Archive for the ‘Treatment’ Category

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.
 

Unlike Us, Honeybees Naturally Make ‘Quick Switch’ in Their Biological Clocks, Researcher Finds

 Unlike humans, honeybees, when thrown into highly time-altered new

New research shows that unlike humans, honeybees naturally make ‘quick switch’ in their biological clocks. (Credit: iStockphoto)

 societal roles, are able to alter their biological rhythms with alacrity, enabling them to make a successful “quick switch” in their daily routines, according to research carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

With people, on the other hand, disturbances to their biological clocks by drastic changes in their daily schedules are known to cause problems — for example for shift workers and for new parents of crying, fitful babies. Disturbance of the biological clock — the circadian rhythm — can also contribute to mood disorders. On a less severe scale, international air travelers all know of the “jet lag” disturbance to their biological clocks caused by traveling across several time zones.

Bees, however, have now been shown to be highly resilient to such change. When removed from their usual roles in the hive, the bees were seen to quickly and drastically change their biological rhythms, according to a study by Prof. Guy Bloch of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University. His research is published in the current edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The changes, he found, were evident in both the bees’ behavior and in the “clock genes” that drive their internal biological clocks. These findings indicate that social environment had a significant effect on both behaviour and physiology.

Circadian rhythm, the body’s “internal clock,” regulates daily functions. A few “clock genes” control many actions, including the time of sleeping, eating and drinking, temperature regulation and hormone fluctuations. However, exactly how that clock is affected by — and affects — social interactions with other animals is unknown.

Bloch and his colleagues Dr. Yair Shemesh, Ada Eban-Rothschild, and Mira Cohen chose to study bees in part because of their complex social environment. One role in bee society is the “nurse” — bees that are busy round the clock caring for larvae. This activity pattern is different from other bees and animals, whose levels rise and fall throughout the day.

Bloch and his team thought that changing the nurse bees’ social environment might alter their activity levels, so they separated them from their larvae. The researchers found that the bees’ cellular rhythms and behavior completely changed, matching a more typical circadian cycle. The opposite also was true, when other bees were transferred into a nursing function.

“Our findings show that circadian rhythms of honeybees are altered by signals from the brood that are transferred by close or direct contact,” Bloch said. “This flexibility in the bees’ clock is striking, given that humans and most other animals studied cannot sustain long periods of around-the-clock activity without deterioration in performance and an increase in disease.”

Because bees and mammals’ circadian clocks use the same clock genes and are similarly organized, the question arises as to whether the clocks of other animals also strongly depend on their social environments. The next step is to find just how social interactions influence gene expressions. Further research into this question may have implications for humans who suffer from disturbances in their behavioral, sleeping and waking cycles.

The research was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation, the Israel-U.S. Binational Science Foundation, and the German Israel Foundation.

Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Yes, You Have Rat’s, Heres How We Know!

We have been asked about a million times by prospective customers, “How did you know we have rats?”

We usually smile and just point to the most obvious clue that could ever be observed…that is if you knew what to look for.

Here it is…..

Rodent Rubmarks are a wonderful creation by greasy haired rodents everywhere! If looked at correctly, you can see the natural path that the rodent travels.

Entry into this residence  is mostly from the “wires” coming to the house as seen in the first arrow to the left, the rodents follow  the “wires” around the corner and into the hole that was created (and not sealed, very common) for the conduit.

Here is a close up of that hole! Yikes!

What causes the marks from the rodents? Rodents are a very dirty creature and Rubmarks  appear from contact with the rodent’s body. Rubmarks on walls appear as black smudges left by the rodent. New rubmarks are soft and will smudge. Old rubmarks are brittle and will flake when scratched. Rafters may show swing marks of roof rats.

This house had just about the most active rodent infestation that we have seen in a long time. But nothing is impossible…through a rigid program of trapping, baiting and exclusion the problem was easily solved.

Having rats in your attic is very bad for so many reasons, one of the most important reason is that  rodents gnaw every day in order to keep their teeth short and sharp. Rats also gnaw to gain entrance or to obtain food. Teeth marks on food, building materials, wire, and edges of beams are indications of gnawing. They will gnaw holes in wooden walls, pressed wood, and posts.  Many house fires have been attributed to the rodents chewing on wires.

Rodents will also destroy A/C ducts for the insulation (nesting) and also chew A/C water drain lines (water) which can also do serious water damge to your ceiling.

Of course lets not forget fleas, diseases and possible “biting”.

On a better note…

My son and I have had pet rats for many years and deeply enjoyed them. They are loving, curious and spontaneously funny. We have not had one since we obtained our best friend Mighty “Mullet” the Wonder Dog. He is a Jack Russell and is naturally rodent driven with four confirmed kills of wild rats, although he was done well (very nice) around our friend’s pet rat…I believe that  if the rat ever got out and we were not around, I think he would do what comes natural.

The squirrels endlessly tease Mullet everyday around our tree’s. The very moment he comes out of the house the squirrels come down from the tree tops and make him chase them. He will chase them for literally hours on end.

Got Rats? Call Us  Now 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!

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.