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RI, MA EHS Pest Control Blog

Rats ‘As Big As Kittens’ Walk Up The Staircases at Hong Kong Housing Estate

28 Feb 2019

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Rats ‘as big as kittens’ walk up the staircases at Hong Kong housing estate where first human case of rat Hepatitis E virus was found

Visit to Choi Wan Estate in eastern Kowloon found big green dustbins parked under stairwells near wet market, with tissue, plastic and food waste smeared on floor

Choi Wan Estate in eastern Kowloon has been suffering from a rat infestation problem, with residents spotting rodents scurrying around staircases and in refuse collection centres on the ground floor. The estate, built in 1978, has come under the spotlight after a 56-year-old man living there became the first human worldwide to contract the rat Hepatitis E virus.

Tse Kai-chuen, a retiree who has lived on the estate for almost 40 years, said he saw rats – some seven to eight inches long – on the staircase outside his second-floor flat two months ago, during the height of summer.

“The rats walk up the staircases,” the 70-year-old said, looking unperturbed.

He said he had placed a board across his front door to prevent the creatures from crawling into his home.

Assistant nurse Ngai Wai-ling, who is in her 60s, said she had seen rats “as big as kittens” outside the central collection area for trash at the foot of her block.

“But there is no need to be worried. All places where rubbish accumulates are bound to have rat problems,” Ngai said.

Once thought to only affect animals such as rats, the Hepatitus E virus is “highly divergent” from the strain that affects people. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong who studied the man’s case said they could not definitively say how the man contracted the virus, but ventured that food he ate had been contaminated by rat faeces.

“Rodent droppings were found around refuse collection bins on the ground floor and the floor where the patient lived,” the researchers said in a report.

The estate has 21 blocks of rental flats divided into two sections. There is also a wet market and shopping centre with a range of food outlets located on the ground floor.

In most cases, two blocks share a central refuse chute that deposits rubbish into a storage chamber on the ground floor. Access to the chute is through a room, usually locked, on each floor.

But a visit by the Post on Friday found big green dustbins parked under stairwells near the estate’s wet market, with tissue, plastic and food waste smeared on the floor.

At the shopping centre, bins were lined up at an open-air collection point. A grocery store worker said she had seen rat droppings in her shop recently and a dead rodent about two years ago.

Along the corridors of the blocks, some residents had dumped bags of trash outside their door, awaiting cleaners who would collect them at 9pm and 7am every day and bring them to the room with the chute. On some floors, there were bound-up plastic bags outside the room.

On Friday, workers were spotted checking existing metal boards or adding new ones to pipes and casings for cables to block rodents from using them as passageways around buildings. At the foot of several blocks, there were containers with rat poison and warning signs.

The area’s district councilor Dan Shum Wan-wa said like in many public housing estates, Choi Wan suffered from rodent infestation. On average, in the summer, he said he received between four and six complaints, including from residents living on higher floors.

“The estate is generally clean but one problem is the open-air refuse collection area near the market and shopping centre.”

Chan Lee-shing, a community officer who works for the district councilor, urged the Housing Department to look into a new refuse collection system that compressed rubbish by machines.

“Then [there will be] no smell and leaking problems and the truck can just collect the compressed waste right away,” Chan said.

“At least rats and other insects would find it hard to get food.”

The government has for the last 18 years compiled a rodent infestation index for the city’s 18 districts, assessing how much bait set in an area is eaten.

Wong Tai Sin, the district that Choi Wan Estate is in, had a rate of 1 per cent last year but authorities have admitted the index would not reveal the actual conditions within the district. The city had a particularly nasty episode of rodent infestation earlier this year, with control officers reporting double-digit demand for their services.

A spokesman for the Housing Department said offices at Choi Wan Estate had not received any complaints from residents in the past few months about rats in their flats.

He said it had contacted the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department after learning about the study from University of Hong Kong and conducted a joint cleaning operation in the estate on Friday.

The FEHD and the Home Affairs Department plan a roadshow about cleaning operations on Wednesday and remind the public to maintain good hygiene at home and in the estate.

Front line staff of the Housing Department also attended a one-day pest control course in August.

Representatives from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, as well as residents, staged a protest at the Housing Department’s office at Choi Wan Estate to request a thorough clean-up within the residential area.

For more information about rat infestation control, contact EHS Pest.

Source: SCMP

Get The Right Information About Termite Home Risks

28 Feb 2019

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest, Termite Control MA, RI

Termite Awareness Week is close. Efforts and activities to raise awareness about this tiny but destructive home intruders will be between March 10-16, 2019. This national observance aims to educate the public regarding the termite risks and prevention. Pest experts predict an early start of termite season this year since climate begins to warm and improve early than usual.

Termites are considered one of the most damaging pests causing $5 billion worth of damage per year. Rummaging home structures since they feed on wood. They can enter structures through cracks as small as 1/16 inch. Average colony consists of 60,000 – 250,000 termites and is located in the ground. After they feed, they return to the colony to feed the immature workers, soldiers and reproductive termites. Unluckily, damages related to termites are not covered by homeowner's insurance.

Routine inspection of your home's foundation for presence of mud tubes, cracks or bubbling paint, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Termites have certain moisture level requirement, thus, reducing moisture inside your home through proper ventilation of attic, basement and crawl spaces can help prevent termite infestation. Moving firewood at least 20 feet away from the home and keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation could prevent them from reaching your home. Also, seal all cracks that can potentially serve as entry point of these invaders.

