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Dealing with Carpenter Bees – Boston, Norwood, MA

31 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

People often mistake carpenter bees for bumblebees, which look quite similar. Bumblebees nest in the ground, usually in abandoned rodent nests, and live in social communities.

Carpenter bees are solitary bees that burrow into wood. If you see a bee that looks like a bumblebee emerging from a hole in your porch, it's a carpenter bee, not a bumblebee. You can differentiate the two by examining the upper side of the abdomen. If it's shiny and hairless, it's a carpenter bee. A bumblebee, by contrast, has a hairy abdomen. Carpenter bees usually spend the cold months tucked inside their empty nest tunnels, protected from freezing temperatures and winter weather. In spring, they emerge ready to mate. By late summer, the young emerge as adults.

Because carpenter bees are beneficial insects, you should only eliminate them when necessary. Most people encounter carpenter bees during April and May, when they've just emerged to mate. During this time, male carpenter bees tend to hover around nest openings, looking for receptive females. It can be rather unnerving being around them, as the males will also hover aggressively around people who approach the nests. They may even fly right into you. Despite this tough act, male carpenter bees cannot sting. They are completely harmless. Female carpenter bees can sting, but almost never do. So carpenter bees pose almost no threat to people at all.

Obviously, if you observe carpenter bees coming and going from holes in your fascia board, deck posts, or other wood structures, that's a sure sign that those holes are carpenter bee nests.  If you haven't seen bees, but suspect they may be burrowing in a fence or other structure, look at the entrance holes. A carpenter bee makes an entrance hole slightly bigger than her body. The first inch or two of the tunnel is usually made against the wood grain. The bee will then make a right turn and extend the tunnel another 4-6 inches in the direction of the wood grain. You might see yellow stains on the surface of the wood, just below the entrance hole. Though they burrow into wood, carpenter bees don't eat wood like termites.  Since their nest tunnels are limited in size, they rarely do serious structural damage.

However, a female carpenter bee will often prefer to refurbish an old tunnel to digging a new one. If carpenter bees are allowed to tunnel in the same structure year after year, the cumulative damage could be significant. When it comes to carpenter bees, your best defense is a good offense.

Carpenter bees prefer to excavate untreated, unfinished wood. You can discourage and prevent carpenter bees from nesting in a wood structure by painting or varnishing the lumber. If carpenter bees are already a problem, you will need to use an insecticidal dust to treat the nests. Insecticidal dusts are usually applied with a puffer that allows you to coat the interior surface of the entrance holes with the insecticide using a gentle burst of air.

For the insecticide to work, the bees much come in contact with it as they crawl through the entrance hole of the nest. The appropriate insecticide must be applied in the spring, just before adults emerge to mate. Once you see the bees emerge, wait a few days before filling in the nest holes with wood putty or filler. Now is the ideal time to apply the insecticide because the spring adults are emerging now.  It is a good idea to treat the nests twice once in the spring, and again in late summer, when the next generation of adults is foraging. Because bees will be active during the day, it's best to apply the pesticide at dust dark or at night. This will reduce your chances of being stung by females trying to defend their nests. In the fall, seal the nest holes with putty or filler. For assistance getting rid of carpenter bees, contact EHS Pest Control in Norwood.


Tick Prevention Tips – Norwood, Boston, MA

24 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Unfortunately this is one of the worst seasons we’ve had in quite some time for ticks. It often occurs in your own back yard. There are ways to prevent it, let’s take a look.

The tick season started. It started in April, goes through November, peaks in July.

Unfortunately, the worst months for ticks are also the best months for being outside. The middle of your yard is typically safe, so where are the ticks living?  It’s more those shady wooded edges where there’s stone walls, a lot of leaf litter.

The more moist the area, the more likely you are to have ticks waiting to latch on and bite you. But there are ways to help keep the ticks out of your yard. First off, keep leaf piles far away from your house and yard, and use woodchips as a buffer.

Woodchips, mulch, that’s a great thing to put down. Basically keeping a nice clean area is key. Ticks will get into areas where there’s a lot of moisture.

Keeping your yard clean is important, but the best way to get rid of ticks (pause) is to hire a professional to come and spray your yard. Count on EHS Pest Control to tailor a program to protect you, your children, and pets from this potentially life threatening pest. We offer organic tick prevention.

A high pressure hydraulic system that will blast into those areas 40 to 50 feet with a nice fine fog of material to really get underneath that leaf litter.

What do you do if you have a tick on you?

Make sure you remove it properly,  use a tweezer. You want to get it at the head and you don’t want to smash it because that increases the likelihood of transmitting the disease.

For more information on organic trick control, contact EHS Pest Control.


