A Bite-Free Fourth of July: Avoiding Mosquitoes in Idaho
Mosquitoes: These pests ruin your outdoor fun throughout the summer in Idaho. But there’s no worse time than the Fourth of July, when you’re out enjoying a cookout with family only to get bitten. Mosquitoes are active from dawn until dusk, taking breaks during the day as they rest on the tips of grass blades and shrubbery. Idaho has one of the most abundant populations of the pests in the entire country, making it vital that you take care of them before they take over.
Tips to Prevent Mosquitoes
Perform regular lawn maintenance.
Tall grass and weeds attract mosquitoes by the mile. In fact, they use weedy areas for resting during the hottest parts of the day. Mow your grass to a short length at least once every two weeks to take away their resting … Read More »
Spiders in Idaho: Their Interesting Impact on Gardens
They may be many-legged and skittery, but spiders have their good side. In some circles, they’re even known as a gardener’s best friend. Those who love green stuff have a favorable view of arachnids because the critters dine on the insects that eat plants. Not only do they consume pests, but they also leave your green stuff alone, making them an acceptable outside guest. So, the consensus says it’s fine to have spiders around in small numbers – as long as they stay outside, of course.
How Exactly Are Spiders Helpful in the Garden?
You’re probably thinking to yourself right now, “Why would I ever be okay having spiders around?” But if you have a spider or two in your outdoor spaces in Idaho, that’s not exactly a bad thing: They’ll protect you and your … Read More »
The Silent Destroyer: Termites in Twin Falls
The summer brings more than warm temperatures to Twin Falls, ID. It also brings termites out to play. These pests thrive in the summer and feed on wood, consuming as much as six pounds in a single year depending on the colony’s size. They attack silently and cause damage out of sight. It pays to know the signs if you want to protect your home from termites this year.
Signs Termites Are Around
They make a lot of noise if you listen closely.
If you suspect a termite infestation, put your ear up to the wall. Soldier termites hit their heads against the wood and shake their bodies whenever danger is present. You may hear clicking sounds or even munching noises as they feed on the wood.
They leave behind wings around your home.
Termite swarms occur in the … Read More »
Cockroaches in Boise: Tips to Keep These Pests Away
Cockroaches may be creepy, but we have to hand it to them – they know how to survive. If you’re the unlucky host to a houseful of roaches, understanding how and why roaches are a problem can help you avoid them. Along with smart cockroach control treatments, Gemtek Pest Control has a few prevention tips for homes and businesses in Boise, ID.
Why Cockroaches Are a Problem
One reason cockroaches are such a common nuisance is their ability to sneak their way into almost any structure. Their bodies are built to help them squeeze through impossibly tight spaces. Cockroaches can enter through cracks smaller than their own height thanks to protective outer plates, a flexible membrane, and the ability to shift energy to where it’s needed. These additional factors contribute to their role as … Read More »
Spring Into April in Idaho with These Ant Control Tips
Ants are a common problem in Idaho homes and businesses. These creepy invaders rarely travel solo or even in small groups. Ant colonies often number in the hundreds or thousands, depending on individual ant size and the season. A super-colony was even discovered in Japan with a population of over 300 million. Whether it’s a few dozen or a few thousand, we’ve never met anyone for whom an ant colony is a welcome sight. Gemtek Pest Control is here to help you with your ant problem this spring.
Why You Have an Ant Problem
The reason ants invade your home is pretty simple. Like us, they need food, water, and shelter. Your home provides refuge from predators, as well as the chilly nights, rainy days, humid spells and snowy periods we experience in … Read More »
Beware the Bites of March with Bed Bug Control in Idaho
If you’re trying to battle a bed bug infestation yourself, we have some bad news. While plenty of do-it-yourself options are available to prevent this pest and minimize bite risk, the only truly effective solution is professional bed bug control. Gemtek Pest Control explains what you can do to stop bed bugs and their itchy bites from becoming the new normal in your Idaho home or business.
About Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs are drawn to our body heat and exhaled carbon dioxide. That’s why you’ll find these bugs and their eggs on your mattress, box springs, bed frame, and bedding. They feast on our blood while we sleep, leaving our faces, necks, backs, and limbs dotted with clusters of itchy red marks by morning. While these bloodsuckers aren’t known to spread … Read More »
Bad News Birds: The Problem with Pigeons in Idaho
Whether you’ve dined al fresco at a restaurant in the city or spent time in the Idaho countryside, you’ve probably been exposed to the blue-grey, short-legged, iridescent-feathered nuisances known as pigeons. These feral birds can become more than just annoying, though. Gemtek Pest Control explains why the hazards created by urban and rural pigeon populations call for professional bird control solutions.
Pigeon Health Hazards
Pigeons aren’t just a pain; they also transmit bacteria and diseases ranging from salmonella to toxoplasmosis, a parasite causing flu-like symptoms, and cryptococcosis, a potentially deadly fungal disease. Their droppings cause these additional health concerns:
Trips and falls from slipping
Fungal growth that can result in the sometimes-fatal histoplasmosis infection
Migration of ticks, fleas, lice, mites, and other disease-carrying pests
Pigeon invasions also inflict damage on our property. Pigeon droppings are corrosive, causing buildings … Read More »
More Than Size: The Differences Between Idaho’s Mice and Rats
When they’re chewing holes in the walls of your home, you probably can’t tell the difference between rats and mice. Rats are bigger, but our Idaho rodents tend to look pretty similar to most homeowners. Surprisingly, each furry pest has its own distinctive characteristics.
They Don’t Really Look Alike
Ask a pest control professional about the differences in rats and mice, and you’ll learn that it starts with size. Rats are the heavy hitters with brown, eight-inch bodies, while mice average between one and four inches in length. Mice can be grey or brown, and both rodents have light underbellies.
A rat’s size and appearance makes it seem more intimidating. The pest has a blunt snout, short ears and a nine-inch scaly tail. The mouse’s profile isn’t as scary. Its small head sports large, … Read More »
What Happens to Meridian’s Ants During Winter?
When it’s cold enough for winter disc golf at Bear Creek Park, is it too cold for ants in Meridian, ID? You don’t see them foraging trails through your favorite picnic spots. Still, the pests seem to pop up out of nowhere every spring. How do these insects handle our cold Treasure Valley winters?
They Start by Binge Eating
We all enjoy a little more on the dinner table when the weather turns chilly. Ants react the same way, but they increase their food intake so that they can survive freezing temperatures. The ant is a cold-blooded creature, so it naturally becomes dormant once winter sets in.
In order to survive without foraging, the ant fills up on plants, seeds, and even other bugs. This eating binge makes it possible for the insect to lay low all … Read More »
Boise Termites: Barking Up the Wrong (Christmas) Tree?
With the holidays fast approaching, you probably have a to-do list as long as your arm. From planning a mouthwatering menu for your holiday feast to choosing the perfect Christmas tree, your thoughts probably run more to the festive side of winter than to pest infestations. But there’s one thought that should be on your mind all year round: termite control. Gemtek explains why these pests are a major concern for homeowners in Boise, ID.
Termites in Christmas Trees
If you can’t wait to experience the aroma and beauty of a live Christmas tree in your home, you’re not alone. But should you be worried that you might also bring a horde of termites into the house? While some termites do make their way inside live trees, most species actually prefer dead wood. However, if … Read More »
All You Need to Know About Idaho’s Spiders
If you’re no fan of spiders, you have plenty of company. With their multiple legs and fast, stealthy movements, arachnids seem to create an almost primal fear in the hearts of otherwise rational people. While most spider species found in Idaho are harmless, some are armed with painful and even dangerous bites. Gemtek Pest Control outlines the identifying characteristics and biting behaviors of some spider types commonly found here.
Dangerous Spider Varieties in Idaho
While most spiders found in North America are venomous, most either don’t have a powerful enough bite to inject venom into humans or their venom won’t cause any real harm. However, there are two common spider varieties that are aggressive or have dangerous bites. The bite of the infamous black widow can cause major swelling or difficulty breathing, while the hobo … Read More »
Halting the Hitchhikers: Avoid Bringing Idaho Bed Bugs with You
Getting away for the holidays can be both exciting and stressful. Don’t add to that end-of-year anxiety by bringing bed bugs home in your luggage. At Gemtek Pest Control, we’ve helped countless families rid bed bug infestations brought on by travel. Take our bed bug control advice to prevent having your Idaho home overrun by these invasive, bloodsucking insects.
Perform a Bed Bug Inspection
Lift the linens on your hotel bed; if you see blood spots, ask for another room. Even if you don’t find evidence of bed bug bites on the mattress, check underneath the mattress and the box springs for dark brown bed bug fecal marks. But despite their name, bed bugs don’t just live on beds. Inspect furniture seams and the bed frames with a flashlight. Look for bed bug … Read More »
Hungry Like the Wolf (Spider)
Few among us relish the sight of a spider – especially a large, furry one. And if that spider sighting happens inside the home, the creepiness factor jumps up a notch or two. Add the potential for a painful bite and allergic reaction, and the need for expert spider control becomes obvious. Gemtek Pest Control, a Western Exterminator Company, explains how to spot a wolf spider in your Boise, ID home or business – and whether you should worry.
What Does a Wolf Spider Look Like?
Part of the reason for this arachnid’s name is its wolf-like face. The average wolf spider’s body length is about half an inch, and its two-segmented body is furry and may be gray, brown, or black. Although commonly mistaken for the brown recluse, it has shorter legs and eight eyes versus the … Read More »
Out of the Cold, Into Your Home: Mice in Nampa, ID
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but mice are able to enter your home more easily than you might think. These rodents pose health and safety threats to your household, making them a major target for pest control professionals. At Gemtek Pest Control, we’ve helped countless customers rid their Nampa, ID homes of these nasty pests. Read on to learn more about why mouse control is essential for all homeowners.
Winter Mouse Behavior
As much as we would love to tell you that mice hibernate during the winter, it just isn’t true. While they do slow their breeding activities, they only do so to focus their efforts on finding temporary shelter. Unfortunately, that shelter is inside your home or business. And once they’ve settled in, they resume breeding and … Read More »
How to Stop Earwigs from Taking Over Your Home
Earwigs aren’t the monsters their pincers – and old wives’ tales – make them out to be. Contrary to popular belief, these mostly harmless creatures won’t crawl into your ears. They don’t pinch, either, as those pincher-like extensions are for mating and self-defense. Still, their presence isn’t welcomed by Sun Valley homeowners by summer’s end. Keep earwigs out of your home with these simple pest control and prevention tips.
Earwigs in Sun Valley Homes
Wherever there are sources of water, earwigs are sure to follow. These ant-like creatures crave areas that are dark and moist, making many parts of the home suitable habitats. If you have an infestation, it’s most likely in the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Dirt floor crawl spaces are also ideal locations. You won’t see them during the day, though, as … Read More »
Fall Brings Boxelder Bugs in Boise
Fall has arrived and brought crisp air and cooler temperatures to Boise, ID. The leaves have started to turn as the smell of pumpkin spice begins to fill the air in homes across the country. Fall brings with it many wonderful things, including some not-so-good pests like boxelder bugs. If you think the cool weather makes the insects turn and run, think again. The pest infestations have only just begun.
What are Boxelder Bugs Anyway?
The boxelder bug is quite common in our area and grows about 1/2 inch in length. It’s pretty easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. These pests have long, slender bodies with red lines on their backs. Some may also appear bright red in color, but they all do one thing well: feed on boxelder trees. In fact, these … Read More »
Extreme Home Takeover: Termites in Twin Falls
What you can’t see, can hurt you – or rather, your home. The hidden things within the wood can compromise your happy home. Somewhere deep in the cracks and crevices, termites could be feeding on your home’s structure. It only takes one colony to cause massive damage and to weaken homes and businesses across Twin Falls, ID. It pays to understand these invasive insects and how to best combat them before it’s too late.
Why are Termites Such a Problem?
A termite looks like an ant to the untrained eye, but this small insect causes more harm to homes and businesses than ants ever could. In fact, termite colonies cost homeowners and business owners billions in damages every year. A single colony may contain thousands of members all working together to expand and to increase their … Read More »
5 Rodents That Call Boise Home
Many homeowners live in fear of rodent infestations, and with good reason. Rats, mice, and other rodents pose risks to Idaho residents’ health, safety and finances. Protect your family with information on the most common Boise, ID rodent types from Gemtek Pest Control, a Western Exterminator Company.
The Rodent Lineup:
The common house mouse, a small brown rodent, can have up to 35 babies a year, making them even harder to contain. Named after their preferred residence, they tend to spend their time as uninvited guests in your home. They enjoy cereals and grains and usually stay within 30 feet of food sources, so seal food in airtight containers.
Deer Mice are nocturnal animals that prefer to nest outdoors. At 2.75″ to 3.25″ long, they are often confused with the house mouse. You can recognize a deer mouse … Read More »
Idaho Campers: Keep Ants Out of Your Campsite
Camping is a great way to get close to nature while bonding with friends or family. Unfortunately, setting up camp in the wild also means there’s a high likelihood you’re going to run into ants. These tips from Gemtek Pest Control, a Western Exterminator Company, make it possible to experience ant-free camping in Idaho.
This type of insect hates vinegar. While setting up camp, spray a solution of one part water and one part vinegar around the site to keep even the most persistent ants away. Another natural – and compact – option is to create a solution of 15 drops of peppermint oil and one ounce of water, placing it at potential ant entry points.
Campsite Pest Control
Prevent these pesky bugs from crawling on you while sleeping or sitting around the campfire. Douse … Read More »
How to Get Rid of Bees in Meridian
Summertime brings sunshine, beautiful weather, and loads of recreational opportunities. From backyard barbecues to hiking trips, this is the time for outdoor fun. If there’s one thing that can bring good times to a screeching halt, though, it’s a bee sting. Stop bees from ruining your time in the great outdoors in Meridian, ID with these tips from Gemtek Pest Control.
Avoid Being Perceived as a Threat
Use unscented soaps and lotions to keep the bee population at bay. These stinging insects are attracted to perfumes and sweet scents, but they’re also drawn to the smell of sweat. Anything that makes a bee think you’re a bear, from body odor to dark clothing, makes you seem like a threat. If you have dark hair, cover it with a hat or scarf.
Stay Away from Bee-Friendly Clothing
The … Read More »
Idaho Spiders: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
The sight of spiders makes most cringe. Worse yet, we wonder if they crawl on us as we sleep. Although many of us fear them, they’re an essential part of the ecosystem. Many varieties are not dangerous, just unpleasant to look at. However, the danger comes in not knowing whether a spider is harmless or venomous. Gemtek Pest Control, a Western Exterminator Company is here to help you eliminate spider hazards in your Boise, ID home or business.
It may be difficult to consider if you see one scurrying across the floor, but these arachnids offer valuable services. They provide natural pest control by eating cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes and a host of other potentially harmful insects. A benign spider could even conquer one of the venomous ones. These beneficial predators can help prevent other … Read More »
What’s the Word on Wasps in Boise?
The insect world has many different members, each bringing something unique to the ecosystem. Wasps belong in this tiny, ever-developing world of flying and crawling insects. They can thrive alone or in colonies throughout Boise, ID. While wasps can be considered beneficial, by eating crop-destroying bugs, they also cause problems. Sometimes they don’t just eat the harmful insects we don’t want, but also eat other beneficial insects. And they can also cause serious problems for people thanks to its painful sting. Gemtek Pest Control, a Western Exterminator Company, can reduce your risk of stings and put these pests in their place.
The Different Wasps of Boise ID
You don’t have to step outside to see a wasp. This flying insect is curious by nature and will peer into glass doors and windows to see what’s … Read More »
Sun Valley Centipedes Are More than Just Scary
If you’ve ever seen a centipede, you know how scary it can be. It looks like a hairy worm, but the creepiest part of a centipede sighting is the dozens of scurrying legs. It seems otherworldly. Your fears are justified, too; many centipede species contain harmful venom. One bite can cause a painful, and in some cases, serious reaction.
