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Cockroaches have been long despised by homeowners due to their creepy appearance. The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, but was probably introduced via ships from Africa in the 1600s.

American cockroaches often enter structures through drains and pipes. They are more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings such grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. American roaches are also known to infest basements, yards and alleys.

American roaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause allergies and exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children and those living in metro-city areas. As with other species of roaches, American cockroaches can pose a threat to individuals with allergies.

Cockroach control and management are important for health and safety reasons.

If you notice cockroaches inside the home, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional at Westfall's Pest Control to inspect and treat the problem. For a free inspection and bug free guarantee, contact us at (941) 761-0125.

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Cockroach Series: German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the most common species of the cockroach. German cockroaches can breed at a rate of up to six generations per year. The German cockroach can fit through an opening as small as 3/8 inch in width.

Habits
German cockroaches will feed on almost anything, including soap, glue and toothpaste. German cockroaches are good hitchhikers and often find their way into new structures via grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons and secondhand appliances.

Habitat
German cockroaches prefer to live in warm, humid places close to food and moisture sources. They are frequently found in residential and commercial kitchen environments, and bathrooms.

Threats
In addition to being a nuisance, the German cockroach has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Medical studies have shown that German cockroach allergens cause allergic reactions and can exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children. This makes German cockroach control incredibly vital.

German Cockroach Prevention
Wondering how to get rid of German cockroaches? The best advice for German cockroach control is to practice good sanitation. To prevent German cockroaches from infesting the space, vacuum often, keep a spotless kitchen, seal all entrances around utility pipes and ventilate crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup. If there is evidence of a cockroach infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the German cockroach problem.

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Many people who experience the repercussions of suffering from allergies, like itchy eyes and a running nose, often attribute these unpleasant symptoms to culprits in the great outdoors. However, common household pests including rodents, cockroaches and dust mites have also been documented as triggers of allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children

Keep a Clean Kitchen
Cockroach saliva, droppings and decomposing body parts contain allergens that can exacerbate the symptoms of allergy sufferers. To cut off cockroach food sources, keep a meticulously clean kitchen, store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving out pet food.

Bring Out the Vacuum
About 20 million Americans have a dust mite allergy. These pests feed on human and animal dander, and vacuuming at least once a week using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter can help to prevent them.

Wash Clothes Regularly
Dust mites are most frequently found in the bed, where dander is most abundant. Launder linens frequently in hot water, preferably heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and consider encasing pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers.

Manage Moisture
Dust mites are excellent at absorbing moisture from the air and thrive in humidity. Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces. Consider running a dehumidifier in these areas to prevent moisture buildup.

Patch It Up
Droppings from rodents such as mice and rats are another largely preventable household allergen. Keep rodents out by sealing all cracks and gaps in walls and floors with a silicone-based caulk, especially in areas where utility pipes enter.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

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The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, but was probably introduced via ships from Africa in the 1600s.

Habits
American cockroaches often enter structures through drains and pipes. They are more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Habitat
Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings such grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. American roaches are also known to infest basements, yards and alleys.

Threats
American roaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause allergies and exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children and those living in metro-city areas. As with other species of roaches, American cockroaches can pose a threat to individuals with allergies.

Source: pestworld.org

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In recent years, several large-scale studies funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have reinforced the dangerous connection between cockroaches and asthma in children. NIEHS reported that one in five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, which can cause or increase the severity of asthma symptoms. These allergens are most commonly introduced into homes through cockroach saliva, droppings and the decomposing bodies of these pests.

"The presence of cockroaches in the home poses a severe risk to health, especially as an asthma trigger in children," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Homeowners should feel confident in contacting a licensed pest professional as their services have shown to be most effective in reducing cockroach populations. The professional treatment of cockroach infestations will ultimately reduce the number of allergens that can exacerbate a child's asthma."

Homeowners must be vigilant in preventing such infestations, especially during the summer months. Cockroaches are most active when temperatures reach 70 degrees or above and these pests thrive in warm, dark and moist places.

NPMA offers homeowners these tips to protect their families and properties from cockroach infestations:

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly, particularly in kitchens.
  • Clean kitchens daily, where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Contact a qualified pest professional to treat any infestations.
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Why do hissing cockroaches hiss?

Ever wondered why hissing cockroaches hiss? Eleven-year-old Erin Clawson did.

PJ Liesch, director of the UW’s Insect Diagnostic Lab, answered Erin’s question in a recent video from Blue Sky Science. The video series is a collaboration between the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Wisconsin State Journal.

