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Spider bite led to leg being amputated, woman says

19 Jul 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest - Spider Control, MA, RI

By Maritza Moulite, CNN

Updated 4:38 PM ET, Wed July 18, 2018

(CNN)A mother of three in West Memphis, Arkansas, says a spider bite ended up costing her a leg.

"I was seeing my little cousins off to prom and their dad was like, 'Why are you limping? What's going on?' " Kiara Boulton told CNN affiliate WREG. "So I showed him my foot and said 'I think I got bit by a spider.' And he's like, 'Well what kind do you think it is?' And I said, 'a brown recluse.' "

A diabetic since she was 10 years old, Boulton went to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was instructed to visit her primary care physician who prescribed her medication for the bite, she told WREG.

Boulton told WREG that her toe became black three days after the bite. She returned to the hospital and was told it had to be amputated, one of seven surgeries Boulton said are a result of the spider bite.

The hospital was unable to speak directly about Boulton's case.

"Saint Francis-Memphis is committed to the health and well-being of our community," the hospital said in a statement. "While we are unable to comment on a particular patient's case due to privacy laws, after a hospitalization or emergency room visit, it is vitally important for patients to follow their discharge instructions, take prescribed medications and attend all follow-up care appointments as part of their journey to recovery."

To help her get through the ordeal, Boulton told WREG, she said to herself "three kids, Kiara. Three.

"God wouldn't have let you have them if you weren't supposed to be here for them. Fight through this. Fight through the pain."

Treating and preventing spider bites

Brown recluse spiders are commonly found throughout the central and midwestern United States, said Neelendra Joshi, an assistant professor in the University of Arkansas Department of Entomology.

A bite from a brown recluse spider can be fatal in rare instances, but the spiders are typically not as aggressive as other species, Joshi said. But they will bite when they're trapped against our skin, he said.

"They have necrotic venom and as you see that's pretty poisonous and that can result in the premature death of blood cells," Joshi said. "It's considered one of the most poisonous house spiders in the United States."

After a spider bite occurs, the victim might or might not feel pain within a few minutes or hours. A rash can surround the bite and potentially spread to the rest of the body. The central dark area of the rash is what causes the tissue to die.

Treatment for brown recluse spider bites will be targeted for specific symptoms, such as antibiotics to treat infection or antihistamines to treat itching.

Dr. Donna Seger, Tennessee Poison Center medical director and professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said bites should be washed and allowed to air dry.

"There are a lot of urban legends about spider bites," Seger said, adding that she has seen patients slather on tobacco, coffee grounds and horse salve in her 30 years of treating spider bites.

After a bite, a small number of people will have a systemic reaction that will cause a fever, rash and the breakdown of red blood cells, Seger said. That can require a blood transfusion.

She recommends checking in with a doctor to confirm the type of bite and make sure it's healing properly.

However, people with diabetes have an entirely different immune system in healing, Seger cautioned.

"If you're talking about any kind of lesion or any type of skin disruption in a diabetic, they have a much higher chance of amputations," said Seger, who was not involved in Boulton's treatment. "Amputations themselves happen in diabetics without any type of cut or lesion."

To prevent spider bites, Joshi recommends removing spider webs and clutter, controlling various household insects and sealing crevices and openings between walls and corners to control spider populations. As additional protection, people can use sticky traps, chemical spray or dust insecticides that continue to work for extended amounts of time.

Learn more how to control dangerous spiders in your home, contact EHS Pest

Source: CNN

Mom 'fighting for her life' in ICU after contracting rare, rodent-carried Hantavirus

27 Feb 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

In early January, 27-year-old Kiley Lane went to the hospital for what she thought was the flu. A month later, the mother is hooked up to a machine and "fighting for her life" in the intensive care unit at the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) in Albuquerque.

At first, Lane was experiencing flu-like symtoms. She felt nauseous and had sharp stomach pains. Finally, her husband, Kevin, convinced her to get checked out.

The pair went to a hospital in their hometown, Farmington, New Mexico, where doctors told Lane she had a "blockage." They gave her laxatives and sent her home, Lane's mom, Julie Barron, told Fox News. Weeks later, on Feb. 1, she returned with shortness of breath.

