3 Pests That Can Ruin Your Fourth Of July

Fourth_Of_July_Family

Among all of your festive Fourth of July BBQ’s, fireworks, pool parties, and parades can lurk unanticipated nuisances that may very well wreak havoc on the day’s festivities (and I’m not talking about your Uncle Roger who drinks too much). I’m talking of course about bugs!

Here are three such nuisances, or outdoor pests, that can ruin your Fourth of July holiday:

Yellow Jackets

Wasps_On_Watermelon

One of the most popular Fourth of July activities are family picnics or barbeques. In fact, Last July 4th some 78 million Americans had a barbecue; grilling everything from hotdogs, to hamburgers, to shish kabobs. The sweet watermelon and sticky sodas draw in unwanted pests to your barbeques or picnics… Stinging pests!

Feeding on foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates (fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap), the Yellowjacket wasp also feeds on proteins (insects, meats, fish, etc.). So that means that just about anything you’ll eat on the Fourth of July can draw in yellowjackets. Building their nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside human-made structures, yellowjacket nests expand rather rapidly with as many as 5,000 stinging wasp members. The worst thing about these flying pests? All female members of the species are able to sting multiple times, causing incredible pain to anyone who has been stung.

Be on the lookout for their nests before you set out the day’s yummy food. If you do find a nest, keep away, and get a professional wasp removal service.

Fire Ants

Hands In Ant Nest

“The Red Coats are coming!!!”  “The Red Coats are coming!!!”

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington and Concord, screaming “the Red Coats are coming,” warning patriots that the red clad British army was marching. Some 238 years later a different kind of Red Coat is coming; a Red Coat that is malicious and spiteful just like a British soldier.

I’m talking, of course, about the Red Imported Fire ant and if you live anywhere in the Southern United States you are very familiar with their tactics. Their mounds can be huge, and if disturbed, hundreds of these stinging ants can come pouring out looking to violently defend their queen (much like the British Army did back in 1775). These extremely painful stings will cause welts on the skin and in rare cases even cause death. To top it all off, these ants may be on the move this July Fourth, looking for your food.

If you have Fire Ant mounds in or around your home or property, get professional Fire Ant control.

Mosquitoes

Many mosquitos on skin

The most prevalent Fourth of July pest is the blood-sucking mosquito, and they just happen to be the most active during the dawn and dusk hours; the exact times you will be outdoors for parades and fireworks. Female mosquitoes feed on the blood of the living, and can transmit extremely harmful or even deadly diseases like West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever. Some authorities even argue that mosquitoes are the most deadly animals on earth.

Since September 2012, the Center for Disease Control reports some 3,142 cases of the West Nile virus disease in people, including 134 deaths. These numbers continue to grow. Don’t add to them this Independence Day. Make sure you wear mosquito repellant with DEET while you are outside celebrating.

Happy July 4th!

All of us bug guys here at blogpestcontrol.com and Bulwark Exterminating would like to wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day! Spend some time with family and friends, eat way too much potato salad, marvel at the stunning firework shows, and reflect on all of the blessings that are bestowed upon us as we live in the greatest country on Earth! Happy July 4th!

 

Top 5 Best & Worst Mosquito Repellants

Mosquito repellantThursday is the Fourth of July! It’s a time we will gather together with our families and friends; celebrating living in the world’s best country. We will commemorate our nation’s independence by waving flags at parades, cooling off in swimming pools, woofing down tons of hotdogs and potato salad at BBQ’s, and cap the day off by lighting or watching vibrant fireworks.

With all of the day’s festivities, the last thing you want to worry about is blood-sucking pests like mosquitoes and ticks. One of the best ways to keep these irritating bugs from ruining your holiday is to wear a good insect repellant when you are outdoors. With so many bug sprays on the market today, we are all left wondering which ones work the best; and which ones will simply drain our wallets and offer no relieve from flying pests.

Here are the top five best and worst mosquito repellants:

Top 5 Best Mosquito Repellants

Consumer Reports recently released their ranking for the best mosquito repellants on the market today. Factors used to determine the mosquito repellant rankings include: cost per ounce, percentage of active ingredient (DEET) hours of effectiveness, and damage to materials. Here are the rankings:

 

Best Mosquito Repellants
Best Mosquito Repellants

 

Note: Only four of the top five mosquito repellants offered protection for eight hours or more. Non-coincidently, these four repellants also contained the active ingredient DEET in varying levels; the most effective mosquito repellant on the market.

