After catching the latest fantasy movie epic, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which features a spine-tingling scene featuring a forest-full of computer generated pockmocked giant spiders, I began to wonder, “What are the world’s largest web slingers?” Humankind’s constant obsession with larger-than-life spiders is clearly evidenced with Hollywood flicks like The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and even 2013′s Big Ass Spider (whose main character is a Western Exterminator pest control technician). I must admit even harmless Daddy long leg spiders give me the creeps in my basement on a regular basis.
In reality, there are some mammoth eight-legged anthropods that really tip the scales (well, at least for an insect). One important fact to note is that size does not always mean that a spider is more dangerous than another. For example, the Guinness World Records, lists the Brazilian wandering spider as the most venomous spider in the world which is half the size of some of the world’s largest spiders. Spider bites rarely result in death and are for the most part harmless. Regardless, spiders of unusual size never fail to fascinate and terrify humans (usually both at the same time). Enjoy learning about these giant-sized spiders! Read More
When I think back to my childhood and all the creepy fairy tales I was told growing up, one tale stands out in my mind: The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Rats and mice have always been a nuisance throughout history and our pest control technicians today carry on a vocation that dates back before the origins of the famous pipe-toting rat catcher. However, rodents played an even more sinister role in the Middle Ages than they do today – helping spread the plague known as “The Black Death” which is said to have killed one-third of Europe’s population from 1340-1400.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of the Pied Piper, the tale unfolds like this: The medieval city of Hamelin, Germany is overwrought with rodents. One day, a mysterious man appears in a coat of many colors (pied means having 2 or more colors) claiming to be a ratcatcher of great repute. The city of Hamelin agree to hire the fancy-coated pest expert for a specified price. The Pied Piper begins to play his instrument and subsequently leads all the mice and rats out of the city. After the city was freed of the rats, the citizens refuse to pay the Pied Piper his expensive fee. Angry and bitter over the city’s reluctance to pay up, the Pied Piper returns one night and leads 130 of the town’s children away with his pipe, never to return again. Needless to say, this story is absolutely terrifying to children and grown men like myself. Read More
The Brown Tree Snake Photo Credit: Mark Kempen
In February 2013, the U.S. government approved $8 million in funding for a program in Guam to use dead mice packed full of painkillers to combat a widespread infestation of brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis). Arriving in Guam just after World War II, the brown tree snake found the island to be perfect hunting environment preying on many exotic birds and other vertebrates. The snake population has grown to unprecedented numbers and cause an average of 80 power failures a year (resulting in an estimated loss of $4 million annually). Additionally, there are numerous reports of the snakes attacking people.
After years of failed control tactics, the tree snake’s 2 weaknesses were identified: mice and Tylenol. The rear-fanged snake can be killed after consuming a relatively small amount of Tylenol and mice are one of their favorite meals. Flying at low altitude at slow speeds, the acetaminophen-laced dead mice are parachuted down from helicopters into the forest canopy where the snakes can take the bait. Read More
Presto-X Pest Control Technician, Edwin Ortega
Homeowners and businesses face problems with pests on a daily basis throughout North America and beyond. When these problems arise, customers want their issues resolved efficiently and quickly. However, it is easy to forget that with every pest problem that is remedied, there is a human being responsible for solving that issue. To gain a better perspective of the daily life of a pest control professional, the deBugged blog sat down with Chicago-based Presto-X Pest Control technician, Edwin Ortega, for a question-and-answer session.
deBugged: Edwin, how did you become a pest control technician at Presto-X?
Edwin: I worked for a different pest control company previously and I realized that Presto-X was much closer to my home so I applied for a position. I live in Chicago and their office was right down the street from me. I knew it was a great company from the get-go. When I met my managers, Don and Mona, I felt that they were very easy people to communicate with.
Before I began my career as a pest control technician, I worked for an airline company. Initially, I started in pest control as a part-time, seasonal employee but quickly realized the career potential in the industry. There was so much to learn and lot of opportunity. Read More
Photo Credit: Gotzek D, Brady SG, Kallal RJ, LaPolla JS
A new invasive ant species has invaded America. Nylanderia fulva, also known as the Tawny Crazy Ant has terrorized southwestern Texas as well as other Gulf Coast states due to their warm and humid environments.
The Tawny Crazy ant was first discovered in a Miami hospital 23 years ago. Since then, the reddish-brown ant has moved, primarily by human commerce, to 20 Florida counties, 24 Texas counties, and several counties in Louisiana and Mississippi. They were mistakenly thought to be– for over 2 decades– Nylanderia pubens, a Caribbean species that was first found in Florida in 1953. But in 2002, the Tawny Crazy ant was first spotted in Pasadena, Texas by a pest management professional. Read More