A problem that is taking over various regions caused desertification, may have found one true benefit to termites. That is quite a sentence isn’t it?  Desertification is what happens after animals have grazed and the groundwater recourses in an area have been depleted. Scientists may have found an answer to the problem.

Termite mounds could make these areas less susceptible to desertification. Termites make tunnels in the soil which better allows water penetration, which in turn makes the soil easier to grow plants in. One study says that because the termites burrow through the soil, it allows rainwater to better penetrate as if there were actually more rain.

While termites may be great for the desert, they can wreak havoc on your home. They can go undetected if you are unaware of the signs of an infestation. They will destroy your home from the inside out by actually burrowing through the main beams and any other wood source. Chances are if you see one or two, thousands of their family members are out of sight making a comfortable home in your house.

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Don’t let the beautiful wings fool you | The tarantula hawk

The tarantula hawk is a beautiful insect. It has amazing copper wings that carry its body through the desert in search of its prey. However, don’t let the majesty of its beauty fool you. These insects have a sting that will cause so much pain, according to one scientist, the only thing you can do is lay down and scream in pain.

The tarantula hawk is actually a species of wasp that lives primarily in the south west regions. Thankfully the pain of the sting only lasts about three minutes, but it is suggested if you get stung to just lay down because not very many people would be able to function in that amount of pain without hurting themselves or others.

Typically, the wasp will only attack tarantulas and aren’t aggressive towards humans. That is of course unless they feel threatened. Then they will unleash their stings of fury. They will paralyze the tarantula, and then drag them into their dens. They will also lay their eggs strategically around the food source as to not have to hunt as often. Sometimes they will much on their prey for up to three weeks.

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Now that is a termite infestation!

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of your ceiling collapsing right on top of you. Now, if that image isn’t bad enough, add to the image thousands of termites which are to blame for the collapse falling into to bed with you.

This scenario happened recently to an elderly woman. Plaster and wood pinned her to her bed and trapped her from the waist down. Thankfully she had a call alert button so ambulance crews were able to rescue her with minimal human harm. That cannot be said for her home. One pest control company calling this situation one of the worst infestations he had ever seen.

A total infestation can happen in no time. Most people get their houses inspected regularly by a reliable pest control company. However in this case, the woman had not had her home inspected since her husband died a few years previously. Even though she is surrounded by friends and loved ones, no one thought to look for this sort of thing.

The damage caused is extensive and will not be covered by her homeowners insurance. Most insurances companies do not cover termite damage. The most important thing to keep in mind is you don’t know until it’s too late. Preventing through inspection and early treatment is the only deterrent.

For more information on termites, please click here.

Typically when you think of gentle giants, you think of large ominous creature that lurks around but really doesn’t do any harm.     In the spider world that translates directly to a tarantula. These beautiful spiders do not have a menacing fearsome character and to many they are actually the teddy bear of the spider world.

Tarantulas like coming out when the weather is cooler and dark. They may be hairy but they are harmless and typically if they are out and about wandering they are looking for food or a mate. They can grow to be up to four inches in length, and they are venomous. The venom isn’t deadly but you may just choose to walk around instead of harming the gentle giant.

There are several ways you can eliminate a tarantula if one appears in or around your home. Because they are docile really the only harm they will cause is the creepy crawly fear when you see them. You can choose to call your local pest control company to remove and analyze your home for a strategy for eliminating future issues. The other option of course is to catch and release. You can slide a piece of paper under the tarantula, place it in a container and take it outside releasing it back to the wild.

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Ants and your iPhone

Sounds like science fiction, right? Controlling ants with your iPhone; it’s not science fiction however it is reality. A new video has emerged showing just that. Ants circling around the iPhone as it begins to vibrate on the ground.

Ants form their lines and trails based on pheromones left by their colony mates. Ant mills are when the ants get caught in their own trails, similar to a dog chasing its own tail. Ants moving in a circular motion marching one by one; the blind leading the blind in the circle until they die. The video of the ants and the iPhone shows what seem to be the ants beginning this pattern once the phone receives a call. Is it the vibration that is causing the ant loop or something more? Scientists have done tests and have found that electromagnet radiation can influence an ant’s behavior. Begging the question, can they actually be trained? Of course that training would be with something more substantial than an iPhone.

Other scientists call the research insufficient to make a conclusive determination. They also site that ants in the wild will do the same behaviors at random times. After a rainstorm, if their colony is washed away, ants being the working team they are will sometimes take that to extreme causing the ant mills.

For more information on ants or to see the video please click here

It’s a bee invasion!

