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.
May 14, 2013
Color:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Varies; Pale brown with whitish stripes across abdomen
Legs:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 6
Shape:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Narrow Oval
Size:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1/4-3/8″
Antennae:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yes
Region:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Found throughout U.S.
One of the best known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil and can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days.
Female mosquitoes feed on humans for their blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar. This pest is most active from dusk to dawn and will fly up to 14 miles for a blood meal.
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water sources such as storm drains, old tires, children’s wading pools, and birdbaths.
Mosquitoes are well-known to spread diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria, and dengue fever.
Due to the health risks posed by mosquitoes, it is important that you do not attempt to control this pest on your own. Remain vigilant and if you suspect mosquito activity around your home, contact Pest Ops so your pest problem can be handled professionally. To schedule an appointment click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Color:Black, with areas of very bright red, orange, yellow or white
Shape: Females – wingless, ant-like; Males – winged, wasp-like
Size: 1/8″ 7/8″ (3-23 mm)
Region: Found throughout U.S.
The common name of “velvet ant” is misleading because velvet ants are actually wasps. They get the velvet part of their name from the very fuzzy females, which are wingless and often brightly colored. Various species of cow killer ants are found throughout the United States.
Female velvet ants dig into the nesting chambers of ground-nesting bees and wasps and lay their eggs on the larvae inside. When the immature velvet ant is born, it eats its host and then spins its cocoon within the pupal case of its host.
Female cow killer ants are typically seen running somewhat erratically on the ground, especially on bare or sandy areas in the warm summer months. They occasionally enter structures for insect prey. Males are often found on flowers, although some species are nocturnal.
Female velvet ants have a very potent sting that has earned them the nickname “cow-killer.” Male velvet ants lack a stinger but have wings.
Due to the threats posed by velvet ants, it is important that you do not attempt to control this pest on your own. Remain vigilant and if you suspect velvet ant activity around your home, contact Pest Ops so your pest problem may be dealt with professionally. To schedule an appointment click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Color:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Black with a white pattern on most of the face
Legs:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 6
Shape:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Long, wasp-like
Size:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1/2 â€“ 5/8â€ (12-15mm); queen 3/4â€ (18 – 20mm)
Antennae:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yes
Region:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Found throughout U.S.
This atypically large black-and-white relative of the yellow jacket gets its common name from its white face. It is named a hornet because of its large size and aerial nest.
Bald-faced hornets are social insects, although not true hornets. They live in colonies that may contain between 100-400 members at their peak. They usually appear in late summer.
Bald-faced hornets build paper nests at least three or more feet off of the ground, usually in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds or other structures. They are found throughout the United States, Canada and north into Alaska.
Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. This makes bald-faced hornet removal somewhat difficult. They have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Their stings also carry venom that makes the stings hurt, itch, or swell for about 24 hours. Humans are at the same risk of allergic reactions from a bald-faced hornet stings as with other insect stings.
Due to the threats posed by bald-faced hornets, it is important that you do not attempt to control this pest on your own. Remain vigilant and if you suspect hornet activity around your home, call Pest Ops to schedule an inspection. To schedule an appointment click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Wasp, Hornet, Yellow jacket, and Bee Prevention and Treatment Tips
With the start of summer comes the appearance of common stinging insects, such as bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets, and the various related health risks that range from irritating but relatively harmless stings to the threat of serious allergic reaction. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) stresses that when it comes to stinging insects, the best way to avoid the associated health risks is to practice simple prevention and treatment tips.
â€œItâ€™s important to understand what we can do to mitigate the health problems these stinging insects present,â€ said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA. â€œFor most people, painful stings typically result in swelling and local soreness, but 3 percent of the population experience more widespread allergic reactions, like rashes and hives, and extreme cases can result life threatening symptoms like shortness of breath.â€
Stinging insects are beneficial in that they pollinate plants and flowers and eat other harmful pests, but they also dole out painful stings and cause people anxiety about being stung. While in reality, bees and yellow jackets rarely sting unless provoked, more aggressive species like wasps can sting in painful attacks if they feel threatened.
The NPMA offers the following tips when dealing with stinging insects:
- If one lands on your skin, resist the urge to swat and instead gently blow on it.
- If stung, remove the stinger, clean the area with soap and cold water, and apply ice. Benadryl and hydrocortisone ointment may also help calm the reaction.
- Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath, or drop in blood pressure, call 911.
- If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.
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.
As the weather warms, pet owners nationwide are bracing themselves for flea and tick season. If you have ever dealt with a flea infestation, you know how important it is to protect your pets from these pesky critters. If you haven’t faced fleas and ticks, consider this a helpful warning.
