Your Home and Fly Control

From fruit flies to the dreaded mosquito, flies are a nuisance and most homes, hospitals and farms are engaged 24/7 in a common objective in getting rid of flies that’s as draining on resources as it is frustrating. For most people, the napalm attitude is the preferred approach. In other words, the use of strong chemicals as a primary means of bug killer solution. Spray here and spray there until the bugs are dead and deal with any possible consequences later. But what many people don’t realize is that there are other methods that are also reliable and which don’t involve bringing potentially harmful chemicals into your home. This is not a rant against what you might already be using. On the contrary: I’m a firm believer in sticking with what you believe is the best solution for getting rid of flies in your home or in your place of work, but just bear in mind that there are always other factors to take into account when you’re considering how best to instigate your fly control program. To be forewarned and informed is to be fore-armed. So… read on and arm yourself.

Before you go out and spend too much money on pest control products, remember that the first line of attack is the line of defense. Defending your home against flies of all sorts involves, first and foremost, denying them the opportunity to breed. In order to breed, they need to feed. So, remove all possible sources of food for them. That means a thorough cleaning of all places that they would normally be breeding. Clean it up and don’t let anything fester. Close those bins and composting areas. The blue fly is the most notorious for this sort of thing and he reproduces at a speed that would make your head spin.

So sanitation is the key issue here, people. Get the house sanitary and you’ll be in a position where you’re ready for the next stage; namely attack.

For those looking after a commercial area, it’s important that you break down your strategy into easily-understood instructions. Whether it’s to check the flies traps each morning at 8am or to assess each bug killer on merit of the number of flies he’s killed, you have to keep on top of a clearly laid out list of tasks. Fly control is a marathon, not a sprint.

Fly traps are a very viable option too. They work in a manner that may surprise any of you out there who haven’t used them before. There are many different versions on the market, but they all work in the same basic way in that they attract and then trap and normally kill the flies. Fly traps can be put in many different locations both inside and outside. For example, a good place to put them would be at the point of entry of the flies. Apart from the blue fly who seems to be equipped with some sort of special armor (from my experiences, in any case), this sort of measure will ensure that the flies don’t get into the house in the first place. The other thing about flies traps is that they will clean up the areas that will inevitably attract flies despite your best sanitary efforts. Wherever there are foodstuffs and the like, for example, there will be flies and you won’t clear them all out no matter how well you manage the situation.

As an aside on this bit finally, a cousin of mine once showed me a homemade fly trap. I had my doubts when he told me, I must admit. He had used the inner cardboard tube from a toilet roll, some honey and a gun. He was a bit touched and a full-on member of the NRA, but he considers himself the ultimate fly predator. He coated the inside of the tube with a thick layer of honey, waited until there were about twenty flies, then he shot them. It takes all sorts.

West Nile Virus Becoming a Major Problem in Dallas

The West Nile Virus can be very serious and deadly, and according to mosquito control experts it is increasing dramatically in Dallas County, Texas. Information on record in August 2012 shows the virus has infected a total of 200 people and caused ten deaths—rather high figures for just seven months of the year. While anti-mosquito efforts are in the works to contain the virus, the mayor of Dallas authorized the implementation of aerial spraying of pesticides, the first time this has been done in over forty years.

Mosquito control experts also tell us that 2012 has so far been the deadliest year for outbreaks of West Nile virus since the first time it found its way into the country in 1999. In spite of the fact the first occurrence of the virus only occurred a little more than ten years ago, the outbreaks in subsequent years have created an endemic of the virus.

According to the Center for Disease Control and prevention the recent increase in outbreaks in Dallas show proof there is an even larger problem in other areas of the country. For instance, Cook County of which Chicago is a part reported there was a steady increase in infections during the latter part of August 2012. At the time of the report officials in Cook County had not seen any deaths from the virus but are continuously watching the area closely.

While the problem has not caused deaths in Cook County, Illinois, Texas has not been so lucky. There were a total of 17 deaths that resulted from mosquito bites infected with the West Nile virus, more than any of the other states reported. While Louisiana also reported six deaths related to the disease, none of the other states had more than one death that was the result of the West Nile virus.

