All posts by Nancy Schaible

Gophers Survive Exploding Volcanos!

Well, we have it from the experts that even a volcanic eruption can’t discourage gophers from their daily tasks of digging hvolcano-mount-st-helens-exploding-b-woles and burrow systems and eating whatever vegetation they fancy.

The May 8th, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens ripped the top off the volcano, obliterated 235 square miles of forests, killgopher-in-lawn-2020ed 57 people,  and blanketed much of the      Pacific   Northwest in ash. What it didn’t do was take out the resident gopher population.   Pocket gophers survived underground, under the volcanic deposits, and later went on to burrow in the old forest soil.

Suddenly, Pocket Gophers became ECO Heroes, helping plants thrive again by turning up soil as they were feeding, encouraging plants to start growing, and restoring the mountain wilderness.

As much as we would like to honor these little burrowing machines, their hole digging and burrowing antics, plus voracious appetites, wreck-havoc, in our lush lawns and beautiful gardens, not to mention the ankle twisting hazards they create and their ability to destroy whole farms.

Needless-to-say, gophers are not welcome here!

Can yards and gardens be successfully saved from these hungry, destructive, digging machines?  The answer is, yes! You can try doing it yourself or you can gopher-central-2get it done hassle free by a professional.  Do-it-yourself Gopher control is a time consuming and often expensive undertaking when homeowners, property managers or anyone else, tries to face off with these subterranean nightmares.  Home remedies; smelly repellents, noise makers, Juicy Fruit gum, gas and smoke bombs, traps and the ever unsuccessful water in the hole method are mostly ineffective, take time and persistence, can pose a danger to the gopher hunter and with the price of water these days, can break the bank. gopher-reserected-2
Even when you think you have gotten rid of gophers, one will pop up as though there has been a miraculous resurrection, but it is no such thing, just a neighborhood gopher looking for new digs and finding an empty burrow in your yard.  He’s hit the jack pot!

Persistence and Professionals are the two P’s of gopher control. When you hire professionals, you save a lot of your precious, personal time and they are equipped and committed to taking on gophers with expertise and total diligence.  Gopher Control demands consistent, persistent, and timely attention and nothing less than total commitment.

Even professionals will differ in their methods of control. In Southern California, Corky’s Pest Control is a major player in the Gopher Control Business.

gopher-x-machine-and-gopher-for-blogUsing their secret weapon, Corky’s Gopher X Machine, in combination with a proven repellent and a fantastically efficient service schedule, gophers don’t have a chance.

Ants Stop Epidemics and Keep the Colony Healthy!

Whether it’s people, living in jam-packed cities or groups of social insects, ants to be crowd-of-people-1488213_640-1exact, living in teaming colonies, ants-in-a-colony-2019-3961_640disease can spread quickly among these severely dense populations.

Fighting disease seems to require the same efforts no matter what organism is being challenged.

Ant colonies are rarely stricken by epidemics and new research is explaining why. Researchers have found the secrets behind the ants’ effective disease control.

Secret number one, is keeping it clean.  Cleaning themselves, each other and their nest means that ants have a greater chance of survival. ants-on-a-branch-1230467_960_720-2 This frequent communal cleansing removes disease organisms therefore reducing exposure to deadly pathogens.

Secret number two, is some ant species use home-crafted “antibiotics” called Antimicrobials— chemical compounds that kill pathogens and boost their immunity. Ants apply these compounds to their own bodies, to their nest mates and to their nests.   Sharing these antimicrobials among the colony is an important part of the insects’ communal life.

Why don't Ants get sick? Because thay have Anti-bodies! Ha! Ha!
Why don’t Ants get sick? Because they have Anti-bodies!                                                      Ha! Ha!

An individual’s health is dependent upon the health of the colony and vice versa.

The ants’ strategy when it comes to fighting disease is reminiscent of how we humans prevent outbreaks: early action is often decisive when it comes to successfully containing epidemics.

