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Washington Pest Management News: The Hunt for Gypsy Moths

gypsy moth caterpillarIn 2014, Eden reported about the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s annual campaign to trap and monitor the invasive gypsy moth. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) does the same every year by placing around 16,000 cardboard traps in rural areas, residential neighborhoods and business districts. By knowing how gypsy moths look and about their behaviors, you can take steps to control and prevent infestations.

Washington Pest Management Techniques: Monitoring Gypsy Moth Populations

The traps that the WSDA hangs in July are green and tent-shaped. They contain the scent of female moths to lure and trap male moths. WSDA workers inspect the traps every two to three weeks to calculate the moth population in each area. The workers remove the traps in September.

Washington pest control companies state that gypsy moths most likely spread throughout the state and other parts of the country when people travel or move. In addition to European gypsy moths, the WSDA has found Asian gypsy moths, which are more destructive because they can travel further.

Gypsy Moths in Washington

Gypsy moths are most destructive when they’re caterpillars. The bugs attack about 500 species of plants and trees, stripping them of their leaves or needles. Sometimes, the damage is so extreme that it degrades wildlife habitats, affects the quality of water and makes affected plants vulnerable to diseases.

Unlike the western tent moth caterpillars, Gypsy moth caterpillars do not make web-like tents. The caterpillars are grayish in color with six pairs of red dots and five pairs of blue does along their back.

Adult western tent moths and gypsy moths look similar, as females are cream-colored and males are brown. Gypsy moths, however, have dark brown markings on their wings. Males have a wingspan of up to 1.5 inches, while females have 2-inch wingspans.

If you see a gypsy moth or caterpillar, trap it and contact a Washington pest control company, like Eden, to identify it. After an outing or when you move to a new home, inspect all your belongings to prevent the spread of gypsy moths. To learn more or schedule a complimentary inspection, contact Eden today.

Tacoma Pest Control Extends to UW Library Books

Suzallo Library

Tacoma pest control specialists reveal that even university libraries aren’t safe from bed bug infestations. In December 2012, the University of Washington’s library was a victim of bed bugs, giving the pests the opportunity to further spread to student housing and beyond.

An Itchy Situation

When it comes to pest control, Tacoma experts reveal that bed bugs hide and lay their eggs in the spines of hardcover books. UW librarians began to notice the problem when they saw dark spots and bugs within the spines of returned items. Since most people read in bed (and bed bugs live in or near beds), the library staff speculates that the bed bugs simply migrated to a book or two. Upon discovery of the bugs, the staff immediately sealed the infested books in plastic bags, stating that fewer than ten volumes were affected.

To remedy the problem, the books, still in the plastic bags, were frozen to -18ËšF. Tacoma pest control experts generally use heat to kill bed bugs, but heat can damage books and accelerate their aging, so freezing was the best natural pest control alternative for this situation.

Extra Help from a Canine Friend

To make sure the bed bug infestation was limited to the identified books, UW called in the help of a bed bug-sniffing dog. Trained dogs are faster are and more accurate at detecting nesting sites than the other methods experts use. Fortunately, the dog didn’t find any more infestations. 

Once a library discovers bed bugs in its books, it’s smart to bring in a bed bug-sniffing dog immediately and for regular maintenance checkups. Eden Pest has a Bed Bug Detection Dog named Molly who is part of our Tacoma pest control team. Molly has 97 percent accuracy rate, making her a great addition to anyone’s natural pest control efforts.

[ Photo by: ericnvntr, on Flickr, via CC License ]

Bed bugs are coming – Are you ready? HUD Is.

Do you manage multifamily housing? HUD does, and recommends the use IPM to all of its owners and managers in the face of large-scale bed bug infestations in every major city. In a notice issued August 16th, 2011, HUD detailed what it expected of its “owners and management agents (O/As)”, as well as its tenants.

HUD begins by explaining that bed bugs are on the rise, something we’ve been noticing in the Seattle/Portland area. They state that “Bed bugs are considered a pest of significant public health importance by the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the insects are not known to transmit disease, bites may itch and cause an allergic reaction in some people, which may lead to secondary infections. The presence of bed bugs can also cause stress or anxiety.” In older or more vulnerable populations, these effects can be greatly decrease quality of life.

