5 Things You Might Not Know About Arizona Bark Scorpions

Photo by Bulwark Exterminating

The Arizona bark scorpion is the only species of scorpion in Arizona, that can cause very serious harm to small children (and anyone who is ill or has a compromised immune system), and can truly be considered life threatening. However, thanks to a powerful anti venom scorpion stings are now rarely life threatening.

Aside from their powerful, painful and venomous sting, here are five (5) remarkable facts about the Arizona bark scorpion, you might not have known:

  1. The Arizona bark scorpion has 8 jointed legs, that are lightly covered in hair, which helps the scorpion detect subtle vibrations; in the air.
  2. Although all other species of scorpions are known to live a solitary lifestyle, with the exception of mating and carrying their young, the Arizona bark scorpion prefers to live in packs and will congregating in large groups; when hibernating for the winter months.
  3. Unlike any other species of scorpion, the Arizona bark scorpion can climb walls, and even hang from ceilings and doors.
  4. Arizona bark scorpions are preyed upon by birds, especially owls, and bats. As well, these scorpions may fall victim to large centipedes, tarantulas, lizards, shrews, and grasshopper mice.
  5. At birth, approximately 25 to 35 baby scorpions, will ride around on their mother’s back; for up to 21 days.

Furthermore, warnings from Phoenix pest control staff and local exterminators, caution residents that the Arizona Bark Scorpion is often discovered in urban areas; rather than the surrounding desert regions. This is likely because they prefer the cooler and moist spots, under pieces of tree bark, beneath rocks and inside buildings and homes. As well, property and home owners should be aware that these scorpions are a very light in color, so they will blend-in well with the various desert elements; found in Phoenix and other cities in Arizona.

Bulwark Pest Control‎
40 N Central Ave #1400
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 652-2251

Scientist Unlocks Ancient DNA and Creates Super Soldier Ants

In a lab in Montreal, Quebec (Canada), a McGill University researcher has successfully induced the growth, of what he calls “super-soldiers.” Using ants as an example, this researcher has demonstrated that the potential for Incredible Hulk-like results, exists in all species; including human beings.

He insists that any time you have a mismatch, between the normal environment of an organism and its genetic potential, it will encourage the development of new characteristics. Furthermore, these evolutionary changes can manifest themselves in dormant genes, that remain locked in place for millions of years, until one day they are triggered to re-emerge; by the introduction of a specific environmental condition or conditions.

Birds with teeth, snakes with fingers, and humans with apelike hair – these are ancestral traits that pop up regularly in nature,” said the McGill University researcher.

Believe it or not, for the last thirty-five to sixty million years, ants have retained this “ancient DNA;” to create super soldiers. And, as the the result of a genetic slip they can appear in the wild, sometimes discovered in the deserts of America; and Mexico. These incredible freaks of nature, can grow to double or triple their normal size, with enormous oblong heads and giant vicious mandibles; that they use to aggressively defend their colonies from attack.

Will these gi-ants eventually get bigger and bigger, until one day they decide to invade cities and towns? Not likely. Thankfully, the laws of physics and the Square-Cube Law, restrict the size potential of an ant. Quite simply, the bigger an ant is, the less likely it will be able to support; its own weight. However, insect control experts say that their is some cause for concern, when hypothesizing the potential problem; of super ants. Because an ant colony is considered (by some) to be one giant organism comprised of many parts, it already requires a focused and aggressive pest control strategy; to eliminate. Therefore, an invasion of super ants might one day require the help of a super ex-terminator… like Arnold.

Bed Bug Study Suggests My Wife Should Stop Shaving Her Legs

English: Shaving system with 2 blades. Wilkins...
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According to new research from the University of Sheffield in the UK, hairy skin can help prevent bed bugs from biting. In fact, the study helps explain why bed bugs and other parasites such as mosquitoes, ticks, and leeches, will seek out the less hairy areas of the body; such as wrists and ankles.

Research has shown that our bodies are covered in a layer of two types of fine hair. One type is short and nearly invisible, and the other is longer and more visible. Researchers argue that there are “relatively few explanations for the evolutionary maintenance of this type of human hair,” so scientists wanted to test the notion, that perhaps the hair acts as a defense; against ectoparasites like bed bug invaders.

