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Protecting Your Summer Picnic From Pests

 
picnic ants

 

June is quickly approaching and for some the official start of summer. While you are enjoying a ballgame, parade or backyard barbeque, the Clark Man reminds you that unwanted, bacteria-carrying pests are more than eager to crash your party.

Protecting food from the harmful bacteria that pests can spread and following good food safety practices before, during and after a meal can protect your family and guests.

Pests such as flies, cockroaches, ants, rodents and birds can spread harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria or E. coli if they come in contact with your food after having feasted on other less appetizing items such as garbage, feces or animal carcasses.

These pests, especially stinging insects and ants, are attracted to food high in sugar content - spilled soda, cake frosting, barbeque sauces and marinades. Rodents and cockroaches have less discriminating taste pallets and will feast on crumbs, oils, grease, garbage and waste.

Good sanitation practices are essential to preventing pests from becoming a problem in and around your home. The Clark Man recommends picking up leftover bottles and wrappers, cleaning up crumbs and spills, and frequently emptying garbage or recycle bins to make your summer picnic or cookout less attractive to these hungry pests.

Another step to preventing pests from contaminating food is to keep food tightly covered in plastic containers or covered with foil or plastic wrap before and after cooking.

While pests do contribute to food-borne illnesses, there are steps homeowners can take to reduce the risk before packing the picnic basket for your next trip to the beach or cookout. Remember, you can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness, so keep the following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mind all summer long:

  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often. Wash for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Wash utensils, countertops and cutting boards with hot, soapy water or other appropriate cleansers; rinsing with just water won’t cut it.

 

  • Separate — Do not cross-contaminate foods – keep raw meats, fish and eggs separate from other foods. Use separate utensils, cutting boards and storage containers.


  • Cook — Cook food to the proper temperatures and use a meat thermometer. The CDC recommends 145 degrees for whole meats, 160 degrees for ground meat and 165 degrees for poultry.


  • Chill — Refrigerate leftovers promptly – within an hour in the summer heat - or discard them. Thaw and marinate foods in the refrigerator – never on the counter or kitchen sink.

Remember, if you are experiencing a pest problem in your home, call 800/WE-NEED-YOU or drop me an e-mail at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

 

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

 

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Pests thrive in unseasonable weather

 
central valley rain

Written by
HILLARY S. MEEKS

Prolonged mild weather in the Central Valley this year has affected activity in both indoor and outdoor pest populations, according to local experts.

"Truly the erratic weather — warm days and cool nights — has really placed pressure on insects and their activity has not been normal," said Daniel DeSilva, a plant and soil sciences instructor at College of the Sequoias.

For example, there's usually a lot more house flies buzzing around by now, but the cool weather has discouraged the insect's normal cycles.

Once it heats up, expect plenty of flies to be about as the insects hatch and enjoy the abundant food that will be available to them, DeSilva said.

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San Diego Pest Control - War’s on against gnats

 

By: Anne Krueger, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.

EAST COUNTY - The millions of pesky eye gnats that have been plaguing the tiny East County community of Jacumba for years may soon meet their death in a 100-foot swath of alfalfa and corn planted at the edge of an organic spinach farm.

At least that's what county officials and residents of the high-desert community are hoping.

The plan to smite the pinhead-size pests - or at least greatly reduce their numbers - was presented at a meeting yesterday with county Supervisor Dianne Jacob and county officials, Jacumba residents and representatives of farmer Alan Bornt.

Residents of the community, with a population of about 550, have longed complained that Bornt's farm is responsible for the gnats that have made their life miserable. They say they can no longer sip a beer or read a newspaper outside, while children at Jacumba School must swat the insects away while having their lunches - lest they eat a gnat sandwich.

The tiny insects develop in the moist soil used for agriculture and are attracted to human and animal eyes because the females use the protein from mucus for producing eggs.

A report last year by the University of California Extension determined that more than 80 million gnats were coming from Bornt's 450-acre organic spinach and lettuce farm at the edge of town. Bornt put up a 5-foot barrier and installed 1,200 gnat traps, but he can't use traditional chemical pesticides on the organic farm.

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Flies Like Us: They Can Act Like Addicts, Too

 

Source:Medical News Today

When given the chance to consume alcohol at will, fruit flies behave in ways that look an awful lot like human alcoholism. fruit flyThat's according to a study published online on December 10th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, that is one of the first to consider alcohol self-administration in the insects.

"The flies choose to consume alcohol to intoxicating levels, they will do so even if alcohol is made unpalatable, and they relapse to drinking high levels of alcohol after being deprived of it," said Ulrike Heberlein of the University of California, San Francisco. "Addiction is a purely human condition, but, surprisingly, flies show several key features of it."

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Rugby players attacked by Flies (BBC News)

 

BBC Spotlight's Matt Pengelly went to the ground to investigate.

