Hordes of Mosquitoes Left in Harvey’s Wake

Departments - News

October 4, 2017

This post-Hurricane Harvey photo, showing thousands of mosquitoes on a Texas truck, has been shared on Facebook almost 14,000 times.
Photo: Jesse Pena

Hurricane Round-Up

Editor’s Note: The following commetary appeared on Mike Merchant’s blog, “Insects in the City,” which can be found at http://insectsinthecity.blogspot.com. The blog offers readers news and commentary about the urban pest management industry and is excerpted here with permission of the author.

DALLAS — As this issue of PCT went to press in late September, Hurricane Harvey was continuing to leave its mark on Texas. Besides the giant clean-up, hordes of mosquitoes are now descending in many areas. The pictures are impressive.

The mosquitoes in the area are probably in the genus Psorophora, one of our largest, most painful and aggressive biters. Psorophora mosquitoes have some impressive chops when it comes to survival. One of the so-called floodwater mosquito species, they lay their eggs on land rather than water like most mosquitoes. But not just on any land — eggs are laid at the edges of receding floodwaters, where they will re-hydrate and hatch during the next large rain event.

Because Psorophora are opportunists, taking advantage of brief rainstorms, they must have a quick lifespan. The larvae of floodwater species like Psorophora are the speediest growers of all mosquitoes. They need as little as three to three-and-a-half days of standing water to pass through the four molts common to mosquitoes. The pupal stage even has adapted to survive and complete its development on the mud surface of drying puddles.

What we see in these pictures coming out of Texas is evidence that floodwater mosquitoes had already primed the pump when Harvey hit the upper Gulf Coast. When the rains came, previously laid eggs hatched across thousands of square miles of coastal prairie and marsh, and billions of Psorophora larvae raced through a quick childhood.

Add to this the scope of the disaster. Harvey’s unprecedented rainfall impacted more than 400 miles of Gulf shoreline, dumping an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water. The city of Houston doubled its previous all-time monthly rainfall record with 39.11 inches. With some 400 miles of Gulf Coast prairies producing mosquitoes, I suspect the number of mosquitoes also was unprecedented.

So don’t be surprised to read and hear lots of mosquito stories in the coming weeks. If you have to be out and about in this part of Texas, there is protection you can carry. For extreme conditions a mosquito head net will be necessary. Wear light colored, tight knit, long-sleeved fabrics. T-shirts or short-sleeved shirts will not be enough. Permethrin-impregnated shirts and pants may be worth their weight in gold. And don’t forget to bring DEET repellent. Lots of it. — M.M.

Texas A&M Offers Tip Sheet for Flood-Displaced Fire Ants

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service released a fact sheet making consumers aware that fire ants can float on floodwaters and possibly moved into new locations, and reminding them to take precautions when moving debris.

The sheet noted: “Tremendous amounts of rain can fall in a short time, flooding low-lying areas. With this flooding comes the problem of various ‘critters’ trying to find safe, dry ground. In areas infested with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, the ants and their colonies can present a potentially serious medical threat to people and animals during times of flooding.” To download the tip sheet visit http://fireant.tamu.edu/files/2014/03/ENTO_006.pdf. Source: Paul R. Nester, Extension Program Specialist–Integrated Pest Management, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

UF Researcher Offers Tips On Controlling Mosquitoes After Hurricane

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hurricane Irma left a lot of standing water in the yards and homes of Florida residents. So, a University of Florida researcher suggests steps for making sure your customers’ homes don’t become a haven for mosquitoes. Some mosquito species can lay up to 200 eggs at a time, so it’s critical to empty cups, birdbaths, pots or anything else on customers’ property that has standing water, said UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomology professor Phil Kaufman.

“No container is too small to empty,” Kaufman said. In addition to getting rid of standing water, he recommends residents use mosquito briquettes to kill immature mosquitoes. When going outside to empty containers or do yard cleanup, Kaufman urged residents and pest management professionals to wear insect repellent (preferably with DEET) and light-colored clothing.

Containers are a haven for certain types of mosquitoes to lay eggs, particularly after heavy rains, he said. Mosquitoes that lay eggs in containers include Aedes aegypti — the Yellow Fever mosquito — and Aedes albopictus — the Asian tiger mosquito. Both species can transmit Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses, which can cause fever and headaches, among other symptoms, Kaufman said. But an increase in mosquito population is only one factor in whether mosquito-borne diseases would be transmitted to humans or animals, he said. Other factors include the abundance of other animals or organisms that carry the disease-causing pathogen. “Every disease is going to be different,” he said. “So you can’t say that just because we had a hurricane, we’re going to see more disease.”

