Archive for the ‘Cockroaches’ Category

April Designated as National Pest Management Month

The National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take steps to prevent infestations
FAIRFAX, Va. — The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) celebrates April as National Pest Management Month, an observance that has been taking place for more than 30 years. National Pest Management Month honors the professional pest control industry for playing a key role in protecting both health and property from significant pest-borne threats.

“The NPMA is pleased to have the opportunity to publicly recognize the important work that pest professionals do every day during National Pest Management Month,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “In honor of National Pest Management Month, the NPMA is dedicated to raising public awareness about the risks posed by household pests and encouraging homeowners to take proactive steps to prevent pest infestations in their homes and properties.”

Pest such as termites, rodents and carpenter ants can cause extensive property damage by chewing through walls, flooring and even electrical wiring. Other pests, including ticks, mosquitoes, cockroaches and stinging insects pose health threats to humans. Ticks can spread Lyme disease, while mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus. Cockroach allergens can trigger asthma attacks, while stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year.

During April, the NPMA recommends that homeowners follow these tips to prevent pest infestations:

Seal up cracks and small openings along the foundation of the house.

Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.

Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.

Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.

Keep all food containers sealed.

Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time.

Keep trash containers clean and sealed, both indoors and outdoors.

Screen windows and doors.

If you see signs of pests or suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.


Getting Dirty with Bathtraps

As I was performing a termite inspection for Enrique Behrens of INQUEST Home Inspections, I wondered what to blog about next.

  Enrique Behrens, owner of INQUEST Home Inspections doing what he does best…Inspecting!

Enrique informed me that he had already opened up the bathtraps and they were ready for our termite inspection.

BATH TRAPS, now there’s something to blog about…here we go!

One of the areas that some pest control technicians forget to treat on their customers first pest service is the bathtrap area (if accessable). The bathtrap is where a “squarish” hole was cut so that the plumber can have access to the plumbing pipes that supply water to your tub.

These water pipes usually come up through the (concrete/wood) floor via a hole. If the hole is in concrete, the hole is sometimes pretty large and usually sealed with a hard black “tar-ish” substance or concrete. Sometimes there is not any type of sealant, leaving just bare dirt below your tub. Not good.

If the hole is in wood floor, the water pipes access is usually smaller but not sealed. This is not good either because everything from an ant to a oppossum can be under your tub!

What is so important about the open area for plumbing pipes to be sealed?

Pest can harbourage under the tub, such as cockroaches, ants, springtails, spiders and rodents to name a few. But the big name that you really need to worry about is “TERMITES”.

leaving the ground “unsealed”  in your bathtrap is a recipe for disaster! It is a very important area that that needs attention when treating for either household pest or termites.

Just where is that darn hole in the wall located anyway? Easy, just go to your bathroom and notice which side of the tub that your bath faucet is located, the hole will be located on the opposite side of the wall.  I have seen the bathtrap  in bedrooms, front rooms, kitchens and hallways…they can just about be anywhere.

This bathtrap was located in a bedroom, while the other bathtrap of this house was located a closet on the other side of the house.

Here is a close up of that bathtrap, notice the hole in the concrete for the plumbing  pipes. this one was sealed with the hard black “tarry”  sealant.

Just look at all that hiding space under the tub…whats under your tub?

Some people want a pest inspection but did you know that most people need a pest inspection.

Call us now for a FREE 57 Point Pest Inspection   727-388-6759


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!

A Few Reasons to Show Some Love for Bugs


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—————————————————————————-

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.”

Cockroaches Share ‘Recommendations’ of Best Food Sources, Research Finds

ScienceDaily (June 7, 2010) — Ever wondered how cockroaches seem to know the best place to grab a meal? New research at Queen Mary, University of London suggests that, just like humans, they share their local knowledge of the best food sources and follow ‘recommendations’ from others.

It is often striking how little we know about our closest neighbour. Until now, it was assumed that cockroaches forage on their own to find food and water. However, this work shows how groups of the insects seem to make a collective choice about the best food source, explaining why we so commonly find them feeding en masse in the kitchen late at night.

Dr Mathieu Lihoreau from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, explained the potential impact of his research, saying: “Cockroaches cost the UK economy millions of pounds in wasted food and perishable products. Better understanding of how they seek out our food would allow us to develop better pest control measures, which are frequently ineffective and involve the use of insecticides that can have health side-effects.”

Ever wondered how cockroaches seem to know the best place to grab a meal? New research at Queen Mary, University of London suggests that, just like humans, they share their local knowledge of the best food sources and follow ‘recommendations’ from others. (Credit: Image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London)

This study, published in the Springer journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, is the first demonstration that groups of cockroaches can forage for food collectively, rather than independently, relying on their individual experience.

In the experiment, hungry cockroaches (Blattella germanica) were released into an arena where they could choose between one of two piles of food. Lihoreau noted that, rather than choosing one randomly and splitting into two groups as would be expected if they were acting independently, the majority of the cockroaches fed solely on one piece of food until it was all gone. By following individual insects, it also emerged that the more of cockroaches there were on one piece of food, the longer each one would stay to feed. Through simple snowball effect then, most of the cockroaches accumulate on one source.

Once identified, a man-made ‘foraging pheromone’ could be used to improve pest control, making insecticide gels more effective or be used to create an insecticide-free trap. Lihoreau explains; “These observations coupled with simulations of a mathematical model indicate that cockroaches communicate through close contact when they are already on the food source. This is in contrast with the honeybees’ waggle dance or ants’ chemical trails, which are sophisticated messages that guide followers over a long distance. Although we think they signal to other cockroaches using a ‘foraging pheromone’, we haven’t yet identified it; potential candidates include chemicals in cockroach saliva, and cuticular hydrocarbons, which cover the insects’ bodies.”

This work doesn’t only provide the first evidence that these insects search for food collectively, but it also gives a simple explanation for it that could potentially apply to a wide array of animals, including humans. “We should definitively pay more attention to cockroaches and other simple ‘societies’ as they provide researchers with a good models for co-operation and emergent properties of social life, that we could extrapolate to more sophisticated societies, like ours,” says Lihoreau.

Roaches eating dinner

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Joe’s Apartment (1996) The bathroom scene