PESTS  >  PESTS IN THE NEWS
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  • Fri Apr 24 2015

    School board launches probe into use of unapproved pesticide at three Ottawa schools

    The Ottawa Carleton District School Board is hiring an outside consultant to conduct a full review into how a pesticide not approved by the board was sprayed at three schools and a daycare, resulting in numerous complaints by students and staff about burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches. “Obviously it is a very troubling situation and we need to double back to see how this may have happened,” said trustee Mark Fisher. “There are lots of questions that need to be asked. We are in the process right now of assessing what happened so we can insure it doesn’t happen again.” Charle...

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  • Thu Apr 23 2015

    Could Bees Be Addicted to Pesticides?

    Like nicotine for humans, certain pesticides seem to hold an addictive attraction for bees, which seek out tainted food even if it may be bad for them, according to new research. Not only did bees show no signs of avoiding neonicotinoid-laced food in lab tests, they seemed to prefer it, said a study in the journal Nature. "We now have evidence that bees prefer to eat pesticide-contaminated foods," said study author Geraldine Wright of Newcastle University, UK. This suggests, she said, "that like nicotine, neonicotinoids may act like a drug to make foods containing these substances ...

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  • Thu Apr 23 2015

    Mosquitoes Play Favorites When Choosing Their Victims, Study Finds

    Some people are lucky enough to have their body produce so-called natural repellents that keep mosquitoes at bay It just so happens that mosquitoes don't choose their victims at random. On the contrary, researchers with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine say that, having carried out a series of experiments, they found that some people get bitten way more often than others. In a report published in the science journal PLOS ONE, the specialists go on to explain that this is because some individuals are lucky enough to have their body produce compounds that naturally repel ...

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  • Wed Apr 22 2015

    Bacteria Can Aid Aphids Against Predation and Parasitism

    By Meredith Swett Walker Aphids are among the most destructive plant pests. The small, sap-sucking insects are the bane of many a farmer and gardener. Typically soft bodied and without obvious weapons, aphids seem defenseless. So how do these tiny little morsels defend themselves from predators and other enemies? They do it with a little help from some unusual allies, the most famous of which are ants. Some ant species actually “farm” aphids by protecting them from predators in exchange for the honeydew they produce — a classic textbook-example of mutualism. But some aphid species are al...

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  • Wed Apr 22 2015

    Charlottesville adopts pest management policy, keeps chemicals

    Pressured by local environmentalists, the city of Charlottesville has adopted a formal pest management program. While the program codifies practices already in place, it doesn’t address the recommendations of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, which had called for the increased use of organic products and a reduction in the use of pesticides. “This, I’m afraid, is not furthering us or getting us closer to a non-chemical policy,” said the Sierra Club’s Barbara Cruickshank. For the past 10 years, the city’s parks and recreation department has implemented an integrated pest manage...

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  • Wed Apr 22 2015

    Medical Examiner: Cockroaches Fed On Baby

    BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma - Police arrested a Green Country mother after her 5-month-old baby girl died. Prosecutors charged Brittany Bell with child neglect after the medical examiner concluded abrasions on the baby's body were caused by roaches. Investigators said Bell called police when she found her baby wasn't breathing. Police said she came to the door holding her lifeless baby and originally said the infant died in the crib; but detectives said it didn't take long for the truth, at least some of it, to come out. Neighbors like Karde Durant are heartbroken, knowing they'll...

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  • Mon Apr 20 2015

    Millions of bees crowd highway in Washington after truck tips

    Washington: A tractor-trailer carrying millions of honeybees overturned on a highway north of Seattle early on Friday, scattering hives and sending white-suited beekeepers scrambling to save as many insects as they could. The truck had just merged onto Interstate 5 around 3.30 am when it tipped on its side, dumping its load of 448 hives, or about 13.7 million bees, Washington State Patrol Trooper Travis Shearer said. The driver, a 36-year-old man from Idaho, was not hurt. The company that owns the insects, Belleville Honey and Beekeeping Supply of Burlington, sent beekeepers to recove...

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  • Mon Apr 20 2015

    Pets become destructive pests when carelessly released

    Published: Sunday, 4/19/2015 BY MATT MARKEY BLADE OUTDOORS EDITOR Somewhere in the darkest nightmares of fish biologists sits an empty bucket. It looks harmless enough, but moments earlier it contained a time bomb that would only be detonated if removed from the bucket. It is an explosive with a very long fuse, and a devastating charge. This empty bucket sits next to Colorado’s North Teller Lake, and this is no dream. At some point, the bucket held goldfish, a non-native species. Once released into this lake near Boulder, the goldfish multiplied exponentially and now number in t...

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  • Wed Apr 15 2015

    Man Shoots Mother-in-law after Bullet Bounces off an Armadillo

    Apparently one should think twice before opening fire on an armadillo - that's a lesson one man in the state of Georgia learned the hard way, after his bullet ricocheted off the animal's armor and hit his 74-year-old mother-in-law in the back. Armadillos are treated as pests in the American South, and so upon finding one of the animals Larry McElroy decided to shoot it with a handgun on Sunday night. McElroy was around 100 yards (90 meters) from his mother-in-law's mobile home when he shot and killed the armadillo, reports BBC. But according to police the 9mm bullet bounced off the...

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  • Wed Apr 15 2015

    Winter Weather Brings Summer's Buggy Pests

    The only bad thing about the frigid chill of winter getting lifted off the northern hemisphere is that the long warm days herald the arrival of blood-sucking demons sent straight from hell to torment us all. Or mosquitoes. They go by that name too. The National Pest Managment Association recently issued their predictions for which types of pestilence will visit the United States this spring and summer. Their Bug Barometer predicts the state of the bugs, rodents and other irritants for five regions across the country. It turns out this winter's split personality will lead to some stron...