Idaho Centipedes: Run for the Hills
While you can’t run and hide every time one crosses your path, listen to your instincts. That heebie-jeebie feeling is your bodies natural response to a predator, no matter how small. Unfortunately, these pests have found a home in Idaho and thrive in many different climates across the country and the world. They’re highly venomous and should never be handled except by experienced professionals.
If a centipede bites an … Read More »
Summer Travel Brings Boise Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are a major concern for travelers and those working in the travel industry. And they should be; the creepy crawlers are found in all 50 states. The National Pest Management Association cited apartments, single-family homes, and hotels as the most common places for bed bugs to dwell. However, the parasites are also found in nursing homes, offices, and even hospitals. Whether you work in the hospitality industry or want to avoid bringing bed bugs back from your next trip, the following info can help prevent bed bug infestations in Boise, ID.
Bed bugs: Bloodsucking Parasites
Nothing inspires chills like the thought of parasites feeding on us while we sleep. This fear is especially understandable when you consider bed bugs’ hearty appetites. Although they can go months without food, the microscopic bloodsuckers can consume up to … Read More »
Idaho Fleas: Not Just for Furry Friends
If the thought of your dog’s fleas makes you scratch yourself, it may not just be a “sympathy itch.” Although not as common, we can play host to fleas just as our furry friends do. Certain factors make it less likely for us to experience flea infestations than our poor pets; but after all, we’re warm-blooded mammals too, and our blood can attract these pests. Read on to find out how you and your pets can avoid becoming victims of the Idaho flea population.
A Hairy Situation
Although our blood is equally alluring to the flea population, our relative lack of body hair cause these parasites to shy away from us. Fleas tend to focus on furrier targets, with better protection. But, our pets can bring the bloodsuckers into our homes, where we’re more likely to … Read More »
Meet the Pests Putting Your Idaho Business at Risk
When you own a business, you have plenty to worry about without pest problems, but it’s a topic that you can’t ignore. Whether your trade involves retail sales, lodging, or dining, your profits and your reputation could take a huge hit if your customers or health department inspectors discover creepy-crawlers on the buffet table or biting bugs in their sheets. Maintaining year-round commercial pest control is essential for keeping your Idaho business clean and clear from the following four enemies.
Your Four Biggest Pest Threats
1. Cockroaches: Stubborn and Disgusting in Any Setting
Everyone hates roaches. They’re associated with filth and disease. Notoriously difficult to exterminate, they thrive in a variety of settings, and even a minor infestation can quickly spiral out of control. Keeping your workplace immaculately clean is helpful, but it probably won’t … Read More »
What can you do to prepare yourself for spring pests?
By Eric Basset, Director of Sales
Spiders – Spiders of all kinds are starting to hatch, with hopes to enjoy the warmer weather. However, the cooler temperatures at night will begin driving them indoors as they seek a more comfortable climate. If a protective barrier isn’t applied early, spiders and other insects that those spiders feed on will find their way inside. If left unchecked, spiders will continue their life cycle, enjoying the climate-controlled and predator protected environment your home provides. Although there are spiders that do protect our lawns and gardens from other nuisance insects, we would prefer they laid their eggs outside rather than inside your home.
Pest Protection Tip: Check all vent screens on windows and doors and replace any that have tears or holes in them.
Ants – If you … Read More »
Uncover Your Ears for the Truth About Earwigs
For some Boise, ID dwellers, earwigs are the most cringe-worthy insects on the planet. The small brown offender is fast and slimy-looking, and it tends to pop out of dark spaces sporting a visually menacing set of pincers. The earwig’s name came from a long-standing belief that the bug tended to crawl into human ears, where it would burrow into the victim’s brain to lay its eggs. Although it’s a great plot for a cheesy horror movie, this belief is generally false. And with pest control, they won’t pose a threat.
Face Your Fears: Meet the Earwig
Theoretically, it could happen, but the earwig is probably no more likely to crawl into your ear than any other bug, and it has no interest in your gray matter. Even if the earwig’s pincers were strong enough … Read More »
Revenge of the Odorous Ant
Any type of ant that you find in your Idaho home can inspire a fit of stomping and squishing, but odorous ants have a peculiar defense mechanism that might make you think twice before resorting to violence. When you crush it, the odorous ant releases a strong and unpleasant odor that resembles rotten coconut or blue cheese. The vengeful counterattack on your nose may come as a complete surprise, especially since these ants don’t look much different from common, non-stinky species. The best way to get rid of these pests is with an expert at Gemtek Pest Control.
All About the Odorous Ant
The common odorous ant is small with a dark brown or black body and an uneven thorax. It nests both outdoors and indoors. If the ants invade your space, they’re likely to set up shop … Read More »
Termites: Your Home’s Achilles Heel
March 12-18 is designated as Termite Awareness Week, and it’s a perfect time to take a closer look at how common Idaho termites can quietly destroy your home – and your finances. Your house is strong and durable, but a tiny insect, in large numbers, can become its Achilles heel. Without proper pest control, termite infestations that start discreetly can quickly decimate your home’s inner structure.
Idaho’s Three Main Termite Enemies
Termite damage is common and widespread in the state, and it is attributed to the following three species:
The Western subterranean termite is the most common species found in the western half of North America. Termite colonies are generally located underground below the frost line. You can recognize a colony by the mud tubes that the insects construct. Large, visible swarms also occur. Most damage caused by this … Read More »
How To Protect Your Pet From Spiders
Any pest control expert will tell you that venomous spiders are found across America. Boise, ID, is no exception. You’re probably aware of how spider bites affect humans. However, you may not realize that your pets are at risk too. In cats and dogs, spider bites can be more difficult to diagnose. They often look like injuries, bacterial infections, or bites from other insects, and your pet can’t tell you if it had a run-in with an arachnid while you weren’t looking. While most spider bites are relatively harmless and only cause minor skin lesions, bites from widow and recluse spiders can cause serious systemic symptoms and even death. If you see a poisonous spider, contact your local pest control to diagnose the situation.
Could Your Pet Have a Dangerous Spider Bite?
If you discover suspicious hair … Read More »
It Wasn’t Cupid; It Was Charlotte! Diagnose Your Spider Bite
Valentine’s Day is approaching, and love is in the air. However, if you feel a sudden sting this month, it might be Charlotte instead of Cupid. Spider bites may be more common in the summer months, but they can happen at any time during the year. Most spiders can bite, but only a few inject poisonous venom that’s harmful to humans. Fortunately, Idaho only has two species of poisonous spiders. If you’re unlucky enough to get bitten in the state, there’s probably no reason to panic. If you’re worried about spiders in your home, contact your local pest control to avoid bites altogether.
Idaho’s Two Dangerous Spiders
The two spiders that pest control experts warn about are the black widow and the hobo spider. Both Northern black widows and Western black widows can … Read More »
The Terrible Trouble with Termites in Idaho
Termites cause serious damage to homes and businesses almost everywhere, and Idaho is no exception. The Western subterranean termite is particularly common to the area. During the winter, termites hide and reproduce indoors, protecting them from the winter freeze. When temperatures start to rise again, they’re back in full force and ready to turn your home into a community buffet. Protect your home with these facts about the wood-eating pests:
Subterranean Termite Life Cycle and Eating Habits
The life cycle of the Western subterranean termite begins with a mating swarm of the winged insects; this event may occur at any time of the year. After fertilization, the insects’ wings are shed and they go on to form new colonies. Larvae hatched from the queen termite will eventually serve in one of three colony classes: a worker, … Read More »
Make Pest Control Your New Year’s Resolution in Boise
It’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re tired of the same diet, year after year, or you still haven’t finished that novel you promised to read two years ago, why not resolve to protect your Boise, ID home from pests, year-round? With a little knowledge and consistent attention, it’s certainly an attainable goal. Here are a few tips to help you become more informed and vigilant.
Pest-Monitoring Tips for Each Season
Spring is the season to be on the lookout for earwigs. They thrive on moisture indoors, so eliminate leaks and damp areas, and keep rooms well-ventilated. If you have an earwig problem outdoors, consider transferring them to your garden. They eat aphids, which are formidable garden pests. In addition, wasps start building their nests in the spring. When young wasps … Read More »
What You Need to Know About Snails?
How much do you know about snails? For most of you, probably not much. Snails are small and strange looking, but what else do you need to know about these tiny creatures? Well, for one thing, snails happen to be among the most deadly members of the animal kingdom.
The freshwater snail is responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 people per year, which is more than sharks, wolves and lions combined. So how could such a seemingly non-threatening creature be responsible for so many deaths?
Much like mosquitoes, snails themselves are not deadly, they will not eat you alive, but they do carry a deadly parasite. In fact, snails carry one of the most deadly parasites known to man. The parasite is called schistosomiasis and it infects almost 250 million people worldwide, most of … Read More »
Last Days of the Kudzu Bug
The community of bug experts and bug enthusiasts may recall from their various bug related news sources that a strange insect called the kudzu bug was discovered in Arizona back in 2009. During the past seven years this bug has confused entomologists, as they cannot seem to decide whether the kudzu bug is a problematic pest, or a gift to farmers. Wherever you stand on the kudzu issue one thing is for sure, their days of destroying soybean crops are nearly at an end.
Entomologists welcomed the kudzu bug into the insect community with open arms as they initially showed promise as a biological control agent. It must not have taken researchers long to realize that the kudzu bug was remarkably effective at destroying the common invasive and destructive kudzu vine since … Read More »
The community of bug experts and bug enthusiasts may recall from their various bug related news sources that a strange insect called the kudzu bug was discovered in Arizona back in 2009. During the past seven years this bug has confused entomologists, as they cannot seem to decide whether the kudzu bug is a problematic pest, or a gift to farmers. Wherever you stand on the kudzu issue one thing is for sure, their days of destroying soybean crops are nearly at an end.
Entomologists welcomed the kudzu bug into the insect community with open arms as they initially showed promise as a biological control agent. It must not have taken researchers long to realize that the kudzu bug was remarkably effective at destroying the common invasive and destructive kudzu vine since the bug was clearly named … Read More »
DIY Garlic Mint Insecticide
If you have bugs ruining your garden, but don’t want to spray typical pesticides because some of these plants may be things you plan to eat, you might be looking for something a little more natural just to be safe. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find natural insecticides that actually work, and what you do manage to find is usually too good to be true. Well, here’s one natural bug spray for your garden that was created by a frustrated garden just like yourself.
After doing some research into different natural bug remedies, Jami decided to combine a few and see if together they were stronger. She combined mint leaves, garlic, cayenne pepper, and a little bit of biodegradable dishwasher liquid in a spray bottle and used it on her plants, spraying them liberally all over. … Read More »
Insects Need Sleep Too
I think that just about every animal needs to set aside some snooze time in order to survive. Although picturing an insect sleeping is pretty hard to do, well maybe not so hard, a sleeping bug just looks like a dead bug. Paper wasps, cockroaches, praying mantises and fruit flies all sleep, and some sleep in a way that is similar to mammals.
Fruit flies are able to fall asleep to sleep inducing chemicals, and they become jittery when given a high dose of caffeine. What is a high dose to a fly I wonder? But knowing just how asleep certain bugs are is very difficult to determine. There is no good way to differentiate between light sleeping and deep sleeping. But the researchers often get an idea of an insect’s sleep level by measuring the length of … Read More »
Several Different Insect Types were Released in Restaurants
Imagine you are eating at your favorite restaurant and you notice a cockroach in your food. You would probably rethink ordering from that restaurant again. This is what immigration rights activists had in mind when they unleashed large numbers of insects in a burger chain
Unhappy with how a popular burger chain fired large portions of their staff to be deported, several anti-deportation activists unleashed cockroaches, locusts, and crickets into several of the chain’s locations. Thirty five people from Nepal, Egypt, Albania, and Brazil were let go by the burger chain for presenting false immigration papers. The burger chain was acting within the bounds of the law by firing undocumented workers, but the activists clearly find these mass terminations to be inhumane. However, you have to wonder how releasing swarms of creepy crawlies into … Read More »
Global Warming May Cause Rapid Insect Population Growth
We have all become accustomed to the dire consequences that await us if global warming should continue. However, the theory that insects will increase in numbers as a result of global warming is one consequence that is not normally spoken about.
Many people may think that a world with more insects is not such a big deal, but scientists disagree. Researchers have pointed out that the areas of the world where the climate is nearly always warm is already seeing a drastic spike in insect populations. As a result of this increase in the insect population warmer climates are having to buy vardenafil online, and this often comes at the expense of other problems that need funding to solve.
What is probably the most serious consequence of insect population growth is the fact that more … Read More »
Bug Repelling Plantes for your Garden
We are always being told to wear insect repellent and clothes that cover up all of our skin so you can enjoy some time out on your patio or in your backyard in the nice weather during summer. But, there are actually some plants you can plant either in the ground or in pots around areas you want to hang out that will repel annoying insects such as flies and mosquitos. You can have a bug-free party or just some time to chill out with these three plants an herbs placed near doorways and other social areas.
Us humans might love rosemary for its scent as well as its taste, but insects can’t stand the stuff. This woody-scented herb will ward off flies, mosquitos, and cabbage moths. Bonus: this herb is super resilient and can survive … Read More »
The Maggot Arts
These days it seems that science is taking over in the classroom while the arts are being left behind. If only there was a way to integrate the two, but the art of painting, and understanding the theory of “evolution” are just too different to be taught simultaneously. Actually, there may be one way to get kids equally interested in both science and art while paying equal attention to both, and the way to do it would be through, you guessed it–Maggots!
Yes, you read that right. Apparently it is becoming increasingly popular to bring maggots into the classroom for purely educational purposes. The idea being that children can learn about the biological properties of maggots, which according to scientists, are underappreciated for their complex and fascinating biology, while at the same time using maggots to paint abstract works … Read More »
The Einstein of Insects
It goes without saying that insects are not the cleverest of nature’s productions. However, it turns out that some are much more clever than you may think, and brain size is not the whole story when it comes to intelligence. Take the bumblebee for example. The bumblebee is actually quite sophisticated when it comes to navigation, which may seem obvious, but few would expect their navigational abilities to surpass those of a modern supercomputer.
The dilemma bumblebees face is finding the quickest route from one flower to another. This is important since flying takes energy, and like any other living organisms, bees only have so much to expend.
One would think that bees would simply travel to the nearest flower, even if they have already visited that flower. But researchers have found that bees somehow know which flowers to … Read More »
Why Do Crickets Chirp? And Why Do They Stop When I Move?
It turns out that the crickets produce that chirping sound for the purpose of…you guessed it, mating! There is nothing a female cricket loves more than a male cricket that really knows how to chirp up a storm. Some crickets produce a more alluring chirp than other crickets. So when you hear that chirp in your bedroom at night, you now know that some cricket, who fancies himself a player, is planning on using your own pad to entertain some date he met out in the backyard earlier that day.
This particular sound is accomplished when the cricket rubs its forewings together. And many of you may have heard a cricket chirping in your house and noticed that crickets are very sensitive to your own noises and movements. It is … Read More »
So Just How Big of a Problem Do Midges Pose?
Maybe you have never heard of Midges, and if you have not they are like tiny flies that suck blood and are under investigation as possible disease vectors. However, so far Midges have only been known to transmit diseases to livestock.
As far as humans are concerned these tiny flies are extremely annoying mostly because since they are so small it is difficult to swat them dead. Livestock on the other hand have it much worse, as Midges can transmit the dreaded Blue Tongue Virus. When humans are bitten they are not at risk of developing this virus, but their bites can be very painful and can cause itching and burning sensations.
Although humans do not have to worry about the disease, that does not mean that they do not want to take … Read More »
Why were Prehistoric Bugs So Huge?
For the longest time experts assumed bugs that lived millions of years ago became extremely large on account of the fact that there was nearly twice as much oxygen in the air as today. This theory makes sense, since more oxygen would mean larger volume of internal caverns located in the tissue of prehistoric organisms. In other words: more oxygen=greater body size. However, experts now believe prehistoric bug larva was also a factor in making prehistoric animals enormous.
