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Packrats and Traders Friday December 2, 2016
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Packrats and Traders

What do human packrats, traders, and woodrats have in common?

Big-eared Woodrat – aka Packrat

Big-eared Woodrat – aka Packrat

Big-eared Woodrats AKA Packrats and Traderats

You’ve heard the term “packrat” used to describe a neighbor, a family member, maybe even yourself … yep, I see you raising your hand, albeit slowly. …

It’s ok, no one is judging, I’m raising mine too. I admit, I’m a bit of a packrat myself. You just never know when that piece of shiny ribbon will come in handy.

I bet you have special places for such things, a drawer, a box; this way you know exactly where they are when it comes time to use them.

You argue, “I might need it someday, or ‘member the time I threw such-and-such out just to find I needed it two weeks later?”

As a nature guide, when I come upon a mound of sticks, I’ll stop and ask if anyone knows where the term “packrat” came from and most people will say they don’t.

I then tell them about California’s Big-eared Woodrat, formally known as the Dusky-footed Woodrat, aka “packrat” or “trader” and why some of us share her name.
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Rat Lungworm and Snails Monday October 24, 2016
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Rat Lungworm Disease Transmitted via Snails

by Donna M. Walker

Here’s a very good reason not to eat snails … just in case you were thinking of picking one up and popping it into your mouth, yuck, right?!

Who would have thought the little slimes, with long beady eyes, could be such a health hazard?

You think you’re safe because you’d never eat a snail? Not so. …

Why? – Rats! They carry a parasite called “rat lungworm,” Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

The larvae of lungworm pass through a rat’s feces, a.k.a. rat droppings, snails then come in contact with the droppings, leaving trails of infected slime behind (grounds for washing lettuce, not once but thrice!).

The result, if infected, is meningitis. In humans, juvenile worms migrate to the brain; as adults, they live in the arterioles of the ileocecal area (blood vessels around a valve between the small and large intestines). Lovely.

Rat Lungworm uses rats as its host.

Rat Lungworms use rats as their  host.

Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly is the best preventative measure against Rat Lungworm disease.

If snails are not part of your diet then how do these worms get into your system? Remember, I mentioned washing your lettuce, not once but thrice? If you eat salad or raw vegetables that an infested snail has come in contact with, you could very well ingest the parasite.

Rat Lungworm disease causes Eosinophilic meningitis. Contaminated produce is the main culprit from trails of slime left by snails, slugs, and flatworms. And, it’s not just humans that can become infected; dogs, even horses have been known to become a host for Rat Lungworm.

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Native Bees and Other Pollinating Insects Wednesday April 13, 2016
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Native Bees, Honeybees, and Mimics

by Donna M. Walker

“Auntie, auntie, the biting flies are chasing me! You know – the ones with the little yellow shorts!” exclaimed Calvatina’s niece as she ran inside the house. …

Springtime Pollinators

It’s spring and all that buzzing you hear isn’t just coming from honeybees! . . .

The Honeybee arrived in North America during the 17th century via European settlers but did you know that we already had an abundance of native bees? – 4,000 different species, to be precise.

These resourceful native insects, unlike honeybees, have managed to escape domestication.

Native bees, including bumblebees and mimics, have been pollinating the continent’s flowers for eons.

The wind was blowing the petals of this poppy making it difficult for a honey bee to gather her pollen. Beeing the bee-lover that I am, I held the petals firm so she could keep pollinating the poppy. I think I saw her wave an antennae in thanks. …

Honeybee on red poppy.

Most people don’t realize that native bees are still around and play an important role in pollination. It’s not all about the honeybee; we need to protect our native bees as well.

For instance, the European honeybee doesn’t know how to pollinate tomatoes or eggplants (What would salad be without tomatoes, or Eggplant Parmesan without the eggplant?).
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Crazy Ant Invasion Thursday February 11, 2016
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California’s Crazy Ant Invasion

by Donna M. Walker

There’s a new invasive species of ants making their way to California from the eastern and southern states.

Actually, they’ve already arrived but not in large numbers like in Florida and Texas.

How do they travel across country?

Map of both the Crazy and Argentine ant invasion into the U.S. By way of human transportation – potted plants, cargo, trash, boxes, etc.

The Tawny (AKA Rasberry) Crazy Ant has made its way from Argentina and Brazil into the U.S. causing millions of dollars in damage.