Top 5 Worst Mosquito Repellants

GoodGuide also recently released their mosquito repellant rankings based on health, environment, and society factors. They count the number of ingredients in each product that are categorized as low, medium or high health concern; and then factor in other negative information (such as regulatory restrictions) and any available positive information (such as third-party certifications) to assign product scores. Here are the five worst mosquito products as determined by GoodGuide:

 

Worst Mosquito Repellants
Worst Mosquito Repellants

 

Note: It’s important to note that all of the tested products will keep the mosquitoes from biting if you’re going to be outside for only a short period of time. Look for a highly rated product to protect you on longer excursions.

How Mosquito Repellants Were Tested

For these insect repellent reviews, courageous testers at an outside lab bared their arms in mosquito-filled cages and also let ticks crawl on them. Scientists recorded how long it took for mosquitoes to start biting and for ticks to crawl over treated areas.

Factors used to determine the mosquito repellant rankings include: cost per ounce, percentage of active ingredient (DEET) hours of effectiveness, damage to materials, and the health, environmental, and social performance of products and companies.

Mosquito_Close-up_Sucking_BloodMosquitoes & West Nile Virus

There are currently some 176 different species of mosquitoes living here in the United States; all sharing one common characteristic… They are irritating! One common misconception about mosquitoes is that they all bite and suck blood. The truth is, it’s only the adult female mosquitoes that have a long piercing mouthpart needed to suck blood. She does so in order to provide for her future brood of mosquitoes. Males differ from females by having feathery antennae and mouthparts not suitable for piercing skin. A mosquito’s principal food is nectar or similar sugar source.

One unfortunate characteristic about the mosquito is that they can carry the deadly West Nile Virus. The Center for Disease Control urges the public to take precautions when outdoors. Make sure you wear an insect repellent with DEET; dress in clothing that covers as much skin as possible, and completely avoid the outdoors between dusk and dawn if at all possible.

To stop mosquitoes from breeding on your property, make sure to eliminate any standing water like in puddles, in kiddie pools, in tire swings, and in bird fountains. The easiest way to remove mosquitoes on your property is to kill their larva. Mosquito dunks, or larvicides, are dropped into water killing larva and stopping mosquitoes from laying their eggs. Treatments last for 30 days and cover 100 square feet regardless of depth. Pest control professionals can also spray your property frequently to help control the mosquito population.

 

Have a happy and mosquito free Fourth of July!

 

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Before BBQ Season

Exterme_Close-Up_Mosquito_Sucking_Blood

BBQ season is just around the corner, if not in full swing for some families. With hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, and watermelon on the table, it is no wonder that mosquitoes want to be a part of the party. Let your guests enjoy their meal pest free and rid your yard of mosquitoes with these easy techniques that will prove to be a lifesaver. There are many things to briefly eliminate mosquitos such as bug spray and zappers but in order to reduce mosquitos for the entire season, you will probably want to take more drastic measures.

Reduce Their Breeding Ground

Many mosquitos on skin

Reduce the amount of mosquitoes that attend your summer Barbeques by getting rid of their breeding grounds—stagnant water! After heavy rainfall, backyard accessories such as bird baths can fill up with water, attracting the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Once you notice water building up in your backyard accessories, empty them immediately in order to alleviate the problem. If your home has a pond, there are solutions you can mix in with the water which will help reduce mosquito breeding that can be found at home improvement centers.

Citronella

Citronella Candle

Citronella candles are coming back in a big way. Not only are they sold in cute designer inspired containers but they also don’t smell terribly. In fact, a lot of the citronella aroma is covered up by other scents such as vanilla, berry, or coconut. However, don’t let the smell fool you because it will still keep the mosquitos away.

Lemongrass

Lemon grass in the garden

Lemongrass is a natural mosquito repellent and can be disguised in your garden by other plants. The citronella oil in the plant will keep mosquitoes out of your garden and away from your BBQ. Lemongrass requires a large amount of sunshine and can be planted virtually anywhere in your yard.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary’s double duties prove to be tasty in BBQ recipes and can be used as a form of bug repellent. Much like lemongrass, rosemary is a great natural mosquito repellent that can be planted in large pots and placed close to where guests sit.