To test the theory scientists focused on the Stonefly Larvae. Much like the insects that are known to have been huge between 299 and 360 million years ago, such as dragonflies, Stonefly Larvae lived in water before becoming adults. And higher oxygen levels means more oxygen was dissolved in water, which could explain how insect babies that dwelled … Read More »
Put the Fly Swatter Away we Have Bug-Lasers
Well it may be time to put the pesticides away. I mean they will all stop working after a while since the bugs seem to develop a resistance to insecticides. If only there was one tool we humans had at our disposal that could kill any insect in its place, no matter how quick and crafty the flying little creep may be. Well there may be hope, as a research team at Intellectual Ventures Laboratory located in Washington State has invented a laser to shoot bugs right out of the sky.
I imagine that this is the probably the most fun job that exists, but unfortunately a whole lot of complicated science went into the development of what these Star Wars nerds are calling the “Photonic Fence.” It is apparently capable of achieving an … Read More »
Idaho Vole and Gopher Control
Insects Are Still Victims of Road Rage
A joke about bees becoming road kill turned quickly into concern about the vast numbers of pollinating insects that get killed on the highway every year. An exhaustive study of one stretch of highway over two years revealed that close to 117,000 insects were killed. Through further study, the researchers realized this could amount to 9.3 billion butterflies and 24 billion bees and wasps being killed every year by cars on highways. This could have a huge impact on our environment and even our very survival.
The study began after Laurentian University student James Baxter-Gilbert and a colleague of his were walking along a stretch of highway looking for reptile road kill and began noticing a lot of dead bugs. This led them to begin a study of how many insects are actually killed by … Read More »
Bugs in Your Belly
No doubt you’ve heard from someone by now that insects are becoming more and more popular in the foodie circles. The U.N. even encouraged people to start eating more bugs due to the fact that they are more sustainable as a food source than out traditional meats like cows and pigs. Well, to prepare you for your future days of chowing down on bugs, I’ve decided to give you an idea of just which bugs you might be forced to eat in the not-so-distant future.
Mopane caterpillars, the larval stage of the emperor moth, are highly likely to become an insect staple in the near future. In the southern part of Africa, mopane caterpillars are harvested by women and children and account for millions of dollars in sales in the region. The plump little critters can be boiled … Read More »
Attacking Aphids in Your Garden
Aphids can be a big problem for gardeners. They reproduce at an incredible rate, meaning they can go from being a minor pest to overtaking your entire garden in a very short period of time. They also have an unfortunate preference for many spring crops and can cause serious damage to a plant’s health. They’re comparable to the perfect storm when it comes to greenhouse pests.
Aphids harm your plants when they suck the juices from their soft tissue. While they prefer growing tips, they’re not so picky that they won’t settle for the stems, lower leaf surfaces, and even the roots. Because aphid reproduction is generally asexual, the offspring have almost identical genes to their parents. This means that resistance to pesticides can build much more quickly. Worst of all, aphids give birth to young that … Read More »
The ninja is a legendary figure with almost superhuman powers. They train for their entire lives to become the ultimate warrior. Insects, however, have a major leg up on us humans when it comes to superhuman powers. They don’t have to train or invent high-tech gadgets. They’re simply born with abilities that defy logic. Here are some more insect ninjas to blow your mind.
You’ve probably heard that cockroaches will most likely outlast humans, due to their ability to withstand incredibly harsh environments that would kill most humans. An example of this is their ability to withstand huge amounts of radiation. When cells are dividing, which is constantly happening in us humans, they are most sensitive to radiation. The cells in cockroaches only divide once a week when they are molting. This means that unless a cockroach is molting, they … Read More »
Off With Their Heads! Brutal Insect Decapitators?
There is something especially creepy about decapitation. I don’t know if it bothers you as much as it does me, but the idea of someone getting their head chopped off really irks me. I mean it probably sucks getting any body part cut off, but I think the removal of the head takes the cake. I mean…can you still see afterwards for a few minutes? That just sounds horrifying. In this final volume about headhunting insects, I’m introducing a species of hornets that have turned the skill of chopping off heads into an art. These guys are the absolute pros when it comes to decapitating as many insects as fast as they can. Their speed and skill is almost superhuman.
The Japanese giant hornet is a pro at decapitating large numbers of bees in one … Read More »
Monarch Butterfly Mystery Solved
Scientists have been trying to figure out how the North American monarch butterfly, an insect that weighs less than one gram, can fly 4,000 kilometers for two months straight and navigate their trip perfectly without any help from gadgets like compasses or a fancy electronic nav. system. Well, apparently the mystery has finally been solved.
Professor Eli Shlizerman and his team of researchers recently published their findings in the journal Cell Reports. According to Professor Shlizerman, the key to the entire mystery is the butterfly’s antennae. Monarch butterfly’s antennae contain an “intracellular, light-sensitive clock mechanism” that basically works as a compass that calibrates the direction of the sun. The butterflies use their antennae to mark the time of day based on the position of the sun, while their eyes keep track of the sun’s position on the horizon. … Read More »
Wasp and Hornet Control
3-D Cinema for Bugs
Scientist Jenny Read from Newcastle University in the U.K. recently performed a study that confirmed that praying mantises can see in 3-D, or binocular vision. 3-D vision helps mostly with being able to determine depth. This is important for predators like praying mantises who are looking for prey.
Jenny and her colleagues tested her theory by making miniature 3-D sunglasses – you know, the red and blue ones that we used to use for 3-D movies – and attaching them to the praying mantises’ head with beeswax and resin. They then hung them upside down (the mantises preferred hunting position) in front of a computer screen and played “movies” of discs that resemble their prey. If the mantises could see in 3-D, they would only strike when the “prey” appeared to be 2 centimeters in front of their … Read More »
Keep counters, floors, pantry shelves, cabinets and sinks clean, as crumbs and spills are obvious pest attractants.
Only purchase food in sealed packages that show no sign of damage.
Once packages are opened, move ingredients into sealed glass or Tupperware-type containers with secure lids before storing them in the pantry or cabinet.
Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use and visually inspect previously opened items before adding them to a recipe.
Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
Seal cracks or holes around the stovepipes and water pipes.
Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
Consult a licensed pest professional if an infestation has already taken root.
U.S. Government Steps In To Save the Monarch Butterfly
Habitat destruction has caused a rapid decline in the Monarch Butterfly population. While they were a billion strong in 1996, today, a mere 20 years later, those numbers have dropped to 30 million. In reaction to the danger of possible extinction for these butterflies, the U.S. government announced that they are giving the Fish and Wildlife Service a hefty $3.2 million to help rescue efforts. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is also busy soliciting donations, in the hopes of raising an equal amount to the funding.
About $2 million will be used for conservation programs. The main reason behind the massive decline of the Monarch butterfly is the loss of habitat such as prairies and weed eradication efforts that have destroyed milkweed plants. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed plants. Fish and … Read More »
The Zika Virus Linked to Another Neurological Disorder
On March 9th a woman wrote a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting that a man infected by the Zika virus also contracted a neurological disorder other than Guillain-Barre. An 81-year-old man traveling on a cruise ship in the South Pacific, who was previously in good health, fell ill, becoming feverish and then comatose.
Doctors conducted tests on the man’s spinal fluid and performed an MRI, finding that he had meningoencephalitis. After being admitted into an intensive care unit, doctors were able to make a diagnosis of the Zika virus. Thankfully, this didn’t prove fatal. Within a few days the man improved, and was released from intensive care after a little over two weeks. The man went on to make a full recovery.
While the link between the Zika … Read More »
Friendly Farming Insects
Humans are apparently not the only species to think of herding and growing our own food. There are a number of insects that evolved from being desperate food-hunting animals to laid-back farmers and ranchers
Leafcutter ants form some of the most complex and largest societies on the planet. It only makes sense that they’ve figured out a way to make life a little easier by growing their own source of food. Leafcutter ants start out by sending a large convoy to collect fresh green leaves by the thousands, which they then munch into a pulp. They mix in a little ant faeces for fertilization before adding it to their community garden, a pile of pulverized leaves mixed with bacteria and the fungus Leucogaricus gonglypherous. The ants steadfastly tend their garden as the microbes and fungus break down the leaf … Read More »
Zika Virus Test More Widely Available
In response to the growing concern over the spread of the Zika virus, the U.S. government is distributing a Zika virus tests to health departments around the country for use on pregnant woman who are concerned they might have been infected. Previously, doctors had to send blood samples to special laboratories only located in a number of states as well as at the CDC. Making a test more readily available to more health departments in more states will help us keep a more accurate count of how fast the virus is spreading and if or when the virus becomes a local danger. The CDC is recommending that women who have traveled to Zika infected areas should be tested between 2 and 12 weeks after they return.
There is one problem, however. The supply of tests is … Read More »
Sorghum Midge Mission
Officials say that if you are planning on planting grain sorghum this year, you had better have a good insect control plan in the works. If you miss a bad midge problem, the damages could be severe, so this is not something that you want to put off. Experts are recommending that farmers use the scout method to assess the midge problem, as the little pests are pretty easy to scout and only have a very finite amount of time in which they can infect the crop.
Sorghum only takes about 4 to 5 days to blossom, and this is when the midge must hit. It’s important to note that the sorghum head blooms from the top down. If you spray for the sorghum midge at the wrong time, all your efforts will be for naught. The crop blooms … Read More »
Airlines Asked to Spray Planes with Insecticide
With the continued spread of the Zika virus the various world governments keep increasing their warnings and implementing new safety procedures. Pregnant women aren’t the only ones being asked to rearrange their lives because of the virus. Pregnant women are still being urged to delay any travel to Zika-infected areas. But now a warning was released to traveling men. Due to cases of the virus being spread through sexual intercourse popping up and the virus being detected in semen, men who have traveled to areas infected by the Zika virus are being told to consistently use condoms during sex with both pregnant and non-pregnant women upon their return. And the alerts don’t stop there. The U.K. government just implemented a new rule that all aircraft returning to the country from areas infected with the … Read More »
Airlines Refund Tickets to Zika Infected Areas
Airlines have begun offering refunds for tickets to Zika infected areas. United Airlines is allowing customers with tickets to areas affected by the virus to either reschedule or cancel their trips. The offer includes any country that the CDC has posted a travel notice for. American Airlines is also helping out its customers. They have offered to give refunds to pregnant women planning a trip to Central America. The offer includes tickets to El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Guatemala. Hopefully other airlines will begin to follow in the footsteps of United and American.
Pregnant women are at the greatest risk of being harmed by the virus. The virus has been linked to an increase in babies being born with the birth defect microcephaly. More than 1 million people have been infected in Brazil, and … Read More »
Ask the Pest Professor: Strength of Ants
New Warning from CDC on Zika Virus Transmission
No Reason to Panic Over the Zika Virus
The spread of the Zika virus across Central and South America has put many American citizens in a panic over the possibility that the virus could spread across the border and into our own country. However, officials say the danger to U.S. citizens isn’t anything to get too worried about just yet. Officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expect the outbreak in the U.S. to be mild.
One reason we don’t need to worry overmuch is that the U.S. already has a wealth of experience dealing with the outbreak of imported pathogens. We’ve already had to fight against SARS, H1N1, MERS, and Ebola among others. With all this previous experience the U.S. has become pretty adept at thwarting these kinds of illnesses. Another reason is that, unlike the countries in which … Read More »
New Insect Repellent: Treat Your Own Clothes
With the outbreak of the Zika virus companies are rushing to develop more effective, simpler to use, and longer lasting insect repellents. As the Zika virus is so new, there is currently no vaccine available for it, and one is not likely to be completed for at least a decade. While no locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been reported in the U.S., people have been infected after traveling to one of the areas where it is active. One case of microcephaly has so far been reported in Hawaii. For now the only way to protect yourself against infection by mosquitos is to wear insect repellent whenever you might be exposed to the insect. Insect Shield has recently launched a new treat your own clothes service in an effort to combat the … Read More »
Officials Working to Wipe Out Invasive Insects
The Spotted Lanternfly is the newest bug on the radar that has agriculture officials worried. Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary is working on getting this bug packing. At this time it has shown that is can live and survive in Pennsylvania’s agriculture.
In 2014, the Farm Bill allowed $2.8 million to be dedicated to Pennsylvania in order to protect the states agriculture industry from disease and pests. $1.5 million has been going towards the efforts of eradication of the Spotted Lanternfly. This insect in particular has posed a threat to land and home owners and the agriculture community.
Officials are concerned with the potential impact on the state’s grape, apple and stone fruit, which have a combined economic impact of $178 million. On top of that the Pine and Hardwood trees can also be affected, which … Read More »
Argentine Ants Invade
Droughts, intense storms, and forest fires are all being associated with this year’s El Nino. One of the biggest problems stemming from it, however, is the spread of the Argentine ant. These ants throve on the warm and wet conditions brought on by El Nino, and can spread especially far if their homes get flooded and they are forced to build a new one. Pest control companies are on high alert, and reports of the ants spreading have been coming in en mass.
One fear that comes with the spread of Argentine ants is that they bring with them food-borne diseases into peoples’ homes. However, they are also a major problem for the agricultural industry. Argentine ants actually protect those nasty invasive pests aphids, which destroy countless crops each year and are a farmers as well as a gardeners’ … Read More »
Pierre Thiam has come out with a new top-rated cookbook, where he is blending ingredients and frying fritters of black-eyed peas. His “snack of the future” includes pulverized dried mealworms and crickets!
“Insects are not gross,” he says. “They are great for our planet. We are going to need to eat insects in the very near future.” 2 billion people already eat insects. In fact, having an array of bugs on your plate is a lot friendlier to the environment than most animal protein alternatives.
Having an insect-studded cuisine isn’t as gross as you would imagine either. A huge part of this is because they aren’t on the ground staring back up at you! Jimini’s, a commercial prodder of insect foods in Europe offers everything from crunchy paprika crickets to sesame and cumin mealworms. Clever name!
When Chef Thiam cooked at a … Read More »
The state insect of Illinois has been monarch butterfly for 40 years, however now Hoosier state Rep Kevin Mahan wants it to be a symbol of Indiana.
Starting on January 5th, lawmakers will convene their 10-week session where Mahan will propose the General Assembly to declare the monarch Indiana’s state butterfly.
Both states identify the cardinal as their state bird, so this would not be the first state symbol to be shared by both Indiana and Illinois. In time for the states 200th birthday, Indiana may also be getting its own state insect. As recommended by students at Cumberland Elementary School is West Lafayette, the state is planning to propose the firefly as its state insect.
What is your states symbol?
Mother of the Year
When you think of insects you don’t usually picture maternal figures. But, while these tiny critters may seem uncaring and aloof, some of them could win the title of mother of the year.
Earwigs for instance are extremely dedicated and nurturing mothers. They fiercely guard their eggs, warning off predators and scrubbing them squeaky clean. After the eggs hatch the mother takes care of all her babies needs, including going out into the wild to hunt for their food. Similar to birds, some earwig mothers even chew up their food before feeding it to their babies. Earwigs are definitely what you would call hovering mothers. At the slightest sign of distress the mother earwig rushes to her child.
You might be surprised to find out that cockroaches practice a style of parenting very similar to humans. Some species of … Read More »
“Kissing Bug” Sightings
For the past 2 weeks, there have been many invading headlines of “ kissing bugs” reported the CDC, a deadly bug that has made its way into the U.S. The bugs are known to contain a parasite in their feces that carry Chagas disease, which if left untreated can kill.
David Gaines, an entomologist from the Virginia Health Department says he has received a lot of samples from people who think they have seen kissing bugs, however David has found that they were wheel bugs, which are in the same family.
“It’s commonly mistaken for a kissing bug, but a wheel bug has a spiky semi circle sticking out of its back that looks like kind of the spikes on a stegosaurus dinosaur,” Gaines.
To help viewers better differentiate the two, David noted some tell tale signs:
Wheel bugs are found outside … Read More »
Interesting Caterpillar Relationships
Terenthina terentia caterpillar’s feed on the yellow bulbs of a parasitic plant while Ectatomma tuberculatum ants tend to it… The symbolic relationship shows the codependency that these caterpillars have for the ants.
