Sleep tight, dont let the bedbugs bite!

Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects. They are wingless. A few decades ago, bedbugs were somewhat of a novelty in developed countries. But since the early 2000s, infestations have become more common in places like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bedbugs feed on the blood of humans by inserting a sharp proboscis, or beak, into the victim’s skin. The critters become engorged with blood in about 10 minutes, which fills them up for days. The insects are most active at night, though they are not exclusively nocturnal. Bedbugs are attracted to warmth, moisture and the carbon dioxide released from warm-blooded animals, according to Purdue University. On sleeping human hosts, bedbugs often bite exposed areas of the body, such as the face, neck, arms and hands.

Adult bedbugs are brown in color, although their bodies redden after feeding. Full-grown bedbugs move relatively slowly and measure between 4 to 5 mm. Homeowners sometimes have the misconception that bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. The nymphs may be small and difficult to see, but the adults are detectable with the naked eye and may be found in the cracks and crevices they use to hide. Newly hatched nymphs are approximately the size of the head of a pin and are white or tan until they feed. They often are described as being about the size and shape of an apple seed. Also bedbugs reproduce by a gruesome strategy appropriately named “traumatic insemination,” in which the male stabs the female’s abdomen and injects sperm into the wound. During their life cycle, females can lay more than 200 eggs, which hatch and go through five immature “nymph” stages before reaching their adult form, molting after each phase.

Bedbugs lurk in cracks and crevices and they’ve been living on human blood for centuries. They can crawl more than 100 feet in a night, but typically creep to within 8 feet of the spot its human hosts sleep. Although they do not transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites can leave itchy and unsightly bites. There have also been some strange cases linked to bedbug infestations. Researchers reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2009 that they treated a 60-year-old man for anemia caused by blood loss from bedbugs. Another study published in 1991 in the Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology found that people with asthma might be more susceptible to allergic reactions from bedbug bites. A bedbug infestation can take a psychological toll on those affected: People whose homes have been infested with bedbugs may have trouble sleeping for fear of being bitten in the night. Also there is social, public health and economic consequences; office buildings and schools often have to close if they are dealing with a bedbug infestation.

Bed bugs are found in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. They are often found sneaking in hotels where they can travel from room to room, in visitors’ luggage or other personal belongings like briefcases, handbags etc.

Let us look at some current updates pertaining to bedbug nuisance:

Bed bugs a growing concern in Muskogee
By David Norris, December 2016, abcTulsa, USA

If you feel itchy at the mere thought of bed bugs, you’re not alone.

And if you think your house is safe, C.B. Abel of Vanish Pest Control in Muskogee says you could be wrong.

“I’ve seen houses that were extremely clean, that had maids who came out twice a week and cleaned the house,” said Abel. “And they had an infestation of bed bugs.”

He says over the years bed bugs have become more resistant to chemicals.

“Three years ago, we’d get six calls a month, six calls every three months for bed bugs, and now, we’re getting six calls a week,” said Abel.

He says the problem gets even worse during winter months when people spend more time indoors.

“Which makes them feed more, which makes them lay more eggs, which makes them populate more,” said Abel.

Bed bug infestation hits a public housing building in Green Bay By Aisha Morales, December 12, 2016, USA

A bed bug infestation is causing some headaches for residents of Mason Manor, a public housing building in Green Bay. The housing authority says it is doing all it can to clean it up, but what bed bug experts want you to know is, this can happen to anyone.

“While bed bugs are known to carry 45 different human pathogens, they don’t actually give disease,” said bed bug inspector Jon Sandberg, who owns K9 Solutions.

Sandberg says he’s been to Mason Manor where 20 units have been infested with bed bugs. The Green Bay Housing Authority says it’s doing all it can to get the situation under control.

So how do we get rid of them? Regular pest control is considered to be one of the solutions. However the use of toxic insecticides is now proving to be futile in getting rid of these nasty little creatures. A 2013 study in the journal Nature Scientific Reports suggested that bedbugs have evolved ways to resist insecticides.

So is there any other effective solution for this problem? Yes there is. Combirepel ™, a C Tech Corporation product is an ideal solution for the prevention and control of bedbug infestation. It is extremely effective in preventing the damage caused by bedbugs as well as insects like ants, beetles, grasshopper, termites etc. Combirepel™ is a non-toxic and non-hazardous pest repellent. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted. The product in the form of liquid concentrate can be blended in any paint or organic solvent and can be applied over the various surfaces vulnerable to damages caused by bedbugs like the walls, ceiling etc. Combirepel™ lacquer can also be used as a coating for furniture for protection. The masterbatch of Combirepel™ can be incorporated in wires and cables which are used in domestic wiring.

 

Gray Squirrels damaging our trees!

