American Dog Tick

This is the most common tick here in the Piedmont region. It positions itself of the grass and shrubs with its legs out and waits for a host to come close enough for it to catch on. This tick can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Only the adults prefer humans or dogs to take a blood-meal from. These ticks are active in the spring, summer, and fall.

Lone Star Tick 
All stages of the Lone Star tick will feed on humans or any available hosts that comes nearby. This tick is seen mostly in the coastal area but is slowly migrating into the Piedmont region. It is able to transfer Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), Ehrlichiosis, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), and Lyme disease.

Black-Legged Tick
Adults of this tick feed on humans but are only active in the late fall and into early spring. They are carriers of Lyme disease and are mostly seen in the coastal areas but is spreading into the Piedmont area. They are mainly active in late fall through to early spring.

Red Imported Fire Ant
These are the only ants that have double petioles. Where the thorax gets skinny and attaches to the abdomen there are two little humps called petioles that make is easy to identify this ant. These ants are aggressive and hard to control. 
Treat ant mounds as soon as they are seen. Mounds can reach a depth of several feet and expand directionally outward with many secondary exits. Do research and get professional advise regarding treatment. These ants not only bite, but as they are biting, they curl the abdomen around and sting at the same time.

Bed Bug
Bed bugs are a nuisance and are very costly and time consuming to treat. Lately more of these insects are becoming a problem for hotels and residential houses. Bed bugs do not fly nor do they crawl long distances, they hitchhike from place to place in search of a warm blooded meal.

The only good news about bed bugs is that they are not vectors of disease. They can move from place to place using luggage from traveling, used bedding or mattresses that have not been sanitized, on the clothing of people, used furniture, or on wild animals (for example: wild birds that live in the chimney).

**Credible information from Scott Neely of Scott Neely Pest Control at the WPEHS meeting**

Why Are They Spreading So Rapidly?
  • Phenomenal explosion in major metropolitan regions
  • Increase in travel, loss of pesticide tools, and changes in how the industry operates
  • Multi-family housing and cultural habits
  • Cruise ships
  • Bed bugs are master hitch hikers and hard to detect in low numbers
  • Public generally does not know what bed bugs are, how to avoid them, or how to recognize a problem
  • Most modern insecticides are not effective
How Are They Being Spread?
  • Furniture company delivering new furniture on same truck they took old furniture away on
  • Furniture donated through Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other thrift stores
  • Yard sales
  • Dumpster diving / curbside shopping
  • Feed exclusively on blood and take about five minutes to feed
  • Leave host after feeding and hide nearby
  • Life cycle - must take blood meal between life stages
    • Egg
    • Five instar stages
    • Adult
  • Seven days between each instar stage
  • 35 - 48 days from egg to adulthood
  • Females will lay one to five eggs per day (up to 200 in a lifetime)
  • Adults can live six to eight months (sometimes over one year)
Inspection & Detection
  • Equipment: flashlights, which are helpful in moderate to heavy infestations, bed bug detecting dogs, which are able to find a single egg / bug, traps, heat (hair dryers)
  • Where to look: box springs, bed frames, cracks, and crevices
    • 85% will be close to where host is when resting the majority of the time then they will go to ceiling corners in colder months
  • Nocturnal - normally move and feed at night
  • They do not jump or fly - they move into suitcases at night and can move fairly fast
  • Very mobile and can travel between apartments and dorms
  • 20% of apartments could be infested and not aware of the problem
  • Move into other units of adjacent walls of initial location
  • People that are bitten don't always have a reaction
  • Bed bugs will make bites in a line along the person's skin
  • Not vectors - they are not known to transfer any type of diseases
Selecting a Pest Control Vendor
  • Services offered, abilities, experience, staffing
  • Control options:
    • Conventional insecticide treatment (two to four follow up visits on average)
    • Steam - very time consuming
    • Freezing cryonite units, chest freezers (one week minimum)
    • Fumigation - no residual chemical afterwards
    • Thermal remediation - heat to 120 degrees for five hours (clothes dryer will kill bed bugs after 30 minutes on hot cycle)
  • Nuvan Prostrips - DDP - which is an alternate to fumigation and not approved for living spaces
Helpful Links
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