Magawa, a landmine detection rat whose work in Cambodia has transformed the lives of that country’s citizens, has been awarded the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) Gold Medal for his life-saving bravery and devotion to duty.
An African giant pouched rat, Magawa is trained to detect landmines by APOPO, a Belgian-based anti- personnel landmine removal charity. He’s discovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance to date, making him the charity’s most successful “HeroRAT.” During his career he has helped clear more than 141,000 square meters of land.
Cambodia estimates that between 4 and 6 million landmines were laid in the country between 1975 and 1998, which have sadly caused more than 64,000 casualties.
Magawa is the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history of honoring animals to receive a PDSA Medal – joining a lineup of brave dogs, horses, pigeons and a cat. Watch a CNN video about Magawa at cnn.it/3e3RZpC.
When Pests and Wildlife Intersect: How to Identify and Treat for Bat Bugs
At some point in your career you are going to be asked if you suspect that your client may have bat bugs and not bed bugs. There are a number of ways you may find or suspect bat bugs. You or your technician may have been servicing the home for what “appear” to be bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, and the issue just isn’t getting resolved. A thorough home inspection may have identified bats in the attic, soffits or other gaps and after evicting the bats there are now bat bugs moving into the living spaces of the structure. The client may even divulge that they currently have or recently had an issue with bats in the home. The client may be stressed and/or concerned as they have heard odd rustling and high-pitched chirps and/or squeaks in the early hours of the night. Regardless of how you get to the thought that your client may have bat bugs, there are several steps you need to take to resolve and control the pest.
BEHAVIOR & IDENTIFICATION. One of the first indications that you may be dealing with bat bugs can be discovered through a conversation with the client. The recent or current presence of bats and the location of the bugs can help guide you toward a decision. Other tell-tale signs of bat bugs include: 1. Seeing them along wall/ceiling junctions, in draperies, or around ceiling light fixtures and air vents along walls but not in beds and/or upholstered furniture. 2. No one in the home is reporting being bitten. This second point is important as there are 92 species of Cimicids. Cimex lectularius is the only cimicid that commonly occurs in the United States and uses humans as its primary host (food source). There are several cimicids that use animals as their primary host: the Eastern, C. adjunctus; and Western, C. pilosellus, bat bug species are the two most commonly encountered in structure. These two conditions while not enough for confirmation, should lead you to strongly suspect bat bugs rather than bed bugs.
While the behaviors and presence of bats can indicate that the client has bat bugs, the key to developing all pest management strategies is to confirm the identification of “it.” Bat bugs and bed bugs look nearly identical to the naked eye as they have similar color, shape and size. The best way to confirm if “it” is a bed bug or bat bug is to get a close-up photo of the pronotum, located immediately behind the head. Look at the hairs on the pronotum. If they are longer than the width of the eye then you have bat bugs. It may sound difficult to get a photo from the field that can help confirm identification. Today’s technology and advances in cellphone cameras and the inexpensive portable or digital microscopes make it easy to get a great photo and confirm identification. Collecting samples is strongly encouraged, so a proper ID can be made if the photos are not sufficient for positive identification, especially if the bugs are neither bat bugs nor bed bugs but instead turn out to be another species.
BAT EVICTION. Bat bugs are intimately tied to bats and preventing bats from entering the home or business is the key to preventing bat bugs. Many bat species are listed as endangered or threatened by federal, state and/or local agencies. Harm, accidental or intentional, to endangered or threatened species can result in heavy fines and potentially a negative public impression for your company and brand.
In most states, one-way bat cones and/or bat netting to evict bats and prevent them from getting back in can be used in September and October. This tight window is to protect maternity roosts prior to September and hibernating bat species post October. Always check with your local wildlife biologist for laws and regulations regarding maternity roosts, exclusion and hibernating bat species in your state and to assist with identification of any bats you may find in a home or business.
Identification of bat entry/exiting points is key to bat eviction. Prior to installing bat cones and/or netting, openings that are ¼-inch or larger that are not being used to enter or exit the structure should be sealed. This will help prevent bats from relocating into the structure after exiting through the cones and/or netting.