Players at a Cornish rugby club have complained they are being plagued by insect bites.

St Columba and Torpoint Rugby Club said its players were being bitten by flies hidden in the pitch.

One needed hospital treatment for a bite and others have been given antibiotics.

It is believed a water-logged pitch may be offering the flies a good breeding area. The club said it was monitoring the condition of the ground.

Prop forward Mike Grieve said he was bitten three times on the legs and ankles.

e was given antibiotics on two occasions, but a third encounter with the hungry insects resulted in him having to go to hospital.

He said: "It was just like a normal bite, and then the leg swelled up. After about a week the bruising was still there."

 

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Fruit flies are valid models for studying drug addiction

 

Fruit flies are valid models for studying drug addiction in humans, says scientists

3. December 2009 07:02

Fruit flies may seem like unlikely heroes in the battle against drug abuse, but new research suggests that these insects - already used to study dozens of human disease - could claim that role. Scientists are reporting that fruit flies can be used as a simpler and more convenient animal model for studying the effects of cocaine and other drugs of abuse on the brain. Their study appears online in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, a new monthly journal.

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The Fly Part 4 of the 4 days of Halloween

 

For the final segment in our scary bug movie halloween fest, we are proud to announce... Drum roll please....The Fly!

This remake of the 1958 film is now a classic and couldnt be more fitting for our final segment...Man turns into the pesky of all pests...a FLY! 

At a meet-the-press party held by Bartok Science Industries, Seth the flyBrundle (Jeff Goldblum), a brilliant but eccentric scientist, meets Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), a journalist for Particle magazine. Bartok Science Industries provides the funding for Brundle's work, and he tells Veronica that he's working on a project that will change the world. Intrigued, Veronica accompanies Brundle back to his warehouse laboratory/home so he can show her his invention: a set of "Telepods" that allows instantaneous teleportation of an object from one pod to another. Veronica is impressed and eventually agrees to document Seth's work. Although the telepods can transport inanimate objects perfectly, they do not work correctly on living things. Seth unintentionally experiences this horrific fact when he attempts to teleport a baboon, which is killed when it is reintegrated inside-out. Shortly thereafter, Seth and Veronica begin a romantic relationship, and their first sexual encounter provides inspiration for Seth. He realizes that the machine is not perfectly reassembling living objects, but is rather "interpreting" them, and sets about reprogramming the telepod computer to cope with living flesh.

Seth then succeeds in teleporting a second baboon with no apparent harm. Flush with this success, he wants to spend a romantic evening with Veronica, but she leaves before they can celebrate. Brundle's judgment soon becomes impaired by alcohol and his paranoid fear that Veronica is secretly rekindling her relationship with her editor and former lover Stathis Borans (John Getz). In reality, Veronica has left to confront Stathis about his continuing interference in her life, and his threat to reveal the existence of the telepods to the world prematurely. Unaware of all this, a drunk and jealous Brundle decides to teleport himself, both as a way of getting back at Veronica for her imagined infidelity, and also to provide the teleportation system with its first human subject. Just before the telepod door automatically closes, a common housefly slips into the pod, unseen by the distracted Brundle. After being teleported, Brundle emerges from the receiving pod, seemingly normal.

Shortly after his teleportation, Seth reconciles with Veronica, and eventually begins to exhibit a sense of intoxicating euphoria, as well as heightened strength, endurance, and sexual potency. However, he also becomes arrogant and violent, and when Veronica sees that something has gone wrong and refuses to allow herself to be teleported, Brundle abandons her, claiming that she cannot "keep up" with him. Brundle then meets a voluptuous and sleazy woman named Tawny at a bar, and arm wrestles with a burly man named Marky, with Tawny as the prize. After using his superhuman strength to give Marky's arm a compound fracture, Brundle takes Tawny home for the night.

The next morning, Veronica arrives at the warehouse in time to prevent Brundle from forcibly teleporting Tawny. After Tawny runs away, Veronica tries to warn Brundle that something is happening to him, but he throws her out of his warehouse and tells her never to return. After she leaves, Brundle is horrified to discover that his fingernails are beginning to fall off. Realizing that something went wrong during his first teleportation, Brundle checks his computer's records, and discovers that the telepod computer, confused by the presence of two separate life-forms in the sending pod, has merged him with the fly at the molecular-genetic level. He then realizes that he is slowly becoming a hybrid creature that is neither human nor insect (which the doomed Seth begins referring to as "Brundlefly").

bad flyAfter a month-long period of self-imposed isolation, a desperate Seth again reconciles with Veronica, but he has already begun to deteriorate, becoming progressively less human in appearance. He also begins to exhibit fly-like characteristics, such as vomiting digestive enzymes onto his food in order to dissolve it, and developing the ability to cling to walls and ceilings. He also develops fly-like twitches and tics, and begins leaving his sloughed-off human body parts in his medicine cabinet, dubbing it "The Brundle Museum of Natural History". Brundle comes to realize that he is losing his human reason and compassion, and that he is now being driven by primitive impulses he cannot control. To her horror, Veronica learns that she is pregnant by Seth, and she cannot be sure if the child was conceived before or after his fateful teleportation.

