PESTS  >  PESTS IN THE NEWS
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  • Thu May 21 2015

    Calgary woodpeckers lovely, but becoming pests

    It seems some woodpeckers in the western city of Calgary Alberta have developed a bad habit. A retirement community on the outskirts of the city is being targetted by woodpeckers who are drilling into the stucco covering of the houses and causing a great deal of damage. “Flicker woodpeckers, they come here every year and drill their holes and they cause a lot of damage. It’s frustrating, very frustrating,” said Harley Sanders, who is on the board of a seniors community on the outskirts of Calgary. Now you might think the birds are crazy drilling into stucco where there are no bugs,...

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  • Thu May 21 2015

    Nicotinoid, fungal disease team up to break down termites' tough defenses

    Purdue University research shows that a small amount of nicotinoid pesticide substantially weakens termites' ability to fight off fungal diseases, a finding that could lead to more effective methods of pest control. The study also provides clues into termites' robust defense systems and how nicotinoids affect social insects. A team led by Michael Scharf, the O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair and professor of entomology, found that a sublethal dose of imidacloprid knocked out key microbes in the termite gut and suppressed the social hygiene habits that help keep a termite colony healthy. Their ...

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  • Tue May 19 2015

    Anyone for ant-flavoured gin?

    The drink you never asked for is finally here: gin flavoured with ants. Miles Irving, a professional forager, collected over 6000 red wood ants and placed them in a strong ethanol solution, before distilling it to make an ant concentrate. The gin is the first in the world to be made using insects, and each £200 bottle contains the "essence" of 62 ants. Red wood ant distillation, one litre a time (Anty Gin) The ants were chosen for their citrus flavour, caused by the formic acid they produce. William Lowe from The Cambridge Distillery said: "The reason people use ants is they...

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  • Sun May 17 2015

    “Fear in flies” revealed in new study – Insects feel many emotions unknown to us!

    A new study has exposed that similar to us humans, flies also feel the emotion of fear. The findings of the study have suggested that the insects may even be experiencing other emotions that are unknown to us about them. The study has also stated that there are chances that other tiny creatures like ants, spiders may have emotions. Lead author of the study, William Gibson, a Caltech postdoctoral fellow has said, “No one will argue with you if you claim that flies have four fundamental drives just as humans do: feeding, fighting, fleeing, and mating. Taking the question step further — whe...

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  • Sun May 17 2015

    Rare Albino Raccoon Found in Illinois Attic

    A pest control expert in northern Illinois made a rare find while rescuing a group of raccoons from the attic of a Winthrop Harbor home Tuesday. Adam Ring said he first noticed three raccoons huddled in the attic, but one of the creatures didn’t look like your average raccoon. That’s when Ring realized he was in the presence of an albino raccoon. Ring, who co-owns A-Action Pest Control in Antioch, told the Chicago Tribune that based on his industry experience the sighting is “very, very rare.” Ring reportedly said he estimates the baby raccoon, or kit, is about three weeks old and ...

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  • Sat May 16 2015

    Where Outdoor Work and Nature Collide: Yes, Animals and Insects Can Cause Work Injuries

    Spring has finally arrived to relieve us from a long, dreary winter. With warmer weather and longer days, employers now have the opportunity to focus on outdoor projects that have fallen dormant for several months. However, while warmer weather offers employers a chance to get outside and work, moving that work outside can present some hazards to employees that are often overlooked. Whether your workplace is a saw mill, a factory, or an office, the natural inhabitants of your environment who are also awakening at this time of year can pose a threat to your employees. Employers should spend ...

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  • Thu May 14 2015

    Pesky insects are eating their way through museums

    Presented by Alex Riley The dodo is an iconic animal, made famous by the humans who wiped it out. Yet we don't really know what it looked like. Not a single bird was preserved in its entirety, so the models on display in museums are all best-guess reconstructions. Their overall shape is guided more by 17th-century art than science. The feathers are from chickens and pigeons. Even the few skeletons that remain are medleys of different individuals. The one specimen that came close to being preserved is now just a mummified head and a tattered foot. After its kin went extinct, this...

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  • Wed May 13 2015

    Bug off! Consumer Reports reveals the best insect repellents

    When it comes to protecting your skin from bug bites, DEET — a popular ingredient that some people eye with suspicion — has some serious competition. For the first time ever, testing done by Consumer Reports has found some of most effective insect repellents do not rely on DEET, the group announced on Wednesday. The top scorers included Sawyers Fisherman's Formula, whose active ingredient was 20 percent picaridin; and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, which contained 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus to keep bugs at bay. Both repelled mosquitoes and deer ticks for at least seven hours, Cons...

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  • Wed May 13 2015

    On the front lines of humanity’s high-tech, global war on rats

    Last May, a member of Alberta’s rat patrol paid a visit to a farm on the outskirts of Sibbald, a small town near the Saskatchewan border. He found holes bored into the foundation of a grain silo and feces littering the trash pit: telltale signs of a rat infestation, probably 100 strong. He scattered aquamarine pellets of poison, then returned with seven pest control officers, including Phil Merrill, head of the province’s rat patrol. Using a crane, they hoisted the granary off its foundation, watching for anything scurrying out, one officer standing ready with a shotgun. All the rats were d...

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  • Tue May 12 2015

    Researchers develop new device to collect bed bugs

    In recent years, bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) have been appearing more and more often in beds around the world, and entomologists need specimens for research purposes. Scientists in France have developed a tool that will aid this research, and their device is described in an article called "A High-Performance Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug Sampling: A Useful Tool for Medical Entomology" that was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. "The need for amelioration requires increased bed bug monitoring and control," they wrote. "To increase monitoring and control levels, laboratory re...

