The buzz on bees

November 29, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

My wife and I are both firm proponents of protecting the environment. This doesn’t mean that we are tying ourselves to trees in front of bulldozers or hosting sit-ins for owls in Oregon. I think that the day of these stereotypes representing the definition of being an environmentalist are gone. As the world acknowledges climate change and the need for measures to become a more responsible and proactive society we are all becoming “green” citizens. The definition of green is very interesting and complicated, but that’s something that deserves a separate post.

I want to bring an interesting and somewhat concerning phenomenon to the attention of those of you who are not aware. My job as a pest management professional is not only to help you in managing unwanted pests and protecting your health and safety but also to educate the public. The topic at hand is Colony Collapse Disorder. Colony Collapse Disorder is somewhat hard to report on as it is still in many ways not understood. Additionally, I in no way claim to be an expert on the subject matter. But, I will share with you the information that I have available.   

Colony collapse disorder is the sudden die off of honey bee colonies which has been occurring in the US and other sections of the globe over the past few years. Beginning in October 2006 US beekeepers suddenly began reporting rapid colony die-offs of 30-90%. While winter die-offs are typical, this amount of die–off is not typical and has had scientists working hard to research the subject ever since.  There are a number of hypothesis as to why the bees are dying, ranging from parasites and pathogens attacking the bees, nutritional fitness of the adult bees, chemical residue in wax and food storage of bees, stress levels, and lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees.

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I care?”  Bees are responsible for pollinating 1/3 of all food we eat in the United States. The USDA proposes that bee pollination is responsible for 15 billion dollars in crop value, particularly in the area of almonds and other nuts, vegetables, berries, and fruits. If bee populations were to decline the availability and price of 1/3 of our food supply would be in jeopardy. Additionally, industries such as the beef and dairy industry, which rely heavily on the pollination of clover, hay, and forage crops in order to feed cattle would take enormous hits should the bee population decline dramatically. If you are interested in learning more about colony collapse disorder CBS did an interesting show not long ago and here is the article . Additionally, the USDA has posted information and an action plan posted.

    

Gift Card from Smart Pest Solutions!

November 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

So, it’s that time of year again. Holiday preparations and shopping are officially underway. Some of you amazingly enjoy the dreaded trip to the shopping mall to endlessly search for the “perfect” gift, all the while scoring great “bargains” and “finds.” I commend these shoppers and bargain hunters. But truly, I must confess this is not my version of successful holiday shopping.

Smart Pest Solutions Gift Card What I do enjoy is finding gifts that are thoughtful, personal, and greatly appreciated.  That’s why Smart Pest Solutions is offering gift cards this holiday season. Instead of buying yet another something to hang on the wall or clutter the house for that person on your list, consider a Smart Pest Solutions Gift Card. A gift card says I care about you, your health, your safety, and your most important possession, your home. A gift card may be a great present for an older parent or children who don’t have the resources to purchase such important health and property protection.

Smart Pest Solutions will work with you to develop a gift card that fits your needs. For example, we could set up a gift card with a dollar amount that can be applied to services or purchase a specific number of services for that important person in your life. Contact us today to discuss options for your perfect present this year.

Merry Christmas!
Smart Pest Solutions

That time of year … mice

November 19, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems the house mouse has, from an evolutionary standpoint, been very successful. In fact, they’ve been reported to be the second most successful life form, right behind humans. Hmmm…. What to do.

MiceThe truth is that there are a variety of successful strategies to defeating this pest. But one of the most commonly overlooked is that of prevention. Mice make themselves more “evident” to our eyes in the winter months. Seeking cover from the Iowa climate, they suddenly converge into our personal spaces, into the warmth and protection of sheds, garages, and the interiors of our most personal space, our homes.

Prevention is the first step in defeating this pest. First steps include assuring that cracks in your foundation are sealed. Other locations to check out include your dryer vent, kitchen exhaust fans, under decks and steps, and where the siding of your home meets the foundation. Each of these areas provides a possible entry point for the common house mouse. Additionally, keeping wood piles stored off the ground and away from your home is easy proactive approach.

Brown Recluse Spiders

November 19, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Brown recluse spiders are currently a more frequent pest to Iowa than in the past. Brown Recluse spiders, identifiable by a brown fiddle marking on their back, are oftentimes a large fear amongst those of you who fear the creepy spider. The fear of the brown recluse stems in the fact that they excrete cytotoxic venom when they bite. The initial bite is absolutely painless so victims have no idea when they’ve been bitten, rendering an anti-venom absolutely pointless.

Brown Recluse SpiderThe venom yields chronic symptoms frequently taking weeks to months to clear. Symptoms typically include enlarged reddened areas with pus filled blisters. The brown recluse’s venom causes blood clotting and affected tissues to die. The upside, you may be wondering if there is an upside, is that 90% of all bites heal without severe problems. Additionally, the brown recluse is a passive hunting spider. Basically, the brown recluse is a slacker. It does not hunt for prey or spin webs and is lazy. You are much more likely to find a brown recluse in an undisturbed space, such as an unworn shoe in a closet or hiding behind pipes in your basement. A brown recluse, like all spiders does not attack humans as prey but rather out of defense and fear.

One of the best defenses against such pests, is regulating your overall pest population. If the recluse has no food supply, the chances of survival are grim.

Iowa Pest Management Conference

November 15, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

The Iowa Pest Management Association (IPMA) annual conference was held November 8th and 9th at the Holiday Inn by the airport in Des Moines, IA. IPMA is part of the larger National Pest Management Association. The conference is geared towards sharing new technologies and assuring that members have the opportunity to review the most up to date information in the field of pest management. My wife and I had the opportunity to attend.

Iowa Pest Management AssociationNotable speakers included Dr. Kathy Heinsohn from NPMA, Fred Whitford from Purdue University, Ken Holscher from Iowa State University, and Travis Chambers, senior technological representative for Bell Laboratories.

The conference was a great success and chance for pest management professionals to converge and address the most important issues in our field today.