Bedbugs (Expecto Patronum)

The June bug hath a gaudy wing,
The lightning bug a flame,
The bedbug hath no wing at all
But he gets there just the same.

Bedbugs do not have wings at any stage of their life. Still, just as the old saying goes, the bedbugs have gotten to Johnson County just the same. It was said for years that the reason we had a break from bedbugs for some decades is because of the widespread use of DDT in the sixties and seventies. Now, in laboratory testing, bedbugs have become DDT resistant. Bedbugs have been around on the Earth for some time now. Cimex lectularius (sounds like a Harry Potter incantation) has also been called, “Chinche,” “wall-louse,” and probably the first use of the word “bug.” The ancient Celts saw them as terrors of the night and the word “bug” is synonymous in their language with ghosts and goblins. There are twenty species in the world, eight of which are from North America.
Folklore about this bug has dated back for centuries. They were once considered a cure for a great variety of ailments. Crushed bedbugs mixed with salt and human milk were considered an ointment for the eyes. In powdered form, they were considered a cure for fevers. Eating seven bedbugs mixed with beans was believed to help those suffering from quartan plague. Even at present time, in certain areas of Ohio, this same mixture is used as a cure for chills and fevers. For hysteria, people took the bedbugs internally and just the smell of them was considered to relieve hysterical suffocation. At one time bedbugs were also thought to be especially good as neutralizers of serpent venom, that of asps in particular, as well as a useful preventative against all other kinds of poisons (Harry Potter, again…). We don’t recommend any of those cures and think those people in Ohio must be nuts. Instead, we recommend that if you are haunted by these goblins to go ahead and give us a call. We’ll use our magic.

Tick Talk

Living in southern Indiana, we all have our fair share of the woods, eventually. We don’t get too far into the warm months without starting to wonder how bad the ticks are going to be this year and perhaps a refresher on the subject would prove helpful to all. In Indiana, there are numerous species of ticks while three are common. The most common is the American Dog Tick described as large and slow and ranging in color from grey to dark brown. The next is the Lonestar (also called Seed, Turkey, and Deer) Tick. It is smaller than the American Dog Tick and the female of the species has a white spot in the center of her back. Leaving the Black-Legged Tick, which is considered the most feared because these tiny, mahogany-colored oval-shaped ticks, can be carriers of Lyme disease. They established themselves in Indiana in 1987 and are found to prefer feeding on mice, small rodents, and white-tailed deer. Still, fear over ticks is nevertheless due to the possible diseases they can transmit due to their parasitic nature. Besides, Lyme disease, ticks are also responsible for Mountain Spotted-Fever, Ehrilchlosis, and Anaplasmosis. Symptoms from any of these can include spreading rashes, headaches, fatigue, fevers, and muscle aches but these are rare.
Our Entomologists on staff recommend that if bitten, save the tick in any closable container and label it with date and time.
Of course, please seek medical attention if anyone were to experience unusual symptoms after being bitten by a tick. The proper way to remove a tick is to use tweezers (as close to the skins surface as possible), then pull upward with steady even pressure (don’t twist or jerk because the mouthparts can get left in the skin-if they do, try to remove with tweezers), clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub, or/and soap and water. Avoid folklore remedies such as petroleum jelly or heat to get the tick to detach. The goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible not waiting for detachment.
To best avoid ticks, stay away from wooded or bushy areas, high grass, and leaf litter and when hiking, walk in the center of trails. If these areas are not avoided, as we always say, prevention is best! This includes long pants and long-sleeved shirt (tucking shirt into pants and pants into socks), using repellants (20% Deet or above- always follow directions on the bottle and apply product avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth), and always do an inspection check when leaving the woods (look in and around ears, belly button, behind knees, between legs, around waist and especially the hair). The examination should also include gear and pets. Camp clothes and blankets should be dried in the dryer on high heat for an hour.
Never forget our canine friends! It is often that dogs are the first to suffer from tick problems and tick-borne infections are a more serious risk for canines. We recommend that you ask your veterinarian about anti-tick prevention products and determine a treatment program for the months of April through September in Indiana. For more information about ticks, see www.CDC.gov/ticks. So that’s the tick tock and we hope it just ticks away!