Aaron Pomerantz found that these yellow bulb plants in Perue live inside the trees and burst out of the bark once a year in order to produce hundreds of flowers. It turns out that caterpillars are larvae of a rare butterfly (Terenthina terentia). Until now, very little has been known about this butterfly. In fact, Pomerantz was the first to witness these caterpillars eating the bulb plants.
The relationship that the ants have with the caterpillars is known as myrmecophily. The caterpillars have evolved a special structure, “dorsal nectary organ” which produces sugars and amino acids for the ants. In return for the food the ants provide protection … Read More »
Bugs in Winter
So where do bugs go during the winter? When thinking about this question, be sure to consider that they are ectothermic (cold blooded) and are in danger of freezing, even in just a light frost.
TO be blunt, most adult insects just die because they have already lived their lives and reproduced which fulfills their destiny. However, others like the Monarch butterfly migrate to warmer climates during the winter. Insect’s navigation skills are all inherited and instinctive
Some insects crystalize themselves, meaning they get rid of as much water from their cells as possible. Other insects produce antifreeze in their blood as the temperatures drop. Mayflies and caddisflies lay their eggs somewhere will they will not freeze, such as in running water.
Regardless of the living insects strategies, during the winter the chemical processes of life slow down in the cold … Read More »
Insects are a Part of a Balanced Diet?
The idea of eating insects is a relatively new phenomenon. However, according to a U.N. report 80% of the world’s countries eat bugs already.
According to Jarrod Goldin, co-founder of Entomo Farms, “given the dire situation of our current food and water crisis, and knowing this is only going to get worse as the population skyrockets to over 9 billion people by 2050, we hope to be part of the solution to bring protein alternatives to those who are unaware that there are alternatives,” he explains.
Goldin and his two co-founding brothers, Darren and Ryan believe that there needs to be a complete idea shift in the Western Hemisphere in order to embrace entomophagy. People need to be aware of “how our food choices directly affect not only our personal health, but the health of … Read More »
Students enrolled in Entomology 1101 were most likely not expecting to write a book when they signed up for the general education course. Entomology 1101 is a course that focuses on insect biology taught by Carol Anelli and Wendy Klooster at Ohio State.
The insect-myth project assigned by Anelli, will require students to create an insect related myth and then turn it into a book. The purpose of the assignment is to facilitate connections among entomology, creative writing, and art and history.
Each of the 34 students were assigned an insect and from there tasked with using its natural history in order to explain a phenomenon. For example, one of Anelli’s former students invented a story about how humans first learned to build shelters from a caddisfly, an insect that makes protective cases as larvae.
Students are required to not only create … Read More »
New Center of Research Seeking Control of Disease and Insects
The Amalgamated Sugar Co. is in the process of becoming a center of research seeking the control of disease threats and insects. The insects they will be focusing on cause problems in sugar beet production.
The disease that researchers are looking into is the curly top virus, which is transmitted by the sugar beet leafhopper. Oliver Neher, will be the head of research at Amalgamated Sugar. Researchers will also focus on black bean aphids and mites.
At the research center they plan to grow beets and expose them to leafhoppers to find out which varieties are most resistance to the curly top virus.
Those focusing on diseases at the center will look at soil-borne pathogens and determine which seed treatments are the most successful in order to provide an economical and environmentally safe way … Read More »
Unfortunately, when some insects visit flowers they contaminate the nectar with bacteria and yeast. According to a study in the Basic and Applied Ecology these microbes then can change the nectars appear for the pest-controlling bugs by converting the sugars and amino acids into other compounds.
Researchers grew three flower species- borage, common comfrey and cornflower- which farmers use to attract predatory and parasite insects, including wasps, flies, lady beetles and lacewings. They then split the plants into two groups- one that was allowed to bloom freely while a bag covered the other.
The flowers that were allowed to bloom had nectar full of microbes (changes the sugars and amino acids into other compounds). The nectar from the bagged flowers on the other had had much more sucrose and the total sugar concentration was higher. Amino acids also varied, which changed … Read More »
Scientists have discovered tiny underground tunnels called Treptichnus embedded within ancient rock formations. Previously, these tunnels were thought to simply be the holes left by insects eating their way through the rock, however recent research says this simple answer doesn’t adequately explain the intricacy of the network. If they were simply for food, these tunnels would have more likely formed simple spirals. However, these intricate underground mazes would have required extra work.
Researchers believe that ancient fly larvae dug these tunnels not only because they ate sediment but in order to confuse predators. Modern small mammals such as rodents also build elaborate labyrinths for this same purpose. The Treptichnus tunnels serve two purposes; they provide food and protection. A predator invading these tunnels in search of its next meal would probably take multiple wrong turns and eventually give up their … Read More »
Kissing Bug Invasion Update
The kissing bug has been getting a lot of press lately, with its gradual spread throughout the U.S. The CDC is taking the threat very seriously, however, and providing funding for research into treatments and a possible cure for Chagas disease, the disease caused by the parasite that the kissing bug can pass on to humans. Officials assure citizens that it is difficult for the pest to transmit the disease, but symptoms include stomach pain and swelling as the site of the bite. However, as the disease lodges itself in tissue and muscle it can take as long as 20 years for a person even shows signs of having it. It generally can lead to serious heart disease when it stays in a person’s system for so long undetected.
Anyone who contracts the disease must be treated by … Read More »
Kissing Bug Record Set Straight
A recent trend of the “deadly kissing bugs in Georgia” seems to be social medias current hot topic. However, its time to set the record straight, these bugs are not new to Georgia in any way. In fact, they are in 28 states!
In Central and South America, these kissing bugs usually go undetected, as they like to bite humans around the mouth and eyes at night. The disease, Chagas, commonly associated with kissing bugs, is not spread through the bite of the kissing bug, rather its feces.
Chagas is also known as a “disease of poverty,” because in Central and South American where many poor live in huts with bad roofs, kissing bugs are easily able to crawl on humans in their sleep. The insects reside in the huts, where they also defecate.
It is important to note, … Read More »
Sudden Death By Spider Bite
50 year old Simon Paul Tongue died from a bite from an unknown spider. Officials have concluded that he ultimately suffered from an acute allergic reaction to the bite, although there were none of the traditional symptoms of anaphylaxis. Mr. Tongue reportedly texted his wife after work, telling her he had been bitten by a spider and didn’t feel well. According to his stepson, Martin Smith, he was acting particularly odd when he got home that day. He claims that Mr. Tongue was making cups of coffee only to dump them down the drain. When Mr. Smith noticed this, he urged Mr. Tongue to lie down and rest. He also noticed severe swelling on his arms and fluid leaking from these swollen wounds. Later that night, after refusing to go to the hospital, Mr. Tongue died … Read More »
Retirement Centers Bed Bug Problems
In St. Louis, a resident in the senior living center has complained that bed bugs have become a big problem at the facility over the last few months
“Scratch, scratch. I’ve got scratches all over me,” says Bob Lampson. “They are on my pillow and crawl all over my head at night.” Lampson sys this has been an ongoing problem for 6 weeks.
A spokesperson for the Maryville Gardens Senior Apartments says the management is working on fixing and paying for the problem. However, if the bugs come pack, its on the renter wallet.
“To get this taken care of individually, costs $1000 dollars and these people don’t have $1,000. They wouldn’t be living here if they had that,” says Lampson.
KMOV checked with exterminators to find out the chances that bed bugs would come back after their initial visit. “We do everything perfect to get … Read More »
Choosing the Wrong Mate May Reduce Yellow Fever
With the recent rise in the number of people in the U.S. being infected with yellow fever by mosquitos has pushed scientists to find ways to better control these dangerous pests. One possibility has emerged through the research of yellow fever mosquitos mating with Asian tiger mosquitos. Certain pairings could actually cause the population of yellow fever mosquitos to decline, fixing some of our problems with the possibly fatal disease. Understanding how they mate in the wild may at least help scientists predict possible changes in their numbers.
While the two species of mosquitos share the same environment, the Asian tiger mosquito may actually be driving out the yellow fever mosquito when they mate. When a male Asian tiger mosquito mates with a female yellow fever mosquito, this mating actually causes the female to … Read More »
It’s not your food we want! It’s your home!
They are hungry and they hide very easily. They want to eat, but not your typical food. No, termites will settle for nothing else than your home. How can you combat them? There are several ways.
One thing that is rarely thought about during home repair, is what about the existing termite treatment? If you have done a home repair project that required you to dig up utilities for instance, that would disturb the termite treatment, if treated with a liquid termiticide.
Termites love to hide in piles of branches and left over yard mulch. Of course we always want to plant our flowers and such close to the home. The problem of course is that works as an attractant for termites. Move the mulch back and the chances of termites going after the … Read More »
Tricks to Find Termites
In order to protect our homes from being taken over or infested by termites, it is important that we know a thing or two about them! Cellulose, an ingredient present in wood, is what termites feed off of. Because most homes are built with wood, it is important to have our basement, laundry room, crawlspace and other damp areas checked regularly for termites since they dine and live unseen.
Here are some tips on how to spot termites in your homes:
Termites can be heard in your walls tromping their feet around.
Termites like to keep their hideout clean and tidy, so their droppings (dead termites and feces) can be found right outside of the walls.
Spots on your walls or decks that can be easily scratches probably are termite infestation (dark or soft spots in the wood).
Mud tunnels, tubes … Read More »
Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Posted by Gemtek Pest Control on Thursday, November 26, 2015
Mosquitos Still Thriving
When the weather gets colder in November, mosquitos usually stop bugging humans and begin to lay low for the upcoming winter. However, due to warmer temperatures and an increase in rainfall across the U.S., these nasty pests are still out and about this year. The excess in rain means there are still plenty of breeding sites available for the mosquitos to proliferate, and the warmer temperatures only encourage this behavior.
Officials are still warning people to be vigilant against mosquitos, as they can carry deadly diseases such as West Nile, yellow fever, and dengue. You only need to be bitten once to catch these nasty bugs, so be especially careful about putting on extra clothing and insect repellent when hanging around outside near dusk. Once temperatures hit below fifty degrees the mosquitos should disappear, though. Once temperatures drop below … Read More »
Humans are social creatures, flourishing among others of our kind. Well, many insects are this way too. For instance, ants and bees are social insects that survive through their communication and cooperation with each other. It turns out there is another insect that also thrives off of living in groups, but this one can be a major pest. According to a new study performed by researchers from North Carolina State University bed bugs actually grow faster the more bed bugs they have around them to interact with.
Bed bug nymphs that grow up in a group mature two days faster than solitary bed bugs. So, as the number of bed bugs grow after they invade your cozy house the faster they grow, which means their numbers increase exponentially the longer they are infesting your home. What’s more disturbing is that … Read More »
Home Grown Insects
While people are still taking some convincing when it comes to switching to insects instead of meat, a new product allows people to grow insects for consumption in their own home. First, we need to look realistically at how much insect protein we already eat every day. A certain amount of insect fragments are already allowed into our food by the FDA. We already ingest around one to two pounds of insects such as flies, maggots, and other bugs every year without ever knowing it. So, really we would simply be increasing that amount by making the switch over to insects.
A new device by Katharina Unger, called the Desktop Edible Insect Hive, lets people raise mealworms for consumption in their own home. The device would allow people to grow a large amount of protein-packed food in a very … Read More »
Beneficial Garden Predators
Using chemical insecticides is not the only way to protect your garden from pests. One great way of naturally protecting your garden is by letting beneficial garden predator insects take care of those pests for you. Let the circle of life protect your plants from invasive garden pests. The ladybug is a great example of a beneficial garden insect. They have voracious appetites, and eat aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. Lacewings are named for their gauzy green wings. Their larvae are often called aphid lions due to their intense desire to devour aphids. They can eat up to 100 bugs in one day. Another great beneficial insect is the parasitic wasp. These guys are too small to be noticeable to humans and therefore don’t bother us, but they can be a major pain for pests. Parasitic … Read More »
Do You Know What a Formosan Termite is?
The Formosan termite is an abundant wood-eating insect. Many people in New Orleans consider this insect to be a nuisance, in particular in the high season (reproductive season), May. It is around this time a year, when swarms surprise visitors and disturb communities.
Formosan termites are considered large for a termite and are harmful to properties. These termites like to move in swarms are attracted to warmer climates. Area’s typically affected by these termites are in Southern climates like Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and even Hawaii.
These termites are relatively new to the United States, however, that does not mean that they aren’t already making a big impact, especially in the Spring.
Alates like to nest within termite underground, above ground in trees, and even worse in the wood of homes. They stay in … Read More »
In the Valley of the Lily, Red Beetles Lurk
The family of lily plants is a large one and gardeners love them for their bold yet elegant looks. They are also love, unfortunately, by a bright red beetle who gets its name from its fondness for eating the lily.
The Scarlet Lily Beetle eats stem, leaves and flowers and are a persistent pest who hangs around through three seasons. Their orange pupae hibernate in soil and arise as adults in the spring, crimson and hungry, to climb up the plant and begin feasting.
They can be killed by hand removal or using a pesticide, and there are pros and cons to each approach.
Because the beetles are so persistent, and good at hiding (they often prefer clinging under leaves), some gardeners recommend a thorough spray. Provado Ultimate Bug Killer does the job, turning the … Read More »
When most people think of maggots they recall the time they didn’t take out the trash and discovered a pile of writhing little worms amidst there leftover food and coffee grinds. Understandably this sight can be a little off-putting. But, their voracious appetites can actually come in handy when police are investigating a crime scene, particularly in murder cases. Collecting insects at a crime scene can prove to be invaluable when police are trying to piece together the events that led to a murder.
Because of the distinct period of growth insects go through, they can help determine an almost exact time of death, as well as how long a body has been out in the open. One defendant in Tennessee claimed that he had killed two people in a rage after he witnessed them murder a third person. However, … Read More »
They’re cute. They’re somewhat cuddly…that is, until thousands of them are swarming your house. Ladybugs have decided this is the year they are going to take over the world, once very tiny step at a time. Ladybugs have been seen covering the outside of people’s homes in the tens of thousands this year. Why the hell are there so many ladybugs hanging around right now?
Well, like a bear, they are seeking a warm place to hibernate during the winter. This year the cooler temperatures are forcing the ladybugs to run for cover before they get frozen to death. One official compared them to people. These colorful little bugs like to get together and hang out in big groups. Just think of it as ladybug football season. They are all coming together to watch their favorite team, your house, and … Read More »
Mosquitos: Revolutionary War Heroes
Today mosquitos are doing their part to spread West Nile virus to as many Americans as possible, but in 1779 they were actually helping us out by spreading malaria to the invading British forces. Author Matt Ridley looks at the affect mosquitos had on the Revolutionary War in his new book titled The Evolution of Everything. According to environmental historian J.R. McNeill, female mosquitos, “Those tiny amazons conducted covert biological warfare against the British army.”
British captain Henry Clinton decided to send troops into the U.S. up through the Carolinas in 1779. However, he apparently didn’t know that the Carolinas became infested with malaria-carrying mosquitos every Spring and Summer. The worst sufferers were Europeans. So this had to be the worst possible strategy in history for trying to invade a country full of people already used to this … Read More »
Bug Guts May Contain Secret to Controlling Pests
The digestive systems of pests such as the notorious stink bug may prove to be their undoing in the near future. Scientist Yoshitomo Kikuchi has been doing research on the symbiotic bacteria in their stomachs that help them digest their food. Specifically, he found a unique mechanism in the stink bugs stomach that helps them acquire specific symbiotic bacteria. This may lead to a new way to control pests by blocking this act of gut symbiosis. This could prove to be an answer to not just the control of stink bugs but many other insects as well.
The bacteria helps the insects get the nutrients they need to survive, including their ability to resist insecticides. By inhibiting it scientists may be able to keep them from getting that nutrients, thereby causing their demise.
