Crazy Ants Driving Out Fire Ants

Ants on raspberries

I recently wrote an article about Rasberry Crazy ants, and how they are spreading throughout much of the state of United States. According to a report out of The University of Texas At Austin, the spreading of this invasive ant species has also lead to them driving out other species of ants, including the Red Imported Fire ants.

Fire Ants Driven Out By Rasberry Crazy Ants

If you live almost anywhere in the Southwest US, then you have likely become well acquainted with the Red Imported Fire ant. These ants are unmistakable, because of their very painful stings, and the massive mounds they build in your yard. Keep away from these mounds, or you’ll be sorry.

However, there is a new pest invader taking the place of the Fire ants. It’s an ant that some people hate even more than the Fire ant. The ant I am referring to is the Rasberry (not raspberry) Crazy ant.

According to a recent report, the “ecologically dominant” crazy ants are reducing the diversity and abundance of many ant species in Texas, and in other Southwest States, including the dreaded Fire ants. Scientists are seeing very few fire ants in areas heavily infested with Crazy ants because the ants outcompete for the necessary resources needed for survival. Essentially, they monopolize food sources and starve out other ant species.

Even in region of Texas where the Crazy ant population is less intense, Fire ant numbers were considerably reduced. Other ant species, particularly native species, were also eliminated or diminished.

What’s So Bad About Crazy Ants?

Hands In Ant Nest

Many homeowners are becoming so fed up with the destructive Crazy ants, that they wish they had the stinging Fire ants back! This sentiment is primarily because of three different reasons.

1) Crazy ants infest in huge numbers. They quickly outnumber other species of ants because they multiply very rapidly. In fact, they can attain densities up to 100 times greater than all other species of ants in a single area combined. Some people even report having to sweep out the Crazy ants with a broom and dustpan daily… Dustpans full of ants!

2) The Crazy ants are very destructive. They go everywhere, invading homes and nesting inside your walls, attics, and crawlspaces. They are notorious for damaging electrical equipment by swarming inside appliances. These ants are drawn to electrical currents, chewing through electric wiring. These actions cause stop lights, air conditioners, and other electrical equipment to short circuit; resulting in expensive repairs.

3) Crazy ants are tough to eliminate. Since Crazy ants don’t eat the same poison baits as other ants do, they are very difficult to control. Pest control for fire ants differs greatly from pest control for crazy ants. http://blogpestcontrol.com/2013/03/pest-control-for-fire-ants/

Characteristics of Rasberry Crazy Ants

Rasberry Crazy ants measure about 1/8 of an inch long. They are a reddish-brown color, with long slender bodies and antennae. They are also covered in fine hairs or fuzz that makes them appear less glossy than other ant species.

The Rasberry Crazy ant was named after an exterminator, Tom Rasberry, who discovered the ant in nearby Houston. They are also referred to as tawny ants, or simply Crazy ants. They earned the nickname “crazy” because of their crazy, rapid, nonlinear movements.

Ant Control

Crazy ants, Fire ants, sugar ants, piss ants, whatever… no matter the type of ant, an ant control professional can help solve your ant problems. Call an ant exterminator today!

 

 

 

 

Scorpion Sting Antivenom- The Simple Facts

Scorpion_AntodoteFirst you feel it! OUCH!

It burns! It stings!

Parts of your body begin to feel numb!

Being stung by a scorpion is nasty business, but once you’ve been stung, what do you do next?

There is a scorpion antivenom available called Anascorp, and it may be right for you. Here are a few basic facts when dealing with a scorpion sting and possible antivenom treatment:

Scorpion Antivenom

Most individuals stung from scorpions will not suffer an allergic reaction. The human body can metabolize the neurotoxin injected by the Arizona Bark Scorpions under normal conditions. It becomes deadly when combined with allergic reactions. Some individuals’ bodies simply overreact to the toxins, sending them into afilactic shock. Afilactic shock makes breathing very difficult. From rapid breathing to complete shut down of the lungs, individuals will actually die from suffocation. The anti-venom eliminates the plasma venom and within four hours those that were suffering severe reactions are cured.