If you encounter hissing cockroaches or regular cockroaches give Westfall's a call and we'll take care of it! - 941-761-0125

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Like people, cockroaches like to hang out together, especially when they have nothing else to do. Now, researchers know why. Gut bacteria pooped along with their feces emit odors that the roaches find attractive. When those bacteria are missing, cockroaches tend to go it alone, researchers have discovered. Gut microbes in other organisms may likewise influence behavior in ways we have yet to appreciate.

“We don’t know whether microbes are generally important in mediating chemical communications, but my best guess is that it’s widespread,” says Angela Douglas, who studies microbes and their animal hosts at Cornell University and was not involved with the work. Eavesdropping on microbe-cockroach conversations could lead to better ways to control this common household pest.

Insects typically communicate using odors called pheromones; those that attract males to females are well-studied. Since the 1970s, entomologists have also known that so-called aggregation pheromones encourage roaches to stick close to one another. But researchers never could agree on what those pheromones really are. Some suggested they were waxy substances in the outer skin; others argued they were nitrogen-rich compounds in the feces; and a third group insisted that fatty acids—building blocks for fat—were involved, although which ones exactly was under debate.

Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh wondered whether the conflicting results meant that different cockroaches depend on different aggregation chemicals because of variation in their environments, food, or gut microbes. So Schal and his team, including NC State entomologist Ayako Wada-Katsumata sterilized German cockroaches, Blattella germanica, and raised them in germ-free cages, so their feces would be germ-free. Usually cockroaches are attracted to their neighbors’ feces, but they tended to avoid the germ-free stuff.

About 80% to 100% of young cockroaches tested preferred feces over sterile water, and although the difference in attraction was not as clear-cut between extracts of germ-free and normal feces, there were significantly more cockroaches aggregating by the normal feces extract, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Without the microbes in the feces, the cockroaches no longer banded together very much. “The aggregation properties decline tremendously,” Schal says.

When Wada-Katsumata isolated feces bacteria and fed them to the germ-free cockroaches, the roaches once again tended to form groups. Sophisticated chemical analyses of normal roach poop and germ-free poop showed that the latter lacked many of the usual fatty acids that evaporate from the feces once it is exposed to air; the researchers conclude these volatile fatty acids may be the missing aggregation pheromones. Synthetic versions of these compounds also cause cockroaches to aggregate.

“This study explains how different studies in the past have yielded different results,” Douglas says. “It all depends on the microorganisms.” This may be why fatty acid advocates couldn’t agree on which fatty acids were important. Schal says that other candidate aggregation substances, in high concentrations, also seem to help bring the insects together, but these bacteria-produced compounds are much more potent and may be the most important drivers, Coby says.

Other researchers have shown that a specific microbe hosted by desert locusts helps induce crowding behavior in that species. And in 2012, researchers suggested that bacteria living in hyenas' scent glands impart the odors that help these animals tell kin from nonkin or pick out group members. “There’s the potential for this to be widespread,” Schal says.

May Berenbaum, an entomologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved with the work agrees. "It has become abundantly clear that insects partner with a tremendous diversity of microbial [associates]—bugs are bug-infested, as it were," she points out. And in cockroaches, they "produce a beautiful story of biological cooperation."

And how about people? What we eat affects the bacteria in our guts, which in turn can affect what we smell like. But although the resulting foul body odor may deter contact, “there’s no evidence the bacteria play a positive role in communication among humans,” Schal says.

He is now studying whether every population of cockroaches (even the ones living in your kitchen versus the ones in your basement) makes its own special aggregation pheromone. Schal and his colleagues hope to develop a synthetic aggregation pheromone that works for all German cockroaches. Such a compound would help lure roaches to insecticides, baits, and traps, Douglas says: “If we can understand the chemistry of cockroach aggregation and its plasticity better, we can devise better strategies for control.”

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Before you spray that bottle of Raid, take a minute to consider: You could be killing a brave little fellow, or perhaps a shy one.

That's according to new research indicating that "cockroaches have personalities," as scientists say in a statement. Specifically, they have two, the Guardian reports: Some are what researchers classify as "shy or cautious" while others are "bold or explorers."

How do you determine a cockroach's character? Just look at how it behaves when it's released into an open area. Some cockroaches will quickly head for shelter; others will focus on "exploring the surroundings" and will "spend less time sheltered," lead author Isaac Planas Sitjà tells the Guardian.

