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Dangerous beetle lands at Port of Oakland

 

U.S. Customs agents have found a potentially devastating insect that came through the Port of Oakland. The pests were in wood pallets coming in on container ships from international ports.

 

This member of the beetle family does its damage in the larvae stage, boring through wood like a drill bit. Our forests, eucalyptus trees, maples, elms, and willows are among the vulnerable trees.

U.S. Customs Agriculture specialist John Machado is looking for an invader from a foreign country. His only tools are a flashlight, a hammer and chisel.

Tiny holes in wood pallets are his only clues that one of the larvae might be inside. He found two live ones and one dead over the last week. It turns out they are from the Cerambycidae family, also known as a long-horned beetle, potentially devastating to forests and agriculture.

"If I find something, I safeguard the shipment, I take the pest and submit it to our government identifiers and then they get back to me and say this is an actionable pest," says Machado.

That means the shipment is quarantined and will be turned away from the port, sent back where it came from. These pests were international hitch-hikers, coming in on pallets with shipments of foil from Spain for wine bottles, travertine from Turkey, and tile from Italy. All of the pallets had stamps indicating the wood was treated to kill these kinds of bugs.

"The HT means heat treated, the MB means ethyl bromide, and there's some irradiation type of stamps, and those are international standard," says Machado.

Customs can only inspect a fraction of the containers. It's a reality that sends shivers down the spine of Christian Cobbs, a landscape designer and horticulturalist at Berkeley's Magic Nursery.

 
Click here to read the entire article
 


 
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Pests get warm welcome

 

Mild winter, early spring weather have exterminators working to ward off a potential bug boom.

The mild winter weather offered people ample time to spend outdoors. Now it also means there could be more uninvited houseguests crawling around in springtime.

The insects of spring have shaken off the cold and crawled out of their hiding spots weeks in advance, aided by a winter that saw less than 14 inches of snowfall in the region and above-normal temperatures during most of the colder months - especially in early 2010. Homeowners and residents across the Inland Northwest might notice more bugs compared to previous years, with indoor critters emerging from cellars, vents and attics, and outside bugs prowling the yard.

Local pest control companies have been called to action, with many reporting an increase in phone calls this year over previous thawing seasons.

"Pretty much when the weather starts heating up, the insects start showing up," said Chris Russell, a technician at Advanced Pest Control in Coeur d'Alene. "We're thinking it could be a busy season; we've already had quite a few calls for spiders and ants. We've started spraying about a month earlier."

Pat Johnson, owner and co-founder of the company, said based on her more than four decades in the business, without the extreme cold that otherwise kills off a host of indoor and outdoor pests, "we might be experiencing a busy season."

Click here to read the entire article

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Country Ants Go to Town

 

ScienceShot: Country Ants Go to Town
By: Gisela Telis on April 1, 2010 3:12 PM  sn-antcolonies.jpg Photo Credit: Bill Beatty/Visuals Unlimited Inc.

In North American forests, odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile ) lead quiet lives. The insects-called "odorous" because they smell like a piña colada when crushed-make their homes in hollow acorns and form simple colonies of 50 to 100 workers beneath the sway of a single queen. But as soon as they move on up to cities and suburbs, these mild-mannered ants live large, exploding into complex supercolonies of more than 5 million workers and thousands of queens. The insects also begin to act like an invasive species, robbing other ant species of resources and raiding buildings for food, researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Biological Invasions. Future studies will focus on the odorous ant's genetics, in hopes of learning why urban life turns it into such a swarming bully-and how to stop it.

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Fire ants invade Ashburn

 

WALB.com - Georgia
By Jay Polk

ASHBURN, GA (WALB) - It's festival time again around South Georgia.   And one of the earliest and most unusual festivals is in Ashburn where they celebrate the fire ant.

Why the fire ant?  We tried to ask the stars of the festival, but they seemed busy.  So we went to a human representative.

"We saw right away that the fire ant theme took off.  We could have more fun with that theme," said Shelley Zorn, President of the Ashburn/Turner County Chamber of Commerce.

Now in its 16th year, they've done some unusual things at this festival.  And that includes this year.  Like the men's panty hose competition.

"We've got 10 contestants right now.  There's no real rules.  Just get the panty hose up over your clothes as quickly as possible and don't rip or break the panty hose," said Zorn.

And the theme of the unusual extends to the food as well.  While there is a carnival with the food that you might expect, there's a bit of a twist to the snacks that are on offer.  Hungry?  Try some tasty chocolate covered fire ants.

The Fire Ant Festival is always known for it's unusual events and something that's new this year is the chance to take out your frustrations on this old clunker at 50 cents a whack.

While it all seems a bit tongue in cheek, this festival is serious business for Ashburn.

Click here to read more on the Fire Ant Festival

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Wet Winter Weather Will Have an Impact on Pests This Season

 
Press Release Source: National Pest Management Association (NPMA) On Tuesday March 9, 2010, 12:26 pm EST

FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As one of the stormiest winters in history ends, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that increased moisture from excessive rain and melting snow can create havens for pests in and around homes. These wet conditions encourage pest reproduction and growth.

Nearly 900 cities across the U.S. saw record snowfall and precipitation, while some states experienced the snowiest winter in decades, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"As many areas of the country emerge from a snowy and wet winter, homeowners should expect to see an increase in pest pressure this spring and summer," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Common pests including rodents, ants and cockroaches flourish in these conditions."

