Archive for the ‘Clean Up’ Category

Bedbugs With Drug-Resistant MRSA ‘Superbug’ Germ Found

ATLANTA — Hate insects? Afraid of germs? Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying a staph “superbug.” Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant staph bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood.

Bedbugs Superbugs

Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there’s no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread the MRSA germ they were carrying or a second less dangerous drug-resistant bacteria.

However, bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to excessive scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these germs, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study’s authors.

The study is small and very preliminary. “But it’s an intriguing finding” that needs to be further researched, said Romney, medical microbiologist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

The hospital is the closest one to the poor Downtown Eastside neighborhood near the city’s waterfront. Romney said he and his colleagues did the research after seeing a simultaneous boom in bedbugs and MRSA cases from the neighborhood.

Five bedbugs were crushed and analyzed. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was found on three bugs. MRSA is resistant to several types of common antibiotics and can become deadly if it gets through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Two bugs had VRE, or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Both germs are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more worried about nurses and other health care workers spreading the bacteria than insects.

It’s not clear if the bacteria originated with the bedbugs or if the bugs picked it up from already infected people, Romney added.

The study was released Wednesday by Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Rats!

Remodeling in the East Bay

From dirt to doorknobs

It’s a rare attic or crawlspace where we see no evidence of these nasty critters. It seems like they climb, swim, dig, or chew their way into our houses no matter what we do. One homeowner complained of rats that ate the fruit out of their dining table centerpiece!

Rat raceway between insulation and subfloorRat raceway between insulation and subfloor

It’s bad enough that they get into our attics and crawlspaces, worse yet is what they leave behind. Proteins in their urine are potent allergens and become airborne when dry. Their urine and feces can contain hantavirus, a group of deadly virus that can be aerosolized and transmitted through air movement (more on hantavirus).

In the average house ducts leak at least 30%, and the building “shell” leaks at least 100% more than what’s required for adequate ventilation (data). If the leaky ducts run through the attic or crawlspace, they can directly vacuum up rat leavings and deliver it into each room of the house. If they don’t vacuum it up directly, they can depressurize the house, causing the house itself to suck it in through all the little holes and cracks between the attic or crawlspace and the house.

Rat urine on a water pipeRat urine on a water pipe

 In a typical building performance project that involves rodent infestation, we remove all contaminated materials and neutralize soiled surfaces. Then we reduce duct leakage and eliminate air infiltration between the attic or crawlspace and the living space. Even if the rats eventually get back in, the bad stuff stays in the attic or crawlspace, not in the bedrooms.

This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.
 

The Six-Legged Meat of the Future

Insects are nutritious and easy to raise without harming the environment. They also have a nice nutty taste

By MARCEL DICKE and ARNOLD VAN HUIS

 John S. Dykes

At the London restaurant Archipelago, diners can order the $11 Baby Bee Brulee: a creamy custard topped with a crunchy little bee. In New York, the Mexican restaurant Toloache offers $11 chapulines tacos: two tacos stuffed with Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers.

Could beetles, dragonfly larvae and water bug caviar be the meat of the future? As the global population booms and demand strains the world’s supply of meat, there’s a growing need for alternate animal proteins. Insects are high in protein, B vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc, and they’re low in fat. Insects are easier to raise than livestock, and they produce less waste. Insects are abundant. Of all the known animal species, 80% walk on six legs; over 1,000 edible species have been identified. And the taste? It’s often described as “nutty.”

Worms, crickets, dung beetles — to most people they’re just creepy crawlers. To Brooklyn painter and art professor Marc Dennis, they’re yummy ingredients for his Bug Dinners.

The vast majority of the developing world already eats insects. In Laos and Thailand, weaver-ant pupae are a highly prized and nutritious delicacy. They are prepared with shallots, lettuce, chilies, lime and spices and served with sticky rice. Further back in history, the ancient Romans considered beetle larvae to be gourmet fare, and the Old Testament mentions eating crickets and grasshoppers. In the 20th century, the Japanese emperor Hirohito’s favorite meal was a mixture of cooked rice, canned wasps (including larvae, pupae and adults), soy sauce and sugar.

Recipe: Crispy Crickets

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Strip the antennae, limbs and wings (if any) from 20 to 30 clean, frozen adult crickets, or 40 to 60 cricket nymphs. Spread the stripped crickets on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in oven. Bake until crickets are crisp, around 20 minutes. Yield: one cup.