If, however, the ants fail to cure a nest-mate, more drastic (inhumane in our view) measures are used to protect the colony. They throw the sick individuals out of the nest, preventing the spread of disease. Scientists have observed that, in most cases, only the young are forced into exile.  Adult workers seem to accept their fate and leave on their own for the good of the colony. This is an extreme form of “social distancing”.

Research indicates that the most potent antimicrobials are produced by one of the smallest ants— Solenopsis molesta,

thief-ant also known as the thief ant (which lives in some of the smallest colonies)southern-fire-ant-2 and also by the desert fire ant,, Solenopsis xyloni , whose colonies can contain hundreds of thousands of individuals.

It is crucial for any successful society to develop a means, beyond individual resistance, of controlling the spread of disease. Some of our largest cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco need to take advice from the insect world (excluding forced exile of course) and clean up the mess, take care of the masses of humanity living on the streets and reduce sickness and the spread of disease.  If ants can do it so can we!

ants-in-their-pants

If ants in their pants are in your plants, or house, or anywhere else, here is a link to get help fast. https://www.corkyspest.com/ultimate-pest-control.html

 

 

Welcome to Mosquito Season!

Spring has come and gone, now welcome to mosquito season. As you pack your bags for the beach house or the mountain campground don’t forget to pack light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and a bucket load or two of insect repellent.bestbuffettoonbyjoesanchez

How much we enjoy summer in North America depends a lot on how many mosquitoes there are waiting for us outside. Their bites are itchy and their buzzing annoying, but there’s also reason for concern; mosquitoes carrying dangerous diseases are lying in wait to use us as their next meal.

What causes mosquito populations to explode and shrink? Truthfully, it’s a combination of weather and climate — mosquitoes are very sensitive to their environment. Temperature and rainfall are two major predictors of mosquito populations, and this is for a good reason: These two factors have the greatest effect on their survival and ability to reproduce.

Mosquitoes like it warm and wet. Like most insects, mosquitoes are cold-blooded, or ectothermic.  Their body temperature closely matches the temperature of the environment (air or water) around them. If it is cold outside, they are cold. freezing-bugsIf it is warm outside, they are warm. Any time spent beyond their comfort zone can slow down or stop their development or even cause them to be injured and die.

There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes buzzing around on our planet, and a small handful of those actively feed from humans. And even then, only female mosquitoes feed on blood (required for egg production). The less intimidating males drink flower nectar.

Some mosquito species are far from being just bothersome, they carry dangerous diseases.  In North America, West Nile virus is carried by the Culex mosquito culex mosquitoand can cause serious health issues, including coma and paralysis. In tropical regions, mosquitoes are vectors of malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses.  These debilitating diseases cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.  Two of the major offenders include the, Yellow fever mosquito or Aedes aegypti and the Asian tiger mosquito known as Ades albopictus

Aedes-egyepti        Aedes-egyepti

Aedes-Albopictus

Aedes- albopictus

The most effective mosquito repellent to date, is Deet.  A repellant that contains 5 to 7 percent Deet will ward off the hungriest of mosquitoes.  Why is it so effective?  Because it tastes bad!  Researchers have found that Deet doesn’t leave a bad taste in a mosquitoes’ mouth, but on the tongue-like cells on their feet.

mosquito repellant spray

Now, when you’re outside, coated in DEET, realize this: You still smell good enough to eat. Mosquitoes still want to drink your warm, red blood.mosquito-in-red-sneekers-clipart-k5770244 But your skin tastes really, really gross…… to their feet.

UPTICK IN TICK SIGHTINGS!

Now that the parks, hiking trails, and camping areas are open, more people are hitting the back country for much needed fresh air and exercise.  What they are most likely not expecting are the denizens of the bush waiting in anticipation of breakfast, lunch, or dinner.   hiking-1811970_960_720-2

Since people haven’t been outdoors as much, and recreational areas haven’t been cleared or mowed in a while, tick habitat has increased. There has also been an increase in wildlife (the tick’s favorite mode of transportation) coming into some urban areas more during these periods while people have been staying indoors.

Ticks are something people need to be aware of year-round but especially from April through September, although as the weather ticks-on-plant-sheep-tick-4858989_960_720warms their populations swell, peaking in the summer and declining in the fall.

