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Community Support

Your 3 Most Unwanted Pests This Holiday Season

This time of year we look forward to spending time with family and friends, enjoying and sharing the warmth of our homes and plenty of wonderful food.  Even the stress of traveling is overshadowed by the excitement and anticipation of being with those we love or in the places we look forward to visiting.

Spending time cleaning up ants in the kitchen while trying to celebrate with family, bringing home bed bugs after a wonderful holiday vacation, or just hearing the patter of feet in the attic on a cold winter’s night can ruin your holiday spirit.

Here are some tips to keep your holidays a bit less stress filled.

Ants: How to prevent an invasion.

  • Practice good sanitatioAnts in housen measures especially in the kitchen. Ants are attracted to the food we leave behind.
  • Cover food and liquid substances tightly and keep surfaces clean.
  • Sweep floors and vacuum your carpets. The tiniest crumbs can attract ants.
  • Always cover and seal the food that’s not in the fridge.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Keep trash cans and bins clean and take the trash out often.
  • Keep your countertops dry. Don’t allow liquids to accumulate on counters and other surfaces. Ants look for water wherever they can find it.
  • Fix dripping faucets.
  • For more information go to: http://www.corkyspest.com/ants_new.html

Bed Bugs:  Don’t bring them home with you.

  • Do not put yBed Bug 2our clothing or luggage directly on any bed. If bed bugs are present in the bed, they can climb into bags, suitcases or any laundry left on the bed.
  • Use metal luggage racks at all times. Bed bugs cannot easily climb metal surfaces, so they make an ideal overnight spot for your suitcase. Keep the rack away from the walls and any wooden furniture.
  • Use small plastic bags to pack clothing, shoes and other personal items. This will help prevent any bed bugs that climb into your suitcase from getting into your house with your clothing. Bed bugs can also hide in books, cloth toiletry kits and other non-metal personal items.
  • Hotels aren’t the only bed bug travel threats. Bed bugs thrive in dark, cool places with long-term access to humans. They can also be found on airplane and train seats, buses or in rental cars.
  • When you return home, leave your luggage in the garage, and immediately launder all cloth items. The first places bed bugs typically encounter are bags and suitcases so keeping your luggage outside may help keep them out of your home. Depending on where you live, keeping luggage outdoors may also leave bed bugs outside their comfortable range of temperatures. You can also eliminate bed bugs that may have gotten into clothing by laundering (washing and drying) all fabric items in hot water, although recent studies show that 20 minutes in a clothes dryer is all that is needed to ensure 100% control.
  • Don’t forget to treat your empty bags and luggage (with an appropriate bed bug product) before taking them into the house or putting them in storage.
  • Need more information go to: http://www.corkyspest.com/bedbugs/index.html

Rats:  How to keep them out of your home.

Make sure yRat-infested-kitchenour property is well manicured. Get rid of clutter! Rats are fond of using trees, vines and large shrubs as ladders to access upper stories and roof areas. Dense foliage and ground cover needs to be thinned out or removed. Eliminate weeds, prune trees and vines back so they don’t touch the structure of the home or buildings on the property.

Don’t feed the rats. Keep pet food in closed containers and never leave it outside in open dishes, especially overnight. Clean up under and around bird feeders — rats are attracted to nuts and seeds. Pick up fallen fruit from the ground, and harvest your fruit and garden produce regularly. Clean your BBQ well — rats love leftovers and even a little grease can attract them! Finally, keep your garbage cans lidded and never leave trash in plastic bags outside.

Rats need water. Keep irrigation equipment in good condition and fix any leaks. Do not leave any pools of water outside like pet water bowls. Maintain pool equipment and keep storage boxes locked. Bird baths and fish ponds may also attract rats, so bear this in mind when you determine their importance to your property.

Inspect the exterior of the home or building to determine possible entry points. All openings to interior spaces greater than one half-inch (1/2″) should be sealed. Exclusion is an important rodent control technique that should be done before rats get into the structure or after rats have been evicted or removed. Sealing rats inside will lead to the destruction of your property as they try to escape and eventually die inside your home.

Locate access points for rodents where utility lines come into walls, as well as openings around air conditioning units, drain pipes and vents. Look for broken windows, warped doors, and unscreened vents as possible points of entry. All spaces beneath doors should be checked to see if the opening is too large. Reduce any openings as needed (remember, one half-inch (1/2″) is all the space a rat needs to gain entry).

Roofs should be checked to see that shingles and tiles are in good repair and sheathing is complete. Also, check roof ventilators and louvered-in wall vents.

