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Mice and Pest Exclusion - Cambridge, MA

25 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Our Environmental Health Specialist, Angel Santiago knows pest exclusion. He also knows a thing or two about mouse hunts.

After sealing every mouse entry area in this restaurant, he went searching. This female house mouse and her young were nesting inside a cardboard box. Once opened, it had no where to escape.

Problem Solved!

EHS Pest Exclusion in Cambridge, MA

Indicators of Carpenter Ants that will Destroy Homes - Norwood, MA

20 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Pest control Professionals are trained to find the nests, which commonly occur in wall and ceiling voids where moisture problems exist .Pest control services provide one time initial clean-outs and ongoing preventive maintenance programs to keep carpenter ants from returning and destroying the value of the home or commercial business building.

Carpenter ants are one of the most common and destructive pests. The ants nest in wood by burrowing into damp areas. They don’t care about the wood for food, they just excavate to make room to nest in the wood. Carpenter ants are most active after nightfall in the spring through early fall. The species of local carpenter is large and black with reddish legs, but we also have a species that is black and red in the middle.

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 themselves. However, it's entirely possible to have an ant problem and not realize it until major damage has been done.

Ants may find a way into your home even after taking these measures. An initial treatment with periodic follow-ups will help protect your 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.

Identification of Carpenter Ants:

Carpenter ants are very common and they love all different types wooden structures. The pests can be found inside and outside of the home. These ants are very attracted to wood. Especially wood that has been exposed to moisture. Carpenter ants tunnel and make nests in softwood, and although they love wood they don’t eat wood. Carpenter ants have to leave the wooden tunnels to hunt for food. Food consists of dead or living insects, food found in the home such as meat, sugar and sugary products, aphid honeydew, plant juices, and fats. All of this can be a high price to pay in damages to the home.

Carpenter Ant Removal Service:

Carpenter Ants thrive on wooden areas such as porches, trees, verandas, steps, doors etc. Any of these areas that become moist are most vulnerable to Carpenter Ant attacks. It's a known fact that the wood-loving pests particularly love rotting wood. The worker ants can and will find entry routes by gnawing a clean tunnel which would be parallel to the wood grain wherever a crack or crevice exists. The ants chew on and discard the wood outside the tunnel. The chewed discarded wood is called shavings which resemble sawdust. This is a huge red flag indicator of nesting areas for Carpenter Ants. The nest can extend all the way into sound wood which is even more reason to avoid the high cost of damage carpenter ants can do.

Carpenter ant prevention:

  • Prevent excessive moisture in wood.
  • Possible food sources should be monitored.
  • Do not store wood inside or close to the house for long periods of time.
  • Any decaying wood found around the home should be removed.
  • Remember to keep good sanitation habits.

Contact EHS Pest Control for  Carpenter Ant removal services.

menafn.com

Great Service - West Bridgewater, MA

14 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Thank you for your help in setting up our ant service. I wanted to pass along that we had a very positive experience with your business. Both of the guys who came out to our home, the inspector and the technician were great. They were thorough and pleasant, and answered all of my questions. This is our first time using your service, but I'm glad that we connected with your company. Thanks again!

Our team Environmental Health Specialists are simply the best!

Pest Proofing Innovation - Norwood, MA

13 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Shawn Dion is a very creative young man. Faced with a challenge to provide high end pest proofing for one of our clients, Shawn developed a rolling exclusion platform that is flawless! It makes our work more efficient and saves the client money!

He received a technical achievement award and a bonus check from company founder, John Stellberger.

Keep up the great work Shawn!

EHS Technical Service Award in Norwood, MA

 

This Swimming Stingray Robot Is Powered by Real, Living Rat Cells

12 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest Service - Soft Robotic Stingray

This soft robotic stingray is made of rat heart muscle. Yeah, it's just as crazy as it sounds.

"Roughly speaking, we made this thing with a pinch of rat cardiac cells, a pinch of breast implant, and a pinch of gold. That pretty much sums it up, except for the genetic engineering," says Kit Parker, the bio-engineer at Harvard who led the team that developed the strange robot.

"I THINK WE'VE GOT A BIOLOGICAL LIFE-FORM HERE."

Parker's robotic stingray is tiny—a bit more than half an inch long—and weighs only 10 grams. But it glides through liquid with the very same undulating motion used by fish like real stingrays and skates. The robot is powered by the contraction of 200,000 genetically engineered rat heart-muscle cells grown on the underside of the bot. Even stranger, Parker's team developed the robot to follow bright pulses of light, allowing it to smoothly twist and turn through obstacle courses. The fascinating robot was unveiled today in the journal Science.

"By using living cells they were able to build this robot in a way that you just couldn't replicate with any other material," says Adam Feinberg, a roboticist at Carnegie Mellon University who has worked with Parker's team before, but was not involved in developing this new robot. "You shine a light, and it triggers the muscles to swim. You couldn't replicate this movement with on-board electronics and actuators while keeping it lightweight and maneuverable. And it really is remote controlled, like a TV set."