Researchers from … Read More »
Attack of the Stink Bugs
Every winter it’s the same old horror story. Bugs come out in droves to invade your home for the winter. The worst culprit is the brown marmorated stink bug. After they tire of ravaging plants, these pests look for a nice dry spot in your closet or basement to spend the winter. They come like clockwork every October and getting rid of them without suffering their awful stench is tricky. No matter what you do, they keep coming back.
When attempting to get rid of these pests, be careful of their deadliest weapon: the stink they emit when squished. That being said, don’t squish them whatever you do. Wear gloves when you approach them. Not only are they stinky when squished, they also stain. Be careful trying to catch them around anything light colored, or if … Read More »
The U.K. has just opened its’ first insect restaurant. Grub Kitchen in St. Davids is the first restaurant to dedicated itself to incorporating insects into its food. The restaurant offers up traditional, well-loved dishes with edible insects incorporated into the ingredients. Diners can order anything from bug burgers with a toasted sour dough and cricket bun to bug blinis with wild garlic humus. Andy Holcroft states, “We want to pioneer the movement to normalize the eating of bugs on a day-to-day basis.” However, the restaurant will still serve traditional meat dishes as well for those less adventurous souls.
The restaurant is located at Dr. Beynon’s Bug Farm, a science attraction in St. Davids. The attraction is run by entomologist Dr. Sarah Beynon, who also happens to be the partner of the head chef, Andy Holcroft, at Grub Kitchen. Dr. Beynon … Read More »
Insects Victims of Road Rage
A joke about bees becoming road kill turned quickly into concern about the vast numbers of pollinating insects that get killed on the highway every year. An exhaustive study of one stretch of highway over two years revealed that close to 117,000 insects were killed. Through further study, the researchers realized this could amount to 9.3 billion butterflies and 24 billion bees and wasps being killed every year by cars on highways. This could have a huge impact on our environment and even our very survival.
The study began after Laurentian University student James Baxter-Gilbert and a colleague of his were walking along a stretch of highway looking for reptile road kill and began noticing a lot of dead bugs. This led them to begin a study of how many insects are actually killed by vehicles on … Read More »
With winter on its way stink bugs are searching for nice warm homes to cozy up in. This invasive insect originated in Asia, but eventually found its way to the land of the free. They are especially plentiful because even though they crossed the border into our country, their natural predators did not, giving them the free and clear until something else steps in to take care of them. You can detect them by their oval shape that tapers off at the end and…the awful smell that wafts into the air when you decide to squash one. So, instead of using a shoe try using your vacuum cleaner to suck them away like a tornado.
The best way to take care of stink bugs, however, is to prevent them from ever entering your home. Seal in your home. Make sure … Read More »
Fly Guts: We’re More Alike Than You Think
New studies of the stomachs of aging fruit flies may reveal the potential causes of stomach maladies that develop in humans as we age. Heinrich Jasper, PhD claims that having a healthy gut is linked to complex signal interaction between our immune cells and stem cells that line our intestines. Jasper studied the intestines of flies after they’ve been damaged and noticed that healthy regeneration in the gut relies on specific timing and the correct sequence occurring between cells when they respond to receiving an injury. Healing relies on a complex balancing act between cells in the stomach.
What disrupts the necessary timing of this complex signaling is the aging of cells. In essence, because we receive more and more injuries over time the cells lose their precision in the timing of their interactions, … Read More »
Terrifying Termites: The Dreaded Formosan
Finding out you have termites eating through your home sweet home is one of the worst discoveries a person can make. Their voracious appetites can turn your solid house into silly putty within months. And that is just if they’re your average termites. But what if you find out that Formosan termites are swarming your home? Sometimes referred to as the “super termite,” the Formosan termite can be thought of as the Godzilla of termites (with all other termites being comparable to simple lizards). According to the University of Florida, “When these termites invade a house above-ground, foraging tubes of ca. 0.25 to 0.5 inch diameter may be found connecting soil tubes and the infested house.” That’s no small feat.
So, what attracts these demolition experts? Think of balmy spring weather, the slightly humid warm air and … Read More »
Buzzworthy Bugs: 17-Year-Cicadas Emerge
As soon as I hear that loud buzzing sound coming from the trees every year I know it’s officially summer. Cicadas aren’t what I’d usually think of as newsworthy, but this May a special breed emerged from their underground hibernation to sing for a mate. Robert Hagen, a professor at Kansas University, is an expert on them and shares his love for these periodical cicadas in his Biology of Cicadas class. His focus is on understanding their emergence and how they affect their surrounding habitat.
Unlike annual cicadas, periodical cicadas only emerge every 17 years. They come out in droves to sing out their mating call. What makes them so special is that they’re synchronized, crawling out of the ground together and unfolding their wings every 17 years to perform their mating dance. Hagen ponders the natural wonder … Read More »
Termites want to make their mark on history too
A historic building had to be closed down and tented for termites in Plant City. The building happens to be the high school community center and it will have to remain closed for approximately a week.
The professional termite inspectors locally were grateful that the termites were detected prior to any major structural damage. People had noticed a few termites and did exactly what they should, they called for a professional inspection of the area and saved this historical building thousands of dollars in possible damage. The building is irreplaceable as it is a century old, and part of the local museum as well. Thankfully the rest of the museum has not been affected by the termites either. They also don’t have to cover any of its pieces or files to protect them … Read More »
They want control!
A massive family of spiders took the controls of an energy meter in Australia. The homeowners of course took a picture that went viral. There were so many spiders between the mother and her small babies, there was no way for the meter reader to actually read the meter. He left a note instead. “Energy Australia was unable to read your meter…..”
Social media commentators of course took over calling it the nightmare of all nightmares, causing the rush of primal fear, and one commenter even said the photo made her stop breathing. Other people claimed of course it was common to be seen in Australia and that the wolf spider is actually harmless to humans.
Wolf Spiders are usually hairy and black or brown. They move very quickly and because of their size they can be mistaken for tarantulas. … Read More »
Spiders and wasps, equally annoying and creepy. But what about a spider that actually turns into a wasp? Ok a spider can’t turn into a wasp, however there is a species of wasps that will invade the Orb spider and take over its body. The wasp will lay its egg on the back of the spider, the egg will grow and eventually take over the spider completely. Where before the egg was laid, the orb spider would be busy building a web to catch food for itself, once an egg has taken over, it will instead start to build a sturdy web to serve as a cocoon, where it will be larvae then eventually turn to a wasp. The larvae actually take over the spiders brains according to researchers.
The cocoon the spider builds is actually called a resting web, … Read More »
Free Crawl Space Inspection at time of service only!
Out of customer appreciation Gemtek Pest Control is offering you a free crawl space inspection. In order to receive your free crawl space inspection your inspection must be completed during a regular service.
Make sure you get your free crawl space inspection at the time of your service to save $79.00 on your Crawl Space inspection fee! This free crawl space inspection is an additional $79.00 to you if you do not receive the inspection at the time of your regular service, otherwise it is 100% FREE!
Our crawl space services consist of a few key elements. These elements include a vapor barrier, insulation removal, debris removal, microsan treatments, and air/dryer Ducting when necessary.
To learn more about our Crawl Space Inspection and take advantage of this free opportunity please call us directly at 208-780-6509.
If you can’t beat ‘em, study them!
The homeowners committee in one town has taken to task of studying urban beekeeping. They have gone so far as to approve on small levels, the ability of its homeowners to allow bee apiaries in their low density residential neighborhoods.
Honeybees and Africanized bees are taking over this small community. There has even been a few deaths from swarm style stings. They believe that regular honey bees are not to blame but their aggressive cousins, the Africanized bees are actually the culprit. One side of the debate says that the Africanized bees make the honeybees more aggressive, while the other says that the honeybees are useful in reducing the population of the Africanized bees.
Regardless of which side a person takes, the facts are there. There is a trend happening that includes back yard gardening and … Read More »
Spiders are territorial too
We have all heard about the nasty ways of the black widow female spider. The female black widow has her name because she will keep her mate around only long enough to use for help in the reproduction cycle, then she viciously kills him.
However, were you aware that the male black widows are actually very territorial towards their females and have behaviors similar to dogs, in the sense that they will mark their territory to warn off other males, showing that “This one is mine.”
During courtship the male black widow spider will in fact destroy large portions of the female’s web, wrapping it with their own silk. This behavior shows other male black widow spiders that there is a male present and they should just leave. The vicious females don’t seem to mind the destructive behavior which … Read More »
Ants be gone! Oh, Wait! Come back!
Could ants actually have a beneficial purpose on this world other than to invade your home and back yard causing itchy painful bites? YES is the answer! A new review published shows that ants can actually be as beneficial as chemical insecticides for helping with small insect infestations of crops like citrus and mangos.
Small insects like gnats and fruit flies over take some crops of these types. Because ants are team players and able to cooperate together to achieve their mission, they are able to overtake these other small insects allowing the ants to use these smaller insects as a food source. Ants can be controlled with low cost measures like fake nests and providing them sugar.
The review results show that when introduced purposely on the crops, ants prevent plant damage and help to … Read More »
Who works the hardest?
Something I’m sure you’ve never thought of, which insects are the best pollinators? In a recently published study, bees top the charts. Of course, flowers need help with pollination and that’s where the bees come in. Flowers get many visitors from varying species of insects, but bees in particular take the cake.
The scientists were able to track which visitors and how many each flower received. This is a different study than those of the past where they watched for the actual effectiveness of each. Bees visit flowers much more often than another other species of insects. The scientists were able to determine that bees in particular visit the stigmas of flowers and other popular plants and because they go straight for the stigmas, that makes them the most effective. Vital crops like apples and strawberries require the … Read More »
Allergies and Your Pets
We’ve all heard of pet allergies, and pest allergies, but what happens when your pet is allergic to a pest? For instance, in one case, a cat showed extreme symptoms of small bumps above her eye that quickly progressed into what looked like a plague. After checking with the vet, her owners discovered she was actually having an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite.
How do you keep your pet protected from mosquito bites? It sounds impossible doesn’t it? It’s much easier than it sounds. Keep your home and patio where the animal lives as insect proof as possible. You can use screens and caulk to seal any leaks and cracks as well as making sure doors close securely. A safe for animal’s pesticide can be found in the natural version of eucalyptus. You can use this to … Read More »
There are Tons of Different Spiders Here in Idaho
How to keep spiders away!
We all know it, spiders are actually good to have around the house. They take care of other smaller pests for us. The majority of spiders are relatively harmless, but that doesn’t get rid of the ever popular ew factor they bring with them. So, here are some tips to keep them away.
First check for ways they can be creeping in. Have you caulked around windows and faucets? What about around the new cable line you just had installed? Make sure you properly seal any and all cracks and leaks in your home. Second, you can keep spiders away by keeping the outdoor lights off as much as possible. It’s not really the light that attracts them, but the other small bugs that are attracted to the lights. For spiders this turns into an all you … Read More »
Bed bugs and your mental stability
One insect that will instantly make anyone’s skin crawl and strike fear for the sanctuary of their homes is bed bugs. New research is becoming available that links bed bug infestation with mental health symptoms ranging from insomnia and anxiety to depression.
Researchers say the connection is very real and it makes sense. Bed bugs feed at night. Humans are not able to defend themselves from the attacks. Bed bugs inject an anesthetic into the bite site prior to feeding so the human can’t even feel the bite. It is very hard to fall asleep, and rest peacefully if you have that image on a constant loop in your brain.
Bed bugs can impact lives on different levels. Isolation is a common reaction to finding out about an infestation. People’s natural reaction is to hide the problem, … Read More »
Termites – the $5 million dollar enemy
Did you know that termites cause more than five Billion dollars of damage every year? The silent destroyers sneak in stealth mode, most of the time elusive to homeowners until it is too late.
Most homeowner’s insurance plans don’t cover the damage caused by termite colonies which can house up to almost half a million of the critters at a time. Because of that, prevention and yearly screenings are vital to the health and stability of the wood in your home.
Damp conditions will attract the critters to your home. The moisture in the air causes the wood in your home to change and that moist wood is what their hunger dreams are made of. Making sure that your home is well ventilated to allow for dryer conditions is a good start to making sure termites … Read More »
Insects – the new all protein snack
One mountain climber is taking it to the hills with the traditional oats and grains for her trail mix. Meghan Curry is climbing a mountain with her only food intake being mealworms and other insects. She estimates she will need approximately 4000-5000 calories to stay healthy during her climb. That is a ton of edible crawlers to consume.
Ms. Curry will take her climb over a 14day excursion and her natural sustainability attitude will fuel her desire to consume bug flour bars and cookies, and cricket based fruit leathers. She is excited because between the flower and the space, the burden of packing two weeks of food will be lessened.
There are many benefits to this meal plan. Over 30 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber puts these insects pack more of a nutritional … Read More »
Cockroaches and Salmonella
One of the most common pests both in the United States and around the world is the cockroach. Approximately 80% of all urban American homes have cockroaches whether they know it now or not.
Most people fear cockroaches simply for their “ew” factor, not realizing the actual serious threats they can pose. They produce a major allergen that is especially dangerous to those with asthma and for small children. They carry germs from sewage and decayed food on their backs and legs and bring those germs into your home at an alarming rate. Cockroaches are known for spreading bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella.
Salmonella is one of the biggest causes for food poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps. In some cases, that same bacteria can move to the blood stream and cause life threating medical issues. … Read More »
Which pest control company is best for you?
How do you keep your home, family and pets safe from insects and other pests? Only the best pest control company should be allowed near your home. How do you tell which one is the best? Here are some tips. Make sure they are licensed and check if they are members of national, state, or local pest management associations. Those who are members have the ability to have the most up to date and reliable education and information. Another tip is to ask friends and family members if they have a company they use and have had a good experience with. Word of mouth is always the best form of company review; why not get it from the people you trust most? Never be afraid to ask the technician for his or her … Read More »
What do you have?
Are you concerned that you might have termites? Are you not sure if they are actually just flying ants? The two are commonly confused for each other because of the similarities in their appearances. Here are some tale tale signs of identifying and differentiating between the two.
Flying ants have a very narrow waist whereas the termite has a very broad waist. Flying ants have bent antennae but the termites have straight precise antennae. If you can get close enough to really look, you can also tell the difference between the two insects by their wings. They both have 2 sets of wings to check out. Flying ants front set of wings are smaller than their back set of wings, and termites wings are almost equal in size. Another thing to look for is the apparent after effect … Read More »
Who gets the bug life sentence?
Common household insects can be good and bad, how do you choose which to slaughter and which to allow to coexist in your space?
Some that automatically get the death sentence? Flies. Fruit flies and regular flies to be specific. Fruit flies are just annoying with their constant buzzing around your ears, causing you to clap not in excitement, but in the excitement of hopefully squishing one. Regular flies carry pieces of god knows what and land on your food only to vomit up the god knows what before you shoo them away. No thank you I’ll have a flyswatter please. Also on the kill list of course are spiders, spiders and oh ya… those spiders too.
Ladybugs and fireflies are at the top of the list of the allowed bugs in my space. Lady bugs have … Read More »
What is a Hobo Spider
Funnel web spiders, also known as hobo spiders build their webs in a funnel shape silk structure to catch insects who happen up on the web. Hobo spiders do bite, however doctors are still unaware of exactly what the consequences of the bite all entail. While they typically make their homes in fields, the hobo spider is also known to occasionally make home in human habitats as well.
If you spot one of these creatures, you will surely notice their dark stripes, colored leg bands, chevron patterns pointing towards their heads and a lighter colored stripe lining the middle of their chest.
These spiders are not unlike humans in the way their will protect their offspring. If they feel a threat is present near their egg sac, they will become aggressive and tend to bite. Lesions appear after … Read More »
Potatoes, Beetles and Gardens
I love to garden and potatoes are absolutely one of my favorite vegetables to grow for many reasons. Seed potatoes can be purchased long before you need to plant them. They are easy to store until ready to plant and no delicate roots to worry about damaging during the planting process. Of course I love to eat them too!