Sprinkle these on salads or put them through a coffee grinder to turn them into bug “flour.” You could even combine the crickets with Chex Mix for a protein-rich snack.

From “The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press)

More Recipes: Superworm Tempura

And: Where to Find Creepy Crawly Cuisine

 

Will Westerners ever take to insects as food? It’s possible. We are entomologists at Wageningen University, and we started promoting insects as food in the Netherlands in the 1990s. Many people laughed—and cringed—at first, but interest gradually became more serious. In 2006 we created a “Wageningen—City of Insects” science festival to promote the idea of eating bugs; it attracted more than 20,000 visitors.

Over the past two years, three Dutch insect-raising companies, which normally produce feed for animals in zoos, have set up special production lines to raise locusts and mealworms for human consumption. Now those insects are sold, freeze-dried, in two dozen retail food outlets that cater to restaurants. A few restaurants in the Netherlands have already placed insects on the menu, with locusts and mealworms (beetle larvae) usually among the dishes.

Insects have a reputation for being dirty and carrying diseases—yet less than 0.5% of all known insect species are harmful to people, farm animals or crop plants. When raised under hygienic conditions—eating bugs straight out of the backyard generally isn’t recommended—many insects are perfectly safe to eat.

Mitchell Fienberg
bugsinwraps

Meanwhile, our food needs are on the rise. The human population is expected to grow from six billion in 2000 to nine billion in 2050. Meat production is expected to double in the same period, as demand grows from rising wealth. Pastures and fodder already use up 70% of all agricultural land, so increasing livestock production would require expanding agricultural acreage at the expense of rain forests and other natural lands. Officials at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently predicted that beef could become an extreme luxury item by 2050, like caviar, due to rising production costs.

Raising insects for food would avoid many of the problems associated with livestock. For instance, swine and humans are similar enough that they can share many diseases. Such co-infection can yield new disease strains that are lethal to humans, as happened during a swine fever outbreak in the Netherlands in the late 1990s. Because insects are so different from us, such risks are accordingly lower.

Insects are also cold-blooded, so they don’t need as much feed as animals like pigs and cows, which consume more energy to maintain their body temperatures. Ten pounds of feed yields one pound of beef, three pounds of pork, five pounds of chicken and up to six pounds of insect meat.

Insects produce less waste, too. The proportion of livestock that is not edible after processing is 30% for pork, 35% for chicken, 45% for beef and 65% for lamb. By contrast, only 20% of a cricket is inedible.

Raising insects requires relatively little water, especially as compared to the production of conventional meat (it takes more than 10 gallons of water, for instance, to produce about two pounds of beef). Insects also produce far less ammonia and other greenhouse gases per pound of body weight. Livestock is responsible for at least 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Raising insects is more humane as well. Housing cattle, swine or chicken in high densities causes stress to the animals, but insects like mealworms and locusts naturally like to live in dense quarters. The insects can be crowded into vertical stacked trays or cages. Nor do bug farms have to be restricted to rural areas; they could sprout up anywhere, from a suburban strip mall to an apartment building. Enterprising gourmets could even keep a few trays of mealworms in the garage to ensure a fresh supply.

The first insect fare is likely to be incorporated subtly into dishes, as a replacement for meat in meatballs and sauces. It also can be mixed into prepared foods to boost their nutritional value—like putting mealworm paste into a quiche. And dry-roasted insects can be used as a replacement for nuts in baked goods like cookies and breads.

Mitchell Fienberg
bugsonforks

We continue to make progress in the Netherlands, where the ministry of agriculture is funding a new $1.3 million research program to develop ways to raise edible insects on food waste, such as brewers’ grain (a byproduct of beer brewing), soyhulls (the skin of the soybean) and apple pomace (the pulpy remains after the juice has been pressed out). Other research is focusing on how protein could be extracted from insects and used in processed foods.

Though it is true that intentionally eating insects is common only in developing countries, everyone already eats some amount of insects. The average person consumes about a pound of insects per year, mostly mixed into other foods. In the U.S., most processed foods contain small amounts of insects, within limits set by the Food and Drug Administration. For chocolate, the FDA limit is 60 insect fragments per 100 grams. Peanut butter can have up to 30 insect parts per 100 grams, and fruit juice can have five fruit-fly eggs and one or two larvae per 250 milliliters (just over a cup). We also use many insect products to dye our foods, such as the red dye cochineal in imitation crab sticks, Campari and candies. So we’re already some of the way there in making six-legged creatures a regular part of our diet.

