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Critter Get Ritter: Article on Dangerous Chemicals:


 Chlorinated Hydrocarbons (Really Bad)

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons are man-made insecticides that the EPA (us) banned in the 1970′s and 1980′s when they were found to persist in the fatty tissue of animals. Chlorinated Hydrocarbons include: DDT, dicofol, heptachlor, endosulfan, chlordane, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, mirex, and pentachlorophenol. You can read more about them in our other articles. :-)

Organophosphates  (Use very carefully)

Many organophosphates were discovered during ww2 as nerve agents. Most common current pest control uses include: in agricultural field, on fruits and vegetables; and for mosquito eradication. Dursban and Diazinon are two common organophosphate formulations we find and despite there residential use being banned in 2001, there are still a number of chemicals on store shelves using these in there formulations.

These chemicals kill insects by causing an irreversible inhibition of the cholinesterase enzyme in the nervous system. In simple terms it breaks down nerve communication and puts them into cardiac arrest. Mammals such as humans, dogs and cats also have cholinesterase enzymes, and could possibly be harmed by these chemicals.

Organophosphates are controversial and a concern to both scientists and regulators because they work by irreversibly blocking an enzyme that’s critical to nerve system function in both bugs and people. Many environmentalists would prefer to see them disappear.


“A Strenuous Struggle, a vigorous campaign, is before any house wife who is called upon to dispute the occupancy of her home with that persistent pest unfavorably known as the bedbug, who, gorged with the blood of his victim, lieth up in his lair from daylight to candlelight, only to swoop down upon his helpless sleeping prey during the midnight watches.”
 C. L. Marlatt, The Bedbug, 1916.

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What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is a remarkable, all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants.  It  is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary mineral compound from microscopic skeletal remains of unicellular algae-like plants called diatoms.  These plants have been part of the earth’s ecology since prehistoric times and it is believed that 30 million years ago the diatoms built up into deep, chalky deposits of diatomite located and mined in a number of  locations across the globe.

In Pest Control the fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.  Arthropods die as a result of the water deficiency, and in some cases the powder works against gastropods such as in the garden to defeat slugs however in moist or humid environments and the effects are hindered.

Pool grade Diatomaceous Earth is chemically treated and partially melted and consequently contains crystalline silica which can be a big respiratory hazard.  Thus, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ONLY NATURAL DIATOMACEOUS EARTH BE USED FOR INSECT CONTROL.  The non-crystalline silica is not as hazardous as the human body can dissolve it.

Using Diamaeceous earth for different insects can present different challanges for each, most notably, the length of time for it to start working and if used outside, humidity and moisture considerations.  Please contact Critter Get Ritter anytime for how to apply Diatomeceous Earth correctly.


Residents of an impoverished area of Vancouver were infested with bed bugs carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, said researchers today Wednesday May 11th, 2011, and warn doctors to watch out for the potential problem.

A letter in todays issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases reported that two types of drug-resistant bacteria were isolated from bedbugs found on three patients.
The resistant bacteria were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Christopher Lowe of the University of Toronto and medical microbiologist Marc Romney of Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital suggest bed bugs carrying MRSA could transmit the bacteria during a blood meal. Included is a citation to the full article which is being released in June,here:

“Because of the insect’s ability to compromise the skin integrity of its host, and the propensity for S. aureus to invade damaged skin, bedbugs may serve to amplify MRSA infections in impoverished urban communities,” Lowe and Romney write. The three patients lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which has high rates of homelessness, poverty, HIV/AIDS and injection drug use.

Similar to other cities worldwide, Vancouver has seen an alarming increase in bedbugs, particularly in Downtown Eastside, where 31 per cent of residents have reported infestations, the researchers said.

Likewise, MRSA is also a substantial problem in the neighbourhood, with nearly 55 per cent of skin and soft tissue infections in patients treated at St. Paul’s emergency department showing MRSA, the authors said.