Terminix Twitter Study Uncovers Worst Cities for Mosquito Complaints

23 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new study from Terminix shows that New Yorkers are leading the nation’s futile Twitter campaign against mosquitoes.

The study analyzed 500,000+ tweets mentioning “mosquito” to determine where skeeters are getting on tweeters nerves the most. New Yorkers’ furious thumbs are followed by tweets from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.

"For most people, mosquito control means incessant swatting, open flames and noxious aerosols," said Stan Cope Ph.D., director of entomology and regulatory services for Terminix. "We want these tweeters and regular bite victims to know they have simple, professional options. Our mosquito control services are much more effective than sprays and candles, and allow you to enjoy the outdoors without it becoming a big production.”

Additional discoveries from the Terminix Twitter study include:

  1. If the cities were ranked per capita, Glasgow, Mont., would come in at No. 1, followed by Kingsville, Texas; Key West, Florida; Aberdeen, South Dakota; and Woodward, Okla.
  2. A majority of the tweets paired 'mosquito' with 'bites,' 'outside' or 'summer;' many turned violent with 'kill,' 'control' or some choice expletives; and a significant number reflected current headlines with 'GMO' and 'Zika.'
  3. The most-used hashtags include: #Zika, #ZikaVirus, #Health, #Summer and #Bugs.
  4. Women tend to have the itchiest fingers, claiming responsibility for 63 percent of the total tweets.

The top 50 cities on Terminix’s Worst Cites for Mosquito Complaints list are below; you can find the full list and other interesting findings in this release.

1   New York, N.Y.   26   San Diego, Calif.
2   Los Angeles, Calif.   27   Orlando, Fla.
3   Chicago, Ill.   28   Wichita, Kan.
4   Houston, Texas   29   29. Mesa, Ariz.
5   5. Atlanta, Ga.   30   Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
6   Washington, D.C.   31   Portland, Ore.
7   Dallas, Texas   32   Kansas City, Mo.
8   Miami, Fla.   33   Denver, Colo.
9   Boston, Mass.   34   Milwaukee, Wis.
10   San Francisco, Calif.   35   Tucson, Ariz.
11   Austin, Texas   36   Buffalo, N.Y.
12   Seattle, Wash.   37   Irvine, Calif.
13   Philadelphia, Pa.   38   Honolulu, Hawaii
14   14. Minneapolis, Minn.   39   Cincinnati, Ohio
15   New Orleans, La.   40   Charlotte, N.C.
16   16. Cleveland, Ohio   41   Memphis, Tenn.
17   Indianapolis, Ind.   42   San Jose, Calif.
18   Baton Rouge, La.   43   Tampa, Fla.
19   Phoenix, Ariz.   44   Salt Lake City, Utah
20   20. Columbus, Ohio   45   Detroit, Mich.
21   21. Las Vegas, N.V.   46   Akron, Ohio
22   22. Sacramento, Calif.   47   Norfolk, Va.
23   Baltimore, Md.   48   Fresno, Calif.
24   San Antonio, Texas   49   Pittsburgh, Pa.
25   Ft. Worth, Texas   50   Lansing, Mich.

To learn more about mosquitoes and how to get rid of them, contact EHS Pest.

Source: PCTonline

PPMA Announces Bed Bug Awareness Week 2016

16 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

FAIRFAX, Va, – As summer travel season approaches, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), is working to spread public awareness about bed bugs during Bed Bug Awareness Week, June 5-11, 2016. Bed Bug Awareness Week is an annual designation recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events and is celebrated throughout the pest management industry. Using various media relations and social media tactics, PPMA will work to educate consumers about bed bugs and how to best protect themselves from these transient pests.

“We’ve witnessed a significant resurgence in recent years,” said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA. “And while pest control companies are battling these bugs in single family homes and multi-family housing units, in hotels and motels, hospitals and schools, and even on public transportation, there is still work to be done in getting consumers on board with public vigilance and awareness. And with DIY horror stories abound on the Internet, consumers need to know that pest control companies are the most effective solution when it comes to treatment.”

PPMA is leading this push for public vigilance with the launch of a media relations and social media campaign. Industry members are encouraged to join the cause by devoting their social media pages to bed bugs during Bed Bug Awareness Week and using the hashtag #BedBugWeek in all interactions.

PPMA has also developed an exclusive toolkit for Mainframe subscribers to utilize as a resource for their publicity efforts. The toolkit, which will be available for download on PPMAMainframe.org in May, contains a customizable press release, suggested social media content, high resolution photography, media training documents and other materials to help companies communicate to their customer base, while gaining positive publicity for their business in the communities they serve. For more information about PPMA and all its marketing programs, please visit http://www.NPMApestworld.org/PPMA.

