Category Archives: Pest Control News

The Skeeter App – Peninsular iPhone App

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Duval Sees 1st West Nile Case Since ‘05

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—With a Duval County resident hospitalized and a southwest Florida man’s death traced to West Nile virus, health officials are urging people to take extra precautions to avoid contact with mosquitoes.

A 45-year-old Jacksonville woman was hospitalized after laboratory tests confirmed the virus—the first confirmed human case in Duval County since 2005. She has since recovered and been released.

In Collier County, a man died and a second person was hospitalized with the virus, which is a mosquito-borne illness that cannot be spread from person to person.
Symptoms of West Nile include fever, rash, headache, fatigue, weakness and dizziness. There is no specific medication or vaccine for West Nile Virus.

Health officials encourage residents to protect themselves by avoiding the outdoors at dusk and dawn, when the bugs are more active; wear clothing that covers most of your skin; and use mosquito repellent with DEET.

Duval County officials told Channel 4’s Vickie Pierre that there is usually an increase in mosquito-borne illnesses in September and October, so they are particularly concerned knowing that mosquitoes carrying this virus are in the area.

“Traditionally we see people with underlying medical conditions being at more at risk for disease in general,” epidemiologist Taj Azarian said. “However, when it comes to mosquito borne illnesses, there really isn’t a category we see infected more than others.”

Residents are also urged to check around their homes to get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs.

For more information on the West Nile virus and steps to avoid exposure, visit the Florida Department of Health website. Jacksonville residents can request the city to inspect or spray a particular home or neighborhood by calling 904-630-CITY or visiting COJ.net.

Bedbugs Pester St. Johns Co. Firefighters

The county said stations have spent the last few days working with professionals to try to exterminate the problem.

“They can drop their sock on the floor and a bedbug can crawl in,” said George Richardson, of Peninsular Pest Control.

He said he’s seeing more bed bugs than ever because more people are traveling overseas and bringing them back to the U.S.

Bedbugs are small and can seemingly fit into the tiniest places.

Richardson said if someone spots bedbugs, they should immediately call a professional exterminator. Additionally, he said cleaning is the key to get rid of them.

“Clean the bedding, bed sheets and linens, but also any of the clothes that are in the bedroom,” Richardson said.

Bedbugs are so small they can fit into the tiniest spaces. One thing you can do to prevent bedbugs from getting in your mattress is to get a cover for the mattress, something they can’t get into.

Richardson said the last thing you should do is use pesticides on the bugs. He said that can do more harm than good.

Professionals can use equipment that exposes bedbugs to heat and begin the process of killing them off.

If you’re bitten by a bedbug and experience a strong reaction, you should see a doctor.

“It can be 24-48 hours after they have fed that you start itching,” Richardson said.

Peninsular Pest Control takes role as community-based business to heart

“When you’ve grown up as a part of a successful Jacksonville company since your childhood, it’s natural to have a vested interest in the community around you…”

As First Coast temps rise, so do termites ready to swarm

Like beach crowds and overgrown lawns, new crops of termites have been coming out for Jacksonville’s warm spring and spreading through neighborhoods across Northeast Florida.

Spring and early summer are swarming seasons, when colonies of the wood-eating insects send out breeding specimens called “reproductives” to launch new colonies.

Clouds of tiny flying insects can fill a room within minutes, usually appearing when midday day heat settles in, especially after it rains.

Piles of dead insects and discarded wings left from those swarms are how a lot of people learn they have termites in their homes.

But that doesn’t tell homeowners how much wood the established colonies have already eaten, or where they’re camped inside the walls.

“The ones they find are not doing the damage. … It’s the ones they can’t see,” said George Richardson, technical director at Peninsular Pest Control.

Shutting down those colonies has meant new business to pest-control companies for the past few weeks. A bitter winter that stalled the first swarms was followed by weeks of warm spring days that triggered a burst of activity among a common kind of subterranean termite.

A second subterranean variety has been coming out lately.
And yet another variety, a drywood termite that doesn’t need underground homes, will probably swarm through June, said Robert Teal, a service manager for Terminix in Jacksonville.

People shipping lumber around the world have helped widen the territory of some species.

“People move around and they move around. And we have more than one kind of termite now,” he said.

Near the end of a cul de sac of small homes in Arlington, Teal pulls back bushes next to a wall with fresh vinyl siding and runs his fingers over the residue of an old termite infestation.

Subterraneans headed for the home’s framing had built – and later abandoned – mud tubes that climbed up the edge of the concrete slab and beneath the siding.

Pines are a favorite termite food, so lumber that wasn’t pressure-treated is inviting. So is pine bark mulch in some yards, but termites will eat wood furniture, picture frames, and even books, given the right circumstances.

The tubes shield the insects from sunlight and from predators like lizards and birds as they shuttle between their food source and the colony underground. Drifts of leaves and shade from overhead trees that hold in moisture help mark some areas as prime tube-building spots.

The colony whose tracks Teal found had died or moved on to new food. But the home’s new owner doesn’t want trouble coming back, so she signed up for a protection plan.

