The Varroa Mite:  Why it’s bad and what you can do about it.

The Varroa Mite is a parasite that attacks bee colonies, honey bees to be more precise, it weakens bees by sucking the fluid from them that would be considered their blood.  This effects the bees in ways that can cause them to have deformed wings, and various other issues.  However, a bad infestation in a bee colony can lead to the death of the entire colony.  This has effected he beekeeping industry in various parts of Canada and the United States.

To counter a Varroa Mite infestation there are several options available.  There is the option of using chemicals in the form of miticides, these can be found in both naturally occurring or synthetic chemicals.  One example of a synthetic chemical is Fluvalinate, which is sometimes packaged as strips that resemble bookmarks that are saturated with the chemical.  These strips are then hung in specific chambers of the hive so the bees will easily come into contact with the chemical.  An example of a natural occurring chemical is powdered sugar, yes the same kind of sugar found on funnel cakes at the state fair minus any added corn starch.  To accomplish using powdered sugar you simply dust the bees with the substance.

There are also non-chemical ways to control Varroa Mites.  Such as having a mesh floor in the hives, mites sometimes fall off bees and if the mesh is the right size they will simply fall through and be unable to climb back up and infect another bee.  There is a method that uses heat, the hive is heated to a specific temperature for some time, this results in the mites falling off the bees, this method is good to combine with the mesh floor.

Tonya Fredrickson © 2016

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When should a beekeeper be called during insect control and why?

It is said that Bee stings are the largest killer of humans in the United States, and people of many age groups become victim of bee venom and every year not less than a 100 people die every month due to venom from various insects and bees. Apparently many do not take precautionary measures nor do they call the pest control for proper steps to clear off for safety. But one more important thing is to be kept in mind is to have a beekeeper around to manage and to properly guide as to how bees can be controlled. A beekeeper is a professional in Apiculture and even knows deep about many bees and their details as to how good their honey is and also about its venom and to know if it is deadly or is potential to take human life. If the bee which is to be controlled of a good breed and can be accumulated in a area to be bred in Apiculture methods it could be mutually beneficial to the person and to the beekeeper. When bees are disturbed they often become angry and can sting whatever comes near them so a beekeeper is very necessary to be around in order to properly guide which poison or as to how to distract the bees and control them in order to not destroy their existence nor get a sting in return.


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Importance of regular pest control inspections

Controlling pests has always been a matter of paramount importance since the beginning of colonial life. People have always been keen to keep their home free from a variety of pests including roaches, spiders etc. There are a variety of reasons for this being an obsession. Aside from the damages done to properties and resources, pests also spread deadly diseases including the deadly malaria and any disease that has an insect as the vector. In a year more than 5000 people are hospitalized in USA alone following insect stings. Pests are the bane of human existence since the medieval times itself where the spread of plague were rampant. Pests contaminate everything including the groceries and kitchenwares which is not very easy to recognize and prevent.

This is where regular pest inspections come into play. By regularly inspecting our surrounding through professional help, we are saving ourselves from a lot of worry and suffering when the problems actually surface. As pests also degrade wood and timber, it also saves money as only a fraction  of the repair cost would be needed to prevent the pest problems than actually curing it.Inspections should be done either every six months or once a year. It is something most of the people overlook and considered a waste of money. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure

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What are commonly used roach baits and which has the highest degree of safety?

Most commonly used roach baits are in liquid, gel and solid forms. These are used indoor and out door. Though adult cockroaches are eradicated, eggs are not destroyed and eventually hatch. While chemicals are used for killing these pests, the safest way kill them is the century old method of using Boric acid, which is the most effective of the lot. It is also odorless and contains no volatile solvents. For best results, apply in thin layers and never in heap. This is safe and effective compared to hard chemicals.