While there has been some talk about a plan for a mosquito spray, it has been met with some resistance. As of August 2012 a total of 1,700 people signed a petition online in protest of aerial mosquito spray. These residents have concerns about the safety of spraying and believe it is in effective and detrimental to beneficial insects such as ladybugs and bees. There are other areas in Texas that routinely use aerial mosquito spray, but Dallas has not used this method since 1965.

The officials in Dallas are attempting to reassure the citizens that using aerial sprays is safe as well as effective, but the part of the problem is they are also suggesting residents keep their doors and windows closed and pets inside. These suggestions are adding fuel to the fire and causing the citizens in the area to increase their concerns about the use of these sprays.

At the time of the reports in August spraying was to begin in areas of Highland Park and University Park using a pesticide called Duet. This particular spray is a blend of
pest control products that contains Prallethrin and Sumithrin, both effective pesticides. It also contains piperonyl butoxide, a compound that is designed to help increase the effectiveness of the pesticides. Duet will not have any effect on developing mosquitoes as it is designed specifically for killing adult mosquitoes.

Many mosquito control programs use adulticides when the mosquito population becomes so high that it’s intolerable of when there is evidence of mosquito-borne illnesses. While there are many people who do not agree with the mass use of mosquito sprays, the alternative is more detrimental to the health of the entire population in the opinion of the mosquito experts. Because there are so many cases of the West Nile virus in the state of Texas (400 confirmed case), the officials are highly motivated in their efforts to protect the residents of Texas.

It’s impossible for anyone to say with any degree of certainty why the Dallas area has so many cases of the West Nile virus. However, most people believe the early spring and extreme hot summer have played a role in the epidemic. High temperatures in any area mean there will be an increase in the numbers of mosquitoes in any given area. This also means there will be an increase in the levels of the virus as it builds up in the salivary glands of the mosquitoes.

Experts in effective mosquito control agree mosquito prevention is the best treatment. Management begins with getting rid of weeds and stale water in order to reduce the populations. Prevention is not only safer but is also less expensive than having to use a mosquito killer. The problem is not everyone takes the time or exerts the energy necessary to care for their property in a way that doesn’t attract mosquitoes. This leaves official with the task of having to come up with a plan that will protect the public from these mosquito-borne diseases.

Biology and Dangers of Blow & Blue Flies.

Blow flies are common all over world and are also called bottle flies. You will find blue flies, green flies and blue green flies. They have acquired their names because of the shiny, glass-like or metallic color of the flies. When blow flies enter buildings, structures and even homes they are ready to breed. Like flies blow flies are more than just a nuisance; they are of medical concern because they are able to transmit various diseases and cause meiosis (the latter of which is an infestation of the tissues and cavities) in humans and animals by the fly larvae of the blow flies.

It’s easy enough to recognize these flies. The blue flies have a dull bluish-black thorax along with a shiny metallic dark blue abdomen.  The bodies and legs of these flies are covered with black bristlelike hair. They have red eyes and clear and black legs and antennae. They are just a little larger than the common house fly.

Green flies are about the same size as the blue flies but instead of the blue color they have blue-green or even golden colorations with black markings. They also have three cross-grooves on the fly’s thorax. The wings are clear and have light brown veins with black legs and antennae.

Female blow flies can lay up to 180 eggs with the right food materials. The eggs will hatch in one to two days and will feed on the surface material before burrowing into the food material. Like other flies, blow flies have three cycles of life before they emerge into adulthood. Once the larvae mature they pupate in soil or dry areas where it completes its development within one to two weeks. Green flies have similar patterns of development but are a little slower because they rely on outside ambient conditions.