In drug injection users with wound infections, an earlier study showed 43 per cent were colonized or infected with a community-acquired MRSA strain found outside of hospitals.

The study was small with just five bedbugs and very preliminary, but “it’s an intriguing finding” that needs to be further researched, said Romney.

Both resistant strains are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more concerned about nurses and other health-care workers spreading the bacteria than insects.

Given the high prevalence of MRSA in hotels and rooming houses in Downtown Eastside, the insects may act as “a hidden environmental reservoir for MRSA and may promote the spread of MRSA in impoverished and overcrowded communities,” the authors said.

So: This could be sticky but is it currently significant?

The authors point out that several research groups have tried in the past to link bedbugs and disease transmission (hepatitis) and failed. They certainly have not proven transmission in this case. But they also say that there is a density of these two organisms in the area where the men live that make it more likely that bedbugs could be involved in diseases pingponging through the neighborhood. First, there’s the high density of bedbug presence, in 31 percent of Downtown Eastside residents. Second, there’s the high prevalence of MRSA, in 58 percent of the skin infections in the St. Paul’s ER. And third, there’s the previously recorded and persistent presence of VRE in in-patients at St. Paul’s.

The US CDC believes that crowding, poor hygiene and skin disruption increase the likelihood of MRSA infection; crowding and poor hygiene are common in homelessness and shelter living, and bedbugs by definition disrupt the skin’s barrier by their bites. Meanwhile, in the ill and hospitalized, VRE frequently causes infections in disrupted skin, such as a surgical incision or a diabetic ulcer.

The authors have commented:

“…These insects may act as a hidden environmental reservoir for MRSA and may promote the spread of MRSA in impoverished and overcrowded communities. Bedbugs carrying MRSA and/or VRE may have the potential to act as vectors for transmission.”

To be clear: The victims here are also the ones who are likely to be most at risk. What this paper says, first of all, is that the substandard living conditions of being poor and homeless make those who are poor and homeless more likely to be vulnerable to yet more dangerous and difficult diseases. As with so many other health disparities in North American society, this is a social justice issue.

But if I am candid, it is also a reminder to the more-privileged rest of us that bedbugs have spread explosively, especially in poor communities, in a manner that is not completely understood, and that they pose a disease-transmission risk that is not yet well-defined.

We can assure you there will be more bed bugs to come and in the mean time I am going to check my box spring…




The Yellow-Pine Chipmunk, or what some would call Neotamias Amoenus, is in the Sciuridae family.  It is found in both Canada, the USA and Sea to Sky where most of us live, work and play.  They are usually only found above 950 meters above sea level so if you see one around most house’s here, it is extremely rare.  950 meters above sea level is about 300meters above Whistler’s Main Gondola and about half way to Whistler Mountains mid station.  Most common sightings will be on Alpine hikes, or bike rides.  Good times!!

Yellow Pine Chipmunks length including tail is about 7 to 9 inches and weight for an adults is 1 to 2.5 lbs.  It has at least 10 different calls; one sounds like a robin’s chirp and another, among the most common, is a sharp, accented kwist.

The Yellow Pine Chipmunk mostly burrows and lives underground at about 7 to 21 inches.  The nests are commonly 1.5 to 3 feet long in an open area within the forest where there is usually one entrance, though there may also be short side openings.

Seeds are its most important food, and are eaten as they are available,  When pinecones open up in the fall, this chipmunk climbs trees to get the seeds. It also eats some insects and fungi.

Breeding is early spring with average litters of about 5.  It’s home range is usually only a few acres but depends on a number of factors most notably predators.  These critters are very shy around humans. In the fall the animal stuffs its cheek pouches with food to be stored in its burrows.  One food cache study contained 15 kinds of seeds, corn, and part of a bumblebee.

The species is currently healthy in large numbers. In Washington State individuals once observed this critter being active about seven months and hibernating five, waking to eat about every two weeks and emerging around April. This same study indicated a 97 percent survival rate.  Phenomenal for a mammal of this size!