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Most eco-friendly and effective way to get rid of rodents and open-air Burrows

In a residential area a common problem of rodents and open air Burrows are prevailing and it is no doubt it irritates the residents and also causes many problems like destruction of garden, Half eaten food by them, and many problems which cause a disturbance. There are many methods that are out there for their extermination and many companies have a business out of the elimination of these problems. But a matter of concern is the pesticides and chemicals that eventually cause problems to us humans. Gardens are often corroded or destroyed by the chemicals and also some furniture or the house begins to have a smell of strong acid. There are indeed some methods that are friendly to the environment be it indoor or outdoor, A cat by nature attacks these creatures and it is a food chain that they eat these, So buying a cat is very Eco friendly also it promotes the nature’s food chain, not necessarily a cat is needed one can even make a scare in these rodents that they own a cat like cat urine or some sounds or fur will do the job. One other method is using cow dung might sound very corny but when rats consume this cow dung it begins to bloat inside their stomach and causes them to run out for air. Hence the rats die outside the residential house leaving the stink of the dead animal outside. In addition to driving away rodents, they are a storehouse of nitrogen which automatically fertilizes your garden or lawn for next spring. So this is the most beneficial way or the most Eco friendly way to eliminate and it is indirectly even fertilizing the garden and working to eliminate the issue.


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Inherent Dangers of Large Populations of Rodents and their Pheromones

Beyond an unsanitary menace, any significant population of rodents is an expensive and serious threat to both property and to human health.  

Mice and rats cause visible and unseen damage to homes, buildings, garages and even vehicles by gnawing incessantly on materials such wood, plastic and wiring.  Nesting habits result in shredded materials such as insulation and the presence of animals in or behind walls, furniture, ducts and large appliances. Damage can be extensive enough to impact plumbing or heating systems,  cause electrical damage, leave holes in walls and, if severe enough, impact structural integrity.

Rodents are peril to health in ways that are not always obvious.  Most of us are aware that rodents eat and contaminate human and animal food.  What is less commonly understood is that rodent droppings, urine, hair, dander, and oily secretions from their skin are ALL potential sources for serious human illness.

The diseases transmitted directly by rodents include: Salmonellosis, E. coli, Rat-bite Fever, Leptospirosis, and Hantavirus. Diseases are transmitted not only from living rodents and their bites but also from contact with feces, urine, or inhaling dust contaminated by their waste or from water or food contaminated by their waste and saliva.   

Fleas, ticks and mites on rats and mites are known to carry: Lyme disease, Murine Typhus, Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, Colorado Tick Fever and Babeosis.  Rodent hair and dander are known allergens.   Further, the pheromones of their body secretions are an attractant for reinfestation and accelerate the breeding cycle.  

Removal of a rodent infestation requires proper safety equipment, including respirators, and thorough decontamination; consulting a pest management professional is highly recommended.

A.A. Darlington © 2016

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Limiting Food Sources for Competing Cockroaches: Why it’s a good idea

Cockroaches are difficult to control. First you need to identify where the infestation is coming from. Cockroaches thrive in warm moist environments. This is why you might see them crawling out of drains or lurking in cabinets. Next you need to limit their food source. Sprays don’t always work. While bait traps are effective, they also provide a food source for cockroaches. To get the best results from traps you need to limit the food source.

You’ve tried sprays. You’ve set traps. However, you’re still finding cockroaches in your cabinets. What should you do? First, you need to identify what species of cockroaches are infesting your home. German cockroaches are the most common. Once you identify the species, identify their hiding places.

Cockroaches are found in many places. These include baseboards, cabinets, and anywhere else you suspect cockroaches. They leave evidence wherever they roam. Wherever you find cockroach feces, casings, or dead cockroaches assume there are live ones. A flashlight is helpful when identifying cockroaches as well.

After identifying the cockroaches’ hiding places, eliminate any sources of food or water. Next clean and sanitize your home thoroughly. Limiting the food source is essential. If you don’t, cockroaches will continue infesting your home.

Once you’ve cleaned your house and eliminated food sources, you can set traps. This increases the effectiveness of the traps. As I mentioned sprays aren’t recommended. They’re toxic to humans and animals, and only work temporarily. Ultrasound devices that plug into walls aren’t effective either.

When setting the traps, place them where you suspect an infestation. By doing this, cockroaches are most likely to find the traps. Once set, check the traps each day. This will allow you to check the effectiveness of the traps. Usually most of the cockroaches will die within a day.

After several days cockroaches find the traps intimidating. Once you feel the infestation is under control, seal the traps in a plastic bag and throw them out. Continue monitoring your home for signs of cockroaches. Keeping your home clean during this process will help too, as it limits food sources.

Though traps will eliminate most of the problem, you still need to limit access to food sources. During the day cockroaches live where it’s dark. Sometimes they hide in cabinets or in the stove. They also live in outdoor gardens. At night they prefer kitchens.