Gray squirrel is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus.  As the name suggests, the gray squirrel has predominantly gray fur, but it can have a brownish color. It has a usual white underside as compared to the typical brownish-orange underside of the fox squirrel. It has a large bushy tail. Particularly in urban situations where the risk of predation is reduced, both white and black-colored individuals are quite often found. Grey squirrels are mainly herbivorous, eating acorns and hazelnuts, berries, fungi and even bark, buds, and shoots.

Squirrels sometimes gnaw on trees as well. They are blessed with a pair of continuously growing incisors. In order to avoid their overgrowth which could cause injuries to them, they need to constantly gnaw on something hard. They strip off the bark which causes unsightly damage to the tree. Grey squirrels damage trees by gnawing at the stem to get to the sweet, sap filled layers (phloem tissue) just beneath the bark. This tissue is responsible for the movement of sugars around the plant and the process is known as translocation. If this gnawing extends around the stem, the tree is ‘ringed’ i.e. if a complete circle of bark and underlying tissue is removed, then the movement of sugars around the plant will come to a halt and the tree will eventually die. Some of the damaged trees will die; some will succumb to fungal infection. Where the fungus enters, the wood becomes stained and may rot. Callusing commonly found in trees disguises the damage or staining present in the timber at felling age.

The bark stripping usually occurs between late April and the end of July. Very young trees or saplings are generally not attacked as they cannot support the weight of a squirrel, the main stem of older trees are usually safe as the bark is too thick for the squirrels to strip. The most vulnerable trees are sycamore, beech, oak, sweet chestnut, pine, larch, and Norway spruce. Bark stripping is a problem in woodland where the squirrel numbers are greater than 5 squirrels per hectare. The risk of damage may be greatest where there are vulnerable trees next to mature woodland that produces a good seed crop, which in turn supports a high density of squirrels.

In many cases, the stems are deformed which reduces the value of the timber. Oak, poplar, Scots pine and Norway spruce are particularly vulnerable to stem breakage.

Such damage caused by these gray squirrels acts as a major disincentive to the planting of broadleaved and coniferous trees for timber as it reduces the value of the final crop. Increasingly wider impacts are being recognized as potentially of major significance to woodland conservation, biodiversity, and sustainability. It is also predicted that the damage may lead to a loss of particularly vulnerable species (e.g. beech) within the mature canopy of woodlands and this may be accompanied by loss of associated fungal and invertebrate fauna and their predators. In addition, there may be indirect competition, e.g. for food, between gray squirrels and native fauna. Grey squirrels also carry squirrel pox virus, an infection fatal to red squirrels.

Theories as to why the squirrels go after the bark range from them simply seeking some sweet, sugary sap during summer heat and drought, to the need to continually sharpen their ever-growing teeth, or possibly to obtain the calcium in the sap of the tree phloem tissue needed to satisfy their own calcium deficiencies.Trees growing most vigorously are at increased risk of damage, possibly because they contain more calcium in their sap. It is likely gray squirrels have a requirement for additional calcium during the bark stripping season when adult females are under pressures such as lactation, and juvenile squirrels are going through their main period of bone growth, both of which likely represent a requirement for calcium.

Let us look at the following news article pertaining to the damage caused by gray squirrels.

Squirrels doing bark-stripping damage to trees
By Mike Klahr, July 14, 2016, Cincinnati.com, USA

Honey locust trees are a frequent target, possibly because of their sweet sap, although many different species can be attacked

Question: I recently noticed thin strips of bark laying on the ground around the base of my honey locust tree. The bark has been almost totally stripped off large sections of major limbs, leaving bare wood exposed at least halfway around some of the limbs. What could have caused this? What can be done to prevent more damage? Will we lose the limbs that were damaged?

Answer: Unfortunately, the branches that have been debarked more than one-third their circumference will probably die, especially from that point outward. This type of severe bark damage, with thin strips of bark torn off into pieces 1/2 to 1 inch wide, and 2 to 4 inches long, is caused by squirrels.

There is an urgent need for an effective solution against this little four-legged mammal which continues to destroy the trees, fruits, and vegetables without any sign of repentance.

 C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to overcome this problem. Our product Rodrepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous rodent aversive. Rodrepel™ is available in the form of solid masterbatches, liquid concentrate and in lacquer form. The product is compliant with RoHS, RoHS2, and REACH and is FIFRA exempted. This product acts through a series of highly developed intricate mechanism ensuring that rodents are kept away from the target application.

The fencing and tree guards can be coated with Rodrepel™ to protect the trees, shrubs etc. from the damage caused by the gray squirrels. The product can also be incorporated into agricultural films, greenhouse films, plastic mulches used on a large scale in the agriculture as well as horticulture sector in order to avoid damages caused by these squirrels to fruits and vegetables. Also, the products can be directly incorporated into the polymer matrix during processing of pipes and tubing. Rodrepel ™ does not leach out of the polymer matrix and thus prevents soil pollution. Groundwater reserves are also not polluted. Also, the nontarget beneficial species like earthworms, bees etc are not affected.

