Orkin http://www.orkin.com Thu, 21 May 2015 19:30:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Termites & Biomimicry http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/termites-biomimicry/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/termites-biomimicry/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 09:00:12 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6076 Macrotermites face a serious environmental challenge: they can only survive at exactly 86 degrees, yet they live mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia where temperatures soar well above that. Continue reading

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Macrotermites face a serious environmental challenge: they can only survive at exactly 86 degrees, yet they live mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia where temperatures soar well above that. They’ve adapted ingeniously to their situation, creating a habitat that sustains them by regulating temperatures at all times.

Macrotermites build giant termite mounds that can be as tall as 7 feet, with highly complex colonies and maze-like tunnels inside. Thanks to a series of chimney flues that vent through the top and sides of the mound, temperatures and humidity inside remain consistent at all times. In addition, the mounds are designed to avoid afternoon sun and catch breezes. As the wind blows, hot air from the main chambers below ground is drawn out through the mound chimneys to keep those chambers cool.

These termite mounds are incredible temperature regulators, especially considering that temperatures in Africa can fluctuate between 35 degrees at night and 104 during the day. But these termites didn’t just build a structure that would sustain them, they maintain it as well, constantly opening or blocking tunnels to control air flow.

Microtermites Inspire a Shopping Mall
Faced with similar temperature regulation needs, African architect Mark Pearce looked to macrotermites for inspiration when he began work on a Zimbabwe shopping mall called Eastgate. Pearce based the design of the mall on the cooling technology of the mounds, creating a climate control system similar to that of the termites. Fans suck fresh air from the atrium and blow it upstairs through tunnels. During the day, heat is drawn out through 48 round, brick funnels, while big fans at night send air through the building and chill the hollow floors.

Like the termite mounds, Eastgate maintains a nice, even temperature at all times — with an added bonus of continuously circulated air. The result is an environment that always feels fresh, clean and comfortable. In addition to Eastgate, the cooling towers inside power plants also mimic the cooling effect of termite mounds.

 

Sources:

“Biomimetic Architecture: Green Buildings in Zimbabwe Modeled After Termite Mounds.” Inhabitat.
“The Termite.” Biology Teaching and Learning Resources.
“Mick Pearce.” Architects for Peace.

 

 

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Longhorned Beetles http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/longhorned-beetles/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/longhorned-beetles/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 09:00:29 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6068 This insect gets its name from its extremely long antennae which can be 1 ½ - 2 ½ times longer than its body. Continue reading

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This insect gets its name from its extremely long antennae which can be 1 ½ – 2 ½ times longer than its body. Aside from their long antennae, the longhorned beetle’s most distinguished characteristic is its appetite. The Asian longhorned beetle’s larvae can kill a healthy tree in 1-2 years.

Find out more about these bugs with big appetites below:

  • Appearance: Longhorned beetles vary in shape, size and color. In general, their antennae are long and their bodies are shaped like cylinders.[1]
  • Habitat: Adult beetles like to live near hardwood trees since they feed on leaves, twigs and bark.[2] There are about 20,000 species around the world, but you can find 1,200 of them in North America.[3]
  • Fun Fact: Longhorned beetles make squeaking sounds by scraping the ridges on their heads against their chests.[4]

 

Sources:

“Asian Longhorned Beetle FAQs.” United States Department of Agriculture.
[1] “Longhorned Beetle”. Everything About.
[2] “Invasion of the Longhorn Beetles.” Smithsonian.
[3] “Longhorned Beetle”. Everything About.
[4] “Two Long-horned Borers.” University of Wisconsion-Milwaukee

 

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Icy Winter Bird Feeders http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/icy-winter-bird-feeders/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/icy-winter-bird-feeders/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 09:00:36 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6066 What better sight to see on a bleak mid-winter day than a colorful bird flitting and fluttering around your home? We found the perfect do-it-yourself activity to transform your barren winter trees into a colorful, not to mention tasty, treat for your neighborhood birds. Continue reading

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What better sight to see on a bleak mid-winter day than a colorful bird flitting and fluttering around your home? We found the perfect do-it-yourself activity to transform your barren winter trees into a colorful, not to mention tasty, treat for your neighborhood birds. This DIY is simple and fun for the whole family. Be creative and add your own twist to it!

Supplies needed:

  • Bird seed
  • Cranberries or any other fruit you might have around
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Ice molds of your choice
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Decide on your shape(s). First, decide on a shape for your bird feeder. We suggest starting simple with a cube or wreath shape. For a cube shape, you’ll need a basic ice cube tray. For a wreath shape, you’ll need a bowl with a flat bottom and a drinking glass to create the center of the wreath).
  1. Build your bird feeders! Once you choose your shapes, the rest is pretty simple. Follow the instructions below for the different shapes.

 

Wreath: Place your drinking glass in the center of your bowl. Add about an inch of water followed by birdseed and/or cranberries. Place it in the freezer to freeze overnight. Once it’s completely set, place the bowl in warm water for a minute or two, this will make it easier to get the bird feeder out. Once the ice wreath is out, loop a piece of twine around one side of it and hang it on the limb of your choice!

Cube: For the cube, you’ll want to start out by placing cranberries and/or birdseed in the bottom 1/3 of the tray. After that, take about an 8” piece of twine, fold it in half and knot it at the bottom. Place the knot in the bottom 1/3 of your cube, but try not to let it touch the bottom. After the knot is securely in, continue by filling the rest of the cube with more cranberries and/or birdseed. Pour in enough water to just cover the ingredients. Place cubes in the freezer to freeze overnight. Once they’re completely set, place them in warm water for a minute or two — this will make it easier to pop them out. Hang your cubes from your favorite limb.

  1. Enjoy your creation! Make sure to hang your icy bird feeders in front of a window so you can watch as the winter birds enjoy their beautiful and delicious treat.

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Insect Winter Survival Guide http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/insect-winter-survival-guide/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/insect-winter-survival-guide/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 09:00:39 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6074 When the temperatures drop, we retreat indoors. That means lots of nights spent enjoying the warmth and comfort of our home. Continue reading

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When the temperatures drop, we retreat indoors. That means lots of nights spent enjoying the warmth and comfort of our home. But when it comes to cozying up during the winter months, we aren’t the only ones layering up and staying inside. Insects too must find ways to survive the harsh winter, and their tactics aren’t all that unlike our own. An insects winter survival depends on a lot factors like location, available resources and what stage of life they’re in. See for yourself some of the ways insects stay warm in arctic temps.

Migration
Migration is simply the relocation of an insect to warmer climates. When you think of insect migration, you probably think of the monarch butterfly, and for good reason. Monarchs are among the key players in migration — some flying as far as 3,000 miles to escape harsh winter temperatures.

Hibernation
Hibernation is when a creature lives in a dormant state for the whole of winter. Ladybugs, wasps and honeybees are examples of insects that hibernate during the winter. They’ll seek out anything from spots in attics, eaves and barns to under leaves, logs and rocks to survive the cold temperatures.

Torpor
Torpor applies the same principal as hibernation, but with a much shorter timeline. For example, crickets will enter a torpor state during the evenings to avoid freezing to death, but will emerge during the warmth of day and go about their lives as normal.

Antifreeze
Antifreeze isn’t just for cars. In fact, some insects adopt the same principal to make it through the winter. Insects produce glycerol in the fall, one of the components in antifreeze. The increased presence of glycerol in their hemolymph, the insect version of blood, helps them experience freezing temperatures without causing any damage to tissues or cells.

No matter what tactics insects employ during the winter months — whether hibernating under a pile of leaves or creating their own form of antifreeze — one thing’s certain, they’re highly adaptive creatures.

 

Sources:

“Migration and Overwintering.” United States Department of Agriculture.
“Where Do Insects Go in the Winter?” Smithsonian.
“Where Do Insects Go in Winter?” About Education.
“How To Tell Torpor From Hibernation.” Discover Wildlife.

 

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Can Bags of Water Repel Flies? http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/can-bags-water-repel-flies/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/can-bags-water-repel-flies/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 09:00:26 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6064 Ever wonder why some of your local restaurants hang a bag of water outside their establishment? They say it repels flies. We looked into it. See what we found out in this month’s Fact or Fake. Continue reading

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Bags of Water to Repel Flies: Truth

You may have seen water hanging in a clear bag on a porch or outside of a restaurant. Did you know there is evidence that the bag can repel flies? It’s not the water itself or the plastic bag that make it effective – the trick works when light reflects on the water inside the bag. This confuses flies so they stay away from the area, although it will not completely eliminate flies.

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Top 6: Hibernating Insects http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-hibernating-insects/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-hibernating-insects/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 09:00:18 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6078 These insects have it figured out. They manage to sleep their way through winter, only to awaken to the budding sight of spring Continue reading

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These insects have it figured out. They manage to sleep their way through winter, only to awaken to the budding sight of spring. Sounds too good to be true, right? Not for this month’s Top 6. For them, it’s their best shot at surviving winter. See who made our list of top six coolest hibernating insects.

 

6. Flies

Flies make great hibernators for a number of reasons. First, they can fly! This means they have first dibs on the higher spots — like attics and eaves — that other insects can’t as easily reach. Secondly, they’re very small, meaning they can fit into the smallest of spaces and cracks. Lastly, flies, like the cluster fly, cluster together in large groups in hard to disturb places, keeping them safe from outside threats all winter long.

5. Beetles
For some species of beetles, winter’s more than just an opportunity to escape the cold, it’s also their chance to avoid some of their more resilient predators, like the spider. During the cold months, beetles retreat to dry areas, like bark and leaves.

4. Boxelder Bug
These little pests are among some of the top hibernators, fleeing inside your house to protect themselves from less than favorable temperatures and weather conditions. But beware! Should the temperatures rise slightly during the fall or winter months, you might find these guys emerging from inside your walls to make themselves known.

3. Ladybug
If you’re from certain regions of the country you’re probably accustomed to seeing these guys in your home as soon as the temperatures start to drop. The reason so many are able to get inside your house is because they can squeeze through very small cracks, even closed windows!

2. Butterflies
When you think of butterflies, you might think of migration, when in reality, a number of butterfly species hibernate during the winter months. The cool thing about butterflies is that they can hibernate at all different life stages — eggs, larvae, chrysalis and adult.

1. Bumblebees
When it comes to surviving the cold winter months, we have to give it to our lone wolf, the queen bee. After mating, the queen goes off to hibernate alone, usually underground, until it’s time to emerge and establish her new colony.

 

Sources:

“List of Insects That Can Hibernate.” eHow.
“Insect Overwintering Habits and Ecology.” Bug Guide.
“Bumblebee Mating, Death and Hibernation.” Bumblebee.org
“Butterflies in Winter.” British Butterflies.

 

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The Winter Moth: Turning Up The Heat http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/winter-moth-turning-heat/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/winter-moth-turning-heat/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 09:00:12 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6060 This season, we’re studying the different ways in which insects manage to survive the cold winter months. Continue reading

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This season, we’re studying the different ways in which insects manage to survive the cold winter months. The winter moth is no stranger to survival. Cuculinae represents the sub-group of moths capable of making it through winter, and they’re commonly referred to as “winter moths.” These moths reach adulthood sometime in the fall or winter.

In order to survive these inclement conditions, all winter moths must turn on the heat. Winter moths have an internal heating system that not only keeps them alive, but enables them to go about life as normal — feeding, mating and even laying eggs during the coldest months of the year.

Winter moths heat up in a few different ways. One of the ways they generate heat is by constantly contracting the muscles in their wings. The moment their bodies sense freezing temperatures, they begin to shiver. This “shivering” movement enables them to raise their body temperatures above freezing to a temperature that allows them to fly. Some say they can even generate temperatures 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher! Winter moths also come equipped with a layer of insulation. Just like with a house, the layer of insulation on a winter moth prevents heat from escaping.

The mechanics of the internal heating system of the winter moth are fascinating and complex — earning them a spot atop our favorite winter insects.

 

Sources Used:

“Mechanical Experts in Nature.” Harun Yahya.
“The Effects of Temperatures on Flight Muscle Potentials in Honeybees and Cuculiinid Winter Moths.” The Journal of Experimental Biology.

 

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5 Steps to a Better Food Safety Audit http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/5-steps-better-food-safety-audit/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/5-steps-better-food-safety-audit/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 09:00:17 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6072 In the highly regulated food safety industry, audits can be a daunting hurdle to overcome. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your score through written documentation and effective pest management. Here are 5 tips you can use to help you receive a better pest control score on your next third-party audit. Continue reading

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For any audited facility, an effective, well-documented pest management program is fundamental to your success. Orkin’s Food Safety Precision Protection™ program is designed specifically to help you meet and exceed the requirements of auditors.

Here are 5 tips you can use to help you receive a better pest control score on your next third-party audit. For more information and a free consultation, call us at 877-871-4758.

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African Mound Building Termites http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/african-mound-building-termites/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/african-mound-building-termites/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 09:00:33 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6058 Termites have a bad reputation — and for good reason. Continue reading

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Scientific Name: Macrotermes sp.

Termites have a bad reputation — and for good reason. They can be a destructive and costly nuisance to you and your property. But when they’re not tunneling through your walls or swarming your windows, termites can actually be quite fascinating. Take for example this month’s bug of the month: African mound building termites. Their towering mounds have been impressing entomologists for years. See for yourself why they earned an esteemed spot among our favorite bugs.

Social Status
African mound building termites are found exclusively in Africa and are known for their larger-than-life termite mounds. Standing as tall as 17 feet, these mounds are actually their nests. Formed over time, they house different castes of termites: soldiers, workers, the king and of course, the queen. Each termite has its own job, making cohabitation a breeze for these social insects.

  • Workers. Workers are blind and wingless. Their job is to make sure all the other termites are taken care of by providing food and water, digging tunnels and taking care of the nest.
  • Soldiers. Soldiers guard and protect the colony from outside intruders, like predators.
  • King. The king’s duty is not as glamorous or complex as you might think. His only job is to fertilize the queen’s eggs.
  • Queen. The queen is the largest in the termite colony, and her main job is to lay more eggs. Termite colonies can produce tens of thousands of eggs a day or hundreds of millions in a lifetime!

A Look Inside The Mound
The mound itself is a marvel and a great testament to termites’ teamwork. Alone, a termite is barely visible — with its small stature and near transparent exoskeleton — but by the millions, they’re capable of producing both intricate and sustainable structures. An average mound consists of 33 pounds of soil. And it’s all moved by the tiny termites! Activity inside the mound is often likened to that of a small city, and for good reason. There are construction crews, nurseries, meals, ways to communicate, shelter and protection, for starters.

Termites are definitely flawed, especially when they invade our homes, but life inside the mound is fascinating and complex — just what we’re looking for in a good bug of the month.

 

 

Sources:

“Termite (African Mound Building). Exploring Nature Educational Resource.
“The Incredible Termite Mound.” PBS.
“Collective Mind in the Mound: How Do Termites Build Their Huge Structures.” National Geographic.

 

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Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/dont-let-bed-bugs-bite/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/dont-let-bed-bugs-bite/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:00:35 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6039 The post Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite appeared first on Orkin.

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Chicago Tops Bed Bug Cities List for Third Year in a Row http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/chicago-tops-bed-bug-cities-list-third-year-row/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/chicago-tops-bed-bug-cities-list-third-year-row/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:00:26 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6043 Chicago tops the 2014 Bed Bug Cities List for the third year in a row. The list, released by pest control leader Orkin, ranks the cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2014. Continue reading

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ATLANTA, January 21, 2015 – Chicago tops the 2014 Bed Bug Cities List for the third year in a row. The list, released by pest control leader Orkin, ranks the cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2014. Bed bugs were in the news throughout 2014 in the Windy City, with reports of the blood-sucking insects on public transit and inside several downtown office buildings, as well as in police headquarters, a fire station, school, library and movie theater.

“Bed bugs are a serious issue across the country, and they’re very difficult to control,” said Orkin Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “Bed bugs are not limited to any level of cleanliness or income, which means they can be found in any home or hotel. They’re great hitchhikers, and people often bring them inside on their clothes or in their luggage.”

Seven cities made double-digit jumps on Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List compared to 2013, including Omaha, Neb. (+16), Lexington, Ky. (+16), Sacramento, Calif. (+14), Grand Rapids, Mich. (+13), Buffalo, N.Y. (+12), Charleston, W.Va. (+11) and Louisville, Ky. (+10). Several cities also dropped significantly in the past year, including Syracuse, N.Y., San Diego, Miami, Greenville, S.C. and Atlanta. Four cities made the Bed Bug Cities List for the first time including Myrtle Beach, S.C., St. Louis, Bowling Green, Ky. and Ft. Wayne, Ind.

  1. Chicago
  2. Detroit (+2)
  3. Columbus, Ohio
  4. Los Angeles (-2)
  5. Cleveland – Akron – Canton, Ohio (+1)
  6. Dallas – Ft. Worth (+7)
  7. Cincinnati (-2)
  8. Denver (+1)
  9. Richmond – Petersburg, Va. (+2)
  10. Dayton, Ohio (-3)
  11. Indianapolis (-1)
  12. Houston (+4)
  13. Seattle – Tacoma (+5)
  14. Washington, District of Columbia – Hagerstown, Md. (-6)
  15. Milwaukee (+6)
  16. San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose (+3)
  17. Raleigh – Durham – Fayetteville, N.C. (-5)
  18. New York (-1)
  19. Charleston – Huntington, W.Va. (+11)
  20. Grand Rapids – Kalamazoo – Battle Creek, Mich. (+13)
  21. Omaha, Neb. (+16)
  22. Louisville, Ky. (+10)
  23. Nashville, Tenn.
  24. Lexington, Ky. (+16)
  25. Atlanta (-10)
  26. Buffalo, N.Y. (+12)
  27. Sacramento – Stockton – Modesto, Calif. (+14)
  28. Syracuse, N.Y. (-14)
  29. Boston – Manchester (-9)
  30. Charlotte, N.C. (-5)
  31. Baltimore (-4)
  32. Phoenix – Prescott (-4)
  33. Miami – Ft. Lauderdale (-11)
  34. Knoxville, Tenn. (-3)
  35. Cedar Rapids – Waterloo – Dubuque, Iowa (-6)
  36. Minneapolis – St. Paul (+8)
  37. Hartford – New Haven, Conn. (+3)
  38. Champaign – Springfield – Decatur, Ill. (-3)
  39. San Diego (-13)
  40. Lincoln – Hastings – Kearney, Neb. (-1)
  41. Kansas City, Mo. (+9)
  42. Honolulu (+3)
  43. Albany – Schenectady – Troy, N.Y.
  44. Colorado Springs – Pueblo, Colo. (-2)
  45. Myrtle Beach – Florence, S.C.
  46. St. Louis
  47. Greenville – Spartanburg, S.C. – Asheville, N.C. (-11)
  48. Bowling Green, Ky.
  49. Ft. Wayne, Ind.
  50. Toledo, Ohio (-4)

Bed bugs are in every region of the country, and Orkin has treated for bed bugs in all 50 states. Rollins, Orkin’s parent company, saw an 18 percent increase in bed bug revenue in 2014. The problem is growing nationwide as well. According to an annual report on the pest control industry, Americans spent $446 million to get rid of bed bugs in 2013, the latest data available, compared to $70 million in 2004.

While the cities above topped Orkin’s list, homeowners, tenants and travelers across the country should take the following precautions to help prevent bed bugs:

At Home:                    

  • Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including in furniture, mattress seams and bed sheets, as well as behind baseboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
  • Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
  • Inspect and quarantine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
  • Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to inspect for bed bugs:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for red or brown spots on sheets.
  • Lift and Look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage on a rack away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting when you return home.

Bed bugs are not known to spread human disease like many other pests, but can leave itchy, bloody welts on skin, and they are active year-round. Because every bed bug scenario is different, it’s important for homeowners to call a professional who can create a solution tailored to their home’s needs.

 

About Orkin, LLC

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates more than 400 locations with almost 8,000 employees. Using a proprietary, three-step approach, Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods. The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Learn more about Orkin at http://orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL).

About Rollins

Rollins Inc. is a premier global consumer and commercial services company. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Orkin LLC, HomeTeam Pest Defense, Orkin Canada, Western Pest Services, The Industrial Fumigant Company, Trutech LLC, Rollins Australia, Waltham Services LLC, PermaTreat and Crane Pest Control, the company provides essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to more than 2 million customers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa and Australia from more than 500 locations. You can learn more about our subsidiaries by visiting our web sites at http://orkin.com, http://pestdefense.com, http://orkincanada.ca, http://westernpest.com, http://indfumco.com, http://trutechinc.com, http://www.allpest.com.au/, http://walthamservices.com, www.permatreat.com,http://cranepestcontrol.com and http://rollins.com. You can also find this and other news releases at http://rollins.com by accessing the news releases button.