The UK study recruited 29 healthy volunteers, who had one arm shaved and one arm left with hairs on. Then the participants allowed hungry bed bugs to be placed on the skin; of both their arms. The results of the bed bug control study, showed that the fine body hair is highly beneficial to people, because it helps deter bed bug invaders; in two ways: by increasing the time it takes for the insect to find a suitable spot to start sucking blood, and by helping people feel them crawling on the hair; across their skin.

Not only does the fine hair that covers our bodies help us detect the presence of parasitic insects (like bed bugs), it also acts as a natural bug control method, of preventing them from biting. In fact, this advantage appeared greater for those participants in the study, who had more layers of hair. This is because it took the insects longer to find an ideal feeding site; on the volunteer’s arms.

 

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Thank Pest Control Research For a Pest-Free Holiday Season

Looking back on our pest control news articles from 2011, it is truly remarkable to see the dedication that is displayed by pest management professionals, and the advancements that have been made by scientists and researchers; in the ongoing battle against pests, bugs and insects.

The year kicked off with an extremely generous donation of $5M for pest control research, coming from a longtime Florida resident, who made a career out of the study and management of insects. This gentleman wanted to ensure that innovative pest management research and education, would continue at the University of Florida, for many years to come. And, with the relentless invasion of blood-sucking bed bugs across America, the funding could not have come; at a better time.

The fact that many traditional pest and bug control treatments have been ineffective against bed bug invaders, has encouraged researchers to generate new and viable treatment solutions, that will (hopefully) solve the nation’s most serious pest control problems. A bed bug study released in the January 2011 PLoS ONE scientific journal, suggested that that pesticide-resistant strains of this blood-sucking pest, possess genetic sequencing that makes the bed bugs immune to certain chemicals; and traditional pest control treatments. So, to discover and understand the genetics of the most common pests, a  5 year, $15 million international effort (i5k Initiative) will study and sequence the genomes of 5,000 insects and other arthropods. Among the list of pests to be sequenced are ants, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs and flies.

The first genome announcement came in early 2011, when scientists decoded the genome of  the Argentine ant. Their analysis of the new genomes, suggested that chemical modification of certain sections of DNA, could be responsible for the differential development of queens and workers. Therefore, scientists believe that they can switch off the genes that control the ant’s reproductive ability, as well as the potential for wing growth. In similar fashion, experts from Oxford University in the U.K. have researched and developed, an irradiation technique that sterilizes male insects, so that when they mate with wild females; the offspring dies.

For most property and home owners, when a common pest problem develops they contact a pest control professional, or seek-out a do-it-yourself solution. Either way, very few people stop to consider the countless hours of research or millions of dollars in funding, that has gone into developing the most advanced insect, bug and pest control treatments. You know, the ones that we count on to keep our friends and family safe? I think that this might be a good time of year, to reflect on this important and meaningful contribution to our pest-free Holiday happiness,  and take a moment to thank pest management and control professionals; everywhere.

To all pest control technicians, staff, researchers and scientists: Thank you and Happy Holidays.

Joel

Bed Bug’s Secret Invasion Strategy Revealed: Inbreeding

A bed bug nymph feeding on host
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Back in the 1950s, American exterminators thought that the common bed bug, had been completely eliminated. However, over the past decade, these blood-sucking pests have made a huge comeback. In fact, in hotels, homes, and multi-unit housing complexes across the United States, the number of reported bed bug infestations have surpassed (up to 100x) the numbers recorded; in 1990. If for no other reason, it appears that the bed bug’s ability to produce healthy young through inbreeding, is a major contributing factor to the continued strength; of their U.S. invasion.

Inbreeding gives bed bugs an advantage in being able to colonize. A single female that has been mated is able to colonize and start a new infestation. Her progeny and brothers and sisters can then mate with each other, exponentially expanding the population. With many organisms, extensive inbreeding would cause serious mutations that would eventually bring about an end to the population.” – an entomologist at North Carolina State University.

A recent study on how bed bugs survive genetic inbreeding, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In the report, researchers reported that in each dwelling, there were high levels of inbreeding and that genetic diversification, was very low. This important discovery, suggested that only one or two bed bugs are required, for a serious bug control problem to develop.

The ability to produce healthy offspring through inbreeding, allows these bugs to expand the infestation to other areas within a building, without any outside assistance. In fact, in almost all of the infestations studied, just a single room within the dwelling; was found to be the source of the pest control problem. It is also interesting to note, that cockroaches are another species of pest, that have the ability to survive inbreeding; as well.

