Flea Circus

Our office has been inundated with calls about fleas and indeed it has been a bad year for them. The first thing any pest control company will tell you about fleas is that IT TAKES 21 DAYS TO KILL FLEAS AFTER YOU TREAT FOR THEM! This is true throughout the industry because even if all the fleas were killed today, in 21 days their eggs will hatch. When we treat for fleas, in 21 days when the flea eggs hatch the treatment will kill them off as well.

That brings us to the second thing any pest control will tell you about fleas: YOU MUST TREAT YOUR DOGS OR CATS WITH A VETERINARY-APPROVED FLEA TREATMENT! This means Advantage or Frontline or whatever your vet suggests. Please be sure to get the treatment from reputable dealers such as your vet, pet shops, or 1800PETMEDS.com. There are a lot of knock-offs on the market and some dealers may have them and they are expired so beware of getting them just anywhere. The real treatments have little bottles usually filled with Fipronil or a chemical that is totally safe for dogs or cats, and must be administered monthly. We know this can be an expense but it is a necessary one. It can range from $10-20 a month for the treatment and they usually come in 4-month dose packages. (Always follow the rules and instructions on the packages). These should be administered during the warm months of the year (May-August) and possibly September and October if a flea problem persists.

Treatments need to be given to all dogs or cats in the household (the doses vary according to the pet’s weight). We know this can be pricey and it is tempting to go with the cheaper brands such as Hertz or just using a flea collars or flea dips but THESE WILL NOT TAKE CARE OF A FLEA PROBLEM! The Hertz have even been proven to cause brain damage in some animals and simply don’t work and the flea dips and collars do not provide ongoing protection so don’t waste your money. (There is a PET BLOOD DONOR program that is run through IVAC that offers a 40% discount on flea medications along with many other benefits for other services such as free annual check-ups. For more information about this pet saving program, please call 1-800-551-4879). Even the flea pills given by a vet may not be the answer. One pill is designed like a flea dip. The animal takes the pill and the fleas die instantly but when the animal reenters the flea infested area again, there is no ongoing protection and the animal continues to get fleas. Be sure to ask questions when buying flea pills from the vet and make sure it is one that provides ongoing protection and is re-administered when needed.

• When our exterminators come to treat the property for fleas, it is best to treat the cats or dogs before or at the same time.
• We also ask that food items, toys, and clothes be stored and floor areas cleaned and accessible.
Birds will need to be removed during treatment and fish tanks need to be covered with water-pumps turned off.
• Reentry time varies by property but can usually be up to 1-3 hours after the treatment. Your exterminator will let you know when it is safe to reenter the property and when the treatment will be mostly odorless and completely safe for you and your pets.
• Again, please allow 21 days due to the nature of the flea life-cycle for complete treatment and prevent further infestations by treating your animals monthly.

We hope to take the hassle out of having fleas and seek to work one-on-one with our clients to find the most effective and timely solution to eliminating fleas. Call us today with all questions or concerns. Don’t let fleas turn your life into a circus -please say no to fleas!

Flying Ants or Termites?

As an exterminator, I am often asked the difference between ant swarms and termite swarms. Indeed, the two look very much alike. A good way to tell them apart is at their waist. If the individual insect has a pinched waist, it is most likely an ant. If it looks to not have a waist and rather looks like a small black tube with wings, it is most likely a termite. Never fear in either case as you’ve come to the right place. Your local pest professionals at JCE have both the tools and the talent to take care of you!

Of course, many would prefer to have flying ants over the termites since flying termites are an obvious sign of wood under threat. Still, when it comes to flying carpenter ants, they too pose a danger to surrounding wood and trees. As a general rule, the carpenter ants are larger than other ants; however, their identification can be tricky. Carpenter ants can cause wood damage that can be just as disheartening as any termite’s.

It is important to be able to identify and manage the wood-destroying pests as soon as possible and work to practice prevention techniques.

These include:
• Quickly fixing leaks and leaky spickets
• Eliminating standing water and excess moisture in crawls and basements
• Cleaning out gutters at least once a year
• Cutting tree limbs back away from the house
• Removing dead trees and logs
• Storing firewood off of the ground (on racks) and away from the house
• Once-a-year inspections of the property
• Power Spray Protection Program (does not protect against termites but your best bet for carpenter ants and other occasional outside invaders)

JCE seeks to protect your home from damaging insects and those that disrupt your life. Our pest control team is trained to identify potential problems and safely handle any infestations. Ants? Termites? There’s only one call to make!

Like Lightning

Magical summers have lazy vacations, barbeques, 4th of July fireworks, and fireflies. As a child, it seemed the firefly’s light shows could rival the fireworks – but not so this year. There just seemed to be a myriad more fireflies in my younger days compared to now. Was this true? Have the fireflies been disappearing? Research on fireflies has only quite recently begun but already a decline in their populations has been observed. Very little is still understood about fireflies but scientists are warning that fireflies may become rare and eventually extinct with some predictions as soon as the next couple generations. Imagine, our grandchildren only being able to just tell their grandchildren of fireflies with none left alive in existence. Indeed, a depressing thought.
It is hard to imagine summer without fireflies.
Scientists have recently excelled their efforts in the research of these magical creatures. The firefly tale begins in the tail. It produces what is called “cold light” and is caused by a mixture of three chemicals: Luciferin (a chemical that is heat-resistant and glows under the right conditions), Luciferase (an enzyme that triggers light emission) and ATP (a chemical that converts to energy and initiates glow and one that all living things contain). In some species, even the eggs and larvae emit light –GLOWORMS! So far, the research of the firefly has proven both medically and scientifically useful.
Fireflies love warm and humid environments and thrive in forests, fields, marshes, near lakes, rivers and ponds. They can be found on all of the continents except Antarctica, coming out in the summertime to the world’s delight. It is unfortunate that there is plenty of antidotal evidence that areas once full of fireflies (going back generations), have seen recent and dramatic population decreases. The cause of the disappearance is still being researched however, most scientists blame development and light pollution. As open fields and forests are paved over, fireflies’ habitats disappear. The increased use of pesticides and herbicides are also a factor. Habitats disappear under housing and commercial development so firefly numbers dwindle.
The male and female fireflies use flashing lights to communicate and attract mates. Human light pollution is believed to interrupt these flash patterns. Lights from homes, streetlights, cars, and so on have made it difficult for fireflies to signal each other for mating, meaning fewer firefly larvae next season.
So what can you do to save the fireflies?
• Turn off outside lights at night and draw blinds.
• Don’t over-mow your lawn (you’re welcome dad) –fireflies live on the ground during the day and over-mowing disrupts them. Consider areas of long grasses in landscaping.
• Create water features in your landscapes (such as small ponds or a diverted river).
• Plant Trees!!! Pine is a firefly favorite as the canopy provides a low light area.
• Let some log litter accumulate (this is especially for those who live beneath forest canopies).
• Do NOT introduce earthworms to your yard! This not only causes the reduction of plant diversity it also causes the reduction of food availability for fireflies.
• Use natural fertilizers as chemical fertilizers have a definite effect on fireflies-say no to lawn spray!
• Use fewer pesticides. Many communities spray for mosquitoes at night and inadvertently poison the fireflies. We encourage a broad spectrum mosquito control program including reducing standing water and the use of larvacides. Talk to your community leaders as many have found that this can actually save money and have a less impact on firefly species.
• Talk to your neighbors and get involved. There is even a way to get your garden certified through the National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org).
It is up to us to save the fireflies before they are glowing, glowing, gone!