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How To Grow Your Own Silkworms http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/grow-silkworms/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/grow-silkworms/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 09:00:37 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6028 The silkworm has long played an important role in the textile industry. The cultivation of its treasured silk dates back 5,000 years to ancient China. Continue reading

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The silkworm has long played an important role in the textile industry. The cultivation of its treasured silk dates back 5,000 years to ancient China. The process of cultivating silk, or sericulture, spread across parts of Asia and Europe, eventually arriving in the United States during colonial times — where it failed due to unfavorable conditions.

Today, you’ll only find these beautiful creatures with their silky cocoons living in captivity. They’ve been domesticated over the years and depend on humans for their survival. Raising silkworms is practiced all over the world and can be a great way to observe the morphological stages up close and personal. Their beautiful silken byproduct is the icing on the cake.

If you think you might be interested in raising your own silkworms, follow the steps below.

  1. Find a supplier. This step may turn out to be the most challenging. A quality silkworm supplier can be difficult to come by. Do your research!
  2. Secure a food source. This should arguably be the first step. Silkworms maintain a strict diet of mulberry leaves. So unless you happen to have a mulberry tree in your yard, you’ll need to find a way to supply fresh mulberry leaves. Some silkworms will eat artificial food, but you’ll want to discuss that with your supplier before purchasing.
  3. Make a plan. If you get your silkworms in the winter, you might want to hold off on starting the hatching process. Mulberry trees bloom in the spring and you’ll want to make sure you have an ample supply of leaves for them. Store your eggs in the refrigerator until the time is right.
  4. Begin the hatching process. When you’re ready to start hatching your silkworm eggs, simply remove them from the refrigerator and place them on a tray or in a plastic container and allow them to warm up to room temperature. The hatching process should take about a week.
  5. Relocate the eggs. When you begin to see a dark ring forming on the eggs, it’s time to start hatching. But before they hatch, transfer them to a new container, lined with mulberry leaves. When they hatch, they’re going to be hungry. To ensure the leaves don’t dry out, place a piece of plastic wrap with holes in it over their new home.
  6. Feed them! As mentioned earlier, once the silkworms hatch, they’re going to be ready to start growing. That means they’ll need food, and lots of it. Be prepared to supply fresh mulberry leaves at least three times a day. Oh, and make sure the leaves don’t have any water on them. The smallest drop can be harmful to larvae.
  7. Keep them clean. You’ll need to clean their environment every other day. The best way to do this is to have a second environment (a box or a tray) ready to go. Simply place fresh leaves in the new environment and transfer the silkworms over.
  8. Help them spin their cocoons. After about a month of feeding, the silkworms, now yellow in color, will start spinning their cocoons. If the new yellow color doesn’t give them away, you’ll also notice that they stop eating about this time. The best way to make an ideal environment for cocoons is by setting toilet paper rolls, egg cartons or other small compartments into their dwelling. They’ll need their space. Assume each worm will need 1-2 square inches of space.
  9. Watch the magic happen. The silkworms will spin their cocoons for a few days. Once they finish, they’ll be inside for several weeks. You should see moths start to emerge after about three weeks.
  10. Take care of your moths. Transfer your moths to yet another container, this time lined with paper towels. During their adult life, they’ll mate and lay eggs. Collect the eggs and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to begin the process with a new generation.

 

Sources:

“Silkworm Information.” The University of Arizona.
“About Silkworms.” Silkworm Shop.
“How To Raise Silkworms.” eHow.
“The Secrets Of Raising Silkworms.” Mother Earth News.

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The History of Silkworms http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/history-silkworms/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/history-silkworms/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:00:39 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6006 Raising silkworms for their silk is a practice that began long ago in ancient China. Continue reading

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Raising silkworms for their silk is a practice that began long ago in ancient China. As the story goes, in 2,640 B.C., a Chinese empress took notice of a larva spinning its cocoon on a mulberry tree. She unwound the cocoon to discover the long strands of fiber that would soon become known as silk, the “cloth of kings.” The origin of the silk — a larval insect — remained a secret from outsiders for thousands of years, but finally spread to places like, Japan, Spain, France and then to America in the late 1700s.

Despite their name, silkworms are not worms at all, but rather caterpillars in the larval stage of the moth Bombyx mori. The caterpillars feed on the soft Mulberry tree leaves.Centuries of sericulture — the practice of breeding silkworms for the production of raw silk — have led to the domestication of this insect. Adult moths are no longer capable of flight or feeding and immediately look for a mate once emerged from their cocoon. This species has been artificially selected and influenced by humans for so long that they’ve come to depend on us for survival.

Raising silkworms has become not only a big business endeavor, but also a hobby and educational asset for students. In South Africa in particular, raising silkworms as pets is a favorite hobby among children. In other countries, silkworms provide children with the opportunity to witness an organism complete metamorphosis. Starting as just an egg, a classroom of children can help hatch the eggs, feed the larvae (caterpillars), watch as they spin their cocoons and finally emerge as adult moths.

Did You Know?
Silkworms and honey bees are ranked as the world’s most profitable insects.

 

Sources Used:

“The Secrets of Raising Silkworms.” Mother Earth News.
“Raising Silkworms.” Design Boom.
“Raising Silkworms.” Sue Kayton.
“How To Care For Your Silkworms.” Lady Silkworm.
“Silkworm Store.” Guide to Raising Silkworms.
“The Lifecycle Stages of the Silkworm Moth.” Made in Afrika.

 

“The Mulberry Tree And Its Silkworm Connection.” Union County College.

[http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/pow/mulberry_tree.htm]

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Peppermint to Repel Rats: Truth and Myth http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/peppermint-repel-rats-truth-myth/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/peppermint-repel-rats-truth-myth/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 09:00:39 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6004 Is peppermint oil a natural rat repellent? We looked into it and our findings may surprise you. Read on to see us get to the bottom of this month’s Fact or Fake. Continue reading

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Myth or Truth? Orkin Debugs the Myths and Explains the Everyday Items that Can Repel Pests
By Dr. Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director

Dryer sheets for mosquitoes? Orange peels for roaches? Grits to kill fire ants? It may seem impossible to keep bugs away from the home, so people will try just about anything. You’ve heard about the household DIY tricks to prevent pests, but what actually works? Orkin has debugged why the myths are false and explains why some everyday household items can help keep pests away.

Peppermint to Repel Rats: Truth and Myth
While it’s true that peppermint oil deters rats from entering treated areas, this natural deterrent is unrealistic because the concentration needed is so high that it would be unpleasant for the homeowner. The best natural deterrent is cleanliness:

  • Keep trash sealed tightly in containers.
  • Ensure no food crumbs or residue are available around your home.

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Top 6: Famous Fictional Mice http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-famous-fictional-mice/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-famous-fictional-mice/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 09:00:22 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6008 Yes, we’ve been known to squeal at the sight of them underfoot, and they can leave behind a mess and carry harmful diseases. But the mouse, in its fictional form, continues to weasel its way back onto our TVs, the pages of our books and into our hearts Continue reading

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Yes, we’ve been known to squeal at the sight of them underfoot, and they can leave behind a mess and carry harmful diseases. But the mouse, in its fictional form, continues to weasel its way back onto our TVs, the pages of our books and into our hearts. Which begs the question: What is it about these little critters that inspire such critical acclaim in so many fictional works?

Join us as we examine our top 6 favorite famous fictional mice.

  1. Stuart Little

The story of Stuart Little has long been a part of our literary history. In 1945, E.B. White first released Stuart Little. Since then, new generations have followed along on Stuart’s many adventures in books and movies.

5.    Itchy (& Scratchy)

This duo was made famous by the show, The Simpsons. They’re known best for their mischief, but unlike cat and mouse duos of the past, theirs involves a lot more violence.

4.     Speedy Gonzales

Speedy Gonzales is more than just a favorite mouse; he has a special spot on our list as “The Fastest Mouse in all of Mexico.” That’s right, this Looney Tunes classic character has been running from trouble and kitty cats since 1953.

  1. (Tom &) Jerry

This clever little mouse is one of several dynamic duos on our list. Jerry has been running from Tom and getting into mischief since his debut in 1940. Today, you’ll find these two engaged in the same shenanigans in newly animated shorts.

  1. Minnie Mouse

The queen of all fictional mice is of course Ms. Minnie Mouse. She’s stood alongside her sweetheart, Mickey Mouse, since the beginning (1928), but is a star in her own right — winning over the hearts of little girls and boys for generations.

  1. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

No top six famous fictional mice list is complete without the king of all mice, Mickey Mouse. This world famous rodent made his debut in 1928, at the hand of Walt Disney. He has countless shorts, comic strips, movies, memorabilia, rides, books and TV shows to show for his nearly 90 years in the business, not to mention a big place in the hearts of many generations.

 

Honorable mentions:

Fievel (An American Tale)
Mrs. Brisby (Secret of Nihm)
Jaq, Gus and Bruno (Cinderella)
Mighty Mouse
Pinky and the Brain

 

 

 

Sources:

“A Brief History of Mickey Mouse.” TIME.
“Speedy Gonzales.” Looney Tunes Wiki.
“Tom and Jerry.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
“The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Simpsons Wiki.

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Closet Confidential: Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/closet-confidential-clothes-moths-carpet-beetles/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/closet-confidential-clothes-moths-carpet-beetles/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 09:00:23 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6000 Fun fact: Carpet beetles and clothes moths are some of the few organisms that can digest keratin, the protein found in natural fibers like hair and fur. Not so fun fact: that means they can probably eat that favorite shirt of yours. Continue reading

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Carpet Beetles: Family Dermestidae
Clothes Moths: Family Tineidae

Fun fact: Carpet beetles and clothes moths are some of the few organisms that can digest keratin, the protein found in natural fibers like hair and fur. Not so fun fact: that means they can probably eat that favorite shirt of yours.

Carpet beetles and clothes moths very existence depends on materials like those found in some carpet and clothing. While these insects fill an important ecological niche in the wild — eating waste material like shed skin, feathers and fur — when they make their way into your home, these insects become major pests.

Although carpet beetles belong to the order Coleoptera and clothes moths to Lepidoptera, both groups go through complete metamorphosis. Beginning as tiny eggs, the hatched larvae grow until pupating and finally emerging as adults. But it’s not the adults causing the damage; it’s the destructive larvae causing all the harm to your textiles.

Carpet beetle and clothes moth larva are only a few millimeters long and thus easily overlooked, oftentimes remaining inconspicuous until the damage is already done to your carpets and clothing. During their larval period, which can last years, they’re out to feed on the natural fibers found in carpet, clothing, furniture and blankets. If your carpet or clothing is made from synthetic fabrics, they’re not likely to suffer damage from critter consumption.

Once the adults emerge from the pupa, they only live a few weeks to a couple months and spend this time looking for a mate. Adult clothes moths don’t typically eat and no longer pose a threat, except for laying eggs that will one day hatch into eating machines.

Mothballs and cedar oils can help keep your clothing safe, but in order to protect your natural fiber clothing, especially those made of wool, it’s best to store them in a vacuum-sealed garment bag. Regular vacuuming of at-risk carpets will help keep them off the menu, as well. If you come across clothing that’s been infested, take it to a dry cleaner, let it spin in a hot dryer or place it into the freezer to kill any larva and eggs. To keep your natural fiber garments, furniture and carpets safe, it’s best to use preventative measures to lower the risk of an infestation and not wait until you start to notice damage.

 

Sources Used:

“Undersanding and Controlling Carpet Beetles.” National Pesticide Information Center.
“Varied Carpet Beetle.” Wikipedia.
“Carpet Beetle.” University of Florida.
“Carpet Beetles.” University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
“Carpet Beetles.” Colorado State University Extension.
“Tineola bisselliella.” Wikipedia.
“Clothes Moths.” University of Kentucky.
“Clothes Moth.” Penn State.”
“Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles.” Illinois Department of Public Health.

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Pest Control Tips: The Roof http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/pest-control-tips-roof/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/pest-control-tips-roof/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 09:00:57 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6010 Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that your facility isn’t vulnerable to pests. The roof is a common entryway for rats and mice looking to find their way into your facility. Learn how to help protect your building from serious structural damage. Continue reading

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The roof is a common entry place for pests looking to find their way into your facility. In particular, birds can cause serious structural damage to building exteriors and even threaten the health of your customers and guests.

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Bed Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/bed-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/bed-bugs/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 09:00:19 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=6002 The most common bed bug encountered by humans is Cimex lectularius. These pests have been considered human parasites for thousands of years. Continue reading

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Scientific Name: Cimex lectularius

The most common bed bug encountered by humans is Cimex lectularius. These pests have been considered human parasites for thousands of years. They were first identified among Egyptian artifacts as far back as 3,500 years ago. There’s even record of them being complained about in Ancient Greece in 400 B.C. As recently as the late 1940’s, bed bugs were almost entirely wiped out in the developing world but made a comeback in the late 1990s.

Appearance
Bed bugs are small insects — no longer than 5mm and approximately 3mm wide — so you’ll have to look closely if you think you have a bed bug problem. Their flattened, oval-shaped bodies are reddish-brown and you likely won’t find just one, as they tend to congregate in established areas.

Diet
Bed bugs are hematophagous creatures, meaning they feed on blood. Most species are programed to feed on a particular animal — dog, cow, human, etc. Unfortunately for some, their bites may result in skin rashes, itchy bites and blisters. 

Management
Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can travel in luggage, in personal belongings or on their own. There are some ways you can try to manage bed bug populations at home. Make sure to regularly inspect your home, especially your bed and areas around your bed, for signs of bed bugs. Wash all your sheets and dry them at high heat. Inspect and quarantine all second-hand furniture before bringing it inside your home. When traveling, keep luggage off floors and away from beds to reduce the potential for bed bugs to crawl into your personal belongings.

Did You Know?
Adult female bed bugs can lay four eggs per day throughout their 9-month lifespan, that’s upwards of 500 eggs.

 

 

Sources Used:

“Bed Bug Basics & History. National Pest Management Association.
“Bed Bug.” Wikipedia.
“Introduction to Bed Bugs.” EPA.
“Bed Bug FAQs.” CDC.
“The Truth About Bed Bugs.” National Geographic. 

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A History of Stealing: The House Mouse http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/history-stealing-house-mouse/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/history-stealing-house-mouse/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:00:33 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5946 To some, they’re cute, to others…not so much. Whichever side of the line you fall on, there’s no denying it — the house mouse is one curious critter. Though small in size, when you see one scurrying along your baseboards, its … Continue reading

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To some, they’re cute, to others…not so much. Whichever side of the line you fall on, there’s no denying it — the house mouse is one curious critter.

Though small in size, when you see one scurrying along your baseboards, its presence can have a big impact. What is it about the house mouse that makes it want to be around us? For starters, they don’t hibernate. When the temperatures drop outside, they’re going to do anything to find a way into our homes. And because of their small stature, they can do so easily — crawling their way through holes and cracks as small as a dime. Mice are also commensal, meaning they want to cohabitate with humans. To them, there’s nothing wrong with a little sharing.

This is where we tend to not see eye to eye. Where the mouse sees your house as an opportunity to share food, shelter and warmth, you see a pesky little thief, and you may not be too far off. Some believe the origin of the Latin name for house mouse, Mus domesticus, derives from an ancient Sanskrit word “musha,” which means thief.

Whichever way you turn it, house mice are fascinating little critters. They’ve survived ancient civilizations and cross continental journeys, and we think it’s safe to say they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Sources:

“House Mice.” Orkin.
“Mus musculus.” University of Wisconsin Biolab.
“Mouse History.” Animal Corner.

 

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Christmas Tree Hitchhikers http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/christmas-tree-hitchhikers-2/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/christmas-tree-hitchhikers-2/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 09:00:47 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5934 Ornaments may not be the only thing adorning your Christmas tree this holiday season. Continue reading

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Bringing a tree or plant in from the outdoors means potentially bringing in a few unwanted visitors along with it. Christmas may be one of the biggest examples of this, as millions of people excitedly bring evergreen trees into their homes for seasonal decoration. In fact, an estimated 25,000 mites, insects and spiders could be sleeping inside your Christmas tree.

Luckily, some of the larger “hitchhikers,” like moths and some spiders, can be removed from your tree before you bring it inside by using a “tree shaker” at the tree lot or by shaking the tree yourself. Some insects, however, are dormant in the winter months. Moving a tree from colder temperatures to the warm interior of your house brings these dormant insects out of the tree and into your home. Sometimes, the change of conditions from outdoors to indoors kills insects on the tree.

Bark beetles are one of the insects you might find in your tree. They leave behind little piles of sawdust around the tree, but will not harm you or your furniture and can be left on the tree or removed and put back outside.

Barklice live in groups under tree bark. Although these insects are beneficial — acting as a cleanup crew for organic matter like fungus and mold — they are still unwanted house guests.

Egg cases for insects like praying mantises and spiders can hatch if the tree is left indoors for several weeks. The sudden change in temperature prompts them to emerge early. If possible, it’s best to find these egg cases and remove them before bringing the tree into your home, but if hatched, the babies will die in a day or two due to a lack of food inside the house.

Take Precautions
It may be wise to check your tree twice before bringing it into your living room, because you may be inviting in some extra guests for the holidays.

 

 

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Gift Guide: Top 10 Gifts For Bug Lovers http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/gift-guide-top-10-gifts-bug-lovers/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/gift-guide-top-10-gifts-bug-lovers/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:00:08 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5938 This holiday season we’ve made it easy to shop for the bug enthusiasts in your life. Continue reading

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This holiday season we’ve made it easy to shop for the bug enthusiasts in your life. We have a little something for every age and interest level. Use this guide to help get you through the shopping season and maybe even find something for yourself.

  1. Bug Art

This gift is the perfect addition to any bug lover’s wall. Artists like Christopher Marley use actual bugs as their medium — arranging them into beautiful 3D mosaic formations.

http://www.pheromonedesign.com/product-cat/insects/

  1. Glassware

Know any bee enthusiasts? This bee glassware makes a great hostess or housewarming gift.

http://www.ballarddesigns.com/bee-glassware-collection/311700

  1. Hardware

These charming knobs make the perfect colorful addition to any drawer or door.

http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/30198808.jsp?color=040?cm_vc=SEARCH_RESULTS#/

  1. Necktie

Here’s a gift for all the bug-loving dads out there. Give them the gift of style and entomology with a sophisticated mosquito tie.

https://www.nolacouture.com/product/mosquito-tie/

  1. Jewelry

What better way to surprise that special woman in your life than with a metallic green beetle brooch?

http://theevolutionstore.com/store/beetle-brooches-jw0408/

  1. Calendar

A 2015 butterfly wall calendar makes a great gift for all the butterfly lovers out there. They’ll be reminded of your thoughtfulness all year long.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207072276/wall-calendar-2015-butterfly-photo-a3?ref=market

  1. Onesie

Kill two birds with one stone with this rocking gift. This beetle onesie makes the perfect gift for all the bug- and iconic band-loving babies out there.

http://www.spiritex.net/the-beetles-snappie/

  1. Bug Catcher

Shopping for kids? What better way to spark their curiosity for the world around them than with a bug catcher?

http://www.amazon.com/Adventure-Kids-Bug-Catcher-Box/dp/B001FY2VDO/ref=pd_sim_t_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=03HBYK8SB9G75730HB62

  1. Book

A book makes a great gift for the budding entomologists in your life. Inspire them to take their learning even further.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Book-Bugs-Claire-Llewellyn/dp/0753459019/ref=pd_bxgy_t_img_z

  1. Butterfly Bush

This gift is sure to please the gardeners in your life. Plants like the Buddleia davidii, or butterfly bush, attract butterflies to your garden.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/OnlinePlantCenter-2-gal-Pink-Delight-Butterfly-Bush-Plant-B01015/100668786

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There’s a Mouse in my House http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/theres-mouse-house/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/theres-mouse-house/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 09:00:57 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5960 The post There’s a Mouse in my House appeared first on Orkin.

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Prepping For A Restaurant Inspection http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/prepping-restaurant-inspection/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/prepping-restaurant-inspection/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 09:00:20 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5958 Health inspectors and pests have one thing in common — they can both arrive at a restaurant unannounced. Continue reading

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Health inspectors and pests have one thing in common — they can both arrive at a restaurant unannounced. Since the main purpose of a health inspection is food safety, implementing the following procedures to your regular maintenance and sanitation routine at four common pest “hot spots” can help ensure you make the grade.

Loading Docks – Start by pest-proofing your restaurant from the outside in.

