nuisance virus, causing only mild symptoms, if any, in most people. But starting with reports from Brazil, over the last year infections in pregnant women have been strongly linked to babies born with unusually small heads, a birth defect called microcephaly that can signal underlying brain damage.

To learn more how to control mosquitoes that carries Zika Virus, contact EHS Pest.

Source: pctonline.com

EHS Pest Services Hires New Technical Director - Norwood, MA

21 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Technical Director - Justin Hedlund

NORWOOD, Mass. — Justin Hedlund has joined EHS Pest Services as its new technical director.

Hedlund is a board certified entomologist with a M.S. in entomology from Louisiana State University, and a B.S., Zoology/Animal Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Hedlund comes to EHS with 20 years of pest management experience providing or supporting service (technical training, service development, quality assurance, troubleshooting, regulatory compliance and client/route service), including research and development activities. He has extensive rodent and nuisance wildlife management skills with plenty of field experience.

EHS President John Stellberger said, “We are very excited to have a true scientist join our team to sharpen our progressive services and help develop cutting-edge future services that mirror our Forward Thinking Pest Management mission.”

Thick-Skinned Bed Bugs Beat Commonly Used Bug Sprays, Researchers Report

19 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Bedbug Control, MA, RI

The global resurgence in bed bugs over the past two decades could be explained by revelations that bed bugs have developed a thicker cuticle that enables them to survive exposure to commonly used insecticides, according to University of Sydney research published today in PLOS ONE. Bed bugs are blood suckers that produce intense bites and cause significant financial heartache in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Understanding why they have again become so common may help develop new strategies for their control.

Resistance to commonly used insecticides is considered the main reason for the global resurgence in bed bugs, according to University of Sydney PhD candidate, David Lilly, whose research focuses on the biological mechanisms that help bed bugs survive exposure to commonly used insecticides. Being ‘thick’ may be smart, for bed bugs at least!

“The new findings reveal that one way bed bugs beat insecticides is by developing a thicker ‘skin’, said David Lilly. “Bed bugs, like all insects, are covered by an exoskeleton called a cuticle. Using scanning electron microscopy, we were able to compare the thickness of cuticle taken from specimens of bed bugs resistant to insecticides and from those more easily killed by those same insecticides.”

Comparing the cuticle thickness of the bed bugs revealed a stunning difference: the thicker the cuticle, the more likely the bed bugs were to survive exposure to the insecticides.

The new findings could explain why failures in the control of bed bug infestations are so common. They may also unlock new pathways to developing more effective insecticides for bed bug control.

“If we understand the biological mechanisms bed bugs use to beat insecticides, we may be able to spot a chink in their armour that we can exploit with new strategies,” said Lilly.

But measuring the thickness of bed bug cuticle wasn’t an easy task, he said: “The findings are exciting but collecting data was frustrating. Taking microscopic measurements of bed bug legs requires a steady hand and patience, lots of patience.”

For more information on how to control bed bug infestation, contact EHS Pest.

Source: pctonline.com

Fossil Provides Glimpse into Origins of Spiders - MA, RI

12 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Spider Removal, MA, RI

Scientists have discovered a well-preserved 305 million-year-old arachnid that is "almost a spider" in France, NPR reported. In a new journal article, they say the fossil sheds some light on the origins of "true" spiders.

The main point of distinction: This newly discovered arachnid very likely could produce silk but lacked the spinnerets used by true spiders to, well, spin it, the scientists say. The researchers say it belongs to a "sister group" to the real-deal spiders.

The species, which they described in a new article in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is named Idmonarachne brasieri. That's after Idmon, the father of Arachne in Greco-Roman mythology. Appropriately, Arachne was a master weaver who was transformed into a spider.

For more information about Spiders, contact EHS Pest.

Source: pctonline.com

Rodent Proofing, Boston, MA

04 Apr 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Norway rats are remarkable. They buzz through a conventional roll up door sweep in a matter of minutes.

We will propose to fix it for good. Which is not good for rodents, but very good for humans.

We can do it all. Contact EHS Pest today, we loving helping people and it shows.

EHS Rodent Proofing in Boston, MA


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