Like house flies, blow flies are also suspect in various diseases. Because of their living habits, they carry various unhealthy micro-organisms from sewage, garbage and dumpsites, animal and human feces, dead and diseased carcasses and much more. It is quite easy for blow flies to pass these organisms on to humans when they have contact with food sources that humans later consume. The blow flies can also transmit these micro-organisms mechanically onto body surfaces because of their frequent vomiting and fecal deposits. The diseases are similar to those house flies carry with some of the better known ones being Entamoeba coli and
Shigella dysenteriae both of which cause diarrhea and Vibrio comma which is responsible for cholera. There are other non-intestinal diseases such as the plague, anthrax, tuberculosis and tularaemia that are also the result of exposure to infected blow flies. When you hear the term meiosis this refers to any disease that results because fly larvae infests the tissues or cavities of humans. Intestinal meiosis is usually accidental and causes diarrhea with bloody discharge. You may also see living or dead larvae in the vomit or stool.

It’s important to control blow flies. Getting rid of flies of any kind requires inspection, sanitation, mechanical control and application of insecticides and bug killers. The first thing you should do is attempt physical control methods in order to eliminate the blow flies in a specific location—this involves removing their source of food. In order to get rid of any remaining larvae and adult blue flies or green flies you can try bug killer and sticky paper. The implementation of effective sanitation and hygiene practices are excellent methods for controlling blow flies in buildings, restaurants and in homes. Keep in mind fly prevention is always easier than
getting rid of flies after they invest your home or other buildings on your property. Sanitation is the key to any kind of fly control whether it is blow flies, stable flies or house flies. When you practice good maintenance and sanitation you will find few flies at the start of the season and find elimination easier.



Understanding Superior Mosquito Control.

For many people, mosquitoes are just another one of those summertime irritants that they’ve learned how to live with. Maybe they’ve learned how to get rid of mosquitoes effectively, and maybe they haven’t. However, as annoying as mosquitoes are to you, they’re even worse for your animals that don’t have the benefit of an insect repellent or screened windows.

It is possible to deal with mosquitoes effectively. You’re probably already the beneficiary of your county’s vector control district. Without the effort of these men and women, you’d find that the mosquito population in this country would get out of hand quickly and the mosquito-borne diseases that they carry would be on par with a third world country. Anti mosquito experts state that mosquitoes have killed more people on this planet than all of the wars that have ever been fought. The dangers carried by mosquitoes are very real, as we have discovered in the United States with the introduction of the West Nile virus and Encephalitis.

Of course, even though the mosquito populations in the U.S. aren’t as horrific as they are in many other countries, they can still be pretty bad. A little “skeeter” savvy, therefore, will go a long way in reducing the mosquito population around your home. Mosquitoes, like pest flies, have very specific requirements that must be met in order for them to reproduce successfully. Proper mosquito control means minimizing their reproduction in your area. This will provide the largest benefit for the least amount of work.

While there are hundreds of species of mosquitoes in this country, they all fall into one of two categories. The first are floodwater mosquitoes. These mosquitoes reproduce in intermittent water like you would find in a ditch, gully or catch basin. These areas only gather water occasionally and then dry out. The other kind is semi-permanent mosquitoes. These are found in permanent waters like ponds, marshes and stock tanks. You can tell these different types of mosquito apart from one another by observing the abdomen. Floodwater mosquitoes will have a pointed abdomen, while semi-permanent mosquitoes feature a rounded one.

Floodwater mosquitoes take about 3 days to grow from egg to adult under optimal circumstances. They require a temperature of about 80-90F, and the intermittent water that they grow in must remain there for at least that length of time. An excellent example of a floodwater mosquito habitat is a suburban swimming pool. Foreclosed homes that feature an abandoned swimming pool can drive an entire neighborhood insane with the mosquito and fly infestation that frequently accompany them.

If most of your mosquito bites are occurring during daylight hours then you’re most likely being visited by a floodwater mosquito. If you’re being bitten frequently and usually right before dusk or directly ahead of sunrise, then you’re probably dealing with semi-permanent mosquitoes that have come from a nearby continuous-water source. Floodwater mosquitoes are able to travel long distances. They float along with the breeze in search of CO2 being expelled by mammals. Once they locate a source, they fly upwind for a meal. Semi-permanent mosquitoes will generally only range about ¼ of a mile from where they hatch. This means that they’re probably reproducing nearby and you can take appropriate measures to stop their breeding.