The Colorado Potato Beetle shares with my admiration for the plant. The beetle’s hardy hunger for the potato leaf can easily reduce, if not destroy, your harvest if you don’t stay on top of these pests. I like to use a simple insecticidal soap spay. This is nontoxic to humans, but only works on the potato bugs while in larvae form, before they become beetles. It will work on other immature insects as well such as spider mites, aphids, … Read More »
Tick and Mosquito Warnings
In a recent statement, Idaho power has requested that outdoor enthusiasts using its parks use the proper precaution this summer to ward off ticks and mosquitoes.
One biologist has even said this is the worst year he’s seen, citing that he has removed up to 117 ticks off of his body in one day alone. Biologists and their crews have blamed the highest concentration areas on tall grass next to any bodies of water.
Ticks, specifically are of high concern because they carry many diseases that can be extremely debilitation as well as difficult to diagnose in humans. Lyme disease is one of the most common diseases that ticks carry while targeting both humans and animals including any pets you may have with you while visiting the parks.
West Nile Virus, carried by mosquitoes, is also causing a major concern … Read More »
Grasshopper, It’s the other, other white meat?!
Insects are in our dietary future, perhaps…. As gross as it is to think about, it is happening and there’s not much we can do about it. However, in Mexico, the longstanding tradition of eating grasshoppers is coming under attack due to high demand.
When people think of eating grasshoppers, they think of it as a last resort, once all of the other food is gone. The problem with that is grasshoppers are expensive; More than pork and chicken, sometimes as expensive as beef or shrimp. A timeless tradition turned to a delicacy.
Where do the grasshoppers come from? Some are actually farmed in a humane fashion, even killed in the nicest way possible, but the majority of them are plucked from the farming fields in Mexico. Because they are unregulated, it’s hard to tell if … Read More »
Keeping Rodents and Your Vegetation Mutually Exclusive
Keeping Rodents and Your Vegetation Mutually Exclusive
If you hope your desert landscape is safer from pest infestation due to a “desert” style garden’s relatively harsher and less hospitable composition, this little news flash may dash your well-intentioned hopes, for it seems that rodent population is far greater in the desert, than anywhere else in California.
Pests can all be hardy creatures, but rodents are on a different league of their own. And if you’re tending a desert landscape, knowing how to keep your cactus and other vegetation safe from the native rodent population is essential to keep your man-made ecosystem flowing harmoniously — and your your mind sane too, of course.
Here are some steps you should follow to protect and rehabilitate your vegetation from a plague of rodents:
Ground squirrels, chipmunks, … Read More »
Intel Develops Dancing Spider Robot
It may not seem like much to mention intel’s recent development of spider-like robots, especially since they aren’t quite as agile as a normal spider. But the real development behind these dancing spider robots being made, is the gesture activated system they have installed.
It was at a recent intel developer forum where these robots were exposed to the world, and while they might look a bit frightening to anyone scared of spiders, they are simply a test of a new technology to assist people. The gesture activated system that these robots had been installed with, which makes it possible for them to dance, is an innovation that could lead to helping a lot of people who have limited mobility.
The robots are entirely controlled through the use of hand gestures, … Read More »
New Species of Dancing Spider Idaho Spider Control
When it comes to the discovery of new insect and spider species, they are actually found rather regularly. This is because there are so many different variations of spiders and insects throughout the world that a new species is sometimes literally right around the corner from an old one. This is the case with the newly discovered blue-face peacock spider.
The peacock spider group has been known for some time. It has a rare mating dance it performs and it has some unusually bright colors such as green, pink, blue, and red much like the peacocks that they were named from. This blue-face variation not only has the distinctive blue coloring on its face, but the mating dance that it performs is unique from the other kinds of peacock spiders we know of.
This could … Read More »
Catching Bullets with Spider Webs
If you thought a few collections of webs in your backyard that are maybe a foot long, were frightening, then you may want to avoid Madagascar entirely, as it is home to a number of species of spider that are capable of spinning massive webs that can span over 82 feet long and across entire rivers.
If you thought a few collections of webs in your backyard that are maybe a foot long, were frightening, then you may want to avoid Madagascar entirely, as it is home to a number of species of spider that are capable of spinning massive webs that can span over 82 feet long and across entire rivers.
One spider in particular, the Darwin’s Bark Spider, can do this feat all by itself even though it is … Read More »
Water Bug Bots of the Future, Now
Most people these days are at least aware of a bug known as a water strider. This is an insect that is capable of walking along the water as if water were a solid object. It doesn’t just walk on water though, it can also jump from water as well. So if you thought walking on water was a rare feat, well jumping on water is one of the things that is almost entirely exclusive to the water strider because it is capable of standing through the use of surface tension in the water and applying just enough force to not overcome that surface tension.
So what if a robot could be made with the same kind of capability? Well back in nearly 2003 a robot was designed and created that could walk on water, … Read More »
Identifying Bed Bugs And Lookalikes
The revulsion for bed bugs and pest infestation is one so intense that it borders on the point of hysteria. It can be especially appalling and a blow to reputation if you’re a business that happens to be suffering from an infestation. Thus, the vigilance for early detection and extermination of bed bugs is understandable — in fact, highly recommended.
However, not all insects that you detect within your premises are bed bugs. But that does not mean they are harmless and can not be considered detrimental to your business.
A pdf from the Connecticut Coalition Against Bed Bugs, complete with images, show means to identify bed bugs and their lookalikes.
In a nutshell:
Adult bed bugs are ¼” in size, or about the size of an apple or melon seed. They have broad, oval-shaped bodies and flat backs. Nymphs … Read More »
Our brains are constantly processing sensory information, and have an amazing ability to filter out just what we need to understand. A complex process in our brain tells us when and how to pay attention to sensory input. Basically, we ignore visual input caused by our own eye movements.
Researchers at The Rockefeller University have identified a similar process in flies, whose brains ignore visual input caused by their own flight turns. This discovery will allow researchers to better understand how ongoing behavior influences visual perception.
“Fly brains are small, so discovering that flies can ‘silence’ visual inputs means that we can aim for a comprehensive understanding of how this silencing process is implemented,” says study author Gaby Maimon, head of the Laboratory of Integrative Brain Function at Rockefeller. Postdoctoral fellows Anmo J. Kim and Jamie K. Fitzgerald and Maimon, reported their … Read More »
Richard Pollack, a public health entomologist at Harvard University and co-founder of IdentifyUS, and Joseph M. Conlon, a retired Navy entomologist and advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association say that while DEET-based insect repellent products are safe of used correctly and hard to beat, a few natural alternatives do can repel our favorite summer pests but some just don’t.
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing.
“We have hundreds of different types of mosquitoes and each one has its own preferences,” says Pollack. “I wouldn’t necessarily choose the color of my clothing based on whether mosquitoes are present or not.”
Drink a potion containing apple cider vinegar to keeps bugs away.
“I have never seen any evidence that it has any effect,” Pollack says. “Although it’s good to cook with!” Conlon agrees. “You can’t ingest anything that’s going to keep you from being bitten by … Read More »
Would You Eat Bugs?
An Indian man and resident of Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, Raj Kumar Das, has been attracting interest with his food habits. Inspired by the popular television show ‘Man vs. Wild’, a series hosted by British adventurer Bear Grylls, 25 year old Das changed his eating habits and now relishes ‘delicacies’ like raw fish, snails and insects.
Das, who assists his father at a local barber shop, had been hooked to TV since his school days and is an avid fan of Man vs. Wild, where Grylls travels through some of the most inhospitable places on Earth and lives off the land. Often his diet consists of live spiders, lizards, snakes, insects and on occasion animal carcasses and Lobster Brains.
“I have been watching the show for six to seven years where this man eats frogs, snakes and … Read More »
Ants vs. Ant-Man
With the new Ant-Man movie showing in theaters, it’s about time that ants get some positive press. Don’t get me wrong. If they invade your home do not hesitate to action including calling your local pest control professionals for help. Yet, despite their uninvited party crashing, these little insects run our world. It is estimated that 322,000,000,000,000,000 ants roam the Earth turning over soil and preying on insects daily. They are nothing short than amazing.
Ant guys Adrian Smith of the University of Illinois and Kevin Welzel of University of California Riverside would agree but, like most scientists prefer the realm of fact to fiction especially when it comes to ants.
Ant-Man’s use of winged ants for transportation is highly problematic. According to the ant guys, the only ants with wings are reproductive males and females. Most ant colonies reproduce in the spring, so for most … Read More »
The Dining Dance of the Black Widow
Only about five percent of those bitten die – among humans, that is. But the black widow kills almost a hundred percent of their smaller prey. How the spider actually consumes its victims is an interesting tale in itself.
They mostly live on crickets, but aren’t choosy. Black widows will attack any creature they are likely to kill, including frogs and mice. Once they’ve injected their poison, using fangs that are sharp as hyperdermic needles, they dance around their victim.
The dance is really a means of spinning a web in which to immobilize the hapless victim, although it has already been semi-paralyzed via the venom. Once wrapped in spider silk, the pretty is secure and the spider goes off to take care of any other imminent business. Later, the spider makes more injections, this time … Read More »
Western Bee Researchers Look to Africa
The American honeybee is in trouble, and so is its European ancestor that was brought to the new world hundreds of years ago by settlers. These two types of bees are suffering from numerous stressors, the most notable being destruction of habitat, and parasites.
Planting more milkweed to provide greater habitat and banning harmful pesticides would be a good start to addressing this critical loss of a species. In the meantime, researchers are looking at ways bees may be bred with stronger resistance to parasitic killers. And for that, the African bee is the perfect model.
The parasite in question is called Varroa destructor, and functions like a large tick would on a human. It is a type of mite that originally traveled from Asia, where the native bee population had evolved with defenses to protect itself. … Read More »
Annual Mosquito Battle Begins in Sweden
Scandanavian countries are generally pictured as covered in ice and snow, but summers – although brief – can get warm enough to bring bugs. And the wet conditions combined with lush landscape produces some pretty hardy mosquitoes.
This year the Swedish government is stepping up funding to fight the flying beasts.
Helicopter bombing is just one method officials have used, and with another influx of funds more spraying is expected. The government has dedicated another five million Kroger (about $600,00) to attempt to eradicate the bloodthirsty summer visitor.
It has been the wettest May in more than 25 years, and as a result the bugs have hatched in record numbers.
It is the central region of Sweden, Dalalav, where mosquitoes are at their worst. In some areas, citizens have used grazing cows to eat through the grasses where the … Read More »
The Year of the Vole
A scientist in search of a social, monogamous mammal decided to choose the road not taken, and struck out in a different direction about two decades ago. Larry Young, working in Atlanta’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center, discovered the vole.
Voles are rodents with a unique quality – they mate for life. Only about three percent of mammals do, so voles have much to teach about love. For scientists, voles have an ever better characteristic, one species (prairie) are highly social while another type (meadow) could care less about long term commitment.
A hamster-sized mammal with small, beady, black eyes and a bucktoothed visage, they live only a short time in the wild. Everything on the prairie, from snakes to birds, eats them. But in captivity they can thrive for over two years, and make great research subjects.
By … Read More »
Twenty Million Bees Dead After Highway Wreck
Bees being transported in their hives were the unfortunate victims of a rollover crash on State Highway 33 in Idaho. The truck was carrying 408 beehives, each containing about 50,000 bees, to North Dakota.
When it toppled, the beehives were thrown from the vehicle and strewn about the landscape. The escaping bugs swarmed in the air, but without their hives they will be dead within a day.
The truck and trailer tipped on its side, righted itself for about 75 yards, then finally came to rest. No report has been released on what caused the driver to swerve in the first place, but the trailer carrying the bees ejected all the hives.
The company who contracted to have the bees shipped, KatieBee Honey, commented that the accident resulted in a total loss.
“There is really no saving them … Read More »
Dragonfly Territory a Shared Concern
Mexicans, Canadians and Americans are teaming up to study the flight patterns of one of the most beautiful and exotic of flying creatures. Dragonflies are not only lovely to observe, but are among the most common and ancient of insects. Recent research also shows that dragonflies fly long distances, and migrate just like birds.
Dragonflies have been hovering and swooping since ancient times, and grew to the size of birds in pre-historic periods when oxygen was more plentiful on the earth. Today, they continue to thrive despite loss of habitat. But human-made borders can wreak havoc in their migratory passageways, and that is where scientists are stepping in to help.
The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDD) gathers together professional as well as citizen scientists to monitor these fascinating bugs. To create effective cross-border conservation programs, the more eyes on … Read More »
Plant Eating Bugs: What to Watch For
In warm weather, the plant eaters crawl out of the night to perch on your garden greenery, happily gnawing away. To catch them and remove or kill them, you must first know your enemy.
This time of year, there is a particular pest dining on the delicious leaves of the delphinium plant. The offending creature is a caterpillar, also very green and sometimes hard to spot, called delphinium defoliators.
They live up to their name. To identify this caterpillar, which will one day become a garden-variety moth called Polychrysia. The inch long, bright green bug also likes to feed on larkspur and globeflowers, so be sure to scan those plants as well.
Once having found them, you can simply pluck them off the leaves one at a time. This method is perfectly acceptable, but if you want … Read More »
What This Organization Does For Endangered Butterflies Is Amazing
Having a butterfly exhibit (alive, not dissected!) sounds like a cool idea to get kids excited for school.
STS Academy began this idea 4 years ago, in a bid to create more appreciation for monarch butterflies and to create awareness for their declining population. They haven’t gone all the way to bring their butterfly exhibits to school yet at the time, but they already had their goal set.
They launched their butterfly exhibit at the Small World children’s amusement park using a greenhouse. But they had a problem — hosting their exhibit in the stationary greenhouse limited their prospective audience to only those who visited Small World.
Jim Craft, STS executive director, reveals how they eventually came up with a plan for a roving exhibit: “Now what we’ve done is actually … Read More »
Squash Garden Pests With Conviction
Zucchini and yellow squash are some of the easiest food crops to grow. The plants produce copious numbers and these veggies are versatile in cooking. But gardeners know that even with such a productive plant, trouble can lurk in unattended gardens.
Vine borers, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs are all potential problems for the cucurbit family — including pumpkin and cucumbers.
The vine borer lays its eggs at the very base of the plant stem, eats out the stem itself, and causes the plant to collapse. The cucumber beetle spreads bacterial wilt, which will also cause collapse in squash plants.
Bugs that like squashes can be prevented with a comprehensive approach that’s started early – organic pesticides are of virtually no use once the insects have established themselves.
The following strategies are highly recommended:
Late planting (July) can work in some … Read More »
The Bugs of Summer
Insects are in full sight these days, flying and creeping around yards in search of garden plants, lawns and water. Most are beneficial, but a few may cause trouble for you.
The helpful variety include dragonflies, which are swarming in some areas. They happily feast on mosquitoes, at a rate of 30 too per day. Also benign are lightning bugs, found only in certain regions of the country. Their lights are a mating signal, and females remain on the ground, flashing, while their suitors fly around with lights of their own.
Millipedes are neither helpful nor harmless. They live a quiet life, generally munching on whatever mulch or other organic matter they can find. They are having a bountiful season, but need only gentle tolerance.
Caterpillars from the bagworm larvae have hatched and can be found chewing on leaves of … Read More »
Cat and Mouse Game Rigged
If young mice are exposed to a chemical compound in cat urine during the “critical period” of learning, they lose the ability to run away from cats later in life. Russian researchers who discovered this unexpected outcome don’t yet know why this phenomenon occurs.
Although the mice clearly react differently – by freezing rather than fleeing – than mice never having smelled cat urine, the young mice still feel stressed out by it. Measuring the stress hormone corticosterone, the investigators found that the mice who didn’t run still had levels just as high as mice who did vacate the premises.
The theory was that if mice were exposed early enough – during the first two weeks of life – then they might be more comfortable with the odor of cats. However, they only learn to freeze, a maladaptive … Read More »
Three Hundred Rats Share One Apartment
A German man temporarily vacating his apartment for a hospital stay asked a social worker to help him care for his twenty pet rats. When she arrived, she did find a large rat collection in cages – and an even larger brood in the walls of the house.
Over 300 rats were living in the two bedroom apartment. They crowded into every conceivable space and were reproducing at great rates.