After rains, mosquito populations will be high for a few weeks, if not a month, Kaufman said. So, it’s important that residents contact their local mosquito control officials and/or their pest management professional to tell them if there are concerns over an infestation in their yard or neighborhood. The bigger problem for mosquito control in general might be flooded areas, Kaufman said. Mosquito populations — such as those of the Gallinipper — will increase more where standing water occurs, he said. Although about six times the size of regular mosquitoes, Gallinippers are largely nuisance mosquitoes, rather than disease-transmitting species, he said.

Portion of Resolv Sales Being Donated to Hurricane Disaster Relief

MILWAUKEE Wis. — Liphatech is contributing $5 to the American Red Cross for hurricanes Harvey and Irma for each Resolv product sold. Donations will be made for all purchases made by pest management professionals in the United States between Sept. 15-Oct. 31, 2017, from Liphatech authorized distributors.

Truly Nolen’s Key Largo Branch Provides Hurricane Irma Relief

Among those who helped Truly Nolen’s community efforts were (left to right): Key Largo Manager Stella Diaz; South Miami Manager Yadnier Gil; Central Miami Manager David Batista; and Florida Lawn Quality Assurance Manager Jay Greene.

KEY LARGO, Fla. — Truly Nolen’s Key Largo office re-opened on Sept. 19, and the team went to work helping the local community in its recovery from Hurricane Irma.

The office (100105 Overseas Highway), which services the entire Florida Keys, set up a pop-up tent in front of their office and gave out free water, hot dogs, sterilizer spray, liquid hand soap, baby wipes, and much more. Key Largo residents and passersby were invited to help themselves to anything they needed.

Dates, Speakers Announced for Upcoming Purdue Conference

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The 82nd annual Purdue Pest Control Conference will be held Jan. 8-10, 2018, at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

This year’s conference features the latest research findings and field observations from renowned industry speakers, as well as an exhibit hall filled with the latest product innovations from industry suppliers.

For CCH and program information, contact Holly Fletcher-Timmons at 765/494-5856 or htimmons@purdue.edu. Register at www.conf.purdue.edu/pest or call 866/515-0023.

Some of this year’s speakers and topics include:

  • Harry Bryan, Small Flies
  • Dan Collins, Food Pest IPM
  • Stan Cope, Vectored Diseases
  • Mike Corbitt, Cockroaches
  • Bobby Corrigan, Rodents
  • Ed Hosoda, Fumigation
  • Mike Leahy, Ticks
  • Pete Markham, Wildlife
  • Jeff McGovern, Borates for WDO
  • Jason Meyers, Termites
  • Dini Miller, Bed Bugs
  • Dave Mueller, Food Pest Pheromones
  • Phil Nixon, Occasional Invaders
  • Bonnie Rabe, IPM Law
  • Scott Robbins, New Technologies & Pesticide Safety
  • Mark Sheperdigian, Labeling & Ants
  • Gene White, New Technologies & Food Pest Reporting

Allergy Technologies Announces California Bed Bug Symposia

AMBLER, Pa. — Allergy Technologies, makers of ActiveGuard Mattress Liners, announced its Proactive Prevention Bed Bug Symposia will be held Dec. 5 in San Jose, Calif. (Hyatt House) and Dec. 7 in Anaheim, Calif. (Hilton Anaheim).

These symposia are being held with the goal of assisting commercial sales representatives and pest professionals to provide preventive service programs that protect their clients, beds, guests and reputation from bed bug infestations.

Dr. Phil Koehler, endowed professor, urban entomology, the University of Florida, Gainesville, will speak in session one, which is geared to hoteliers and assisted-living and property managers. Joseph Latino, president of Allergy Technologies, will speak in session two, which is for pest management professionals and sales representatives.

For more information, visit http://activeguard.allergytechnologies.com/CAsymposium. RSVP is required and seating is limited. There is no charge to attend.

MPMA Fishing Outing Raises $1,800 for Scholarship Funds

MANISTEE, Mich. — The Michigan Pest Management Association held a charity charter fishing tournament on Aug. 19.

Five boats with about 25 pest management professionals went out on Lake Michigan early Saturday morning. The group raised more than $1,800 for the Michigan Pest Management Association scholarship fund. Dow AgroSciences, Univar Environmental Sciences and Zoëcon Professional Products also contributed to the fundraiser.

