Archive for the ‘Inspection’ 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.

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.
 

Subterranean Termites – Swarming!

Yes, it is that time of year (at least in Sunny St. Petersburg,Fl.) when the temperature and humidity is just right for the hordes of cellulose eating subterranean termites to swarm.

While it is only natural to see termite swarmers outside, the presence of termite swarmers inside of your home must raise serious concern.

Swarming occurs when reproductive male and female termites exit the colony and attempt to begin building a new colony. Since it takes most termite colonies at least three years to produce termite swarms, this is a likely sign of an ongoing problem.

 It is often difficult to determine the difference between termites and ants. Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) and are of almost equal length. Ants also have two pair of wings but the fore wings are much larger than the hind wings. 

Also, termites have relatively straight antennae while ants have elbowed antennae.

   Ants generally do not swarm at the same time as termites, but it can happen.
   Termites have a thick waist and ants have a narrow waist
   Termites have straight antennae and ants have elbowed antennae
   Termites have four wings that are all equal in length
   Ants have four wings, however, two are larger and two are smaller

This is an example of a healthy subterranean termite swarm. The easiest way to identify the subterranean termites and the drywood termites are the wings.  As you can see here, the subterranean termite has a black body with white milky wings, as a drywood termite usually has iridescent wings.

Fun Termite Facts:

Termites have been around since the time of the dinosaurs!

Termites live long lives. Every termite colony has a queen which may live from 15 to 30 years, laying hundreds of eggs each day. Any number of colonies may infest a home.

Termite colonies eat non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

Termites do more damage than all fires, hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

The total weight of all of the termites in the world is more than the weight of all the humans in the world.

In Australia, termites build towers 6 metres high and 30 metres wide. Ten tonnes of mud are collected bit by bit by millions of insects. Soilder termite guard the mud castle, where the queen lays her eggs and is fed by worker termites.

Termite nests may be over 20 feet (7 meters) high and contain more than a million insects in a highly structured society.

These nests are intricately built, with a huge network of chambers and passageways, including ventilation, drainage, and heating systems.

Amazingly, termites manage to build their nests entirely out of soil, using saliva where necessary to hold it together!

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

Forensic entomology dubbed scariest job of 2010

People scare local entomologist, not bugs
 
They live in a world of creepy-crawlies, collecting the flies, maggots and beetles that live off the dead. 
 

Because it’s such a macabre profession, forensic entomology this Halloween season has been dubbed the scariest job of 2010 by Careercast.com, a job-search website. In winning that dubious distinction, it edged out jobs such as communications tower technician, bomb squad technician, crime scene decontamination technician and medical test subject.

Not surprisingly, John Wallace disagrees.

The Millersville University professor is one of 15 forensic entomologists in the world certified by the American Board of Forensic Entomology.

“To me, there are many scarier jobs,” said Wallace, 49. “Bomb squad? Climbing a communications tower? I can’t see doing that. You can tempt fate only so often. What’s my risk? The person is already deceased.”

Wallace agrees that some aspects of his job might creep people out, especially those with a fear of insects. Forensic entomologists simply can’t afford that phobia because bugs are their bread and butter.

So to speak.

Still, it’s not every day a reporter hears someone ask an assistant, “Have you seen my jars of maggots?”

He didn’t find his maggots, but he does have a display case of insects, including blowflies, rogue and carrion beetles and other bugs that speed or hinder decomposition.

Because of popular TV shows focusing on crime-scene investigations, it’s often forgotten that forensic entomology has more uses than just determining how long a person has been dead.

Wallace once helped a veterinarian expose a false claim by a client who said his dog contracted maggots at the doctor’s clinic by determining the age of the maggots.

His expertise also is useful in cases of elder abuse and food contamination.

Wallace has one student working on wildlife entomology, which can be used to help in cases of poaching or other conservation crimes.

“She developed a technique to isolate wildlife DNA in maggot tissue,” Wallace said.

Still, there is no denying that forensic entomology can play an important role in solving murders, and Wallace has been part of that process.

In 2007, he helped the Innocence Project with a criminal appeal involving Kennedy Brewer, who was accused in Mississippi of raping and murdering a 3-year-old girl. The primary evidence against Brewer, who had been sentenced to death, were 19 sets of bite marks on the child’s body that the prosecution claimed were Brewer’s.

The defense, however, maintained that the bites were made by crayfish in the creek where the body had lain for three days.

Wallace traveled to the crime scene, collected three dozen crayfish and brought them back to his Millersville laboratory. There he kept them in a tank along with a dead pig.

He concluded that the marks left by the crayfish exactly matched the pattern of bites on the body. The evidence exonerated not just Brewer, but also Levon Brooks, who had been sentenced to life in prison after similar evidence had helped prosecutors convict him of a different homicide. Police later arrested Justin Albert Johnson, who confessed to both killings.

“So Kennedy Brewer was freed, and Levon Brooks was freed,” Wallace said. “They were wrongly convicted. That, for me, was a red-letter day.”

Closer to home, Wallace helped prosecutors during the trial of Micah Stewart, accused of the 2004 murder of his girlfriend, Courtney Fry. Visiting the morgue where her skeletal remains had been taken after being discovered in a Manor Township field in January 2005, he collected black soldier flies.