  • Antivenom therapy is available for the Centruroides species (bark scorpion), the antivenom (Anascorp) was approved for use against the bark scorpion sting in 2011 by the FDA. It is made by immunizing horses (or goats) with venom and then antivenom (immunoglobulin) is harvested from animal blood.
  • Antivenom may stop all symptoms within about 4 hours after administration. Researchers are developing antivenom to other scorpion species.
  • Symptoms may require hospital admission for 24 hours of observation, especially for children.
  • Consult a doctor about treatment.

When to Seek Medical Care for a Scorpion Sting

  • Most infants, small children and the elderly, especially if they are stung by a bark scorpion, which inhabits large areas in Arizona and New Mexico, should be seen quickly by a doctor since some of the severe reactions occur in these populations.
  • However, anyone who experiences severe symptoms after a scorpion sting will need immediate treatment in an emergency room.
  • Call 911 and/or Poison Control (1-800-222-1222)
  • Continuously apply ice to the sting area.
  • If there is no danger to other people, carefully collecting a dead or injured scorpion into a sealed container to show to the physician may be helpful.

Black_Light_ScorpionScorpion Prevention

Regular scorpion control or pest control services around the exterior of a home is the first and foremost step in scorpion control.  Consistency is the key here as scorpions trouble neighborhoods. We will never be able to rid an entire neighborhood of scorpions, but you can keep them from infesting your home and property with regular professional treatments.

After a regular treatment, additional precautions would be glue traps placed in corners. Glass jars placed around the base of beds and especially cribs. Scorpion seals also create an additional barrier. Treating moisture points in the yard is advised. And treating around pool equipment helps.

Warning: Smelly Bugs Invading

Brown Stink BugAs certain as the hot summer months arrive throughout the US, so too do the bugs. They enter our homes looking for shelter from the elements. During these home invasions, many homeowners will likely see a familiar pest… The invasive brown marmorated stink bug!

The invasive brown marmorated stinkbug has been a serious pest problem for much of the country, especially in the Northeast United States. Some reports predict their numbers to be up over 60% this year. This is mostly due to the insects having multiple breeding cycles during the upcoming long, hot, extended summer which is supposed to be one for the record books.

Reporting Stink Bug Sightings

If you are seeing an influx of Brown Marmorated stink bugs in your home or on your property, it’s likely that your State Department of Agriculture would like to hear about it. Please report any sightings.

Officials in the state of Texas are especially concerned with these stinky bugs making their way into the state. The Texas AgriLife Extension Office is asking for anyone who finds this type of stinkbug to give them a call. Officials have said that they “take this pest seriously, and are hard at work trying to understand effective ways to control it; and mitigate its effect.” These stink bugs have the potential to damage Texas’ crops; and your garden. The Texas AgriLife Extension Office can be reached at (512) 854-9600. 

The Brown Marmorated Stinkbug

Stink_BugThe Brown Marmorated Stinkbug is a medium sized insect that measures about a half inch to three-quarters of an inch long. They’re shield shaped and brown with black mottling on their backs. They also sport white and black triangles around the outer edge of their bodies. They are best known for emitting a foul smelling over when disturbed or squashed.

Keeping Stinkbugs Out Of Your Home

  • Cover any vents, window, and doors with tight fitting screens.
  • Seal up any holes, cracks, or that might allow stink bugs easy access into your home.
  • Keep outdoor lighting to a minimum as stink bugs are attracted to lights.
  • If you do happen to get any of the bugs inside your home, vacuum them up with a shop-vac filled with hot soapy water. If using an upright vacuum, make sure it has a vacuum bag that is tightly sealed. Remember, do not crush the bugs or you will be smelling them.
  • If a stink bug problem develops, contact a licensed pest control professional.

Africanized Bees Still a Problem

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANews recently broke about a Pflugerville, Texas man that is in stable condition after being stung more than 300 times by a colony of Africanized Bees. The 40-year-old warehouse worker was trying to move a cabinet when he disturbed a massive colony containing some 125,000 bees.

It is unknown how the man escaped the aggressive bees, but he was immediately taken to a local hospital after the attack and is expected to make a full recovery. Three other people were also stung, but were not seriously injured.

A beekeeper removed the 125,000 bees along with 120 pounds of honeycomb.

Africanized “Killer” Honeybees

Africanized honeybees, also know as “killer bees,” are a hybrid of honeybees from Europe and southern Africa. In 1957, the hybrid bee was accidentally released in Brazil by a beekeeper. European and Africanized honeybees can only be distinguished by molecular analysis.

