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USDA: Science Detectives Investigate a 'Mitey' Big Problem

28 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are hot on the trail of a honey bee killer, and their detective work has taken them from hives in Tucson, Arizona, to those in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) supervisory research entomologist Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, the team is staking out the entrances of victimized hives, eyeing the comings and goings of foraging honey bees that they suspect may be unwitting accomplices.

Instead of cordoning off the sites with crime-scene tape, the scientists are blocking access to the hives using cut lengths of PVC pipe with a slit about midway down. There, a sliding wire-mesh door separates incoming bees from outgoing ones.

None of the busy little winged bearers of pollen and nectar will get by without inspection-and for good reason: the researchers suspect the bees are physically harboring their target: an oval-shaped, pinhead-sized parasite called the Varroa mite.

The Varroa mite is public enemy number one to not only honey bees nationwide, but also the 90-plus flowering crops that depend on the insects to pollinate them, including apples, almonds, blueberries and cantaloupe.

The team's investigations in Bismarck this June are actually a follow-up study to the one they completed last year at two Arizona sites. Findings from that study suggest that bees can bolster their hives' existing mite population by carrying in Varroas from other colonies-an influx that most often occurs in the fall, especially November.

Varroa populations grow slowly because females produce only three to five offspring. If mite populations in colonies are low, then they should remain that way for at least a season before chemicals called "miticides" need to be applied, explains DeGrandi-Hoffman, who leads ARS's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson.

Sometimes, though, Varroa numbers soar to potentially hive-wrecking levels during the fall. To the researchers, this suggested that factors other than mite reproduction were involved-namely, "mite migration" via foraging bees and wayward "drifters" from other colonies. At the Arizona hive sites, this influx of migrating mites correlated to population increases of 227 to 336 percent, starting in November. The findings appeared in the February 2016 issue of Experimental and Applied Acarology.

In addition to further investigation at a Bismarck apiary, the researchers will also evaluate placing hives in refrigerated storage in the fall to head off mite migration into colonies. They'll determine the strategy's effectiveness based on whether it reduces the need for miticide applications, keeps Varroa populations low and results in high winter survival rates for colony members.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

To learn more about honey bees and varroa mites, contact EHS Pest.

Source: pctonline.com

Threat of Zika Virus in MA – Norwood, MA

27 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

The threat of Zika virus spreading to our state is growing.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a breed of mosquito known to carry the mysterious virus is expected to make its way to Massachusetts.

Experts are alerting people as new information about the disease unfolds.

The Zika virus could now become a concern for Massachusetts residents as researchers continue to work to understand the illness.

"We're learning day by day," said Dr. Daniel Skiest at Baystate Medical Center. Zika is a puzzling virus could soon be brought to our state by a mosquito.

While they aren't here yet, these mosquitoes have already been found in the southern United States.

There are two mosquitoes known to carry the virus.  One of the two is expected to reach as far north as Maine.

With mounting pressures to find a treatment for Zika, experts are working tirelessly to unlock the mysteries that surround this illness.

Women who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy are urged to postpone travel plans to areas where the Zika virus is known to be spreading.

The virus is linked to serious birth defects and a rare condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which causes temporary paralysis.

All people have to do is to remember to take the proper precautions. Wearing insect repellent and avoiding exposure to mosquitoes are good first steps.

"As we learn more, we'll learn more on how to avoid it," Skiest added.

There are seven known travel-related cases of Zika in Massachusetts. For more information on protecting your yard from mosquitoes, contact EHS Pest Control.


The Deadliest Animals in America

22 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

A recent animal attack has prompted discussions about safety and animals.

Despite the fear this type of tragedy causes, the odds of a fatal alligator attack in the U.S. are small. In fact, bees, wasps, hornets, dogs and even cows kill more Americans each year than alligators or sharks do.

The Washington Post used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to show which animals cause the most deaths in the country each year. The CDC tracks Americans’ deaths based on their death certificates to keep detailed records on mortality.

Bees, wasps and hornets caused the most deaths, an average of 58 per year between 2001 and 2013. Cows killed 20 people each year, dogs killed 28, and a separate category called “other mammals” accounted for 52 deaths per year. Sharks, alligators and bears killed one person each year, on average.

The deaths caused by cows happen to people working with cattle in enclosed areas or herding them. Their handlers typically have died from blunt force trauma to their heads or chests.

That said, alligator attacks happen more often than once a year; they just aren’t always fatal.


CDC: 234 Pregnant Women in U.S. with Confirmed Zika Virus

22 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that there are now 234 pregnant women in the continental US carrying the Zika virus – an infection spread by mosquito bites that can cause a devastating birth defect called microcephaly.