To learn more about bedbugs and how to get rid of them, contact EHS Pest.

EHS - Bed Bug Awareness Week 2016

How to Deal with Stink Bugs – Norwood, Boston, MA

10 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

As everyone shakes off the cold, damp spring and gets ready for summer, a perennial pest is doing the same thing.
Stink bugs – given the apt nickname because of the musty scent they emit when frightened or squashed by humans – are emerging from their winter hibernation.

You’ve probably seen them crawling on your screens or fluttering around your house’s windows. You can’t crush them, because they expel that nasty smell as a defense.

Stink bugs, which have a brown, shield-like body, were first discovered in Allentown, PA in 2001. They feed on fruit trees, ornamental plants, vegetables and legumes, and are common throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Although stink bugs are not known to present any harm to humans, they are a major nuisance.

Here are some ways to get rid of stink bugs:

  1. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the bugs - UMD Bulletin.
  2. Seal up cracks around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping.
  3. Take out window-unit air conditioners; stink bugs can easily get through these.
  4. Plant or move fruit trees and vegetable gardens, especially tomato plants, away from your home to prevent stink bugs from landing on the exterior of your home.
  5. Squish stink bugs outdoors--the odor warns other stink bugs to flee.
  6. Hang a stink bug trap outside your house to catch them
  7. Hang a damp towel outside your home overnight. In the morning, stink bugs will blanket the towel, and you can use a vacuum or knock them into a jug of soapy water to kill them.
  8. Although most insecticides are ineffective against stink bugs, some do work, but the bug must be clearly on the label. Insecticides are never to be used indoors
  9. Check your attic for holes or gaps and close them up. Stinkbugs often enter through attics.
  10. Contact EHS Pest Control in Norwood, MA.


UM Research: Varroa Mite Infestations Worse Than Previously Thought

09 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Bee and Mite Control, MA, RI

Honey bee colonies in the United States are in decline, due in part to the ill effects of voracious mites, fungal gut parasites and a wide variety of debilitating viruses. Researchers from the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently completed the first comprehensive, multi-year study of honey bee parasites and disease as part of the National Honey Bee Disease Survey. The findings reveal some alarming patterns, but provide at least a few pieces of good news as well.

The results, published online in the journal Apidologie on April 20, 2016, provide an important five-year baseline against which to track future trends. Key findings show that the varroa mite, a major honey bee pest, is far more abundant than previous estimates indicated and is closely linked to several damaging viruses. Also, the results show that the previously rare Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus has skyrocketed in prevalence since it was first detected by the survey in 2010.

The good news, however, is that three potentially damaging exotic species have not yet been introduced into the United States: the parasitic tropilaelaps mite, the Asian honey bee Apis cerana and slow bee paralysis virus. “Poor honey bee health has gained a lot of attention from scientists and the media alike in recent years. However, our study is the first systematic survey to establish disease baselines, so that we can track changes in disease prevalence over time,” said Kirsten Traynor, a postdoctoral researcher in entomology at UMD and lead author on the study. “It highlights some troubling trends and indicates that parasites strongly influence viral prevalence.”

The results, based on a survey of beekeepers and samples from bee colonies in 41 states and two territories (Puerto Rico and Guam), span five seasons from 2009 through 2014. The study looked at two major parasites that affect honey bees: the varroa mite and nosema, a fungal parasite that disrupts a bee’s digestive system. The study found clear annual trends in the prevalence of both parasites, with varroa infestations peaking in late summer or early fall and nosema peaking in late winter.

The study also found notable differences in the prevalence of varroa and nosema between migratory and stationary beehives. Migratory beekeepers—those who truck their hives across the country every summer to pollinate a variety of crops—reported lower levels of varroa compared with stationary beekeepers, whose hives stay put year-round. However, the reverse was true for nosema, with a lower relative incidence of nosema infection reported by stationary beekeepers.

Additionally, more than 50 percent of all beekeeping operations sampled had high levels of varroa infestation at the beginning of winter—a crucial time when colonies are producing long-lived winter bees that must survive on stored pollen and honey.

“Our biggest surprise was the high level of varroa, especially in fall, and in well-managed colonies cared for by beekeepers who have taken steps to control the mites,” said study co-author Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at UMD. “We knew that varroa was a problem, but it seems to be an even bigger problem than we first thought. Moreover, varroa’s ability to spread viruses presents a more dire situation than we suspected.” For years, evidence has pointed to varroa mites as a culprit in the spread of viruses, vanEngelsdorp noted. Until now, however, much of this evidence came from lab-based studies. The current study provides crucial field-based validation of the link between varroa and viruses.