After ensuring the bats are out of the structure, bat cones and/or netting should be removed and the openings sealed. Disinfection of the roost should be included as part of the bat eviction service. In many cases insulation will need to be replaced due to bat guano and the concern for histoplasmosis. Make sure you or your subcontractor have the right license for removal and replacement of insulation and follow CDC guidelines around histoplasmosis and potential spores.
BAT BUG CONTROL STRATEGIES. In cases where bats already have been evicted and excluded you can go straight to controlling the bat bugs. Use a vacuum to physically remove any visible bat bugs. Apply a liquid residual and/or dust (in accordance with manufacturer label directions) in areas where bat bugs are active. Pesticide applications are very effective in reducing bat bugs that may leave the bat roost, as resistance to pesticides is not common among bat bugs. A follow-up inspection and service should be scheduled for a week or two after the initial service. This will help ensure that the bat bug population is controlled.
CLIENT COMMUNICATION. In this mix of pest control and wildlife services you may have multiple pieces to coordinate. Juggling the scheduling of a subcontractor or individuals from different service lines to perform all the services can be challenging. We can’t forget about the customer. Develop a clear communication plan for the client that informs them about laws and regulations of bats and the steps for treatment, eviction, clean-up, exclusion and disinfection. Include links or contacts for a local wildlife biologist for follow-up regarding bats. There may be times when you cannot evict the bats for several months and having a local wildlife biologist provide additional support will help you and the client. Application of pesticides will help reduce bat bug activity until bat eviction and exclusion can be achieved.
SUMMARY. Bat bugs are a fairly easy insect to prevent and control when identified. The complexity occurs when bats are present and it is during the maternity roosting or hibernation times of the year when eviction and exclusion can result in federal and/or state fines. Developing a clear communication strategy for your client and a relationship with your local wildlife biologist can help navigate the conversation about timing of service.
The author is a technical service manager for Terminix International. She provides technical support for residential, commercial and inter-national clients. She has degrees in wildlife biology, natural resources and environmental sciences, and entomology from Kansas State University.
Controlling scorpions can be a frustrating task, particularly if you rely on conventional liquid applications alone. I have had customers over the years tell me that other pest control providers guarantee elimination while only applying chemical controls. Their solution to additional sightings or customer complaints was to apply more of the same material that didn’t resolve the issue in the first place.
I also have heard that eliminating food sources for a scorpion population will cause them to die off or move on. However, studies have shown that scorpions can survive more than six months between meals and will produce young and eat them in the absence of food. That seems to imply that starving them out might not be as easy as it sounds.
IPM APPROACH. These days, the most successful campaigns against any pest revolves around Integrated Pest Management. A multi-pronged attack on the offending pest may not always be the easiest approach, but it will always be the most effective.
A thorough inspection of the property to identify entry points and harborage areas is a good starting point. Removing areas that provide suitable shelter during the day will help reduce the number of scorpions. Woodpiles, accumulated leaves and trash, nearly anything providing a crevice or that is close to a structure can harbor bark scorpions. Cinderblock walls also provide ideal resting sites for scorpions. Sealing gaps between bricks can discourage these harborage sites.
Studies have shown that scorpions can survive more than six months between meals and will produce young and eat them in the absence of food. That seems to imply that starving them out might not be as easy as it sounds.
Potential entry points also should be taken into consideration. Caulking windows, ensuring weather stripping around doors is intact, sealing off weep seals with expanding foam, and screening vents and soffits with fine wire mesh all can help reduce access points.
Checking irrigation and valve boxes for leaks and eliminating other water sources whenever possible will limit scorpion access to a vital resource.
When it comes to control methods, applying desiccants or dusts to voids, attics, behind electrical wall plates and other undisturbed areas will reduce harborage areas inside of the structure. Applying a residual spray labeled for scorpions at the proper rates will go a lot further knocking down and controlling the population from the outside.
An Integrated Pest Management approach, including the inspection and exclusion methods mentioned previously, in conjunction with proper application of chemical controls, is an effective way to protect your clients from scorpion activity.
Thorp is an associate certified entomologist and the Technical Director for Pitbull Pest Control. Pitbull is part of the Copesan network of local service providers.
Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.