Out of these women, there have been six "abnormalities" – three babies born with birth defects so far, and another three who died before birth – though officials did not say how many of the women have given birth in total, and how many are still pregnant. Mosquitos

In other Zika news from CDC, the Center drafted an "Interim Response Plan" intended to guide state public health leaders on actions to consider (first hours - days) upon laboratory confirmation of the first locally acquired (transmitted by the bite of a local vector) case of Zika virus infection in their state. This document may serve as a support tool for states to consider a phased response to Zika virus. It is organized according to actions previously described in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Response Plan for Areas at Risk for Local Zika Virus Transmission and High Volume of Travel Associated Cases.

To learn more about Zika virus infection and how to control the carrier mosquito, contact EHS Pest.

Source: pctonline.com

Local Town Fighting Rat Infestation

17 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

MELROSE, Mass. — One local town is fighting a rat infestation and experts warn other cities in the area could see a rat population explosion.

In Melrose, city officials held a meeting last week to discuss solutions to the problem, and hired a pest company to eradicate burrows found near municipal buildings and a city park. Related Headlines

"It's gross, really gross," resident Brittany Nowell told FOX25. "It's weird, you don't think rats and Melrose. This is a nice town, so I don't understand where they're all coming from."

Experts blame a warm winter, noting the harsh New England weather usually kills off part of the rat population.

"The East Coast - Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York - some of the really old cities are experiencing huge rat problems," said John Stellberger with EHS Pest Services.

Stellberger said his company uses a unique method to kill rats without exposing residents to poison; putting dry ice in their burrows, which he said is the most humane way to exterminate.

City officials are also asking residents to make sure their trash cans and compost areas are secure, and have purchased new, enclosed trash receptacles for the city parks.

Source: FOX25

City Hires Consultant to Address Rat Activity

15 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Rat Control in MA, RI

John Stellberger of EHS Pest Services addresses residents at a June 8 forum at Memorial Hall. Wicked Local Photo / Aaron Leibowitz

In response to a surge in rat sightings around Melrose, the health department has hired EHS Pest Services to advise the city and to place dry ice in open-air rat burrows on public property.

At a community meeting Wednesday, June 8 at Memorial Hall, John Stellberger of EHS said dry ice is the most environmentally friendly way to kill rats and is being employed in major cities around the country.

“It’s humane,” Stellberger said.

Stellberger told the Free Press his company plans to deploy dry ice for several consecutive days in the early morning at all public locations where rat burrows are spotted.

Health Director Ruth Clay has asked the Board of Aldermen to approve a line-item transfer of $1,000 to pay the consultant.

Clay has also requested $10,000 for three enclosed rodent-proof trash barrels to place at the Common Playground, similar to the solar-powered “Big Belly” barrels used on Main Street. The barrels cost $3,200 apiece, Clay said.

The health department first became aware of the spike in rat activity in late May. It was around that time that residents posted photos online of a garbage can overflowing at the Common Playground.

Asked by a resident what she planned to do with the approximately 10 open trash barrels currently at the playground, Clay said the city would likely remove them.

Following a presentation by Stellberger, Clay summarized the city’s response to complaints over the past two weeks.

First, Clay said, she reached out to officials in Cambridge who recommended that Melrose consult EHS Pest Services.

Next, she had EHS representatives walk the area around East Foster and First streets, talking to residents about recent rat sightings.

“They were able to give us some ideas of what the issues were in that neighborhood,” Clay said.

For burrows on public property, the health department has responded with both short-term treatment and long-term exclusion measures. Clay added that the department has also offered to survey private property and give advice, although only a licensed pest control operator can administer treatment.

Furthermore, Clay said, the health department plans to urge food establishments to properly dispose of trash as the department visits businesses during its regular relicensing process in the coming days.

“Everybody is getting reminded again about their solid waste, whether it’s trash barrels or Dumpsters,” Clay said.

Several of the approximately 40 residents at last Wednesday’s meeting suggested businesses need to be more mindful of their waste disposal habits, especially downtown.

Clay told the Free Press the health department does not typically issue fines for improper trash disposal before giving a warning, but said the department has issued fines before.

“Every trash barrel on Main Street is overflowing,” said Katy Kennedy, who lives on Mount Vernon Ave. near downtown. “The Department of Public Works has got to send somebody out.”

Stellberger did not seem to think the problems in Melrose were unique or particularly severe, noting that the entire East Coast has been “exploding with rats” of late. The mild winter likely played a role, allowing a host of animals – including rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks – to survive into the warmer months.