Ticks find their hosts or prey by hanging on to a blade of grass or leaf, with their hind legs and holding their front legs up waving in the air, waiting for something or someone to brush by so they can grab on. This behavior is known as “questing”.

Common ticks of Southern California and Diseases they may carry, include:

ticks on fingerThings to do to keep you safe from ticks:

  • Wear light-colored clothing. Light colors make ticks easier to spot.
  • Tuck your pants inside your socks. This will create a physical barrier against ticks.
  • Use insect repellent. Chemicals that repel other insects are somewhat effective against ticks, although a heavier concentration of DEET — between 30% and 40% —may be needed. Permethrin is a stronger chemical that kills and repels ticks. Products containing permethrin should be sprayed on clothes, not on the skin.mosquito repellant spray
  • When hiking, biking or just walking the dog, stay in the middle of the path (or fairway). Ticks can’t fly or jump, so they can only get on you if you come into contact with the kind of environment they live in: moist, often shady, wooded areas, with leaves, low-lying plants, and shrubs.
  • The Sun is your friend. Ticks don’t do well in dry, open areas. Lawn furniture and playground equipment should be set back from the edge of wooded, shady areas. If you’re picnicking, pick a spot on well-tended lawn or open ground.
  • Inspect yourself and your children (and your pets), especially the legs and groin. Ticks usually get picked up on the lower legs and then climb upward in search of a meal. The likelihood of contracting tick-borne diseases decreases if a tick is removed immediately, and there’s no risk if it’s still crawling around.
  • Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)
  • Remove tick friendly conditions in your yard by eliminating tall grass and weeds, trimming shrubs and low branches, as well as raking and removing leaves. Thin out thick vegetation, let the sun in. Ticks love moist shady areas. Avoid over-watering.
  • Prevent ticks on animals by using tick control products to prevent tick-on-dog-paw-animal-4907434_960_720family pets from bringing ticks onto the property and into the home. Consult your veterinarian and be sure to use these products according to the package instructions.
  • Consider using a chemical control agent in your yard. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks.

Would you like to know how to safely remove a tick? Here is a link to detailed instructions for tick removal.  tick-after-feeding-482613_960_720-2https://globallymealliance.org/about-lyme/prevention/tick- removal/

IT’S NOT JUST PEOPLE CROSSING OUR BORDERS!

 

Border Crossings are happening every day, and it’s not just people looking for a better life.

Humans, animals, fish, insects, plants and diseases (bacteria and viruses) cross our borders on a regular basis and have been since borders were established.  Non-native species have been making themselves at home and making short work of available resources putting native species at risk.

Human activity such as trade and tourism has provided the means and opportunities for the unwanted establishment of new species into California and the whole of the United States.

travel-3685042_640-1Planes, Trains, Boats, Trucks, Automobiles and People are being used as convenient vessels for the smuggling of non-native species.

New organisms may be accidental hitch hikers in cargo, or they may be deliberately smuggled into California. Rapid transportation, especially air travel (i.e., hours on a plane as opposed to days, weeks, or months on a boat), makes it likely many hitch hikers will survive long distance journeys.rat-in-rain-with-suitcase

Invasive species are non-native animals, microbes, or plants that cause economic, environmental and, or health problems.

These are a few of the invaders that have crossed our borders:

Red-eared Slider
Red-eared Slider

Pathogens are crossing from animals to humans, and many are now able to spread quickly to new places, crossing all borders. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that three-quarters of “new or emerging” diseases that infect humans originate in nonhuman animals. A few, like COVID-19, which emerged last year in Wuhan, China,  MERS, which is linked to camels in the Middle East, and H1N1 or Swine flu, that had it’s initial outbreak in central Mexico are new to humans and spreading globally. They do not recognize borders.

Prevention and early detection are the most effective and cheapest methods of dealing with invasive species. Early detection and response are necessary to prevent infestations and control costs from reaching unmanageable levels.

You, might just be the biggest weapon mankind has against the spread of invasive species.  Here’s what you can do.  

