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Wasps vs. Stink Bugs: Let the Biocontrol Battle Begin

Just when you think you have an unsolvable problem, nature steps in to help. Everett, WA residents, like most Washington fruit farmers and homeowners, have a serious stink bug problem that has spiraled out of control. Until now, there hasn’t been any way to tame the chaos — Eden Pest is investigating a new discovery.

A Big, Smelly Problem
The crop-destroying marmorated stinkbug, which originated in Asia, gets its name from the noxious smell it emits when crushed; but that’s not why it’s so widely detested. Stinkbugs have caused millions of dollars in damages to orchards located in the Mid-Atlantic region since the discovery of the species almost two decades ago. As it turns out, the bugs really love fruit. Now present in Washington, California and Oregon, stinkbugs are slowly moving westward as scores of entomologists and agricultural experts desperately search for ways to stop them. Because the species is not native to America, stinkbugs don’t have enough natural enemies to keep their population in check. However, change is in the air. 

Nature’s Pest Control: Stink Bug-Eating Wasps
Washington State University scientists have found a parasitic wasp that brutally kills its host. Fortunately, its preferred host happens to be the same species of stinkbug that is decimating our orchards. The minuscule female wasp discreetly lays her eggs inside clusters of stink bug eggs. When a wasp egg hatches, the larva emerges and eats its stinkbug host. Afterwards, it bursts from the egg as an adult adult wasp, and the cycle begins again. This insidious murder would seem like a great basis for a horror movie, but entomologists and fruit farmers are giddy with joy over the discovery. 

Where Has this Treasure Been Hiding?
The wasp species enjoying the standing ovation is called Trissolcus japonicas. Two small clusters of the species were found earlier this year in Vancouver, Washington. Like the stink bug, the wasp hails from Asia, which may explain why the stink bug is its natural target. Trissolcus japonicas is currently under quarantine. It is being studied as a potential weapon against our stinky, fruit-loving enemies. Fruit growers are hopeful that the evaluation will progress quickly, and thousands of tiny stinkbug exterminators will be on duty soon. 

Beyond the Stink
If other insects have invaded your Everett, WA, home, you can still rely on traditional pest control methods to get rid of them. Contact Eden Pest today, and say goodbye to equally annoying, but less stinky, bugs. 

We Don’t Kill Bats, and Why You Shouldn’t Either

Do you have bats in your Roseburg, OR, attic? If so, don’t panic or try to exterminate them on your own. Bats can carry harmful microorganisms that may make humans very ill; so bat removal should only be attempted by the professionals at Eden Pest. Despite their less-than-charming reputation, bats are not all bad. They actually account for a quarter of all mammals, making them an essential part of the ecosystem. At Eden Pest, our bat control methods focus on removing, not killing, these generally unwanted but extremely important animals. 

How Bats Affect the World Ecosystem

Bats have important jobs. If you think they just hang around and waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and scare people for fun, you haven’t heard the whole story. Bats hunt damaging insects that destroy beneficial plants, including ones that end up on our dinner plates. In fact, some bats can catch and consume up to 2,000 insects per night. Many bat species fertilize plants with their guano, and some even pollinate plants and spread seeds that ensure forest renewal. In a nutshell, we need bats. Unfortunately, these allies to the plant kingdom are becoming threatened through pesticides, diseases and natural habitat destruction. 

What Is Happening to American Bats? 

Recently, bats have come face to face with an even deadlier foe than humans. An unusually resistant fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans is the cause of the mysterious “white-nose syndrome” that has all but decimated bat populations in America. The fungus makes its appearance as a light dusting of white on the noses and wing tips of affected bats. It’s not clear how white-nose syndrome kills bats, but it seems to wake them up too early from their hibernation. Because there is little or no food available in the cold temperatures, the bats starve to death. If bat populations continue to dwindle, the problem will have an enormous impact on the U.S. agriculture industry, which relies heavily on bats for natural insect control. 