New Book Explores the Purpose of Insects

SILVERTON, Ore. — The most recent examination of the role insects play in our world is “God & the World of Insects,” written by entomologists and longtime industry professionals Josh Shoemaker and Gary Braness.

Shoemaker is an Associate Certified Entomologist with more than 20 years experience in urban pest management. He has taught hundreds of seminars on insect and arachnid biology and is a former adjunct professor at Arizona Christian University. Braness, a Ph.D., is a consulting entomologist and owner of Yosemite Environmental Services, Fresno, Calif. His research has been published in the Journal of Economic Entomology and many of his articles have appeared in industry trade magazines, including PCT.

The book is described as an exploration “viewed through the eyes of entomologists and scientists who believe in a Creator God. The chapters discuss the design, nature and purpose of insects in the world while at the same time showing the beauty and diversity of insects.” Contributors consider such topics as the vision of bees, the importance of ants, and the role of insects in advancing technology and drug therapy.

Among the questions addressed are:

  • Are insects protectors or destroyers of the ecosystem?
  • Why are there insects such as mosquitoes and cockroaches?
  • Do insects suffer?
  • How should humans respond to the world of insects?

The book can be ordered from amazon.com, from the publisher’s website at lampionpress.com and from christianbook.com.

The following is a review from Paul Baker, Ph.D. emeritus, professor of entomology, University of Arizona. View other reviews at http://ow.ly/Ycrs30fsDBs.

“‘God & the World of Insects’ is an insightful look at the complex world of insects through the eyes of entomologists/scientists who believe in a Creator God. This book presents evidence of design, common blueprint and purpose of the Creator, by pointing to the beauty and diverse insect world as a demonstration of His plan. The authors challenge the reader to open their eyes and their minds to see both the beauty and diversity of the insect world through the Creator’s design. I would hope that this book would not only be read and contemplated, but also become weather-beaten by being part of one’s scientific reference library.” — P.B.

Speakers Announced for CO2 Conference

RALEIGH, N.C. — Coalmarch Productions has announced additions to its CO2 conference speaker lineup, including Bobby Jenkins, owner of ABC Home & Commercial Services; Erin Richardson, president of All-American Pest Control; and Hamilton Allen, director of training and technical services at Senske Services.

The event will be held at the historic City Market in Raleigh, N.C., Dec. 5-7. The conference, an owner’s summit for leaders in the home services industry, will limit attendance to 75 in order for all attendees to gain the most insights from, and face time with, presenters and peers, officials said.

Jenkins, Richardson, Allen and other speakers will share their experience and expertise on a range of topics including technician recruitment and retention, lead tracking and management, and cutting-edge training techniques.

“We’re excited to bring on such an inspiring lineup of speakers,” said Jason Stanley, CEO of Coalmarch. “Our aim is to help our attendees leave their comfort zones and really push themselves to deepen their understanding of how to meet and exceed their goals. All of our content is fresh and relevant, with an eye toward the future of service business management and sales.”

The digital agency, which partners with home service companies across the country to attract and retain customers and employees, said it is pleased to offer a strong second-year showing for its conference series. Donnie Shelton, owner of Coalmarch and Triangle Pest Control, said in the wake of a successful first-year event in 2016, he anticipates a sold-out event in December.

“The level of expertise represented this year is unlike anything you’ll find at other conferences,” said Shelton. “We’re going to tackle some of the most critical elements of growing and building a successful service business with input from some of the best in the industry. I’m extremely proud of the program we’re offering.”

To register or learn more about CO2, visit www.coalmarch.com.

NCPMA Awards Scholarships

Natalie Holt, Dow AgroSciences, with a big catch at the MPMA charity charter fishing tournament in August.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Education Foundation of the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) recently awarded five Past President’s Scholarships to students pursuing post-high school degrees.

“NCPMA congratulates these students on their accomplishments, and we are happy to be a part of their educational journey,” said Donnie Shelton, NCPMA president. “We are proud to offer the Past President’s Scholarship yearly to help our members and their families reach their educational goals.” Scholarship winners and their majors include:

  • Mary Elise Capron, Concord, N.C.,Rowan Cabarrus Community College/ Wake Technical Community College, science
  • Victoria Fonte, Jacksonville, N.C., North Carolina State University, biology
  • Crystal Mabe, Parkton, N.C., Campbell University, physical therapy
  • Jared Matthews, Autryville, N.C., North Carolina State University, agricultural business management
  • Ansley Smith, Wilson, N.C., East Carolina University, marketing