If these Crazy ants are anything like their cousins from Argentina, the invasive Argentine Ants, then we could be in for another supercolony of ants crawling all over the state.

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California’s Monarch Butterflies Tuesday December 1, 2015
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by Donna M. Walker

Protecting California’s Monarch Butterflies

Black and orange wings soar through the air for thousands of milesthen flutter gracefully towards the ground where they find rest in southern and central California trees.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Male – Note the two black spots on the bottom wings.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Male – Note the two black spots on the bottom wings.

If there is one insect, because of its beauty, that has captured the heart of Californians, it’s the Monarch Butterfly … unless of course, you happen to be an entomologist, then you probably find beauty in Jerusalem crickets – as only an entomologist could and would!

Migrating Monarchs

In southern California, once fall approaches, Monarch butterflies take refuge from their long journey south to the sheltering trees of San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties.

Map of Monarch Butterflies Fall Migration

Map of Monarch Butterflies Fall Migration

There are two populations of Monarch butterflies in North America that are separated by the Rocky Mountains; each with different migration patterns.

The Monarchs east of the Rockies migrate south to spend their winters in Mexico.

West of the Rockies, here in California, Monarchs migrate from Canada to the coast of central and southern California where they overwinter.

Wintering Monarchs

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Pets and Pests Thursday May 28, 2015
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There is no Poop Fairy!

Cat and Dog on Play Date Our pets are our family

Animal lovers absolutely love their pets. Pets are part of the family but they are incapable of cleaning after themselves!

Dogs poop, cats puke. Lucky us – we get to clean it up!

When the cat spits up a hairball, all of a sudden he’s my cat!

Normally, I wouldn’t use “pets and pests” in the same sentence but, our friendly companions do attract certain kinds of pests, especially dogs.

OK, so maybe I’m biased since I’ve always had several cats, to the point of bordering on “Crazy Cat Lady” . . . but – cats cover it up, keeps the flies away you know. …

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My training at Hearts Pest Management

My name is Marco A. Ramos and I am a part time landscape technician who just recently started working for Hearts Pest Management. So far, my experience has been great. This job has lots of similarities with my recent landscaping job but it also has many differences, many of which I am still learning about.

Marco Ramos

Marco Ramos – Hearts Pest Management Landscape Technician / Specialist

My training so far has been great and thanks to John Chi and Duke Phan, I have been able to learn, laugh, and enjoy helping customers with their pest problems. These two individuals along with my employer, Gerry Weitz, have helped me on my journey to success in the pest management business.

Garden Butterfly on flower

Hearts Pest Management Service Professionals are EcoWise Certifiedproviding IPM (Integrated Pest Management) solutions for pest control in gardens and landscapes.

Riding in the car with these technicians and getting hands on experience has been very interesting and at the same time very motivating. Knowing that all of my simple questions could be answered if I only ask made me feel very comfortable in the environment I was working in.

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Praying Mantis – Patience and Wisdom Wednesday November 6, 2013
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Praying Mantis – Patience and Wisdom

California Praying Mantis

California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica)

The Praying Mantis

From whence arrived the praying mantis?
From outer space, or lost Atlantis?
glimpse the grin, green metal mug
at masks the pseudo-saintly bug,
Orthopterous* also carnivorous,
And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us.

~ Ogden Nash

Follow Mantis

To “Follow Mantis” means to honor your true nature, your highest self – and let it direct you. When a praying mantis comes to visit, its message may be one of a spiritual nature. Mantis asks that we take a moment to pause, reflect, and become aware of our surroundings. Has life gotten a little out of hand? Feeling overwhelmed? Gaze into the eyes of a praying mantis and let him/her teach you how to still the mind and go within.

Close-up of the eyes of a mantis

It is said that when gazing into the eyes of the Mantis – one can feel the presence of God.

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Opening in Los Angeles Sunday November 8, 2009
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November 2009: Service is now available throughout Los Angeles County except the far northern tier. We will be in L.A. proper, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Rancho Palo Verdes, Pomona, West Covina and many other locations. Give us a call. Try the new service in town that offers green pest control solutions and very customized services across a wide spectrum of pest control needs.

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Please take a moment to visit my blog at Hearts Pest Management – People and Pest Control. My June 2009 Pest Management Professional (PMP) “web exclusive” titled “Are We Ready to Lead?” can be found there. Please follow the link, read the article and share your thoughts on my blog. Let me know what you think about employee benefits and how they impact our ability to encourage and support our labor force.

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