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Mother’s Day Is Just 5 Days Away, Don’t Forget Her Flowers And Leave Out The Mites!!

Getting the bugs out — literally — of Mother’s Day flowers at LAX

By Art Marroquin, Staff

The last thing any mom wants next weekend is a pest.

To keep that from happening, federal authorities are preparing for Mother’s Day by scrutinizing an estimated 40 million flowers for bugs, eggs and larvae hiding in shipments coming from South America, Asia and Australia.

“If you ask any mother who tries to grow flowers in her garden, you’ll always hear about having to deal with the insects,” said Jaime Ruiz, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“We don’t want anyone’s mom to deal with that for Mother’s Day.”

Armed with magnifying glasses and tweezers, the CBP’s trained group of agricultural specialists constantly search for unusual signs of disease or clues that mites, thrips, miner flies and other critters are feeding on lush shipments arriving at Los Angeles International Airport.

More flowers arrive in the United States for Mother’s Day than any other holiday, followed by Valentine’s Day, Ruiz said. Los Angeles handles 15 to 20 percent of the nation’s blooms, making it the second-busiest flower importer after Miami.

“Sometimes we don’t find anything, but finding something new to us is pretty exciting,” said Yaan Cheng, who has worked the past four years as a CBP inspector at LAX.

On Monday morning, Cheng grabbed a rose bouquet that had just arrived from Ecuador, flipped it upside down and gave it a strong shake.

Loose petals, leaves and other dry remnants scattered onto a white table as he reached for a pair of tweezers and plucked a twitching mite.

Cheng gingerly placed the insect into an alcohol-filled glass vial that will be examined to determine whether it is already established in the United States.

If the insect isn’t already present, then the entire shipment of flowers is sent back, destroyed or treated with chemical pesticides.

“One little bug that isn’t from here could wreak havoc in the agricultural sector,” Ruiz said.

The flowers arrive in the belly of passenger jetliners, and then are whisked to massive cold-storage units housed inside nearby warehouses.

Nearly 3.5 million flowers arrived last weekend from New Zealand, Ecuador and Colombia for inspection at Gourmet Logistics Co., which has a cavernous refrigeration unit that’s kept at a brisk zero to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The petals are kept in fresh condition until they are ready for distribution to West Coast flower shops and supermarkets, said Andy Iturrizaga, business relations manager for Gourmet Logistics Co.

It’s a great business,” Iturrizaga said. “Especially at this time of the year.”

Posted in Aphids, Article, Blog, Boston, Chocolate, Climate Change, Commercial, Commercial Pest Control, disease, disease carrying insects, earth, environment, flowers, Food & Beverage Processing, Foodservice, Holiday, Holiday events, Home, insects, mites, New England, News, News, Promos & What's Up, pests, Residential Pest Control, Small Business, spider mites, spring, spring insects
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Bedbugs Can Infest Your Work Office As Well As Your Bedroom

Add bedbugs to your list of potential occupational health hazards. A new report reveals nearly half of the employees of a U.S. government office in Tennessee were bitten by the blood-thirsty invaders while at work.

A bedbug-detecting German shepherd confirmed the infestation at an unidentified building in Clarksville, Tenn., last September, and investigators concluded that at least 35 workers had suffered bites. Although one woman had bite marks all over her body, the bugs didn’t cause serious health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Bedbugs can easily expand their territory beyond bedrooms, said Michael Potter, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “They start in homes and beds, and as people move about, they get transported into office buildings, schools, libraries, movie theaters, retail stores, you name it.”

Clarksville, home to about 125,000 people in north Tennessee, is one of many cities combating bedbugs in nonresidential settings in recent years. Bedbug infestations have soared since 2000 across the United States, sending even customers of luxury hotels and upmarket clothing stores into a panic.

A 2011 survey of U.S. pest control companies found that 38 percent had responded to infestations at office buildings, up from 17 percent the year before. Treatments at schools and day-care centers rose to 36 percent from 10 percent, and visits to hospitals jumped from 12 percent of their jobs to almost one-third.

Bedbugs bite people, often at night, and become engorged with their blood. The bites cause welts, itching and swelling. However, bedbugs do not carry disease like some other insects.

The building in question serves children and has 76 employees, said Dr. Jane Baumblatt, a CDC epidemic intelligence services officer based in Tennessee. Employees began reporting bites and itching last June, she said, and the state health department responded.

Theories about the source of the bites included scabies and fleas. But a German shepherd, one of many dogs around the country trained to detect bedbugs, found them in cubicles and offices within the building, Baumblatt said. Also, dermatologists confirmed that the bites were from bedbugs.

Baumblatt interviewed 61 employees and found that 35 had suffered from bites, often on their legs. “It wasn’t that severe. It was more of a nuisance than anything,” Baumblatt said.

“The anxiety was that people didn’t know what it was,” she said. “Once people figured out they were bedbugs, they were relieved.”

The office brought in a pest control company to rid the office of bedbugs and performed steam cleaning, Baumblatt said.

Potter, the entomologist, said bedbugs prefer beds and stationary furniture such as couches and recliners because they don’t like disruption when they feed on people. But they may be transported to offices, day-care centers or myriad other locations in personal belongings such as backpacks, briefcases and purses.

Once an office becomes infested, managers may not want to tell workers in order to avoid a panic, he said. “In the best of all worlds, the office would inform the employees that some bedbugs have been spotted and they have a pest control company that’s hopefully involved in dealing with things,” he said.

However, Potter added, “nothing is easy when it comes to bedbugs.”

