As common summer insects like bees, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, ants, and others settle in for the season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers Americans a guide to other less known invaders that can put a damper on summer fun.
Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) â€” First found in Alabama in 1930, RIFAs were brought here from South America. Without natural predators in the U.S., RIFAs have thrived, expanding into at least 14 southern states. RIFAs are aggressive and are known to swarm and sting humans and animals when their mound-like nests are disturbed. Homeowners should seal internal and external crevices to prevent entry indoors.
Asian Tiger Mosquito â€” Originating from Southeast Asia, the Asian Tiger Mosquito is now found in the eastern, Midwestern, and southern states. While small, its bite is more irritable than common mosquito bites, and unlike most breeds, it prefers to feed throughout the day. It’s also known to spread several diseases, including Dengue, West Nile virus, and Japanese Encephalitis. People can protect themselves by using repellants and removing containers that collect water.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug â€” Likely brought to the U.S. from Eastern Asia, stink bugs were first found in Pennsylvania in 1998. Prevalent in the Northeast, they have also been reported in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and South. They aren’t harmful to people and property, but as their name implies, produce an odor when crushed. Homeowners should remove them with a vacuum cleaner and promptly empty the bag so the smell doesn’t permeate the area.
Africanized “Killer” Bees â€” Introduced to the U.S. in 1990 and first found in southern Texas, these vicious stingers are usually found in Southern states. Although their venom is no more dangerous than those of regular honeybees, their tendency to attack in greater numbers poses greater danger to humans. Only pest professionals or beekeepers should address infestations.
If you need your home to be inspected, a pest identified, or an infestation treated, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Bed bugs may have evolved when a close relative, the bat bug, switched to feeding off cave-dwelling humans. Bed bugs probably received their common name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. These pests have also been called “red coats,” “mahogany flats,” and “wall-lice.”
Bed bugs have been a household pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades.
Then DDT came along. DDT seemed wonderful at the time due to its effectiveness in eliminating pests. Unlike most of the insecticides sold in stores today, DDT had a lasting effect: a long residual effect. Insects died when they crawled where DDT was used, even if it had been there for weeks. Though most homeowners used DDT for large pests like cockroaches, it killed bed bugs too. When the bed bugs came out to feed, the DDT was there to kill them.
Modern furnishings and appliances also helped reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs donâ€™t care if a home is clean or messy; they just like good hiding spots and food. When modern furniture came into style, bed bugs had fewer hiding spots. Home appliances such as washing machines and vacuums also helped keep them at bay.
By the mid 1970â€™s, insecticides like DDT, which were blamed for environmental problems, were declining in popularity. The pest control industry began to use the environmentally friendly approaches that are common today. Using non-insecticide traps and monitors, blocking entry into homes, and using pest-specific, least-toxic insecticides became the staples of an integrated pest management approach.
Bed bugs were a rarity in America from the early 1950â€™s through the late 1990â€™s. A whole generation of people grew up who had never even seen one before.
Several factors led to the resurgence of bed bugs beginning in the late 1990’s; increased international travel, more targeted pest control products and methods, and a lack of public awareness about pest prevention methods.
These pests cause many problems and infestations can quickly spread. If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops at 865-966-0750 or click here.
Though they have long been a pest that causes one of the strongest reactions when discovered in a home or place of business, the health threats posed by cockroaches often don’t factor into the disgust felt at encountering them. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) cautions, however, that cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks, in addition to other serious health hazards.
The saliva, droppings, and decomposing bodies of cockroaches contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children. They are also capable of mechanically transmitting disease organisms, such as the bacteria that cause food poisoning, and are known to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.
“When people think of cockroaches, they definitely don’t have a pleasant association, but they may not fully realize the severity of the effects cockroaches can have on their health,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “We want to educate consumers about what they can do to avoid and eliminate these pests before being exposed to these risks.”