Small swarms of Africanized bees are capable of taking over honey bee hives by invading the hive and establishing their own queen after killing the honeybee’s queen.

Honey Bee Looking Right At YouAggressiveness

These Africanized bees are ten times more likely to initiate an attack or sting then a common European Honeybee. What makes Africanized honeybees more dangerous is that they are more easily provoked, quick to swarm, attack in greater numbers, and pursue their victims for greater distances.

For a few facts on these Africanized bees, and the distances they are willing to travel during and attack, see an illustration at:

http://pestcontrolseo.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/killer-africanized-honeybee-migration-through-the-united-states/

On the Move

Africanized honeybees are moving north at a rate of 100-300 miles per year. They are now common in most of the state of Texas, including the cities of Austin and San Antonio.

Bee Problems?

If you are experiencing a problem with bees of any kind, contact your local pest control company. Due to the ways bees carry pollen, dust pesticides are an effective way to quickly eliminate a bee problem. 

Concerns Over Aerial Spraying For Mosquitoes

Much of the United States has been under attack by mosquitoes, and experts believe the mosquito problem is going to get worse. These mosquito attacks have many people worried because of the possibility of a West Nile Virus infection. CNN reports, this year’s West Nile Virus outbreak is the largest the United States has ever seen since the disease was first discovered in 1999. The state of Texas has been hit the hardest these last couple years, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that almost 80 percent of the nation’s reported West Nile cases are from the Lonestar state.

Aerial spraying for mosquitoes is a common and effective way to combat mosquitoes and the spread of West Nile Virus. Dropping pesticides from the sky raises many concerns and questions, including possible reaction to DUET.

DUET Reactions

West_Nile_Virus_SignThe pesticide that is being drop sprayed to combat the mosquito population is called DUET. The most common reaction upon DUET exposure is a prickling or burning sensation on your skin. Other reactions can consist of a tearing in your eyes or blurred vision, and respiratory irritation if you inhale it.

Who’s Most at Risk?

It’s hard to predict what kind of reactions, if any, people will have to the pesticides, but people that already have allergies, lung disease, lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory infections are more at risk. Pregnant women also need to take added precautions. Although it’s not time to panic, health professionals are urging the public to take certain precautions throughout this process.

Aerial Spraying Precautions

  • Stay inside until it settles—usually a couple of hours
  • Bring pets inside
  • If your real sensitive to chemicals, leave town
  • Don’t wear the shoes you wear outside, inside your home for a few days
  • Wash vehicles, toys, patio furniture, pet bowls, fruits, and vegetables.

Pest Control Console

If you are concerned about the DUET pesticide, the West Nile Virus, or mosquitoes on your property, contact a pest control professional today for more information.

The Ant Watch- Our Favorite April Fool’s Joke

Ant Watch
Image courtesy of Analog Watch Co

Honor nature. Love nature. Keep it close at hand.

Imagine being able to carry insect life around with you wherever you go… And no I’m not talking about having a nasty lice infestation.

I’m talking about an entirely new take on time—The Ant Watch!

Inspired by nature and child like curiosity, The Analog Watch Company is offering a living conversation piece featuring three to five harvester ants in a portable enclosure that you wear on your wrist.

Those sporting the watch can be in awe as these wonderful ants create their own little world. Marvel at their ingenuity, all day long, as you go about your day watch as they go about theirs.

The Ant Watch runs $59.00, and you can choose from two classic colors; classic ant farm green and black leather.

See for yourself:


Once you receive the Ant Watch, and the 3-5 harvester ants; the trick is getting them into the watch. By placing the ants in the refrigerator for 10 minutes they become less lively. You then use the included tweezers to gently place them in the watch with the sand.

To keep them alive, you have to feed them sugar water a couple times a month with the included dropper. Every purchase comes with replacement ants for a year.

The Ant Watch- Our Favorite April Fool’s Joke

As a bug guy, I was so excited to pick up one of these watches for myself. I was all set to even do a promotional contest on Blog Pest Control’s Facebook page where a lucky follower could win a watch. That was until I clicked the pre-order button on Analog Watch Company’s site, only to discover it was only a cruel hoax.

Got me! April Fool’s!