The report was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the CDC’s annual Epidemic Intelligence Services conference in Atlanta.|head

Posted in Article, Bed Bug Control, Bed Bug Extermination, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Ticks & Fleas, Blog, Boston, Bugs, Commercial, Commercial Pest Control, Home, Hotel, Massachusetts, News, News, Promos & What's Up, pests, Property Management, Residential Pest Control, Schools, Small Business
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Bed bugs discovered at Riley Hospital for Children

Bed bugs continue to be an issue nationwide. At Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, an incidence of bed bugs was recently discovered,” the statement said. “To ensure the safety of our patients and families, we work closely with our infection control and environmental services departments to ensure the incident is isolated and dealt with in a timely manner.”
A spokesperson for Riley Hospital confirmed they discovered bed bugs over the weekend in one room.
According to the hospital, the patient and patient’s family were moved to a different room, but not before the hospital took their clothes and washed and dried them at an extremely high heat. Hot enough, a spokesperson said, to kill any bed bugs that could have been on the clothes.
The hospital said the room was sealed for 48 hours while an outside contractor fumigated the room to kill the pests.
According to the spokesperson, the entire floor was inspected for more bed bugs and none were found. The hospital also said it inspected the two rooms, both above and below the room where they found the original case.
This isn’t the first time the hospital has dealt with bed bugs.
A spokesperson told Eyewitness News they also had a case last month in a room.

As you can see bed bugs are still a problem and they can be a problem anywhere, if you are having a problem with bed bugs or are concerned you may have bed bugs contact A1 Exterminators today at

Posted in Bed Bug Control, Bed Bug Extermination, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Ticks & Fleas, Beverly, Blog, Boston, Bugs, Cape Cod, Commercial, Commercial Pest Control, Food & Beverage Processing, Foodservice, Health, Healthcare, Home, Hospitality, Hotel, insects, Lynn, Massachusetts, Nantucket, New England, News, News, Promos & What's Up, Other Industry Solutions, Property Management, Quincy, Residential Pest Control, Retail, Revere, Schools, Small Business, Somerville, Travel, Worcester
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The War on Bedbugs Starts Now: The 2nd National Bed Bug Summit

A summit to fight the epidemic of Cimex lectularius convenes today in Washington DC as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a half dozen other federal agencies try to address the “consumer concern about the rising incidence of bed bugs in the United States.”

The 2011 National Bedbug Summit, to be held at Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center today and tomorrow, will have a panel of experts brainstorming to address issues such as gaps in prevention and control and the progress of State and local governments in reigning in the problem.

Bedbugs are tiny parasitic insects which feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals. Typical adverse health effects from bedbug bites include skin rashes, allergic reactions and psychological effects.

Bedbugs are not known to transmit infectious diseases to humans.

In the United States, the bedbug was essentially eradicated since the 1940s but found resurgence at the end of the century. Though pesticides have historically been effective against bedbugs, resistance to many pesticides have developed. In addition to pesticides, non-pesticide methods have been used such as vacuuming and heat treating.

For more information on the 2011 National Bedbug Summit

Robert Herriman

February 01, 2011

Posted in Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Ticks & Fleas, Food & Beverage Processing, Foodservice, Healthcare, Hospitality, News, Promos & What's Up, Other Industry Solutions, Property Management, Residential Pest Control, Retail, Schools, Small Business
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Bedbugs: Travel Tips to ward off bedbugs plus video

It seems like those blood sucking bedbugs are popping up everywhere. From hotel rooms to dressing rooms and now, news that bedbugs were discovered in a patient’s room at a Providence hospital. The issue of bedbugs is making many feel like they just want to stay home, but there are tips you can use to safeguard yourself when you are traveling.

The lighter you travel the less likely chance the bedbugs have places to stow away in your luggage. Experts say do not unpack your clothes. Keep everything in your suitcase. The bedbugs like to come out at night when you are sleeping so before you put your head on the pillow cover your luggage.  There are places that say they sell bedbug liners for suitcases, but sealed plastic bags also work

Be sure to bring a large plastic garbage bag and put your suitcase inside the bag then firmly tie it up.  While covering another story on dogs sniffing out bedbugs, an expert showed this Examiner that bedbugs have a difficult time crawling on the plastic. You may even want to put smaller items in clear zip lock type bags.

Another good tip, if you have to hang things up avoid a hotel closet where others may have left behind bedbugs, they can easily hide and come out at night. Remember, they like it dark and often hotel closets are in the open. Instead of hanging your clothes in the closet, hang them in the bathroom, but keep the light on. Close the door so you can get some Z’s but the light will help deter the bedbugs from invading your clothes.

An absolute must is to check the mattress and wall for any signs bedbugs are present. Bring a flashlight too, you may not be able to see the bugs but blood and eggs left behind are  tell tale signs that bedbugs are alive and kicking.

During the inspection, look under the four corners of the mattress, the four underside corners of the box spring, and the piping of sofas and large furniture, If possible search behind the headboard. Also keep in mind digested blood will be brownish in color and will dissolve when touched with a wet napkin or tissue.

If you are driving you should pack your luggage back up in the large garbage bag before you put it in your car. When the trip is over and you are back home do not bring your luggage in the house if you suspect it was near bedbugs. Hot water is best for anything that can be cleaned that way, preferably 115 degrees to kill bugs or eggs. You can also put clothes directly in the dryer on the hottest setting, but do not overload because you want the hot air to circulate.

The more proactive you are using these tips the less likely you are to bring back bedbugs while traveling. For more information on dogs that help sniff out bedbugs click here. For more information about bedbugs and how they target humans click on the National Geographics video link. The short video is extremely informative.

October 7th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

Laura Clarizio

Posted in Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Ticks & Fleas, Commercial, Food & Beverage Processing, Foodservice, Healthcare, Hospitality, News, Promos & What's Up, Other Industry Solutions, Property Management, Residential Pest Control, Retail, Schools, Small Business
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