Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bed Bugs Bite Again

The 'popular' subject of bed bugs has been in the headlines again. In the run up to the rugby world cup finals the suggestion has been made that travellers, particularly backpackers, will be bringing bed bugs with them in their luggage or will be encountering them here in New Zealand while travelling.

A piece in the New Zealand Herald was followed by discussion on TVNZ Morning and various radio stations throughout yesterday and Radio Live today (1st July) at 16.55. The reports got most information correct but misquoted me in a few places. I didn't mention second hand furniture, but it could be a way that bed bugs are moved from one place to another. If you are considering purchasing any second hand furniture,or you have recently, I would advise checking it carefully for signs of bed bugs and perhaps giving it a preventative treatment with NO Bed Bugs spray; just to be on the safe side. The travellers for the world cup can prevent picking up bed bugs in luggage with proactive treatment of their luggage and vigilance when in hotels, motels and backpacker accommodation. The accommodation industry in New Zealand is very pro-active in preventing and controlling bed bugs and visitors are less at risk here than many other parts of the world. Let's help keep it that way.

Why is a train like a bed-bug?
It runs over sleepers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mild Weather Leaves Rats and Mice Out

In April I predicted that rodents would be a problem of larger than normal proportions this winter, particularly in quake damaged Christchurch. See here.

Rats Surviving Outside This Winter
I am happy to say that this prediction has not come to pass yet. Rats and mice have been able to survive outside due to the mild weather that New Zealand has experienced so far this winter. While many rats and mice have invaded homes in search of food and shelter, this has, so far, been in the normal range and not been a plague.

The unseasonably mild weather has had implications for ski fields and the lack of snow has meant resorts like Queenstown have not been able to start the ski season leaving many ski field employees without work and skiers seeking alternative entertainment.

For animals in the wild it has meant that more food is available to them and less food is needed to keep warm. The result is a high survival rate but less movement of rodent pests indoors. However, if a cold snap does come along there is still a likelihood that rodents will move indoors to escape the cold. So it is important to be proactive and be prepared.


What did the lab rat say his mate?
"I've got my scientist so well trained that every time I ring the bell, she brings me a snack."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kiwicare Wins Award at Fieldays

The Kiwicare site and team won the Mystery Creek Pavilion Merit Award at Fieldays 2011 today. This award recognises Kiwicare as one of the best sites at this years Fieldays. Saturday is the last day of the show and I hope you will have time to come and visit us at the site and ask us your questions about the solution/s to any pest or garden care problem in your home, farm or lifestyle block.

Caz Woods of National Fieldays presents
Dave Riley (Kiwicare, Waikato Territory Manger) with the award
I will be there again along with Dave Riley, the local territory rep and Ben Adams, our new Auckland and Northland rep who is also an expert in horticulture and garden care.

See you there........there are rewards for those that visit us and mention this blog.

Why does a cockerel watch TV?
For hentertainment!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fieldays 2011 Starts Today

The National Agricultural Fieldays starts today at Mystery Creek, Hamilton. This is the Southern Hemisphere's largest agri-business event with over a thousand businesses showing their wares.

Kiwicare have a stand in the main Mystery Creek Pavilion at site PE26 which is almost opposite door 2. Come and say 'Hi' you will be rewarded with your choice of free NO Bugs Super to keep your home free from insect pests or Spectrum to keep your roses and other plants pest and disease free.

On site will be experts on pest control and horticulture. Come and ask us a question.

The Kiwicare Head Office and factory in Christchurch has been only slightly affected by the latest quake. Production and dispatch was restored yesterday although there may be some disruption to communication via email this is expected to be repaired today. Our apologies to anyone that has had trouble contacting us. You can now contact the office for orders and enquiries on our main number 03 389 0778 or via your local representative.

Did you hear about the farmer who ploughed his field with a steamroller?
He wanted to grow mashed potatoes!


Monday, June 6, 2011

How Fast do Bed Bugs Breed?

"How fast do bed bugs breed?" is a question I have been asked several times recently. What people want to know is how fast will a bed bug problem grow after bed bugs are introduced to their home.  It is not an easy question to answer because the answer is different in different situations. Temperature, availability of food (blood), availability of mates, predator numbers etc. will all influence the rate at which bed bugs can breed. But estimates can be made based on normal conditions. The answer is both interesting and disturbing.

Recent work has found that you should not expect a population explosion before 3 to 4 months has passed and it is only at this point that an infestation may be detected easily. When there are only a few adult bed bugs they can be difficult to detect. The infestation may not be noticed until the problem escalates because, even though people may be being bitten, the majority of people do not react to bites and may be oblivious of the fact that they are having their blood sucked in their sleep.

Month 1 - If a single pregnant female is introduced to a bedroom, perhaps as the result of bringing one home after travelling to and staying in an infested hotel, it is likely that there will still be only one breeding adult one month after introduction. However, there will be as many as 60 nymphs in various stages of development and 20-30 eggs. When bed bugs hatch from an egg they are very small and are unlikely to be seen by the naked eye. The bugs go through 5 stages of growth (instars), each growth stage requires a blood feed. Only in the final adult stage is a bed bug able to lay eggs.

Month 2 - By now there is likely to be less than 10 adult bed bugs, but as many as 150 nymphs and a few eggs.

Newly hatched and
3rd instar bed bugs on rice
Month 3 - Now things start to 'hot up' with as many as 100 adults and 1,000 nymphs and eggs.

Month 4 - By day 120 the bed bug population is into exponential growth phase with up to 200 adults, 5,000 nymphs and 2,000 eggs.

Month 6 - If there is sufficient blood to feed on and places to hide, an infestation could now be at enormous proportions and would undoubtedly have spread to all adjacent rooms. There could be 8,000 adults, over 100,000 nymphs and 70,000 eggs.

This scenario shows that early detection and treatment of bed bugs is vital. Carrying out a thorough inspection of  a bed and bedroom as soon as there is any suspicion of bed bugs and treatment with the Kiwicare NO Bed Bugs Box can 'nip the problem in the bud.' Or better still, be proactive about preventing bed bugs being brought into the home by treating luggage before travelling.

A bed bug walks into a bar and asks for 2 blood lites!