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Official Dodson for Senate website
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Bert Dodson, owner of Dodson Pest Control, Lynchburg, Va., announced on June 7 that he is running for a newly created and open Virginia State Senate seat (22nd district). Find out more about his campaign in the following podcast.
It’s that time again. It is the season to don the protective gear and battle stinging insects. Even though stinging insects are part of any warm weather menu of pests, calls to control stinging pests peak in late summer in most areas of North America.
Stinging insect control does come with risk, though. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) reports that about 15 percent of adults in the United States have mild reactions to insect stings, while major reactions can occur in about 3 percent of adults and 1 percent of children. Some have just a slight irritation, which can be treated at home. For some people, though, stings can be fatal. AAAI reports that about 40 deaths occur each year due to insect stings.
Public relations releases in our industry claim that more than 500,000 people go to the emergency room each year due to insect stings. A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that of the insect sting emergencies evaluated during one period of time, 58 percent of the patients had mild local reactions, 11 percent had mild system reactions (more serious than just a skin reaction) and 31 percent had varying degrees of anaphylactic reactions. Anaphylactic reactions can lead to death. Consumers are aware of the dangers, which is why they depend on us to manage these pests.
INDUSTRY IMPLICATIONS. The danger can be just as real for pest management professionals. A small percentage of technicians conducting service work might react to stings. They might not even know that they are in a high-risk group until stung. All too frequently, we hear of serious reactions or worse for those who perform stinging insect service work. A little planning will help reduce the chances of these potential tragedies.
Naturally, anyone who has a known reaction to stings must take special precautions if they work near stinging insects. Some will carry an EpiPen (epinephrine) because of a known reaction. While common sense would dictate that the highly sensitive should avoid stinging insect work, a technician can be exposed to stinging insects when performing perimeter pest control, carpenter ant work or even wildlife control in attics.
Protective gear, such as a bee veil and a bee suit, should be available for use by any technician engaged in stinging insect control work. It is also a good idea for any technician who might encounter stinging insects to have access to personal protection on the vehicle as well, even if they are not doing stinging insect control work.
There are some great tools for stinging insect control. Many companies prefer using a bee pole. With several designs available, bee poles are extension poles with the business end fitted for an aerosol can of insect control product. This allows application of the product from a safe distance or from the ground. Some poles have a chamber where dust can be added. Remember though that few dust products have instant control of products of years past. Many of today’s dusts being marketed for stinging insect control will take minutes to hours to control the pests. Keep informed on the latest control products to achieve optimum success for your company’s program. Train technicians on the proper use of any tools. Also remember gravity. Even when staying safely on the ground, affected stinging insects may fall into the "safe" area.
If there is a need to use a ladder, ensure that the ladder is in good working order. By late summer, sometimes ladders can show signs of wear and they should be maintained. Use of a faulty ladder can be very dangerous. Shortcuts when using a ladder should not be tolerated.
Besides being maintained, ladders should be leveled when in use. Safety must be the most important consideration for the technician and the customer. All safety tools must be used per company standards. Stinging insect control is not for amateurs.
BEE PREPARED. Before peak stinging insect season, conduct a stinging insect refresher at a service meeting. Provide a handout of the most common stinging insects of your area. Materials should cover proper identification, habits, company control methods, safety precautions and emergency response (including first aid). It is also important to prepare the technician for what to do after hours in case of an emergency. Remind technicians to follow all regulations and labels when performing this work.
An added benefit of this refresher is that the technician will be prepared to answer consumers’ questions prior to servicing the account. The industry today sells knowledge rather than products and this is one service where the technician can shine as the expert.
Stinging insect control can be difficult but at the same time, it can be very beneficial even beyond profitability. Most homeowners won’t climb a ladder to get to the stinging insects. This service spotlights the value of the service to the consumer and if we are prepared, profits will follow.
Greg Baumann is a technical services director with Orkin (www.orkin.com) and has more than 30 years of varied pest management experience. Learn more via Facebook at www.facebook.com/OrkinPestControl or join the conversation at www.twitter.com/AskTheOrkinMan.
