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WacoPestControl

PESTS THAT GIVE HOMEOWNERS A SCARE THIS HALLOWEEN

CREEPY CRAWLY PESTS THAT GIVE HOMEOWNERS A SCARE THIS HALLOWEEN

iPest Solutions shares information on common pests that may take up residence during the colder months

While it’s normal to see bats, spiders and other creatures invade your front doorstep on Halloween in the form of trick-or-treaters or spooky décor, IPest Solutions  advises people to be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall.

Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy and crawly, but it also serves as a reminder that actual pest infestations can cause quite the fright. In the spirit of this spooky holiday, we are reminding homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence indoors.

Here’s a guide to some common critters that may spook homeowners this fall, along with tips to prevent them from turning the home into a haunted house.

Rats – One of the most reviled pests, rats can contaminate food, spread dangerous diseases and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wires. Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings.

Bats – Bats are frequent carriers of rabies, which can be fatal if left untreated. They often enter homes through attics, belfries and under fascia boards. Homeowners should screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home.

Spiders – Some species of spiders, mainly the brown recluse and black widow, can administer a painful bite when disturbed. Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time and shaking out shoes before wearing them.

Bed bugs – Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. These elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin. Before dressing up in a costume that came from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers some additional tips to prevent a pest infestation this Halloween season:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home’s exterior using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed.
  • If you see signs of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

For more information on common household pests and how to protect your home, visit www.wacopest.com

 

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The North Texas Poison Center Receives The Greatest Number Of Calls Concerning Venomous Arthropod Bites And Stings During The Month Of July

Officials with the North Texas Poison Center state that calls from residents asking about venomous arthropod bites and stings rise in tandem with outside temperatures. Those working for the organization say that calls of this sort reach their peak during the month of July, and the most common bites and stings reported to the poison center tend to be inflicted by honey bees, wasps, black widows, brown recluses, and surprisingly, caterpillars.

It is not surprising that harmful honey bee encounters become more common at this time of year in north Texas, as these bees, which are commonly referred to as “killer bees,” can be found in most counties in the state. Last April, hundreds of thousands of Africanized honey bees emerged from wall-voids within a woman’s home in North Texas. Although the woman sustained several bites, including one on her eye, she survived the harrowing incident. However, a month after this incident occurred, a man living in Moody died after sustaining numerous stings from a swarm of Africanzied honey bees while mowing his lawn.

Many people living in the US are surprised to hear about medically harmful caterpillar encounters, but many venomous caterpillar species can be found in states located in the south. The most dreaded venomous caterpillar in the south is commonly known as the “asp caterpillar,” and this species is now a common sight in North Texas. This caterpillar is often perceived as “cute” due to its seemingly fluffy appearance, but hundreds of venomous spines are located beneath this species’ velvety white fur coat.

A couple of weeks ago, a 14 year-old southlake resident moved a branch out of his path as he had been walking to his house. Not long after grabbing the branch, the teenager felt a burst of burning pain that began to radiate through his arm. As it turned out, the teenager made contact with an asp caterpillar that had been resting on the branch. According to the teenager, his fingers suddenly felt numb, but minutes later, severe pain set in. After the boy’s mom called the poison center, she was instructed to remove the caterpillar’s venomous spines from her son’s fingers using tape. Luckily, the teenager did not suffer a severe allergic reaction to the sting, but many people across Texas require emergency room treatment after making contact with an asp caterpillar. These caterpillars are often found in residential yards where they pose a significant threat to curious toddlers and pets.

Have you ever found an asp caterpillar in your yard before?

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Flooding In Texas Has Caused Sewer-Dwelling Insects To Enter Residential Homes

Residential areas in some parts of northern Texas are seeing insect plagues of epic proportions. Insect pests like Oriental cockroaches, mosquitoes, fire ants and numerous fly species are “flooding” into homes in massive numbers. So what is causing this regional insect pest invasion into homes and buildings in the area? If you have been watching the news lately, you know that urban and residential areas located on the Texas panhandle are currently being flooded. The floods are displacing some and destroying thousands of dollars in property, but hardly any homeowners or tenants in the area are able to avoid the massive amounts of insect pests that the floodwaters are pushing into homes, businesses and public buildings.