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael has a large amount of experience that spans from working for Long Island exterminator to freelance writing.

Mosquitoes That Drink Blood By The Gallon: Meet The Gallinipper

Gallinipper

If a regular mosquito was a smart car, than the gallinipper would be a Mack truck.

It’s the goliath of all mosquitoes. A biting bug that is so terrifying that it has emptied entire schoolyards of screaming children.

They are called gallinippers because it is believed they can nip a gallon of your blood. The worst part is that they are expected to invade South Florida in big numbers this mosquito season.

What Is A Gallinipper? 

We are headed to rainy season, and we all know that that means mosquitoes; and the largest blood sucking mosquito in the U.S. is the ‘Shaggy-Legged’ Gallinipper. The gallinipper, properly known as Psorophora ciliata, is easy to identify by its large size and the zebra-like pattern it has on it’s hairy legs.

Gallinippers favor cool shady areas with lots of standing water. These mosquitoes will lay their eggs in the soil, where they can remain dormant for several years before a heavy rain finally releases them. Adult gallinippers can fly upwards of two miles in search of a blood meal. Only female gallinippers bite, feeding on human or animal blood. They are also known to go after pets, wild animals and even fish. The voracious pests feed day and night–unlike everyday mosquitoes, which generally feed only at dawn and dusk.

The Gallinipper’s Bite 

The most notorious characteristic of the gallinipper is it’s extremely painful bite. When it bites you, you know it! One bite victim likens a bite to that of a tiny drill; another victim referred to a gallinipper bite as a stabbing knife. The gallinipper’s bite is strong enough to bite through clothing. Since the mosquito is so big, you’ll likely feel the gallinipper land on you before it is able to pierce your skin with it’s massive proboscis.

The mosquito got it’s name because of the amount of blood it can drink at any one time–gallinipper because it can nip a gallon of blood. The truth is gallinippers drink nowhere near a gallon of blood at one time. A victim would have to be attacked multiple times, by a huge swarm of gallinippers, before you would lose a gallon of blood.

Gillinipper’s Size

How Big Is The Gallinipper? 

The gallinipper is twenty times bigger then the average mosquito; about the size of a quarter.

Palm Beach County Mosquito Control expert Gary Goode says “it really lets you know when it lands on you… It practically breaks your arm. It’s almost impossible for the gallinipper to sneak up on you.

Gallinippers Invading Florida 

Every summer, depending on the rainfall, the Sunshine state braces for the swarms of mosquitoes that plague the state… including the gallinipper. The mosquito’s eggs that were laid last year could produce a bumper crop of the blood-sucking bugs this summer if Florida sees a soggy rainy season.

When the live gallinippers swarm, the phones start ringing off the hook at Palm Beach County Mosquito Control.

The gallinipper is found in the western most; flood prone, parts of Palm Beach County during the rainy season.

The Bad News About The Gallinipper 

• Are huge and intimidating—20x larger than regular mosquito

• Feed on human and animal blood

• Painful bites

• Frequently emerge after rain—which Florida gets a lot of

• Mosquito repellent does little to ward off the gallinipper, mostly because you’d have to use an entire can of DEET bases repellent before the massive mosquito would ever notice it.

The Good News About The Gallinipper 

• Don’t occur in great numbers in Central or South Florida

• Because of it’s size, it’s almost impossible for the gallinipper to sneak up on you

• Are not known to spread diseases like West Nile Virus

• Lifespan is only about a week

• Eat the larvae of their smaller mosquito cousins

• Continually sprayed by Florida mosquito control professionals to reduce numbers

The Truth About The Gallinipper 

The reports by the local media have made it sound like swarms of gallinippers are attacking Florida residents, drinking gallons of blood, slaughtering people by the thousands. These reports sound like something out of a made for TV movie on the Syfy Channel.

Gallinippers do exist. They have painful bites. Florida residents might see one or two this rainy season. Like all other mosquitoes, they do require a consistent pest control strategy to control their populations.

