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Grupo de Gastronomia

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How To Eliminate Pests From Where They Are Not Wanted _HOT_



Housing-related health concerns include asthma episodes triggered by exposure to dust mites, cockroaches, pets, and rodents. The existence of cockroaches, rats, and mice mean that they can also be vectors for significant problems that affect health and well-being. They are capable of transmitting diseases to humans. According to a 1997 American Housing Survey, rats and mice infested 2.7 million of 97 million housing units. A CDC-sponsored survey of two major American cities documented that nearly 50% of the premises were infected with rats and mice.This chapter deals with disease vectors and pests as factors related to the health of households.




How To Eliminate Pests From Where They Are Not Wanted



Disease Vectors and PestsIntegrated pest management (IPM) techniques are necessary to reduce the number of pests that threaten human health and property. This systems approach to the problem relies on more than one technique to reduce or eliminate pests. It can be visualized best as concentric rings of protection that reduce the need for the most risky and dangerous options of control and the potential for pests to evolve and develop. It typically involves using some or all of the following steps:


According to the Military Pest Management Handbook (MPMH) [2], rats and mice are very suspicious of any new objects or food found in their surroundings. This characteristic is one reason rodents can survive in dangerous environments. This avoidance reaction accounts for prebaiting (baiting without poisoning) in control programs. Initially, rats or mice begin by taking only small amounts of food. If the animal becomes ill from a sublethal dose of poison, its avoidance reaction is strengthened, and a poisoning program becomes extremely difficult to complete. If rodents are hungry or exposed to an environment where new objects and food are commonly found, such as a dump, their avoidance reaction may not be as strong; in extreme cases of hunger, it may even be absent.


The second strategy is to eliminate breeding and nesting places. This is accomplished by removing rubbish from near the home, including excess lumber, firewood, and similar materials. These items should be stored above ground with 18 inches of clearance below them. This height does not provide a habitat for rats, which have a propensity for dark, moist places in which to burrow. Wood should not be stored directly on the ground, and trash and similar rubbish should be eliminated.


FleasThe most important fleas as disease vectors are those that carry murine typhus and bubonic plague. In addition, fleas serve as intermediate hosts for some species of dog and rodent tapeworms that occasionally infest people. They also may act as intermediate hosts of filarial worms (heartworms) in dogs. In the United States, the most important disease related to fleas is the bubonic plague. This is primarily a concern of residents in the southwestern and western parts of the country (Figure 4.14). Of approximately 2,000 species of flea, the most common flea infesting both dogs and cats is the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis. Although numerous animals, both wild and domestic, can have flea infestations, it is from the exposure of domestic dogs and cats that most homeowners inherit flea infestation problems. According to MPMH, [2] fleas are wingless insects varying from 1 to 8 millimeters long, averaging 2 to 4 millimeters, and feed through a siphon or tube. They are narrow and compressed laterally with backwardly directed spines, which adapt them for moving between the hairs and feathers of mammals and birds. They have long, powerful legs adapted for jumping. Both sexes feed on blood, and the female requires a blood meal before she can produce viable eggs. Fleas tend to be host-specific, thus feeding on only one type of host. However, they will infest other species in the absence of the favored host. They are found in relative abundance on animals that live in burrows and sheltered nests, while mammals and birds with no permanent nests or that are exposed to the elements tend to have light infestations.


Flea eggs usually are laid singly or in small groups among the feathers or hairs of the host or in a nest. They are often laid in carpets of living quarters if the primary host is a household pet. Eggs are smooth, spherical to oval, light colored, and large enough to be seen with the naked eye. An adult female flea can produce up to 2,000 eggs in a lifetime. Flea larvae are small (2 to 5 millimeters), white, and wormlike with a darker head and a body that will appear brown if they have fed on flea feces. This stage is mobile and will move away from light, thus they typically will be found in shaded areas or under furniture. In 5 to 12 days, they complete the three larval stages; however, this may take several months depending on environmental conditions. The larvae, after completing development, spin a cocoon of silk encrusted with granules of sand or various types of debris to form the pupal stage. The pupal stage can be dormant for 140 to 170 days. In some areas of the country, fleas can actually survive through the winter. The pupae, after development, are stimulated to emerge as adults by movement, pressure, or heat. The pupal form of the flea is resistant to insecticides. An initial treatment, while killing egg, larvae, and adult forms, will not kill the pupae. Therefore, a reapplication will often be necessary. The adult forms are usually ready to feed about 24 hours after they emerge from the cocoon and will begin to feed within 10 seconds of landing on a host. Mating usually follows the initial blood meal, and egg production is initiated 24 to 48 hours after consuming a blood meal. The adult flea lives approximately 100 days, depending on environmental conditions.