“Pet owners should take special care to protect their pets from ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes this season,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “These pests are not just an annoyance, but could pose serious health threats to your pet and your family.”
Indeed, these small bugs are no small concern. Fleas, for example, are known for biting, leaving behind itchy, red bumps that cause Fido to scratch excessively. Flea saliva can also cause conditions such as anemia and flea allergy dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms.
“Fleas are known for their quick breeding capabilities, and a tiny few on your pet can quickly turn into hundreds in your home if left unchecked,” says Henriksen.
Ticks can be equally as hazardous to family pets. Female ticks can attach near a pet’s spinal cord, causing “tick paralysis.” The condition causes muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and, in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed. And as dogs are more likely than humans to pick up ticks while outdoors, they are more likely to contract Lyme disease.
Mosquitoes also pose a threat to dogs as several species can be vectors of heartworm parasites, which are deposited as the mosquito feeds on the animal. Each year, thousands of dogs become disabled or die from problems caused by heartworm disease.
The NPMA recommends these tips to help reduce your pet’s exposure to fleas and ticks:
- Check pets frequently for ticks, fleas, and flea dirt. Be aware of excessiveÂ scratching, licking, and nibbling behavior in pets.
- Avoid walking the dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater chance of fleas hitchingÂ a ride.
- Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing brushy vegetation along the edge of the woodsÂ or a trail. Check pets after a walk near or in such areas.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Frequently wash pet bedding, collars, and plush toys.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors, and furniture frequently. Empty vacuum bagsÂ in an outside receptacle.
If you suspect your home is infested with ticks or fleas, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
Mosquitoes, known for leaving itchy red welts on their human victims, have long topped the list of warm-weather pest concerns. But this season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is reporting that mosquitoes are likely to be worse than usual, especially in many parts of the country that had an unusually warm and wet spring.
Heavier-than-normal precipitation can leave areas of standing water, which are perfect mosquito breeding grounds. This is cause for concern, as humans can contract West Nile virus (WNV), a potentially serious illness, when bitten by an infected mosquito.
What To Watch For
Symptoms of WNV infection include headache, fever, rash, muscle ache, and gastrointestinal problems. WNV infection can lead to encephalitis and meningitis, though as many as 80 percent of infected humans show no symptoms at all.
The NPMA recommends the following tips to prevent mosquito bites:
- To avoid mosquito nesting and breeding sites, eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, barrels, and other objects that can collect water. Add a fountain or drip system to birdbaths and ponds on your property to keep water fresh.
- Keep windows and doors properly screened to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Be alert when outdoors during dawn, dusk, and early evening hours, when mosquito-biting activity can peak. Also, avoid areas near water where mosquitoes gather, especially during peak activity.
- Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes, and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.
- If you’ll be spending time outdoors, wear mosquito repellent with DEET as well as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.
If you have 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: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Brown with yellow abdominal stripes and pale face
Legs: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 6
Shape: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Long, robust, wasp-like
Size: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3/4 â€“ 11/2â€ (18-38 mm)
Antennae: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yes
Region: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Found in 31 states, from the eastern seaboard west to the Eastern Dakotas and south through Iowa and Illinois to New Orleans
This hornet (also called Giant hornet) gets its common name from its introduction from Europe into the New York area in the 1800’s. European hornets are much larger than yellow jackets and unlike most stinging insects, can be active at night.
European hornets are social insects and live in colonies that may contain between 200-400 members at their peak. They usually appear in late summer. They prey on a variety of large insects such as grasshoppers, flies, yellow jackets, and honeybees. They also eat tree sap, fruit, and honeydew. European hornets are attracted to light and are known to repeatedly bang on lighted windows at night.
European hornets nest in hollow trees, barns, out buildings, hollow walls of houses, attics, and abandoned beehives. Unprotected nests are usually covered in a brown envelope made of cellulose from decayed wood.
European hornets can do a great deal of damage to trees and shrubs because they strip the bark to get to the sap. They also use the bark fiber to build their nests. They have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Hornet stings also carry venom that makes the stings hurt, itch, or swell for about 24 hours. A European hornet sting has the same risk of allergic reactions as with other insect stings.
Due to the threats posed by European hornets, it is important that you do not attempt to control this pest on your own. Remain vigilant and if you suspect hornet activity around your home, call Pest Ops to have a trained technician conduct an inspection. To schedule an appointment click here or call Pest Ops at (865) 966-0750.
May 14, 2013
- What types of pests are included in the stinging insect category?
