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Termites Can Reveal How Our Ancestors Migrated Across Earth

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:58 pm December 14, 2017

Termites Can Reveal How Our Ancestors Migrated Across Earth

The regions of earth where modern termite species dwell has raised many interesting questions for scientists. Pinpointing modern termite habitats is not difficult. Scientists know where certain termite species exist today. However, signs of prehistoric termite activity have been discovered in regions where certain termite species are no longer located. In these situations it seems clear that certain termite species had, at some point, migrated to new regions of the globe where they are still active today. This is not necessarily unusual, as climatic conditions on earth have changed dramatically in the past. These past climatic changes have forced all animal species, living and extinct, to relocate to more hospitable environments. But you would not expect tiny insects to be capable of traveling great distances, especially over large bodies of water. The subterranean termite species known as Macrotermes gilvus is active in southeast Asia. At some point in the distant past, these termites managed to reach islands such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. So how did termites travel across the ocean? The answer to that question has also helped researchers understand how our human ancestors migrated to different parts of the world thousands, and even millions of years ago.

Today sea levels are much higher than they were when mankind’s early ancestors walked the earth. Due to lower sea levels, there once existed ancient land masses that connected modern islands with mainland continents. The Macrotermes gilvus termite species traveled these land masses to their farthest reaches over many thousands of years. These termites remained there after sea levels rose above the connective land masses. Researchers have recently found genetic evidence of these particular ancient termite migrations. Genetic markers in modern Macrotermes gilvus termites reveal the migratory routes taken by these termites when they dispersed two million years ago from a region that is now located in mainland Myanmar. Experts believe that our humanoid ancestors also took advantage of these land masses when searching for more agreeable habitats. These ancient land bridges have long been the go-to explanation for the modern existence of termites on islands. But only recently has this assumption been backed up by hard science.

Do you think it would have taken thousands of years and many generations of gradual travel for termites to reach areas of land that are now islands?

Economists Put A Price Tag On The Recent And Dramatic Loss Of Insect Life

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:17 pm December 13, 2017

Economists Put A Price Tag On The Recent And Dramatic Loss Of Insect Life

By now you are probably aware that insect populations around the world have decreased tremendously over the past three decades. There is no reason to believe that insect populations are not still decreasing. There have been plenty of indicators suggesting that this shortage of insects is a global issue. However, researchers in Germany have proven that insects are far less numerous in Europe today than they were thirty years ago. This loss of insect life is troubling considering how important insects are to the ecosystem as well as to the global economy. In Germany, for example, bees are important farm animals. In fact, bees are considered just as important as hogs or cattle when it comes to food production in Central Europe. What economic consequences will the world face if bees and other forms of insect life disappear entirely? The idea of bees, and other economically important insects, becoming extinct is a possibility that is now being entertained by experts. One particular association that was formed by the European Union is tasked with assigning a monetary value to natural occurrences. This association is known as the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). Officials working for TEEB are now attempting to calculate the economic costs of the potentially disastrous insect decline.

In the Chinese province of Sichuan apple trees are numerous, and farmers harvest apples in this region for national distribution. Before the apple trees bear fruit, bees must pollinate a wealth of white flowers that grow from the trees. The only problem is that all of the bees are now gone. This means farmers are forced to knock the flowers around with a pole in order to knock pollen loose, thus facilitating the process of pollination. Similar scenarios will soon become a reality in many other parts of the world. In order for TEEB to accurately attach a monetary value to the dramatic loss of insects, the impact of the loss will have to be applied to each agricultural product that results from insect activity.

In Germany massive amounts of honey are sold to consumers. In 2016 Germans spent three hundred and eighty seven million dollars on honey. But with much fewer bees, honey will become more scarce and prices will increase by a massive amount. TEEB is now attempting to calculate the labor costs of using humans as pollinators as opposed to bees. These costs would be enormous, as the agricultural work performed by insects is worth one hundred and fifty billion dollars per year globally. Without pollinating insects, most farms would not be able to afford the costs of hiring human labor to fill the roles that have always been occupied by pollinating insects.

Do you believe that the disastrous trend concerning insect population levels will change for the better at some point?

The Tick-Borne Disease That You Have Never Heard Of Can Kill

Filed under: Tick Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:08 pm December 12, 2017

The Tick-Borne Disease That You Have Never Heard Of Can Kill

In many countries around the world, mosquitoes are the most dangerous disease spreading bugs. However, in the United States, mosquitoes are forced to take a back seat to another dangerous bug–ticks. Although ticks are not technically insects, the diseases that they spread to humans and other animals are nevertheless often, and incorrectly, referred to as insect-borne diseases. Ticks are, of course, arachnids. It would be accurate to refer to both mosquito and tick-borne diseases as “vector-borne diseases”.