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If You Were Ever Going to Feel Sorry For Cockroaches, Its Now

Ampulex compressa English: Ampulex compressa, ...
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While a number of venomous animals paralyze prey as live food for their young, the Emerald Cockroach wasp is slightly different, in that it initially leaves it’s cockroach victim mobile; and modifies it’s victim’s behavior in a very unique way.

As early as the 1940s, female Emerald Cockroach wasps have been used as natural exterminators, against cockroach pests. When it attacks, this natural pest control provider will sting the cockroach two times, delivering a powerful venom. In 2003, a study showed that the wasp is able to sting directly into specific ganglia of the cockroach, paralyzing the front legs. This strike allows for a second venomous sting, which is delivered to a carefully chosen area in the cockroach’s brain; specifically the region that controls the escape reflex. As a result of this second attack, the cockroach will become sluggish, and fail to show normal escape responses.

At this point, the Emerald Cockroach wasp will proceed to chew off half of each of the cockroach’s antennae. It is believed that this is done to replenish fluids, or to regulate the amount of venom released; by the natural pest control provider. The wasp, which is obviously too small to carry the paralyzed cockroach, then leads it’s hapless victim back to the wasp’s burrow, by pulling on one of the roach’s antennae. Much like walking a dog, on a leash. Once the two have reached the burrow, the Emerald Cockroach wasp will lay a single white egg (approx. 2 mm long), on the cockroach’s abdomen. It then leaves the burrow and fills in the entrance with pebbles, more to keep other predators out; than to keep it’s helpless victim in.

With the escape reflex disabled, the helpless cockroach lays in the burrow, while the Emerald Cockroach wasp’s egg hatches; in approximately three days. The hatched larva then lives and feeds for up to 5 days on the cockroach, chewing its way into it’s victim’s abdomen. Over the next eight days, the Emerald Cockroach wasp larva will consume the victim’s internal organs, in an systematic manner which will guarantee that the cockroach remains alive until the larva enters the pupal stage; and forms a cocoon inside the hollowed-out body. Eventually, the fully grown wasp will emerge from the cockroach’s carcass, and begins its adult life as an exterminator of cockroaches; and provider of natural insect control services.

The End.

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EPA Announces Plans to Ban 20 Rodent Pest Control Products

Environmental Protection Agency Seal
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced, that it has plans to ban 20 rat and mouse control products, because they use “loose” bait. The EPA claims that the products are especially dangerous, because they are sold for use in homes where unsupervised children or pets, may come into contact with them.

“There is no question these rodenticides can cause harm in someone who misuses them, but are we prepared to ban them entirely and allow rodents, mice, and other vermin to destroy 25 percent of our food stocks; the way they do throughout the rest of the world?” asks a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Those who have studied the effects of the EPA’s proposed ban, say that the agency’s plan could also have a profound effect, on the public’s health and safety. They warn that the ban may force people to rely on products, from an alternate class of rodenticides, which may have no known antidote. The proposed plan could also force consumers to avoid treating their homes, unless they can afford to hire a pest control professional; to deal with a rodent invasion. Because some families do not have the addition income, that would allow them to afford an exterminator, they may have to endure a rodent outbreak; without treating it. You can imagine how this would eventually lead, to serious health concerns.

Opposition to the EPA ban says that the agency is formulating it’s decision, on a data that was relevant between 1993 and 2008. The report said that the American Association of Poison Control Centers, received 12,000 to 15,000 reports of rat and mouse poison exposures each year, regarding children under 6 years old. Improper use or lack of parental supervision, the opposition says, is not a good enough reason to ban such useful product; from the marketplace.  They fear is that the people living in poverty, will be the ones most adversely affected by the proposed ban. With professional exterminators likely being too expensive for them to hire, there is a higher propensity for them to be afflicted by rodent problems, and the most likely candidates for serious health issues.

Some Ants Think Golden Orb Web Spiders Smell Too Bad To Eat

Golden Silk Orb Weaver
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Researchers say that a chemical found on the golden orb web spider silk, has proven to be extremely effective at keeping invading ants at bay, and could one day make a very useful natural ant control agent.

Golden orb web spiders are a common species of spider, discovered all around the world, especially in tropical regions. In most cases, these spiders (and the insects they catch in their web) are seen as potential prey for ants. Therefore, it was very surprising to researchers, that ant predators were never seen foraging for food, on the webs of Golden orb web spiders. The answer scientists believe, is a compound known as pyrrolidine alkaloid, and it appears to be a highly effective method of insect control; against invading ants.