HOW TO BUILD A LIVING BOT

To understand just how muscles from a rat can power a robot stingray, let's dissect this bad boy layer by layer. The stingray bot is composed of four sequential layers of material. The top layer is a 3D body of a silicone material—"the same thing as the outer coating of a breast implant," says Parker—that's been cast in a titanium mold. This flexible, bendy body holds the other materials together.

The second layer down is a simple gold skeleton. "The skeleton's there because we needed some recoil, so that the pectoral fins bounce back to their original positions" once they're done undulating, Parker says. Why gold? The team found the material had just the right stiffness and flexibility to bend and bounce, "and it's really easy to work with," he says.

The third layer down is another hyper-thin layer of silicone. This prevents the heart muscle from having direct contact with the gold, but also plays another huge role. Along with that top 3D layer, the silicone is cast with just the right small-scale patterns so that the next layer, the rat cells, "grow with the exact muscular architecture we want," says Parker. "With the right geometric design, we can guide these cells to form the tissue we want."

Lastly, the underside of the robot is layered with living rat cells. These cells have been genetically engineered, and are originally from the heart muscles. Parker layers them on each of the robot stingray's two fins in a serpentine, back-and-forth pattern. These cells send along a signal for other cells down the line, creating a switchback cascade of flexing muscle that pulls the fins in the exact undulating motion of a real stingray.

Here's where the genetic engineering fits in. The robo-stingray's muscles will start to contract only when flashed by a specific wavelength of bright light. This is done through a genetic engineering technique called optogenetics, which allows otherwise normal cells to respond to light. To guide his stingray, Parker merely has it follow a flashing, two-pronged light source. When the lights flash, the bot starts undulating. To have the stingray bank and turn, Parker need only flash one side of the stingray with a brighter, or more rapidly flashing light. Both will cause fins to stroke faster or more powerfully.

The bot can swim in a liquid that has suspended nutrients in it to keep the rat heart cells fed and alive. Even after 6 weeks, the stingray bot was still swimming with over 80 percent of its cells still alive and well. "But there are definitely challenges that need to be overcome," says Feinberg. Even with the right nutrients you wouldn't be able to swim this bot outside of a lab, because the cells are basically defenseless to infection. "They don't have an immune system, so it's not protected from bacteria or fungus," Feinberg says.

"WE MADE THIS THING WITH A PINCH OF RAT CARDIAC CELLS,
A PINCH OF BREAST IMPLANT, AND A PINCH OF GOLD."

MACHINE OR LIFE-FORM?

Parker believes his robot, a machine built of living animal cells, forces a strange philosophical question: Is it alive? "I think we've got a biological life-form here." he says, "A machine, but a biological life form. I wouldn't call it an organism, because it can't reproduce, but it certainly is alive."

Maybe the coolest aspect of the stingray bot is that different scientists can all learn radically different things from it. Parker says his biggest takeaway, as a researcher who hopes to engineer a fully working heart muscle, is that the robot exemplifies how certain heart-muscle can flush and flow liquid around it. "Meanwhile the roboticists and engineers can see different ways to use biological cells as building materials, and marine biologists can take a look to better understand why the muscle tissues in rays are built and organized the way they are," he says.

And my readers, I asked Parker. What should they take away? "We turned a rat into a light guided stingray. Hell, all they need to know is that this is the coolest thing they're going to see all year."

Source: www.popularmechanics.com

These ‘supersniffer’ mice could one day detect land mines, diseases - MA, RI

11 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Doctors and soldiers could soon place their trust in an unusual ally: the mouse. Scientists have genetically engineered mice to be ultrasensitive to specific smells, paving the way for animals that are “tuned” to sniff out land mines or chemical signatures of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Trained rats and dogs have long been used to detect the telltale smell of TNT in land mines, and research suggests that dogs can smell the trace chemical signals of low blood sugar or certain types of cancer. Mice also have powerful sniffers: They sport about 1200 genes dedicated to odorant receptors, cellular sensors that react to a scent’s chemical signature. That’s a few hundred less than rats and about the same as dogs. (Humans have a paltry 350.)

Paul Feinstein wants to upgrade the mouse’s already sensitive nose. For the last decade, the neurobiologist at Hunter College in New York City has been studying how odorant receptors form on the surface of neurons within the olfactory system. During development, each olfactory neuron specializes to express a single odorant receptor, which binds to chemicals in the air to detect a specific odor. In other words, each olfactory neuron has a singular receptor that senses a particular smell. Normally, there is an even distribution of receptors throughout the system, so each receptor can be found in about 0.1% of mouse neurons.