Nearly all adult Americans are familiar with lyme disease. And it is also well known that disease spreading ticks are most active in the northeast region of the US. Despite rarely hearing of people falling victim to tick-borne diseases in western regions of the country, there is one tick-borne disease that is only spread within western US states. The disease is referred to as tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF). This disease is rare and not well known among the American public.

Tick-borne relapsing fever is contracted by people who are located west of the Mississippi River. The Majority of cases are reported in regions farther west of the Rocky Mountains. The disease is caused by a bacteria belonging to the spirochete species. This particular bacterial species also causes syphilis. In cases that are left untreated, TBRF can be fatal.

Tick-borne relapsing fever causes infected individuals to experience repeated bouts of fever, nausea, muscle weakness, chills, lethargy, vomiting, headaches, joint pain, and abdominal pain. Sometimes, the disease can disappear on its own in healthy individuals. However, the symptoms are so unpleasant that most infected individuals will visit a physician.

The first bout of illness occurs around seven days after the initial tick bite. The symptoms then last three to seven days. An infected individual can then remain asymptomatic for up to two weeks before symptoms return. These bouts of flu-like illness are most often repeated three to five times, but some people reexperience the symptoms up to ten times. The sooner treatment is sought, the sooner symptoms will disappear.

The ticks that spread the disease-causing bacteria are referred to as Ornithodoros turicata ticks. Amazingly, these ticks can continue to transmit the dangerous bacteria for up to seven years without a blood-meal.

Have you ever heard of someone, whether it be on the news or elsewhere, contracting tick-borne relapsing fever?

Does Great Britain Ever See Termite Infestations?

Filed under: Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:33 am December 11, 2017

Does Great Britain Ever See Termite Infestations?

Given the amount of destruction caused by termites in the United States, it is hard to believe that a few of our European neighbors never have to worry about termite infestations. Some countries are lucky to not count any native termites as members of their native insect populations. For example, Great Britain is not home to any native species of termites. Despite Great Britain’s long history of international trade, non-native termite pests have never infiltrated the country….Almost never, that is. Back in the 1990s a non-native termite pest species managed to infest a forested region in the Island country.

Before 1998 termites had never been found within Great Britain’s borders. When the destructive insect pests were discovered, government officials panicked. Citizens of Great Britain were among the few populations in the world that had never had to face the steep economic costs that are associated with termite activity. In response to the termite presence, government officials recruited the brightest minds in entomology from all over the world in order to rid Britain of its pest problem, and to keep Britain termite-free. The scientists used baited termite traps to quickly eradicate the termite threat. They thought that they had succeeded. Once May of 2001 rolled around, the termite eradication method in Britain was officially declared a victory. Since then, scientists have been monitoring the region with sophisticated pest control technology. Of course, termites were found once again in the country, but this time in 2010. The termites were found in a monitoring device. Amazingly, these termites likely belonged to the same population that had existed in the region nine years prior. Researchers thought that a few small termite colonies had never come into contact with the traps. This is likely why government officials refused to quit the termite monitoring program until ten years had passed without an infestation. The small termite population likely wound up in Britain as a result of transporting exotic plants within the country’s borders.

Do you believe that Great Britain is currently home to more termite populations that are unknown to researchers?

The White House Is Infested With Roaches And Ants

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:25 pm December 8, 2017

The White House Is Infested With Roaches And Ants

Any old house is going to have some issues with pests. However, you may expect the White House to be an exception to this rule. After all, hasn’t the White House been renovated several times over the course of its long history since it is the President’s own personal home. The White House may be safe from many threats, but it looks like insect pests are not one of them. Multiple news outlets are reporting about the roach and ant infestation that is currently grossing out the President and many of his subordinates. President Trump is likely not surprised to learn of this infestation since he reportedly referred to the White House as a “dump” near the start of his presidential term.

Apparently the White House has been infested with insect pests several times in the past. Even Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, experienced roach infestations during his eight year stay in the White House. Perhaps the current infestations of roaches and ants are not new. President Trump has not been the only one to complain about the insect pest problems. Officials working in the West and East Wings have filed hundreds of requests for building fixes to the U.S. General Services Administration. According to news sources in Washington DC, the White House has a long history of pest infestations of all types during its two century existence.