  1. Install plastic strip curtains on doors near loading dock areas.
  2. Remove shipments from their original cardboard boxes outside of the building, as pests can use these boxes for harborage.
  3. Monitor boxes when opening for signs of pests such as gnaw marks, droppings, or live and/or dead pests.

Storage Areas – Use the following tips to make sure storage spaces remain a place for supplies, not a home to pests.

  1. Place food supplies on open-backed shelving to remove pest hiding spots.
  2. Rotate goods on a first in, first out (FIFO) basis so older products are always at the front of the storage area.

Kitchens – Turn up the heat on pests, so they don’t try to kick it in your kitchen.

  1. Inspect regularly for leaking faucets, dishwashers or ice machines, as pests only need a small amount of water to survive.
  2. Get rid of your garbage on a regular schedule and make sure your receptacles are covered and properly lined.
  3. Clean the kitchen thoroughly between shifts and at the end of each day.

Dining Areas – Ongoing sanitation is the best way to keep dining areas full of guests, not pests.

  1. Thoroughly clean all dining areas at the end of the day. Wipe down tables and chairs between customers, and then sweep and mop under them.
  2. Pay attention to the patio. Sweep up or hose down outdoor areas to remove any crumbs or spills that might attract pests.

 

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The Legend Of The Christmas Spider http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/legend-christmas-spider/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/legend-christmas-spider/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 09:00:39 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5944 Legend has it the spider had a thing or two to do with the sparkle behind the holiday season. Continue reading

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Legend has it the spider had a thing or two to do with the sparkle behind the holiday season. According to German and Ukrainian folklore, on Christmas Eve, spiders crawled out from their hiding place in the attic to get a closer glimpse of the Christmas tree. Excited by the ornaments and beautiful decorations, they leapt onto the tree and proceeded to jump up and down and all around the tree, leaving a trail of web with them as they moved. Their excitement soon ended when they realized the mess their web had left behind. But alas, later that night their webs turned to sparkling strands of gold and silver — making the Christmas tree even more beautiful that it already was.

Make your very own sparkling Christmas spider by following the directions below!

 

Supplies Needed:

  • Clear plastic ball ornament (needs to have a removable top)
  • Gold table confetti
  • Gold and/or silver pipe cleaners (at least 16)
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes
  • Thin red ribbon (or yarn)
  • Durable ribbon (for hanging)
  • Glue
  1. Remove the top from your ornament and fill the ornament with confetti. Keep the top off.
  2. Take two pipe cleaners and twist them together to make one. Repeat this with remaining 14 pipe cleaners. You should have eight twisted pipe cleaners in total when you finish.
  3. Take all eight pipe cleaners and put them through the opening of the ornament, you’ll want about 1” of pipe cleaner inside the ornament. Bend the pipe cleaners at the opening of the ornament and replace the top of the ornament — securing the end of pipe cleaners inside.
  4. The pipe cleaners will become the spider’s legs. Try to arrange them so that you have four on each side. You may have to remove the top to get them where you want. Once you have them where you want them, measure about three inches away from the top and bend the pipe cleaners so the ends are facing down. We found it easier to do them all at once. Make another bend about one inch from the bottom of the pipe cleaner facing the opposite direction of the ornament. This bend will be the foot.
  5. Take a thin ribbon and cut eight pieces about 7 inches long. Tie them into bows around all eight feet.
  6. Take a different color pipe cleaner (we used green) and begin tightly coiling it in towards the center from both sides. Bonus points if you can roll them in opposite directions. Your resulting shape should be two circles. This will be the base for the eyes.
  7. Take two googly eyes and glue them into the center of your pipe cleaner circles. We used hot glue, but any adhesive should work.
  8. Glue your eyes toward the top of your ornament.
  9. Cut a piece of durable ribbon or rope and thread it through the top of the ornament. This will be what you use to hang it with.
  10. Proudly display your Christmas spider!

 

 

Sources:

“The Legend of the Christmas Spider.” Kraftmstr.

 

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Silkworm http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/silkworm/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/silkworm/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 09:00:31 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5940 That silkworm chewing through your favorite mulberry bush is nothing if not gracious. See what they have to teach us about gratitude. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: A vintage typewriter. A hungry silkworm. And one life lesson: “Live with an attitude of gratitude.”

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Barklice http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/barklice/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/barklice/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 09:00:23 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5956 Barklice, this month’s Bug of the Month, have a sneaky way of hitchhiking their way inside during the colder months. Continue reading

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Scientific Name: Cerastipsocus senosus

Barklice, this month’s Bug of the Month, have a sneaky way of hitchhiking their way inside during the colder months.

Appearance
At full maturation, barklice reach a mere ¼ inch in length. They are dark in appearance and come fully equipped with wings atop their backs and long antennae atop their round heads. But they don’t start out that way. When adults first emerge, they endure a period of wing formation, followed by a celibate period and then finally courtship and mating. Their young resemble adults, only smaller and, of course, without the wings. They go through six nymphal stages before becoming adults. Barklice eggs are very small and round or oval in shape and are protected by an excretion.

Herd Mentality
Barklice have more in common with sheep and cattle than you might think. The Cerastipsocus venosus barklice species move as a dense herd — going up, down and around tree trunks as one unified mass.

Diet
Like their stature, the diet of a barklice is rather inconspicuous. They’re happy to feed on a variety of food, ranging from mold and pollen to algae and dead insects.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh…My
Barklice have been known to hide out in a variety of different trees, but the most notable is the one that finds its way into the homes of so many during the holiday season. That’s right, Christmas trees. Prior to purchase, when the trees are in their natural element, they can host masses of hibernating barklice, among other pests. The barklice lie dormant on the trees until you bring them indoors. Once inside, amidst the lights of your tree and warmth of your home, they think it’s spring and come back to life.

Fortunately for you, your house isn’t an ideal environment for barklice, so they don’t survive for long. And because they’re such good little hiders, you probably won’t even know they’re there!

 

[Sources Used]

“Barklice.” NC State University.
“Barklice.” Clemson Cooperative Extension.
“Bugs In The Christmas Tree.” Science Daily.
“Bugs And The Real Christmas Tree.” Penn State Entomology. 

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Five Surprising Holiday Traditions that Invite Critters and Bugs Inside http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/five-surprising-holiday-traditions-invite-critters-bugs-inside/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/five-surprising-holiday-traditions-invite-critters-bugs-inside/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 09:00:21 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5942 The holiday season is a time for family, fun and celebration. But if you’re not careful, you may be celebrating the holidays with some uninvited guests – pests. Continue reading

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By Dr. Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director

The holiday season is a time for family, fun and celebration. But if you’re not careful, you may be celebrating the holidays with some uninvited guests – pests.

We access areas that we do not see very often during the rest of the year, like attics, and introduce pests living there into the rest of our homes during the holidays. Some of the food and decorations we put out could actually be attracting unwanted pests, like cockroaches, ants and rodents.

Those pests can contaminate food, trigger allergies and, in some cases, even spread disease. What can you do to prevent them from ruining your holiday cheer? Awareness and vigilance are key. Below are the top five holiday traditions that are inviting critters and bugs inside your home.

1. Holiday Food: Not only are pests attracted to the aroma of baked goods and sweets, (chocolate may be more attractive to mice than cheese) the ingredients themselves can be a breeding ground for bugs.

Check nutmeg, cinnamon, flour – any spice or ingredient you haven’t used in a while.Cigarette beetles or other insects could be living – and laying eggs – in the ingredient inside the container. Look for holes in the packaging and discard any food that is infested.

Other pests – like cockroaches, ants and rodents – may be attracted to the food you’ve prepared. To help prevent these pests from getting inside:

  • Store sweets and other food in sealed containers and clean up any crumbs on counters.
  • Make sure to clean dirty dishes in the sink. Do not leave them out overnight.
  • Seal cracks inside and outside the home.

2. Holiday trees, garlands and potted plants: They can all be harboring cockroaches, carpenter ants and other pests.

  • Make sure to shake holiday trees and wreaths before bringing them inside so that you don’t bring aphids, mealybugs, cockroaches or ants inside.
  • Inspect holiday plants, like poinsettias or Christmas cacti, for white flies or fungus gnats.
  • Before bringing potted plants and other vegetation inside from cold temperatures, check the soil for ants.

3. Holiday decorations: Containers storing decorations in the attic, basement or garage may also be housing rodents, spiders and cockroaches.

  • Unpack storage containers outside or in the garage to keep pests from escaping into your home.
  • Plastic storage bins provide the best protection because of their tight-fitting lids.

Once decorations are on display inside the home, some scented decorations – like potpourri – may attract “stored product pests,” like beetles. Help prevent them from getting inside in the first place by sealing all cracks and crevices inside and outside your home.

4. Traveling: Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can travel in luggage and personal belongings. They can reproduce and spread very quickly. To help prevent bringing bed bugs home from your travels:

  • “Lift and look” for bed bug hiding places – under the mattress, in crevices and in the sheets.
  • Elevate your luggage on a rack away from the bed and the wall.
  • Examine your luggage very carefully while repacking to return home. For a full travel checklist, visit Orkin.com.

5. Bundling Up: Moths may be hiding in the folds of wool, fur and other clothing made of animal fibers that have been in storage. These pests can destroy clothing, coats and furnishings like comforters or pillows. Prevention is the best strategy. Dry clean or wash clothes before putting them in storage to make them less attractive to moths.

If winter pest activity around your home gets out of hand, remember to contact a licensed pest professional for a detailed inspection and customized treatment program for your home.

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Heavyweights: Insects That Can Eat Their Own Body Weight http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/heavyweights-insects-can-eat-body-weight/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/heavyweights-insects-can-eat-body-weight/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5872 These guys, though small in size, are quite the heavyweights. Find out which critters made our list of most voracious eaters.
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These guys, though small in size, are quite the heavyweights. Find out which critters made our list of most voracious eaters.

Locusts
Locusts can eat their own body weight in the course of a day. Some species, like the desert locust, can eat up to 20,000 tons in a single day when they swarm together.

Caterpillars
Caterpillars have it easy — their only purpose is to eat. During some phases of metamorphosis, they can consume up to 27,000 times their body weight.

Dragonflies
The dragonfly may take the cake on speed eating. They can consume their body weight in food in just 30 minutes.

Bats
Bats may not be insects, but they know a thing or two about eating them. It’s said that a bat can consume as many as 3,000 insects in a night!

Giant Weta
Okay, we don’t know about you, but we think this rare, giant cricket-like creature has a mighty impressive appetite. With a wingspan of 7 inches, it’s no wonder you can find them enjoying something as big as a carrot.

 

Sources:

“Facts About Insects and Bugs.” Funology.
“10 Fascinating Facts About Caterpillars.” About.com.
“Bat Facts.” Florida Bat Conservancy.
“What Do Dragonflies Eat?” Learn About Nature.
“World’s Biggest Insect Is So Huge It Eats Carrots.” The Telegraph.

 

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Pigeons http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/pigeons/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/pigeons/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:00:38 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5868 You’d be hard pressed to find a person who claims pigeons as their favorite bird. Continue reading

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You’d be hard pressed to find a person who claims pigeons as their favorite bird. While pigeons have a reputation for being dirty and annoying, these bubbly birds delivered communications during many wars, including World War I and II. During WWII, pigeons had a 98 percent success rate, despite enemy fire and mortal injuries to themselves.

Check out these fun facts about the plucky pigeon:

 

Appearance
Pigeons are usually brown or gray with short bills, thick feathers, rounded tails and reddish feet. The average pigeon is about 13’’ long.

Habitat
Look for these birds in twig or grass nests on buildings, ledges, barns, cliffs and under bridges. Most city pigeons stay close to home, flying fewer than 12 miles a day.

 

Fun Fact
Pigeons have lots of friends, travelling in a flock of 20 or 30. They coo to attract mates and call out to their friends.

 

Sources:

Pigeon Facts. First Birds Inn.
Pigeon. Animal Plant.
“What’s So Special About Pigeons?” Parents Involved.
Rock Pigeon. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Pigeon. OneKind.
Rock Pigeon. National Geographic.

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Beware of Bed Bugs this Holiday Travel Season http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/beware-bed-bugs-holiday-travel-season/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/beware-bed-bugs-holiday-travel-season/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:48:04 +0000 http://www.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5893 Pest control leader Orkin has a piece of advice for anyone traveling this holiday season: take action during your trip to avoid taking bed bugs home with you. Continue reading

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Pest control leader Orkin has a piece of advice for anyone traveling this holiday season: take action during your trip to avoid taking bed bugs home with you. “Every traveler should take precautions to prevent bed bugs, even in the fall and winter,” said entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “Bed bugs have been reported in hotels, cruise ships, homes and even public transit in some parts of the country. They are sneaky and can survive extreme temperatures.” So what can travelers do to avoid these unexpected travel companions? Orkin advises travelers to be informed. Bed bugs are hitchhikers that can hide in hotel rooms, bedrooms and in belongings, and then they can travel in luggage and other personal items. While bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases, they feed on blood and can leave behind itchy, bloody welts. And once bed bugs are inside a home or business, they can reproduce quickly. To help prevent picking up bed bugs as an extra travel souvenir, Orkin recommends travelers use the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the common signs of an infestation:

  • Survey any and every hotel room for signs of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are not a sanitation issue, which means they can be found in any hotel or motel – from a one-star to a five-star location. Look for red or brown spots on sheets.
  • Lift and Look for all bed bug hiding spots: crevices in the mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate your luggage and other items on a rack away from the bed and the wall.
  • Examineyour luggage while repacking and once you return home.
  • Placeall dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting when you return home.

Orkin has seen a rise in the number of bed bug cases over the past decade and has treated infestations in all 50 states. In 2013, Orkin’s parent company, Rollins, saw an increase in bed bug business by more than 20 percent compared to 2012. Chicago topped Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List this year, but people traveling to any part of the country should take precautions to prevent bed bugs. For a printable bed bug guide log onto Orkin.com.

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Garbage and Waste Removal http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/garbage-waste-removal/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/garbage-waste-removal/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 09:00:50 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5866 Getting rid of garbage quickly and correctly is essential for helping to prevent pests at your home or business. Learn how to manage waste removal in a way that discourages pest activity. Continue reading

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A diligent garbage removal program is essential for helping to ensure pests don’t become a problem at your facility. Learn more about how to dispose garbage in a way that helps prevent pests from making your property their home.

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Do People Eat Spiders in Their Sleep? http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/people-eat-spiders-sleep/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/people-eat-spiders-sleep/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:00:52 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5881 Urban legend says the average person eats eight spiders a year in their sleep. Is it Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake? Orkin reveals the truth behind this creepy-crawly claim. Continue reading

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Urban legend says the average person eats eight spiders a year in their sleep. Is it Fact or Fake? Orkin reveals the truth behind this creepy-crawly claim.

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Top 6 Bizarre Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-bizarre-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-bizarre-bugs/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:00:25 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5879 Behind their colorful exteriors, multiple legs, wild wings and stinging, biting and other habits, live some wonderfully weird bugs. These creatures are the furthest thing from shy — jumping, crawling, spraying and dancing their way onto the scene, ready to make a statement. Join us as we countdown this month’s Top 6: Most Bizarre Bugs. Continue reading

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Behind their colorful exteriors, multiple legs, wild wings and stinging, biting and other habits, live some wonderfully weird bugs. These creatures are the furthest thing from shy — jumping, crawling, spraying and dancing their way onto the scene, ready to make a statement. Join us as we countdown this month’s Top 6: Most Bizarre Bugs.

6. Jumping Spider – This ladies’ man knows a thing or two about impressing potential mates. His mating dance includes clapping and shimmying his way into the hearts of female counterparts.

5. Burying Beetle – Next on our list of bizarre bugs may also win for parent of the year. Burying beetle parents work together, going to great lengths to locate and bury carrion (decaying animal flesh) underground — which they then use as a site to lay eggs, provide prenatal care and raise their young.

4. Bot Fly – We can’t decide if the next one is bizarre or just disturbing. The human bot fly made the list because of where, or should we say, who it calls host. This bizarre creature can be found living in warm-blooded animals like cattle, dogs, sheep and yes, even humans.

3. Leaf Cutter Ant – Number three on our list, the leaf cutter ant, is much more than an ant. In fact, some think that their advanced cultivation system makes them the planet’s first farmers!

2. Diving Bell Spider – This bizarre spider impresses us because of its ability to spend almost its entire life underwater. Did we mention this spider depends on air to breath? They figured out a way around that by trapping air from the surface of the water in an underwater web-like bubble.

1. Bombardier Beetle – With its ability to create a chemical reaction by expelling a hot substance at predators from the chambers inside its body, it’s no wonder the bombardier beetle makes the top of our list.

 

Sources:

“Peacock Spider 7.” YouTube.
“Endangered American Burying Beetle Update.” University of Nebraska State Museum.
“Featured Creatures: Human Bot Fly.” Entomology & Nematology Department – University of Florida.
“Leaf Cutter Ants.” National Science Foundation.
“Air Bubble Helps Spiders Survive Underwater.” The University of Adelaide.
“Bombardier Beetle.” University of Texas at El Paso. 

 

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Cricket Casserole http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/cricket-casserole/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/cricket-casserole/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:00:01 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5874 Are you planning to use tried and true recipes this Thanksgiving? Or, will you branch out and explore new culinary possibilities? Lucky for you, we have an insect-inspired idea to help spice up your favorite Thanksgiving dish. Roasted crickets are just the thing you never knew you needed to elevate your stuffing. Continue reading

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Are you planning to use tried and true recipes this Thanksgiving? Or, will you branch out and explore new culinary possibilities? Lucky for you, we have an insect-inspired idea to help spice up your favorite Thanksgiving dish. Roasted crickets are just the thing you never knew you needed to elevate your stuffing.

Step 1
Place around 50 crickets* in a covered container and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. This slows down the crickets so they won’t jump out of your pan.

Step 2
After the crickets are cooled, dump them into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Then, strain the water and let the clean crickets dry for 30 minutes.

Step 3
Take an oven pan and spread the crickets out evenly. Apply Kosher salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.

Step 4
Cook the crickets in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Cooking them slowly bakes off any excess moisture and leaves you with the perfect cricket crunch.

Step 5
Allow the crickets to cool off so they can be handled. Gently pluck the legs and antennae off, disposing of them. Then add  the rest of the cricket into your favorite Thanksgiving stuffing recipe.

 

[Disclaimer]
*​Insects may contain parasites, pesticides or bacteria/fungi and have toxic chemical defenses on or in them. Insects should only be consumed if they are properly raised for human consumption and prepared appropriately. As a general practice, ​when eating or preparing the insects, it is ​​important to follow proper guidelines or purchase them from suppliers that retail human food quality insects. ​

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Dung Beetle http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/dung-beetle/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/dung-beetle/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:00:58 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5877 The dung beetle wants you to try and have a positive outlook on your circumstance—even when it’s not exactly optimal. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: A dung beetle whistles while he works. And teaches us that “When life hands you dung, just roll with it.”

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Westminster Thurber IPM Hall of Fame http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/westminster-thurber-ipm-hall-fame/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/westminster-thurber-ipm-hall-fame/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:00:06 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5870 Learn what it takes to have a successful pest management program from a three-time winner of the Integrated Pest Management Award. Continue reading

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Winner of the IPM Partner Award three consecutive years. Learn what it takes to have a successful pest management program.

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Cecropia Moth http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/cecropia-moth/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/cecropia-moth/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 09:00:06 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5852 The Cecropia moth is the largest known moth in North America, but its exceptional size isn’t the only thing that sets it apart.
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Scientific Name: Hyalophora Cecropia

 The Cecropia moth is the largest known moth in North America, but its exceptional size isn’t the only thing that sets it apart.

Appearance
With a wingspan of 5 – 7 inches and fiery red markings, the Cecropia moth is a sight to behold. As an adult, this colorful silk moth has a red body with a white stripe and spots. The outer edges of the wings fade from dark-brown to light-tan and are accented with eyespots toward the upper tip of the wing. In caterpillar form, the Cecropia caterpillar starts out as black, but as they molt, they evolve to become a beautiful shade of green with blue, yellow and red spiny tubercles.

Early Life
Toward the end of spring, the female Cecropia moth lays around 100 eggs on both sides of the leaves on the host tree or shrub of her choosing. After 10-14 days, the young caterpillars emerge from their eggs and begin their summer-long journey of molting. At summer’s end, when the Cecropia caterpillars reach full maturation, they seal themselves into their cocoons and prepare to emerge the following spring as moths. 

Diet
When it comes to diet, Cecropia moths take a pretty minimalistic approach. As in, they don’t eat. That’s right, because they only live for 2 weeks. Becauseheir sole purpose during their short lifespan is to mate, there’s not much time left for anything else.