One common question asked this time of year is what can I do about all of the bees around my house? These flying pests are at their peak as they have used the spring to reproduce, and are now on the hunt for food for the colony. The colonies in the fall, have reached almost their max capacity and there is a lot of food needed. This is what makes bees particularly abundant.

Bees do serve a very important role in the world as they have been marked as the biggest pollinators of plants and vegetables. They are also one of the few insect species that will live throughout the winter as long as mites or other coolly collapse disorders don’t invade their homes. Bees typically will stick to themselves unless they feel threatened. Then they will sting and what a mighty sting that can be.

The human and bee problem arise when bees make their colony too closely to a human populated area.  If you happen to come across ground nesting bees, be on the lookout so you can avoid that area in the future. If you come across a bees nest in your tree, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Call your local pest control company and have them come up with a removal strategy.

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Ouch! Do I need a doctor?

You were out and about and ended up with an annoying new bug bite. But how do you know when it’s time to go to a doctor over the bite? How do you know if you are allergic?

As a blanket statement, most of the time bug bites aren’t serious. But if you notice things like signs of infection, it may be time to seek out a doctor or dermatologist. Sometimes the bite will become infected due to your reaction. If you have a mosquito bite, for instance, try your hardest not to scratch at it. Scratching will break the skin allowing infection to set in. If you notice infection, wash it carefully and use an antiseptic to clean the area.

It’s also important to notice allergic reactions. After all, we don’t know we are allergic until we receive that first bite or sting. The signs of allergic reaction can range from simple swelling all the way to anaphylactic shock. Typically allergies to bees are the worst. If you are stung by a bee or wasp, and notice signs of swelling of lips, eyelids or throat, you may have an allergy and need a trip to the emergency room.

For more information on allergic reactions to bee stings please click here

Danger in the desert

Mosquitoes are known to carry West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever, however in Arizona; the mosquitos are also now carrying St. Louis Encephalitis. The symptoms are similar to that of West Nile, flu like headache and muscle ache and sometimes the virus can invade the brain and spinal cord. Although it is rare, West Nile can cause paralysis and even death.

With the possibilities and outcomes, these mosquitoes are particularly dangerous to the elderly, small children and those with chronic illnesses. There is no treatment or cure for either of the diseases St. Louis Encephalitis or West Nile Virus. Prevention is absolutely vital.

How do you prevent those pesky mosquito bites that could be deadly? Well, less skin is always better; covering yourself with long sleeves and pants are an option, but not really a great one in the heat of Arizona. Instead of being a walking sweat lodge, you can try some natural choices like oil of lemon eucalyptus or lemon extract. You can also choose to use Deet or another spray on pesticide. Mosquitos breed in standing water, so make sure you keep buckets upside down and away from homes. Also clean out your bird baths and outdoor dog bowl to prevent the reproduction of more mosquitos.

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Shoo fly, don’t bother me!

It is that time of year. The cooler summer days where insects of all kinds are thriving; they are in the highpoint of their lives and we are but mere humans living among them. Is there a natural way to keep your patio clear of the unwanted pests?

Lemongrass can be a beautiful piece to plant along your patio that also can be a natural deterrent for mosquitoes and fleas. Lemon grass is easy to plant, easy to take care of, and can even be grown in containers giving you the ability to move the line of where you choose to draw. Herbs like basil, mint and oregano are also natural deterrents to keep flies and mosquitoes away. Because so much of their lives depend on their sense of smell, anything planted that can confuse their senses with high aromas will help keep them away. Citronella candles, scented oils, and the tropical smells omitted by outdoor candles will ward off the annoyance of mosquitoes during your outdoor dinner parties. Not only do they not like the intense heat given off by these flames, the smell again confuses them, causing them to move on; hopefully to your annoying neighbor’s back yard.

If you have an issue with mosquitoes, flies or other household pests, call your local pest control company to come formulate a strategy to combat the issue.

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Flesh eating beetles!?

Have you heard of flesh eating beetles? They are nasty critters that go after any dead animal

that may be lying around your yard or if you are a hunter, they may invade your prize. So just how quickly do they work? In a controlled environment, they can strip a skull in less than two days. These flesh eating beetles are interesting because they move quickly and if conditions suit them well, they can even fly.

These beetles have become popular with taxidermists because they do all the work with very little to no cost. Beetles will not eat hair and skin, but they will work methodically to clean the skull of a kill of every ounce of muscle and flesh once the head is dried. They are particular however; they do not like overly warm or decaying flesh.  One taxidermist attributes the flesh eating beetles to their ability to produce museum style mounts calling it “Nature’s way of cleaning up after itself.”

The actual name for the flesh eating beetles is Dermestid. They procreate in just a matter of days and only tend to live for half a year in prime conditions.

For more information on flesh eating beetles, please click here

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