- Are stinging insects considered public health threats?
- What time of year are stinging insects at their peak?
- Why shouldn’t homeowners try to control stinging insects without the help of a trained professional?
- What will Pest Ops do to control stinging insects?
- Can stinging insects also be a property threat?
- What can a homeowner do to avoid an unwanted encounter with a stinging insect?
- What are some tips to deal with stinging insects?
What types of pests are included in the stinging insect category?
Several pests are included in this category. The most well-known are bees, wasps, and hornets. Some species of ants, such as fire ants, are included in this category as well.
Are stinging insects considered public health threats?
Stinging insects send half a million people to the emergency room each year. Although they are not labeled as public health threats, like mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus, they are certainly dangerous. Homeowners who suspect a stinging insect infestation should not attempt to control the infestation by themselves.
What time of year are stinging insects at their peak?
Stinging insects are at their peak during the warmer summer months.
Why shouldn’t homeowners try to control stinging insects without the help of a trained professional?
Many types of stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, are social insects. They will sting to protect themselves and members of their colony. The insects give off pheromones, which cause other members of the colony to react as well. The chaotic reaction is too dangerous for a homeowner to address alone.
What will Pest Ops do to control stinging insects?
The first step in controlling any pest is to identify it correctly. There are many kinds of beneficial flies that closely resemble wasps, and there are many kinds of “solitary” wasps, such as sand wasps, which also look exactly the same as yellow jackets, but pose a lower hazard. After the type of pest is identified there are a variety of control methods that Pest Ops could take. Typically, Pest Ops uses integrated pest management (IPM) procedures to control stinging insect populations. This technique involves removing the pest’s food, water, and shelter. In the case of stinging insects, this could involve cleaning up your yard and sanitizing outdoor areas. As trained professionals, the Pest Ops team will use appropriate steps and techniques to address the particular type of infestation.
Can stinging insects also be a property threat?
Certain species of stinging insects can pose a large property threat. Carpenter bees are wood-destroying insects that can cause serious structural damage if not caught in time and properly controlled.
What can a homeowner do to avoid an unwanted encounter with a stinging insect?
Homeowners can take a clue from the professionals and practice integrated pest management to avoid stinging insects and other types of pests. Again, it is important to consult Pest Ops to address an infestation correctly.
What are some tips to deal with stinging insects?
Be aware of stinging insect nesting areas, and use extreme caution when around them. Stinging insects can build their nests in attics, crawlspaces, building corners, under gutters, and under patios or decks. Seal exterior cracks and crevices to prevent insects from entering a structure and building nests. Stinging insects are attracted to open garbage cans and exposed food. Cover all food when outdoors. Be sure to keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans and empty them regularly. When spending time outdoors, avoid excessive use of fragrances, which can attract stinging insects. If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, seek medical attention immediately.
If you are experiencing problems with stinging insects, contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment or inspection, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.
During the summer, families that embrace fun in the sun, hikes through the woods, and even running through sprinklers will be back at risk from an age old parasite: the tick. Tick season peaks at the height of summer’s heat, and the incidence of tick-borne disease follows a similar bell curve that spikes in summer months.
The black legged tick transmits Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease most often occurs in the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey; in the upper mid-western states of Wisconsin and Minnesota; and in the Western states of California and Oregon. However, the CDC showed confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 45 states in 2007.
Other, less common, tick-borne illnesses include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).
According to National Pest Management Association (NPMA) Technical Services Director Jim Fredericks, ticks are often associated with deep woods but many thrive in habitats near homes and businesses, especially where tall grass, weeds, and brush might be present.
“Ticks usually do not prefer neatly trimmed lawns but will populate gardens or overgrown areas including woods,” says Fredericks. “Pest control technicians can treat grass/vegetation near homes or businesses where people may come in contact with ticks to help protect people from illnesses like Lyme disease.”
The NPMA offers the following five tips to help protect homeowners from tick encounters this summer:
- Avoid tick habitats, if possible, such as low-growing brushy vegetation along the edge of the woods or a trail.
- Wear light-colored clothing, and tuck your pant legs into your socks and your shirt bottoms into your pants, to make ticks more readily visible.
- Apply repellents with DEET to clothing and any exposed skin.
- Check yourself thoroughly after you have been in known or potential tick-infested areas.
Ticks must be attached for more than 24 hours before they can transmit any pathogen, therefore finding and removing all ticks in a timely manner is critical to preventing disease.
If you are experiencing problems with ticks, feel free to contact Pest Ops. To schedule an appointment, click here or call (865) 966-0750.