Inversely, the Cecropia caterpillar eats leaves from a variety of different trees and shrubs during the summer months.

Sensory Overload
Being a Cecropia moth requires you to have a great sense of smell. In order for the male moth to find a mate in the spring, he must be able to sniff out the female moth’s pheromones—sometimes from distances as far as a mile away. It’s said that the bolas spider can imitate the same pheromone as the Cecropia moth so well that they use it as bait to lure the moth!

 

 

Sources:

“Cecropia Moth.” National Wildlife Federation.

“Cecropia Moth – Hyalophora Cecropia.” Nature Works.

“Attributes of Hyalophora Cecropia.” Butterflies and Moths of North America.

 

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The Scariest & Deadliest Insects Worldwide http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/scariest-deadliest-insects-worldwide/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/scariest-deadliest-insects-worldwide/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5807 Take a look at some of the scariest and deadliest insects worldwide! Most of the millions of crawling, flying and squirming insects around the world are mostly harmless - but some are quite frightening, or even have the potential to be deadly. See where these scary, creepy crawlers live. Continue reading

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Take a look at some of the scariest and deadliest insects worldwide! Most of the millions of crawling, flying and squirming insects around the world are mostly harmless – but some are quite frightening, or even have the potential to be deadly. See where these scary, creepy crawlers live.

ScaryandDangerousInsects_V11

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Cracks & Crevices http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/cracks-crevices/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/cracks-crevices/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:00:19 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5796 Cracks and crevices in your building can provide entranceways for pests. In fact, mice can enter a building through holes the size of a dime, while rats need only a quarter-sized opening to find their way in.
Continue reading

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Cracks and crevices in your building can provide entranceways for pests. In fact, mice can enter a building through holes the size of a dime, while rats need only a quarter-sized opening to find their way in.

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Chicago Holds Top Spot on Rattiest Cities List http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/chicago-holds-top-spot-rattiest-cities-list/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/chicago-holds-top-spot-rattiest-cities-list/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:00:18 +0000 http://174.129.67.176/?p=5838 Pest control leader Orkin released its top 20 rattiest cities. The markets are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed in 2013. Continue reading

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Pest control leader Orkin released its top 20 rattiest cities. The markets are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed in 2013.

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Washington, D.C.-Hagerstown
  4. New York
  5. San Francisco-Oak-San Jose
  6. Seattle-Tacoma
  7. Detroit
  8. Cleveland-Akron-Canton
  9. Baltimore
  10. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
  11. Dallas-Ft. Worth
  12. Denver
  13. Houston
  14. Atlanta
  15. Boston-Manchester
  16. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  17. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto
  18. Syracuse
  19. Indianapolis
  20. Charlotte

Fall is a prime time for commensal rodents to actively seek food, water and shelter when temperatures drop and before the winter weather arrives. Each fall, rats and mice invade an estimated 21 million American homes. It only takes a hole the size of a quarter for a rat to squeeze inside, and a hole the size of a dime for mice. Rodents are also known to chew around holes to make them larger, after which they can slip into homes. It is not uncommon for homeowners and businesses to begin spotting rodents beginning in October.

Each city on this list is a major urban area that provides ideal conditions for rats and mice to thrive,” said entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “Commensal rodents depend on humans and their resources to survive, so unless residents and city officials take proactive steps to prevent rodents, infestations can easily get out of hand. It’s important to remember that this list is based solely on the number of treatments Orkin performed last year. While your city may not be ranked high on the list, that does not mean you should be any less vigilant.”

Rodents are more than a nuisance; they also pose severe health threats. They can carry hundreds of pathogens that spread through their urine, droppings and bites. They are known carriers of deadly neurological and respiratory diseases like lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Ticks, mites and fleas can feed on infected rodents, which can then transmit diseases like pox, plague and typhus indirectly to humans.

Pregnant women and young children are especially at risk when exposed to rodents. The diseases rodents transmit can cause severe illness or developmental defects in newborns, and rodent droppings can trigger asthma and allergic reactions, especially in children.

According to a 2013 Orkin survey, one-third of Americans saw a rodent in their home in the last year. Rodents eat between 15 and 20 times a day, so nearly 40 percent of homeowners saw rodents for the first time in kitchens. While rodents are commonly found eating human or pet food, they are also found chewing and gnawing other materials, causing damage to furniture, clothing, wiring, insulation and piping.

Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent rodents around the home:

  • Regularly inspect the home – inside and outside – for rodent droppings, rub marks or burrows.
  • Seal all cracks and gaps around utility penetrations larger than ¼ of an inch, as well as install weather stripping at the bottom of exterior doors.
  • Trim overgrown branches, plants and bushes near the home, and consider keeping a 2-foot barrier between any landscaping and the home.
  • Store all food (including pet food) and garbage properly in sealed containers both indoors and outdoors.
  • Remove all pet bowls after animals are finished eating, and remove pet waste from the lawn promptly.
  • Contact a pest professional for assistance managing rodents, as these pests can be dangerous and difficult to control.

For more information about rodent prevention, visit Orkin.com.

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A Field Guide to Venomous Animals http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/field-guide-venomous-animals/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/field-guide-venomous-animals/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:00:43 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5805 You never know when you’ll come across a venomous animal out in nature. With the help of this guide, you can feel more prepared. Continue reading

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You never know when you’ll come across a venomous animal out in nature. With the help of this guide, you can feel more prepared.

Most animals and insects present minimal risk to humans. Many of the ones that can harm humans would rather not. But when threatened, they’ll defend themselves. When it comes to animals, the best way to protect yourself is to treat all wild animals with respect and observe them from a responsible distance.

Spiders
Of the more than 3,000 spider species in the U.S., only two types pose a significant medical threat to humans. First are the notorious widows, including the black and brown widows. These spiders are probably the most iconic because of the infamous hourglass shape found on the underside or top of its abdomen. The female’s bite contains a neurotoxin that causes immediate symptoms and often requires medical attention.

Next are recluse spiders, which are inch-long, brown spiders. They can be identified by the presence of two characteristics. Recluses have a “violin” like pattern on the front half of their body, with the neck of the violin facing toward the rear of the spider and six eyes arranged in pairs. Recluses have necrotizing venom that can damage human flesh, but most bites heal without any significant scarring.  

Snakes
Rattlesnakes, found anywhere from southern Alberta and British Columbia to Central Argentina, announce their presence with the “rattling” of their tail. Cottonmouths, however, slither quietly through the swamps, lakes and woodlands of the southern states. Copperheads, found primarily in the southeastern third of the U.S., and coral snakes, found in the southern range of many temperate U.S. states, most often live in the moist leaf litter of wooded areas.

Coral snakes are venomous, yet they look very similar to scarlet king snakes, which are non-venomous. You can identify a coral snake by the red and yellow adjacent stripes on its body, while scarlet king snakes have red and black adjacent stripes. “Red after black, you’re okay Jack. Red after yellow, you’re a dead fellow.”

If you find yourself face-to-face with a snake you don’t know, one easy way to distinguish a venomous snake from a non-venomous one is the shape of its head. Because of the venom glands in their mouths, venomous snakes usually have heads that are a triangular shape.

Scorpions
In North America, Scorpions are typically found in the southern U.S., and are easy to spot because of their curling, segmented tail. Often, the potency of a scorpion’s venom is directly correlated to the size of its pinchers — the smaller the pinchers, the more potent the venom. This allows scorpions that have weak pinchers to kill prey quickly with their venomous sting while scorpions with larger pinchers can grip their prey while their toxins slowly work.

The Arizona bark scorpion is the most venomous scorpion in North America. Stings usually result when the scorpion is forced up against the skin, such as inside a shoe or in a sleeping bag.

Bees, Wasps & Ants
Bees, wasps and ants are often venomous. Approximately 100 people a year die from the stings of bees and wasps. On a scale of 1 to 4, the bullet ant is rated a 4+ on the Schmidt sting pain index.

1.0 Sweat Bee — Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
1.2 Fire Ant — Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn Acacia Ant — A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-Faced Hornet — Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand smashed in a revolving door.
2.0 Yellow Jacket — Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
2.x Honey Bee and European Hornet. — Imagine being burned by a match head. Yeah, just like that.
3.0 Red Harvester Ant — Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
3.0 Paper Wasp — Caustic and burning. Like spilling a beaker of Hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
4.0 Pepsis Wasp —Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath (if you get stung by one you might as well lie down and scream).
4.0+ Bullet Ant — Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail in your heel.

 

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House Cricket http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/house-cricket/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/house-cricket/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:00:45 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5798 There’s no need for a thermometer when you’ve got crickets in your backyard! Continue reading

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There’s no need for a thermometer when you’ve got crickets in your backyard! As the temperature rises, you may notice the number of cricket chirps you hear increases. If you count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 37, you’ll get a close approximation of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

Check out more tidbits about these tiny temperature takers:

  • Appearance: House crickets are light yellowish-brown in color with three dark bands on their heads. Adults grow to be about 3/4 of an inch long.
  • Habitat: You can find house crickets both indoors and outdoors in warm areas where they can find water and food. Unlike other insects, house crickets can live their entire lives without going outside.

Fun Fact: House crickets change the type of chirping “song” they sing for different activities like fighting, sounding an alarm or attracting a mate.

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How to Make a Spooky Spider Mask for Halloween http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/make-spooky-spider-mask-halloween/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/do-it-yourself/make-spooky-spider-mask-halloween/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:00:03 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5802 Want to make something scary to wear for Halloween? This spooky spider mask is easy and fun to make.
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Want to make something scary to wear for Halloween? This spooky spider mask is easy and fun to make.

Make Your Own Spider Mask

Materials:

  • 1 plastic mask (black)
  • 2 polystyrene balls (1 small and 1 medium)
  • 8 pipe cleaners (black)
  • 2 sheets of black felt
  • Double-sided tape/hot glue
  • 2 small pom-poms (any color) or googley eyes
  • Gold, silver or red glitter

Instructions:

  1. Get a plain black mask
  2. Take two polystyrene balls
  3. Cut two squares of felt (larger than each ball)
  4. Cut slits inward from each corner and then smooth in the separate pieces
  5. Use double-sided tape to cover both balls with the squares of black felt
  6. Trim off any overlap
  7. Glue or tape eight pipe cleaners to the smaller ball and cover the joints with felt
  8. Secure the two polystyrene balls to the mask with the small one at top and the large one underneath
  9. Secure them with double-sided tape or glue
  10. Add two small pom-poms (green or any color can act as eyes) to the top ball
  11. Add a glitter glue hourglass shape to the large ball

 

Note: Don’t forget to fold over the ends of the pipe cleaners to ensure the sharp wires are not exposed. Add pom-poms onto the ends of the pipe cleaners for added safety.

 

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Canine Inspection http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/canine-inspection/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/canine-inspection/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 09:00:11 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5794 Orkin has more than a century of experience setting the standard in bed bug control by using the latest techniques and expertly trained professionals. Our team of PhDs and entomologists are now using canines in the fight against bed bugs. Continue reading

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Orkin has more than a century of experience setting the standard in bed bug control by using the latest techniques and expertly trained professionals. Our team of PhDs and entomologists are now using canines in the fight against bed bugs.

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Top 6 Longest Living Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-longest-living-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/top-6-longest-living-bugs/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:00:16 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5814 All of us want to live a long and healthy life. And, so do bugs. These six special insects have some of the longest lives.
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All of us want to live a long and healthy life. And, so do bugs. These six special insects have some of the longest lives.

  1. Wood Boring Beetle – An adult wood-boring beetle can live up to 50 years. In fact, one report said a beetle emerged from house timber at least 47 years after the timber was cut.
  1. Termite Queen – A queen termite is typically the oldest termite in the colony and can live up to 50 years. The queen can lay about 30,000 eggs every day, which is more than 165 million eggs in her lifetime.
  1. Western Harvest Queen Ant – This queen can have a lifespan of up to 40 years. She remains indoors for her entire life and lives at the bottom of a nest that can be up to 16 feet deep.
  1. Cicadas – These insects can live up to 17 years. The majority of that time is spent underground in the “nymph” stage. Once cicadas emerge from the ground, they only live for a few weeks – just enough time to mate – before they die.
  1. Black Garden Queen Ant – The queens usually live up to 10 years, and mate only once, storing sufficient sperm inside her body to last through her lifetime.
  1. Giant Burrowing Cockroach – This is the biggest and heaviest cockroach in the world. Some grow as big as a hand and weigh as much as a matchbox. At this size, no wonder these insects can live up to 10 years.

 

Sources:

“The Most Incredible Bugs”. Smithsonian Encyclopedia
“Black Garden Ant”. BBC Nature Wildlife
“7 things you didn’t know about Cicadas”. Time Magazine
“Giant Burrowing Cockroach”. Queensland Museum
“Creature Feature”. ABC Australia
“Boring Borers…Not so Boring”. Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Food – Australia
“Western Harvester Ants”. Live Ants/Learn about Nature
“Lifestyle of the Termite Queen”. National Geographic
“Long lived wood boring beetle finally emerges” – Michigan State University

 

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Does Rock ‘n’ Roll Make Termites Eat Faster? http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/rock-n-roll-make-termites-eat-faster/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/rock-n-roll-make-termites-eat-faster/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:00:33 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5817 Sounds absurd, but The Orkin Man® answers whether or not rock music affects how fast termites eat wood in this episode of "Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake."
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Sounds absurd, but The Orkin Man® answers whether or not rock music affects how fast termites eat wood in this episode of “Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake.”

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The 10 Worst Looking Insects http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/10-worst-looking-insects/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/10-worst-looking-insects/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 09:00:17 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5800 Some insects, like the popular ladybug beetle or the rosy maple moth, are known for their utter cuteness. Others are not so lucky.
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Some insects, like the popular ladybug beetle or the rosy maple moth, are known for their utter cuteness. Others are not so lucky.

We’ve identified what we consider to be the “worst-looking” insects in the world. These are both terrifying and awesome at the same time. However, no matter how cool and crafty these insects are, we’re pretty sure they won’t win a beauty pageant any time soon.

1. Brahmin Moth Caterpillar – From the strange headgear to the black spikes along its spine, this insect appears ready to defend itself against any opponent. In reality, the caterpillar is harmless and turns into a plain moth with a wingspan of seven inches.

2. Giant Spiny Stick Insect- These insects not only look like a stick, but they also act like one by swaying, quivering and dropping to the ground. These thorny bugs can be up to eight inches long and take on a scorpion’s pose when threatened.

3. Devils Flower Mantis – This insect doesn’t appear scary at first glance, but when threatened, it spreads flower-like arms, taking on a whole new look. The large size and wild colors give this mantis a much scarier appearance, though it’s actually harmless.

4. Tarantula Hawk Wasp – This insect must be fierce in order to take down a large tarantula. It is listed as one of the world’s largest wasps, measuring two inches long with a body as thick as a pencil. Although this flying insect doesn’t attack humans, it is said to have the most painful sting in North America, if provoked.

5. Hickory Horned Devil (Regal Moth Caterpillar) – This is the largest caterpillar in the United States and can be up to five inches long, the size of a hotdog. The curved black and orange spikes on its head look like horns, giving it a ferocious appearance and justifying its name.

6. Rhinoceros Beetle – This heavy-lifter comes fully armed with pitchfork-shaped horns that have serrated claws for fighting. It holds a double world record as the strongest, able to lift 850 times its weight, and the largest, up to six inches long, beetle around.

7. Scorpionfly – The male of this insect hides behind its impressive name and strange appearance. With an elongated beak-like mouth, the scorpionfly has a long body that curls underneath and appears to end in a sharp stinger. While it looks like a weapon, it is actually harmless.

8. Ball-bearer Leafhopper – This insect is known for its crazy propeller appendage that has four spheres covered in tiny hairs. Found on males and females, scientists believe this strange headgear is used to distract or ward off predators. However, this leafhopper remains a mystery.

9. Giant Dobsonfly – With a wingspan of more than eight inches, this dobsonfly was recently named the largest known aquatic insect. It is probably the most frightening, considering it is large enough to cover a human’s face and has snake-like fangs.

10. Man-face Stink Bug – This creepy, yet colorful insect is always keeping an eye out for danger. Scientists believe the face pattern of the bug may act as a defense mechanism to keep predators from attacking its vulnerable head located at the opposite end.

 

Sources:

“Ugly Bug Contest”. Arizona State University EDU
“Insect Fact Sheets”. Louisville Zoo
“Spiny Leaf Fact Sheet”. Bugs Ed.
“The Devil’s Flower (Mantis)”. Isopoda Photography
“Entomology Bug List”. University of Arizona
“Tarantula Hawk Wasps”. Durango Nature Studies
San Diego River Park Ecology Resources
“Featured Creatures Insect profiles”. University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department
“Hickory Horned Devil, Regal Moth”. NC State University PDIC Fact Sheet
“Rhinoceros Beetles”. National Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Library
“Rhinoceros Beetle” and “Scorpionfly”. Encyclopedia Britannica
“A flying scorpion is harmless”. Henderson State University
“Wood boring beetles in homes”. University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources
“The world’s largest aquatic insect found in Western China, be very afraid”. Tech Times
“Man-face stink bug” .iNaturalist.org
“You’re about to get stink bugs…they won’t be Man-Faced”. Scientific America
“Leafhoppers and planthoppers”. Missouri Botanical Gardens

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Spider http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/spider-2/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/spider-2/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 09:00:26 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5812 Using the spider as an example, beauty can be found all around us—even in our work. Watch as the spider teaches us to look at life with a new perspective. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: A flamenco guitar-playing spider teaches us to “Make your work art.”

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Jumping Spider http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/jumping-spider/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/jumping-spider/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:00:30 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5784 Jumping spiders have a “leg up” on other spiders as they are among the fastest creatures in the eight-legged world.
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Order: Araneae
Family: Salticidae
Genus: Phiale

Jumping spiders have a “leg up” on other spiders as they are among the fastest creatures in the eight-legged world.

Appearance
Jumping spiders are often fuzzy, and measure less than a half-inch. They have a distinct eye arrangement with four eyes on the front of the face, including one enormous pair of eyes. The remaining sets of eyes are found on top of its head. This unique eye arrangement gives the spider excellent vision from all sides. If you can see them, they’re probably already looking at you.

The black and white Phiale Formosa is a distinct spider with the male sporting a white “skull-face.”

Early Life
Like all spiders, young jumping spiders hatch from eggs and look like tiny adults. The female spider builds a silk bed, also known as a pup tent, usually off the ground and hidden in branches or the cracks of buildings. Even after the eggs hatch, mom remains with her young ones and guards them until they jump off on their own.

Diet
Most jumping spiders hunt and feed on small insects like flies, crickets, grasshoppers and even other spiders. Some species consume nectar too. Most jumping spiders don’t build a web to catch their prey. Instead, they use their speed and keen eyesight to spot a juicy target before pouncing on them with amazing accuracy.

How does a jumping spider jump?
Jumping spiders are fast-moving, active hunters. They’ve been known to jump more than fifty times their body length. The jumping spider crouches down and waits for an unsuspecting target. Before it pounces, the spider attaches a silk line to the tree, acting as a bungee cord. This way, on the rare chance it misses the target, it can quickly climb back up and jump again. When ready, the spider lifts its front legs and springs off its back legs, flying through the air.

Generations
Jumping spiders have more than 5,000 species worldwide, but 300 can be found in the U.S. The males are usually very colorful and love to flaunt their appearance by waving his arms, wagging his rear and shaking his body during a mating dance.

 

 

Sources:

“Jumping Spider”. BBC Nature
“Daring Jumping Spider”. University of Nebraska Entomology
“Critter Cases: Jumping Spiders”. University of Kentucky Entomology
“Jumping Spiders Mimics”. National Science Foundation

 

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General Housekeeping http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/general-housekeeping/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/general-housekeeping/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 09:00:06 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5748 Implementing housekeeping and sanitation practices are some of the most important ways you can help keep pests from establishing themselves in your building. Follow these tips, and be sure to pay special attention to your restroom maintenance routines and standing water. Continue reading

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Implementing housekeeping and sanitation practices are some of the most important ways you can help keep pests from establishing themselves in your building. Follow these tips, and be sure to pay special attention to your restroom maintenance routines and standing water.

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Bed Bugs Rank Most Feared in Apartment Renter Survey http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/bed-bugs-rank-feared-apartment-renter-survey/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/bed-bugs-rank-feared-apartment-renter-survey/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:47:17 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5781 Orkin survey reveals residents see flies more than any other pest, but fear bed bugs the most.
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Orkin survey reveals residents see flies more than any other pest, but fear bed bugs the most.

A new survey of apartment residents reveals two key findings about the most common and most feared pests inside apartments: flies are the most common pest cited in apartments and bed bugs are the most feared.