"At one point, they thought she may be faking it," Barron said.

But Lane's condition continued to deteroriate and she had to be put on a ventilator.

"She was getting sicker and sicker and nobody seemed to want to listen," Barron said. "She didn't test positive for pneumonia, the flu, hepatitis – nothing she tested for was coming back."

Finally, one of Lane's tests results came back positive: Hantavirus. The rare illness is usually spread through contact with infected deer mice or their droppings or urine.

The virus is rare. As of January 2017, a total of 728 cases had been reported across 36 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The majority of cases were reported in states west of the Mississippi River.

The virus, which kills a reported 36 percent of victims, cannot be transmitted from one person to another.

On Feb. 5, Lane was airlifted to UNMH, where she was met by a team of doctors ready to hook her up to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine. The medical device takes over the duties of the heart and lungs, pumping and oxygenating a person's blood.

"This virus starts attacking your body, it damages your organs," Barron explained. "The first thing that happened with Kiley is her lungs. They're in real critical shape."

Lane has been hooked up to the ECMO machine for 21 days now.

"A month ago, she was planning a trip to Costa Rica with her best friend from college. Now she can't even go to the bathroom by herself," Barron said. "She hasn't seen or talked to her daughter in a month. She can't even watch TV."

At this point, Barron said her daughter's recovery is a "waiting game."

She has seen a few improvements in her daughter's health here and there, but she has a long road to recovery. In the meantime, Barron said she's going to do everything in her power to spread awareness for the rare and deadly virus.

"It's not like she was digging through a dumpster or around infected rodents. She was doing her normal, everyday routine – sweeping the porch, wiping off a box with a paper towel," Barron said. "Everyone has the impression, 'that's never going to happen to me'."

Sherri Hull, a family friend, set up a YouCaring page to raise money for Lane's medical bills. More than 160 people have already donated to the cause, raising $23,720.

Barron is thankful for the support and hopes that spreading her daughter's story will save at least one life.

"We can't sit back and let things like this be swept under the carpet," Barron said. "I want people to know about the virus and to keep the name in open communications, so that nobody else has to go through this. Not one person."

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


Stink Bugs and Window Weeps

02 Nov 2017

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest - Pest Control, MA, RI

After a few splendid years of low stink bug populations, we find ourselves in the midst of an epic invasion. In the past few weeks, I have captured dozens of brown marmorated stink bugs (aka BMSB), which fly from surrounding trees and perform a smack-landing onto my screen windows.

I do my best to capture the BMSB I see with a cup of soapy water. Simply place the cup under the bug and put your other hand over the bug. As a defensive mechanism, stink bugs will drop into the cup, requiring no physical contact on your part. Just toss them out the door or off your balcony. Or you could wrap it in a tissue and squish it; the tissue will keep stinky oils off your hands and out of the air. (As your final coup, you could drop the tissue in your compost bucket.) Both methods save a five-gallon flush down the toilet — really, you don’t ever have to flush stink bugs.

For the stink bugs I don’t catch, I try to keep them out of my house by making sure that my windows screens aren’t torn, there are no gaps around my windows and doors (they fit snugly into the frame), vents are screened or louvered, and window air conditioning units are removed before autumn — all key preventive tactics and core to good IPM. But I recently observed a new entry point on windows that I hadn’t considered before: the window weep hole.

Weep holes are design features that allow water to escape from a structure, whether it’s a window, sliding door or a brick building. Weep holes must remain open for water to drain even as they exclude pests. For example, weep holes in brick can be covered with specifically designed screen materials or filled with pest exclusion products such as Xcluder Fill Fabric*. Newer windows have weep hole covers that function like one-way-doors: they open to drain water but are otherwise closed. Sometimes — as in the case of my windows — these break off, leaving an excellent entry point for pests such as BMSB.

Once bugs enter the weep hole, they can climb up through gaps into the window track and into the space between the screen and the windowpane. When you open the window, well — you just gave them a free pass into your home.