The yellow pine is most commonly found in Brushy areas interspersed with herbaceous vegetation and open conifer stands; shrubs typically present include snowberry, chinquapin, mountain mahogany, antelope brush, currant, and buckbrush.  Depending on season, its colour ranges from really cool looking tawny hues to pinkish cinnamon. There are 5 distinct longitudinal dark stripes, that are evenly spaced and about equal in width. The Central 3 dark stripes extend to rump; lateral 2 only to mid-body.  In open forest where the sun casts sharp shadows, the well-defined stripes of the Yellow-pine Chipmunk offer protective colouration.

It is not known if these Critters are related to Alvin, Simon or Theodore though input is apprecitated.

Have a great Easter 2011!


A number of American Action Groups Such as the Pesticide Action Network have brought to our attention some astounding information on American Pesticide use.  Working on the Canadian side of the Border, I can assure you we are not much better!  Here we go:

Each year, an estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to American farms, forests, lawns and golf courses. More than 17,000 pesticide products are currently on the US market.

*Notice Washington State Usage:  This rate is large due to the large number of crops grown there, mostly apples  where it is the largest North American State or Provincial provider.

Pesticide applicators, farmers and farm workers, and communities near farms are often most at risk, but studies by the Centers for Disease Control show that all of us carry pesticides in our bodies. Golf courses use pesticides heavily, so do some schools and parks. Consumers also face pesticide exposure through food and water residues. For instance, atrazine is found in 94% of U.S. drinking water tested by the USDA.

Something we stand behind110% is Agroecology.  It is the science behind sustainable farming and this powerful approach combines scientific inquiry with place-based knowledge and experimentation, emphasizing approaches that are knowledge-intensive, low cost, ecologically sound and practical.  What can we call structural pest control, an industry that per capita (see below) was amongst the highest pesticide (insecticide) polluting industries ever?  Strucpestology.  Something we practice everyday and you heard it here first!!

Home use of pesticides — which on a per acre basis outpaces use on farms by a ratio of 10 to 1 — puts families across the North America at unnecessary risk. Use some of the suggestions on Critter Get Ritters blog, twitter, and website; other green pages; or call and email us to manage home, lawn and garden pests without toxic pesticides.

Much of this information is courtesy the PAN (Pesticide Action Network) and EPA (Environmentally Protection Agency) in the USA and is based on Agriculture being roughly 95% of the market and Structural is 5%.

In comparison, Canada does not have similar numbers available to the public, however I can assure you there is a large problem here too, possibly even worse.  We do have a great voice here, and although the PMRA is constantly overwhelmed with agriculture products, and also more recently bedbug products, the greener insecticides such as rosemarry, eugenol, peppermint and other oils are on there way.  To help speed the green product approval process up, especially the natural herb and spice oils,  the PMRA can be contacted here email: or 1-800-267-6315 telephone.


Moths have stages when they look like a small caterpillar.  These are called there larva stage, and it is also when they damage items of animal origin such as: wool, fur, silk and feathers.  Moth larva also like dirty or older sometimes damaged clothing.

As an adult, these moths do not feed. They are rarely seen because like many other pests they tend to hide in the dark during daylight. The Indian meal moth, a common “pantry or stored product pest,” flies about during daylight, is often mistaken for one of these moths and should not be confused.

Casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella)

These common clothing Moths are a buff gray color, 1/4 inch long, wings fold over body, and each front wing has three indistinct darker spots of scales. The larva is creamy white with a brown head. It produces a silken tube-like case in which it lives and carries around for protection. The head and legs are exposed only during feeding and movement. This case is camouflaged with bits of the material on which the larva has been feeding. Larva is                    approximately 1/2-inch long at maturity.