Using bait to attract ants towards the spider’s silk, researchers conducted three different experiments. In one case, the natural silk was used, complete with the pyrrolidine alkaloid. In the second case, all of the chemical was removed from the silk. In the third case, purified pyrrolidine alkaloid that was purchased from a chemical supply store, and placed on the cleaned silk. In the two cases where pyrrolidine alkaloid was present, the ant invaders were unable to cross the spider’s web. When asked to describe the effects of the powerful chemical, experts said that “… it’s a bit like body odour on a cramped bus, on a hot day. It’s not going to kill you, but it’s certainly going to get you off the bus pretty quickly.”

Surprisingly though, pyrrolidine alkaloid it is not a byproduct of the spider’s silk production, but instead is produced by insects; to counter predation. Although it is not known exactly how the spiders produce the compound, experts say that it’s possible that the spiders obtain the compound, by eating insects that contain it. Nevertheless, it is hoped that researchers can reformulate the liquid chemical into a powder, that might be more useful in pest control treatments; against invasive ant species.

 

 

Scientists Use STD Strategy to Control Mosquito Populations

Ochlerotatus notoscriptus, Tasmania, Australia
A number of of so-called “bio-controls” have been released in Florida in the last few years, to help in the fight against damaging invasive plants and pest control problems. The newest insect control plan recommended by scientists, is to release squadrons of genetically modified male mosquitoes into an area of Key West FL, that is a known haven for a species of yard-dwelling mosquitoes.

The mosquito species being targeted, is also the primary transmitter of dengue, a nasty, flu-like illness that sickens approximately 50 million people; annually. In severe cases, dengue can be fatal and there is no known treatment.The illness re-emerged in the Key West area in 2009, with 27 cases reported, the first recorded in the continental United States, since 1945. Another 66 cases were confirmed last year. Thankfully there have been none so far this year (2011), however there is additional evidence that suggests dengue is spreading, and so are the mosquitoes.

In this innovative application of “bio-controls,” considered the first of its kind in the United States, experts and scientists hope that lab-bred insects will mate with wild females, and pass on a defect built into their DNA; that kills their offspring. It is believed that this insect control approach is cheaper, more effective and more environmentally friendly, than any other method of targeting disease carriers, like these mosquitoes.

Unlike traditional insecticides and pesticides, which produce unwanted collateral insect damage and pose environmental and health concerns, these genetically modified or “transgenic” male mosquitoes; pose no threat to humans or other species. The biggest obstacle facing this natural pest control approach, is that there is no existing set of rules in place to regulate the genetically altered mosquitoes. As such, state agriculture officials must continue to consult with attorneys and other agencies, in an exhausting effort to decide who should review and approve the plan; before it is put into action.

By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007. Image of E...

NPMA Estimates 21 Million Rodents Are Seeking Food & Shelter

Deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus 8360 lores
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Don’t invite these pest over for Thanksgiving!

The National Pest Management Association continues to warn homeowners, that when the temperatures outside turn cooler, an estimated twenty-one million rodents will begin their search for warmth, water, food and shelter; to wait-out the long and cold winter months. Ideally, they will be looking to the cozy homes, offices, buildings and structures, across most of the United States and North America.

Pest management experts and industry professionals have identified garages and basements, as ideal targets for rats and mice, looking to invade homes and businesses. Smaller rodents like mice, require only a quarter of an inch, to enter a home, structure or dwelling. This means that determined rodents can gain entry through cracks in the foundation, air conditioner and dryer vents, pipes; or gaps in electrical wiring. In fact, some mice can even push their way through tiny openings, the size of a pencil.

Once inside a warm dwelling, it will not take long for a very serious pest control problem, to develop. Females rodent invaders can give birth to a litter of five to ten mice, every thirty days, and they breed all year-round. Furthermore, because some rats and mice are carriers of disease, like salmonella and hantavirus, the real danger comes when rodent droppings begin to collect; and must be safely removed from the home.

Using a vacuum (Shop Vac or like appliance), homeowners must collect all of the rat and/or mouse droppings they have discovered, and discard them outdoors; far away from the dwelling. Pest management officials warn that whoever will be responsible for collecting and disposing of the rodent droppings, should wear a protective mask, to avoid breathing in the associated fumes. This precautionary measure is especially important, if anyone who is coming into contact with the rodent droppings, suffers from asthma; or any other kind of related respiratory issue.

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