  • Verify that the plants you are buying for your yard or garden are not invasive.
  • When boating, clean your boat thoroughly before transporting it to a different body of waterClean your boots!
  • Clean your boots before you hike in a new area to get rid of hitchhiking weed seeds and pathogens.our boots!
  • Don’t “pack a pest” when traveling. Fruits and vegetables, plants, insects and animals can carry pests or become invasive themselves.
  • Don’t move wood-pilefirewood (it can harbor forest pests), clean your bags and boots after each hike, and throw out food before you travel from place to place.
  • Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild.
  • Practice good hygiene
    Washing Hands
    Washing Hands

    and the safe handling of food, animals and other materials.

  •  You can even volunteer with The Nature Conservancy. Volunteer at your local park, refuge   or other wildlife area to help remove invasive species.
  • Help educate others about the threat.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Rat Infestations. Now What!

A perfect storm of residential rat invasions has been created by the coronavirus-4914028_960_720Covid-19 pandemic.  People are producing more food waste at home, now that restaurant trash generation has decreased. Streets are emptier, so normally skittish rats are more likely to go exploring. According to experts rats can cover two to three (or more if they are really hungry) city blocks easily in one night. They are able to travel out of the city  or business districts and into people’s yards and homes.

No neighborhood is safe. Contrary to popular thought,rats-2-cute rats are not just an urban problem or a companion to poverty. Rats do not discriminate. Their hunting grounds include: residential homes, mansions, estates, apartments, businesses, hotels, just about everywhere a human being lives.

Instituting an anti-rat program is essential to keeping rats and the destruction they cause and the diseases (salmonella, rat-bite fever, Murine Typhus, Leptospirosis, etc.)  they carry, away from your home. Seal gaps under doors or other entrance points into your home. Make sure your trash stays in tightly sealed, lirat-in-trash-bag-2dded bins.  Avoid keeping yard debris, like leaf piles or construction materials around the house.  Clutter is a rats best friend.  It gives them a safe place to live and raise their young.

Know the signs of rat infestation. Look for droppings and gnaw marks. Check around dense vegetation or shrubs, (rats like to dig burrows in areas with heavy ground cover). Keep your eye out at night, that’s when  rats are most likely to be active.

closed-restaurantIf our challenges now aren’t enough, rodent experts worry about what will happen when the country starts to reopen. Biologists warn that people could face nasty surprises when they return to workplaces where rats have had months to flourish unmolested. Especially worrisome are closed restaurants, which, even if they were rodent-free in February, might not pass rat inspections when the businesses are opened later in the year.

The coronavirus pandemic has everyone worried.  Raising awareness and sharing expert tips can help keep rats at bay.

If you have a current concern about a rat infestation, don’t wait.  Contact a pest control professional.  They are open for business and ready to help get rid of rats.  Don’t worry, pest control is a non-contact, essential business.  Call now.

Ride-em Cowgirl! Welcome to the Rodeo of the Queens!

As industrious and hard working as the ant has been lauded to be, it has it’s own freeloaders and lazy, opportunistic individuals.lazy-ant-in-color-on-hamock

Introducing the “Rodeo Ant”. This shiny, little reddish ant belongs to the species, Solenopsis, and is appropriately named, because it rides on the back of larger individuals (different ant species) and steals food and leaves it’s offspring (eggs) to be tended by it’s larger rides workers.

Two new rodeo ant species, recently described by University of Texas at Austin entomologists appear to be parasites, stealing food from their mounts and tricking them into babysitting the rider’s eggs.  These lazy cowgirls just hang on, by their teeth, until their ride wanders back to the established nest, then hops off, makes itself at home and begins steeling food and depositing eggs where the colony’s workers will tend and raise up the young. It is thought that these rodeo rider ants are accepted by the invqueen-ant-and-her-courtaded colony’s workers because they match their hosts in hairiness, textures and smell, blending in and going undetected.