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  • Mon May 11 2015

    New Device Allows Chikungunya Test Results in an Hour

    By Ed Riccuitti Scientists at a U.S. Army research center have modified an assay that tests whether or not a sample of mosquitoes harbors the virus responsible for the disease known as chikungunya (CHIKV), long a problem in the Old World tropics but recently established in the Americas. They did not make the assay — a commercial company called VecTOR Test Systems, Inc. did. Instead, the Army researchers tested the test to prove that it works — no small task when dealing with a virus that comes in multiple guises. Their assay is described in an article in the Journal of Medical Entomol...

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  • Mon May 11 2015

    Wanaque wildlife rehabilitator gives advice on spring encounters

    Most homeowners don't plan to create orphans in their attic, but the reality is that they often do, says Dee Garbowski, founder of Wildlife Freedom Inc., a Wanaque-based rescue for distressed wildlife. "Homeowners should be well aware if they are going to trap wildlife this time of year, chances are 99 percent they are there because they have a family," said Garbowski. This is especially so if they haven't heard wildlife noises in the house all winter, she added. Just hiring a pest-control company for unwanted raccoons, squirrels, or woodchucks – the critters most likely to intrude – ...

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  • Fri May 8 2015

    Fresno family finds DDT in apartment after botched pest control

    FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A young Fresno family made a frightening find after a major pest control problem at their apartment. An environmental study turned up DDT, the pesticide banned in the 1970s. The family of five knows they were exposed to dangerous levels of a pesticide known as Cyper TC, which left them scarred and sick. But they say the pest control company tried to hide the truth from them. And when they did their own digging, what they found was even scarier. There are no signs of life now in the Central Fresno apartment once occupied by Melissa and Bryan Watanabe and the...

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  • Fri May 8 2015

    What Rescue Robots Can Learn From Fire Ants

    The stinging agony of a fire ant bite is one of those things that remains seared into your psyche for all time. But while most people's instinct is to stay very far away from these insects, a closer look at how they build their tunnels shows that there's a lot we can learn from them. A study published recently in the Journal of Experimental Biology examined the ability of fire ants to build stable tunnels in a variety of soil types. The species' versatile engineering skills have enabled it to gain a foothold across the southern and western United States. The researchers used a CAT sca...

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  • Tue May 5 2015

    Police Still Searching for Stolen Pest Control Trailer

    Evansville Police are still trying to find a stolen pest control trailer containing potentially dangerous chemicals. Evansville Police are hoping someone will come forward with information about a stolen trailer filled with dangerous chemicals. The trailer belongs to Action Pest Control. The owners say they're not interested in filing criminal charges against the person who took it. They just want it back to protect anyone who might come in contact with the pesticides. Last week, someone took the trailer from outside a home in Evansville. Investigators say one particular caniste...

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  • Tue May 5 2015

    Which books can help my daughter with her fear of bees and wasps?

    My child is very frightened by wasps and bees. As the weather warms up they will return and I’m wondering if there are any books which might help her be less frightened of them? Given that give a nasty sting, it’s no surprise that children - and adults – can be very frightened of wasps and bees. To help your child, it might be best to look at them scientifically. The more you know about them, the less horrible they seem. And, for bees especially, you can also stress their positive contributions; most children like honey enough to see that as a plus point! James Maclaine’s Bees and ...

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  • Fri May 1 2015

    Do insects have good taste?

    Taste is an important sense found in almost all species of animals. Taste is the dominant sense associated with food and eating, although smell and texture play a role, as well. Eating and food acquisition is essential to animal survival. So how does the ability to taste compare in humans and insects? Tom Turpin, a Purdue University entomology professor, gives us a glimpse of the insect taste buds. Behavioral studies in insects show that, like humans, their sense of taste includes the ability to detect sweet, salty, acidic and bitter tastes. Of these four, only sweet is acceptable to ins...

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  • Fri May 1 2015

    New Study Shows How Bombardier Beetles Produce Defensive Spray

    Using high-speed synchrotron X-ray imaging, a team of scientists led by Prof Christine Ortiz of Massachusetts Institute of Technology was able to look at how bombardier beetles detonate small explosions in their bodies to produce a scalding defensive spray. Bombardier beetles are ground beetles of the family Carabidae that possess the ability to fire boiling, irritating liquid toward their attackers. For as long as scientists have been studying these insects they have been baffled by their ability to produce this noxious spray while avoiding any physical damage. But now that conundrum...

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  • Fri May 1 2015

    What? Warm-blooded insects?

    By Jerry McCormick HTF Columnist April and early May are the months we see the first insects come crawling out. the first insects to come out are not the familiar troublesome types. The early-season insects face the problem most of us faced all winter: keeping warm. There are a small number of truly cold- insects. However, most insects need warmth to function. During cool seasons, how do they do it? Those of you who drive after dark on the back roads of our Northwoods may have noticed an interesting phenomenon. On cold evenings, when the temperature is near the freezing point, moth...

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  • Thu Apr 30 2015

    'The stink bug whisperer': York County woman turns pests into art

    YOE, Pa. (AP) — Stink bugs: they're those ugly, smelly little creatures that always seem to find a way into your house when you don't want them to. That's what most people would say, right? Well, not Maryel Henderson. Not only are stink bugs welcome in this Yoe artist's home, but they're encouraged to walk around her workspace as she begins her next piece. Henderson sees stink bugs as inspiration and she even has a rule that her guests can't kill them in her house. "My husband calls me the stink bug whisperer," she said. To Henderson, stink bugs aren't ugly. They're cute little ...

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