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Pest Control Articles & Advice to Control or Prevent Pests  
by Jim Messner  

The U.S. Bed Bug Invasion: Information and Advice

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects, found in temperate climates; throughout the world. Although largely eradicated in the 1930′s and 1940′s, the rate of infestations in developed countries has dramatically increased; since the 1980s. This can be attributed to an increase in the bedbug's resistance to some common pesticides. Furthermore, bed bugs are elusive and often nocturnal, making them difficult to spot. Most bed bugs will conceal themselves in dark crevices or fabric seams, and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their unsuspecting hosts. Aside from the obvious bite symptoms, signs of a bed bug invasion may include fecal spots, blood spots on bed sheets, and moults.

Making a positive identification even more difficult, bed bug nesting locations can vary greatly. They may include luggage, vehicles, furniture and bedside clutter. The most common methods of detecting bed bugs include heat, carbon dioxide and bed bug detection dogs. Remarkably, specially trained bed bug detection dogs can pinpoint an infestation, with 97.5% accuracy; and often within in a few minutes. In a similar circumstance, an experienced pest control professional may require upwards of an hour; to complete a comprehensive bed bug assessment.

It would appear that the current wave of bed bug infestations across the United States, has inspired a national urgency for pest control strategies, that will include both preventing and exterminating; the bed bug invaders. The bed bug's significantly increased resistance to pesticides, and concerns for the negative health effects from their (pesticide) use, suggests that the successful eradication of a bed bug invasion; requires a combination of both pesticide and non pesticide solutions. Other approaches such as vacuuming, heat treatments and mattress wrapping; are also strongly recommended.

Black Widow Spiders Will Not Attack Unless Provoked

Of the thirty thousand (30,000) spider types, the one best known species (and possibly most feared) in the temperate regions; is the Black Widow spider. The name Black Widow is derived from the mistaken belief, that the female spider invariably kills the male spider; after mating.

Although they are said to avoid homes and dwellings, pest control experts warn that this nocturnal pest is much more common in out-buildings and garages. Predominately found in the southern U.S, the Black Widow spider has been discovered hiding in dark corners and crevices, in homes and structures throughout the United States.

Interestingly, it has been reported that only the female species of the Black Widow spider, will attack and bite a human being. Furthermore, the female Black Widow will only become aggressive if she is disturbed; or when protecting her eggs from potential harm. Nevertheless, exterminating companies have warned that when the female Black Widow spider attacks, she does so with one of the most potent venom; secreted by any animal on the planet.

Although people rarely die from a Black Widow spider bite, victims may experience local pain, severe muscle cramps, abdominal pain, weakness and tremors. In more severe cases, nausea, vomiting, fainting, dizziness, chest pain and respiratory difficulties may follow. In instances where the Black Widow spider bite victim experiences more than minor pain, or has whole-body symptoms, it is important to arrange for an emergency medical transport; to the closest hospital Emergency Department.

Immediate Treatment Suggestions for a Scorpion Sting

Regardless of precautions taken, sometimes scorpions just cannot be avoided. If fact, many scorpion confrontations are the result of a chance encounter. As such, if you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent a scorpion sting, and you are still unfortunate enough to be attacked; here are five (5) immediate treatment suggestions:

  1. Immediately wash the affected scorpion sting area, with soap and water.
  2. Apply a cool compress. Ice, wrapped in a washcloth, should be applied to the sting area for ten (10) minutes, removed for ten (10) minutes; and repeated as necessary.
  3. If the scorpion sting has occurred on a limb (such as an arm or leg), elevate the affected area; to heart level.
  4. Contact the Poison Control Center.
  5. If symptoms such as numbness or tingling of the extremities or face, blurred vision or muscle twitching occurs; go to the nearest Hospital Emergency room. Young children and the elderly, should seek immediate medical attention; regardless of initial symptoms.

Victims can be thankful that a scorpion sting is not likely to be fatal, or even have any prolonged adverse side-effects. In most cases, local medical centers and hospitals are very familiar with common scorpion sting treatments.

If the scorpion attack has occurred inside a house, garage or out-building, it may be necessary to seek-out the advice of a qualified pest control service; to address the threat of a scorpion home invasion. A proactive approach to deterring this venomous pest, is highly recommended if there are young children or elderly persons; residing in the dwelling.

Battling The Imported Red Fire Ant

Exterminators from almost every U.S. State in the American South, from Texas to Maryland, battle highly aggressive ant invaders; like the Red Imported Fire ant. The toxin from this tiny ant pest's bite, can inflict painful skin welts; and possibly even cause death. In fact, as of 2006 there have been 80 documented fatalities, resulting from a Red Fire ant attack.