The worst of the flooding occurred during the last week of May and during the first few days of June, so luckily, residents of the panhandle are finally able to clean up and salvage their goods. However, area pest control specialists and entomologists are stating that insect pest issues become particularly severe during and after floods. Once the heavy bouts of rain began in the area less than a month ago, pest controllers in the region became inundated with service requests. The most abundant and problematic insect pest for homeowners has been the Oriental cockroach. One pest controller in the area stated that he had been receiving a record amount of calls concerning the roach pests, which many residents refer to as “water bugs” on account of their preference for damp conditions.

Oriental roaches are well known by pest controllers and residents alike in the area, as the insects are abundant even under normal climatic conditions. Pest experts claim that Oriental roaches maintain a thriving habitat within the sewers below urban and residential areas in the panhandle region, but the flooding caused sewers to overflow. Naturally, this overflow has pushed the filthy Oriental cockroaches out of their sewer habitat and into human populated regions, like city centers and neighborhoods where they are invading homes en masse. Although the roaches prefer high-moisture conditions, they are certainly not aquatic insects, so they are struggling to reach higher ground that is relatively dry in order to survive. Unfortunately, the roaches are choosing residential homes as their refuge, as all other locations remain inhospitable to the bugs. Some reports claim that Oriental roaches are entering homes through showers, sinks and floor drains. Filth flies are also emerging from sewers and entering people’s homes in large groups. As it happens, monsoon season is only a few weeks away for residents in the panhandle region, so the current roach nightmare may not be over yet.

Have you ever captured a roach in a jar in order to keep it as a pet?

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Rodent Control Waco Texas iPest Solutions

 

With winter fast approaching, we need to prepare for all of the critters looking for a warmer place to stay! Mice can cause huge problems in homes leaving droppings and chewing wires. iPest’s Rodent Control program can eliminate all of the worry and concerns for you! By using tamper proof rodent stations on the perimeter of your home, rodents never find their way into your home saving you all the headache! Call today for more information on the iPest Rodent Control Program.

Serving Waco, McGregor, Lorena, Hewitt, Woodway, China Spring, Speegleville, Crawford, Valley Mills, Clifton, Riesel, Mart and surrounding areas.

Call iPest today at 254-855-6647

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American Troops In Afghanistan Are Forced To Contend With Dangerous Scorpions

The dry desert landscapes located in the middle east are well known for containing numerous scorpion species. While native middle easterners may be familiar with many of the most venomous scorpions that exist within the region, non-natives in the region usually are not. Unfortunately, antivenoms that treat stings inflicted by middle eastern scorpion species are relatively lacking. Therefore, it is important for foreigners to be on the lookout for scorpions in the middle east, as the health consequences of a native scorpion sting can be serious, and in some cases, life threatening. Not surprisingly, many American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have fallen victim to dangerous scorpion stings, as most American troops were not aware of the scorpion threat before deployment.

American troops that were stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War in the early 90s quickly learned that scorpions were an ever present threat in the region. In one year 2,400 American troops out of 100,000 suffered scorpion stings while on base in Saudi Arabia. This is a whopping amount considering that only 16 out of 100,000 people in the nearby country of Oman suffer scorpion stings every year. The highest recorded rate of scorpion stings in the middle east is 1,000 out of 100,000. Considering these numbers, it is easy to conclude that American troops may not have been made aware of the scorpion threat prior to deployment.

During the more recent war in Afghanistan and Iraq, scorpion sting rates among American troops likely remained high. Although no official statistics have been produced, soldiers returning to the US from the middle east self-reported spider and scorpion stings equaling 46.1 out of only 10,000. The probability of an American soldier sustaining a scorpion sting varies depending on location, season and rank.

One of the most venomous scorpions native to the middle east is the fat-tailed scorpion. The Buthidae scorpion family includes the fat-tailed scorpion as well as many other highly venomous species. A sting from one of these species can result in shock, respiratory failure, pulmonary edema, coma and/or death.

Do you known someone who sustained a scorpion sting while deployed overseas?

Waco Rat Control

Keep Pests Outdoors Where They Belong This Winter

As temperatures across the country drop and the holiday season approaches, iPest Solutions reminds homeowners to take steps to prevent pests from dropping by uninvited. Rodents and cockroaches, the most common winter pests, love nothing more than to spend the chilly winter inside a cozy home, bringing with them health and property threats.