Most Common Pest: Flies

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they have encountered a pest in the past year and flies were the most common, followed by ants, cockroaches and rodents. While flies may appear harmless, they can, every time they land, leave behind thousands of germs that can cause serious illnesses such as diarrhea, food poisoning, meningitis and bloodstream infections.

“Many may not be aware that house flies are absolutely filthy – in fact, twice as filthy as cockroaches. The survey results we released earlier this summer show that the health threats flies pose are often underestimated,” says Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “It’s important that everyone understands the magnitude of these health threats so that they can help prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases and bacteria.”

To prevent fly activity, apartment residents should:

  • Remove trash and wipe countertops regularly.
  • Clean food and beverage spills immediately.
  • Submit a maintenance request for any cracks and crevices on the building exterior, as well as missing or broken door and window screens.

Most Feared Pest: Bed Bugs

Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents stated they would least like to see bed bugs in their apartment, followed by rodents, cockroaches, ants and flies.

Bed bugs feed only on blood and some people who are bitten experience itchy red welts and swelling. Bed bugs are not only in bedrooms, but can settle wherever people sleep. They are great hitchhikers and travel in personal belongings and luggage.

“Bed bugs can reproduce quickly, so it’s important that apartment residents notify property managers of any evidence that causes them to suspect bed bug activity,” says Paul Rhodes, National Maintenance and Safety Instructor of NAAEI. “Early detection is key to help prevent a much larger infestation from setting in. To help prevent their occurrence, properties can be active in removing furniture abandoned at onsite trash locations, and ensure that residents are aware of dangers associated with bringing home ‘found’ items.”

Unlike with other pests, sanitation is not an influential factor in bed bug infestations. For this reason, it is important that apartment residents practice vigilance within their apartment units, as well as when they travel, by following these steps:

  • Lift and look underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard and furniture. Watch for live or dead bugs or tiny rust-colored spots.
  • When travelling, elevate luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall.
  • Examine luggage carefully while repacking and upon returning home from travelling.
  • Place all clothing from travel luggage in the dryer immediately for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting permitted for the items upon returning home.

Earlier this year Orkin released a list of Top Bed Bug Cities, ranked by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2013:

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Columbus, Ohio
  4. Detroit
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Cleveland/Akron/Canton
  7. Dayton
  8. Washington D.C.
  9. Denver
  10. Indianapolis
  11. Richmond/Petersburg, Va.
  12. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C.
  13. Dallas/Ft. Worth
  14. Syracuse, N.Y.
  15. Atlanta
  16. Houston
  17. New York
  18. Seattle/Tacoma
  19. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose
  20. Boston
  21. Milwaukee
  22. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
  23. Nashville
  24. Pittsburgh
  25. Charlotte
  26. San Diego
  27. Baltimore
  28. Phoenix
  29. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa
  30. Charleston/Huntington, W. Va
  31. Knoxville, Tenn.
  32. Louisville, Ky.
  33. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Mich.
  34. Hartford/New Haven, Conn.
  35. Champaign/Springfield, Ill.
  36. Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, S.C.
  37. Omaha, Neb.
  38. Buffalo, N.Y.
  39. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb.
  40. Lexington, Ky.
  41. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif.
  42. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo.
  43. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y.
  44. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  45. Honolulu
  46. Toledo, Ohio
  47. Peoria/Bloomington, Ill.
  48. Davenport, Iowa/Moline, Ill.
  49. New Orleans
  50. Kansas City

To help reduce pest activity, apartment renters should also report pest sightings immediately to their property manager and request educational materials from their property manager to learn more about their role in pest control.

The survey was released by Orkin, polling apartment renters across the United States. For the full results of the apartment renter survey, visit Orkin.com.

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House Fly http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/house-fly/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/house-fly/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:00:47 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5731 Humans may think house flies are annoying and dirty, but for animals like birds, frogs and snakes, flies are food — proving that even this pesky pest has a purpose. Continue reading

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Humans may think house flies are annoying and dirty, but for animals like birds, frogs and snakes, flies are food — proving that even this pesky pest has a purpose.

Check out these other fun facts about flies:

  • Appearance: House flies are small, dark gray and oval-shaped. They are about 1/4 of an inch long with four stripes on their back and only two wings.
  • Habitat: Adult house flies only live for 15 to 25 days, so they don’t normally travel more than 1 to 2 miles from where they were born to find a home. You can find them near garbage cans, pet areas or any uncovered food.
  • Fun Fact: This insect can only fly as fast as 4 ½ miles per hour, but its wings beat about 200 times each second[4] and cause a humming sound.

 

Sources:

“Flies”. Pest World For Kids
” House Fly (Family Muscidae)”. University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

 

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Pest Proofing Your Home For The Winter http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/pest-proofing-home-winter/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/pest-proofing-home-winter/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:00:59 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5709 The heat of summer may still linger with us, but before long we’ll be welcoming the crisper, cooler days of fall and winter. A drop in temperature means bundling up, turning on the heat and retreating indoors, but we won’t be the only ones looking for a warm place to hibernate in this winter. Continue reading

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The heat of summer may still linger with us, but before long we’ll be welcoming the crisper, cooler days of fall and winter. A drop in temperature means bundling up, turning on the heat and retreating indoors, but we won’t be the only ones looking for a warm place to hibernate in this winter. Some pests want inside too. Beetles, box elder bugs, stink bugs ants, ladybugs, German cockroaches and even rodents are among some of the pesky critters looking for a place to warm up during the colder months. To avoid having a houseful of uninvited…guests…we’ve identified five key things you can do to help protect your home from pests this winter.

1. Mind the Gap
A hole as small as a quarter inch is all it takes for a mouse to get in, imagine what size it would need to be for an insect to get through. To help prevent intruders, check your home for holes and cracks. Garages, crawlspaces, doors and windows are a good place to start. Make sure doors fit properly, that screens are in good condition and that rubber stripping around your garage door isn’t cracked.

2. Check Outside
Holes and cracks aren’t the only invitations a bug needs to come inside this season. Environmental factors surrounding your home could also be a welcome mat in. Trimming tree limbs near the house, storing firewood off the ground and away from the house and removing dense vegetation from around your house are some of the things to help protect your property. Leaky faucets and standing offer an inviting water source for bugs, and bring critters closer to being inside your house.

3. Down Through the Chimney…
Chimneys aren’t just for Santa anymore, they make the perfect spot for birds to build nests and escape the elements. But with bird nests, come the pests that live in them. The chimney is an easy access point for critters to get in, safeguard your home by removing nests from your chimney. This goes the same for gutters and overhangs.

4. Keep It Clean
It might go without saying, but as for other parts of the year, it’s important to keep things clean and tidy inside your house. Rodents and pests want to get in because it’s warm, but also because they know you have food. That tiny crumb under your counter that you keep walking past? A veritable feast for a cockroach. The couple of morsels left in the pet food dish? Same story. Avoid unexpected dinner guests by making sure all food, including pet food, is sealed and stored away properly. Don’t keep dirty dishes in the sink overnight, avoid clutter and piles and make sure you keep your house vacuumed and swept.

5. Shake It Out
Christmas trees are the perfect opportunity to bring unwanted pests inside. It’s estimated that 25,000 mites, insects and spiders could be sleeping inside your Christmas tree. Avoid this as best you can by using a tree shaker at the tree lot, or by shaking it out yourself, before bringing the tree into your home.

 

Sources:

“How to Prepare Your Home for Pest Protection for Winter.” Home Team Pest Defense.
“Help Protect Your Home From Rodents This Winter.” Orkin. 

 

 

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The Rise in Stink Bug Numbers and Their Annual Winter Retreat into our Homes http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/rise-stink-bug-numbers-annual-winter-retreat-homes/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/rise-stink-bug-numbers-annual-winter-retreat-homes/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 09:00:58 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5716 In recent years, the stink bug has gained a reputation as being a significant pest for crops, like vegetables, fruits and agricultural crops, and also homes and other structures. While the presence of stink bugs is not new, their urban environment pest status is. Continue reading

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In recent years, the stink bug has gained a reputation as being a significant pest for crops, like vegetables, fruits and agricultural crops, and also homes and other structures.  While the presence of stink bugs is not new, their urban environment pest status is.

Known for their pungent odor when disturbed or squashed, the stink bug feeds primarily on plant juices.  North America species are known to be agricultural pests and were not thought of as a household pest.  That changed in September 1998 when the brown marmorated stink bug was identified in Pennsylvania.  Known as an Asian agricultural pest, the newly introduced brown marmorated stink bug flourished in its new habitat.  With few predators to keep their numbers low and an abundance of food to eat, these insects have become a an agricultural and household pest.  While initially only foundin the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the distribution of the brown marmorated stink bug population has grown to encompass a larger portion of the United States.

As an agricultural pest, native stink bugs are primarily found in large numbers around agricultural fields, like soybeans and corn.  However, the brown marmorated stink bug feeds on a wider variety of plants, including many fruiting trees like apple, pears, peach and cherry; garden plants like tomatoes and sunflowers; and many landscaping shrubs and trees, including holly, crabapple and redbud, all found around homes and structures.  This abundance of available food, in conjunction with more favorable environmental factors, led to increasing numbers of these insect pests that are in constant conflict with homeowners.

The brown marmorated stink bug, like their native cousins, can be quickly identified by their triangular, shield shape.  Their brown color easily distinguishes them from the native species which are bright green.  In the late spring months, brown marmorated stink bugs normally emerge from their winter hideaways within the hollows and cavities of trees and other protected areas looking for a mate and a suitable plant where they can lay their eggs.  After hatching from their eggs, young stink bugs search for suitable foods where they can grow and complete their lifecycle.  In their native Asian homeland, the stink bug may have up to six generations per year.  Within the Atlantic region of the United States, it is believed that only two generations are produced per year.  However, as the stink bug moves into warmer areas of North America, it is speculated that the number of bugs may continue to increase.

During the fall months, brown marmorated stink bugs seek shelter from the upcoming winter temperatures.  This mass migration of insects away from their agricultural and vegetative food sources brings conflict between the insects and their human counterparts.  Stink bugs seeking shelter can be found in large numbers on the outside of homes and structures, their dark color a striking contrast to the lighter color surfaces they prefer.   Cooler temperatures are a signal that the insects must seek shelter, exploiting the smallest openings into homes and structures.   Once inside, the bugs will remain hidden within the voids of walls, attics and crawlspaces with their pungent odor being  the only hint of their presence until they emerge in the warmer spring months.

As in previous years, when the warmer spring temperatures arrive, the stink bugs begin emerge from their winter slumber in search of mates.  Following the warmer temperatures and the bright light flooding their protective voids, the insects again come in conflict with the human inhabitants of the structures.  Not knowing the difference between the outdoors and indoors, these insects will often fly into a home and congregate around windows and lights.  The stink bugs’ heavy bodies can be heard banging into the glass of the windows or around lampshades and lights.  Homeowners trying to remove the pests are frequently dissuaded by the strong pungent odor stink bugs use as a defense mechanism.

Is there relief on the horizon?  Only time will tell.  However, most experts believe that it will only get worse before it gets better.  As the brown marmorated stink bug continues to move across North America in search of additional food sources, more and more people will find themselves in conflict with this newly introduced household pest.

 

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Five Things to Know About Insulation http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/five-things-know-insulation/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/five-things-know-insulation/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:00:25 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5714 As summer turns to fall and temperatures start to dip, you may notice your home isn’t as warm and cozy as you’d like it. Instead of cranking up the heat, maybe you should take a look at your insulation. Continue reading

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As summer turns to fall and temperatures start to dip, you may notice your home isn’t as warm and cozy as you’d like it. Instead of cranking up the heat, maybe you should take a look at your insulation.

Check out these insulation facts before you’re left in cold:

  1. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s ENERGY STAR program, adding insulation and sealing air leaks may save homeowners up to 10 percent on their energy bills.
  2. Insulation can not only lower energy bills, but it can also reduce noise, provide better humidity control and reduce dust and pollen around a home.
  3. An easy way to check if you need more insulation is to take a look across your attic floor. Does the existing insulation come up to the top of the joists or does it extend well above the joists? If it doesn’t extend above the joists, then you should probably consider adding insulation.
  4. There are three different insulation types: roll-on or blanket-type insulation comes as fiberglass rolls and fits between a home’s framing; loose-fill or blown insulation uses a machine to shoot loose-fill cellulose material onto an attic’s floor or framing; and sprayed foam polyurethane, which helps block water vapor and mold from getting to rafters.
  5. Some insulation, like Orkin’s OrkinTherm insulation, can help control common household pests like ants, silverfish, roaches and termites, while also helping to reduce energy consumption.

 

 

Sources:

“Seal and Insulate With Energy Star”. Energy Star.
“Why Seal and Insulate?” Energy Star.
“Adding Attic Insulation Saves You Money”. House Logic.
“How Does OrkinTherm Work?” OrkinTherm.

 

 

 

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Can Ants Survive Underwater? http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/can-ants-survive-underwater/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/can-ants-survive-underwater/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:00:08 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5736 There may be a reason why ants have survived over 100 million years. Find out if ants can live in an underwater world. Continue reading

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There may be a reason why ants have survived over 100 million years. Find out if ants can live in an underwater world.

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Fastest Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/fastest-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/fastest-bugs/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:00:08 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5707 Orkin Man Lab Notes proudly presents this month’s Top Six Fastest Bugs. Whether travelling by land or by air, these six have sped their way into our hearts, and atop our list of fastest bugs. Continue reading

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Orkin Man Lab Notes proudly presents this month’s Top Six Fastest Bugs. Whether travelling by land or by air, these six have sped their way into our hearts, and atop our list of fastest bugs.

On Land

6. At 3.1 miles per hour, the Tiger Moth Caterpillar, at first glance, doesn’t appear to be much of a mover, but given his speed—he definitely proves otherwise.

5. Number five on our list should come as no surprise. Chances are you’ve witnessed this bug dart from beneath the baseboard or across your kitchen at some point in hopes of avoiding the bottom of your shoe. That’s right, the pesky American Cockroach can reach speeds up to 3.4 miles per hour.

4. This next bug is the last of our land bugs, but still quite the contender. Clocking in at 5.6 miles per hour is the Australian Tiger Beetle. To put that into perspective, if the Tiger Beetle was the size of a 6-foot man, it’s relative speed would be 720 miles per hour — nearly the speed of sound!

By Air

3. When you talk about fast fliers, you have to talk about #3 on our list. The corn earworm utilizes the natural wind patterns to propel them through migration — giving them speeds up to 17 miles per hour.

2. Our next fast fliers is mighty impressive. Desert Locusts have been known to reach speeds up to 21 miles per hour, or, about the speed of a good breeze. Wouldn’t want to get hit by one of these swarms!

1. Coming in at #1 on our list is the Black Cutworm. Imagine a car zooming down the interstate, now imagine our fastest flier. You heard right, the Black Cutworm can reach speeds as high as 60-70 miles per hour!

 

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The Role of Invasive Insects http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/role-invasive-insects/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/role-invasive-insects/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 09:00:11 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5711 Foreign bugs have hugely impacted life in North America. Continue reading

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Foreign bugs have hugely impacted life in North America.

Throughout history plants and animals, especially humans, have moved to new lands and territories they previously didn’t inhabit — some by accident and some on purpose. When these movements happen, they can impact the new ecosystems in subtle to drastic ways..

Non-native insect species are sometimes introduced to a new area to help control the population of a pest species. Other species are imported for commercial reasons such as the European honeybee which has be transported by man for pollination purposes. Foreign insects also unintentionally find their way to new territories in people’s luggage, on airplanes or through the cargo on a ship. While the new arrivals can have beneficial or benign effects on a habitat, like the honeybee, non-native insects can seriously harm other species, plants or other resources in the area. The Asian tiger mosquito and the Asian long-horned beetle are two great examples of this in North America.

The Asian tiger mosquito doesn’t damage crops or resources, but it does harm other species — including humans. Mosquitos are vectors of several diseases that can be hurtful and sometimes even fatal, like dengue fever and eastern equine encephalitis. So how did the Asian tiger mosquito make its way across the world, ultimately spreading through 25 states in the U.S.? It’s thought to have arrived in Houston, Texas, in 1985 in a shipment of tires from Asia. This hardy mosquito found the U.S. to be a great home, and it continues to spread throughout the warmer states.

Although the Asian long-horned beetle doesn’t have a direct negative impact on our health, it does cause the decimation of trees in North America, which indirectly affects humans. This invasive beetle can quickly destroy large areas of forest as it feeds on maple, poplar, willow and elm trees. The infestations have led agencies in Chicago and New York to cut down thousands of infected trees in an effort to control the long-horned beetle population. So how did it arrive in North America from China? It’s simple: by boring into wood. The beetle is thought to have arrived here in 1996, burrowed into solid wood packing material — and it’s been spreading ever since.

Invasive species can wreak havoc on new ecosystems that lack the natural predators, diseases and parasites to keep the new populations under control. Of course, it isn’t just insects we worry about. It’s also important never to release any kind of animal, even a pet frog or fish, into a new territory since the unintended consequences can result in lasting impacts on our world.

 

 

Sources:

“Invasive Insects Threatening Area’s Trees”. The Daily Freeman.
“Two Invasive Insect Species from Asia”. ProQuest.
“Invasive Insect’s Inner Weapon”. International Weekly Journal of Science.
“Asian Tiger Mosquito Could Spread U.S. Disease”. HealthDay.
“The Cost of Invasive Species”. U.S  Fish & Wildlife Service.

 

 

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Crickets http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/crickets/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/crickets/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:00:45 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5729 Harmless nocturnal animals, crickets are short and stubby and can eat and sing at the same time.
Continue reading

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Harmless nocturnal animals, crickets are short and stubby and can eat and sing at the same time.

Chirp…Chirp…Chirp… Ahh, the soothing sounds of crickets in the evening. We hear crickets on many nights, but we see them much less frequently. If you do see one, it usually won’t stick around for long since their powerful back legs let them jump great distances.

Male crickets are the only ones that chirp, and they produce the sounds through a process called stridulation where one wing rubs along the teeth at the bottom of the other wing. Crickets often open their wings during stridulation to help amplify the sound.

Chirping crickets were long regarded in ancient Chinese culture as beautiful singers, and were often kept in cages in bedrooms so their songs could be enjoyed inside the home. They were also seen as signs of good luck and fertility because female crickets lay hundreds of eggs at a time. In some countries crickets are considered a delicacy, and they’re often deep-fried as snacks. Some Brazilian cultures believe chirping crickets signal rain, and in Barbados, a cricket chirping inside a house means wealth and prosperity are coming.

Though none of those beliefs can be validated, there’s one thing crickets really are known for: they can clue you in to the temperature outdoors. The warmer the weather, the more frequent a cricket chirps. Scientifically, the relationship between ambient air temperature and chirping crickets is called Dolbear’s Law. The simple version of the equation is to add 40 to the number of a cricket’s chirps in 14 seconds to figure out the temperature in Fahrenheit.

Crickets aren’t born chirpers. They go through incomplete metamorphosis — starting out as an egg, hatching as a nymph and then molting their exoskeleton as they gradually grow into adulthood. Crickets are only able to chirp after they are full-grown and develop their wings.

Crickets have both good and bad impacts on our environment. They’re helpful in breaking down organic material and replenishing soil minerals, and they’re also food for many other creatures. But too many crickets can be destructive — and their singing can be so loud they’ll keep you up at night.

 

 

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Stink Bug http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/stink-bug/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/stink-bug/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:00:46 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5704 With their shield-like shape and pungent defense tactics, the stink bug reeks of super hero potential.
Continue reading

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Order: Hemiptera
Family: Pentatomidae

With their shield-like shape and pungent defense tactics, the stink bug reeks of super hero potential.

Appearance
At full maturation, stink bugs reach about 2cm in length. Their bodies, typically oval or shield-like in shape, are almost as wide as they are long and have long legs. When not in flight, they have wings that fold over their backs. The stink bugs we usually encounter are green or brown in appearance, but some species come in a variety of colors. As nymphs — young stink bugs — they can range in color from black to yellow, changing colors as they mature. Some species have spots and other distinct characteristics like the brown marmorated sting bug, with its red eyes.

Early Life
Stink bug eggs are light yellow to yellow-red in appearance and attach together under leaves in groupings as large as 30. They have five nymphal phases, or molts, prior to reaching adulthood. 

Diet
A stink bug’s diet varies depending on the species. Some species prefer to feed on host plants such as apples, peaches, figs and a wide variety of citrus fruits — among others. This behavior can cause considerable damage to crops, going so far as to make the fruit unsellable. Other species of stink bug prey on insects that ironically, feed on plants. These predatory stink bugs help protect crops from destructive pests like caterpillars, beetles and yes, even plant-feeding stink bugs!