In addition to the risk of a stinging, the mound-building activity of the Red Fire ant; has damaged plant roots, lead to crop loss, and interfered with agricultural cultivation. It is not uncommon for Red Fire ant mounds to appear suddenly in a rural or suburban yard or field. How is this possible? One Queen Imported Fire Ant, can produce (up to) 1,600 new ant eggs each day, creating a major pest control problem for homeowners and local residents.

As you can imagine, an ant infestation is not easily corrected. In many instances, when an exterminating strategy is applied, the ants will fragment into smaller colonies; and wait-out the effects of the treatment. As such, it becomes a matter of controlling the population, rather than exterminating it. To be successful, the approach requires local pest control strategies, that employ technology and solutions that were developed in Universities; across the United States.

Beneficial Insects Could Solve Your Pest Control Problems

Beneficial insects (sometimes referred to as Beneficial bugs) are common species of insects, that provide homeowners with natural pest control services.

A great example of a Beneficial insect and natural predator, is the Assassin bug. This remarkable insect provides an effective and natural termite and spider control alternative; to traditional pest control. Utilizing a hunting technique known as "aggressive mimicry", these cunning pest-killers use dead termites; to deceive live ones into approaching. In a similarly deceptive manner, the Assassin Bug "plucks-away" at a spider's web; mimicking the movements of exhausted, stuck prey. When the spider casually approaches to investigate, this natural exterminator will move into position; and then swiftly attack.

The primary focus of this natural approach to pest control services, is to promote Beneficial insects that eat the pests; targeted by homeowners. It is an ecological approach, with a focus on significantly reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides; while at the same time managing pest populations. By providing suitable living conditions, homeowners can encourage the growth and development of Beneficial insects; which results in a cost-effective and natural alternative.

The introduction of Beneficial insects, can provide homeowners with remarkable pest control, while at the same time; having a minimal impact on the homeowner or environment. Live specimens and eggs of Beneficial insects are widely available, and (most often) at a very reasonable cost.

Exterminator and Pest Control Services Have Evolved Over Time

Many the world's most common pests have become a problem, as a direct result of their interaction with humans. As old as agriculture, pest control services and exterminators have long been called upon by farmers and homeowners, to keep crops and food supplies safe from pest invaders.

Ever since the industrialization and mechanization of agriculture in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the later introduction of insecticides, the use of chemicals to eliminate unwanted pest invaders; has become a widespread practice. In the 20th century, the introduction of synthetic insecticides (such as DDT), and herbicides; furthered contributed to the development and evolution of pest control services. Although still commonly used today, the long-term effects of chemicals strategies have led to a renewed interest; in biological and natural pest control alternatives.

To address a common pest problem on your property, an exterminator may use one or a combination; of the following traditional pest control strategies:

  • Traps
  • Spraying
  • Fumigation

As is the case with the recent American invasion of bed bugs, living organisms can evolve and increase their resistance to a chemical, biological or natural form of control. Unless the targeted pest population is completely wiped-out by an exterminator, or is rendered incapable of reproducing, the surviving population will inevitably develop a tolerance; to traditional or common treatments. Nevertheless, through the application of biological or natural pest control methods, homeowners/property managers can reduce or eliminate the factors; which encourage the growth and development of the pests. This approach, coupled with minor lifestyle changes, will often substantially reduce the potential for a pest problem.

Not Even Clean Houses Are Safe From Cockroaches

Many people would gladly support the notion, that cockroaches are one of the most unpleasant pests, found in the United States; and quite possibly the entire World. Furthermore, cockroach invaders have been identified by public officials, as a pest control problem and major health concern; for homeowners, their children, families and pets. As such, this makes the cockroach a prime target for local pest control services, and concerned homeowners.

How do Cockroaches become such a pest problem? Once a single cockroach arrives in the home, it will excrete chemical trails in its feces, and emit airborne pheromones; that act as a beacon for swarming and/or mating. Strongly exhibiting "emergent-type behavior", other cockroaches will then follow the trail; to the newly discovered food and water source.

The cockroach pest invaders are resilient, and can quickly adapt and flourish; in a number of diverse environments. However, local exterminators report that cockroaches are most common in American cities and States; with tropical and subtropical climates. In these environments, cockroaches are able to survive in close proximity to humans; and are often discovered around garbage cans/containers, and in the bathroom or kitchen of houses.

Because cockroaches are often closely associated with poor housekeeping, many homeowners are unaware that even the cleanest house can become the victim; of an unexpected cockroach invasion.

