Archive for September, 2010

Beucher & Son is Honored with The ProBest Five Stinger Award

 

I was recently contacted by Keith Birkemeyer, the owner of ProBest Pest Management and was very pleasently surprised that he was presentting to us the ProBest Five Stinger Award for blogging!

“After reading your blog for several months I think it is high time I awarded you the ProBest Pest Management 5 Stinger award.”

6. The 5 Stinger Award September 2010 goes to Beucher & Son Pest Control in Tampa, Florida. They blog at https://lifeintheratshole.wordpress.com – their site is a day to day experiences of a pest management company and chalk full of useful and interesting bug stuff.”

I have talked several times to Keith and he is a great guy with an outstanding pest control company!

We feel very honored and hope that you will check out his blog at www.callprobest.com/blog.

 

 

 

 

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Subterranean Termites: In The Garage, Cockroach vs Termite

A friend of ours noticed some damage in his front room window sill while he was moving his furniture out of the house to move to another state. He called us and we went over to check it out. We are good at finding termites, basically..if they are there, we will find them.

Anyway, the window sill was infested and damaged by the subterranean termites but what he missed was a major problem in the garage!

When I went in, I noticed what appeared to be a subterranean termite mud tube creeping out from behind a large sheet of cardboard.

Subterranean termites really like cardboard, so when we moved the cardboard back…we discovered more mudtubes.

 Roach vs Subterranean Termite

Once the protection of the mud was removed, other insects move in for the kill.

Click to enlarge picture

A professional treatment for subterranean termites was performed inside and out.

BTW, Brandon does not do all the work, I have to take the pictures!

Drywood Termites: Under The Floor

We were called to a job where those pesky drywood termites were causing all kinds on the surface of a bathroom floor. Once a section of the flooring was removed, we discovered more problems with these little soulless, cellulose eating creatures.

Due to the request of only a spot treatment only (A fumigation was out of the question at the customers insistence), we were able to get to all of the areas that were infested. Be sure to notice all of the drywood termite damage in the wood.

A Few Reasons to Show Some Love for Bugs

from Earth911.com

by Chloe Skye

Do a typical search on “insects” on an environmental website and you’ll mostly get results about green options to keep the buggers away.

 But there are reasons why we should have a little more compassion for our tiny fellow earth-dwellers (even if you are a New Yorker fighting the bed bug plague!).

Researchers from the University of Florida recently found that termites may be used for biofuel. Photo: Flickr/fortes Believe it or not, there are many ways in which insects can be beneficial to humans, even beyond biological pest control and honeybee pollination.

 Medical advances

 According to Science Daily, an ingredient, chlorotoxin, in the “deathstalker” scorpion’s venom can slow the spread of brain cancer. In tests on lab mice, University of Washington (UW) researchers demonstrated that nanoparticles of iron oxide in combination with the venom could cut the spread of cancerous cells by 98 percent, compared to 45 percent for the scorpion venom alone.

 Another article reports that chlorotoxin could help gene therapy become an effective treatment for glioma, the most common and serious form of brain cancer. A study by the same UW researchers demonstrated that the substance allows therapeutic genes, which treat disease, to reach more brain cancer cells than current approaches.

 Biofuel creation

 University of Florida researchers have identified two enzymes termites use to break down wood for food, which may lead to an easier, faster and cheaper way to convert plant material to ethanol.

 The enzymes could be used towards creating cellulosic ethanol, which is typically composed of wood chips, switchgrass or corncobs, and may have up to 85 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline.

 Composting companions

 If you’ve always wanted to try composting but don’t have the space for a large-scale operation, vermiculture might be for you. Worm compost is simple: it’s made in a container filled with moistened bedding and redworms.

 All you have to do is add food waste and the worms, which are surface feeders, will convert it into compost. Vermicomposting can be done year-round and indoors, including in homes, offices and schools. The process is non-intensive, odorless and a great soil conditioner for houseplants and gardens both!

 Painkiller alternative

 Back to the scorpion venom! Researchers at Tel Aviv University are investigating ways to develop a novel painkiller from peptide toxins in Israeli yellow scorpion venom that would be highly effective (and less addictive than morphine) without side effects.

 The research is based on knowledge that the natural venom compounds interact with sodium channels in nervous and muscular systems, some of which communicate pain.

 If you find the idea of these painkillers hard to stomach, don’t worry. The painkillers would use chemically engineered derivatives that mimic the scorpion toxins, not the real thing.

 In the past, scientists have also created pesticides from scorpion venom that harm insects like locusts without affecting beneficial ones like honeybees.

 Biological antifreeze

 University of Alaska scientists have identified an antifreeze molecule, called xylomannan and composed of a sugar and fatty acid, in a freeze-tolerant Alaska beetle. The beetle is able to survive temperatures below minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

 These molecules may help freeze-tolerant organisms survive by preventing ice crystals from forming or penetrating lethally into cells.