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  • Tue Apr 14 2015

    Sarasota Co. breeds mosquito-eating fish to get rid of the pest - WFLA News Channel 8

    SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Mosquitoes are out in full force this time of year and Sarasota County Mosquito Control has a unique program to combat the threat. They're breeding mosquito-eating fish, technically called "Gambusia Holbrooki." The tiny fish are being bred at a new aquaculture facility at Sarasota County Mosquito Control. It's the first of its kind in the state. Eesa Ali, an environmental biologist said, "We're trying to reduce our environmental footprint and use less pesticides total." Inside a massive tank, scientists are breeding thousands of fish that feed off mo...

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  • Mon Apr 13 2015

    Vacation nightmare: Other Virgin Islands vacationers may have been exposed to deadly pesticide

    ST. JOHN, U.s. Virgin Islands (CNN) — Government officials are trying to track down vacationers who stayed at villas in the Virgin Islands who may have been exposed to a deadly pesticide. Local officials said methyl bromide is suspected to have been used improperly several times in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in different parts of the island; even the governor said his condominium complex was fumigated with it in 2013, without his knowledge. Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened at the Sirenusa resort, where a Delaware family’s vacation in paradise turned...

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  • Thu Apr 9 2015

    Kansas spent nearly $7,800 to rid state building of pests

    TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – Kansas spent nearly $7,800 on ridding a state office building near the Capitol of pests in December and January, partly because bedbug-sniffing beagles were called in. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Wednesday that the costs of eradicating bedbugs and fleas from the Docking State Office building were detailed in documents obtained through an open records request. Schendel Pest Services billed the state $5,510 for eradicating bedbugs in December. Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn said the company used trained beagles to inspect three floors l...

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  • Wed Apr 8 2015

    Cape home destroyed by rats, homeowners blame pest company

    CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Rats have caused an estimated $30,000 in damage to a southwest Cape Coral home, and the homeowners say it could have been avoided if the pest control company they hired followed up on its promise. Leaking water has ruined the walls, floors, and ceiling, thanks to the rodents that chewed through the plumbing. The homeowners, Catherine and Besflores Nievera, hired Truly Nolen to get rid of the rats months ago. When they were assured that the rats were gone, they had the plumbing fixed. Now there’s fresh chew marks in the pipes causing more problems. The Nieveras,...

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  • Mon Apr 6 2015

    New insecticides address mosquito challenges

    Purdue researchers have identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a safer, more selective means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis. Known as dopamine receptor antagonists, the chemicals beat out the neurotransmitter dopamine to lock into protein receptors that span the mosquito cell membrane. Disrupting the mechanics of dopamine — which plays important roles in cell signaling, movement, development and complex behaviors — eventually leads to the insect’s death. The researchers used the...

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  • Sun Apr 5 2015

    EPA: Pesticide may have caused illness in family staying at Virgin Islands resort

    Steve Esmond, his wife and two teenage sons had been renting a villa at the Sirenusa resort on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands since March 14. The EPA received reports of the family falling ill on March 20; paramedics had found Esmond unconscious and his wife and sons, 14 and 16, having seizures. According to family attorney James Maron, Esmond is still unable to move or talk, and his two sons are in critical condition after being airlifted to the United States, where on Saturday they remained in a coma at a Philadelphia hospital. Esmond's wife, Theresa Devine, was released after tre...

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  • Sun Apr 5 2015

    Study tracks huge surge in use of bee-killing pesticides

    FRISCO — Penn State researchers say the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides spiked in the mid-2000s, not in response to a documented crop threat, but as a prophylactic treatment against uncertain insect attacks. The growth is primarily due to the use of neonicotinoids in the treatment of corn and soybean seeds. In 2000, less than 5 percent of soybean acres and less than 30 percent of corn acres were treated with an insecticide, but by 2011, at least a third of all soybean acres and at least 79 percent of all corn acres were planted with neonicotinoid-coated seed. Numerous stud...

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  • Fri Apr 3 2015

    The US is finally doing something to slow a catastrophic honey bee decline

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday it was unlikely to approve new or expanded uses of certain pesticides while it evaluates the risks they may pose to honey bees. The so-called neonicotinoid pesticides are routinely used in agriculture and applied to plants and trees in gardens and parks. But their widespread use has come under scrutiny in recent years after a drop in the number of honey bees and other pollinating insects, which play key roles in food production. The decline is attributed to factors including pesticide and herbicide use, habitat loss and d...

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  • Thu Apr 2 2015

    Insecticide Rebranded As Personalized Medicine For Insects

    A new class of dopamine receptor antagonists (DARs) could provide a safer means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis. The new chemicals work by manipulating the neurotransmitter dopamine to lock into protein receptors that span the mosquito cell membrane. Disrupting the mechanics of dopamine, which plays important roles in cell signaling, development and behavior, eventually leads to the insect's death. It sounds perfect to people in the developing world but environmentalists in the first world are sure to object t...

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  • Wed Apr 1 2015

    Bed Bugs: Chemical Cover Caveats

    Bed bug infestations exploded over the past 15 years or so, opening a relatively new market for all kinds of products. There are bed bug traps, so-called all-natural sprays, mattress encasements—thousands of options of varying worth. There are also chemical insecticides, including both over-the-counter and professional grade products. The most common class of insecticides used on bed bugs are pyrethtroids, a synthetic version of an ancient remedy made from crushed chrysanthemums. Today, new research on one of these bed bug products—a mattress and box spring liner impregnated with a pyret...

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