This April Fool’s joke was actually on of my favorites. Make sure you check out our 10 April Fools Pranks Involving Bugs article!

March Madness Bug Style

It’s that time of year again… The nation has succumbed to March Madness fever. With the NCAA basketball tournament underway this week, millions of us across the globe have carefully filled out our brackets; penciling in our alma-matters to the final four, confident who the next Cinderella team is going to be.

In fact, March Madness is so popular, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employers will lose almost $2 billion dollars in productivity this year, as 60 million Americans are in the office streaming games, devouring bandwidth.

With college basketball in the air, the bug guys at Bulwark Exterminating had a little fun putting together a field of bug all-stars!

Just take a look at these all-star bug picks:

March Madness Bugs

 

While the thought of fielding a team of Kevin DurAnt, Hakeem oSpiderwon, Rajon Roacho, and Tim dScorpion is entertaining, there’s nothing humorous about having pests like ants, spiders, roaches, scorpions, or creepy crawlies of any kind in your home!

Having pest problems? Give the pest control professionals at Bulwark Exterminating a call today!

(888) 624- 3683

Austin Bats In Danger?

English: Emergence of the bats of the Congress...
English: Emergence of the bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas at dusk. Français : Émergence des chauve-souris du Congress Avenue Bridge à Austin (Texas) au crépuscule. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year some 100,000 plus people visit Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge to witness one of nature’s marvels. During summer evenings, upwards of 1.5 million bats emerge from the crevices of the bridge, almost like a black cloud, to feed on millions of insects. It’s a spectacular site that generates $10 Million in tourism revenue each year.

This summer it was confirmed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services that the deadly White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) has made its way to Texas. This devastating and deadly disease afflicts hibernating bats by covering them with a white fungus, awaking them from hibernation and causing them to die from starvation. In other areas of the United States, over 95 percent of the bat populations have been wiped out because of WNS.

With White-Nose Syndrome now in Texas, are the Austin bats in danger?

White-Nose Syndrome: Are Austin Bats In Danger?

At this time, White-Nose Syndrome is not believed to affect Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge bats. The reason being is that WNS has only been shown to affect hibernating bats. The bats at Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge are Mexican free-tailed bats; bats that do not hibernate and that are active year-round. It’s important to note that the full potential impact of WNS on Mexican free-tailed bats, and all bats in Texas, is still unknown.

Scientists do fear for other bat species in Texas. The deadly WNS can be spread bat-to-bat.  Mexican Free-tailed bats do share their winter and summer ranges with many hibernating species, including the Cave Myotis bat and little brown bat. Biologists fear that migrating Mexican free-tails, even if they are not themselves afflicted by the disease, may prove to be carriers that spread the fungus that’s linked to White-nose Syndrome.

If this is truly the case and migrating bats can spread WNS to other species of bat throughout North America, then the results may be catastrophic; for both bats and humans alike. A single colony of bats will eat nearly 1.5 million pest insects a year; pests that destroy agricultural farming.

Please continue to get out to Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, and marvel at the amazing bats. There are plenty of spots along Lady Bird Lake, in the surrounding area of Congress Avenue, where you can watch the bats. Flights normally begin about 8:00 pm, and may last upwards of 45 minutes.

English: Little brown bat with white-nose synd...
English: Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in Greeley Mine, Vermont, March 26, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

White-Nose Syndrome

One of the fastest declines in North American wildlife happens to come at the expense of the bat. It’s all because of White-Nose Syndrome. First discovered in New York back in 2006, WNS had spread to 28 different states, including Texas.

White-Nose Syndrome causes a fatal white fungus to grow on a bat’s bodies (the nose in particular) as they hibernate in caves for the winter. The fungus causes the hibernating bats to wake during the winter months. When awake, the bats will burn up all of their energy reserves that are usually saved when they hibernate. Due to lack of energy and nutrition, the affected bats ultimately die of starvation. Additionally, if the fungus reaches a bat’s wings, it interferes with flying, feeding, body temperature, and blood pressure.

As a result of WNS, it’s believed that upwards of 10 million bats will have died by the end of this hibernation; across all affected states and providences in North America. There is currently no cure for WNS.

What Can Be Done To Prevent WNS In Texas?