"Homeowners should deal with a pest problem immediately as household pests can pose health risks to homeowners and their families such as allergic reactions, E.coli and salmonella contaminations, increased asthma symptoms and other health problems," advised Henriksen.

Typically, infestations occur when pests enter the house through small access areas on the home's exterior. Homeowners should perform seasonal home checks using the following tips provided by the NPMA:

  • Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  • Seal cracks and holes including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Trim tree branches and shrubbery and keep away from the house.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  • Call a qualified pest professional for additional advice and treatment if necessary.

"Planning for and defending against pests with the help of a licensed pest professional should be part of every homeowner's spring cleaning plan," Henriksen advised.

For more information on preventing pests or to find a pest professional in your area, please visit: www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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Storing firewood outside helps prevent problems with insects

 

Canton Daily Ledger
Posted Feb 06, 2010 @ 05:12 AM

LEWISTOWN -

A variety of insects live in the dead and dying trees that we use for firewood. "To avoid problems in the house with these insects, store firewood outside," says David Robson, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

Dying trees attract a variety of insects, primarily woodborers, which lay their eggs on the tree. The resulting borer larvae burrow throughout the wood, allowing other organisms to enter the tree, and eventually break it down into nutrients that living plants use.
Since firewood is dead wood, these same borers are common in it. Their eating of the wood does not appreciably reduce the amount of burnable wood over the few months that we store it. When we bring the firewood indoors, the adult borers in the wood warm up, become active, leave the firewood and fly around the house.

Probably the most common borer associated with firewood is the redheaded ash borer. The adult beetle is about 5/8 inch long, reddish-brown and long-legged. It also has four yellowish bands across the back. Since it feeds on wood with fairly high moisture content, it will not attack the dried wood used in house construction.

Worker carpenter ants are large (at least 1/4 inch long), black and wingless. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but hollow it out for their nests. Pieces of firewood containing nests that are stored indoors provide a base of operations from which the workers forage for crumbs of food all over the house.

Click here to read the entire article.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Storing firewood outside helps prevent problems with insects

 

Canton Daily Ledger
Posted Feb 06, 2010 @ 05:12 AM

LEWISTOWN -

A variety of insects live in the dead and dying trees that we use for firewood. "To avoid problems in the house with these insects, store firewood outside," says David Robson, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

Dying trees attract a variety of insects, primarily woodborers, which lay their eggs on the tree. The resulting borer larvae burrow throughout the wood, allowing other organisms to enter the tree, and eventually break it down into nutrients that living plants use.
Since firewood is dead wood, these same borers are common in it. Their eating of the wood does not appreciably reduce the amount of burnable wood over the few months that we store it. When we bring the firewood indoors, the adult borers in the wood warm up, become active, leave the firewood and fly around the house.

Probably the most common borer associated with firewood is the redheaded ash borer. The adult beetle is about 5/8 inch long, reddish-brown and long-legged. It also has four yellowish bands across the back. Since it feeds on wood with fairly high moisture content, it will not attack the dried wood used in house construction.

Worker carpenter ants are large (at least 1/4 inch long), black and wingless. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but hollow it out for their nests. Pieces of firewood containing nests that are stored indoors provide a base of operations from which the workers forage for crumbs of food all over the house.

Click here to read the entire article

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

UC researcher develops masking agents to keep mosquitoes and insects at bay

 
Monday, February 8th, 2010.
Issue 06, Volume 14.

RIVERSIDE - A process developed by a UC Riverside researcher to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay might be turned into a commercial product, university officials said today.

OlFactory Laboratories Inc., a Riverside-based nanotechnology firm, signed an agreement with UCR for exclusive rights to utilize the insect repellent technology conceived by Anandasankar Ray, assistant professor in the university's Department of Entomology.

According to UCR, Ray discovered a means to prevent insects from detecting carbon dioxide, which is emitted by animals and humans during breathing. Mosquitoes, black flies and other winged insects can smell the emissions and hone in on their prey that way.

Click here to read the entire article

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How will cold affect insect pests, weeds?

 
By Dr. William Johnson
Contributor

Published January 20, 2010

Q: Will the recent cold temperatures down into the low 20s and upper teens reduce the number of insect pests in the following summer?

A: I get several inquires from homeowners and gardeners this time of year about whether the cold spells during the winter season will reduce the number of insect pests in the landscape or home.

However, such hope generally is unwarranted as insects are a very resilient form of animal life and are well-adapted to deal with weather-related challenges. They have developed survival strategies that usually guarantee their return each spring.

Some insects go through the winter season as adults, such as leaf-footed bugs, a most dreaded insect pest on tomatoes, citrus and pecans.

Leaf-footed bugs overwinter as adults in aggregations that can be found in trees like palms, citrus, or junipers, or can be found in places like brush piles. They do not feed during the winter, and hunker down together in groups to wait for spring.

Many insects will spend winter in other stages of life (such as eggs, larva, or pupa) which can be even more tolerant of cold temperatures.

Some insects, such as mosquitoes, reproduce so rapidly it would be difficult to tell if a cold winter had any effect on them at all. It goes without saying that Alaska and mosquitoes go hand-in-hand.

Click here to read the entire article 

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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.

Click here to read the entire article

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