Cockroaches prefer warm, moist places with available food sources, so eliminating those attractive environments can help prevent cockroach infestations. NPMA offers the following tips to avoid cockroach infestations:
- Do not allow dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink and remain there overnight
- Keep food scraps in the refrigerator or in containers with tight-fitting lids
- Remove garbage from the home on a routine basis and vacuum regularly
- Periodically check and clean the evaporation pan under the refrigerator or freezer
- Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest entryways
If you suspect you have an infestation, contact Pest Ops to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners of the ongoing caution necessary when dealing with increased mosquito populations across the United States.Â Although the itchy welts of mosquitoes are associated with summer, these pests flourish well into the fall months and can transmit a multitude of diseases, notably West Nile virus (WNV).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more that 29,000 people in the U.S. have been infected with WNV since 1999, with 11,760 of those cases resulting in serious illness.
“Although mosquitoes are considered a summer pest, these pests thrive in the fall,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Many homeowners do not realize that mosquitoes will remain active until temperatures drop below 60 degrees, which in most regions of the United States does not occur until late fall. Therefore, homeowners must be on-guard for conducive mosquito conditions and proactive in eliminating such breeding grounds. “This can minimize the serious health risks associated with mosquitoes, including West Nile virus.”
NPMA offers these proactive tips for homeowners to prevent mosquito infestations on their property:
- Eliminate stagnant water that can collect on your property, as this can create a mosquito breeding ground.
- Pay attention to pool covers, birdbaths, and flowerpots that accumulate water.
- Remove debris from gutters to prevent water collection.
- Wear protective clothing and use insect repellent when outdoors.
- If possible, stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are at peak activity.
If concerned about a mosquito infestation on your property, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Color: Usually red, black, or a combination of red and black
Region: Throughout U.S., most common in the North
Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
All species of carpenter ants mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.
Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood, or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. Carpenter ants will enter the house through wet, damaged wood.
Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.
Inspecting for and identifying carpenter ants require expertise. As a licensed pest management company, Pest Ops can help save your home from structural damage due to a carpenter ant invasion. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Ant Infestations are on the Rise, National Pest Management Association Survey Reveals
“Exploring America’s #1 Nuisance Pest,” conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Dr. Laurel Hansen of Spokane Falls Community College and Washington State University, has found that ant infestations are on the rise across the country. The study, which surveyed U.S. pest professionals, found that 100 percent of respondents treated ant infestations in the past year, and that the most prevalent species found were carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants.
“Ants have long been a nuisance pest, but the prevalence of carpenter ants is especially concerning. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood and nest inside homes, which can compromise a property’s structural stability.” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Fortunately, our survey also shows that pest professionals have great success in treating ant infestations of all kinds through Integrated Pest Management, which utilizes a three-part practice of inspection, identification, and treatment.”
Here are several key highlights from “Exploring America’s #1 Nuisance Pest”:
- Every participating professional treated ant infestations in 2011. Most treated several hundred infestations, while some treated many more. Carpenter ants (66%), odorous house ants (62%), and pavement ants (59%) were treated most often. Infestations were most common in office buildings (88%), restaurants (83%), apartments and condos (82%), and single-family homes (80%).
- Ant infestations are on the rise. More than 5 out of 10 (54%) of pest professionals report ant infestations are growing. Reasons include an increase in moisture (27%), changing pest control practices (22%), and new species (44%).
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) works. While one out of three pest professionals (33%) considers ants to be the most difficult pest to control, nine out of ten agree that IPM is an effective method of controlling ants. IPM is a process involving common sense and sound solutions. The most popular include clearing shrubs and other vegetation from the base of a structure (82%) and cleaning up crumbs and spills whenever possible (81%).
If you are experiencing problems with ants, contact Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750 or click here to schedule an appointment.
May 14, 2013
Color: Dark reddish brown
Shape: Segmented; oval
Region: Southern United States, from Maryland to Texas, California, and New Mexico
Red imported fire ants nest in soil and build mound nests. They can infest garages.
These red ants will build large mound nests and will sting humans who come across a nest.
Red imported fire ants will build their nest mounds outdoors in landscape areas or near a structural foundation. The fire ant will gain entry to a building through holes or cracks.
The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by a red imported fire ant receives multiple painful stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely.
Due to the threat posed by red imported fire ants, do not attempt to control this pest on your own. The trained professionals at Pest Ops will be able to handle any problems you may be having with fire ants. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Every spring, millions of Americans plan vacations during their annual Spring Breaks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds those travelers that the best way to prevent pests like mosquitoes and bed bugs from ruining their trips is through preparation and awareness.