During the nymphal phases, the immature stink bug will feed on leaves, stems and fruit. 

What Makes a Stink Bug…Stink?
As its namesake suggests, stink bugs do in fact…stink. Stink bugs come equipped with scent glands that produce a chemical that’s capable of emitting an odor, which some say smells like cilantro or even skunk. Scientists suspect this odor is used as a defense mechanism against potential predators.

Generations
The number of generations of stink bugs born in any given year depends largely on temperature. Typically speaking stink bugs, like the marmorated stink bug, will have 1-2 generations per year, but warmer springs and summers could yield more. In some parts of the world, like China, there can be anywhere from four to six a year.

 

 

Sources Used:

“What Are Stink Bugs?” Orkin.
“Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.” Penn State Entomology.
“Stink Bugs.” Pest World.

 

 

 

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Five Pests to Look Out for After a Natural Disaster http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/five-pests-look-natural-disaster/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/five-pests-look-natural-disaster/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:00:43 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5734 Many U.S. residents living near a coast are familiar with hurricanes and the damage they can cause. Continue reading

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Many U.S. residents living near a coast are familiar with hurricanes and the damage they can cause. While clean up after a hurricane is devastating enough, the last thing coastal residents should have to deal with is a pest problem resulting from extreme weather. Heavy rains and flooding may displace pest populations and can trigger an infestation in or around your home.

Here are five pests to watch out for after a storm:

  1. Mosquitoes thrive in wet conditions. Flooding creates standing water, which provides ideal mosquito breeding conditions.
  2. Termites that are displaced after a storm may re-establish their colony in a home with damp or rotting wood.
  3. Ants may be forced to higher, drier ground in the corners and crevices of a home.
  4. Rodents that are forced indoors by flooding may carry diseases indoors.
  5. Flies feed on garbage, and their populations can increase if trash and filth are allowed to collect after a storm.

While you can’t control the weather, you can take steps to help guard against the pest problems caused by these conditions. Before the storms hit, make sure screens, windows and doors are tightly sealed to keep pests (and weather) out.

Once extreme weather incidents pass, thoroughly dry and clean any damaged areas of your home immediately. Make an effort to treat mold growth right away. Also, eliminate sources of standing water around your home to help prevent pests from breeding nearby. If weather-weary pests still find their way into your home, make sure to call your Orkin Man.

 

Sources:

“Hurricanes and Tropical Storms”. The Weather Channel.

 

 

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Green Worm http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/green-worm/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/green-worm/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:00:16 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5718 That pesky critter in your flower garden? He has a thing or two to teach you about pausing to…enjoy the world around you. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: What can you learn from a green worm eating a garden flower? A whole heck of a lot. Like, “Every now and then, stop and eat the roses.”

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10 Crazy Looking Caterpillars http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/10-crazy-looking-caterpillars/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/10-crazy-looking-caterpillars/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:00:03 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5681 They’re weird, they’re wild and they’re wonderful. The vast and varied world of caterpillars is a beautiful one to behold. We’ve identified 10 of what we consider to be some of the most interesting and intriguing caterpillars of all. Continue reading

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They’re weird, they’re wild and they’re wonderful. The vast and varied world of caterpillars is a beautiful one to behold. We’ve identified 10 of what we consider to be some of the most interesting and intriguing caterpillars of all.

 

1. Flannel Moth Caterpillar
No, this caterpillar isn’t known for its affinity for the early-90s grunge scene. It’s commonly referred to as a flannel moth caterpillar because of its thick, fur-like bristle covering. But don’t be fooled, that furry looking exterior emits a venomous sting when touched.

2. Saddleback Caterpillar
Distinct markings give this caterpillar its unique name, but whatever you do, don’t try to ride this saddled caterpillar — it’s covered with venom-secreting hairs.

3. Stinging Rose Caterpillars
The stinging rose caterpillar, or rose slug caterpillar, may look warm and inviting with its bright orange, yellow and purple hues, but beware, this little guy packs a powerful venomous sting! 

4. Great Orange Tip Butterfly
In its caterpillar form, the great orange tip butterfly doesn’t really resemble a caterpillar at all. This little green guy perfectly blends in with the spines of leaves, so it looks like a green vine snake.

5. Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
This big green guy, with its blue and orange spikes, comes in at around five inches. The adult cecropia moth caterpillar is the largest moth in North America.

6. Hubbard’s Silk Moth Caterpillar
There’s more that meets the eye with this beautiful and unique-looking caterpillar. Under UV light illumination, you’ll discover that this guy has a built-in florescent glow.

7. Monkey Slug Caterpillar
The monkey slug caterpillar, or hag moth caterpillar, is known for its distinct shape. Bearing strong resemblance to a spider, with its hairy legs, this caterpillar has suction cups, allowing it to move like its namesake suggests — a slug. 

8. Tailed Emperor Butterfly Caterpillar
This green and yellow caterpillar may resemble an ordinary looking caterpillar from behind, but from the front, you’ll find something completely different. Four spikes, resembling a crown or armor, adorn the head of this interesting looking caterpillar.

9. Calleta Silkmoth Caterpillar
This caterpillar may take the cake for variety and quantity of color. But watch out, behind the beautiful array of colors you’ll find dangerous barbs.

10. Dasychira pudibunda Caterpillar
This caterpillar, native to Denmark, may look cuddly from afar, but don’t be fooled. Once up close, you’ll notice that the ‘cuddly’ hair is actually quite spikey. With its double set of mandibles, they’re more than capable of doing some serious damage to plants.

 

 

Sources:

“Featured Creatures.” University of Florida.
“12 Weird and Wonderful Caterpillars.” Earth Touch News Network.
“Cecropia Moth.” National Wildlife Federation.
“The Monkey Slug Caterpillar.” The Featured Creature.
“10 Insects That Belong In An Alien World.” Listverse.

 

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Bats http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/bats/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/bats/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:00:16 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5677 Bats have a bad reputation as blood-sucking, rabies-transmitting flying rodents. Continue reading

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Bats have a bad reputation as blood-sucking, rabies-transmitting flying rodents. In reality, bats are helpful to humans because they regulate pest populations and help pollinate fruit and flower-producing plants.

Here are some important things to know about these misunderstood mammals:

  • Appearance: Bats have pointed ears, long wings and sharp teeth. They are covered in hair that comes in many colors from tan to black.
  • Habitat: Bats are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. They prefer to rest during the day in dark places like homes, caves, storage sheds, church steeples and trees.
  • Fun Fact: Bats find their food in total darkness by using inaudible, high-pitched sounds, 10 – 20 beeps per second, and listening to echoes.

 

 

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Flies Twice as Filthy as Cockroaches but Most Restaurant Patrons Either Don’t Care or Don’t Know http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/flies-twice-filthy-cockroaches-restaurant-patrons-either-dont-care-dont-know/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/flies-twice-filthy-cockroaches-restaurant-patrons-either-dont-care-dont-know/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:00:18 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5687 Scientific research shows that flies carry more disease-causing pathogens than cockroaches, but a new survey shows that restaurant patrons are more likely to eat food touched by flies. Continue reading

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Scientific research shows that flies carry more disease-causing pathogens than cockroaches, but a new survey shows that restaurant patrons are more likely to eat food touched by flies.

ATLANTA, July 10, 2014 – Restaurant patrons underestimate the health threats flies present, according to a new survey released by Orkin. Of the survey respondents:

  • 61 percent would continue eating their meal after a fly touched and contaminated it.
  • Only 3 percent of survey respondents reported they would continue eating food on which a cockroach crawled.

“Many restaurant patrons may not be aware that house flies are twice as filthy as cockroaches,” says Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “It’s important that everyone understands the magnitude of the health threats flies pose so that they can help prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases and bacteria.”

Restaurant patrons are at risk of being exposed to serious disease transmission if flies enter food preparation or dining room areas. Flies are known to spread disease-causing pathogens when they move quickly from potentially disease-laden garbage to exposed human foods and utensils. Every time a fly lands, it can leave behind thousands of germs that can cause serious illnesses such as diarrhea, food poisoning, meningitis and bloodstream infections.

Despite these health threats, restaurant patrons continue to eat food contaminated by flies. A separate survey released by Orkin shows flies are a common pest in restaurants:

  • 50 percent saw a pest at a restaurant in the past 12 months.
  • 95 percent of those sightings included flies.
  • 75 percent of those sightings went unreported because restaurant patrons don’t consider flies a major issue.

Restaurant patrons who responded to the survey have a low tolerance for pest sightings, as more than half expect a discount on their meal if they spot a pest in the restaurant. While 81 percent will never return if they see a pest in their food, 56 percent are likely to write a negative online review of the restaurant, post on social media or blog about it.

To see the full results of the restaurant patron survey, visit Orkin.com.

Flies are not only a problem at restaurants, but also in homes. In many areas around the country, house flies are the top fly problem. Sanitation is key for homeowners to protect against health concerns related to flies.

More than 100 pathogens are associated with the house fly, including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E.coli and Shigella. These pathogens can even cause diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, bacillary dysentery and hepatitis.

To keep flies away, consider the following tips:

  • Regularly wipe countertops.
  • Clean food and drink spills immediately.
  • Store all food in containers.
  • Empty trash cans and keep lids tightly shut.
  • Install door and window screens.

 

About Orkin, LLC

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates more than 400 locations with almost 8,000 employees. Using a proprietary, three-step approach, Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods. The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Learn more about Orkin at http://orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL).

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Insects at War: Crazy Defense Tactics http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/insects-war-crazy-defense-tactics/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/insects-war-crazy-defense-tactics/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:00:52 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5690 A list of some of the strangest insect defense mechanisms. Continue reading

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A list of some of the strangest insect defense mechanisms.

1. Peanut Head Bug
Like many other moths and butterflies, this winged, and yes, peanut-shaped head bug, native to Central and South America, contains two distinct spots on its wings. These spots, when revealed, resemble the eyes of a much larger predator, scaring away potential predators. Oh, and if the fake eyes don’t do the trick, it has another defense in its back pocket — a skunk-like spray!

2. Cereal Leaf Beetle
This insect gets special points for creativity. To defend itself from potential predators, this beetle changes its body to resemble bird feces. But you’ll never guess how he does it. In the larval form, the cereal beetle covers itself in its own feces to change form. Yep. It projects a jelly-like substance, containing their fecal matter, onto their back, giving them the appearance of bird droppings.

3. Bombardier Beetle
The bombardier beetle’s defense tactic may take the cake for cool. When agitated, or threatened, they emit a hot noxious chemical from their abdomen accompanied by a popping sound. But that’s not even the half of it. The noxious chemical is formed when two chemicals (hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide) from two separate reservoirs are mixed together in a third reservoir with water and catalytic enzymes. The reaction causes so much heat to build that the mixture almost reaches boiling point, causing it to shoot out onto potential predators.

4. Japanese Jewel Beetle
It might not win any points for originality, but sometimes a tried and true defense is all you need. The defense is to play dead. Yes, the Japanese jewel beetle – joined by countless other insects – know simplicity is key when it comes to survival. Of course, there’s a technical term for this, thanatosis, and the commitment involved is not as easy as you may think. Some insects have made it into an art form by going so far as to fall from their perch, in a limp, lifeless pursuit of life. 

5. American Cockroach
Ever wonder why the pesky cockroach is so difficult to catch? Turns out, they come equipped with wind-sensitive hairs. So sensitive in fact, that they can detect the most subtle movements in the surrounding air. The moment these receptive hairs sense a disruption in the air, instinct kicks in and they run away in the opposite direction of the stimulus.

 

Sources:

“Peanut-Head Bug.” Fact Zoo.
“6 of the Most Disgusting Animal Defenses in Nature.” The Featured Creature.
“Carabidae Ground Beetles.” Encyclopedia of Life.
“Escape Behavior in the American Cockroach.” Nelson Lab. 

 

 

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Could a Cockroach Survive a Nuclear Bomb? http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/cockroach-survive-nuclear-bomb/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/cockroach-survive-nuclear-bomb/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 09:00:54 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5456 Could it be true? Cockroaches are capable of surviving a nuclear bomb? We have a feeling there’s a catch. What do you think? Watch this month’s Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake™ and find out for yourself. Continue reading

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It’s a question that’s lingered since the invention of the atomic bomb. Would cockroaches be the only surviving creatures after a nuclear attack? Orkin has the answer to this well-known doomsday theory in this “Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake.”

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Most Venomous Insects http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/venomous-insects/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/venomous-insects/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5599 Though small in size, these venomous insects pack a powerful punch. Learn what biting and stinging insects you’d be better off avoiding this summer. Continue reading

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They’re puny. They’re pesky. And they pack a poisonous punch. It’s Orkin’s “Top 6 Most Venomous Insects.”

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An Inside Look Into the Weird World of Cockroaches http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/inside-look-weird-world-cockroaches/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/inside-look-weird-world-cockroaches/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 09:00:38 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5648 Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that the cockroach — in all its strangeness — is a fascinating study. And while you may not want them in your home, hotel room, office, school, etc., once you get to know them, … Continue reading

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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that the cockroach — in all its strangeness — is a fascinating study. And while you may not want them in your home, hotel room, office, school, etc., once you get to know them, you may find that this prehistoric disease-spreading critter is actually quite cool. Below is what we’ve identified as some of the weirder quirks and habits that define the cockroach and its history.

Shine bright…like a cockroach
You heard right. The rare, Luchihormetica luckae cockroach, native to Ecuador, can glow. As one of the few land creatures with glowing capabilities, this species of cockroach is truly special — mimicking the toxic bioluminescent click beetle and warning predators to beware! But don’t get your hopes up for spotting this rare roach, only one specimen has ever been reported.

Hunger strike
You wouldn’t know it by their propensity to congregate in your kitchen, but cockroaches can survive without food for a month. Water’s a different story though. Without hydration, the cockroach will be lucky to survive the week.

No head? No problem.
It’s true. Cockroaches can survive a week without a head*. Their unique circulatory system allows them to breathe through other parts of their body. But as mentioned earlier, without water, or the ability to drink water, they’re goners.

On your mark, get set, go.
Cockroaches, for their size, are exceptionally fast. They boast speeds as fast as three miles per hour. The entomology students at Loyola University have gone so far to test out their racing prowess — pitting Madagascar cockroaches against each another in a battle of Olympic proportions.

Bon appétit?
Talk about…exotic cuisine. The cockroach has been known to feed off of humans when an infestation is severe and the roaches food sources are limited. Yes, while you’re far away in dreamland, your household cockroach could be taking a nibble on parts of your nails and eyelashes!

So fresh and so clean
As it turns out, the cockroach is in a near constant state of grooming. All this grooming helps reduce the smell of foreign and native debris that finds its way onto the cockroach — in turn, heightening their senses and their ability to track down food, mates and sensing danger.

This is just a taste of the weird. They might disgust you, they might fascinate you, but whatever you think, you have to admit, they’re pretty interesting creatures.

 

*A cockroach could only survive without a head if the thorax is sealed. 

 

 

Sources:

“10 Fascinating Cockroach Facts.” Pest World.
“10 Filthy Facts About Cockroaches.” Listverse.
“Fun Facts About Cockroaches.” My Pest Prevention.
“6 Amazing Facts About Cockroaches!” Softpedia.
“Cockroaches’ Weird Grooming Behavior Explained.” Live Science.
“Glowing Cockroach Mimics Toxic Beetle.” National Geographic.

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Experts Advise Vigilance to Avoid Mosquito Bites, Spread of Chikungunya Virus http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/experts-advise-vigilance-avoid-mosquito-bites-spread-chikungunya-virus/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/experts-advise-vigilance-avoid-mosquito-bites-spread-chikungunya-virus/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 09:00:26 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5645 Orkin experts say the two types of mosquitoes that can spread Chikungunya virus are common in the Southeastern U.S. ATLANTA, (JULY 18, 2014) – Experts at Orkin are urging vigilance for Americans to help avoid Chikungunya virus after confirmed reports … Continue reading

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Orkin experts say the two types of mosquitoes that can spread Chikungunya virus are common in the Southeastern U.S.

ATLANTA, (JULY 18, 2014) – Experts at Orkin are urging vigilance for Americans to help avoid Chikungunya virus after confirmed reports of the first locally transmitted case in the United States.

Mosquitoes become infected with Chikungunya when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Experts from pest control leader Orkin say two types of mosquitoes in North America — Asian tiger mosquitoes and yellow fever mosquitoes – which are common in the United States, especially in the Southeast, can spread the Chikungunya virus.

  • The Asian tiger mosquito, also known as the “forest day mosquito,” is active during the day, unlike other some other mosquito species. The Asian tiger mosquito is fast-moving and more aggressive than some other species. It has a black and white body with striped legs and measures about 5 mm in length.
  • The yellow fever mosquito has white stripes on its legs. It thrives in tropical habitats and is common in the Southeast United States in the summer months. It is also active during the day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most cases of Chikungunya virus confirmed in the United States have been contracted by travelers visiting affected areas outside the U.S., including the Caribbean. The CDC reports as of July 15, a total of 234 Chikungunya cases have been reported in 31 states.

“We are still learning about the role mosquitoes play in spreading Chikungunya virus,” said Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “That’s why it’s important for families to start taking precautions against mosquitoes now.”

Because there is no cure or vaccine, the only prevention from Chikungunya virus is avoiding mosquito bites. Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent activity and bites from the Asian tiger, yellow fever and other mosquito species:

  • Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent before heading outside.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants outside when mosquitoes are present.
  • Empty any standing water from bird baths, flower planters, toys and playground equipment outside the home to help prevent water from collecting. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to lay their eggs and reproduce.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts regularly or cover them with mesh to help prevent leaves and debris from collecting and holding water.
  • Eliminate standing water inside the home that may attract mosquitoes to spaces like kitchen sinks and pet bowls.
  • Ensure window and door screens around the home fit tightly and have no holes to help keep mosquitoes from making their way into the house.

If bitten by a mosquito and experiencing symptoms of Chikungunya virus – described by the CDC as fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain or rash – consult a physician immediately.

For more information about mosquito prevention, visit Orkin.com.

 

About Orkin, LLC
Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates more than 400 locations with almost 8,000 employees. Using a proprietary, three-step approach, Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods. The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Learn more about Orkin at http://orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL).

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Ants http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/ants/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/ants/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 09:00:15 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5576 Next time you find yourself sitting in traffic, rather than getting road rage, why not consider the wisdom of the ant. You might find it helpful. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: A bunch of ants being really, really nice to each other offer this lesson: “Getting along can really get you places.”

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Large Bee Fly http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/large-bee-fly/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/large-bee-fly/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:00:22 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5640 It’s a bee. It’s a fly. It’s a bee fly! Just as his namesake suggests, the speedy bee fly shares physical and behavioral traits of both flies and bees. Continue reading

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Large Bee Fly
Bombylius major

Snapshot
It’s a bee. It’s a fly. It’s a bee fly! Just as his namesake suggests, the speedy bee fly shares physical and behavioral traits of both flies and bees. The family Bombyliidae encompasses a large family of flies, but this month we’re focusing on what we’ve deemed the cutest of the bee flies, the large bee fly or, Bombylius major.

Appearance
With his stout and furry body, long and hairy legs, impressive proboscis for drinking nectar and that familiar humming buzz, at first glance, you might mistake this month’s Bug of the Month for a bee, but you’d be wrong! The large bee fly, with a single pair of distinctly patterned brown and yellow wings, is in fact, a fly. Speaking of wings, the large bee fly boasts a wingspan of up to 25mm — pretty impressive considering their comparatively short body only ranges 12-18mm in length.

Home Sweet Home
Bombylius major is proud to call a lot of places home. The large bee fly has been spotted all across North America. You might even encounter a B. major in your own backyard, as the large bee fly appreciates the abundance of food sources found in gardens and woodlands.

Free Loader
Interestingly, the large bee fly’s larva is a parasite of bees, wasps and beetles. What this means is, the adult B. major will actually lay its eggs into the nest of a host insect (bee, wasp, beetle), where it will live for the remainder of the gestational period. Once the larvae hatches, the large bee fly, in maggot form, lives off the larvae of the host insect. Following the pupal stage, the large bee fly emerges, typically in early spring.

Let’s Eat
Like the bee, the large bee fly feeds on nectar and pollen. Unlike the bee, the large bee fly uses its long, mosquito-like legs to perch on the plant of choice, whereas the bee hovers.

 

 

Sources:

“Bombylius major (large bee-fly).” Natural History Museum.
“Bee-flies and false widow spiders confound public.” Natural History Museum.
“Bombylius major.” Wikipedia.
“Bee Fly — Bombylius major.” Nature Spot.
“Species Bombylius major — Greater Bee Fly.” Bug Guide.