Not long ago, foods like kiwis and sushi weren’t widely known or available. It is quite likely that in 2020 we will look back in surprise at the era when our menus didn’t include locusts, beetle larvae, dragonfly larvae, crickets and other insect delights.

—Mr. Dicke and Mr. Van Huis are professors of entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands

TICKS that don’t tock

Ticks…what can I say…I hate them. They are nasty little creatures and I do not know of one well seeded bugman that does not roll his eyes at the mere mention of the word….. “TICK” (BTW, I just rolled my eyes).

We responded to a tick problem from a new customer and much to our dismay, the event was a normal tick job…nasty. Not nasty as if the home was dirty, actually the home was immaculate in appearance. When I say “nasty”, it is in reference to the fact that we felt imaginary ticks crawling on us during the whole treatment. If you are an experienced pest control operator, you instantly understand what I am speaking about. This happens quite often when treating for ticks and bedbugs.

Our somatosensory system becomes superhuman and even the slightest dermal sensation is perceived as if a horde of ravenous ticks are attempting to attack us with their blood sucking parasitical bite.

Our inspection revealed that the heaviest concentrations were in the areas of where the family dog slept. The crate and the owners bed.

 Yes, the dark spots that you see on the mattress are ticks.

After ticks feed on the host, it is normal for the ticks to climb upwards and deposit their eggs.  Here is a photo of an infested curtain. 

Here is a photo of the ticks that were removed from the customers bed once the fitted sheets were removed, the customer was never bothered by ticks.

Do you see the small dot on the side of the plastic cup, below is the same picture enlarged.

The tick larva stage is very small and can hide practically anywhere.

LIFE CYCLE

Ticks have four developmental stages: egg, six-legged larva, one or more eight-legged nymphs and adult. Hard ticks usually mate on the host animal. The female then drops to the ground and deposits from 3,000 to 6,000 eggs, which hatch into larvae or “seed ticks.” Larvae climb nearby vegetation where they collect in large numbers while waiting for small rodents or other vertebrates to pass within reach. After a blood meal on the host, the engorged larvae drop to the ground. shed their skins (molt) and emerge as nymphs. Like larvae, the nymphs await the passage of a host, engorge themselves with blood, drop to the ground, molt and become adults. Adult ticks seek host animals and after engorgement, mate.

Male hard ticks usually mate with one or more females and then die, although some may live for several months. Females die soon after depositing their eggs in protected habitats on the ground. The life cycle requires from as little as 2 months to more than 2 years, depending on the species.

The treatment for ticks has to be custom-made for each and every job. It is imperative that the technician perform a complete inspection of the interior of the residence as well as the exterior for the residence. This residence was treated for ticks a month prior, the customer stated that the other pest control company never removed bed linens or even moved the dog crate around. Inspection is incredibly important.

Spider Web Removal – A Must for Each and Every Service

I cannot tell you how many times I have started a new pest account and while during my exterior treatment, the customer walks out with a totally confused look on their face and ask me “What the heck am are you doing?”

These Black Widow Spider eggs were located in the garage doorway!

I inform them that their home is loaded with spiders and their webs and desperately need to be removed. The new customer usually states that they have had several pest control companies over the course of many years and the  pest control company never removed spider webs. I generally grin and tell them…”You do now” as I go back to “de-spidering” their home.

To me, it is natural to take a trip around the customer’s home on each and every visit and remove spider’s and their web’s as well as wasp/wasp nest.

It really is not that time-consuming and it creates more value to your service!

It can be tricky at times but after a few bites from  spider’s as they creep down the spider pole while working or wasp stings as you knock down the nest, it becomes easy. 

I have not been bite or stung in many years (of course, after writing this, it will happen very soon, lol).

 An extending spider broom is a must! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may ask what keeps those little creatures from returning? Well my friend, I will tell you. We treat the exterior of each residence with a six foot band of a long lasting product as well as round the door’s’ window’s and of course the soffit area.

Since no pest products last forever and with the brutal Florida summer heat , the pest product tends to break down in some of the more exposed areas.

Once a good exterior treatment is initiated, it is imperative to maintain that service to prevent the “bug” situation from returning.

I have literally spent  an hour on one of my initial services clearing the exterior, this house was absolutely covered with spiders and wasp!

 

As I mentioned before, some pest companies do not perform this service because they were not trained that way, they do not want to spend their valuable time or they just refuse. 

As for Beucher & Son, it’s just a another part of an excellent treatment program that we provide to every customer, everyday, everytime.