Rats need to be eliminated from your home. The safest and most effective rodent extermination methods are those performed by a pest control professional. For more information see: http://www.corkyspest.com/rats/index.html

HAVE A PEST FREE HOLIDAY SEASON!

 

 

 

Honor our Veterans – Past, Present and Future

Veterans Day is celebrated to give honor and remembrance to those that are or have served in our military.  No matter what war, police action, government sanctioned “occupation” or humanitarian projects wvetere or are being performed, our armed services have employed the best of our best.  Through the years, these men and women have braved, clubs, arrows, knives, musket and cannon balls, bullets, rockets, chemical and biological warfare, hunger, thirst, heat, cold, insects and the diseases they carry to secure the” Freedoms” of our country and those of others as well.

Since the beginning of our country, an on-going war against disease and disease carrying insects has been waged by our military.
M
ore active military service days have been lost to diseases—many of them transmitted by insects—than to combat. In the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, disease casualties (caused mostly by insect bites) outnumbered combat casualties.

The insect-borne diseases most often encountered by U.S. overseas troops are malaria, scrub typhus, leishmaniasis, and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever. Three tick-borne diseases—Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Colorado tick fever—are often encountered by U.S. military personnel in the United States during stateside training exercises.

So while we recognize the valor and heroism inherent in our soldiers, remember that they are or have volunteered to selflessly give up their lives (in many different ways) for the freedoms enjoyed by you and me, today.

Insects Instrumental In The Creation of Daylight Savings Time

Benjamin Franklin is sometimes credited with the invention of daylight saving time. In 1784, he made a joking reference to daylight saving in a letter from France but never thought anything of the sort would ever be adopted.Hudson

The true mastermind behind the creation of daylight saving time was George Vernon Hudson, a specialist in insect biology (entomology) who left England for New Zealand in 1881. In 1895, when he first voiced the idea to the Royal Society of New Zealand, he was laughed at. Other members of the society said the proposal was confusing and unnecessary. But attitudes changed, and he lived to see his brainchild adopted (with variations in the ensuing years) by many nations — including, in his own in 1927.

It all began because Hudson became frustrated because dusk came so early in summer that it interfered with his evening insect-collecting routine. He figured the problem might be solved if the clock were advanced two hours in summer and then shifted back in the winter, when he wasn’t bug-hunting.

So, thank the Bugs for the hour of sleep we gain as we fall back at 2am on November 1st.

Ants – Nature’s Earthquake Early Warning System

Scientists were virtually certain that California would be rocked by a strong earthquake in the next 30 years. Now they say the risk of a mega-quake is more likely to happen sooner than previously thought.

In recent years, the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and several universities have been testing an early warning system designed to detect the first waves of an earthquake jolt and send out an alert before the slower-moving damaging waves begin. Proponents have said a few seconds of warning can allow trains to slow down, utilities to shut off gas lines and people to duck for cover. The public alert system – still in pilot phrase – needs more funding before it can be rolled out statewide.

So… while the experts test their experimental early warning systems and look for more funding, Nature has her own early warning system already in place.

The belief that animals can predict earthquakes has been around for centuries. In 373 B.C., historians recorded that animals, including rats, snakes and weasels, deserted the Greek city of Helice in droves just days before a quake devastated the city.

Ants comAnts and Earthquakesmunicate when an earthquake is imminent to ensure the survival of their colony.

A study done by Gabriele Berberich from the University in Germany found that the behavior of the redwood ant changes in preparation for an earthquake and doesn’t go back to normal until a day or two after the quake.

When an earthquake is imminent, the behavior of the ants, changes in a unique way. They stop going in and out of their mounds. Instead, the ants congregate outside their mound before, during, and up to a day after the earthquake. They basically stop all activity within their colony and meet outside, as they sense the growing tension in their environment. By evacuating their colony, they prevent it from being swallowed alive by earthquake activity.

Exactly what insects and animals sense is a mystery. One theory is that wild and domestic animals feel the Earth vibrate before humans. Other ideas suggest they detect electrical changes in the air or gas released from the Earth.

So, when the rats start leaving the area and the ants leave their nests, It’s time to stop, drop and cover, an earthquake is on the way!

For more Information, check out the links below:

http://www.naturalnews.com/039948_earthquakes_ant_colonies_premonition.html#ixzz3pKUxgLTu

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/11/1111_031111_earthquakeanimals.html

Cool Fall Nights Drive Rats Inside To Share The Warmth.