Weep hole covers are available for purchase at a number of outlets, but you must buy the right cover to fit the dimensions of your window. Because of the variability in window weep hole sizes, pest professionals and maintenance personal who manage offices and apartment buildings might choose to use Xcluder Fill Fabric that can be cut to the proper size, providing both pest exclusion and water drainage.

To learn more how to get rid of stink bugs, call EHS Pest.

Source: blogs/

Potentially Deadly Tick-borne Virus Detected on Cape Cod

20 Apr 2017

Posted by John D. Stellberger

BARNSTABLE – A new, and potentially deadly deer tick virus has been found across Cape Cod.

A spring study by Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass-Amherst conducted surveillance for Powassan virus at six locations on Cape Cod.

The virus was detected in Falmouth, Brewster, Orleans and Truro.

Powassan is a rare disease that is transmitted by the bite of a black legged tick, which is also known as a deer tick.

Since the beginning of 2013 the Massahcusetts Department of Public Health has received just nine reported cases of the virus in the state, occurring in Barnstable, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk Counties.

The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s Deer Tick Program Coordinator and Entomologist Larry Dapsis said Powassan is a lot like the West Nile virus.

“A lot of people may be exposed to the virus and not get sick at all,” Dapsis said. “In the rare instances where this thing takes another pathway into your body, into your nervous system, then it can be quite serious.”

Some may become severely ill with meningitis or encephalitis. Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties and seizures.

About 10 percent of people infected with this severe form of the virus die and survivors may have long-term health problems.

There is no specific treatment for the virus other than supportive care, rest and ingesting fluids to prevent dehydration.

Dapsis presented the results of the study to county officials Wednesday.

The first discovered case of the virus was found in Powassan, Ontario in 1958.

“For years, most of the cases were in the upper-central Midwest,” Dapsis said.

About 10 to 12 years ago the virus started popping up in the Northeastern part of the country, mainly in Eastern New York in the Hudson Valley area.

“So it got our attention. I was kind of looking over my shoulder wondering when is this going to get here,” Dapsis said. “Well, it’s here.” Dapsis said the usual precautions that are advised to prevent the normal tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease, will also help protect against Powassan.

Some of the actions that should be taken include tick checks, placing clothing in the dryer for twenty minutes and the routine use of EPA registered repellents.

For exposed skin, deet-based products, or alternatives like picaridin are recommended.

“Our three point mantra is protect yourself, protect your yard and protect your pets,” Dapsis said. “The top of my list for personal protection is daily tick checks and the use of Permethrin-treated clothing and footwear – hands down the most effective tool in the box.”

Ticks can also be tested for the presence of Powassan in addition to all of the other major pathogens at the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass-Amherst.

If you want to get rid of ticks safely, call EHS Pest.


EHS Wildflower Garden for Pollinators

07 Jul 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Our native wildflower garden is taking shape after a fairly dry spring.

Lots of honey bees, bumble bees, native bees and a few butterflies!


EHS Pest Services is Blessed - Norwood, MA

01 Mar 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Dr. Robert M. Corrigan likes you to call him Bobby. A pioneer in pest management for almost 4 decades and still as humble and nurturing as ever. How can you not have a huge ego? Well, he doesn't.

He inspired our team along with colleagues from MIT, Harvard University, The City of Boston and Xcluder brand's Global Material Technologies.

My mind is swimming with the possibilities of the future of pest management and pest elimination and prevention without pesticides.

The Wildflower Project Down To The Bare Essentials

04 Dec 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

There isn't a whole heck of a lot to see these days in our "Garden". But there's still important stuff happening. Since we began this project in April, the soil has gone from a medium brown to a deep, rich black. That will be helped along with composting. Nothing will be wasted. Even orange peels. Everything will eventually get chopped up and spread along the bank, and this coming Spring things will really come alive.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid: Native Bee Biology

There is an astonishing diversity of native bees across the USA. About 4,000 species have been identified and catalogued, ranging in length from less than one eighth of an inch to more than one inch. They vary in color from dark brown or black to metallic green or blue, and may have stripes of red, white, orange, or yellow. Many common names reflect the way they build nests: plasterer bees, leafcutter bees, mason bees, wool carder bees, digger bees, and carpenter bees.