TermitesAccording to Gold et al. [11], subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States, causing more than $2 billion in damage each year. Annually, this is more property damage than that caused by fire and windstorms combined. In the natural world, these insects are beneficial because they break down dead trees and other wood materials that would otherwise accumulate. This biomass breakdown is recycled to the soil as humus. MPMH [2], on the other hand, notes that these insects can damage a building so severely it may have to be replaced. Termites consume wood and other cellulose products, such as paper, cardboard, and fiberboard. They will also destroy structural timbers, pallets, crates, furniture, and other wood products. In addition, they will damage many materials they do not normally eat as they search for food. The tunneling efforts of subterranean termites can penetrate lead- and plastic-covered electric cable and cause electrical system failure. In nature, termites may live for years in tree stumps or lumber beneath concrete buildings before they penetrate hairline cracks in floors and walls, as well as expansion joints, to search for food in areas such as interior door frames and immobile furniture. Termite management costs to homeowners are exceeded only by cockroach control costs.


Lyon [12] notes that termites are frequently mistaken by the homeowner as ants and often are referred to erroneously as white ants. Typical signs of termite infestations occur in March through June and in September and October. Swarming is an event where a group of adult males and female reproductives leave the nest to establish a new colony. If the emergence happens inside a building, flying termites may constitute a considerable nuisance. These pests can be collected with a vacuum cleaner or otherwise disposed of without using pesticides. Each homeowner should be aware of the following signs of termite infestation:


Additional measures include construction techniques that discourage termite attacks, as demonstrated in Figure 4.24. Termites often invade homes by way of the foundation, either by crawling up the exterior surface where their activity is usually obvious or by traveling inside hollow block masonry. One way to deter their activity is to block their access points on or through the foundation. Metal termite shields have been used for decades to deter termite movement along foundation walls and piers on up to the wooden structure. Metal termite shields should extend 2 inches from the foundation and 2 inches down. Improperly installed (i.e., not soldered/sealed properly), damaged, or deteriorated termite shields may allow termites to reach parts of the wooden floor system. Shields should be made of noncorroding metal and have no cracks or gaps along the seams. If a house is being built with metal termite shielding, the shielding should extend at least 2 inches out and 2 inches down at a 45 angle from the foundation wall. An alternative to using termite shields on a hollow-block foundation is to fill the block with concrete or put in a few courses of solid or concrete-filled brick (which is often done anyway to level foundations). These are referred to as masonry caps. The same approach can be used with support piers in the crawl space. Solid caps (i.e., a continuously poured concrete cap) are best at stopping termites, but are not commonly used. Concrete-filled brick caps should deter termite movement or force them through small gaps, thus allowing them to be spotted during an inspection [21].


When adult mosquitoes emerge from the aquatic stages, they mate, and the female seeks a blood meal to obtain the protein necessary for the development of her eggs. The females of a few species may produce a first batch of eggs without this first blood meal. After a blood meal is digested and the eggs are laid, the female mosquito again seeks a blood meal to produce a second batch of eggs. Depending on her stamina and the weather, she may repeat this process many times without mating again. The male mosquito does not take a blood meal, but may feed on plant nectar. He lives for only a short time after mating. Most mosquito species survive the winter, or overwinter, in the egg stage, awaiting the spring thaw, when waters warm and the eggs hatch. A few important species spend the winter as adult, mated females, resting in protected, cool locations, such as cellars, sewers, crawl spaces, and well pits. With warm spring days, these females seek a blood meal and begin the cycle again. Only a few species can overwinter as larvae.


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