*Casemaking Clothing Moth Larva Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

Webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella)

These also common clothing moths are a uniform Buff Color, 1/4 inch long, mall tuft or red hair on top of head. The larva is whitish colored with a brown head. It produces a silk-lined “tunnel” as it eats through or on the surface of a fabric. The moth is approximately 1/2-inch long at maturity.

 

 

 

**Webbing Clothing Moth Larva Picture

 

 

 

Control measures  & Prevention

I.        Conduct a regular inspection program of all susceptible items at least once a year. Take all items out of closets and drawers, and vacuum closets and drawers thoroughly to remove lint on which larvae may feed.

II.        When making purchases, look for woolens and wool synthetic blends that have been treated by the manufacturer with a moth-resistant compound.

III.        Good housekeeping helps keep these pests out. In the home, clean often to prevent lint, dust or hair from accumulating. Regular vacuum cleaning of rugs, carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture, pet bedding, closets, cracks and crevices in floors, and areas inside and behind heaters, furnace air ducts and vents is important. Particularly susceptible are areas that are under furniture that is seldom moved and along baseboards where wool lint may accumulate. After using the vacuum, empty the bag because it may contain eggs or larvae.

IV.        Clean garments regularly. Thoroughly clean garments before storage. Clothes moths are attracted to articles soiled by food, beverages, perspiration and urine, rather than the clean wool itself. For furs, professional cleaning and cold storage is recommended.

V.        Store articles properly. Place clean articles in tight storage containers. Good plastic bags sealed after the clean item is placed inside should prevent clothes moth infestation as long as the bag remains without punctures or tears. Also using a storage containers with tight fitting lids and seal storage containers or cartons with a good quality tape. All seams and joints should be taped over. If garments are completely clean when placed in sealed containers, they should be safe from clothes moths.

VI.        Place garments in cold storage where temperatures remain below 40°F. Larvae are inactive at temperatures below 40°F. Many people assume that freezing temperatures will control these insects-not always so. Clothes moths have survived for long periods in unheated attics and barns in old furniture, clothing and blankets exposed to below-freezing temperatures. Although lower temperatures slow down or put a temporary halt to their activities, the clothes moths are usually not directly killed by them.

VII.        If you have infested articles, you can often rid them of larvae and eggs by brushing and sunning them, or by having them dry cleaned. Vigorous brushing outdoors in bright sunshine, particularly of areas around cuffs, collars and other hidden places, if done periodically, can be effective in destroying clothes moths. If pillows, mattresses, or upholstered furnishings are infested, you may want to have them treated by a professional pest control firm, or dispose of the infested articles.

VIII.     Moth proofing after cleaning or sunning can help prevent future infestations.   Infested cabinets or closets should be vacuumed thoroughly to remove any wool lint from between boards or in corners.

IX.       Cedar Blocks bought from a quality clothing store or made from a fresh higher quality cedar deter moths.  By placing in your drawers and cabinets these cedar blocks will deter moths.  If lower quality Cedar, every few months or so the blocks should be recut or replaced.  Cedar oils are also available.

X.        If in doubt call us, it’s free and it would be great to help out. http://crittergetritter.com



Green tips

At Critter Get Ritter, we are leaders in environmentally friendly pest and wildlife control, cleaning and structural work (to name a few).  From our streams, rivers and lakes; to the drinking water you, your family, employees and pets are exposed too, we keep your health in mind, and would like to share simple, green solutions and tips, to help you lighten our environmental footprint while reducing pests.

Especially in our warm, pacific northwest summers, pests are always ready to nibble on your treats (or you) while camping, barbecuing or eating/doing things outside.

Outside Pests:

Here are some simple, and environmentally friendly tips to keep those pests at bay.

1) Burning candles scented with essential oils makes a great centerpieces for backyard barbecues, but it also sends pests packing for the night, or at least until the party is over…

2) Bats, Frogs, dragonflies, ladybug beetles, spiders, praying mantises and crane flies outside of your home, you will help reduce the critter population, since these predators will feed on insect pests…

3) In gardens, use beneficial pests to keep your roses healthy: ladybug beetles and lacewings feast on aphids, and they can be purchased from us ((604)-902-7417) or your local nursery and hardware stores.