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Pollination in Action http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/powers-pollination/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/powers-pollination/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:00:05 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5582 The post Pollination in Action appeared first on Orkin.

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Pollinationinaction

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The Summer Splash: Aquatic Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/summer-splash-aquatic-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/summer-splash-aquatic-bugs/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:00:58 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5578 You’re not the only one who’s been seeking out serious water time this summer. While you were busy making plans for the beach, taking advantage of your friend’s pool and heading to the lake for the weekend, these water bugs … Continue reading

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You’re not the only one who’s been seeking out serious water time this summer. While you were busy making plans for the beach, taking advantage of your friend’s pool and heading to the lake for the weekend, these water bugs were already there getting their swim on. Below are just a few of the fascinating insects to proudly call water: home sweet home.

Mayfly (Ephemeropters)
During their nymph stage, which can last several years, mayflies live under water in freshwater environments. Their dorso-ventrally flattened bodies are optimal for thriving in moving waters like streams.

Dragonfly & Damselfly (Odonata)
These ancient water creatures predate the dinosaurs. They come equipped with oxygen-carrying gills, which helps them better glide through the water. Their brown and green bodies are perfect for blending in in ponds, marshes and streams.

Stonefly (Plecoptera)
The stonefly is perfectly poised for underwater life. With gills under their legs and a flattened, low-profile body, they’re ideally shaped for getting under stream stones — as their namesake suggests.

Mosquito (Diptera)
Of the aquatic bugs, the mosquito is probably the easiest for us to identify, as it’s the one we encounter most. In the larval phase, they use their small, snorkel-like appendage to breath while underwater. Mosquitoes aren’t picky about their water source — calling ponds, marshes, lakes, streams and even standing water around your house, home.

Diving Bell Spider (Aranae)
This spider boasts the unique claim to fame as being the only spider that spends his life underwater. Native to the UK, northern and central Europe, Siberia and northern Asia, this water dweller uses the hairs on his body to trap air and transport it to a silvery, underwater web retreat.

Whirligig Beetle (Coleoptera)
Aquatic beetles are as varied and interesting as you’d expect from this diverse insect group, but the whirligig is a standout. Known for staying at the water’s surface, they’ve adapted to have four eyes — two for above the water, two for below.

 

Sources:

“Common aquatic insects”, The Encyclopedia of Earth
“General Information about North American aquatic insects”, University of Massachusetts
“Aquatic Insects of our Trout Streams”, Aquatic Insect Encyclopedia – Troutnut
“Water spider”, Wildscreen Arkive

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Four in Five Parents Take Extra Measures to Safeguard Children against Mosquitoes http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/four-five-parents-take-extra-measures-safeguard-children-mosquitoes/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/four-five-parents-take-extra-measures-safeguard-children-mosquitoes/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:00:52 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5603 According to a 2013 poll commissioned by Orkin, more than 80 percent of parents take precautions to safeguard their children against mosquito activity. Are you one of them?
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According to a 2013 poll commissioned by Orkin, more than 80 percent of parents take precautions to safeguard their children against mosquito activity. Are you one of them?

The poll revealed that 84 percent of parents use insect repellent to protect their children, while 44 percent use citronella candles and/or torches. A full 40 percent of parents limit their kids’ outdoor playtime altogether during mosquito season. Nearly one in five parents (18 percent) do not take any extra measures to protect their children from mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes are one of the world’s most dangerous pests, affecting humans and animals alike. Internationally, they can transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever through their bites.

In the United States, mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile virus and other illnesses that can cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. In 2013, more than 2,300 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Mosquitoes need warm temperatures and moisture to thrive,” says Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “Homeowners should take precautions now to avoid creating ideal breeding conditions around their homes.”

Harrison recommends vigilance such as insect repellent and limited outdoor playtime, coupled with the following tips to help prevent mosquitoes around the home:

  • Remove standing water in the obvious places, such as flower pots and bird baths, but keep in mind that children’s toys left outside and playground equipment also can have small crevices where water can collect. Be sure to inspect and empty standing water – it only takes a cup of water for mosquitoes to breed – especially after any late-summer rainfall.
  • Make sure screens around the home, both on windows and doors, fit tightly and have no holes to keep mosquitoes from making their way into the house.
  • As daylight hours get shorter, be sure to light up outdoor spaces where children play with yellow bulbs that are less attractive to mosquitoes.

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5 Ways to Help Reduce Pest Activity Around Your Pool or Water Feature http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/5-ways-help-reduce-pest-activity-around-pool-water-feature/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/5-ways-help-reduce-pest-activity-around-pool-water-feature/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:00:02 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5605 Did you know that mosquito eggs require standing water to hatch? Continue reading

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Did you know that mosquito eggs require standing water to hatch? As a result, pools, ponds, birdbaths and even buckets or mud puddles around your home or business can be prime targets for infestations. And mosquitoes aren’t the only pests that can pose a threat to your outdoor oasis – nearly every pest needs a reliable water source in order to survive.

Keeping an eye on your water features and performing some simple, routine maintenance can help prevent pests such as mosquitoes from wreaking havoc on your property. Here are 5 tips that can help reduce pest activity near your pool or water feature:

  1. Make Haste – Remove The Waste
    • Make sure your pool area is free of food debris and trash. If you have trashcans on the pool deck, keep them covered to stop flying insects from hovering around them. Also, be sure to empty trash receptacles regularly to help prevent garbage overflow.
  2. Don’t Lead Pests To Water
    • Sweep or mop up any puddles or standing water on the pool deck after rain showers or excessive splashing. These can serve as tiny drinking fountains for thirsty pests.
  3. Get Your Green Thumbs Dirty
    • Work with your landscape artist and pest management provider to develop a landscape plan that keeps trailing vines and flowering bushes away from high-traffic areas. Vines and greenery can attract pests with the smell of nectar, provide harborage for rodents and other pests, and become a “bridge” by which insects can crawl over treated areas and gain entry to your home or business.
  4. Blind Them, Buy The Light
    • Consider installing sodium vapor light bulbs or yellow bulbs in outdoor lights to fend off mosquitoes and other flying insects around the pool and/or clubhouse.
  5. Bring In The Experts
    • If you have ponds or fountains on your property, talk with your pest management professional about treating the water to help disrupt the early stages of the mosquito life cycle. Also, he or she will most likely recommend circulating the water in your pool, pond or fountain to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the stagnant water.

Want to learn more about how Orkin keeps mosquitoes away? Check out our service expectations video here.

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The Science Behind Water Walking http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/science-behind-water-walking/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/science-behind-water-walking/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 09:00:25 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5580 No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That bug you see walking on top of the water — not swimming, not perching on a leaf, not suspended by a web or a branch — is in fact gliding atop the water’s surface. Continue reading

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No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That bug you see walking on top of the water — not swimming, not perching on a leaf, not suspended by a web or a branch — is in fact gliding atop the water’s surface. Some refer to these bugs as Jesus bugs, but rest assured, what you’re seeing is not a miracle of biblical proportions.

Water bugs, Jesus bugs, pond skaters — whatever you want to call them — aquatic bugs, like the water strider, were born with a unique talent. Their ability to walk on the surface of the water comes down to three main determining factors:

Weight
It might seem obvious, and that’s because it is. Water bugs with the ability to walk on water are prone to being lightweight. Their low bodyweight allows them to skim atop the water without breaking the surface. 

Hairy Legs
This next one, though not apparent to the human eye, is crucial to understanding the science behind water walking. If you look at a water strider under a microscope you’ll discover thousands of microscopic hairs all over his legs. The hairs measure less than two-thousandths of an inch long and have tiny grooves on them. The hairs help repel water and the grooves allow them to trap air — increasing water resistance and buoyancy.

Surface Tension
At the surface, water molecules behave differently. The molecules bond together to form a pseudo skin on top of the water. This skin allows the lightweight water strider to walk on top of the water without breaking the surface.

Next time you see a water strider taking his afternoon stroll on top of a pond or lake, take the time to check him out and appreciate the curious science behind it.

 

Sources:

“Hairy Legs Help Bugs Walk on Water”, National Geographic
“Water Strider”, National Wildlife Federation
“Gerridae”, Wikipedia

 

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Did Your City Make the Top Mosquito Cities List? http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/atlanta-tops-mosquito-cities-list-2/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/atlanta-tops-mosquito-cities-list-2/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:00:43 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5601 Orkin released its top 20 mosquito cities earlier this summer. The cities are ranked by the number of mosquito treatments the company performed in 2013. Did your city make the list? Continue reading

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Orkin released its top 20 mosquito cities earlier this summer. The cities are ranked by the number of mosquito treatments the company performed in 2013. Did your city make the list?

  1. Atlanta
  2. Chicago
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Detroit
  5. Raleigh-Durham
  6. Boston
  7. Houston
  8. Nashville
  9. Charlotte
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth
  11. Richmond-Petersburg
  12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale
  13. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek
  14. Memphis
  15. Columbus, Ohio
  16. Cleveland-Akron
  17. Huntsville-Decatur, Alabama
  18. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  19. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News
  20. Albany-Schenectady-Troy

Even if your city didn’t make the list, it’s important to know the health risks associated with mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are one of the world’s most dangerous pests. Some species in the U.S. can transmit West Nile virus and other conditions that cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.

Since 2004, Orkin and the CDC have collaborated to help educate people on some of the risks associated with mosquitoes. The CDC reminds everyone to help protect yourself and your family mosquito bites. Remember to use insect repellent and to wear long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are present.

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Bees http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/bees/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/bees/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:00:36 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5574 There's music everywhere, but sometimes it takes being reminded by the smallest among us to actually listen. Listen for the wisdom of the bees. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: Resting bees set to a xylophone teaches us that “There’s music all around you. You just have to listen.”

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Giant Water Bug http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/giant-water-bug/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/giant-water-bug/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:00:30 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5572 Giant water bugs, toe biters, alligator ticks, electric light bugs — whatever you choose to call them, the giant water bug of the family Belostomatidae is as interesting and varied as its many names. Continue reading

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Family: Belostomatidae
Order: Hemiptera

Snapshot
Giant water bugs, toe biters, alligator ticks, electric light bugs — whatever you choose to call them, the giant water bug of the family Belostomatidae is as interesting and varied as its many names. True to their giant status, this month’s featured Bug of the Month ranges anywhere from 1.5’’ to 4’’ in length. But that’s not the only thing that sets this giant apart, read on to learn more about this aquatic fighter.

Home Sweet Home
The giant water bug is most commonly found in slow-moving freshwater, like streams and ponds. They gravitate towards waters with ample aquatic vegetation, especially those of the emerging variety, because emerging aquatic plants give these predators something to attach onto while stalking their prey. Though found worldwide, you’re most likely to encounter the giant water bug in North and South America, Northern Australia and East Asia.

Water Bug, Attack!
There are many things the giant water bug is known for — among them are his vicious attacks. Giant water bugs are masters of ambush hunting. They’ll lie dormant, playing dead, until their prey is within reach. While dormant, they can resemble a leaf, concealing them from both prey and predators alike. Hiding under the water is a breeze, too. They have a breathing tube resembling a snorkel, that, when extended to the surface of the water, allows them to breathe while awaiting their prey. When prey approaches, the giant water bug springs from his camouflage and pierces it with his hook-shaped front claws — injecting it with poisonous digestive juices that render prey paralyzed. If paralysis wasn’t enough, the powerful poison then liquefies their insides for a delicious treat.

These fierce predators boast quite the diverse palate, attacking creatures big and small. From tadpole to salamander, fish, baby turtles, snakes and yes, even the occasional human toe — this bug is big and bold.

Attachment Parenting
Ferocious bite aside, the giant water bug is more than just a killer. In fact, he has quite the softer side. Unlike most gestation periods, while the female giant water bug lays the eggs, it’s the male that carries them. But not how you’d think. After a sparring mating ritual the female lays her eggs and adheres them onto the back of the male with a glue-like substance. They’ll continue this ritual until his entire back is filled, somewhere around 150 eggs. It’s his job to make sure they’re properly taken care of for the three-week gestation period.

The giant water bug goes from egg—nymph—adult in under two months and has a lifespan of about one year.

Sources:

“Giant Water Bug”, EduWebs
“The Attack of the Giant Water Bug”, Scientific American – The Artful Amoeba Blog
Giant Water Bug”, Beneficials in the Garden
“Giant Water Bug”, Encyclopaedia Britannica
“Giant Water Bug”, Woodland Park Zoo

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Pets and Pests http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/pets-pests/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/pets-pests/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 09:13:41 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5421 You’re not the only one in danger of getting bit this summer. Learn how to help protect your furry friends from mosquito bites with our ultimate guide to pets and pests. Continue reading

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You’re not the only one in danger of getting bit this summer. Learn how to help protect your furry friends from mosquito bites with our ultimate guide to pets and pests. Learn more.

pets_and_pests_graphic_new

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Atlanta Tops Mosquito Cities List http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/atlanta-tops-mosquito-cities-list/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/atlanta-tops-mosquito-cities-list/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:10:24 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5470 Pest control leader Orkin released its top 20 mosquito cities. Nine of the cities on the list are in the southeast, including the top city, Atlanta. Six of the cities are in the Midwest region. Continue reading

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ATLANTA, May 19, 2014 –Pest control leader Orkin released its top 20 mosquito cities. Nine of the cities on the list are in the southeast, including the top city, Atlanta. Six of the cities are in the Midwest region.

The cities are ranked by the number of mosquito treatments the company performed in 2013.

  1. Atlanta
  2. Chicago
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Detroit
  5. Raleigh-Durham
  6. Boston
  7. Houston
  8. Nashville
  9. Charlotte
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth
  11. Richmond-Petersburg
  12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale
  13. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek
  14. Memphis
  15. Columbus, Ohio
  16. Cleveland-Akron
  17. Huntsville-Decatur, Alabama
  18. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  19. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News
  20. Albany-Schenectady-Troy

Mosquitoes are one of the world’s most dangerous pests, affecting humans and animals alike. Internationally, they can transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever through their bites.

In the United States, mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile virus and other illnesses that can cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. In 2013, more than 2,300 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six of Orkin’s top 20 mosquito cities are in states – Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas and New York – that saw some of the highest incidence rates of West Nile in 2013.Mosquito bites can also transmit heartworm disease in pet animals like cats and dogs.

“Temperatures are rising, and that means the mosquito population will soon be on the rise too,” said Orkin Technical Services Director Kim Kelley-Tunis. “There is no telling how large this year’s population will be or how severe the nation’s West Nile virus cases could become. That’s why it’s important for families to start taking precautions against mosquitoes now.” June, July and August are prime mosquito months in most areas due to warmer temperatures, but the season can stretch through October.

Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent mosquitoes around the home:

  • Make sure to apply an EPA-approved insect repellent before heading outside.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants outside at dawn and dusk, which is prime time for mosquito activity.
  • Empty any standing water from bird baths, flower planters as well as toys and playground equipment outside the home to prevent water from collecting. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to breed.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts regularly or cover them with mesh to prevent leaves and debris from collecting and holding water.
  • Eliminate standing water inside the home that may attract mosquitoes to spaces like kitchen sinks and pet bowls.
  • Make sure screens around the home, both on windows and doors, fit tightly and have no holes to keep mosquitoes from making their way into the house.

For more information about mosquito prevention, visit Orkin.com.

About Orkin, LLC

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects. The company operates more than 400 locations with almost 8,000 employees. Using a proprietary, three-step approach, Orkin provides customized services to approximately 1.7 million homeowners and businesses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Orkin is committed to studying pest biology and applying scientifically proven methods. The company collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight major universities to conduct research and help educate consumers and businesses on pest-related health threats. Learn more about Orkin at http://orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL).

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Backyard Sounds http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/backyard-sounds/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/backyard-sounds/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:00:57 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5423 The insects and animals in your backyard all have a distinct way of communicating using sound. Learn by listening and see if you can’t identify what creatures live near you. Continue reading

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The insects and animals in your backyard all have a distinct way of communicating using sound. Learn by listening and see if you can’t identify what creatures live near you. Listen now.

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Flying Stinging Pests http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/flying-stinging-pests/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/flying-stinging-pests/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 09:00:33 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5417 Thin vegetation around the home. Thinning vegetation can help reduce locations that can hide mosquitoes, and bee and wasp nests. Continue reading

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Thin vegetation around the home. Thinning vegetation can help reduce locations that can hide mosquitoes, and bee and wasp nests.

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Landscaping http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/landscaping/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/landscaping/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 09:00:05 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5425 The plants you choose to surround your building and where you place them may attract the wrong kind of company. Learn what types of vegetation to avoid. Continue reading

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Did you know certain types of plants and vegetation around your building can actually encourage pest activity? Learn landscaping tips for how to help prevent and control pests around your building.

 

 

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Summer Buzz: The History of West Nile Virus http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/summer-buzz-history-west-nile-virus/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/summer-buzz-history-west-nile-virus/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 19:54:05 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5401 It’s been over 75 years since the predominantly mosquito-borne virus was discovered in the West Nile region of Uganda; what later became known as West Nile virus (WNV). Continue reading

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It’s been over 75 years since the predominantly mosquito-borne virus was discovered in the West Nile region of Uganda; what later became known as West Nile virus (WNV). Since its inception, WNV has gone from a few isolated instances to a global public health problem — spanning across continents and species. As we look back over the relatively short history of WNV, you’ll discover its seemingly unpredictable patterns make this emerging infections disease particularly concerning.

1937
The first known instance of WNV is discovered in Northern Uganda. The infected woman presented with fever and what we’d later come to understand to be complications with her central nervous system.

1957
An outbreak occurred in a number of nursing home patients in Israel. This marked the first of several outbreaks along the Mediterranean basin throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It was also the first time WNV was linked with the cause of human meningitis and encephalitis.

1950s-early 1970s
Outbreaks similar to Israel’s continued to span across the eastern hemisphere including: France (1962), Russia, Spain, South Africa (1974) and India.

1996
In 1996, WNV began to change course. An outbreak in Bucharest, Romania in 1996 marked the first time a WNV epidemic occurred in an urban area. It’s also the first time a majority of symptoms were linked to central nervous system infection. There was no noted preference to gender, sex or geographical location.

After this occurrence, cases with very similar characteristics to Romania began occurring all over the Middle East and Europe with large outbreaks in Morocco (1996), Tunisia (1997), Italy (1998) and Israel (1998). This increased frequency of outbreaks showed higher cases of central nervous system diseases, more deaths and a trend in elderly patients.

1999
WNV arrived in New York City, making it the first documented case in the western hemisphere. During this outbreak, eight cases were documented within the same 16 square mile radius, where all patients reported recent outdoor activity and all but one developed acute encephalitis. A trend towards cases in patients over 60 years of age surfaced for a second time.

2000 & 2001
After the arrival of WNV in New York City, we witnessed an increase in outbreaks across the northeastern United States in the summer of 2000 — spreading to 38 counties in 10 states by 2001.

2002
The summer of 2002 marked the largest outbreak of West Nile in its US history. The majority of cases were concentrated in Louisiana, Mississippi and Chicago, but people across the entire United States were infected. In total, there were a reported 4,156 cases and 284 deaths. Once again, the elderly represented the most predominant demographic.

Present Day
After the summer of 2002, the number of cases continued to rise, peaking in 2003. Since then, reported cases have been up and down. The most recent peak was in 2012 — reporting a total 5,674 cases and 286 deaths in the US.

According to the Center for Disease Control, as of January 7, 2014, WNV has been reported in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Sources:

“History of West Nile Virus”, Emerging Diseases – Michigan
“West Nile Virus: A Historical Overview”, US National Library of Medicine
“West Nile Virus Disease Cases and Deaths Reported”, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

 

 

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The Mosquito http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/mosquito/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/mosquito/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:00:06 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5393 The mosquito, in all its peskiness, may actually be able to teach us a little something about…savoring the moment. See for yourself. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: Some mosquitoes only live for days, which is why this straw-slurping bloodsucker is eager to “Get the most out of every moment.”

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Are Daddy Longlegs Poisonous? http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/daddy-longlegs-poisonous/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/fact-or-fake/daddy-longlegs-poisonous/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5454 You may have heard it before: if daddy longlegs had bigger mouths, they could kill you with their poisonous venom. But is it scientific fact? Or scientific fake. Watch as we get to the bottom of this age-old question. Continue reading

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We’ve all heard it at some point in our lives. Are daddy longlegs the most poisonous spiders on earth cursed with tiny mouths unable to bite humans? The Orkin Man® has the answer in this episode of “Scientific Fact or Scientific Fake.”