Apparently the man didn’t want to do away with any of them. The apartment had been converted into one giant rat cage, with straw and sawdust cover the floors to make the space more comfortable for the rodents.
Babies were nested in drawers, families lived behind cabinets, and many were taking up space in the bed frames.
The social worker reported that the man was attempting to take care … Read More »
Entomophagy Market Still Foggy
Bug eating is hot, at least in theory. A few companies have made a go of it, but most of those pushing sustainable insect dishes are riding a wave of youthful excitement and pro-environmental passion.
The lack of a clear business model for making insect eating (entomophagy) into a reality has led to recent requests for crowdfunding a comprehensive report about how best to market bug-based foods.
A report by Invenire Market Intelligence is due this summer, although the $50,000 in crowdfunding is still being raised. The report focuses on finding ways to make insect eating appealing in its own right, without the constant reference to sustainability. In other words, great tasting bug dishes need to stand on their own. The trend to entomophagy will not last as a permanent eating style if it’s raison d’etre is all about … Read More »
Spider Silk Biz a Web of Imagination
The original spider silk inventor is, of course, nature. But a new twist on an ancient textile has paved a whole new silk road, both for its discoverers and potential consumers.
Bolt Threads has gotten a lot of attention recently for their innovative breakthrough in producing the strongest and toughest silk known to man. But theirs was not an overnight success. Their offices were once giant spider cages, with arachnids crawling the walls and scurrying over desktops, as the human scientists toiled.
The company is on track to have wearable spider silk fabrics by 2016. They began their journey in 2011 when David Breslauer, fresh from Berkely with a PhD in bioengineering, teamed up with two other northern California scientists to begin researching spider silk.
The spiders they work with include orbweavers, a large variety that needs … Read More »
Bats Find Bugs with Sound and Vision
Because they eat so many bugs, bats are considered a natural extermination system.
Like your local pest control professional, bats must get around in a variety of challenging conditions. They fly during the day but do most of their feeding at night. Known for using “echolocation” to negotiate dark places, they also use their vision when necessary for daylight jaunts.
Although studying bats can be difficult, since they tend to hide away from humans, researchers have gained a solid understanding of how echolocation works for bats. The analogy for us would be using a flash camera to negotiate a dark room; each time the “flash” goes off, a glimpse of the territory is revealed. Bats use sound, or the echo of sounds, to the same effect.
Their main purpose for precise navigation is to find food and … Read More »
Idaho Squirrels Likely Victims of Plague
Plague is a rare disease, but that is in part due to a trained army of public health officials who know what to look for. Despite its reputation as spreading like wildfire, cases of bubonic plague in humans are few.
An infectious disease, plague is spread by fleas and most commonly affects rodents. Humans can catch plague from either fleas or rodents, although cases from flea bites are more common. There are three varieties of plague, according to the Centers for Disease Control: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic.
In rodents, however, the disease is more prevalent and deadly. Arizona prairie dogs recently showed signs of plague, and now vole and squirrels in Idaho are likely infected.
Public health workers have tested rodents in northern Idaho and initial results show the disease is present. The Idaho Departments of Health and … Read More »
Know Your Eight-Legged Friends
It is a little known fact that most spiders are not only harmless, but beneficial. We fear what we do not understand, and a little spider knowledge can catapult you from former average-joe to amateur entomologist.
The tarantula is well known and inhabits a wide range in the U.S, — in the southwestwern, midwestern and southeastern states. They do have fangs, but are usually gentle and their bite does not sicken or kill humans (at least in this country). Non-tropical tarantulas generally grow from 2 – 4” in leg length, and come in a range of colors and patterns, mostly variations of brown and black
Another relatively large breed, the wolf spider, can also be intimidating at first sight. Plus, they jump. They tend to lurk outside your house, have a black and white striped pattern covering their somewhat … Read More »
Bee Support Begins at Home: Grow Flowers
Over half of the bees in this country have died in the last two decades. Partly due to loss of habitat, particularly the milkweed plant, the bee decline is a serious issue that affects all of us. The simple fact is that pollinators are necessary — and not replaceable — to grow food.
How can you help? Even if you only have a small patch of land to call your own, or if you are working in a community garden, you can plant flowers to give bees what they need. But before embarking on a pro-bee campaign, it’s important to understand the difference between European honeybees and the American variety.
European bees are less endangered, tend to swarm, and do not pollinate effectively. It’s the native kind that we need more of – that is, the … Read More »
Dying Forests in Western States ‘Canary in Coalmine’
Drought and insects are the two reasons for forest die-off. Often, the two go hand-in-hand, although large tree losses have been reported with the occurrence of only of these threats.
Recent research is building a framework for studying how climate change – which can increase drought as well as insect prevalence – impacts the loss of trees. A new study from University of California at Santa Barbara (NCEAS) seeks to understand the forces at play behind the deaths of over 12 million trees in California alone.
The relationship between drought and insects is key to unlocking tree loss. Post-doc researcher William Anderegg, now working at the Princeton Environmental Institute, is among the first to examine the scope of possible interactions between drought and insects.
The importance of trees to human life cannot be overstated. Beyond the … Read More »
Beware of Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are no joking matter. In fact, other than termites, they probably cause the most damage in homes because they hollow out wood in order to make their nests. Not only that, but their colonies can grow to be over 10,000 workers…that’s a lot of carpenter ants!
So, what can you do to keep them away? This video by Pestworld tells viewers signs of carpenter ants (mainly small sawdust/wood particles near cracks in the structure of a home) and what you can do to keep them away.
For instance, they are attracted to dampness so always ensure sources of moisture in and around the home are eliminated. It’s also important to fill in any cracks in the structure of the home itself.
As the first line of defense, however, call a reputable and experienced pest control company to assess … Read More »
Fruit Fly Genetics May Give Clues to Genes Involved in Cancer
The most recent breakthrough in genetics is the result of four years of painstaking study of the fruit fly. Known for its ability to reproduce quickly, this tiny creature shares 75% of DNA with humans and many generations can be studied in just a few years.
Fruit flies are, rather mysteriously, resistant to a highly toxic strain of bacteria found in mushrooms. Researchers led by Thomas Werner, and assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, set out to discover what genetic advantage such resistance offers.
Due to probable pesticide exposure about fifty years ago, a strain of Drosophilia melanogaster (fruit fly) from Taiwan, India and Asia developed resistance to the mushroom toxin. But they were reared in captivity after the exposure, so there was no known reason why the resistance … Read More »
A Guide to Home Ownership: Pest Control
Buying your first home is an exciting adventure. After the initial novelty wears off, you become aware of the maintenance involved. As a new homeowner, it is tempting to put pest control toward the bottom of your list. You shouldn’t. Much of the value of your home lies in its structural integrity.
Pests are seasonal. Spring and summer bring termites, ants, flies and spiders. Both termites and ants can be controlled by keeping water and moisture away from the house. Ants are a nuisance, may bite, and will go after crumbs of food; the carpenter ant can be just as destructive as termites in eating through wood. Seal outside areas near the foundation and trim back shrubs and trees to limit access to the inside of your house.
Flies are another nuisance pest. Keep them away … Read More »
Mosquitoes Are on the Rise – Know How to Protect Yourself
Any moisture can bring mosquitoes, because they need very little water to live comfortably and reproduce. Studies have shown they can successfully lay eggs in a bottle cap of water, which is one reason is it can be difficult to fully banish them from your yard.
There is bad and good news regarding these flying hazards. On the plus side, recent consumer research shows that DEET is not harmful to use in small quantities, and is quite effective as a repellant. If DEET still causes concern, picaridin-based products and oil of eucalyptus are both effective as well.
The bad news is that warming trends in North America have brought more cases of mosquito-borne disease. This incudes 17,000 cases of reported West Nile Virus since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control. … Read More »
Wasp Romance More Than Common Scents
A team of researchers from Arizona and Germany worked together to discover the subtle differences in pheromones that drive wasps’ chemical romance. A tiny variety of wasp from the genus Nasonia uses two standard pheromones to attract mates, but this particular species employs a novel third pheromone.
The finding is significant because it demonstrates how a single, subtle chemical change can drive mating behavior, species survival, and the speciation.
“We identified a gene in N. vitripennis that we thought was responsible for its unique scent,” said Josh Gibson, an ASU doctoral student working with Jürgen Gadau, a professor in School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Then, we successfully conducted an experiment to suppress that gene, which actually changed the composition of the sex pheromone, so that it resembled that of the … Read More »
New Cockroach Species Unearthed in Museum Collection
The evolution of cockroaches is documented over millions of years, but what paleontologists thought they knew has been challenged with a recent discovery. A cockroach common to Africa and Europe was in North America far earlier than previously thought.
In the genus Ectobius, four new species have been discovered in fossils from a large museum collection of 150,000 insect fossils that was recently donated to the Smithsonian’s Department of Paleobiology. Their presence shows that this small roach (only about 0.25 to 0.5 inches) is about five million years older than previously thought.
Researchers had theorized that Ectobius evolved in Africa and Europe, based on a fossil piece dating to 44 million years ago and found preserved in amber in the Baltic region. But the new specimen is from Colorado, and is estimated to be 49 million … Read More »
Ants Who Pillage Also Take Slaves
As animals go, ants have a great deal in common with humans. They are known to use other animals (insects) for their own purposes, much like humans do. They carry on long wars for territory; they have highly complex societies with important job-related roles; they are often aggressive within their own species.
New research reinforces the many traits these insects share with us: ants who raid, kill, and enslave their captors. A new species from the genus Temnothorax has been named “pilagens” from that latin “pilere” (to pluck, pillage or plunder), and is busy carrying out campaigns in the forests of the northeastern U.S.
Pillager ants go after the homes of other ants, typically contained within acorns, and sneak in with small bands of raiders, usually sending a single scout ahead of time. The attacks result in … Read More »
Gemtek Pest Control Earns Esteemed 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service
Gemtek Pest Control has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014.
“We have made customer service a priority at Gemtek Pest Control,” said CEO Brian Ellsworth. “It’s good to see that we are headed in the right direction.”
“Only about 5 percent of the pest control companies in Idaho have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company … Read More »
Dirty Facts About Flies and Ways to Prevent Them
Who doesn’t love summer? Warm temperatures, cold treats, and all the best events happen in the summer. And what a great time to open your windows and take in some fresh air- except you’re letting in all of the flies, too. Yuck!
So aside from being annoying, what’s wrong with flies? Here’s a short list:
They defecate on almost everything they touch
They spit out saliva and stomach contents onto their food
Flies breed in decaying garbage and excrement
E. coli, typhoid, leprosy, and polio are carried by flies
Additionally, a female house fly can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime, meaning they will pester you for generations. Just think, that nuisance fly that is tasting your neck is probably the great-granddaughter of a fly that landed in your dinner not too long ago. (By the way, … Read More »
How to Deal with Wasps and Other Stinging Insects
It’s that time of year when we start to get a flood of calls concerning wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets. While these creatures are ecologically important, they can also be dangerous when they feel threatened. This can become an issue as nests are built on or near your home. While we would recommend hiring a pest professional for inspection and removal, here are some tips if you must deal with these flying stingers yourself.
Try to deal with these insects at night or in the early morning as they are less active at these times
Keep your distance while inspecting- you can usually tell where nests are by observing where the insects are flying
Destroy the nest to kill the queen and keep eggs from hatching
Use a contact killer spray to knock down insects that are … Read More »
How to Protect Horses from West Nile Virus
As West Nile Virus (WNV) moves through the Treasure Valley, residents want to know how they can take measures to protect themselves and loved ones. But did you know that horses are highly susceptible, too? Here are some facts about horses and WNV:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2012, 627 horses were diagnosed with WNV. This is an increase from 87 in 2011
In 2006, Idaho had the most cases of WNV in horses with 338. This number has dramatically decreased since then, but tends to fluctuate as national numbers do.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture showed in 2006 that the mortality rate for horses infected with WNV was around 36%
So how can you protect your horses from contracting WNV? Here are some prevention tips:
Vaccinate your horse! 86% of horses that contract … Read More »
How to Stay Pest Free During Construction
Imagine one day, a construction crew suddenly showed up at your home and immediately went to work. You didn’t hire them and they ignore your protests because there are just too many of them and only one of you. You try to move to another room, but the workers just follow. Pretty soon, your home and all that you work for is unrecognizable and nearly demolished. As a result, you determine that it’s time to move on.
You step out of what used to be your front door and scan the horizon. You see that not only is your home destroyed, but so are your neighbors’. They’ve all decided to move on, as well. You see where the masses are heading and you start to follow. Pretty soon, you come upon a huge complex with a … Read More »
DIY vs. Professional Pest Management the True Value of Pest Control
Let’s face it. We want to spend our money on things that we actually enjoy. If it’s something that can improve our status or make friends a little jealous, we’ll go ahead and drop a little extra cash (this is certainly how I function). We all want to be happy and if spoiling ourselves can help, I’m all in.
But what do we do when issues arise? If your home is flooded, you don’t want to have to pay for restoration. If your car breaks down, you’ll call around or if you’re a gearhead, you’ll fix it yourself. This is fine, and I certainly don’t want to discourage you from saving some money, but how many times has a project ended up costing more because you … Read More »
Gemtek Pest Control Announces Full Release of Pest, Bed Bug, and Termite Protection
Gemtek Pest Control Announces Full Release of Pest+ Bed Bug and Termite Protection (via PRWeb)
Pest+ plus will provide Idaho residents with an alternative in mitigating damages and costs of bed bug and termite services. Boise, Idaho (PRWEB) June 12, 2014 Gemtek Pest Control, Inc announced today that its newly introduced Pest+ Bed Bug and Termite…
While ants, spiders, and wasps are at the top of every pest list, moths don’t always come to mind. For some residents of the Treasure Valley, the last few weeks have brought about a lot of anxiety as moths seem to be appearing in greater numbers than in years past. Because of this, we wanted to give you some information that might help prevent them in the future.
The two most common moths that we have seen this year are miller moths and Indian meal moths. The behaviors of these two moths differ, meaning different things for you.
Gray or brown with wavy patterns on wings
Wingspan of up to 2 inches
Lay eggs in late summer in thick vegetation. Generally speaking, an outdoor insect that is beneficial in many instances, but can become a nuisance during east … Read More »
Do You Know What Kind of Ants You Have?
In recent weeks, carpenter ants have begun to make their move, especially in heavily forested areas like Cascade and McCall. Because these areas are natural habitats for carpenter ants, your home can easily become a new nesting site. To help you prevent damage to your home, here are some identification and preventions tips regarding these insects.
Carpenter ants build nests inside wood sources like stumps, firewood, and structural parts constructed from wood. Colonies can grow to more than 10,000 workers meaning that property damage caused by these ants can be massive. If you suspect an infestation, contact a pest management professional immediately.
Black, red, or a combination of the two
Segmented and oval body
¼ – ¾ inch long
Primarily dead insects and honeydew
Typically build nests in wood that … Read More »
Fear is a common reaction when people encounter the insect world. Most of the time, being scared of insects is an overreaction due to mistruths or a lack of understanding. Other times, fear and caution are well-reasoned. When insects could possibly cause allergic reactions, one should be careful.
But what do you know about insect stings? Following are some misconceptions about them, as well as facts to clear things up.
1. All Insect Stings Are The Same
This misconception usually comes from the confusion between honey bees, wasps, hornets, and the like. While they are similar in many ways, they differ in just as many. For one, honey bees are only able to sting once as their barbed stinger detaches in its target, after which the bee dies.
Contrast this with wasps and hornets, which typically release lower amounts of venom in … Read More »
Ready for Barbecue? Keep Pests Out
Monday is Memorial Day and millions of Americans will be celebrating at picnics and barbecues. While these occasions are great ways to connect with family and remember those who have passed, they can certainly be interrupted by a whole host of pests. So if you want to enjoy the holiday without issue, here are some tips for avoiding pests.
Choose the right spot. Fence lines, picnic tables, grills and trees can be homes to wasps, while ants can be found near vegetation and build their nests on the ground. Spiders can also be present in these areas. Make sure to inspect the site, as well as any grilling accessories before settling down.
