Spiroplasma: A Biotic Approach to Controlling Pests

These days, people are more concerned than ever about how chemicals are affecting our environment and our indoor living spaces.  Researchers are now investigating  the possibility of being able to control pests on our crops and in our homes without using harmful chemicals, One of these avenues of research is that of the bacteria known as Spiroplasma.

Spiroplasma is one of a group of bacteria that live on or inside various plants and insects. They are unique in that they have no cell walls, and generally live on or in their host without causing harm. However, researchers have noticed that if a different type of species of Spiroplasma is introduced into a host such as a tick or other arthropod, that it has the effect of being killing the male of the species. The females of the species serve to transmit the bacteria without being affected by it.  The potential uses for this “male-killing” bacteria are many. Populations of crop damaging and disease carrying insects could be reduced not only by eliminating the males of the group but also by inhibiting the reproductive cycle.  Since the bacteria are species and gender selective, other plants and creatures are not affected.

More research is being conducted into the safety, efficiency and cost of using Spiroplasma as a method of controlling and managing pests. If safe and cost-effective, it would be a valuable asset in reducing the number of chemical agents in our food, water,  homes, and the environment while eliminating invasive pests.

By Michelle Hawley © 2016

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Can dry ice be used to kill insects?

As an attractant Arthropods looking for warm-blooded creatures that transmit CO2 through breath are pulled into this gas. Dry ice is a strong type of this gas can be regularly obtained locally from organizations that offer packaged gas and welding supplies. While setting it on the ground on a surface like a board, gas radiated will draw in ticks. At the point when hung in a work pack in a Malaise trap, CO2 is appealing to gnawing flies like steed and deer flies. As an anesthetizing operator CO2 in pressurized barrels can be utilized to immobilize creepy crawlies. The gas can be utilized when sorting live examples from field-gathered junk and is perfect for use in close-up photography in indoor settings. Presenting bugs to CO2 too long will, be that as it may, execute them.

As an executing operator, putting a piece of dry ice in a Styrofoam cooler makes a thought field cooler that can slaughter creepy crawly examples promptly. Pheromones Chemicals those arthropods create that behaviorally affect different arthropods are called pheromones. Some of these are presently monetarily accessible to be utilized as a part of traps to draw in creepy crawlies. A large portion of these are sex attractants which are delivered by one sex to draw in the other sex. Some are nourishment attractant aromas, for example, botanical fragrances. Traps regularly fuse a stick material to trap creepy crawlies for populace observing purposes, however aromas can likewise be utilized as a part of live traps to gather quality examples. We can utilize pheromone fascination without purchasing artificially fabricated items, as well. On the off chance that we are sufficiently fortunate to bring a silk moth up in imprisonment, keep the females in a screen enclosure to draw in extra male examples.

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What is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index (SSPI)?

In the mid 1980’s Justin Schmidt and his friends decided to do research about painful stings. Slightly more than 78 different types of hymenopteran species were used for recording data on intensity and duration of the pain.

Justin created a scale based on the pain of a sting which consists of 5 points from 0 to 4 and it doesn’t penetrate into the human skin if it is 0 . Whereas the most painful sting scale level is 4 and is very dangerous too.

The pain level rating 1 species is Sweat bee and it characteristics are light and fruity. It’s tiny barb is the size of a single hair in our arm.

The pain level rating 2 is Fire Ants and it’s pain duration is from 2 to 5 minutes. The characteristics of this sting is sharp, mildly alarming and easily reaching the light switch.

For even more information on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index please see the resource at http://www.compoundchem.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/The-Schmidt-Insect-Sting-Pain-Index.pdf

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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.

ASI4GFKXKIU7R © 2016

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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

A10I3H318B4EY1 © 2016

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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.

AO67HSBHKPIHX © 2016

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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.

ASI4GFKXKIU7R © 2016

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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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