RODENT MENACE IN AGRICULTURE!

download-1Agriculture plays a crucial role in the life of an economy. It is the backbone of Indian economy and contributes to the overall economic growth of the country. It also determines the standard of life for more than 50% of the Indian population. Though it contributes only about 14% to the overall GDP but its impact is observed in the manufacturing & the service sector as the rural populace has become a major consumer of goods and services in the last couple of decades. Agriculture not only provides food and raw material but also employment opportunities to a very large proportion of the population. However, the damages inflicted to the crops by rodents, especially rats and squirrels, lead to huge productivity losses along with crop contamination.

Rodents are warm blooded mammals but they can make your blood cold as they are the creepiest pests alive. Let us look at their effect on the agriculture industry. Agriculture is always negatively impacted by these pests causing massive losses to the agricultural output relative to potential output. In the backyards, they cause damage by eating starchy plant parts such as bulbs or swollen roots while on the other hand, they damage the field crops by eating the roots of the plant. They have adapted well to the changing nature of agricultural habitats created by humans. Some 42% of all mammal species are classified as rodents. Although fewer than 10% are significant agricultural pests, this still leaves over 200 species to think about. Rodents have three major impacts on the agriculture –

  • dThe first is considered under the pre- harvest and the post- harvest damage. The pre-harvest is the substantial damage they can cause at any stage of the growing crop while post-harvest damage includes the contamination of the crops by rodents during the storage.
  • The second type includes the damage to the drip irrigation systems. Drip irrigation was mainly introduced with a motto of water conservation. However, these drip pipelines fall prey to the rodent attacks as they constantly chew on them as a part of their oral maintenance.
  • The third, and often overlooked, impact is on the health of farmers – rodents are carriers of at least 20 threatening diseases which include some of the most dreaded ones like Plague, Leptospirosis, Typhus and Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers.
    In India, major changes in agricultural systems have increased the rodent problem in recent decades. For example, the Indira Gandhi Canal brought more cultivable land under irrigation, but there was a harmful increase in rodent impact on crops because the irrigation canals provided access routes for the lesser bandicoot rat to move into areas where it had never been previously recorded. This species then replaced desert rodents as the dominant rodent species. In India, rodents have been reported to have a substantial impact on rice crops and are now the main constraint in increasing rice production. In Asia, rats cause an average of 5−10% loss in rice yield every year. Also, farmers lose an estimated average of 37% of their rice crop to pests and diseases every year. Rodents have always been a problem on farms where food and nesting sites are in abundance .These animals consume and contaminate food destined for livestock and other animals, as well as humans. Each rat on a farm will eat, spoil or damage approximately $25 worth of grain per year. Some of the data related to the damage caused are given below:
  • Feed consumed. A colony of 100 rats will consume over 1 ton of feed in 1 year.
  • Feed contaminated. A rat can contaminate ten times the amount of feed it eats with its droppings, urine and hair. A rat produces 25,000 droppings per year, a mouse 17,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the equivalent of more than $2 billion in the feed is destroyed by rodents each year.
  • Rodents are recognized as carriers of approximately 45 diseases, including salmonellosis, pasteurellosis, leptospirosis, swine dysentery, trichinosis, toxoplasmosis, and rabies. Mice and rats can carry disease-causing organisms on their feet, increasing the spread of disease.

As discussed above there are a lot of problems associated with Rodents. So what’s the solution? The use of conventional fumigants, rodenticides is no longer considered to be an effective solution to get rid of the rodent infestation as these rodents are becoming increasingly resistant to them. Also, the current insecticides and pesticides are toxic in nature and leach into the soil polluting it and contaminating the ground water. Thus these chemicals are also not effective. The traditional baits and traps are also proving to be useless in preventing rodents from destroying our crop produce.

So the question that arises is what should we use? This question has been answered by CTech Corporation’s Rodrepel™. Rodrepel™ is a non-hazardous, environment-friendly product of CTech Corporation that helps to keep rodents at bay. Rodrepel™ does not kill the animal, it only repels them! In fact, it is completely safe for the target as well as non-target species. This innovative product, in masterbatch form, can be incorporated with the drip tapes, tubes, pipes etc which would protect them from the gnawing habit of rodents. Also, the product does not leach out, thus preventing soil pollution. Groundwater reserves are also not polluted. Also, the nontarget beneficial species like earthworms, bees etc are not affected.

Our product in lacquer form can be coated over tree guards, fences, various PVC surfaces etc. which would ensure complete protection against these creatures. Our products provide a safe and environmentally friendly solution to avoid rodent infestation in agriculture.