But human behavior is the main culprit, Stellberger said, and accessible trash is “ground zero” for rat activity. The best way to keep rats away, along with direct control measures, is to deny their access to food.

“Populations get large because we allow it to happen,” Stellberger said.

The Norway rat, which is what’s typically seen in Melrose, prefers dark, shadowy landscape plantings and a roof overhead, and can easily adapt to nesting in a wall or a ceiling cavity. It feeds on a variety of foods, such as fruits, nuts, birds and earthworms.

Stellberger outlined a handful of measures residents can take to manage rat activity – denying easy access to food, using plantings that are not rat-friendly, trimming tall grass, using snap traps, and installing stainless steel or crushed stone in areas vulnerable to nesting.

Rodenticide baits are less effective, Stellberger said, and can take weeks to kill rats.

Ultimately, Stellberger hammered home the point that rat populations are directly related to available food. Rat control is a community problem, he said, with community solutions.

“There is no magic bullet,” Stellberger said. “It’s all of us human beings working together to make our homes and neighborhoods safe.”

To contact the health department, call 781-979-4130 or email health@cityofmelrose.org.

Source: Melrose

Solving Rat Problems with Exclusion - Boston, MA

10 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Norway Rats and House Mice are human's biggest fans! Rattus norvegicus and Mus musculus have hitchhiked from Asia all across the planet on our fabricated vessels because we are truly "Rodents Best Friend"!

We provide food, a home and protection from predators.

Sometimes things don't go their way. Clever homo sapien's put a strain on our 200,000 year relationship by changing refuse options and rodent proofing our homes and the fresh soil they need for a family den.

EHS can help end this one way love affair. We can remove and dispose of the unwanted debris, add a stainless steel barrier to the soil and finish it with fresh crushed stone. Think Japanese Garden for the dark and shadowy areas we don't visit much, but they find irresistible!

Thanks to Whitey and Scotty Pest for suggesting and completing this masterpiece solution to a long standing rat infestation in this beautiful home.

EHS Rat Solution, MA, RI EHS Pest Exclusion, MA, RI

Carpenter Ants Are Very Destructive to Homes – Norwood, Boston, MA

07 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Carpenter ants nest in wood by burrowing into damp areas. The ants don’t care about the wood for food, but just excavate to make room to nest in the wood. Carpenter ants are most active after nightfall in Spring through early Fall.

The reproducing carpenter ants have wings, much like termites. Colonies, which can contain up to 10,000 ants divided among numerous nests, are composed of a main nest housing the queen and multiple satellite nests.

Signs of a carpenter ant infestation may include sawdust, rustling sounds in the walls, tunnels and galleries in wood structures, and trails of the ants. However, it's entirely possible to have an ant problem and not realize it until major damage has been done.

Prevention of carpenter ant infestation:

Frequent inspection of wooden structures for moisture or rot. Remove piles of leaves from around foundations and keep trees trimmed away from the house. Make sure that any openings where pipes or wires enter the structure of the house are tightly sealed. Caulk any cracks in foundations. Also, be sure to fix leaky plumbing or gutters as soon as possible to keep wood dry and inhospitable to the ants.

Damp weather is ideal for carpenter ants:

Ants may find a way into the home even after taking these measures. An initial treatment with periodic follow-ups will help protect the home and provide a much needed barrier against carpenter ant infestation. Treating before the ants invade is much more economical than waiting until there is a full-blown colony creating structural damage.

Carpenter ant control

If the owner or tenant is currently battling a carpenter ant infestation EHS Pest can locate and treat the main colony and satellite colonies. The only way to fully destroy an ant infestation is to eliminate each nest and the main colony. Otherwise, ants from the main colony will re-colonize areas that have been previously cleared. Carpenter ants are typically eliminated by injecting products into the wall voids and applying a perimeter barrier treatment to the exterior base of the structure. In already infested homes, treating the foundations is crucial in carpenter ant control.

Carpenter ants cause damage to homes

The ants are the most commonly encountered wood destroying insects. The pests are responsible for damage to thousands of homes each year. The damage can be limited to a fence post or it can be extensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars to repair one house. Therefore, it is important to protect homes and other structures from these destructive pests through a Pest Control company.

Where carpenter ants can be located

Importantly, carpenter ants only rarely traverse through the interior of a structure. Unfortunately, people may think there is not a problem because of not seeing the ants inside but carpenter ants nest in wall voids and other structural framing and forage outdoors for food. This leaves many people with a false sense of security, thinking there is not an infestation problem. But the carpenter ants continue to thrive within the walls and farming causing destruction over time. Carpenter Ants may cause havoc on homes or businesses.