A survey from the NPMA (National Pest Management Association) found nearly half of all rat infestations happen in the fall and winter months.

As temperatures cool, especially overnight, rats look for warm sheltered spots with access to food and water, in which to set up residence.  Will it be your house this time?

These are not tidy guests. Rats urinate and defecate on everything, tear up furnishings, gnaw on wood (damage a structure) and electrical wiring (fire hazard), and bring fleas, ticks and lice, and the possibility of sickness and disease with them.

It’s much easier and less costly to prevent a rat infestation than to remove them after they’ve turned your home into their new living quarters.

 The NPMA recommends the following rodent-proofing tips:

  • rat_pipeSecure your home. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent mice   and rats from using easy entry ways. Pay special attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Don’t build rodent attractions near your home. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground. Keep shrubs and trees cut back from the house.
  • Make sure your home isn’t rodent-friendly. Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep areas clear, and store boxes off of the floor. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Keep food in rodent-proof containers.
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a pest professional. Hiring a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem is the most effective solution to eliminate rodent infestations.

Rat Facts:

  • An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole as small as the size of a quarter.
  • Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
  • Rats have strong teeth. They can chew through glass, cinderblock, wire, aluminum and lead.
  • Smell, taste, touch and sound help direct them to their food sources.
  • Rats are also responsible for spreading bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Death”. Although fleas are primarily responsible for infecting humans, they were originally infected with the plague by feeding on the blood of rats.

Really scary fact:  Dead Rats Walking …..

Oxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite whose life cycle can only be completed in the bodrat and caty of a cat. Rats can carry it, but it needs a cat to survive. And the way it finds a host is ingenious – rats who become infected suffer a change in their brain chemistry which causes them to become attracted to, rather than fearful of the scent of cats. Obviously, these rats don’t live long lives. Humans can also contract toxoplasmosis – some estimates indicate 1/3 of the world’s population has it. Occasionally fatal, it is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women (which is why women are told to avoid cat litter boxes when they are expecting). Toxoplasmosis has also been linked to many other ailments, including schizophrenia.

Killer Bees on the Move –

Africanized Honey BeeNews Flash — Africanized honeybees, known as killer bees, have made their way to the Bay Area for the first time and recent warmer weather conditions may have encouraged the move.

In a U C San Diego study on the Africanized bees’ population growth in Southern California, it was found that more than 60 percent of foraging honeybees in San Diego County are now Africanized.

Africanized honey bees (AHB) also called Africanized bees or killer bees are descendants of southern African bees imported in 1956 by Brazilian scientists attempting to breed a honey bee better adapted to the South American tropics.  Then something went, terribly wrong.  Thhoney_beeey got away from their handlers and flew, north to find better more abundant food sources and harborage areas.

Africanized colonies were first reported in Arizona and New Mexico in 1993 and in California in October, 1994. Within a year, more than 8,000 square miles of Imperial, Riverside and northeastern San Diego counties were declared officially colonized by Africanized bees.

These bees are considered a health threat. Experts say bees overall kill about 40 people a year in the U.S. No statistics are kept for Africanized bees, but people and animals are the most at risk if they don’t have a way to escape an attack. The Africanized bees have killed animals on chains and in fenced enclosures in Southern California and Texas.

Last month, a swarm of Africanized bees killed a construction worker and injured two others in Riverside as the workers graded land for a parking lot unaware of the presence of a hive.

Africanized Honey Bee Facts

  • They are slightly smaller than the European honey bee, but only an expert can tell  them apart
  • Defend their hive more rapidly than the European honey bee
  • Usually attack and sting in greater numbers
  • Are less selective about where they nest
  • Swarm more often than European honey bees
  • Do not have stronger venom than the European honey bee
  • Eat nectar and pollen and make honey
  • Are not native to the U.S.; they came from Africa

Not totally the “bad guys” that they are hyped to be.  They may be the answer to the demise of European bee colonies caused by diseases, mites, fungus and colony collapse disorder. So despite all its negative factors, it is possible that, in the long run. Africanized honey bees might actually end up saving our agricultural industry and of course the honey industry too.

When it comes to widow spiders, Brown is the new Black.

A recent survey of widow spiders in Southern California led by retired UC Riverside entomologist Richard Vetter revealed new information about their distribution in California.  Currently brown widows are 20 times more common then black widows in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, RivBrownWidowJim300x200verside and San Bernardino counties, at least in and around urban homes.  Experts believe they may eventually move up the coast of California and into the Central Valley.