What to Do When You Discover Bats

If you discover little brown bats hanging out in your personal space, don’t try to kill, remove, or otherwise disturb them. Instead, notify pest control immediately. In doing so, you could actually help save the species. While we don’t want bats in our Roseburg, OR, homes, we do want them to survive. At Eden Pest, we are committed to using state-of-the-art, Eco-friendly and nonfatal bat removal methods. If you need assistance with bat control, contact Eden Pest today to schedule an inspection.

Bed Bug Pest Control: How Bed Bugs Affect Your Life

The need for bed bug pest control has exploded in the last couple of years. Pest control professionals are now reporting bed bug infestations in all fifty states, and virtually every pest control provider has responded to a call for bed bug pest control. And, according to Pest Control Technology magazine, 84 percent of pest management professionals report that bed bug infestations continue to rise.

Yet, there is no real health hazard posed by bed bugs; Seattle’s Environmental Health Services department writes, “Bed bug bites are a nuisance and annoying, but bed bugs are not known to spread diseases.” Although bed bug specimens have been found to contain 27 agents of human disease (bacteria, protozoa, parasitic worms), these microscopic carriers of disease cannot multiply within bed bugs, and there is no evidence that transmittable ailments such as HIV and Hepatitis B can be spread via bed bugs.

Still, a bed bug infestation affects a person’s life in many unsavory ways, as described below. From Sacramento to Seattle, bed bugs are such extreme irritants that an infestation forces people to almost immediately arrange for bed bug pest control.

Psychological responses.

Kevin Ochsner, professor of psychology at Columbia University, says knowing bed bugs are sharing your abode has an extreme psychological effect. Intense feelings of fear and anxiety are triggered for those who suffer bed bug infestations. Lying in bed late at night, these poor souls imagine hoards of bed bugs overrunning their bodies as they sleep. As Ochsner recently explained on NPR’s Science Friday, bed bugs can cause our “imagination to run wild,” triggering the parts of the brain that evolved to make us feel fear regarding real external threats. For instance, the amygdala (a structure in the brain that contributes to emotional learning) is activated when one imagines being overwhelmed by bed bugs in the night, “like a horror movie,” as Ochsner puts it. In other words, our brains get fooled into thinking bed bugs are an extreme threat, when really, their blood-sucking ways have little real impact on our health. Pair that response with the psychological associations we have with our beds as safe, warm, restorative places, and you can appreciate the fear and anxiety associated with bed bug infestations.

Interrupted sleeping patterns.

Talk about sleepless in Seattle! Bed bugs make it nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re lucky enough to have avoided a bed bug pest control problem to this point, imagine this: You’re lying still in bed, waiting to fall asleep. It’s dark. You can almost hear the scampering of hundreds of tiny feet as the bed bugs make their way out of the walls and baseboards and into your bed. Was that a bite you just felt?  Or was that just your imagination? Bed bugs can make you think you’re going crazy. And their painful, itchy bites can make it impossible to drift off to sleep.

Social stigma.

When New Yorkers first started reporting bed bug infestations over a year ago, the social stigma associated with these little vampires quickly turned ugly. If your friends find out your home contains a bed bug pest control problem, they might stop hanging out with you. As bed bug victim Jeremy Sparig told the New York Times, “They don’t want to hug you anymore; they don’t want you coming over.” His wife added, “You’re like a leper.” Indeed, the 2010 Bed Bugs in America study found that of those who know someone with a bed bug infestation, 40 percent avoid entering the infested homes, and 33 percent discourage their bed bug-ridden friends from entering their own homes.

Allergic skin reactions.

There is one potentially dangerous effect of bed bugs. Seattle to New York, certain people are especially allergic to bed bug bites, which usually appear as mosquito-bite-like welts. If bed bug bites are scratched to the point of breaking the skin, infections may follow. Infected bed bug bites should receive immediate medical attention, as they could carry certain staph bacteria.

As you can see, bed bugs are no laughing matter. When suffering from an infestation of bed bugs, Seattle or Portland residents should contact a local bed bug pest control company for relief. After all, it’s not enough to simply command someone, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” If you have a bed bug infestation, there’s really no way to avoid being bitten – unless you call for bed bug pest control.