For homeowners, invading insects are a nuisance. For food-processing plants, they can be a source of product contamination. For restaurants, they are a nuisance to customers and can contaminate the food being served. Also, they often invade in massive numbers and some release a pungent odor when disturbed. Others impart an unsightly stain when smashed or crushed on a surface, and some will bite and/or can cause allergic reactions.
Which insect? Key identification features of overwintering pests are as follows:
1) Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) and western boxelder bugs (B. rubrolineata). About 3/8- to 5/8-inch long, their reddish marks are distinctive (western boxelder bugs in addition have thin lacy red lines on front wings). Their fecal material may cause a red stain, they can emit a pungent odor if roughly handled and may "bite" on occasion.
2) Brown marmorated stinkbugs (Halyomorpha halys). About ½-inch long, they have a large triangular plate on their back, and broad whitish bands on outer two antennal segments. They emit a pungent odor if roughly handled.
3) Cluster flies (Pollenia spp.). About 3/8-inch long, their thorax (middle portion to which legs and wings are attached) has many short crinkly yellow or golden hairs (which may be lost in older specimens) and a wing with a third, long vein sharply bent or angled forward near its tip. They may move sluggishly when indoors.
4) Multicolored Asian lady beetles (Harmonia axyridis). About 1/4- to 3/4-inch long, their color and number of dark spots varies, their pronotum (area behind head) is ivory with a thick black M-shaped (viewed from rear) or W-shaped (viewed from front) pattern. They exude irritating liquid if roughly handled, occasionally bite and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
5) Western conifer-seed/pine-seed bugs (Leptoglossus spp.). About 1/2- to 3/4-inch long, their long hind legs have a flattened leaf-like structure with a whitish zigzag band across center of their back. They are a nuisance pest.
When does the invasion start? These types of pests invade in the fall when they gather in numbers on the outside of structures. They enter buildings and homes to spend the winter so as to avoid harsh outdoor conditions.
Periodically, during the winter when outdoor conditions briefly warm, they can quickly become more active inside for a short time. Then again in the spring, as the temperature warms to above 60°F, they will temporarily cluster on the outside of the structure during the day and then come back in for the night. Typically, sometime from March to May, once the temperature stays above about 50°F at night, they will begin to leave the structure, their progeny only to return the next fall.
Where do they invade? They’re attracted to warm walls (typically the south-facing wall and the southern portion of the west-facing wall, and sometimes the southern portion of the east-facing wall). The portions of the west and east walls involved depend on how the structure is oriented. They typically land near horizontal shadows and crawl upwards looking for an entrance. Inside, they are attracted to artificial lights and windows.
Do they multiply once inside? No. They are merely seeking shelter from winter’s cold temperatures. They don’t mate and lay eggs until after they leave their overwintering site in the spring.
Preventive steps to take. Control should consist of a good IPM program. Before these pests enter their customers’ structures, pest management professionals need to make sure good exclusion techniques are employed. Seal all holes in exterior walls larger than 1/16-inch for flies and lady beetles, or 1/8-inch for bugs, (check door and window frames, check door sweeps, be sure doors and windows are tight-fitting, etc.). This is best done during May through July, with a follow-up in September. Your job is to make a detailed inspection and then to advise on the steps that should be taken.
Since these pests are attracted to lights, change exterior lighting to less-attractive yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lamps. It may be appropriate to recommend the application of a microencapsulated or wettable powder formulation of a repellent pyrethroid insecticide to help discourage pest entry for those structures with difficult or impossible to seal exteriors. The application should be made in mid-August (northern areas) to early September (more southern areas).
After the invasion has started? After they’ve invaded, it’s best to isolate the affected room(s) by sealing the insects out. Such rooms are usually located on the warm side of the structure. Typical entry points include areas around door and window frames, electrical outlets, light switches, exhaust fans, skylights and ceiling light fixtures. Because of the eventual problem caused by carpet beetles coming to feed on the dead insects, it is not advisable to kill them in walls with pesticide. They can most effectively be harvested with electrocuter-type insect light traps. However, glueboard-type ILTs should be used for the
brown mar-morated stinkbugs since electrocution often causes them to release their pungent odor. This means checking and changing the glueboard often.