 Plastic Breakdown

 Good news for the great outdoors! Mealworm beetles have been found to possess bacteria in their digestive tracts that can help decompose often-discarded expanded polystyrene.

 Now if we could only find a great use for all of those cockroaches and bed bugs!

 

The End—————————————————————————-

Bed Bugs Make A Comeback

click for larger image Panama City, Fla:
Good night… sleep tight… don’t let the bed bugs bite.  It’s a well-known bedtime rhyme and increasingly, a real problem.

Bed bugs hide in small cracks and crevasses, but they’re often found in mattresses and box springs – hence, the name.  Once thought eradicated, the lowly insect is making a comeback.

“We have a lot more calls today than we’ve had in the years past,” said Jimmy Strickland, owner of Gulf Coast Pest Control in Panama City.

Bed bugs hitchhike on suitcases, boxes and shoes in their search for food.  That food is the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts.  Adults are about a quarter-inch long.

“If you do an inspection and you look in the cracks and crevasses of your mattresses along the sewn edges… they are visible to the naked eye,” said Strickland.

According to the National Pest Management Association, there are several ways to prevent bed bugs.  Vacuum suitcases when returning from vacation; hotels and motels are breeding grounds.  Check bed sheets for blood spots – a tell-tale sign of their presence.  Never bring second-hand furniture into your home before thoroughly examining it for infestations.  And, regularly inspect areas where pets sleep.

A polyurethane mattress protector can also help.  “It will give a nice soft feel but it won’t allow the bedbugs to penetrate your mattress,” said Richard Branham, owner of The Sleep Center, a mattress retailer in Panama City.

Although do-it-yourself treatments are available, it’s a good idea to call a professional once bed bugs invade.

“It’s very intense and very time consuming and of course, the more knowledge the applicator has, the better chance of him finding the bugs,” said Strickland.

And it can be expensive.  According to Strickland, treatment can cost $300-$500.

“Usually it’s a one time treatment,” said Strickland.  “If they’re deep into furniture, in the cracks and crevasses of furniture… more than one treatment is necessary.”

Bed bugs don’t carry diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.  Beyond that, they just don’t make good bedfellows.
   

Fears of a Decline in Bee Pollination Confirmed

 Widespread reports of a decline in the population of bees and other flower-visiting animals have aroused fear and speculation that pollination is also likely on the decline. A recent University of Toronto study provides the first long-term evidence of a downward trend in pollination, while also pointing to climate change as a possible contributor.

A recent study provides the first long-term evidence of a downward trend in pollination. (Credit: iStockphoto)
 
 
at our research site, but we suspect that a climate-driven mismatch between the times when flowers open and when bees emerge from hibernation is a more important factor,” says James Thomson, a scientist with U of T’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Thomson’s 17-year examination of the wild lily in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado is one of the longest-term studies of pollination ever done. It reveals a progressive decline in pollination over the years, with particularly noteworthy pollination deficits early in the season. The study will be published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences on September 6.

Three times each year, Thomson compared the fruiting rate of unmanipulated flowers to that of flowers that are supplementally pollinated by hand. “Early in the year, when bumble bee queens are still hibernating, the fruiting rates are especially low,” he says. “This is sobering because it suggests that pollination is vulnerable even in a relatively pristine environment that is free of pesticides and human disturbance but still subject to climate change.”

Thomson began his long-term studies in the late 1980s after purchasing a remote plot of land and building a log cabin in the middle of a meadow full of glacier lilies. His work has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Cockroaches: The Antibiotics of the Future?

(Sept. 7) — Cockroaches, the creepy critters reviled for invading kitchens the country over, might be modern medicine’s best option for fending off dangerous, drug-resistant bacterial infections.

British researchers at the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science are behind the discovery, which entails harnessing molecules from the tissues of cockroaches and locusts to combat bacteria like E. coli and MRSA (drug-resistant staph infections).

A Thai official displays Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

Sakchai Lalit, AP
Chemicals found in the brain and central nervous tissues of cockroaches are able to kill 90 percent of dangerous bacteria in lab-based tests.

The potent chemicals, found in the brain and central nervous tissues of the critters, are able to kill 90 percent of E. coli and MRSA in lab-based tests.

“Superbugs … have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases,” Dr. Naveed Khan, who supervised the work of lead researcher Simon Lee, said in a press release. “Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel anti-microbials to confront this menace.”

In a twist that’s an ironic upside to our own revulsion for roaches, it’s their “unsanitary and unhygienic environments,” Lee speculated, that spurred the critters to develop toxins against the bacteria.

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After this initial success, the same U.K. team is testing the cockroach-derived toxins against other harmful “superbugs” that are increasingly resistant to existing pharmaceuticals. Indeed, the finding comes as the need for new anti-microbials is increasing. Health experts continue to warn that bacterial infections will soon be entirely resistant to current modes of treatment.

“This community, by and large, lacks the resources to move a candidate antimicrobial drug all the way from preclinical testing through advanced development,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in April. “We desperately need to develop new classes of drugs to ensure that we have viable treatment options.”