Hoosier Daddy

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! A special thanks to all the dads and granddads out there! We know that often it was they who smashed that stray spider horrifying the family or came to the rescue for a bee sting. We salute dads because we think you are all grand! Being from Indiana and from a family-run pest control company we can’t get through this holiday without celebrating the Grand Daddy Long Legs. There have been quite a few myths surrounding this creature. Often referred to as spiders and in the Arachnid family, they are not actually true spiders and belong to the order Opiliones, making them more closely related to mites than spiders. They do not have silk glands and do not produce webs. They also do not liquefy their food with venom like spiders. As a young camper in southern Indiana, tales around the fire were that Daddy Long Legs were extremely venomous and to close your mouth when sleeping because they could craw in your mouth and kill you. Although it is estimated that humans consume up to one hundred insects a year while asleep, swallowing a grand daddy long legs could not cause death on the top bunk. They do not have venom glands and do not produce venom. Some say their fangs are just too small to bite humans, but in fact, they do not have fangs at all. Instead, they use 3-jointed mouth organs like a claw to eat. Often, they are foragers coming out at night, eating decomposing animal and plant matter. Sometimes they are even called Harvestmen. They are carnivorous, eating living organisms but mostly sticking with plant matter and juices. They do not bite humans and are not to be feared. Still, many just find all bugs a general nuisance and of course we’ve got the answer for you. Our power-spray program is in full swing this year and all are guaranteed pest-free and safe. It is never too late for that last-minute Father’s Day gift that keeps giving all year long and ensures Dad won’t be bugged. For those who are curious about other tips to reduce Grand Daddy Long Legs populations, please call us today. As always, our trained technicians work tirelessly to stay on top of all the latest pest control techniques. Dad always said that he loved to make clients happy just that much more than killing bugs-so give us a buzz!

Bug Music in Johnson County

Bugs are always music to our ears here at Johnson County Exterminating because they give us the opportunity to grow our symphony of satisfied customers. Throughout human history, bugs have always inspired the arts such as literature and movies, even some early cave paintings in France have depictions of humans gathering honey. When it comes to music, author and musician David Rothenberg has recently put out a book with an accompanied cd entitled “Bug Music” (April 2013, St. Martin’s Press) in which he makes the claim that the rhythm and noise of insects are perhaps the earliest influence on human music. It just makes sense that ancient humans would have beat their drums along with the chirping of crickets or maybe fashioned instruments the way that insects make their music rather like the use of a bow over strings creates sound like a the cricket rubbing its legs together. David Rothenberg’s insights are quite fascinating and the cd includes the use of bug sounds set to music which becomes a favorite of entomologists and music-lovers alike. Some of our other favorites include the song “Ugly Bug Ball” sung by Burl Ives and written by Robert Shermann. This appears on Walt Disney’s “Summer Magic” program that used to be on Sunday nights on the Wonderful World of Disney and can now be found on YouTube. It is so fun for children that we include it in our PowerPoint presentation when we speak to students about bugs at your local schools. Who could ever forget the song “Doomsday: The Bugs are Taking Over” by Elvis Costello or Bobby Gentry’s song “Bugs” which is this author’s personal favorite. In it she sings of how bugs are everywhere and a “sure fire way to pass the time of day you fold up a newspaper and swat ‘em”. This song truly captures what a nuisance insects can be but if you find yourself heading for that newspaper too often- of course, give us a call, we can do quite a bit better than that and the silence of bugs can be music to many ears. Still, it’s easy to see how bugs have inspired music and whether it’s Rimsky Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, The Beatles, or even the heavy metal band Wasp, post and let us know what insect music inspires you!