Keep food in sealed containers. There is nothing worse than reaching for a potato chip, only to find a trail of ants … Read More »
How to Prevent German Cockroaches in Boise
German cockroaches are the most common species of cockroach in the United States and are found in structures throughout the world. They grow up to ⅝ inch long and are tan or light brown. Adults have wings, but do not fly. These insects reproduce quickly, typically producing two generations and up to 10,000 descendants in a single year!
German cockroaches are mostly active at night and are fond of fermented foods, starches, grease and meats. This makes restaurants, dumpsters, and dirty environments prime locations to find cockroaches.
It is important to take precautions in preventing cockroaches as they are known to carry various bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases. Additionally, they secrete an odorous substance that can taint the flavor of foods. People with allergies and/or asthma should avoid cockroaches as they are a … Read More »
6 Ways to Prevent Rodent Allergies
For some people, allergies are a battle almost every single day. Even the slightest encounter with an allergen can set things off. From there it’s skin rashes and wheezing, which doesn’t make for very much fun.
While many people know the source of their allergies and what they need to avoid, others have no idea. Some may even know what types of things they are allergic to, but still have issues even when their home is immaculate. Of course, if you haven’t paid much attention to pests around your home, you might be having allergic reactions to something that no one wants to deal with– rodents.
Rodents, like rats and mice, can cause allergies in the same ways that pets do. What makes them worse is that you don’t always know when they’re around. Following are … Read More »
How to Prevent West Nile Virus
With summer just around the corner, many are gearing up for barbecues, campouts, and all sorts of other outdoor activities. Summer months provide for good times and warm memories, but unfortunately risks are present no matter the circumstances. One such risk during this time of year is West Nile Virus (WNV), which is present in various places throughout the world and United States, and in recent years has found its way into Idaho. It affects a large variety of animals and is most often transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. However, there is typically another player involved in the transmission of WNV– birds. Following are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding WNV and the role that mosquitoes and birds play in its transmission.
Where does West Nile Virus come from?
Read More »
5 Tips for Termite Prevention in Boise
I didn’t even know Boise had termites!– This is the response Pieter Rebentisch usually gets after finding termites in Treasure Valley homes. As a Residential Home Inspector for Gemtek Pest Control, Pieter identified five homes with active infestations in April alone. He noticed that there are some common elements to these infestations and compiled a short list of how you can protect your home.
Termites love wet soil. Inspect crawl spaces and basements annually for leaky pipes, water heaters, and general excess moisture.
How clean is your crawl space? During construction, remodels, or additions it is very common for contractors to leave excess wood in the crawl space. If this wood is in contact with the ground, termites will see it as an open invitation.
Have you cut down a tree or … Read More »
Have you ever wondered what those baskets with yellow tops and chains are at your local park? Perhaps you’ve seen a group of people throwing frisbees at them and wondered what they’re doing. Well if you don’t know, they are playing a round of disc golf, something you and your family should start doing right away. Here are some of the details on how it’s played and how to get started.
Just like golf, disc golf is played on a course with a series of holes (holes being the baskets). Each hole has a par which is your target to beat on each hole. If your number of throws to complete a hole matches par, then your score is even. If you don’t match par, keep track of the number of throws over or under par for … Read More »
If you’re having issues with ants right now, you’re not alone. Our phones have been ringing off the hook with calls concerning these pesky little critters. We’ve received various questions, but the one that tops the list is- where are they coming from?
The answer to this question isn’t necessarily as straight forward as it seems, but there are some common behaviors among ants that can simplify the task in finding the answer. Following are some common places to inspect for ants.
Most ants are only noticed if they make their way into a home. While they are usually not nesting in the home, they will sometimes take up residence in wall voids and other unoccupied areas. While these aren’t the places that you’ll typically notice them first, thorough inspections can lead you back to nests.
Common places … Read More »
In 1969, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was moved to promote awareness of the effects of pollution. Touched by the Santa Barbara Channel oil spill, which resulted in as much as 100,000 barrels of crude oil being spread over the channel and nearby beaches, Senator Nelson determined that environmental protection needed to become a part of the national dialogue.
Senator Nelson took steps to organize groups that would promote environmental awareness, which resulted in multiple rallies on April 22, 1970. This date would become known as Earth Day, the birth of the modern environmental movement to protect our air and water.
We all have an obligation to take care of our home and our environment. At Gemtek Pest Control, we practice this idea every day. We have set a standard of utilizing the best practices in … Read More »
Imagine yourself at the end of a long day, having found some time to finally relax. You settle down with some music, a nice book to read, or perhaps you’ve found a good show to watch. You finally get everything in place- your feet are kicked up, and you’ve found some great snacks and a cold drink. Everything is perfect…except for Fido.
Typically, you’re not bothered by him settling underneath your feet, except tonight he won’t stop scratching. Scratch, scratch scratch, scratch, scratch. You tell him to go in the other room. He willfully obeys because you’ve trained him well, but you can still hear his collar jingle as he scratches away. Annoyed, you stand up to berate your dog when you happen to catch a glimpse of the tiniest black dot make an incredible leap from one … Read More »
Want to race for Free? Join our team
We would like to invite you to join with Gemtek Pest Control and Susan G. Komen for the Boise Race for the Cure!
Mark your calendar Saturday May 10th, 2014
We believe we have the greatest customer base on earth. Since you have given so much to us we would like to give back to you. Gemtek will pay the entry fee for the first 50 Gemtek customers or any of our friends for the Boise Race for the Cure. Each participant will receive free Gemtek gear including a custom Competitor Tee with a contoured silhouette and a slight scoop neck, available in sizes XS – 4XL.
Mark this on your calendars and get involved for a great cause!
Our Team Page
We are excited to have Mindy Madsen as … Read More »
Gemtek Pest Control Joins We Love Teachers
Gemtek Pest Control is proud to show support and appreciation for Idaho teachers by joining the We Love Teachers program.
We Love Teachers offers discounts and rewards to anyone employed in education. Educators can take advantage of offers, by simply showing your staff ID at any location where you see the We Love Teachers logo, and you are eligible to receive these great offers.
To check out a list of business and all the great deals they have to offer, simply visit WeLoveTeachers.org.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with CapEd in supporting our teachers. So pass the word along and take advantage of the great savings to be had with We Love Teachers!
A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day
As many of you know, this Monday we all get to stuff our faces with traditional Irish goodies, dress up in green, and pinch those who forget to wear the color. But what exactly is St. Patrick’s Day all about? And what’s up with these traditions? Here are a few answers to these questions.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17, which is the anniversary of the death of the holiday’s namesake. Beginning in the 17th century, Christian churches began celebrating St. Patrick’s role in bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is held in high esteem throughout Christianity, and is credited in myths with driving snakes out of Ireland. While it is true that there are no snakes on the island, some believe that this myth is a symbol of … Read More »
If spring rains have ants scurrying into your home, you’re not alone. Wet weather and seasonal changes send a lot of people to their phones to get these pests taken care of. So why do ants like your home? We have some answers and ways that can help you keep them out.
Why Your Home?
Ants that are found in your home are typically still nesting outside, but are lured inside by readily available sources of food and water. They are attracted to a variety of foods, but most have a particular affinity for those that are high in sugars and proteins. In fact, ants will find sustenance on non-food products like soap and toothpaste because of the proteins they contain. Since both can contain food and water for ants, bathrooms and kitchens are likely candidates for ant infestations.
Like … Read More »
What Do You Know About Daylight Savings Time?
Each year, countless sleep cycles are interrupted by an event in which our clocks “spring forward.” Daylight Savings Time (DST) is upon us and many people are groaning at the prospect of losing an hour of sleep. But do you know how and why DST came into existence? The history is extensive and polarizing, but an interesting topic.
Standardization of Time
Time-keeping in ancient civilizations was primarily done by making adjustments to schedules based on the hours of sunlight. In summer time, hours were longer; as a consequence, hours were shorter in the winter. Romans actually kept different clocks for different months of the year that were based on daylight hours.
As societies advanced, questions concerning the usage of lighting products, like candles, began to be raised. Benjamin Franklin penned a satirical letter … Read More »
Mike’s Slow Cooker Buffalo Cooker
Do you love buffalo chicken?
Do you love easy recipes even more?
This recipe is perfect for anyone that loves spicy chicken wings, but wants a slightly different take.
3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 bottle of your favorite buffalo wings sauce
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix
6 sandwich rolls or tortillas
Combine chicken, wings sauce, and ranch dressing packet in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
When done cooking, use fork to shred chicken. After shredding, make sure all ingredients are evenly mixed.
Serve on sandwich rolls or tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar cheese jalapenos and a chunky salsa verde.
Boxelder and Elm Seed Bugs
Now that temperatures are starting to rise, many of us are getting excited that spring is just around the corner. For some people, this buzz comes with an itch to get a head start on spring cleaning. While most people have intentions to get their cleaning projects knocked out quickly, they can be delayed for a myriad of reasons. Many of these delays are related to the pests that come out of hiding at this time of year, including boxelder and elm seed bugs. These nuisance pests can bombard homes in groups that number in the thousands. While they don’t cause physical harm to vegetation, people, or pets, these bugs can create much anxiety. They may also leave some nasty stains around your home as well as produce foul odors if they are crushed.
As difficult as … Read More »
We Love Canyon County
While there are countless reasons to love living in Idaho, there are many that go unnoticed. Lying just west of Boise is a collection of cities that make up Canyon County, the second largest county in Idaho. Cities included in the county are Nampa, Caldwell, Middleton, Parma, Wilder, Greenleaf, Notus, and Melba. Despite the population of the county (just under 189,000), there is something to offer people from all walks of life. Here are some of our favorites.
Central to Canyon County’s economy is the agriculture industry. Low business costs, a unique climate, and the ability to readily access irrigation make Canyon County a great host to farms and ranches. Furthermore, this combination allows farms to grow crops that are not found anywhere else in the world!
In addition to farms and ranches, agribusiness companies like … Read More »
Clean Kitchen, Clean Home
Not every pest problem starts in the same place. However, there are some places that play host to household pests more than others, including the kitchen. This popular gathering spot has plenty of attractions for your family and pests alike. Therefore, it is important to remember some tips when trying to prevent or eliminate infestations stemming from your kitchen.
Clean entire kitchen regularly
It is good practice to leave the kitchen in a pristine condition when not in use. Any leftover crumbs or spills will attract pests like ants, cockroaches, and mice. So make sure to wipe off countertops, floors, and tables to eliminate foods sources. Don’t let dirty dishes pile up in the sink and run your garbage disposal frequently. Also, change out pet food and water regularly and clean dishes as … Read More »
What You Need To Know About Voles And Gophers
Even though the groundhog saw his shadow earlier this month, one can’t help having the feeling that spring is just around the corner. Therefore, it is time to turn our attention to some other rodents that have a knack for wreaking havoc on yards: Voles and Gophers.
Voles are small, burrowing rodents that look much like a mouse. Sometimes called meadow or field mice, voles are typically 4.5 to 5.5 inches in length including the tail, which is short and hairy when compared to the tail of a mouse. Other differentiating features include a rounder head, smaller eyes and ears, and differently formed molars.
Voles often reproduce year-round with 5-10 litters of 5-10 young. Gestation period is only 3 weeks with females reaching sexual maturity in about a month. This means that populations can … Read More »
Top 5 Reasons to Live in Boise
One of the best kept secrets in the Pacific Northwest is Boise, Idaho. With just over 200,000 residents, this little city has more to offer than one might expect. Take a look at a few of these facts and see how great living in Boise is!
1. Quality of Life
Given its economy, low cost of living, and numerous entertainment and recreational activities, it’s no wonder that Boise consistently rates high for quality of life. For years now, Boise has received high rankings in this category from outlets such as Money Magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and others. Additionally, since Boise ranks as one of the fittest cities (Men’s Health and Women’s Health), and one of the best places to raise a family (Forbes), you can’t go wrong making the city … Read More »
Second Hand Dilemma
There is a certain thrill that comes with purchasing second-hand furniture, especially when you know that you have found a great deal. You’ve inspected the item for wear and tear, and have come to the conclusion that this hardwood dresser is the perfect replacement for the cardboard box you should have replaced years ago. But did you make certain there were no hitchhikers when you brought that dresser home?
Bed bugs are difficult and expensive to get rid of. It is much better to take precautionary steps in keeping them out of the home, rather than dealing with them after the fact. So, before you buy any second-hand items, here are some tips to prevent these critters from getting into your home.
Thoroughly inspect any second-hand items you buy
Read More »
Do You Know: The Odorous House Ant / Sugar Ant
One of the most common and annoying pests in your typical household is the odorous house ant. They tend to be difficult to remove due to their sheer numbers and the fact that individual ants are difficult to kill. They eat a wide variety of foods, especially foods that contain a lot of sugar, thus making the typical household a place where their colonies can thrive. Fortunately, with the proper knowledge and use of certain treatment products, the problem can be dealt with. It’s a big annoyance regardless, but it’s far from being a hopeless situation.
What they look like
From a distance, the odorous house ant will look mostly black, with a length of around 1.5 to 3.2 mm. They otherwise look like most other household ants, and are thus fairly easy … Read More »
Gemtek Earns Esteemed 2013 Angies List Super Service Award
December 19, 2013
We are pleased to announce that for the second year in a row Gemtek Pest Control, in Boise Idaho, has earned the industry-coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2013. This prestigious distinction is awarded to approximately 5% of all the companies rated on Angie’s List – the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.
Angie’s List Super Service Award winners meet strict eligibility requirements including, earning a minimum number of reports, excellent ratings from their customers, and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Brent Roberts and Joel Flake Jr., owners of Gemtek Pest Control, strive to instill a mindset within the company that, “We are a customer service company first, and a pest control company second. We don’t have a company if we don’t take good care of … Read More »
Travel Tips for Bed Bugs
Travel Tips for Bed Bugs
How to sleep tight without letting the Bed Bug bite
During the busiest travel season of the year it’s a good idea to keep these bed bug travel tips in mind. Whether you’re going to grandma’s house or a five-star hotel, travelers should be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. Also be wary of visitors, bed bugs can hitchhike home with college students as infestations have been reported on campuses across the country.
In a recent survey by the NPMA, 75% of pest control professionals indicated that they have encountered infestations of bed bugs in hotels and motels.
The national average cost for bed bug treatment is $500-$800 per room.
Pull off the sheets and inspect the corners of the mattress for bed bugs and … Read More »
How To: Rodent Proofing
With fall upon us and the thermometer dropping, mice are coming in looking for food and somewhere warm to call home.
It’s important during the changing seasons that you protect your home against these invaders.
Here’s why, mice:
Gnaw on wiring and cause electrical fires,
Carry several viruses that are life threatening,
Disturb insulation raising heating and cooling costs.
**CAUTION** Mice droppings carry several life threatening viruses including the Hantavirus. NEVER use a vacuum to remove mouse droppings. N95 surgical respirator masks may provide some protection.
What to look for:
Night time activity
Mouse nests are comprised of finely shredded materials usually in hidden and sheltered areas
What you need to do:
Eliminate food sources
Use rodent proof containers to store grains, pet food, and birdseed.
Search for holes
Look … Read More »
Warmer Winter Foreshadows More Bugs This Summer
By Jennifer Auh | KIVI (original post)
With a warmer and shorter winter, bugs and spiders inside homes are becoming a big issue.
President of Orkin Idaho Todd Sawyer, who is also an entomologist, says countless species of bugs had a better survival rate through the winter this year.
Local pest control companies say their phones are now ringing off the hook.
“We’ve seen a 30 to 40% increase in call volume,” said Jonathan Ross, Gemtek Pest Control.
“In the Boise Orkin market we’re looking at a 40% increase for this early in the season,” said Sawyer.
Gemtek Pest Control and Orkin say people should expect to see more insects and spiders this summer.
One family in Eagle says they’ve had previous issues of wasps, ants and spiders in or around their home in the past. Most recently, they say they’ve … Read More »