For more information, contact EHS Pest Control in Norwood.


Advancements in Controlling Invasive Pests, Mosquitoes Among Hot Topics at NCUE

06 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS joins NCUE conference

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 233 people attended the National Conference on Urban Entomology, held last week in Albuquerque, N.M., making this year’s event the second highest attended ever. In fact, five people from outside the U.S. attended the NCUE, so if this trend continues, perhaps we’ll need to change the name to International Conference on Urban Entomology.

Conference and Program Chair, Dr. Kyle Jordan (BASF), did an excellent job planning the conference. Industry sponsors contributed funds that made the conference possible.

It was the first time the National Conference on Urban Entomology was held together with the Invasive Fire Ant Conference. The two meetings had been held separately over the past few decades, but recently a proposal was made to have a joint meeting. The first joint meeting was a great success and future NCUE meetings will likely include the Fire Ant Conference.

It was also the first time the conference had a symposium dedicated wholly to rodents. The symposium, Urban Rodent Control, highlighted the recent developments in urban rodent management. This included rat, mouse, and gopher management in urban settings, and field evaluations of new bait formulations for rodent management.

Dr. John Klotz of University of California Riverside (emeritus) received the 2016 Distinguished Achievement in Urban Entomology Award and presented the 2016 Arnold Mallis Memorial Lecture titled “Trailing with the ants.”

A student paper competition was held to provide the opportunity for students to present their research and compete for awards. Sydney Crawley (University of Kentucky) won 1st place, Aaron Ashbrook (Purdue University) won 2nd place, and Mark Janowiecki (Texas A&M) won 3rd place. In addition, Sudip Gaire (New Mexico State University) received the Master’s of Science Award and Zachary DeVries (North Carolina State University) received the Doctoral Award.

The conference included more than 100 presentations (see program). Because the NCUE conference was combined with the Fire Ant Conference, the majority of talks (35) were on advances in managing invasive and urban pest ants. Other topics included IPM outreach in urban settings, indoor biomes, mosquito management in residential and commercial settings, gaps and challenges in urban pest control strategies, termite control, bed bug management, and pest prevention in buildings.

A special symposium was held on “The Future of Urban Entomology.” The symposium was organized by Dr. Shripat Kamble and included talks by prominent urban entomologists on the challenges and opportunities in the field of urban entomology. Despite some challenges, such as entomology department mergers and reduced funding, urban entomology continues to be a strong field and offers almost unlimited possibilities.

Due to the recent interest in mosquito control, the conference had a symposium on “Barrier Applications for Mosquito Management in Residential Settings.” The symposium was organized by Syngenta Crop Protection and included eight speakers from a variety of industries and universities. Topics ranged from the evaluation of various barrier applications for controlling container mosquitoes to backyard mosquito treatments, to public and community-wide management approaches. In addition the conference had a panel discussion on the Zika virus. Mosquito control was arguably the “hottest” topic of the conference.

Social activities included the Awards Luncheon (sponsored by Bayer), Evening at the Albuquerque Museum (sponsored by BASF), and a dinner combined with a visit to the Sandia Peak Tramway (sponsored by Syngenta). Fun was had by all (until the next morning).

The next meeting will be held on May 2018 in Raleigh, N.C. The meeting does not give CCH credits to PMPs but presents lots of valuable information and is certainly worth attending. Registration for the 2 1/2 day meeting is only $200.

To learn more about invasive pests and mosquito control, call EHS Pests.

Source: PCTonline.com

Amid Zika Concerns House Passes Bill Easing Pesticide Use Restrictions Near Waterways

01 Jun 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

WASHINGTON – On May 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act 258-156. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), alters pesticide spraying permit requirements near waterways.

Gibbs warned that mosquitoes could start spreading the Zika virus in the United States this summer. He argued his legislation to lift regulations on spraying near waterways would make it easier to fight the disease, which endangers pregnant women. Gibbs' bill would establish that pesticides applied near waters don't need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if the substance is being used for its intended purpose and the use complies with pesticide label requirements.

Gibbs argued that the permit requirement is redundant, as the pesticides are already approved under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and the additional permit process under the Clean Water Act is costly and burdensome. The National Pest Management Association has long opposed NPDES permit requirements for these same reasons; in fact, the association and its members voiced opposition to NPDES permits at this year’s Legislative Day.

The measure, which passed the House of Representatives under other names such as the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, in past years but never became law because the Senate didn't act. Now that the Senate is controlled by Republicans, its advocates - such as farming organizations - hope its prospects have improved.

To learn more how to get rid of mosquitoes safely, contact EHS Pest.

Source: PCTonline

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