Tuesday April 22, 2014
Termites move faster at warmer temperatures, which means that termite damage can escalate faster as summer arrives and temperatures rise.
Research was conducted by entomologists at the University of Florida (published by the Entomological Society of America) studying the effects of temperature on tunneling and food-transportation activity of four subterranean termite species. The termites were observed at successive temperatures between 59 to 95°Fahrenheit.
Except for one species (R. virginicus), the termites tunneled more quickly and reached food faster as temperatures rose. Additionally, the study showed that three of the species (C. formosanus, R. virginicus, and C. gestroi) generally took in more food and traveled farther from a food source at higher temperatures.
By understanding termite feeding behavior and the outside influences on this, termite control strategies can be improved. As the authors wrote, "The results of this study provide further evidence that the cold winter season may not be ideal for baiting programs."
Tuesday April 15, 2014
It's spring. Although the weather is warming slowly in much of the U.S. this year, the insects are starting to become active, including the termites that are flying to mate and start new colonies.
Seeing winged, swarming termites around your home in the spring is a sign that you may have a problem and should have your home professionally inspected. But, it is important to know that not seeing swarms doesn't necessarily mean you don't have termites.
Termites can do a great deal of damage before you even know they are there, so in addition to swarms, you should keep any eye out for other signs of possible termite presence, it is important to contact a pest control professional as soon as possible.
Other signs include:
- discarded wings - once the swarming termites mate, they lose their wings and seek shelter to begin a new colony.
- piles of "frass" - termites push their droppings or feces out the entry/exit holes of their colonies which can build up beneath the hole.
- mudtubes - to reach wood that does not touch the soil, some termites will build mud tubes - through which they climb to reach the wood.
- odor - extensive populations can begin to emit a musty, mildew smell
- "water" damaged appearance - termites stay within the wood, and as they excavate more and more of the interior of the wood, the exterior can begin to appear damaged ... and if you knock on it, you will be greeted with a hollow sound.
Monday April 7, 2014
In celebration of National Pest Management Month, you can take a colorful NPMA "quiz" to find out what pest you are. Simply make selections of your favorites of things such as color, hobby, food, and superpower, and voila - You are a ...
...Bed Bug! (Hmmm, I've written enough about bed bugs, sometimes I do feel like one!) You want to see the world! You travel as much as possible to experience new places, meet new friends, and stay up all night having fun. While you don't seem to have roots in one place, you know the importance of family and having a steady support system.
After giving your pest type, the answer then provides a fact about the pest. Mine said:
Did you know that 99.6% of pest professionals have treated for bed bugs in the past year?
Just for fun, I took the quiz a second time, entering random choices. This time I turned out to be a ...
...Beetle! You're a kind person and a good friend. You like to stay in your comfort zone, but you also enjoy meeting friends for a low-key night out. You're passionate and have dedicated a lot of time to your favorite hobby or activity.
And the fact about beetles ...
Did you know that beetles tend to gather around food often stored in pantries and cabinets, such as flour, dry cereals and spices?
You can then find out more about the pest you are like to by clicking the links to the NPMA site.
Take the quiz at NPMA's "What Pest Are You?"
Wednesday April 2, 2014
The March 19. 2014, episode of TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive featured a Salt Lake City home so cluttered and infested with cockroaches that a contractor stated what was to become the episode title: "This will never pass inspection." The brothers living in the home were facing a home inspection; if they didn't pass they would be evicted and the landlord would lose his license.
Not only is such clutter a sanitation issue, but it enables cockroaches to survive, thrive and build up expansive populations. Cockroaches can be challenging to control in the best of conditions, but their presence can be dangerous to the people, especially those living in conditions such as these, because if not eliminated, cockroaches can transmit disease and cause allergic reaction.
Brownbanded Cockroach photo courtesy CDC