HUD also reminds us that “bed bugs are not an indicator of poor sanitation”. No multifamily unit, despite cleanliness or socioeconomic standing of its residents, is immune to the current boom in bed bug populations. For this reason, HUD has determined that “The best approach to bed bug management is to prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place”.

How can you get ahead of this problem? HUD told its owners and management agents that they “are strongly recommended to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan”.  What does an IPM plan for bed bugs look like? Here’s a link to the EPA’s recommendations: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/bedbugs/#treat, all of which is included in our standard Bed Bug Response Plan.

HUD also informs that “Recent research indicates that “active” bed bug monitors containing attractants can be effective tools for detecting early infestations. Some licensed pest control applicators use canine detection to verify the presence of bed bugs”. Canine inspection can be a faster and therefore more cost-efficient way to detect bed bug problems, and can be less disruptive to the tenant and property manager.

HUD makes some recommendations for what to do once an infestation is found. “When an infestation is identified, the unit and surrounding units should be treated for bed bugs according to the IPM Plan… Infestations are rarely controlled in one visit. Effective treatment may require two to three visits, and possibly more”.

This is something we educate our clients on – there is no quick fix, and HUD has recognized that in its directives. HUD also states to its owners and managers that they “may also consider an increased pest control line item in the project’s operating budget…”. This highlights the new approach multifamily housing managers are taking with bed bugs – plan for them, get ahead of them, and stay ahead of them. Regularly scheduled bed bug and general pest control can help, HUD believes. This is because, as they state, “Early reporting allows the pests to be identified and treated before the infestation spreads”.

What does all of this mean to you? It means that multifamily housing managers are facing a new reality: it’s too expensive and inefficient to wait until you have a bed bug problem to get together an IPM plan. Start now, work with an experienced pest professional skilled in the different types of treatment, and when you do have a bed bug problem, it’ll be a relief to know you have someone on your side who knows what they’re doing, and that you’ve done everything you can to minimize your costs.

As always, if you have any questions  you’re always welcome to call.

 

Thanks for reading!

Eden

Back to School: Do Pesticides Affect Your Child’s Ability to Learn?

Warning Pesticides: Fire Will Cause Toxic FumesThere are many reasons to love Integrated Pest Management, an environmentally friendly approach to pest control. Homeowners love Integrated Pest Management because it minimizes the use of toxic pesticides. Especially in eco-conscious cities like Portland, pest control methods that respect the earth and protect the health of one’s family are gaining popularity.

Recent research into how pesticides impact learning may provide yet another motivation for choosing low-impact pest control methods, including Integrated Pest Management. Several studies suggest that exposure to pesticides makes it more difficult for students to learn.

Research Connecting Pesticides and Learning Abilities

For instance, University of Wisconsin at Madison research spearheaded by Dr. Warren Porter found that “female mice whose mothers were exposed to the pesticide chlorpyifos were slow learners.” (Male mice did not show the same outcome, perhaps because they have different liver-detoxifying enzymes.) Pre-natal exposure to pesticides slowed the mental processing speed of these female mice.

Another study published in the journal Pediatrics found a connection between exposure to pesticides and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition that makes it difficult for students to focus. More than 1,000 children from across the United States were included in this research, which concluded, “Children with above-average levels of one (pesticide) byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD.” This study showed that, from Pittsburg to Portland, pest control solutions that require the use of pesticides put children at risk of developing learning disabilities.

Why Children are Vulnerable

Considering that most pesticides were originally developed to be used as nerve gases in World War II, it shouldn’t be surprising that exposure to them affects the performance of the nervous system, including the brain. Children are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of pesticides, for several reasons. First, they imbibe more food and water relative to their body weight than adults, which means they have a higher relative exposure to pesticides. Additionally, children’s minds and bodies are still under development, so they have less ability to detoxify after exposure to dangerous chemicals.

Given all of the evidence that pesticides have a negative impact on learning and health, many experts recommend that commercial pest management firms that eradicate pests in schools should minimize the use of pesticides wherever possible.

[ photo by: www.CGPGrey.com ]