Most people associate cooler weather with relief from flying pests such as mosquitoes and wasps, but the winter brings on a different set of pest problems that are just as serious, rats are most likely to cause problems in Waco this time of year, so it’s important for homeowners to prevent these pests from entering their homes.

Aside from being nuisances, rodents and cockroaches are vectors of a wide array of diseases and can exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms – effects only worsened by the increased time spent indoors during the winter. Rodents can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

iPest Solutions offers the following tips for keeping homes pest-free this winter:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent pests from getting inside. Be sure to check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Pests often take up residence in wood piles and can easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby.
  • Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep storage areas well organized, and store boxes off of the floor.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Extra attention should be paid to kitchens and bathrooms as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.
  • Screen vents to chimneys. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

We encourage homeowners to remain vigilant throughout the winter for any signs of pest infestations and to regularly inspect for any possible points of entry throughout the home.

The Successful Artist Who Preserves Dead Insects Before Replacing Their Innards With Machinery Parts

It may be hard to believe, but for thousands of years, insects have been a source of inspiration for many artists. One of the earliest cave paintings ever found depicts insects, and Renaissance artists used a type of red paint that was made from ground up cochineal insects. However, one artist from China is using insects in a way that has never been thought of before, and needless to say, his art is quite strange. Zhang Yuebai is an artist and insect enthusiast who creates sculptures made of hollowed out insect corpses.

Zhang orders a variety of different insect species from online vendors. Once the insect-filled packages arrive to his home, Zhan removes every bit of each insect’s innards. Although this may sound like a macabre act, Zhan feels as though his artwork is ultimately a celebration of insects. Once an insect’s guts are removed, Zhand dips the insect’s body into preservative chemicals. Once this is complete, holes are drilled into the hardened insect corpse so that he can place several mechanical parts inside of the hollowed out body. These mechanical parts include gears from watches and sometimes even valuable gemstones. Zhan also builds armor for his insects using the same types of materials. The final products looks like a sort of robo-insect.Waco Spider Control

According to Zhang, who is only 23, his insect sculptures can take a long time to complete, as the process requires patience and precision. Zhang does not just work with insects, but enjoys working with the occasional arachnid as well.  He once accidentally broke the legs of a preserved spider that he was making into one of his sculptures. The insect sculptures created by Zhang retain their natural colors, and he moves each sculpture into positions that are fitting for a particular species. For example, Zhang admires the mantis shrimp for its powerful claws, so he made a sculpture with one that featured a mechanical spring mechanism on its claws, which, according to Zhang, represents the force behind each slash of a mantis shrimp’s claw. Zhang takes pride in knowing that he is the only artist of his kind in all of China. However, he is probably the only artist of his kind in the world. Many of Zhang’s sculptures are sold for prices of around two to three thousand dollars.

Do you believe that Zhang’s artwork is inhumane toward insects?

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World’s Biggest Insect and Arachnid Fossil Beds Right Here in the United States

When I think of fossils, the creatures that tend to come to mind first are dinosaurs, and I always imagine that they are found in far off, isolated locations in the desert, similar to the one portrayed at the beginning of Jurassic Park. But fossils come in all shapes and sizes, and one of the most important fossil sites for insect and arachnids in the world is actually located right in the good old USA. The large site is also not in the desert, but rather a forest in Colorado. To top things off, you don’t even have to be an archeologist or scientist to visit this famous site. The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument welcomes all visitors to view this incredible site and even walk through the forest and get up close and personal with some of their oldest fossils in their natural habitat.Waco Spider Control

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the world’s most diverse and richest fossil sites. You won’t see any giant bones jutting up from the ground. These fossil beds, which were discovered in 1873, contain a whopping 50,000 specimens, including 1,700 animal and plant species. 1,500 of those species are comprised of insects and arachnids, with insects such as spiders, beetles, flies, wasps, cockroaches, aphids, ants, as well as almost all of the species of butterflies in the country. The most popular part of the fossil site is the Ponderosa Loop, and half-mile-long and wheelchair-accessible hike that brings you right to some of their most famous fossils, including the “Big Stump”, the largest petrified redwood in the entire monument, originally reaching over 230 feet in height. That is one giant tree, fossilized or not. It’s like stepping back in time to when dinosaurs and giant insects roamed the Earth, long before we came along.