The researchers reached their findings by attaching small radio ID chips to hundreds of cockroaches and tracking their movements in a controlled environment, Science reports. Though they varied in their approach to finding shelter, they eventually all ended up in the same place. That shows that "there is a collective dynamic — a social influence — that dilutes the individual personality differences," Planas Sitjà tells Science.

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Notation on our invoice "Nutsedge heavy on both sides bare areas in back also doveweed on both sides" Is this for my information or is there some action I am expected to take?
When I go to pay my bill there is a purchase form there no place
To pay
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Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States:


Subterranean Termites


This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two…
Jun 11
Hi, I called for a fire ant quote. You said it would be $45. We would like to have it treated now. 941 341-1343. 4829 W Country Club Way, Sarasota.
When I signed I had signed for the Turf Platinum Program at $45,00 per application. I would to change to the Turf Gold Program at $53.00 per application. We did not know they were coming today and Thursday is our day to water
we watered right before they came will it still work.
my lawn, all 12000 sq ft is infested with bermuda grass that has crowded out the st. augustine..as you know we discussed this..i was told today by a golf course super that the lawn is far gone. he has no dog in this deal. he suggested killing the lawn, and putting new st augustine grass down. please contact me, i called today and spoke to your wife and hope you got the message..no amount of fertilizer will bring this lawn back. gary shapiro
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It has been reported that in the 20 most mosquito-infested cities across the nation Texas, Florida and Georgia took the top spots.

Data was examined from top pest control companies across the country between April 1, 2016 and April 1, 2017 to determine the areas where customers are most pestered by mosquitoes. Texas earned the "honor" of the top three spots on the list, followed closely by Florida and Tennessee.


The full list of the top 20 cities is:
1. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas 2. Houston, Texas 3. San Antonio, Texas 4. Atlanta, Ga. 5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 6. Memphis, Tenn. 7. Nashville, Tenn. 8. Austin-Round Rock, Texas 9. Mobile, Ala. 10. Jacksonville, Fla. 11. Cincinnati, Ohio 12. Washington, D.C. 13. Tampa, Fla. 14. Louisville, Ky. 15. Baton Rouge, La. 16. Little Rock, Ark. 17. Tulsa, Okla. 18. Birmingham, Ala. 19. Oklahoma City, Okla. 20. Indianapolis, Ind.
We provide effective mosquito reduction in Southwest Florida to keep mosquitoes at a minimum on your proper…
Jun 12, 2017
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Now that spring has finally arrived, and the weather conditions are beginning to improve along the east coast, many homeowners will be spending the next couple of weekends tackling their spring cleaning to-do lists. If you are one of these people, make sure that you address the pest hot spots around your home in between wiping down the windows and shampooing the rugs. 
Here’s a handy room-by-room guide of specific things to do to keep pests at bay this spring.
Kitchen

Ants, among other common pests, are known to infest kitchen spaces because this room provides easy access to food and water sources. They often march one-by-one through the heart of the home while searching for crumbs left behind from dinner, sticky residue from liquid spills and overripe fruit sitting out on the countertop. Although you may make a concerted effort to keep the kitchen clean on a daily basis, there are still a few other projects you can do to make it less attractive to pests.
First, remove all of the ite…
Mar 11, 2017
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Pest infestations are the worst. Aside from property damage, some creepy crawlies can cause physical harm or transmit diseases. Read the list below to learn more about the pests we consider the worst of the worst – the ones we love to hate!


Bed Bugs




The thought of bed bugs feeding on humans while they are sound asleep at night is enough to make anyone quiver with fear. Over the last decade, bed bug populations have continued to rise, and today, one out of five Americans has experienced a bed bug infestation or knows someone who has encountered these despised pests. Unfortunately, bed bugs are extremely elusive creatures, and they can hide just about anywhere. This makes treating an infestation with do-it-yourself measures nearly impossible. Vigilance is key to avoiding a bed bug problem.