Pest Control Insulation, makers of EPA-registered TAP Pest Control Insulation, has been designated by Krendl Machine Co. as the preferred distributor of the new GV230XL Batt Removal Vacuum for the pest control and wildlife industries. The Krendl GV230XL is the industry’s first high-speed batted insulation removal vacuum and offers significant labor savings for all crews tackling tough attic or crawlspace insulation cleanouts, the company says. The belt-driven vacuum is powered by a Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine.
The GV230XL is designed for loose-fill fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool or batted fiberglass insulations, making cleanouts up to 50 percent faster than manual removals, the company says. The vacuum draws in insulation material and delivers it directly into a heavy-duty vacuum bag.
Syngenta has launched its 2021 PestPartners 365 Program. The program started on Oct. 1 and Syngenta says PMPs can start earning yearlong rebates, no matter the size of their company.
To become a member, PMPs need to purchase any combination of Syngenta pest management products to generate at least $200 in base rebates during the qualification period (Oct. 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021). Once qualified, PMPs will receive rebates on all Syngenta products purchased from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021 — no forms required.
New this year is the ability for PMPs to view their rebates online. Once qualified, companies can check their current rebate level, estimated rebates and more by logging into their SyngentaPMP.com account.
“As the first rewards program of its kind in the industry, we’re continually innovating PestPartners 365 with new offerings that make it easier to save,” said Marshall Gaster, market manager for Professional Pest Management at Syngenta. “We’re excited that our new rebate tool will help PMPs easily view and plan their rebates for the year ahead.”
Other program benefits include the ability to:
Help manage cash flow by deferring payment on select products until June 25, 2021, with SummerPay terms.
Estimate rebate savings with the online rebate calculator.
Download sample purchase orders that outline simple ways to become a member at the introductory Partner level.
Additionally, when PMPs generate at least $500 in base rebates between Oct. 1, 2020, to Dec. 9, 2020, they’ll earn a special one-time Early Order Bonus rebate.
Mattress Safe recently announced its Viral Penetration and Bacterial Resistance Certifications.
The company said that with the changing environment of the pest management industry, it has evolved to guarantee the bedding needs of its users are met in full.
With the rise of COVID-19, Mattress Safe sought new certifications for its products and was awarded the Viral Penetration (ASTM F1671) and Bacterial Resistance (ASTM G22) certifications. With these new certifications, they meet the same specifications required by the Centers for Disease Control for Level 4 surgical gowns and drapes.
Mattress Safe said it is known among the pest control and hospitality industries for offering distinguished quality at competitive prices. Their patented “Zipper with a Hook” technology rewarded them as the first product to achieve Bed Bug Certification. Mattress Safe uses laminated stretch knit fabric, which is stretchable, breathable, non-allergenic, waterproof, lightweight and fits securely under sheets.
Control Solutions recently introduced Taurus Dry, for use exclusively with the Precision Delivery System (PDS). The product provides PMPs an effective option for managing all species of termites, the firm says. Applied with the PDS and powered by fipronil, this solution makes the application of termiticide into hard-to-reach areas, or against tough-to-manage termite species, easier than before, CSI says.
Taurus Dry is capable of topical or physical transfer among nestmates, meaning untreated termites can be affected by interacting with treated ones, quickly spreading throughout the colony, killing more than just the termites treated at the time of application, CSI reports.
The Jacto PJB-16 and PJB-20 are the world’s most advanced battery-powered backpack sprayers, Oldham Chemicals says. With almost four years of development by Jacto, these ergonomically designed and lightweight sprayers are a marvel of engineering, Oldham reports. The 4-gallon PJB-16 and the 5-gallon PJB-20 are the right sprayers for the end user who needs accuracy and efficiency for the on-target delivery of their spray solution. With such features as hydraulic agitation, multiple pressure settings, a walking pace (speed) indicator and built-in self diagnostics, the PJB-16 or PJB-20 is the right sprayer for PMPs, the company says.
Coalmarch says its eBook, “The PCO’s Guide to Call Scripts,” features tips and tricks to help build the most responsive, efficient and accountable call center for your pest control or lawn care business. Download the book at https://www.coalmarch.com/ebook/pco-guide-call-scripts. Topics include:
How to map out inbound call scenarios and custom responses for your business.
Ways to build messaging into scripts that can improve overall sales closing rates.