Indoor pests:

Flies:

1) Prevention is key. First, make sure your window and door screens are free of holes and gaps that allow flies to enter. Keep food and condiments covered.

2) Flyswatters give you exercise and eliminate flies. Watch out for anything breakable when you swat!!

3) Reducing moisture and any gaps you can dry and wrap organic garbage in old newspapers before you place it in your trash receptacle. Doing this will reduce those unwanted visitors. Make sure your trash container has a properly fitting lid, which will deter flies.

4) A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. During the heavy fly season, give your kitchen a thorough wipedown with pine oil cleaner. Pine oil is a natural fly repellent.

Ants:

1) Remove the source! Most ants have a sweet tooth and by removing empty soda cans and bottles, as well as candy wrappers, you can reduce household ants. Children and pets may drop particles of food, which also will attract ants. So give your floors – carpeted and non-carpeted – a quick daily vacuum.

2) Also, be sure to wipe down those counters. Ants are attracted to organic matter, and particles of food left out on a kitchen counter will attract them.

3) If you see a trail of marching ants, follow them to the source. Watch where they come from and where they are going. After establishing their destinations, use these instructions:

A. Fill a bowl with soapy water (usually dish detergent does the trick), dip a sponge into the mixture and wipe up the ants from point A to point B. After you have wiped up most of the ants, place a teaspoon or so of soap into a plastic spray bottle filled with water, and finish them off.

B. Ant scouts will seek out food, and they leave a pheromone trail for all their sisters to follow. By using this green tip, you’ll be breaking that invisible chemical trail and cutting off the ants’ food source.

Fleas:

Fleas prefer to enter your home on your pets, Trojan-horse style. For each flea hitchhiking on your pet, there may 30 more in your pet’s environment, including inside your home.  Rather than grabbing a can of bug spray, try these safe and environmentally sound alternatives:

Citrus contains a natural flea deterrent and by pouring a cup of boiling water over a sliced, scored lemon, the skin will release more citrus oil.  In this case, more is better so let the mixture soak overnight, and sponge it on your dog or cat to kill fleas instantly.

Trap fleas in your home using a wide, shallow pan half-filled with soapy water. Place the pan on the floor and shine a lamp over the water. Fleas are attracted to heat, and will jump to the source and land in the water. The liquid detergent breaks the surface’s tension, preventing the flea from bouncing out.

Other ways to GO GREEN!

1)Recycle
2)Compost
3)Use refillable water bottles to reduce the number of plastic bottles at our land fills.
4)Use energy efficient light bulbs.
Use Energy saving appliances.
5)Car pool, or use public transportation.

Thank you for taking the time to learn what you can do to help protect our planet.

http://crittergetritter.com


A nutritious alternative here are some tips for Ants on a Log:

Ants on a log are a timeless classic that have recently been enhanced with advances in nut butters and chunky versions; different flavors of chocolate (white, milk, dark), butterscotch and carmel chips; and, other topping technologies such as chocolate sauce, whip cream, butterscotch, honey and more.   Here is our favorite version with some nutritional information:

1) Cut large, organic, slightly under ripe Banana Into Flat Pieces.

Tips on Banana’s, the glycemic index and our health:

It is a myth that bananas should always be kept at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, where there is also less of a  risk of Fruit Flies laying eggs.  Although the skins will turn black in the refrigerator, the fruit will spoil less quickly, and under ripe banana’s have a lower glycemic Index due to the resistant starches our bodies lack the enzymes to digest.   This being said, although the sugar levels and glycemic indexes vary, all banana’s are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.  More here: http://www.glycemicindex.com/

2) Spread Chunky Almond Butter Evenly Over Banana Pieces.

3) Insert Dark Chocolate Chips. And:

4) Enjoy!!

http://crittergetritter.com


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