If insects enter a room, they can be removed with a vacuum. Stinkbugs, however, are an exception. After a few travel down the vacuum hose, their smell can be quite noticeable and the hose will probably have to be replaced periodically. If the size of the invasion warrants, a ULV treatment can be made when the affected room is vacant. A couple of hours later, the bugs can be swept up with a broom and disposed of in a sealed plastic bag in an outside trash can.
Eric Smith is director of technical services/staff entomologist, Dodson Bros., Lynchburg, Va. He earned his undergraduate degree from Miami (Ohio) University in botany and his master’s (Purdue) and doctorate (Ohio State) degrees in entomology. He has 30+ years experience in pest management, is past president and member of Pi Chi Omega, chair of the Copesan Technical Committee, a B.C.E. and senior author of the NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve loved magazines. I love that they come every month in the mail — a surprise gift waiting for me in my mailbox when I arrive home. I love that they have huge, colorful pictures and glossy paper. I love that they’re portable. I love that they’re available whenever I want them (no WiFi spot is necessary and I don’t have to put them away when the flight attendant tells me). I love that the content is really focused to what I’m into at the time (of course that comes with subscribing to the right magazines!).
But today, magazines are more than those glossy pages. Magazines have started to come to life.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock like those guys in the Geico commercial, you’ve begun to see QR codes almost everywhere you go. You may not know their name but I guarantee you’ve seen them on business cards and on signs and in newspapers, stores, advertisements, magazines — and even in this magazine.
What are QR codes? QR codes (which stand for "quick response") are a new way for you to experience publications like PCT. QR codes can store all kinds of data including web addresses, photos, videos, coupons, MP3s…the possibilities are endless.
Think of these little squares as gateways into a digital world. When you scan the code with your phone’s camera, you are immediately directed to whatever additional content it’s linked to.
For example, recently in my local grocery store ad there was a recipe for salsa. The printed circular, of course, included the ingredients necessary to make this tasty snack. But it also included a QR code that I could click and watch a chef actually make the salsa. Cool, huh?
Above is PCT’s QR code. When you click this code with your QR reader on your phone, you’ll be taken to the iTunes store to download the PCT app, which allows you to view the magazine online just as it appears in print. From that point on, when the electronic version of PCT magazine becomes available (almost always before you receive your print edition), your phone will alert you that you’ve received the magazine on your phone. So if you’re on the road, away from your mailbox, you can always stay in touch with PCT.
Here’s how to use these black and white boxes with your phone:
1. Download a QR reader to your smart phone. There are many options — go to www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software for a list. (Or just go to your phone’s app store.)
2. Launch the QR reader app to your phone.
3. When you see a QR code in print, hold your phone over the digital tag until you see the tag in the crosshairs on your phone’s camera and let the device take it from there. You’ll be transported immediately to additional content.
Several of PCT’s advertisers have begun including QR codes in their ads. (Or, you may have seen Microsoft Tags — which are pink, blue, yellow and black. They’re another type of code that works the same way.) Some industry suppliers offer videos of their products, product literature, MSDSs, rebates and more via their QR codes. This additional content is definitely worth checking out because you never know what you’ll find.
In the coming months, PCT will include QR codes with articles wherever applicable. If we run a news article about an event but can’t include all of the photos because of space limitations in print, we could run a QR code so you can scan it and see those other images. If we interview an industry supplier about their newest product or formulation, and they have a video of the manufacturing plant that makes it or details of the R&D process, we could run a QR code so you could see the product for yourself. Or if we interview an industry researcher and create a podcast in the process, we could direct you to a QR code so you could actually hear the researcher.
See what I mean about the magazine coming to life?
The author is editor of PCT magazine.