Techniques for collecting the right information in the correct order for inbound calls.
WorkWave, a provider of cloud-based software solutions, recently announced the launch of WorkWave Forms, a custom digital form management solution that allows customers to create custom forms tied directly into WorkWave platforms, creating a paperless environment. WorkWave Forms allows users to craft a unique experience for their end customers, while increasing operational efficiency for both office and field workers, WorkWave says. Field technicians have the ability to add and complete business-essential forms, proposals, checklists and other company-required documents directly from their mobile device or tablet while in the field, and have that information saved directly into the underlying platform database where it can be used to complete sales, service, invoicing and other activities.
With Workwave Forms, having access anytime from anywhere will save time and resources by eliminating unnecessary paperwork, searching for information and expense, the company says. While state forms may be mandatory and consistent from company to company, the ability to use and complete uniquely branded, customized forms can improve a company’s professional appearance.
WorkWave says its Forms benefits both office staff, as well as technicians, with a range of uses including, but not limited to:
Access to a library of common forms, including state-required forms.
Ability to easily set up templates and map fields for auto-fill, pre-population, calculations, images and signatures.
Assign fields to specific user roles and define mandatory fields.
Access, manage, and complete forms through web or mobile app.
Accept in-person or remote digital e-signatures from customers.
Coxreels’ dual hydraulic reels, designed for use with hydraulic tools and accessories, are offered in two configurations: the MPD and the TDMP series. As with most Coxreels spring rewind reels, the dual hydraulic reels feature single sided access for both the spring and the swivel. The supply and return lines come in the same side of the reel into an external fluid path via a removable, dual port hydraulic swivel. This same inlet and swivel side of the reel also houses an easy-to-service spring cartridge motor.
This design allows for service of the main components without removal of the reel when the reel is installed into truck body boxes. Because the reel can be installed with the back side of the drum right up against a wall without concern for incoming hose lines, space utilization is improved. All Coxreels spring retractable reels are manufactured in the USA.
Mosquitoes Don’t Transmit COVID-19
Features - In the News
A Kansas State study is the first to show SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is not transmitted by mosquitoes.
A new study by Kansas State University researchers is the first to confirm that SARS-CoV-2 cannot be transmitted to people by mosquitoes.
Stephen Higgs, associate vice president for research and director of the university’s Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI), together with colleagues from the BRI and the College of Veterinary Medicine, had the findings published July 17 by Nature Scientific Reports.
The article, “SARS-CoV-2 failure to infect or replicate in mosquitoes: an extreme challenge,” details the study’s findings, which provide the first experimental investigation on the capacity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, to infect and be transmitted by mosquitoes.
“While the World Health Organization has definitively stated that mosquitoes cannot transmit the virus, our study is the first to provide conclusive data supporting the theory,” said Higgs, Peine professor of biosecurity and university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.
The study, which was done at the BRI, a biosafety level-3 facility, ultimately found that the virus is unable to replicate in three common and widely distributed species of mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus — and therefore cannot be transmitted to humans.
“I am proud of the work we are doing at K-State to learn as much as we can about this and other dangerous pathogens,” said Higgs. “This work was possible because of the unique capabilities of the BRI and the dedicated BRI and institutional staff.”
Colleagues involved with the study include Yan-Jang Huang, research assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; Dana Vanlandingham, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; Ashley Bilyeu and Haelea Sharp, research assistants in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; and Susan Hettenbach, research assistant at the BRI.
Researchers at the BRI have completed four additional studies on COVID-19 since March and this is the first peer-reviewed publication based on SARS-CoV-2 experiments wholly conducted at K-State.
Research at the Biosecurity Research Institute has been ongoing with other animal pathogens that can be transmitted from animals to people, including Rift Valley fever and Japanese encephalitis, as well as diseases that could devastate America’s food supply, such as African swine fever and classical swine fever. The research was in part supported by the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Transition Fund provided by the state of Kansas.
“We have remarkable talent and capabilities working within our research and training facility at the BRI,” said Peter Dorhout, K-State vice president for research. “The BRI is one of the critical anchor facilities in the North Campus Corridor, which serves as our growing research and development space for private sector and government agency partnerships with K-State.”