The best mosquito repellent available is proper water management. Replace or remove standing water at least every 3 days or stop the development of mosquito larvae by adding a Bti dunk or Mosquito Torpedoes to the water. Remove any unnecessary water that’s standing around and consider adding fans and predatory animals to keep the mosquito population in check.

Floodwater mosquitoes that travel to your property from afar can only be managed through mosquito repellent. Since you really have no way to know where they’re coming from, then you can’t very well reduce their breeding areas. Bugs like these require a product containing DEET to keep them away. To further reduce your chances of being bitten, you may want to wear white clothing when you’re out of doors. Many biting pests, including mosquitoes, cannot see white. They’re attracted to dark, moving shapes. Therefore, the best thing to do is try to make yourself as invisible as possible to these bloodsuckers.

Experts Suggest That Pesticides Might Not Be The Best Mosquito Control Method After All

The mosquito control professionals in several New England states are beginning to suggest that pesticide spraying for the West Nile Virus may actually be causing more harm than good.  According to a report put out by the Toxics Action Center and Maine Environmental Policy Institute, these sprays expose the public to toxic pesticides while lulling citizens into a false sense of security. In addition, mosquitoes that are exposed to mosquito spray and survive frequently go on to become resistant to the pesticide that they were exposed to and become more aggressive biters.

Although pest populations that carry the West Nile virus are growing, many anti mosquito experts and environmental health advocates insist that the chemical exposure risks, which can include delayed brain development, respiratory difficulties and even cancer, far outweigh the danger of the virus that it’s supposed to protect us from.

West Nile virus, for all its bad press, generally only results in flu-like symptoms and is rarely deadly to its victims. “The cure is worse than the disease,” said Kim Glazzard, director of the nonprofit Organic Sacramento. “You’re spraying poison over thousands of people for the potential of maybe helping a handful of people.”

Pyrethroids are one of the most common chemicals used in mosquito and fly sprays. Although it’s derived from the chrysanthemum flower, it can cause some surprising side effects.  A few scientific studies indicate that pyrethroids frequently disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking the effects of the hormone estrogen, which can cause breast cancer in women and lowered sperm counts in men.

A study that was done at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine tested four pyrethroid pesticides, concluding that each pyrethroid combination they examined influenced several cellular pathways. Their findings suggest that Pyrethroids are able to be referred to as hormone disruptors and that their effects on humans and wildlife should continue to be examined.

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that there is a strong relationship between pyrethroids used to kill flea and tick pests and brain cancers. The study concludes, “The specific chemicals associated with children’s brain cancers were pyrethrins and pyrethroids (which are synthetic pyrethrins, such as permethrin, tetramethrin, allethrin, resmethrin and fenvalerate) and chlorpyrifos (trade name: Dursban).”

More than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States have never been fully tested for their potential to harm humans or the environment, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The dangers of many of these pesticides many not show up for a few generations.

While the experts debate how to get rid of mosquitoes in the safest way possible, many counties across the United States have declared a West Nile virus state of emergency over the past few days. Hot temperatures, combined with intermittent rains have created a perfect incubator for mosquito larva across the country. This causes concern for environmentalists and those concerned with the health of bees. One beekeeper in particular, Brandon Pollard of Texas, insists that aerial spraying will kill his bees, as well as his honey business. “We’ve been going around and checking our bees, making sure they have not been compromised from the spraying. We’ve (already) lost thousands of bees.”

Many citizens believe that pest control products are necessary for controlling the mosquito populations this summer, but that random spraying of adulticides isn’t the answer. The answer isn’t in sprays, but in trying to prevent mosquitoes from ever becoming a problem in the first place. Cultural controls like groundwork to locate empty swimming pools and overgrown weeds are frequently more effective and less expensive than costly aerial spraying. Bti dunks have been used successfully for decades in bodies of water to keep mosquito larvae from hatching into adults.