Earlier in 2017 the Office of the Chief of Staff located in the West Wing had become infested with ants. The National Security Council also reported insect issues back in August. When it comes to eradicating insects located in the West Wing’s Press Lobby, politicians are not joking around. A short written request to have this area cleared of roaches and ants read: “PLEASE CHECK BASEMENT AND GROUND BOOTH FOR ANTS AND ROACHES.” Altogether there are more than two hundred and fifty four written requests for building fixes. Many of these requests involve small fixes, but more than you would like to think involve insect pest control. Even back in 1945 President Harry Truman joked about the White House’s poor condition. Apparently, the White House has not been fully renovated since the 1950s, so maybe a few pest inspections are in order.

Have you ever lived in an old house that saw more insect pest invasions than usual?

Termite Mounds Have A Special Chamber For The Royal Couple

Filed under: Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:11 pm December 7, 2017

Termite Mounds Have A Special Chamber For The Royal Couple

It is good to know that some termites are not attracted to the wood in our homes. Many termites prefer to inhabit mounds where fungi are grown for sustenance. Some mound building termites are not considered pests at all. Most mound building termites that are considered pests do not destroy wood; instead many termite pests that live in mounds destroy certain crops. There are no mound building termite species residing in the United States, but most other continents in the world have an abundance of different mound types.

Termites mounds are like cities that never stop undergoing construction. Most of you probably know that termite mounds are built in a manner that allows for internal climate control. However, most people are not aware that termite mounds are like palaces that contain many different chambers. Some of these chambers are dedicated to growing fungal crops, while other chambers store harvested fungi. There are also chambers that store eggs. And of course there is a royal chamber. The royal chamber obviously houses the queen and king termites. These mounds are intricate and technologically complicated even when it comes to human understanding. But for termites, the mound is an enormous temperature controlled city that lies beyond the limits of an individual termite’s understanding.

Although a termite mound may look indestructible, the walls of a mound are marked with numerous holes. These holes take in outside air. The air becomes warm as it travels through the mound. The warm air rises and is expelled through a chimney where the air is immediately cooled by outside air. This causes the air to drop back down into the mound. This cooled air then circulates through the mound. The circulation process repeats and it keeps the temperature in the mound cool and constant. Fungal gardens are cultivated in order to feed the mass amount of termites living within a mound. The constant temperature within the mound is a must for the proper cultivation of fungal crops.

Worker termites will often venture up to the royal chamber in order to take the queen’s eggs to a nearby nursery. The workers then clean these eggs. The eggs are fed compost until reaching adulthood. The bottom of the nest extends six feet below the ground where temperatures are particularly cool. This area is called “the cellar”. The cellar’s ceiling is thin so that moisture from the above structures can be absorbed and evaporated quickly, which further cools the cellar. These mounds can house up to millions of termites at a time.

Have you ever seen a termite mound while vacationing in another country?

Watch for Pests When Decking the Halls

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:44 pm December 6, 2017

Watch for Pests When Decking the Halls

Horizon Pest Control advises homeowners to thoroughly inspect holiday décor and greenery to prevent winter pest problems

For many people, it just isn’t the holiday season until their home has been properly adorned with twinkling lights, wreathes, trees and family-favorite items of décor. However, Horizon Pest Control reminds eager homeowners of the importance of thoroughly inspecting holiday decorations, especially greenery, for signs of pests before decking the halls.

Decorating the home is always a great way to get in to the spirit of the season, but pests such as spiders, ants and even rodents can easily hitch a ride indoors if boxes and greenery are not thoroughly inspected.  We tend to receive a lot of calls this time of year from homeowners dealing with spiders and rodents. With all the friends and family people host for the holidays, a pest infestation is the last thing they need to be worried about.

Hand-cut Christmas trees and other fresh greenery frequently house insects, spiders and their eggs. Boxes of decorations that have sat in storage during the past year, if not properly sealed, can become infested with rodents and their droppings.

Horizon Pest Control offers the following tips for preventing pests in holiday décor:

  • Shake off trees, wreaths and garlands and carefully inspect them for pests or eggs that may be hiding in the branches before bringing them inside.
  • If copying a DIY natural decoration from Pinterest or other craft site, thoroughly inspect all foliage and greenery outside the home before beginning projects.
  • Store firewood on a raised structure that is located at least 20 feet away from the home and brush off wood before bringing it indoors.
  • After pulling decorations out of storage, unpack them outdoors to check for pests, such as mice. Look inside boxes for rodent droppings or gnaw marks, especially on strings of lights to ensure the wiring is fully intact.
  • When storing décor after the holiday season, use durable, sealed containers that pests can’t chew through instead of cardboard boxes or plastic bags.