There’s a number of things you can do to limit access to food sources. For example, store foods like cereal in airtight containers. Cockroaches are less likely to get into these as opposed to boxes. Also, inspect any food brought into your home. Sometimes furniture and appliances have cockroach eggs hiding in them. Inspect these items thoroughly and get rid of any eggs.

Garbage is another food source for cockroaches. Be sure to take it out regularly. Also, keep trash receptacles as far from your house as possible. To keep cockroaches outside seal any cracks in your home. Also, trim bushes and remove vines on your house. This eliminates both a hiding space and food source.

If you’ve followed these steps and still have cockroaches call an exterminator. Exterminators use special insecticides that are more effective than commercial sprays. They also use other tools like sticky traps and diatomaceous earth. Since you’ve eliminated most of their food sources, it’s easier for the exterminator to do their job.

Managing cockroaches can be challenging. But, if you want traps to work you need to eliminate their food. The fewer food sources cockroaches have, the easier it is to eliminate them. By identifying hiding places and food sources you can strategically set traps. It also helps to keep your home clean, seal any cracks, seal your food, and inspect everything that enters your house. By following these steps you will have the most success eliminating cockroaches. If you still have cockroaches after following these steps, call an exterminator.

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How keeping a clean home keeps the roaches away

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and wading through you pile of dirty clothes to try to get to the light switch. You turn on the light and see some sort of movement next to a large pile of dirty clothes that have been there for a week. With hesitation you lift it up and find a roach!

Cockroaches are nocturnal insects which means they are more active at night. Many people believe that cockroaches are accustomed to a certain area or region and that it is inevitable to keep them away or only very strong insecticides will deter them. While there is some truth to this, the biggest deterrent of all to cockroaches is keeping your house clean.

Roaches outside the home tend to reside in cracks in the ground and in rocks, under some leaves, or nestled into a nest. They also prefer warm conditions. With these traits in mind think about your home. In winter, your home is going to be warmer than outside. If you have things laying around for long periods of time, roaches will nestle themselves in, and make themselves comfortable. Without disturbance from humans, a warm environment, and some darkness, cockroaches will take up homes in your home if you are not properly cleaning your home.

AGH5XKS82V3GC © 2016

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How to Avoid a Rodent Infestation

There are a few things you can do around the home to prevent a rodent infestation. First, keep food and food scraps tightly sealed inside the house. Open food and food waste will attract any nearby rodent. Also keep all garbages sealed tightly. This includes indoor garbages and also any garbages that you store outside.

Rodents also love composts piles. They are a not only a source of food for the rodent but the decomposing food also gives off warmth for the rodents, so the compost becomes a hotel and grocery store all in one! Make sure composts are sealed or tightly covered. Regularly turn the pile as well, as this will deter rodents from staying there. Turning the pile frequently will also cover up any new food scraps.

Avoid leaving out food for birds. Rodents are attracted to these foods and it can soon lead to an infestation. If you must feed birds, feed them huskless food or food that doesn’t leave a lot of waste around. This goes for pet food as well. If your dog or cat eat it, then rodents will also eat it. Do not leave out loose pet food. Larger bags of food should be sealed tightly in tubs, or well secured inside thick bags.

Although not all rodent infestations can be prevented, if you follow these simple steps around your home you will be much less likely to find yourself with a rodent infestation.

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How can heat kill bed bugs?

Whether you are dealing with a few bed bugs, or a large infestation of these pests, bed bugs can quickly become a nightmare. When dealing with bed bugs, it’s best to act fast and be as thorough as possible to rid yourself of them. Bed bugs are pretty clever when it comes to hiding, so a thorough inspection of the direct problem areas and those close by is highly recommended. Though it may seem impossible to get these nasty creatures out of your life, don’t fret, you likely already have many of the tools right there in your home.

One of the best and scientifically proven ways to kill bed bugs, both adults and eggs, is to use a heat source. That’s right; heat will rid you of your unwanted house guests. But, how? Well, thermal deaths for a bed bug and their eggs can vary. How hot and how long you expose them to the heat are your primary factors when attempting to kill them.

While a temperature of 113 degrees Fahrenheit will certainly kill both the adults and eggs, that temperature will require constant exposure for at least 90 minutes to be fully effective. Whereas, a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit will kill them with only 20 minutes of constant exposure.

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