There’s no question that West Nile virus cases are on the rise and that everyone needs to chip in and do their part to keep the mosquito population under control. It’s not enough to sit back and wait for your county vector control agency to spray pesticides all over your property. The best mosquito repellent available is to do everything possible to keep your yard as tidy and dry as possible to discourage mosquito breeding. A little effort now means a lot less pesticide usage later.

Spalding Labs And Bye Bye Odor Help Keep Stables Their Cleanest

If you think the ammonia order coming from your horse’s stall is bad, try smelling it at ground level where his nostrils are. Urine odor is more than just unpleasant; it can be harmful to your horse’s health.

Spalding Labs went into the stalls of a few horses that were cleaned just days earlier to test for ammonia levels. They were shocked to find that the stalls averaged about 120 ppm ammonia. Meanwhile, the EPA/OSHA limit for humans is only 20 to 50 ppm. Even more surprising, the owner didn’t think the stall smelled badly. Sometimes the nose doesn’t know best. The folks at Spalding Labs applied one treatment with Bye Bye Odor to the stalls and within 24 hours, ammonia levels were down to 10-15 ppm.

Even low levels of ammonia can reduce your horse’s performance and cause severe respiratory issues. However, the danger of ammonia is one that’s unknown by many horse owners. It’s just the “stall smell” that so many of us have grown accustomed to.  Of course, it’s not us who are in a trailer for many hours at a time with our noses only 5 feet above the surface.

The microbial solution in Bye Bye Odor is highly concentrated, yet safe. It’s designed to substantially reduce or completely eliminate all kinds of organic odors that are found in animal waste. Other products cover up the smell of ammonia, but Spalding Labs and Bye Bye Odor believe that’s not enough. The high concentration of microbes actually removes the organic material that’s causing the odor and creating ammonia. This means that your horse’s stall doesn’t just smell better, it’s actually healthier.

Bye Bye Odor is packaged as a super concentrate that you simply dilute before using. Just pour the liquid into a clean pump sprayer and add tap water. Then, after cleaning your stall as normal, spray a generous mist of Bye Bye Odor daily on any wet spots. It’s simple and fast.

Spalding Labs says that a 4 ounce bottle should last 5 stalls for an entire month. If you have a larger barn, you can purchase their large 32 ounce concentrate, which makes 20 gallons of Bye Bye Odor. That’s enough to care for 40 horses in a month. Of course, once the concentrate is opened and mixed with tap water it needs to be used within 60 days, while the microbes are still effective.

Let’s face it: horse owners love barn smells. Leather, tack, hay, shavings, liniment and that sweet horsey smell… those are all the scents of barn life that we all love so much. And many of us just accept the smell of ammonia as part of the package. However, Spalding Labs believes that once you eliminate the ammonia odor you’ll actually come to appreciate those good smells even more than you already do. Let’s face it- ammonia doesn’t make anything smell better.

Spalding Labs offers an inexpensive single-use tester that will help you accurately measure ammonia levels in your barn. All horse owners are urged to test and make sure that they’re not exposing their animals to dangerous toxins.

Bye Bye Odor isn’t just for the barn. It also works well for horse trailers (front and back). Just pour half a bottle of your 4 ounce concentrate every time you have the waste water tank in the living quarters emptied and your trailer will continue to smell fresh. Spray some Bye Bye Odor in the back of your trailer to lower the ammonia level from horse urine accumulating.

Flies are attracted to waste odors, so if you use Bye Bye Odor in your barn, Spalding Labs says you will reduce the smell and have fewer pest flies coming to bother your horses. Of course, if you require a more complete approach to fly control, then nothing beats Spalding Labs Fly Predators. Mother Nature’s fly parasites are a safe and effective way of reducing your fly population every summer.

Spalding Labs Bye Bye Odor is safe for all people and animals. Similar compounds have been used for years to break down bad smells, and are often found in household carpet cleaners and stain removers. They are also used in commercial odor removal products. The difference is that Bye Bye Odor contains many more microbes than competitors, to keep your barn smelling fresh.

Spalding Labs is a sponsor of

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