Cockroaches




From their creepy appearance to the odd survival tactics they exhibit, cockroaches are certainly abhorred by homeowners. Not only do these pests possess an ick-factor, but t…
Mar 4, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
Green pest control applications are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for buildings that provide services to the young or those with compromised immune systems. However, some professionals question whether these methods are effective or if they are simply a waste of time and money.The short answer is yes, this form of pest control can provide the desired results. However, it is important to understand what is involved with the process, as well as the benefits of taking such an approach.Green pest control is not necessarily about eliminating the use of chemicals altogether. Instead, it focuses on getting rid of, and controlling the pest population through preventative measures and the careful application of “safe” pesticides.Integrated Pest ManagementIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) is a large component of any green pest control program. However, it is important to note that this type of management is not inherently green on its own; it can also be used as part of a tradition…
Feb 28, 2017
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The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explains the mosquito’s overwintering cycle
 FAIRFAX, VA (December 8, 2016) – Concerns over Zika virus in the U.S. were at the forefront of public health conversations this year. But what happens when the temperature drops? Do mosquitoes and the diseases they carry such as Zika virus just simply go away? Well, not exactly, says the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
According to the NPMA, how mosquitoes survive the winter differs by species. “Some mosquitoes may overwinter as adults, hibernating in places like hollow logs or burrows created by other animals. Other species may endure the winter in immature life stages, such as larvae and pupa, remaining in a state of diapause, suspending their development during the coldest months,” said Dr. Michael Bentley, staff entomologist for the NPMA.
Carriers of Zika, including the yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, overwinter in the egg stage, which means as days get shorter and…
Feb 27, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States:


Subterranean Termites


This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two…
Feb 26, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika."This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and potentially help to develop treatments or vaccines," says Mohanraj Manangeeswaran, senior staff fellow in the FDA's Office of Pharmaceutical Quality. "Because the mice used in this model have…
Feb 21, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
In honor of Valentine's Day, the National Pest Management Association shares the most bizarre mating habits in the insect worldFAIRFAX Va. - The most romantic day of the year is almost here! What passes for love in the wacky world of insects, however, can be downright creepy and even fatal to some species. In honor of Valentine's Day, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explores the top four weirdest methods insects use to woo a mate."While human romance is typically associated with flowers or chocolate, insects have some much more peculiar ways of expressing their adoration," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Unfortunately for people, some of these pest mating rituals can even put their own loved ones at risk."Fire ants, termites, kissing bugs and earwigs all make the list of the strangest mating rituals in the insect world.Fire Ants: The fire ant queen can live for up to seven years. Male ants, called drones, aren't so fortunate. Their…
Feb 14, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
Researchers have developed a new mouse model that could be used in Zika research to better understand the virus and find new treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika."This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and poten…
Jan 17, 2017
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Irrigation is a necessary step in getting your grass green. A general rule is 30 minutes for pop up head and mister jets and 45 minutes for rotor heads, two times per week. You should be getting approximately 3/4 inch to 1 inch of water. During the winter months, 3/4 inch to 1 inch of water once every 7 to 10 days is usually adequate. Any rainfall that occurs between watering should be counted towards your plan. If you have questions about your watering or need your irrigation checked for good coverage, please feel free to give us a call.
Nov 13, 2016
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Nov 12, 2016
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HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – July 10th was supposed to be just another day of weed service from TruGreen pest control, but boy did it end badly when Weeki Wachee homeowner Rich Kleber later checked his home surveillance video.
“He didn’t have a backpack on, he didn’t have any chemicals in his hands, at no time did a hose come out of that truck, “said Kleber. Kleber wasn’t trying to catch TruGreen worker Dean Schryer doing anything improper, he was just checking whether Schryer sprayed a trouble spot on his lawn.
But Kleber’s high definition video revealed so much more, enough to cost Schryer his job and his company a lot of money.

Rich Kleber’s yard in Weeki Wachee

“The guy walked one lap around my yard and then sat in his air conditioned truck for the remainder of the time that he claimed to be here servicing my lawn,” said Kleber.
Kleber complained to TruGreen managers back at the company’s regional office in Hudson but they were skeptical until he showed them the video. Even then…
Nov 10, 2016
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If you’ve got a lawn and hate to mow, beware the lawn service “ghosts.”
“Ghosting” is an insiders’ term used by lawn care professionals to describe workers who promise to come out and treat a homeowner’s lawn but who don’t actually do any work.
Homeowners who’ve been ghosted will find service flags stuck in their lawn and a receipt in their mailbox, but not much else. Complaints about ghosting and the “splash and dash” -- which is like ghosting, except a little bit of fertilizer or herbicide is thrown around -- abound on online lawn care forums.
Some consumers are catching on. More than 3,500 complaints were filed last year in the Better Business Bureau network against various lawn care services, including gripes about shoddy workmanship, contract issues or problems with billing and collections.
“Either the grass [problem] is not ‘cured’ or the lawn is not any better than before they came … or the contract is never-ending, so they get stuck in that long-term contract,” said Steve Bern…
Nov 9, 2016
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