We now for a fact, WNS can be spread from bat-to-bat, but it is also believed that humans can aid the spread of the fungus. After spelunking and exploring caves in Texas, take great precautions to decontaminate yourself, and all your equipment, before entering any new caves. Decontamination protocols can be found at http://whitenosesyndrome.org/.

While exploring caves for entertainment, it is in poor taste to touch any bat you see. Doing so can further result in the spread of WNS; not to mention, bats can also carry other diseases like rabies.

While exploring caves in Texas, report any large-scale bat mortalities to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Division, especially those that occur during the winter months. The kills and spills team can be reached 24-hours a day at (512-389-4848).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services has also joined in on the WNS fight, awarding a grant of $39,566 to the state of Texas for WNS research.

 

Helpful Tips For Selecting A Good Pest Control Company

 

bulwark-service2

This summer’s bug problem is going to be bad, and with a huge population of nasty bugs, you’re going to need a good pest control company to keep them away. With so many pest control companies to choose from, picking the right pest control company can be tricky.

Here are a few helpful tips, or things to look for, when selecting a good pest control company:

Power Spray

bulwark-service7

Some pest control companies just treat with a backpack sprayer, and that will not get the job done. Power-spraying the home’s foundation is the only way to properly treat it for pests. What a power-spray treatment will do, is place a heavy amount of product around the foundation of your home. The pressure coming out of the hose will help penetrate or push the product under the rocks, and soil around the home; where most bugs will live. Select a company that offers a power spray service.

Granulate 

bulwark-service3

With an outside treatment, a power spray will put a barrier around your home, but won’t kill the pests at the source. The main source of the pest problem will be at the base of the plants and trees. This is where pests will get food and water to survive. Properly granulating these areas will effectively control the pests from infesting your home. Look for a pest control company that treats pest with granules.

In Wall Treatment 

In-wall

On the inside of the home, a lot of pests will infest inside the walls. If the pests do get inside the walls, an infestation will occur; and if not properly treated the infestation will only grow. A company that does an in-wall treatment will place a product directly inside the walls of the home. This is done by taking the face plates of the outlets, and dusting inside the walls. This will help kill any of the pests trying to infest inside the walls.

Good Reviews 

bulwark-service14

Checking to see how well a pest control company rates among other competitors is a good way to see how customers view the company’s service.  The best way to do this is check online. Good places to look for customer reviews include: Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Family Owned Pest Control.

Bulwark Pest Control

If you want a pest control company that uses a power spray treatment, treats with granules, offers an in-wall treatment, and has awesome online reviews; look no further then Bulwark Exterminating!

Zombie Ladybugs

Ladybug_Swarm

Zombies are all the rage these days from hit Hollywood movies, to the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead television series; with some cities even sponsoring Zombie runs.

In the bug world, we’ve become acquainted with zombie ants and zombie bees; now we can add zombie ladybugs to the mix.

In news of the completely cool and awesome, one sting from a parasitic wasp can inflict a newly discovered virus into a ladybug; turning the ladybug into the wasp’s zombie slave.

Zombie Ladybugs

Zombie Ladybug Cocoon
Source: sciencemag.org

In the insect world, stings from wasps aren’t always intended to kill or ward off an intruder. In the case of a parasitic wasp, Dinocampus coccinellae, stinging a ladybug will turn the beetle into a zombie babysitter of sorts.

When the parasitic wasp stings the ladybug, it lays its egg inside the hapless creature. The incubating ladybug goes about it’s business for weeks as the parasitic wasp larva grows within it; feasting on its internal organs. Three weeks later a wasp larva bursts from the ladybug’s belly and weaves itself a cocoon; a cocoon that will be attached to the undercarriage of the bug. You’d think the process would kill the ladybug, but no. The bug simply becomes paralyzed. The virus then takes over the ladybug’s brain.

The ladybug starts to involuntarily twitch, and full zombie transformation has occurred (minus the whole eating brains thing). The poor zombie bug essentially becomes a zombie bodyguard, protecting the wasp egg with its life; watching over the young and fighting off predators. An adult wasp will emerge from the cocoon a week later.

Remarkably, about 25 percent of these zombie ladybugs will recover and return to their non-zombified selves; some even get stung and infected again!

Scientists are studying the process, looking at the potential of the virus being used as a neurological weapon… Used to turn people into zombies!

The cool and crazy insect world continues to amaze!