“We know that varroa acts as a vector for viruses. The mites are basically dirty hypodermic needles,” Traynor said. “The main diet for the mites is blood from the developing bee larva. When the bee emerges, the mites move on to the nearest larval cell, bringing viruses with them. Varroa can also spread viruses between colonies. When a bee feeds on a flower, mites can jump from one bee to another and infect a whole new colony.”

Nosema, the fungal gut parasite, appears to have a more nuanced relationship with honey bee viruses. Nosema infection strongly correlates to the prevalence of Lake Sinai Virus 2, first identified in 2013, and also raises the risk for Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus. However, the researchers found an inverse relationship between nosema and Deformed Wing Virus.

Some viruses do not appear to be associated with varroa or nosema at all. One example is Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus, which causes loss of motor control and can kill individual bees within days. This virus was first detected by the survey in the U.S. in 2010. At that time, less than 1 percent of all samples submitted for study tested positive for the virus. Since then, the virus’ prevalence roughly doubled every year, reaching 16 percent in 2014.

“Prior to this national survey, we lacked the epidemiological baselines of disease prevalence in honey bees. Similar information has been available for years for the cattle, pork and chicken industries,” Traynor said. “I think people who get into beekeeping need to know that it requires maintenance. You wouldn’t get a dog and not take it to the vet, for example. People need to know what is going on with the livestock they’re managing.”

While parasites and disease are huge factors in declining honey bee health, there are other contributors as well. Pesticides, for example, have been implicated in the decline of bee colonies across the country.

“Our next step is to provide a similar baseline assessment for the effects of pesticides,” vanEngelsdorp said. “We have multiple years of data and as soon as we’ve finished the analyses, we’ll be ready to tell that part of the story as well.”

The research paper, “Multiyear survey targeting disease incidence in US honey bees,” Kirsten Traynor, Karen Rennich, Eva Forsgren, Robyn Rose, Jeffery Pettis, Grace Kunkel, Shayne Madella, Jay Evans, Dawn Lopez and Dennis vanEngelsdorp, was published online in the journal Apidologie on April 20, 2016.

This work was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of this organization.

Learn more about honey bees and voracious mite infestation, contact EHS Pest.

Source: PCT

Rodent Summit 2016 - Boston, MA

04 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest Services sponsored Dr. Bobby Corrigan to present his New School Rodent Academy for the first time in Massachusetts to Environmental Health Professionals from the City of Boston and Cambridge as well as manufacturer of Xcluder Rodent Exclusion products.

With focus on keen observation, exclusion, prevention and pesticide-free alternative techniques such as CO2 open air rodent control, it was a huge success.

EHS President John Stellberger commented, "Bobby exudes an infectious passionate mix of science, environmental stewardship and common sense like no other human being"

Looking forward to next year.

EHS in Rodent Summit 2016 in Boston, MA


Tick Control Tips for Spring and Summer – Boston, Norwood, MA

03 May 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

As temperatures rise, the tick population rises as well. Right now you can prepare your yard for ticks because you can be bitten by a tick anywhere, not just in the woods. Ticks like damp, shady, bushy, leafy areas, where they can wait for a person or an animal to come by. The tick waits for direct contact with a passing person or animal. The goal is to create a tick-safe zone in your yard.

Reducing ticks in your yard means making your yard less attractive to ticks, and less attractive to animals like mice and deer that carry ticks. Keeping lawns mowed as low as practical will help. Ticks are more likely to be found in taller, unmown grass and shrubs. If your yard is damp with shrubs and shade, it will be attractive to ticks. Eliminating rotting leaves along fences, wood piles and rock walls will make your yard less attractive to ticks.

Using a 3-foot-wide mulch barrier were your lawn meets the woods will help. Ticks are less likely to cross the barrier into the lawn because they are prone to drying out. It also serves as a reminder that people who cross the barrier into the wooded area may be at higher risk of getting ticks.

To reduce tick populations:

  • Remove leaf litter;
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around home and the edge of lawns;
  • Place a 30 ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas;
  • Mow the lawn frequently;
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents);
  • Discourage unwelcome animals from entering your yard by constructing fences;
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

Here are some tips on using pesticides to reduce the ticks in your yard. Treat yards every four to five weeks will help reduce tick numbers. Tick control products labeled for homeowner use include: diazinon, dursban or sevin. Homeowners should read labels carefully to determine which chemicals can be used in the home and on pets. Check with a local veterinarian to have dogs and cats treated for ticks. Do not overdose your pet with too frequent treatments. This is expensive and harmful to your pet. Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home.

Don’t forget to check yourself of ticks when you have worked in your yard. For more information on ticks and how to control them, contact EHS Pest Control.


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