Natural Exterminating Services From Assassin Bugs & Ladybugs

With more homeowners voicing concern about chemicals being applied to treat their pest control problems, exterminators across North America are searching for natural or green exterminating methods; to improve their existing pest control services. One such approach, involves the introduction of Beneficial insects.

The goal of eco-conscious pest control services, is not to kill all bugs. In most cases, it can be highly beneficial to maintain the balance of nature. A proper green strategy aims to keep insects outdoors, and provide natural predators; with a generous food supply. For example, Beneficial insects (sometimes called Beneficial bugs) are natural predators of the other insects, that homeowners and property managers consider; to be a common nuisance. Two (2) well-known Beneficial insects, and natural exterminators, include Assassin bugs and Ladybugs.

  1. The Assassin bug effectively utilizes a remarkable hunting technique, known as aggressive mimicry. These cunning pest-killers, provide a natural pest control method of controlling common pests; like spiders and termites.
  2. Although a few species of ladybugs are considered pests in North America, most are considered beneficial insects, because they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and mites; providing natural pest control services for gardens, farmer's crops, orchards and other such places.

Introducing beneficial insects, in partnership with other natural practices, can provide excellent control; with minimal impact to the environment. By providing suitable living conditions, homeowners can encourage the growth and development of beneficial insects, thus producing an effective natural pest control solution.

Tips To Avoid Scorpion Sting

A variety of scorpions, including the Striped Tailed and Bark scorpion, are found all over the State of Arizona; extending west across the Colorado River in to California, and east to New Mexico. As such, when participating in outdoor events, or enjoying the breathtaking sights in these regions; here are four (4) helpful tips to avoid a painful scorpion sting:

Tip #1- Be careful when camping or other outdoor activity, make certain there are no scorpions "camped-out" in your clothes, shoes or sleeping bag.

Tip #2- Use a UV (Black) light to see scorpions in the darkness. Scorpions will glow brightly when subjected to UV lighting.

Tip #3- Most pesticides have little affect on scorpions. If you suspect an invasion, call a pest control professional or exterminator. Eliminating the food source (like other insects) is highly beneficial.

Tip #4- Fatalities resulting from a scorpion sting (even from the Bark scorpion), are rare. Scorpion stings are considered dangerous to children and the elderly. It is important to note, that household pets are also at risk.

The scorpion's venomous stinger is used primarily to hunt, and for its own protection. Scorpions do not actively seek-out humans to attack. In some instances, a scorpion will get caught up in sheets and bedding, or unintentionally crawl inside a person's shoe. In this case, when the scorpion is confronted by an arm, hand or foot, it will attack with its stinger; in an effort to defend itself from harm. Self-defense or not, a Bark scorpion sting (in particular) should always be considered dangerous, treated quickly; and with extreme care.

Easy Spider Control Tips

Although most spiders are venomous, and considered predators; few are actually a notable health threat. Albeit spiders are very unpopular, they rarely bite humans. In fact, most spiders' fangs are too small/weak, to puncture a human's skin. Nevertheless, when spiders do bite, the venom of most species is not very toxic (to humans); and often only results in slight swelling, inflammation, or itching sensation.

To effectively prevent or control a spider invasion, you must begin by eliminating the existing insect pest population; from inside the house. This will encourage any spider intruders, to search for a more dependable food supply; outside the home. With that in mind, here are 10 dependable pest control tips, for reducing the number of insect pests and spider pest invaders inside your home:

  1. Install snug-fitting screens, on all windows and doors. It is also recommended, that you install door sweeps; as well.
  2. Seal or caulk cracks and crevices where spiders/insects could enter the house or building.
  3. Install yellow/sodium vapor light bulbs outside, to attract fewer insects; for spiders to feed upon.
  4. Tape the edges of cardboard boxes to prevent spider/insect entry.
  5. Use plastic bags (sealed) to store loose items in the garage, basement and attic.
  6. Remove old boxes, unused clothing, wood/rock piles, trash and other unwanted items.
  7. Eliminate clutter in closets, basements, attics, garages, and outbuildings.
  8. Do not stack wood against the house.
  9. Clean up dead insects.
  10. Dust and vacuum thoroughly to remove spiders, webs, and egg sacs (dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed container outdoors).

Preventing a pest infestation, is vital to maintaining a safe and habitable home. Many homeowners feel an obligation to prevent pest invaders, like spiders, from taking over their home; and threatening the safety and health of their family. Using a practical common sense approach to spider control, like the one outlined above, homeowners can prevent a spider infestation; and avoid the need for chemicals or other treatments inside.



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