Although Veronica visits Brundle to tell him about her pregnancy, she can't bring herself to do so. Outside Brundle's warehouse, Veronica begs Stathis to take her to a clinic so she can get an abortion, but Brundle overhears their discussion while watching them from the rooftop. Brundle then abducts Veronica from the clinic, and begs her to carry the child to term, since it could potentially be the last remnant of his untainted humanity. Veronica refuses, afraid that the child will be a hideous mutant. Brundle takes her back to his warehouse.

Meanwhile, Stathis breaks into the lab with a shotgun and comes to Veronica's rescue, but is seriously injured and nearly killed by the almost fully-transformed Brundle, who dissolves Stathis' left hand and right foot with his corrosive vomit-drop enzyme. Stathis is spared from death only by the pleading of Veronica.

Brundle then reveals his desperate, last-ditch plan to Veronica: He will use the three telepods (the third pod being the original prototype) to fuse himself, Veronica, and their unborn child together into one entity, so they can be the "ultimate family", which the desperate Brundle believes will be "more human than I am alone". Veronica frantically resists Brundle's efforts to drag her into Telepod 1 and then accidentally tears off his jaw, triggering his final transformation. His body sheds its outer layer of decaying flesh, revealing a monstrous combination of man and insect. The now-mute "Brundlefly" creature traps Veronica inside Telepod 1, then steps into Telepod 2. As the computer's timer counts down to the activation of the fusion sequence, the wounded Stathis manages to shoot the power cables connected to Veronica's telepod with his shotgun, severing Telepod 1's connection to the computer and allowing Veronica to escape unharmed. Brundlefly attempts to break out of its own telepod just as the fusion sequence occurs, and is gruesomely fused with chunks of metal and other components from Telepod 2. As the mortally wounded Brundlefly-telepod fusion crawls out of the receiving pod, Veronica points Stathis's shotgun at him but cannot pull the trigger. However the Brundlefly silently guides the shotgun she is holding at itself, imploring Veronica to end its suffering with the shotgun. A devastated Veronica hesitates for a moment, and then pulls the trigger, ending the life of her hideously-transformed lover.

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Inside the housefly

 

Although the housefly is a very common pest, few actually touch on the subject. I decided to fill our viewers in and educate you about the nuisance pest that drives us nuts.

Adults flies are between 8-12 mm long, their thoraxis gray in color with four dark lines on the back and their whole body is covered with hair-like projections. The female fly is slightly larger than males, and have a much larger space between their between their compound eyes. The housefly has one pair of wings; the hind pair is reduced to small halteres that help with flight stability. There are a few species that are similar in looks to the housefly include:

               The lesser housefly, Fanniacanicularis, is some what smaller and more slender.

               The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans, has piercing mouth parts.


The Houseflies Life cycle

Females can lay up to 500 eggs in several batches of about 75 to 15. The eggs are white and area bout 1.2 mm in length. Within a day, larvae (maggots) hatch from the eggs; they live and feed on organic materials, such as garbage or feces.

They are pale-whitish, 3-9 mm long, thinner at the mouth end, and have nolegs. They live at least one week. At the end of their third instar,the maggots crawl to a dry cool place and transform into pupae, colored reddish or brown and about 8 mm long. The adult flies then emerge from the pupae. (This whole cycle is known as complete metamorphosis.)The adults live from two weeks to a month in the wild, or longer in benignlaboratory conditions. After having emerged from the pupae, the flies cease to grow; small flies are not young flies, but are indeed the result of getting insufficient food during the larval stage
.


The Houseflies Diet

Houseflies feed on feces, sputum, and moist decaying organic matter such as old food, eggs and flesh. Houseflies can intake liquid foods. They spit out salivaon solid foods to predigest it, and then suck it back into its abdomen. They also regurgitate partly digested matter and eat it.


Is it a boy or a girl?
 
Sex is determined within one species. However, the housefly exhibits many different mechanisms for sex determination, such as male heterogamy (like most insects and mammals), female heterogamy (like birds) and maternal control over offspring sex.


Evolution

Even though the order of flies (Diptera) is much older, true houseflies are believed to have evolved in the beginning of the Cenozoic era, some 65million years ago.  The Housefly feedson liquid or semi-liquid substances beside solid materials which has been  softened by saliva or vomit. Because of their high intake of food, they deposit feces constantly, one of the factors that makes the insect a dangerous carrier  of pathogens. Although they are domestic flies, usually confined to the human  habitations, they can fly for several miles from the breeding place. They are active only in daytime and rest at night e.g. at the corners of rooms, ceiling hangings, etc.

 

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