Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Two scientists, working independently in Costa Rica and Mexico, noticed that the neotropical jumping spider feeds on acacia leaf tips. These yummy leaf tips are primarily eaten by ants, which in turn defend the plants from predators. But the spider, known as Bagheera kiplingi, has developed a taste for the leaf tips, too. The spider does occasionally eat ant larvae, but most of its calories come from its high-fiber vegetarian diet, according to a report in the journal Current Biology
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
IT IS NOT ABOUT PESTICIDES. It is about the overall approach to pest management in a manner that reduces the
impact on the environment. Please note that there is NO “Green List” of pesticides offered in this resource – only a list
of trade names of Natural pesticides. Not all Natural pesticides necessarily fit into Green pest management. It is the
manner in which the product is applied that is of importance, and products such as enclosed insect bait stations may
be labeled as “green” even though the active ingredient is synthetic.
“Green Pest Management” awaits a specific definition, and pest control industry leaders may be working to achieve
this. From the opinions of many pest management professionals there are clear similarities between “Green” pest
management and “Integrated” pest management. In the overall goal of reducing any negative impact on the
environment, while still managing pest problems that affect our customers, we must emphasize:
Proper identification of the pest and understanding its biology and habits
Habitat modification to remove conditions conducive to the pest presence
Exclusion to prevent entry to structures
Inspection and monitoring to verify the presence of the pest
The use of non-chemical control measures where appropriate and effective
The use of the least hazardous chemicals where appropriate and effective
Green Pest Management should also evaluate every other aspect of the business in the goal of lowering any negative
impact on the environment. This includes efficient use of vehicles to reduce gas usage, recycling of all containers and
other waste products if possible, good building maintenance for efficient energy use, and other areas not directly
related to the control of pests.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Roof rats range along the lower half of the East Coast and throughout the Gulf States upward into Arkansas. They also exist all along the Pacific Coast and are found on the Hawaiian Islands (Fig. 2). The roof rat is more at home in warm climates, and apparently less adaptable, than the Norway rat, which is why it has not spread throughout the country. Its worldwide geographic distribution suggests that it is much more suited to tropical and semitropical climates. In rare instances, isolated populations are found in areas not within their normal distribution range in the United States. Most of the states in the US interior are free of roof rats, but isolated infestations, probably stemming from infested cargo shipments, can occur.
Roof rats are more aerial than Norway rats in their habitat selection and often live in trees or on vine-covered fences. Landscaped residential or industrial areas provide good habitat, as does riparian vegetation of riverbanks and streams. Parks with natural and artificial ponds, or reservoirs may also be infested. Roof rats will often move into sugarcane and citrus groves. They are sometimes found living in rice fields or around poultry or other farm buildings as well as in industrial sites where food and shelter are available.
Roof rats frequently enter buildings from the roof or from accesses near overhead utility lines, which they use to travel from area to area. They are often found living on the second floor of a warehouse in which Norway rats occupy the first or basement floor. Once established, they readily breed and thrive within buildings, just as Norway rats do. They have also been found living in sewer systems, but this is not common.
The nature of damage to outdoor vegetation can often provide clues as to whether it is caused by the roof or Norway rat. Other rat signs may also assist, but be aware that both species may be present. Setting a trap to collect a few specimens may be the only sure way to identify the rat or rats involved. Out-of-doors, roof rats may be present in low to moderate numbers with little sign in the way of tracks or droppings or runs and burrows.
There is less tendency to see droppings, urine, or tracks on the floor in buildings because rats may live overhead between floors, above false ceilings, or in utility spaces, and venture down to feed or obtain food. In food-storage facilities, the most prominent sign may be smudge marks, the result of oil and dirt rubbing off of their fur as they travel along their aerial routes.
The adequate inspection of a large facility for the presence and location of roof rats often requires a nighttime search when the facility is normally shut down. Use a powerful flashlight to spot rats and to determine travel routes for the best locations to set baits and traps. Sounds in the attic are often the first indication of the presence of roof rats in a residence. When everyone is asleep and the house is quiet, the rats can be heard scurrying about.
The elimination of food and water through good warehouse sanitation can do much to reduce rodent infestation. Store pet food in sealed containers and do not leave it out at night. Use proper garbage and refuse disposal containers and implement exterior sanitation programs. Emphasis should be placed on the removal of as much harborage as is practical. For further information see Norway Rats.
Dense shrubbery, vine-covered trees and fences, and vine ground cover make ideal harborage for roof rats. Severe pruning and/or removal of certain ornamentals are often required to obtain a degree of lasting rat control. Remove preharvest fruits or nuts that drop in backyards. Strip and destroy all unwanted fruit when the harvest period is over.
In tree crops, some cultural practices can be helpful. When practical, remove extraneous vegetation adjacent to the crop that may provide shelter for rats. Citrus trees, having very low hanging skirts, are more prone to damage because they provide rats with protection. Prune to raise the skirts and remove any nests constructed in the trees. A vegetation-free margin around the grove will slow rat invasions because rats are more susceptible to predation when crossing unfamiliar open areas.
How to tell the difference
between ant and termite alates
- Elbowed antennae
- Fore wings larger than hind wings
- Constricted waist
- Beaded Antennae
- Fore and hind wings of equal size
- broad waist
Entomologists refer to winged ants and termites as alates. The alate is simply the adult, sexually mature stage in the ant or termite life cycle. Alates develop in the colony from immature stages prior to the flight season. When the alates receive the proper cues (warm temperatures, bright sunlight, low winds, for example) they will leave the colony and fly away to start their own colonies. The exodus of alates from a colony, known as a dispersal or nuptial flight, is commonly referred to as swarming; so alates are often referred to as swarmers. Male and female termites shed their wings and will pair up when a suitable mate is found. Then they will search for a suitably damp piece of wood or soil where they will start their new colony. Swarming in ants is different. Male and female alates leave the nest and after the female is inseminated, the male dies. The newly fertilized female then searches for a suitable nesting site - the choice of where to nest depends on the species.
When termites swarm they are often misidentified as "flying ants". This is a common mistake because termite alates look very much like ants.