“Everyone looks forward to escaping to warmer climates during Spring Break,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “However, many travelers forget that whether visiting the tropics or cities in the US, they must be vigilant to avoid bringing pest-related illnesses and issues home with them.”
While bites may seem inevitable, mosquitoes can leave behind more than just an itchy welt. Travelers in tropical areas are susceptible to contracting mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus and Dengue Fever, both reportedly on the rise in the US as well as South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands.
Travelers must also take steps to prevent bed bugs from hitching rides home with them in luggage and clothing. The 2011 Bugs Without Borders survey found a significant increase in the prevalence of bed bugs in public places, including hotels, motels, and college dorms.
To remain pest-free both during and after Spring Break, NPMA offers the following tips:
- Use insect repellant containing EPA-registered active ingredients like DEET or Picaridin.
- Limit time outdoors or wear long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- If bitten by a mosquito, clean the area thoroughly, avoid scratching, and apply anti-itch cream.
- To inspect a hotel room for bed bugs, pull back bed sheets, inspect mattress seams, box springs, headboards, sofas, and chairs for telltale brownish or reddish spots, shed skins, or bugs.
- Avoid putting luggage on beds or upholstered furniture and store it in a plastic bag.
- Once home, inspect and vacuum suitcases before bringing them inside. Wash and dry all clothes on hot.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs or mosquitoes, contact Pest Ops to avoid spreading them and to eradicate the infestation. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.
The late summer and early fall are popular times to spend outdoors at barbeques or completing home maintenance projects. But it’s also the season that stinging insects including yellow jackets, wasps, and Africanized “killer” bees are most active and aggressive, leading to an increased number of stings. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that more than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year due to insect stings and reminds people to take caution to protect themselves this season.
“By the late summer, stinging insect colonies can contain upwards of 4,000 members,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Most species are busy preparing their queen for the winter ahead, and, therefore, are more aggressive than earlier in the season.”
One of the most common stinging insects is the yellow jacket, which build nests on tress and buildings as well as in the ground. Yellow jackets can sting several times, although they are not normally aggressive unless their nest is threatened. Wasps, however, are known for their unprovoked aggression. They commonly nest on ceiling beams in attics, garages, and sheds. Africanized “killer” bees are often confused with honeybees, but their venom is more dangerous and the species is known for attacking in large numbers if their nest is threatened. They can nest in strange places such as tires and empty cars.
NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding stinging insects:
- Wear shoes when outdoors, especially in grassy areas.
- Keep windows and doors screened.
- Keep garbage in sealed receptacles.
- Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
- If stung, seek immediate medical attention as reactions can be severe.
If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your property, contact Pest Ops to rid your property of these unwanted pests and to prevent future infestations. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
When students return to college campuses nationwide, many arrive with memories of summer travel as well as some essential secondhand furniture including mattresses, futons, dressers, and more. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), this combination poses serious concerns, as there has been a 71% increase in reports of bed bugs since 2001. While termed bed bugs, these nocturnal pests, when introduced to new environments, can spread quickly to infest sofas, chairs, picture frames, and other staples of college dorm decor.
“Bed bugs are opportunistic and elusive pests,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “As students return from summers filled with travel which is often viewed as a central reason for this pests’ resurgence and arrive with dorm furniture that can have an unknown history, university facility managers must proactively encourage student vigilance against bed bugs and work closely with licensed pest professionals to keep these pests at bay.”
NPMA offers these important tips to help prevent bed bugs from taking up residence in college dorms:
- Fully inspect your suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if you have traveled during the summer. Be sure that any clothes that may have been previously packed in the suitcase have been washed in hot water.
- Before putting your sheets on your dormitory bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs. If you see anything suspect, immediately contact a university facility manager.
- If you are considering bringing “secondhand” furniture to campus, properly inspect it to insure that a pest problem, such as bed bugs, is not the reason for its “secondhand” status. If you see anything suspect, do not bring it to campus.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops to avoid spreading them and to eradicate the infestation. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.