“Looking at the life cycle of that fly and the temperature data, I came up with a time interval of when those flies appeared on her body,” Wallace said. “That gave police a rough idea of how long she had been there.”

More recently, he examined pupa cases of flies found on the remains of Jonathan Moyer, who had been murdered by convicted killer Felina Billetdeaux in 2005 in a Brownstown apartment. His body was hidden in a closet for about a month before being buried by Billetdeaux and another woman, Steva Hagelgans.

Wallace said there were no live flies on Moyer, but a lot of pupa cases.

“At one point in this tiny apartment, thousands of flies had emerged while these two women were living there,” he said. “To me, that’s scary.”

Wallace admitted there is a ghoulish aspect to his job.

“I have seen some of the worst of humanity, and those images stay with you,” he said. “So some might say that’s pretty scary. But I just collect insects.”

Who has the scariest job?

After forensic entomologist, the top 10 scariest jobs of 2010, according to Careercast.com are:

2. Miner — The fear of confined spaces is one of the most common phobias, and there are few worse places for a person suffering from claustrophobia to be than a narrow mine shaft deep underground.

3. Broadcast tower technician — The tallest broadcast tower is the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota at a whopping 2,063 feet high. And whenever routine maintenance needs to be performed on this massive structure, a broadcast tower technician goes all the way to the very top.

4. Bomb squad technician — While police departments are increasingly employing robots for bomb disposal, there are still plenty of instances where humans are needed to get the job done.

5. Field epidemiologist — Protected by little more than a hazmat suit, field epidemiologists get up close and personal with germs, blood, needles and dead bodies on a daily basis — not to mention the risk they run of contracting a deadly disease themselves.

6. Crime and trauma scene decontamination — Unless you’ve got the stomach for regular exposure to blood and dead bodies, this might not be the job for you.

7. Pharmaceutical test subject — Many people carve out lucrative professions as human guinea pigs, enduring injections, blood draws, dangerous side effects and the risk of permanent injury or even death on a regular basis.

8. Bush pilot — Some studies put the chances of an Alaskan bush pilot dying in a crash at one in eight during a 30-year career.

9. Cryonics technician — Cryonics is controversial among scientists, but no matter what your opinion is of the practice, there’s no denying that any profession which involves removing the heads of people who’ve just died and preserving them at -200 degrees Fahrenheit is a little bit scary.

10. Comedian — For anyone gripped by a fear of public humiliation, having to stand in front of a large crowd and tell jokes to a potentially hostile audience can be a traumatic experience.

Forensic Entolmology is the science of determining a time frame and/or circumstance from the empirical evidence of insect activity on or around the site in question. A time of death can be reasonably determined by factoring in ambient temperature , availability of corpse to insects, and the progress of blowfly larvae through their life cycle on that corpse.

Approximately fourteen days is necessary for a blowfly to go from egg to adult.

 

Flesh-eating ants bit elderly heart patient hundreds of times on legs and genitals as he lay in intensive care

An elderly man was bitten hundreds of times on his legs and genitals by a swarm of flesh-eating ants as he lay in his hospital bed.

Cornelius Lewis, 76, was in the intensive care unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Florida, recovering from an operation to fit a pacemaker the day before the ant attack.

Remarkably, because he was attacked beneath the bed sheets, medical staff didn’t even notice the ants were literally feasting on him until they pulled back the covers hours later.

Ant attack: A swarm of ants bit a heart patient hundreds of times (file picture)
Ant attack: A swarm of ants bit a heart patient hundreds of times (photograph © Alex Wild 2005)

Lewis remains at Gulf Coast Medical Center and is said to be in a serious condition, although that is related to his previous heart surgery, rather than the ant attack.

According to his son, Mr Lewis was bitten ‘a couple hundred’ times on his legs and genitals by Pavement Ants.

‘He was supposed to be monitored every 10 minutes,’ Neil Lewis told Florida website Newspress.com.

‘My mom was there, and they didn’t give her any information.

‘They said, “Let’s just get him out of the room.” And my father was so exhausted he didn’t have the ability to complain.’

After the attack, Mr Lewis said his father was moved to another room but that it, too, was infested with ants.

Lee Memorial Health System, which runs the hospital, says it is taking preventive steps at their hospitals to stop any repeat of the incident.

‘We have confirmed there were ants,’ said Karen Krieger, director of public relations at Lee Memorial Health System.

She added: ‘There were no reports of other patients being bitten by ants and Gulf Coast is the only hospital with an ant problem.’

The company’s other premises at Lee Memorial Hospital, Cape Coral Hospital and Health Park are now being treated by pest control experts.

The intensive care unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center has been evacuated, sprayed and treated and exterminators will check for the insects every three days.

Rooftops and exteriors are being sprayed weekly. This will continue until there is no ant sightings for 30 days.

It is understood the checks for ants previously took place on a monthly basis, which indicates the hospital knew it had a problem with the ants.

A pest control expert in Florida, a hot and sticky climate that is a perfect breeding ground for insects, told WINK News that Pavement Ants, which are the type believed to have bitten Lewis, don’t usually attack because they generally live outside.

‘Pavement ants are omnivores,’ said Allen Fugler Jr.

‘Every pest needs food, water and harborage. If lacking in one of those three, they will aggressively seek out a food source, water or a place to live.’