Call us today for your FREE  57 PLUS Pest Audit and Inspection

727-388-6759

Bedbugs hitch at ride to Fresno for a bite

By Barbara Anderson / The Fresno Bee

Add Fresno to the list of cities under attack by bedbugs.

The bloodsucking pests have been a growing and highly visible problem in New York City for months — and now they’re here in force, pest-control operators say.

While the New York outbreak has struck hotels and public places, bedbugs in Fresno are mostly turning up in homes, pest-control operators say.

But the bugs can spread quickly, and there’s no way to know just how many there are. The Fresno County Department of Public Health doesn’t keep track of bedbug complaints like they do measles or mumps.

A bedbug is about the size of an apple seed when mature. The bugs feed on human blood, like ticks, and multiply quickly, hatching more than 12 eggs a week, Clay said. They can be clear, but after a blood meal, they can be reddish-brown, he said.

Bats force closure of Cocoa Beach Aquatic Center’s pavilion

BY BRITT KENNERLY and J.D. GALLOP • FLORIDA TODAY • October 26, 2010

The winged mammals hanging around Cocoa Beach Aquatic Center’s picnic pavilion have nothing to do with Halloween — and it looks like they’ll be visiting long past the haunted holiday.

Trick, no treat.  

Just in time for Halloween, a bat infestation has closed a picnic pavillion near the Cocoa Beach Aquatic Center. (Craig Rubadoux FLORIDA TODAY)

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Brazilian free-tailed bats
  • Found statewide except in the Keys
  • Have extended tails that look like mouse tails
  • Form colonies of 50 to 20,000 bats in manmade structures like buildings and bridges
  • Are medium-sized, have musky odor; have short, dark-brown to grayish-brown fur; and a wingspan of 11 to 13 inches
  • Can fly at more than 25 mph and hit altitudes of more than 9,000 feet — Bill Kern, Florida Wildlife Extension,University of Florida; and Florida Bat Conservancy
  •  

    City officials say a colony of up to 3,000 bats, most of which are of the Brazilian free-tailed species, apparently have been making a home of the sheltered picnic space on Tom Warriner Boulevard for several months. The bats were discovered only recently by workers at the aquatic center, forcing officials to close off the area as they consider a
    number of ideas on how to handle the problem.

    Cocoa Beach Aquatic Center facility director Sara Joyce-Webb said workers and volunteers hope to lure the bats away from the pavilion before next spring. City officials are consulting with a non-profit bat conservancy group to come up with plans, including building a bat house.

    And two local Eagle Scout groups want to build a bat house that could attract the mammals once a bat exclusion company comes in to seal off the picnic pavilion, Joyce-Webb said.

    “We think the bats are really cool but we want our pavilion back for people and the bat house for the bats so they can help eat our mosquitoes,” she said of the protected species.

    “It’s actually something that really is kind of exciting.”

    Brazilian free-tailed bats are plentiful in Florida, also home to 12 other bat species, according to Bill Kern, associate professor of urban entomology at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center.

    They consume moths, flies, beetles and mosquitoes and are the primary predator of night-flying insects. While some use “Mexican free-tailed” and “Brazilian free-tailed” interchangeably, there’s a difference in the bats, Kern wrote on UF’s Florida Wildlife Extension website.

    “Our southeastern free-tailed bat differs in two very important ways from the Mexican subspecies: Our free-tailed bats do not migrate and are never found in caves,” Kern wrote. “The Mexican free-tailed bat migrates to Mexico in the fall and returns north in the spring and is one of the most abundant species in caves.”

    And don’t worry if you see a bat headed your way. It’s a misconception that all of the maligned mammals carry rabies: Less than 0.5 percent carry the disease, according to Florida Wildlife Extension.

    Rather than being the stereotypically scary creature, the type found at the Cocoa Beach pavilion serves a great purpose, said Susan Kwasniak, marketing director for Bat Conservation International. According to its website, the Texas-based group conducts and supports science-based conservation efforts worldwide.

    In Texas, the Mexican free-tailed species consumes countless insects regarded as agricultural pests, including the cotton boll worm moth, and also eats insects over woodlands and forests, Kwasniak said. About 100 million Mexican free-tailed bats live in Central Texas caves.

    “Those little critters are good for farmers: Here in Central Texas, the free-tailed population saves cotton farmers up to $1.7 million a year in pesticide use,” she said. “The moths do terrible destruction to cotton and corn fields.”