The best defense against fleas is a good offense

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

With the first few weeks of hot weather under Georgia’s belt for summer 2018, dog owners across the state may notice their canine companions starting to scratch a little more often.

While fleas are active year-round in Georgia, summer means it’s time to get serious about flea control for pets and for homes.  Continue reading

N.Y. Times reports increase in mosquito and tick-vectored infections

Farewell, carefree days of summer.

The number of people getting diseases transmitted by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years, federal health officials reported on Tuesday. Since 2004, at least nine such diseases have been discovered or newly introduced here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not suggest that Americans drop plans for softball games or hammock snoozes. But officials emphasized that it’s increasingly important for everyone — especially children — to be protected from outdoor pests with bug repellent. Continue reading

2018 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series – This Friday on FLEAS

Don’t forget this month’s All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar will take place this Friday, May 4 at 1:00 pm Central Time. Fleas have you down? A pest of both homes and our pets, populations can quickly get away from us. Running and grabbing a pesticide generally doesn’t work unless you understand their biology and life cycle. Join us as Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Professor Veterinary Entomology, University of Georgia, gives a webinar filled with information to help us get flea populations under control BEFORE they escalate. We hope you can attend the webinar live, but if you are unable to make it, a recording will be posted online next week.

Webinar link:
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Hunting for the world’s largest flea

This article appeared in The New York Times online edition on Monday, July 28th. It  tells the story of how a couple of entomologists captured and wrestled a mountain beaver to obtain a giant flea, Hystrichopsylla schefferi. If you’re a scientist, you’ll love the detailed description and history of the flea and how it relates in size to cat and dog fleas. If you just love stories, this is one of those heart-pounding narrations with a happy ending.

Read the story here. If the link doesn’t work, go to the New York Times and look for “The Great Giant Flea Hunt.”

Bugs and heat: what should you believe?

Last week a controversy surfaced regarding a July 24 article in USA Today, “Bugs like it hot: Record heat kicks bugs into high gear,” by Doyle Rice. Rice’s article implied that the intense heat experienced this summer has caused increases in populations of several insect pests, including grasshoppers, crickets and mosquitoes. Last week, two researchers from Purdue University challenged that theory in their own article, “Do bugs really like it hot?” and indicated that in the Midwest, the drought has actually reduced the numbers of mosquitoes, although the high heat has made it difficult to enjoy what they say is virtually a mosquito-free summer.

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Typhus on the comeback: how to minimize your risk

Travis County, Texas, recently had a death due to typhus, last year typhus showed up in the Lower Valley area.  Typhus is one of those “diseases” that has not been prevalent for many years, but like everything else it is making a comeback.

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