These female rustlers are not your typical ant.  They are solitary queens living a solitary life, unlike the majority of ant queens, that hold dominion over a large colony of workers, that forage for food, guard their home and tend to her royal highness’s eggs.

red-ant-head-and-open-mandibles-2The little riders hang on with mouthparts that have evolved a tight fit around the waist of a larger species’ queen. The smaller hangers-on are queens themselves, and workers and males of this species have yet to be discovered.

So Queen-on-Queen rodeos let this tinier parasitic queen skip all the costs of creating her own “Queendom” and just live off food scammed from the bigger queen’s colony.

Rampaging Roaches Becoming Almost Impossible to Kill!

superroachIt’s the German cockroach that is now being dubbed the “Superbug” of the insect world.  These tiny roaches are swift, prolific and love to live right up close and personal with human beings.

 

Blattella germanica, better known as the German cockroach, is developing resistance to a range of cockroaches-and-bug-spray-3759665_1280pesticides.  This inborn resistance is making them nearly impossible to kill and is making their extermination an ongoing exercise in fighting nature’s ability to adapt.  What’s really scary, is this cross resistance, to a range of toxic pesticides, is happening in just one generation.  German roach offspring are being born alcockroaches-big-and-smallready resistant to toxins that they haven’t directly been exposed to.

Researchers are now saying that because of this inborn resistance, these roaches will be almost impossible to kill with pesticides alone. Ridding homes of these superbugs will require a strategy that combines insecticides with a combination of mechanical strategies, including, improved sanitation, traps, and the implementation of the vacuum tcockroach-sticky-trapso suck up the hordes.  This multi- faceted approach is far more effective than pesticides alone.

Why are we so concerned with the extermination of these little menaces? Besides being a psychological stresser in some people (causing fear and panic), these roaches spread disease causing bacteria and their feces and shed body parts carry allergens that activate allergic reactions and asthma.

Getting rid of these superbugs is now requiring superhuman effort and our researchers and pest control professionals are gearing up for the job.

German Roach Facts: 

  1. Out of 4000 species of cockroaches worldwide, the German cockroach is the most common species.
  2. German cockroaches eat almost anything; hair, glue, soap, and even toothpaste. They are most fond of starches, sweets, meats, breads, gravies, and almost any other human or pet food.
  3. Female cockroaches protect their eggs by putting them into a thick protective case that is called an oothecal. One female German cockroach can place 40 eggs in one oothecal.  These egg cases are not susceptible to most pesticides.
  4. One female roach can theoretically produce hundreds of thousands of cockroaches in just one year.
  5. Newly born German cockroaches become adults in about 36 days.s
  6. Because they’re cold blooded, cockroaches can live without food for one month but only one week without water.
  7. They can also live about a month without a head.  cockroach-headless-cockroach-bleached-stillThey breath through small holes in their body segments  so they do not depend on their mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because without a mouth it can’t drink, so it dies of thirst.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2020 IS THE YEAR OF THE RAT!

According to the 2020 Chinese Zodiac calendar, the Lunar New Year starts on Saturday, January 25th and ends on February 11th, 2021. It is the 4717th Chinese New Year and the Rat is it’s representative.

Related image

The Rat is the first sign from the 12 animal cycle and is considered to be the bringer of new beginnings and renewals.

So what does the Rat symbolize?  Strong Vitality and Fertility.

rats-2-cuteIn ancient times, the Rat was worshiped as a god and was offered sacrifices to ensure increased success and prosperity. Even today, in some cultures, Rats are revered and believed to be the reincarnation of deceased ancestors.

Feeding time for the ancestors at the Karni Mata Mandir Rat Temple in Deshnoke, India.
Feeding time for the ancestors at the Karni Mata Mandir Rat Temple in Deshnoke, India.

When it comes to the rat communicating with God, we can get a basic idea of how ancients looked at the rat by examining dream interpretations. Everyone has dreams, so is it lucky or unlucky if you dream about rats?rat-black-on-human-hands-photo-1474626575059-17c42b4e7bd0

Emperor Wen of the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC–221 BC) interpreted dreams about rats, as follows:

  1. If you dream about a rat, you could have many enemies.
  2. If you dream of many rats, you will continually fail.
  3. If married women dream of house rats in their hands, they are going to have a baby.
  4. If you dream of pursuing a rat, you will make friends with those who are dishonest.
  5. If you dream of catching a rat, you will suffer treacherous plots planned by others.
  6. If you dream of a cat catching a rat, you will be blessed because your enemies will be weakened from killing each other.
  7. If you dream about dead rats, you will be lucky.