Have you ever visited a fossil site? What did you see there and what was your experience like?

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How Do Tarantulas Support Their Body Weight And Dead Prey While Crawling Up Vertical Surfaces?

You don’t have to spend much time browsing social media sites before finding a proud pet owner’s picture of their four-legged companion. Nobody has a problem with this because dogs and cats are cute animals that do adorable things. However, some pet owners post pictures of their beloved tarantulas to social media sites as well. Unlike pictures of dogs and cats, many people respond to pictures of tarantulas with horror. It is becoming more and more common for tarantula enthusiasts to post pictures of their pet arachnid’s supposedly cute “paws.” Little do many know, but the tip of a tarantula’s leg resembles a paw of sorts. For example, the “paws” belonging to the pinktoe tarantula are often found pictured and posted on social media sites, as this species of tarantula must have the most picture-worthy feet of any tarantula species, just as their common name would suggest. Of course, tarantulas do not have paws; instead, tarantulas have dense patches of hair called “claw tufts.” Claw tufts are an important feature as they allow bulky tarantulas to climb vertically along a variety of different surfaces.

When compared to other arachnids, tarantulas are relatively heavy. In order to support their weight and the weight of their prey while climbing vertical surfaces, a tarantula’s hairy feet adhere to many surfaces. These hairs are visible to the human eye, but each visible hair is covered with hundreds of thousands of smaller hairs called “setules.” Setules are so small that an electron microscope is required to see them. The heavier the tarantula species, the more setules it has. For example, researchers found that a species of jumping spider known as Evarcha arcuata has a total of 600,000 setules, which is necessary for this species as it hunts and carries prey regularly up vertical surfaces. Smaller arachnids do not possess the hairy claw tufts that tarantulas possess because their low body weight does not require dense patches of setules. However, the relatively small huntsman and jumping spiders possess setules, as they are the only spider groups that are capable of crawling upside down along a ceiling while carrying prey as large as a toad in their fangs.

Have you ever found a spider crawling along your ceiling?

Waco Scorpion Control

Several Species Of Spider, Scorpion And Insect Glow, But Not Like Lightning Bugs

You likely have nostalgic childhood memories of catching fireflies in a mason jar. If you happen to be one of the few kids who never captured lightning bugs, then you must have, at least, been in awe of their seemingly magical ability to flash a bodily glow at evenly spaced intervals. Even after reaching adulthood, it is hard not to recognize fireflies as possessing a truly unique ability. After all, how many other insects, or any type of organism, do you know of that can glow? Algae, maybe? Well, as it happens there are many arthropod species that are capable of glowing, but why they glow is another question that science has yet to answer. Certain spider, scorpion, and even cockroach species are known for their glowing ability.  Considering all the natural phenomena that science has come to explain, it is surprising to learn that researchers only understand the physiology behind the glowing ability of certain scorpion species, and of course, lightning bugs.

The glow of lightning bugs and other arthropods is known as “bioluminescence.” However, the internal bodily mechanisms that produce bioluminescence in lightning bugs is entirely different in scorpions. Scorpions glow by means of “fluorescence,” which still falls under the category of luminescence as opposed to incandescence. The exoskeletons of scorpions contain certain molecules that absorb ultraviolet light before re-emitting visible light. The outermost layer of a scorpion’s exoskeleton is called the “epicuticle,” and this is where the glow originates. The reason why some insects glow under UV light is not fully understood. Although humans cannot see UV light, insects can see it, whether they glow or not. The outside world appears quite different when UV light can be detected. One reason as to why insects see UV light may be to locate shelter. This theory was proposed after researchers put tiny UV light-blocking goggles on scorpions. These goggled scorpions seemed to have more difficulty than normal when it came to locating shelter. Another theory suggests that scorpions and other insects inherited the ability to detect UV light as an adaptation that allowed them to tolerate the intense sunshine that their earlier sea-dwelling ancestors had not been exposed to. While these theories are plausible, there may be no way of discovering why insects adapted to detect UV light.

Would you find it interesting to wear glasses that allow you to detect UV light so that you could see the world like an insect?