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The Tastiest Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/tastiest-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/top-6/tastiest-bugs/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 09:00:21 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5419 Savory grasshoppers? Protein-rich moths? Sweet tasting stink bugs? Could bugs be the answer to all our culinary desires? You be the judge. Continue reading

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They’re munchy. They’re crunchy. They’re the most delectable bugs people like to eat. It’s Orkin’s “Top 6 Tastiest Bugs.”

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Mosquitos http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/mosquitos/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/mosquitos/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 09:00:21 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5414 Eliminate breeding sites. Empty standing water from objects around the home, including flower pots, buckets, tire swings and children’s wading pools when not in use. Continue reading

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Eliminate breeding sites. Empty standing water from objects around the home, including flower pots, buckets, tire swings and children’s wading pools when not in use.

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Bugs On Vacation: The Inside Scoop http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/bugs-vacation-inside-scoop/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/science-of-bugs/bugs-vacation-inside-scoop/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:50:08 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5397 America, in all her geographical diversity, provides the perfect vacation backdrop for just about anyone. But bug enthusiasts and bug haters alike might be curious to know that some destinations have a reputation for being buggier than others. Continue reading

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America, in all her geographical diversity, is bound to provide the perfect vacation backdrop for just about anyone. But bug enthusiasts and bug haters alike might be curious to know that some destinations have a reputation for being buggier than others. Anywhere you travel in the U.S., you’re going to encounter the occasional bug, but understanding the local landscape and taking proper precautions may decrease your chance of getting bit.

 

“Bug-Free” Vacations

Portland, OR
No bug spray? No problem? It was recently reported that many Portlanders rarely reach for repellant when venturing outdoors. This is great news, considering the abundant gardens and parks Portland has to offer, but we’d recommend being prepared, just in case.

Disney World (Orlando, FL)
As it turns out, the happiest place on earth may actually be one of the most pest-free places on earth, too. Disney World’s advanced Integrated Pest Management system allows them to pull off a rare occurrence in what’s typically revered as the bug-abundant swamplands of Florida.

Colorado Springs, CO
After falling to a significantly lower spot on the list of top bed bug cities last year, this mountainous escape proves to be an ideal destination for the outdoorsy traveller.

Albuquerque, NM
Like many of its Southwest counterparts, Albuquerque is known for its extremely dry climate. And while it’s host to a diverse array of wildlife, you may be less likely to encounter bugs like mosquitoes — which depend on water for breeding.

 

Bug-Abundant Vacations

Tampa, FL
If you plan on visiting one of Tampa’s many theme parks or beaches, you’ll want to go prepared. There’s no way around it, Florida’s ample water sources and mugginess make it a veritable breeding ground for insects.

New Orleans, LA
With its abundance of swampy grasslands and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, this Bayou State is bound to attract a bug or two. But don’t let that keep you from enjoying beignets, jazz music and fascinating history — just remember to pack the bug spray.

Houston, TX
As recently as 2012, Texas reported more cases of West Nile Virus than any other state. A mosquito bite from here is the last souvenir you’ll want to take home with you.

Miami, FL
If you’re expecting a bug-free day on Miami’s famous beaches or strolling down the streets of South Beach, think again. Better pack bug spray to go with your sunscreen.

New York City, NY
With so many people in such a small area, and a booming tourism industry bring in new people all the time, it’s no wonder New York City has received media attention for their bed bugs. But don’t let it deter you from experiencing the many attractions The Big Apple has to offer — just take extra precaution.

 

 

Sources:

“Disney Uses Test Chickens To Help Control Mosquitoes”, The Disney Blog
“Warmer Weather Fuels Bug Season”, SC Johnson Press Room
“Buggiest Cities Infographic”, SC Johnson Press Room
“10 Worst States for Mosquitoes”, Terminix
“Chicago Tops Bed Bug Cities List for Second Year in a Row”, Orkin – Press Room 
“West Nile Virus Disease Cases Reported by State, 1999-2012″ , Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
“Inside Disney World’s Landscaping Army”, National Georgraphic
“It’s Tough to be a Bug in Walt Disney World”, Staten Island Advance

 

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The Caterpillar http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/caterpillar-2/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-wisdom/caterpillar-2/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:43:01 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5395 Where you see leaf damage, the hungry caterpillar sees a plentiful feast. But before you get frustrated, just hear them out. Continue reading

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Orkin presents Bug Wisdom: A squeaky-heeled caterpillar reminds us to “Always tread lightly.”

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Io Moth http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/io-moth/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/bug-of-the-month/io-moth/#comments Sun, 01 Jun 2014 19:26:08 +0000 http://staging.orkinman.orkin.com/?p=5388 Automeris io (Fabricius), commonly referred to as the io moth, is found throughout Northern and Central America. Continue reading

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Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Hemileucinae

 

Snapshot
Automeris io (Fabricius), commonly referred to as the io moth, is found throughout Northern and Central America. They’re most commonly characterized by their long yellow spines, which are armed with a potent chemical defense.

Larvae
During the larval stage, the io moth caterpillar can be identified by its pale green color and a distinguishing red and white stripe. At full maturation, they come in at around 2” in length and are covered with yellow spikey spines that, when touched, are capable of emitting a painful sting.* This is a common chemical defense of this family of caterpillar.

Adulthood
Adulthood begins when the io moth caterpillar emerges from its brown cocoon (pupa stage) as the io moth — typically in late spring. Mating follows almost immediately afterwards. The female io moth will lay her eggs in clumps on a host plant. As they grow, the host plant will become their primary source of food.

An adult io moth wingspan ranges anywhere from two to three inches. While both male and female moths have prominent eyespots on their hindwings, females tend to be larger and darker, with dark, brownish-purple to brownish-red coloring; males have a lighter, yellow coloring. 

Diet
Though adult io moths don’t feed, in larval form, the io moth caterpillar will eat from their host plant. They’re known for their long and diverse list of host trees and shrubs. Here’s just a taste of their culinary preference: azaleas, blackberry, clover, corn, cotton, current, hackberry, hibiscus, mesquite, palms, redbud, roses, willows and pear — the list goes on.

The eyespots on the io moth’s hindwings are more than just beautiful; they’re a defense mechanism. To potential predators, the spots appear to be the eyes of a much larger critter and can help ward off unwanted attacks.

*Reactions to being stung by the io moth caterpillar can vary from slight itching or burning to much more severe. If you encounter one, take proper precautions to avoid getting stung by their spines.

 

 

Sources:

“Butterflies and Moths of North America”, BAMONA
“Io Moth Caterpillar”, HGTV Outdoors
“Stinging Caterpillars: Io Moth”, Florida Poison Information Center – Tampa
“Io Moth”, University of Florida
“Io Moth”, Auburn University

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Christmas Tree Hitchhikers http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/christmas-tree-hitchhikers/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/christmas-tree-hitchhikers/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 22:19:41 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=5165 Ornaments may not be the only thing adorning your Christmas tree this holiday season. Bringing a tree or plant in from the outdoors means potentially bringing in a few unwanted visitors along with it. Christmas may be one of the … Continue reading

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Ornaments may not be the only thing adorning your Christmas tree this holiday season.

Bringing a tree or plant in from the outdoors means potentially bringing in a few unwanted visitors along with it. Christmas may be one of the biggest examples of this, as millions of Americans excitedly bring evergreen trees into their homes for seasonal decoration. In fact, an estimated 25,000 mites, insects and spiders could be sleeping inside your Christmas tree.

Luckily, some of the larger “hitchhikers,” like moths and some spiders, can be removed from your tree before you bring it inside by using a “tree shaker” at the tree lot or by shaking the tree yourself. However, some insects are dormant in the winter months, sound asleep inside the tree. Moving a tree from colder temperatures to the warm interior of your house brings these dormant insects out of the tree and into your home. Sometimes, the change of conditions from outdoors to indoors kills insects on the tree.

Bark beetles are one of the insects you might find in your tree. They leave behind little piles of sawdust around the tree, but will not harm you or your furniture and can be left on the tree or removed and put back outside.

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An estimated 25,000 mites, insects and spiders could be sleeping inside your Christmas tree.

Barklice live in groups under tree bark. Although these insects are beneficial — acting as a cleanup crew for organic matter like fungus and mold — they are still unwanted house guests.

Egg cases for insects like praying mantises and spiders can hatch if the tree is left indoors for several weeks. The sudden change in temperature prompts them to emerge early. If possible, it’s best to find these egg cases and remove them before bringing the tree into your home, but if hatched, the babies will die in a day or two due to a lack of food inside the house.

Check your tree twice before bringing it into your living room, because you may be inviting in some extra guests for the holidays.

Questions and answers about bugs on Christmas trees?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218081830.htm

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The Role of Invasive Insects http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/the-role-of-invasive-insects/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/the-role-of-invasive-insects/#comments Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:45:03 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=5132 Foreign bugs have hugely impacted life in North America. Throughout history, plants and animals, especially humans, have moved to new lands and territories they previously didn’t inhabit — some by accident and some on purpose. When these movements happen, they can … Continue reading

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Foreign bugs have hugely impacted life in North America.

Throughout history, plants and animals, especially humans, have moved to new lands and territories they previously didn’t inhabit — some by accident and some on purpose. When these movements happen, they can impact the new ecosystems in both subtle to drastic ways.

Non-native insect species are sometimes introduced to a new area to help control the population of a pest species. Other species, such as the European honeybee, are imported for commercial reasons, like promoting pollination. Foreign insects also unintentionally find their way to new territories in people’s luggage, on airplanes or through the cargo on a ship. While the new arrivals can have beneficial or benign effects on a habitat, like the honeybee, non-native insects can seriously harm other species, plants or other resources in the area. The Asian tiger mosquito and the Asian long-horned beetle are two great examples of this in North America.

The Asian tiger mosquito doesn’t damage crops or resources, but it does harm other species — including humans. Mosquitos are vectors of several diseases that can be hurtful and sometimes even fatal, like dengue fever and eastern equine encephalitis. So how did the Asian tiger mosquito make its way across the world, ultimately spreading through 25 states in the U.S.? It’s thought to have arrived in Houston, Texas in 1985 in a shipment of tires from Asia. This hardy mosquito found the U.S. to be a great home, and spread all throughout the warmer states.

Although the Asian long-horned beetle doesn’t have a direct negative impact on our health, it does cause the decimation of trees in North America, which indirectly affects humans. This invasive beetle can quickly destroy large areas of forest as it feeds on maple, poplar, willow and elm trees. The infestations have led agencies in Chicago and New York to cut down thousands of infected trees in an effort to control the long-horned beetle population. So how did it get to North America all the way from China? It’s simple: by boring into wood. The beetle arrived here in 1996 by burrowing into solid wood packing material, and it’s been spreading ever since.

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When invasive insects find their way into new territories, the effects can be devastating.

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Invasive species can wreak havoc on new ecosystems that lack the natural predators, diseases and parasites to keep the new populations under control. Of course, it isn’t just insects we worry about. It’s also important never to release any kind of animal, even a pet frog or fish, into a new territory since the unintended consequences can result in lasting impacts on our world.

Learn more about the consequences — and cost — of invasive pest species in the US. 

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Bob Oley: The Ambush of a Questing Tick http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/ambushed-by-a-questing-tick/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/ambushed-by-a-questing-tick/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 19:03:09 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=5009 Ticks are expert at locating the nearest host for a blood meal. When people think about getting bitten by a tick, they probably imagine ticks lurking in the trees, flying dramatically onto unsuspecting hosts. That’s not too far off, but … Continue reading

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Ticks are expert at locating the nearest host for a blood meal. 01_boboley_questingtick_960x500

When people think about getting bitten by a tick, they probably imagine ticks lurking in the trees, flying dramatically onto unsuspecting hosts. That’s not too far off, but since ticks have poor vision, they’ve had to develop other ways of detecting when a warm body is near.

Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that usually attach to the outside of your body for anywhere from a couple of days to more than a week. Ticks survive on blood — although they can live quite a while without a meal. To find blood, they use special sensors located on each of their forelegs, called Haller’s organs. By using these multi-functional structures, they can sense the carbon dioxide we exhale from up to 65 feet away, the heat our bodies give off, the vibrations we make and odors from our bodies.

Most ticks patiently wait a few inches to a few feet above the ground — in leaf litter, on a blade of grass, on brush or on other low lying vegetation. Once they sense that a potential host is near, they assume a questing position with their front forelegs extended. They then can make physical contact with a person or his clothing, disengaging from their ambush site in a split second to scramble onto you — their next meal ticket.

The tick bite itself isn’t the only thing that’s worrisome about ticks. Ticks are vectors — which means they can carry one or more nasty disease causing organisms in their bodies. These diseases are acquired by the tick when it feeds on an infected host, such as a mouse, or transmitted directly from parent tick to the egg, which it then passes along to you through their feeding. Understanding ticks, where they can be found, the diseases they carry and how they can be avoided is vital for humans. If we don’t, we face the very real prospect of becoming another misdiagnosed tick-borne disease statistic, just like the Stone Age human Otzi and the children of Lyme, Connecticut.

Disclaimer: If you are ever bitten by a tick, please be sure to seek appropriate medical attention.

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Bob-Oley1

Bob Oley serves as public health consultant to the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance. He has a graduate degree in public health, and has been involved in public health consulting work for over 30 years. He specializes in tick-borne disease prevention, and has appeared as a prevention authority on national TV and numerous radio shows.

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The Misdiagnosis Of Tick-Borne Disease Throughout History http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/the-misdiagnosis-of-tick-borne-diseases/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/the-misdiagnosis-of-tick-borne-diseases/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 18:59:38 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=5006 Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases have been often misdiagnosed for much longer than you’d imagine. Robert Oley, PE, MSPH, Public Health Consultant to TBDA Meet Otzi, the Iceman. He lived and died 5,300 years ago at the end of … Continue reading

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Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases have been often misdiagnosed for much longer than you’d imagine.

Robert Oley, PE, MSPH, Public Health Consultant to TBDA

Meet Otzi, the Iceman. He lived and died 5,300 years ago at the end of the Stone Age, around 3300 BC. In 1991, his remarkably well-preserved body was discovered frozen in glacial ice by hikers in the Otztal Alps in Italy near the Austrian border.

Since then, the Iceman has been extensively studied by doctors, scientists and medical pathologists. After thawing his body and conducting a myriad of tests, they determined that Otzi was a 45-year-old, brown-eyed adult male when he died, and was approximately 5’ 2’’ tall.

What’s most remarkable about Otzi is that scientists found DNA evidence of the Lyme disease organism (Borrelia bugdorferi) in his hipbone, making him the very first human case of Lyme disease.

When the Iceman trekked about his homeland, it’s suspected he suffered from arthritic joint pain because there was a cross tattoo found on his skin behind his right knee. Through no fault of his own, Otzi couldn’t have correctly diagnosed his arthritic knee condition as being caused by his Lyme disease. Sadly, he wasn’t going to get the pain relief he was hoping for from the remedy of his tattoo.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (1975)

Fast forward from 3300 B.C. to 1975, when a group of children in the area of Lyme, Conn. were — as was later learned — misdiagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis), a disease distinguished by painful swelling of the joints. What made this concentration of cases so unusual and disconcerting was that it represented an incidence of the disease 100 times greater than you might ordinarily expect in the general population.

After rigorous study over a six-year period by doctors and researchers alike, the cause of this misdiagnosed condition was discovered to be a tick-borne infection caused by a specific type of bacteria. In 1982, this newfound pathogen was given the genus and species designation of Borrelia burgdorferi, aptly named after its discoverer, medical entomologist Willy Burgdorfer.  The disease it caused was given the name Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease, the New Great Imitator

Lyme disease is called the new “Great Imitator.” Wondering what the old “Great Imitator” was? Syphillis. Both diseases are nicknamed this because they’re multi-systemic diseases that mimic so many other disease conditions that they’re usually not diagnosed early. This gives them time to spread to most every part of the body, from the brain and central nervous system to the heart, muscles, bones and joints.

There are well over 100 possible symptoms associated with Lyme disease, which is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to diagnose. Misdiagnosis also happens because the tests used can be misleading and unreliable. To make matters worse, you can simultaneously be infected with more than one tick-borne disease, such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonella, mycoplasma, Powassan virus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever — which adds further confusion to an already challenging diagnosis.

Soon after a deer tick bite, you may get a rash and have vague flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, muscle ache, stiff neck and swollen lymph nodes. As Lyme disease progresses, you could also feel extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain, chronic headaches, sleep disturbances, allergies, stomach pain, ear ringing, blurred vision, sensitivity to sounds and smells, facial numbness, tingling, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, memory impairment and lack of concentration.

The root of various conditions and diseases can sometimes be traced back to a tick bite and Lyme disease. These can include fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, eating disorders, arthritis, Bell’s palsy, dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Tourette syndrome.

Disclaimer: If you are ever bitten by a tick, please be sure to seek appropriate medical attention.


Bob-Oley1

Bob Oley serves as public health consultant to the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance. He has a graduate degree in public health, and has been involved in public health consulting work for over 30 years. He specializes in tick-borne disease prevention, and has appeared as a prevention authority on national TV and numerous radio shows.

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A Visual Mapping of the World’s Scariest and Deadliest Insects http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/visual-mapping-scariest-and-deadliest-insects/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/visual-mapping-scariest-and-deadliest-insects/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 20:32:30 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=4961 We may spend our days admiring insects, but others have come to fear them — and rightfully so. Learn why some of the insects we’ve come to love can actually be quite scary and in some cases, deadly.

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We may spend our days admiring insects, but others have come to fear them — and rightfully so. Learn why some of the insects we’ve come to love can actually be quite scary and in some cases, deadly.

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Rising Temperatures: Why Warmer Weather Means More Bugs http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/warmer-weather-means-more-bugs/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/warmer-weather-means-more-bugs/#comments Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:34:37 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=4849 As temperatures rise around the world, many bugs are finding new places to thrive. Humans may debate the causes of any climate changes, but insects are always adapting to changes in the climate. Humans can turn up the air conditioner … Continue reading

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As temperatures rise around the world, many bugs are finding new places to thrive.

Humans may debate the causes of any climate changes, but insects are always adapting to changes in the climate. Humans can turn up the air conditioner to combat the sun’s heat, but that doesn’t shelter us from the effects climate change has on our food and health, particularly changes caused by other organisms in our ecosystem. During the length of one human life, insects have many generations, which means they have a greater chance of adapting to climate change.

The lives of many animals revolve around temperature. Warmer temperatures allow certain pests to expand their habitats into what once were inhospitable, cooler climates. During the winter months, many species spend time underground waiting for spring to arrive. When winter’s mild and spring arrives early, so do the bugs. A warm winter allows frost-sensitive bugs to remain healthy, and warmer temperatures overall let them reach peak reproductive success and rates of growth.

Like butterflies, insects need their internal body temperatures to reach a certain temperature before they can fly. With warmer mornings, insects can begin feeding earlier and for more hours in the day. Farmers caught off-guard by the early emergence, number and new species of insects can experience decimated crops.

Unfortunately, warmer temperatures are also good for invasive, destructive insects that thrive in hotter climates, like the bagworm and the European corn borer. Because a healthy ecosystem is connected in an intricate web of life, when one animal changes its behavior it can have a profound impact on the rest of the community.  If the insects arrive earlier than usual, the migratory birds flying to the area may be a few weeks too late for a much-needed dinner. The food source that normally awaits them may be dispersed and the birds that historically helped limit the growth of the pest population through predation are unable to do their part.

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Certain species of mosquitoes are attracted to smelly feet and the CO2 we exhale.


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Warmer climates and expanded insect territories don’t just affect our food supply — they can cause an increase in the spread of insect-borne diseases. A cold winter is one of the best ways to control insect populations, since a good frost will kill off many insects quickly and efficiently.  When there’s no cold winter, arthropods — like mosquitos, ticks and sand flies — multiply substantially. Since these insects are capable of transferring diseases to humans, the more bugs the more potential for disease.

Mosquitos, the notorious carrier of malaria, West Nile virus and other diseases, are spreading to higher elevations where temperatures are now more hospitable. Warmer weather also boosts their reproductive rates, leading to more feasting by female mosquitoes and therefore more chances of transmitting malaria and other diseases.

Click for a video about the Malaria vaccine.

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A Long History of Healing: Insects in Medicine http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/a-history-of-healing-insects-in-medicine/ http://www.orkin.com/blog/uncategorized/a-history-of-healing-insects-in-medicine/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 19:00:03 +0000 http://ecologist.orkin.com/?p=4813 Insects play a major role in the research and development of medicines. See how they’ve influenced the field throughout history.

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Insects play a major role in the research and development of medicines. See how they’ve influenced the field throughout history. InsectMedicinev4

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