 

rat-laying-down-in-kitchenLets go with the dreaming of many dead rats!

It has nothing to do with dreaming when you hear the pitter, patter of tiny feet (or the thunder of many feet) in the attic at night or see nasty rat droppings around the house.  You are wide awake! Luck is on your side as professional rat control companies are ready to help you get rid of rats and keep them gone.  Follow this link to view tips for keeping rats off your property and out of your house.

Here are some famous personalities, besides Master Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Rizzo the Rat (Sesame Street)  and Ben (the rat leader of a swarm of rats trained by Willard Stiles in the movie Willard) born in the year of the Rat.

George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Wolfgang Mozart, William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, Catherine I, Mata Hari, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Avril Lavigne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alyssa Milano, Ben Affleck, Eminem, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson, Katherine McPhee, Kelly Osbourne, Denise Richards, Mandy Moore, Diego Armando Maradona, Zinedine.Yazid.Zidane, Du Fu (a famous Chinese poet in the Tang Dynasty 618 – 907), Zhuangzi (an influential Chinese Taoist philosopher in the Warring States Period 475 – 221 BC)

Is Your Personal Vehicle a Traveling Pest Hotel ?

Vehicles, cars, camper-vans, buses and trucks, provide many pests with a warm dry environment that often contains food. Vehicles can also provide these pests with transport, spreading the pests to wherever the vehicle travels.

Pests such as ants, spiders, fleas, roaches and rodents (rats and mice) can infest vehicles in the same way they infest homes.

Cavities in vehicles can provide warm dry places for ants to build nests and they will often find food dropped in the vehicle.

spider-web-on-carSpiders find the gaps around wing mirrors and door jams the perfect places to hide and build webs around mirrors and other parts on the vehicle.Rat yelling

Rodents will nest in cars left parked for long periods and may do significant damage to vehicle wiring and upholstery (not to mention the stink when they die in the vehicle).

Another pesky creature that can invade vehicles is the dreaded Bed Bug.

Bed bugs inbed-bug-engorgedvade cars and other forms of transportation.  They are hitchhikers extraordinaire! These many legged creatures sneak into vehicles via clothing, purses, boxes and cartons, luggage and even books and stuffed animals. They love clutter and choose living near a convenient host,You!

Other insects and even small animals can infest vehicles and are usually attracted because of something stored in the vehicle.

Here are a few tips for keep invading pests out of your vehicles.

  • Keep it Clean! –washing-carBe sure to keep your vehicle clean and remove clutter on a regular basis. This is the best way to deter pests from making themselves at home. Clean the outside too. Don’t forget to wash the undercarriage, wheel wells and under the hood. Your wheels are a critters bridge from the road into the vehicle.
  • Use a power vacuum – Make sure to keep your carpets and mats super clean! If you don’t have a good strong vacuum, use the pay-per-use vacuums at a gas station or car wash.
  • Shampoo –Shampoo or steam clean carpets and other fabrics.
  • Natural repellents – Making a solution of vinegar and lemon or vanilla is a great way to keep bugs and spiders away.  Just wipe surfaces with a 50/50 solution. There are other herbs that also turn away unwanted visitors, such as eucalyptus. Always test the surface to be treated first to make sure the solution doesn’t do any harm.
  • Insecticide – Always follow the label instructions and employ recommended safety measures. Once the vehicle is all clean, spray a little under each floor mat; just spraying-cockroachenough to keep insects away but not to overpower you with its smell or fumes. If you keep your car outside, spray around the perimeter of your vehicle.

If you know or suspect you have an infestation on your hands, be aware that a DIY approach will not always provide a successful solution. Professional pest exterminators should be consulted to provide accurate identification, and proper and successful control methods.