Feinstein wondered if he could make the mouse’s nose pay more attention to particular scents by making certain odorant receptors more numerous. He and colleagues developed a string of DNA that, when injected into the nucleus of a fertilized mouse egg, appears to make olfactory neurons more likely to develop one particular odorant receptor than the others. This receptor, called M71, detects acetophenone, a chemical that smells like jasmine. When the team added four or more copies of the DNA sequence to a mouse egg, a full 1% of neurons carried it—10 times more than normal.

In the same lab, Hunter College postdoctoral researcher Charlotte D’Hulst was trying in vain to splice human olfactory genes into a mouse’s genome. For some reason, a tried-and-true gene swapping method just wasn’t working. So she teamed up with Feinstein and used his technique to introduce a human odorant receptor, OR1A1—modified with Feinstein’s DNA sequence—into mice. OR1A1 detects a chemical with a peppermintlike smell.

It worked. And this time, they found the OR1A1 receptor in a whopping 13% of the olfactory neurons. “We changed the probability of choice in our favor,” D’Hulst says, “even though we still don’t really know how this DNA sequence drives choice.”

To figure out how these changes affect a mouse’s sense of smell, the researchers gave both the genetically engineered and ordinary mice a choice of two water bottles, one of which was diluted with trace amounts of chemicals that triggered either M71 or OR1A1. If the mice drank from the pure water, nothing happened, but if they drank from the diluted water, they would receive an uncomfortable injection that made them feel queasy. The researchers kept lowering the concentration of the chemicals to see if the mice could detect, and therefore avoid, it. Both types of super-sniffer mice were able to detect the odors at much lower concentrations, preferentially seeking out the pure water. The M71 mice were about twice as sensitive and the OR1A1 mice about 100 times as sensitive to their respective chemicals as were ordinary mice, the researchers write today in Cell Reports.

Feinstein predicts that with more tweaking, his introduced DNA sequence can achieve even greater sensitivity—to a limit. “We’re not sure where the break point is, the point of diminishing returns,” he says. “But I believe we can increase it further.”

The work looks “very encouraging”, says Alexander Fleischmann, a neuroscientist at the Collège de France in Paris who also studies odorant receptors in mice. But he wants to know whether the technique holds up across a broader range of settings. For example, would mice exhibit different behaviors if they were tempted with rewards for scent detection, rather than punished with an uncomfortable injection as they were in this study? It’s more than an academic question. Behavioral conditioning that relies upon punishment, he says, involves split-second reactions in the brain that differ from the situations mice would face in a real-world scenario.

There’s also a question of signal-to-noise. More receptors also means more olfactory signal going to the brain, and in his own work, Fleischmann has seen that the brain’s olfactory bulb tends to flatten out spikes in odor signals. That might potentially limit the effectiveness of boosting the proportion of a particular receptor.

Meanwhile, Feinstein says the new technique could help answer bigger questions, including decoding the “black box” of the human olfactory system—so called because so little is known about how the human brain processes smells. If the researchers could make a mouse for each human odorant receptor—their stated goal—they could discover which chemicals trigger each receptor, something only imperfectly understood today. “We believe that by using this technique, we finally have the tools to crack the olfactory code,” he says.

There are practical applications as well. The work could help engineers create a “nose-on-a-chip,” for example, that would allow, say, fragrance manufacturers to more precisely tailor their scents. Feinstein also envisions translating the technique to rats to create supersniffing land mine detectors able to detect TNT at extremely low concentrations, which would allow them to find well-hidden or disguised dangers. In addition, the biosensors could also be used to detect trace chemical signatures of diseases.

“It doesn’t have to be a smell,” Feinstein explains. “You can get biosignatures for diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or tuberculosis—anything that causes a chemical change in our bodily fluid that can be detected.”

Source: sciencemag.org

EHS Pest Services Employee Scholarship - Norwood, MA

05 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Every fall our association, the NEPMA awards a $3000 to one family member of an employee of a member company.

EHS will match the $3000 contribution for any employee. This is your chance to receive $6000 to offset tuition.

Three of our employees have won it, I'd love to see us do it again.

Get your pens out and write!

Innovation for Rats - Allston, MA

04 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest Services has many loyal, dedicated and innovative employees. Chris White is one of them. Faced with a difficult challenge of excluding a rat colony with some likelihood of non retrieval of trapped rodents he built a one-way door. EHS has been using one way doors for over 30 years for "live and let live" wildlife exclusion, so it's only common sense to apply this successful measure. Chris is an expert at fashioning these custom sized exclusion devices for squirrels, bats, raccoons, skunks and other mammals, why not rats? Mouse one-way doors are on his bucket list.

Call EHS Pest for more innovations.

EHS Rat Control in Allston, MA

Environmental Health Services, Inc.Environmental Health Services, Inc. $$

823 Pleasant Street
Norwood,
MA 02062
Email: info@ehspest.com
Phone: 877-507-0698