A Rare Tick Finding Has Public Health Officials Concerned

Filed under: Tick Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:39 pm December 4, 2017

A Rare Tick Finding Has Public Health Officials Concerned

Although mosquitoes transmit the greatest amount of insect-borne diseases worldwide, ticks spread more disease than mosquitoes do within the United States. This may be shocking to some, but for those who live in the northeast US, this information is probably not news. However, even for people living in the northeast, the recent discovery of an exceptionally rare tick in the region has the public, as well as public health officials concerned. The tick is known as the east Asian tick, and this species has only been spotted a few times on American soil. This rare species was discovered in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Wildlife officials in the area are urging anyone who spots the tick to notify them immediately. The Secretary of Agriculture in New Jersey also confirmed the rare tick find on Wednesday. The east Asian tick was found in a Hunterdon County farm. This particular species is also referred to as the bush tick or the longhorned tick.

The east Asian tick is a known pest to deer and it is notorious for having a wide host range, therefore it can infect a variety of wildlife species, and humans can fall ill from its bite as well. The tick is particularly dangerous to livestock including cattle, sheep, goats and farmed deer. This rare tick is known for spreading a disease to cattle that is known as theileriosis. This disease causes anemia and sometimes death.

Although this tick is hard to detect during its larval and nymphal stages, this tick grows to the size of a pea when engorged with blood. This tick is not yet known to spread tick-borne diseases among residents of New Jersey, but that certainly does not indicate that this tick is harmless. This tick species is associated with multiple tick-borne diseases in other parts of the world where it is native. So it would be a mistake to assume that a bite from the east Asian tick is benign. The east Asian tick is not known to inhabit the US, but these ticks have been spotted in shipping containers in port cities several times in the past.

Do you think that east Asian ticks are more numerous in the United States than is currently assumed?

The Cockroaches That Can Survive Frigid Temperatures

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:51 pm December 1, 2017

The Cockroaches That Can Survive Frigid Temperatures

New York City is already notorious for its large cockroach population, so the last thing the city needs in another cockroach species. But a few years back, a particularly odd cockroach was discovered in the city, and it is not even native to North America. The species is known as Periplaneta japonica. What makes these roaches odd is their ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures. No cockroach ever discovered has showed this same non-freezing ability. In fact, this new roach can survive at temperatures that would kill all other roach species.

This peculiar specimen was discovered by a pest control professional at the High Line Park on Manhattan’s West Side. The exterminator did not know what to think of the strange pest, as he had never seen any roach like it before. So he took it to an entomology department in order to have it identified. Rutgers insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista were amazed to see the insect, and they succeeded in properly identifying the specimen as the Periplaneta japonica. These roaches do not require the cold weather, as they can survive in both hot and cold environments.

According to Ware, nymphs of these roaches were reared in a Japanese lab twenty years ago in order to determine how well they could tolerate dwelling within snow. During the following years this species proceeded to invade the rest of Japan and much of China. The roach gradually became generally known for its ability to withstand cold climates. This roach is well suited to a city like New York where food is plentiful, and both hot and cold seasons occur. Experts believe that this roach arrived in New York by hitching rides within the soil of ornamental plants. Luckily these roaches will likely not proliferate to a large extent due to intense competition with roaches already existing in New York City.

Have you ever spotted a roach skittering on the cold streets during a New York winter? Do you think these roaches will outcompete their more typical relatives?

Termite Infestations May Lead To Mass Demolitions

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:26 pm November 30, 2017

Termite Infestations May Lead To Mass Demolitions

If you have never experienced a termite infestation in your home, then you probably know someone who has. Termite infestations are common in every American state except for Alaska. If you are not a homeowner, then you can spare yourself the fear of a possible termite infestation. If you are a homeowner, then you know that a termite infestation could leave you broke if it is not detected quickly enough. This is why termite inspections are always necessary in order to save money in the long run. According to a recent survey, a whopping eighty four percent of homeowners have experienced a pest infestation within the past twelve months. The same survey found that eighty percent of homeowners are worried about a possible pest infestation, and termites were among the most feared of all pests.

In Kansas City, Missouri the roof of a house recently caved in. Once firefighters arrived on the scene it was determined that the collapse was caused by a termite infestation. This particular house is just one of many damaged houses in the city that will have to be demolished by the local government. However, the recent collapse occurred at a home made of bricks. This proves that non-wood constructed homes are also vulnerable to termite infestations, as some parts of a house made of bricks must contain wooden materials. The owner of the termite-damaged home has said that he wants to have the necessary repairs done, but the city has added the house to a long list of other damaged homes that need to be demolished. The demolition list now includes three hundred and fifty houses in Kansas City. It is not known how many of these houses have become damaged by termites. However, pest control experts have noted similarly damaged homes near the site of the recent collapse.

Do you find it hard to believe that hundreds of homes in one city could have become damaged by termites?

 

 

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