The real truth is that gallinippers will not break your arm when they land on you, and they won’t drink a gallon of your blood. The term “gallinipper” isn’t recognized by most entomologists, but over the past century, the word — and the insect — entered popular legend through Southern folktales, minstrel shows and blues songs, according to a report from the University of Florida.

 

Weekly Links To Pest Control Articles

Weekly Pest Control Links Round-Up

 

Weekly Links RoundupTop 10 Ways To Kill A Spider

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Are Mosquitoes Becoming Immune To DEET?

Interesting stuff here. A new study on mosquitoes and DEET revealed that exposed mosquitoes were mostly immune to the smell of DEET after briefly being exposed to the chemical. Three hours later, the previously exposed mosquitoes were attracted to human skin which contained DEET. More…

Nevada Bedbug Laws

Many tourists and residents alike worry about Las Vegas bedbugs. Here are Nevada’s bedbug laws, just in case you experience the misfortune of a bedbug infestation. More… 

Pest Control Tip: Beware of Mites!

There are several different kinds of mites… the most notorious is the House Dust Mite. Mites can cause mild to severe skin irritation on you and your pets. More…

Protect Yourself From Ticks This Spring

Like many other pests, ticks will be re-emerging this spring; sucking the blood of unsuspecting victims. Know how to protect yourself. More…

Cockroach Sensitivity

Does the cockroach have a sixth sense? The answer might surprise you. More…

 

Pest Of The Week: The Gallinipper

 

Gallinipper - Psorophora ciliata
Gallinipper – Psorophora ciliata (Photo credit: Lynette S.)

Believed to have gotten its name from its ability to drink a gallon of blood, the gallinipper (Psorophora ciliata) is the largest bloodsucking mosquito in the US. These mosquitoes are about the size of a quarter, and are almost twenty times larger than the average mosquito. The have hairy legs marked with a zebra-like pattern.

Gallinippers can inflict very painful bites that can even pierce the skin through clothing. The female gallinippers feed on human and animal blood; and are even known to eat fish. Unlike common mosquitoes, gallinippers will feed all day long—not just during the dawn and dusk hours. The good news is these gallinippers do not spread diseases like West Nile Virus.

During the very wet rainy seasons, Gallinippers can be found in areas of Central and South Florida. Gallinipper eggs lay dormant in the Florida soil, until heavy rains will cause the eggs to hatch. After hatching, gallinippers will survive about a week. Just like the common everyday mosquito, gallinippers require pest control strategies to control.

This Week’s Pest Control News

West Nile Virus at Highest Level Since 2004 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more then 240 people have been infected with the West Nile Virus so far this year.  This is the highest number since 2004. Almost 80 percent of the reported cases are from Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

To help keep mosquitoes off your property, contact your local pest control company.

Ochlerotatus notoscriptus, Tasmania, Australia

West Nile Virus Found in New York

The Oswego County (NY) Health Department has confirmed the diagnosis of two more cases of West Nile Virus. The dangerous virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can be mistaken for the flu. Symptoms include fever, headaches, rashes, and body aches.

Pest control professionals urge the use of repellents containing DEET, and to also limit your outdoor activity between dusk and dawn. Make sure to eliminate any stagnant water around your property because that’s where mosquitoes will often lay their eggs.

 

Record Heat Kicks Insects into High Gear 

It’s been no secret that this year has been this country’s hottest year on record, and don’t think the bugs haven’t noticed. Grasshoppers, ants, bees, and crickets are thriving– doing a number on this country’s crops and gardens.

To find out why check out: http://servallpestcontrol.blogspot.com/2012/08/bugs-like-it-hot-record-heat-kicks.html

 

Clothing Moth Capabilities  

Clothing moths are notorious for chewing holes in your clothing. These moths are particularly attracted to dirty, sweaty, or otherwise moist fabrics. They prefer low light conditions unlike many other moths which are drawn to light.

For some of these moth’s capabilities check out: http://brownpestcontrol.com/aug-7-2012-clothes-moth-capabilities/

 

Lone Star Tick Bites can lead to a Red Meat Allergy 

It’s well known that tick bites can cause Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but did you know that they can give you an allergy to red meat?

Check out: http://www.holidaypestcontrol.com/blog/tick-bites-and-red-meat-allergy/

 

 

Lone-star
Lone-star (Photo credit: joshuallen)