However, when you notice presence of dead termites or discarded wings from swarmers, mud tubes emerging around your home's foundation, wrecked woods or floors that sound hollow; then termites are likely starting to infest your home. You need to hire pest experts like EHS Pest in MA, RI to perform proper treatment. Apparently, termite infestation is difficult to deal with. Thus, it is important to seek the help of skilled pest professionals for a systematic treatment approach.

To find out more about termite infestation and how to control it, contact EHS Pest.

State Agricultural Officials Urge Residents to Check Plants for Spotted Lanternfly

22 Feb 2019

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest, MA, RI

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced today that a single dead specimen of the invasive pest known as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was reported and confirmed at a private residence in Boston. As a result, MDAR is urging the public to check for signs of spotted lanternfly adults in any potted plants that they may have received over the holiday season and to report any potential sightings of this pest on MDAR’s online reporting form by taking photographs and collecting a specimen if possible. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings.

“Early detection plays an important role in the protection of the economic and ecological resources of our state from invasive species,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “We ask all residents who have received potted plants this past December to help us protect Massachusetts’ environment and agricultural industries by checking for and reporting signs of spotted lanternfly.”

The insect appears to have been unintentionally transported this past December in a shipment of poinsettia plants originating from Pennsylvania. Because only one dead adult insect was found, and spotted lanternfly dies off when a hard frost hits, there is currently no evidence that this pest has become established in Massachusetts. However, additional surveys are planned in the area to confirm that no other occurrences of lanternfly are present.

Spotted lanternfly is an invasive sap-feeding insect from Asia that was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. While the main host plant of this pest is tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), spotted lanternfly attacks a variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural commodities, including apples, peaches, grapes/wine, maple syrup, as well as the ornamental nursery industry.

To find out more spotted latternfly, contact EHS Pest.


Get Ahead of Spring Pest Infestation

22 Feb 2019

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest, MA, RI

The good news…..warm weather is on the way! Hang in there. The bad news, that warm weather springs a litany of annoying pests back into action. Preventing bugs from intruding your home and your outdoor living space require proactive pest control measures. If your self-help pest control efforts of the past failed to do the trick, consider the tested, proven, and entirely affordable pest control services of EHS Pest serving MA, RI.

Here are three most common pest complaints that we get from homeowners just like you:

Ants - They don’t completely go dormant during winter months. They hide in structures, under rocks or indoors to stay warm.

Termites - They are more active and visible when the temperature starts to rise. When you notice thin mud tubes that emerge from the ground and extends to your home's foundation, that is a sure sign of termite infestation right there.

Cockroaches and Bedbugs - Although these gross pests are present all year round, they are more prevalent when weather is good and warm.

It is important to be proactive when dealing with these pesky intruders. Proper pest management must be implemented and systematically managed year round. Most often it takes a pro to get this done. The tasks includes meticulous inspection of your property to determine the extent of the infestation. Different pests require different treatments. The safety of your family, pets, and the environment all deserve focused attention. The critical nature of these three things should give you pause to talk to us for your free pest control consult.

While on the subject of fortifying the ramparts in anticipation for the forthcoming bug invasion, make sure to repair all broken screens and windows. Distance garbage cans from the home. Keep your compactor room or trash chute clean at all times. To keep out ants, cover entry points and install door sweeps. And the list of best practices goes on from there.

Let us discuss things with you personally. Contact EHS Pest to learn more about pest threats during Springtime.

Termite Activities During Wintertime

15 Feb 2019

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest, Termite Control MA, RI

There's a common misconception that termites go dormant as the outside temperature drops. Just because you don't see them does not mean that they are gone. When the temperature drops and the ground is covered in snow, these damaging pest just burrow deeper into the soils. Since they require constant moisture to survive, they will burrow deeper and ultimately find your wooden structures to satisfy their survival needs.

Termites infestation has no specific season. Winter is a good time to treat for termites when you consider the fact that termite behavior is most predictable in the winter months. Termite control requires the initial and recurring expertise of pest control professionals. Termite control does not stop by killing them. You must take active measures to verify that they never return via annual inspections and retreatment when and if necessary.

If you need proven professional pest control experts in MA, RI, look no further than EHS Pest.

Mosquitos in Winter - MA, RI

01 Feb 2019

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest, Mosquito Prevention MA, RI

Check out the laundry list of pest control services that EHS Pest Services offers to the citizens of the great states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Bedbugs, mice, termites, ants, etc.? You might not think we’d be educating you about mosquitoes in early February, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Most people incorrectly believe that mosquitoes all die in the frigid winter weather and are of no concern until spring. Yes, a hard freeze will kill living mosquitoes, however, that does not mean you’re done with them until Spring. Adult mosquitoes (particularly female Aedes Aegypti) end their life after egg stage, however, their newly deposited eggs enter the “diapause” state wherein their development are momentarily suspended in the cold months. But they do survive. Prolonged unseasonal winter warming can actually wake them up.

As winter winds down and temperatures starts to rise these eggs begin to hatch and they are born hungry. Your mosquito concerns should be less about that annoying sting they deliver but more about disease. Concern yourself with the fact that they could very well be infected with the Zika virus and that virus is transferable to humans.

Knowing these facts, it is necessary to remain cautious when you go outside your home during winter. Also make sure to throw any containers that could hold water or clean any potential sites where mosquito eggs can be deposited. Unclog gutters, seal trash cans tightly and repair leaky pipes and faucets. Use DEET insect repellants when you go outdoors.

To find out more mosquito prevention tips, contact EHS Pest.

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