Others are named after particular traits, such as cuckoo bees that lay eggs in the nests of other bee species (like the cuckoo bird), sweat bees that like to drink salty perspiration, or bumble bees, who got their name from the loud humming noise they make while flying. Since most don’t fit the stereotyped image of a bee (black-and-yellow-striped, living in a hive, and apt to sting) they are easily overlooked. Out of sight, out of mind they gently get on with foraging, and in doing so provide the vital ecosystem service of pollination. (

The Wildflower Project

25 Nov 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Giving Everything Back To The Earth

The main task at hand with the wildflower garden is pulling everything up, piling it, and chopping it into little bits so that it will all compost back into the soil.

In this shot you can see several piles.

And in this one you can see it got a little smaller as it gets chopped into bits. This process will take some time, but there's plenty. Several months, I guess. But seeing the soil getting as rich as it is now it pretty cool. There's a very noticeable difference. And the sparrows and finches really appreciate the fact that all the seeds are really concentrated now. They hang out inside the piles feasting.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid: Most people do not realize that there were no honey bees in America before European settlers brought hives from Europe. These resourceful animals promptly managed to escape from domestication. As they had done for millennia in Europe and Asia, honey bees formed swarms and set up nests in hollow trees. Native pollinators, especially bees other than honey bees, have been pollinating the continent’s flowering plants since long before the arrival of honey bees. Even in today’s vastly altered landscapes, they continue to do the women’s share of pollination, especially when it comes to native plants.

The Wildflower Garden

19 Nov 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Winter Is A Season Of Recovery And Preparation

The quote by American author Paul Theroux, who is coincidentally from Medford, MA, is pretty fitting. Not that our Wildflower Garden looks much likes it's recovering from or preparing for anything. But with it looking so brown and barren, it feels more hopeful and optimistic to think that way. And the truth is that it will come back even stronger than last year and this is all part of the process.

It's actually kind of cool to see the jute mesh mat again that we put down to keep the barren ground from eroding. What a difference it is now.

I'll be trying to get all this material chopped up as much as possible to mulch, compost and re-seed our garden for the Spring.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project help our pollinators Pollinator Factoid: Many insects such as flies and wasps mimic true bees. True bees have two sets of wings. Flies have only two wings. Wasps although they look like are only closely related to bees. Next time you see a pollinator in your garden check to see if it is a bee.

Here is a web site that can help you: Is it or isn't it a bee?

The Fall Harvest Is Nearly Complete

12 Nov 2015

Posted by John D. Stellberger

By this time next week, everything will be neatly cut and laid out flatly, to make it's way back to the Earth over the Winter. There are so many seeds in there too, it will no doubt spawn a new generation on it's own. But we'll overseed anyway, and maybe even compost on top of the old debris. This should provide a solid foundation for an incredible Wildflower Garden V2.

After not seeing a pollinator this week, I was real happy to see this guy. But the gray cold had obviously gotten the best of him and he was practically in suspended animation. Still, it was good luck to get one in the update this week.

This last patch is still hanging strong, and that's where I found our bumblebee.

The best shot of a flower was this one. Barely a quarter inch in size, or as Johnny Pest would say, 5 millimeters, it just provided a cool shot. It's tough to find anything left to shoot, but our garden never disappoints.

View the entire history of The Wildflower Project on it's blog at: EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

Pollinator Factoid:

Bee nesting habits vary greatly. For example:

  • Mason bees construct nests from mud.
  •  Leaf cutter bees use a "wrapper" of leaves, resin and sand.
  • Carder bees harvest plant fibers.

Most bees excavate their nest tunnels in sunny patches of bare ground, while others seek out abandoned beetle burrows in dead tree trunks or branches. The majority of bees are solitary, but a few, like sweat bees, bumblebees, and honeybees, are social, living in colonies that consist of a queen, her worker bee daughters and a few males, the drones.

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