Unlike black widows, Brown widows aren’t found in dry habitats or agricultural areas; they love urban environments and structures.  Preferred web building sites include; empty containers such as buckets and flower pots, mail boxes, entry way corners, under eaves, storage closets and garages, recessed hand grips of plastic garbage cans, undercarriages of vehicles that are stationary for long periods and the undersides of outdoor furniture and wrought iron railings.  They choose places that are more exposed than sites chosen by black widows putting them at higher risk for biting opportunities.

Drop per drop, brown widow spider venom is as toxic as othBrown Widow Spider and egg sacer widow spider species but it appears that these spiders do not have the ability to inject as much venom as the black widow or others of the widow species.  Bites occur mostly through accidental contact and the pressing of the spider against skin.  Symptoms of this widow’s bite include a red mark at the bite site and some localized pain.  The bite is not usually life threatening, and is considered less serious than a black widow’s.  This doesn’t mean that more serious reactions can’t happen, especially if a child is involved.  You can always call your physician just to be safe.

Differences between Brown and Black Widows:

  • The color of the brown widow spider is tan to brown or gray vs. stark black.
  • The egg sac of a brown widow has tiny spikes all over the surface; a black widow’s egg sac is smooth.
  • Brown widows produce more eggs and offspring than black widows.
  • A brown widow’s bite is usually less severe than a black widow bite as they tend to inject less venom.
  • Brown widows live in open areas whereas black widows hide in dark corners and crevices.

 

It’s Not A Mirage! Water is falling from the sky and ants are in the house again!

Ants have been racing into our homes and yards to find water and food since the onset of “the drought”.  But look, up in the sky, it’s raining aP15-AntsGoMarchingTHndants are still racing into our homes but now it’s to save their colonies from drowning and they’re bringing all of their “ants”, uncles, cousins, queens, and eggs with them.

So it’s not just the drought that brings these annoying trespassers to our homes it’s also the rain, and in the winter, the cold. Our homes and our yards provide optimal resources for their survival and survive they will!

Here’s more info on ants and the weather.

https://www.combatbugs.com/bug-files/ants-and-rainy-weather

http://news.stanford.edu/pr/01/ants45.html

What can a homeowner do to fight the ant invasion?  Check out this link for great tips on do it yourself solutions to keep your home free of ants. http://www.corkyspest.com/ants_new.html

Spiders Add Dancing To Their Skill Set.

All spiders crawPeacock Spider Jurgen-otto.2l, some swim, others are known for their jumping skills and still  others for their ability to catch a breeze and “balloon” to distant lands.

The jumping spider has added one more skill to its list of accomplishments: Awesome Dance Moves.

With their spectacularly colored bodies, rhythmic body movements, and booty-shaking gyrations, male peacock spiders (a species of jumping spider) put on a fantastic show to attract the attention of perspective mates.

Male spiders aren’t just dancing to get a “meaningful” date; they’re dancing for their lives. Their courtship performance is a life or death proposition, a truly risky business for the males, since female jumping spiders won’t hesitate to eat their suitors. Funny thing; they only seem to eat the bad dancers.  Keep practicing guys!                Shake that booty!

Original Video by Jurgen Otto: http://youtu.be/d_yYC5r8xMI Edited by Dario Trovato http://www.balzo.eu.

More on Dancing Spiders: http://mentalfloss.com/article/62195/5-flashy-facts-about-peacock-spiders

Bed Bugs Hitchhike Around the World

BedBugCouch300x200Bedbugs were nearly eliminated in the 1940’s with the help of the extremely-powerful, but now banned, chemical DDT. However, they have made a comeback in recent years, showing up in hotels, hospitals, buses, trains, movie theaters and other public places. They have the reputation for being the insect world’s most notorious hitchhikers.

These tiny bloodsuckers not only, make their homes in beds, but also in couches, clothing, and the seats of airplanes and trains. At night, they crawl out of cracks and crevices to feed on the blood of the soundly sleeping. These painless attacks generally go undetected until a skin rash appears.

Don’t miss out on, well deserved, sleep! Know what to do to stay bed bug free. http://www.pestworld.org/all-things-bed-bugs/bed-bug-prevention/tips-for-travelers/

Think you might have Bed Bugs? Need do-it-yourself tips,? Take a look at this informative site: http://www.corkyspest.com/bedbugs/

Let us know if you have questions about bed bugs and their control.

Have you had experience with bed bugs while traveling or when you’ve gotten home? Help others by sharing your stories.