Scooping up soil with a trenching tool, Terminix termite technician Jake Jones clears a path along the concrete’s edge and sprays a liquid poison the insects will crawl through and spread to their colony. At tiled slabs outside the front and back doors, Jones drills holes in the grout lines every 12 inches and injects insect poison into the soil.

He’ll use 60 gallons of Termidor, a long-lasting termiticide, on a 150-foot perimeter.

That substance, now in use more than a decade, has filled a gap in termite-protection created when older, more toxic substances were retired for safety reasons.
“It has revolutionized the pest control industry,” Richardson said. “Once a home is treated, we have very few reoccurrences. … The success with Termidor is in the upper 90th percentile.”

Customers sometimes choose other treatments suited to their own concerns.

For a smaller chemical footprint, for example, people often use Sentricon’s bait system, which spreads termite-destroying chemicals trough a series of stations baited with wood to attract the critters.

Like the service, costs will vary by home and by the agreement with the pest company.

A first treatment on a 2,000-square-foot home might cost $800 to $1,100, for example.

But the cost of followup coverage might range from around $150 yearly to perhaps $300, depending on whether the pest company is agreeing to simply retreat the building in the event of a termite incursion, or if it’s guaranteeing to repair certain kinds of damage from future termite assaults.

Peninsular Pest Control gives back to community

“It’s about caring for your customers, your community and the impacts that we all make on the environment daily,” said Carolyn Dixon Richardson, president of Peninsular Pest Control in Riverside, founded 55 years ago by her parents, Earl and Louise Dixon. “Being involved and engaged with the community is something I learned from my parents at an early age and something my parents worked to promote with their employees.”

Peninsular, which provides pest control, lawn fertilization, weed control and termite treatment, donated more than 400 cell phones to Hubbard House to be re-programmed for emergency calls. The phones are collected during service calls with Peninsular customers. The company also recently began participating in the Paper Retriever program to promote recycling paper to benefit HabiJax.

Peninsular is also concerned about promoting a healthier environment.

“We’ve worked hard to research the products we use to treat homes, and we are consistently educating our customers on them so that not only do we make them available, we encourage [their] use,” Richardson said.

Peninsular’s termite treatments will not harm soil, micro-organisms or plants and rainfall and irrigation will not cause leaching into soil. The treatments are odorless and do not contain solvents or other substances that could lead to contamination.

Peninsular also uses a product that increases the health of plants and reduces the amount of water needed by nearly 50 percent and helps reduce fertilizer runoff, which is better for the health of the St. John River.

The company also promotes the Florida Department of Transportation Adopt-a-Highway program and has invested in software with GPS mapping for its vehicles to prevent wasted trips, fuel and emissions.

PENINSULAR UNVEILS NEW 3-D BILLBOARD

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A new billboard featuring 15-feet tall, three-dimensional ants is catching the attention of drivers heading south on I-95 through Jacksonville, Fla. Peninsular Pest Control’s new billboard is creating buzz and helping the company with its rebranding efforts, according to President Carolyn Richardson.

Richardson said she and her advertising team — which also includes Kat Casey of Greenhouse Studio and Teresa Eichner of Access PR — came up with the idea after a brainstorming session. “As part of Peninsular’s 55th anniversary we are doing some rebranding with our logo and we wanted do something fresh and creative,” Richardson said. “One of the things we discussed was how creative the Chick-fil-A billboards are (which feature 3-D cows), and that’s how we came up with the 3-D idea.”

Richardson and her team came up with the creative design/sketch and enlisted Jerry Small, owner of Small Creations and the artist/builder who created the 3-D Chick-fil-A billboards. Small took the sketch and went to work creating the various components, which include: the billboard – which measures 14 feet by 48 feet; three large (15 feet) ants; and one half-ant (7 feet).

To create the 3-D ants, Small used polystyrene foam, which was carved, shaped, and sanded by hand. He welded a steel structure inside each of the ant’s appendages to give it additional support. “This was a fun billboard to work on because the articulation of the arms caused a bit of consternation at the beginning until I was able to figure out how to build it so that it would be sturdy (to hold up against the wind),” Small said.

The final steps included coating figures with a special material to make them impervious to the outdoors and then painting them with an oil-based paint.

Special considerations had to be taken for the assembly of the billboard due to local ordinances. For example, the maximum distance for the extensions (in this case the ants) were 5 feet from the top and 2 feet from the sides. Also the billboard faces southbound traffic, but it is actually on the other side (northbound side) of the road, which Richardson thinks actually has helps the billboard grab more attention because it is not the norm.

Richardson said she’s been thrilled with the final product. “You never know how with new advertising how it will work our, but I’ve been real pleased with the results,” she said. “It’s been a memorable ad and we’ve received positive comments from the community.”

The billboard was just put up last week (April 16) but Richardson says one-quarter of all new sales leads during the past week are from the billboard, so Peninsular already is seeing some tangible benefits.

3D ants climb Jacksonville billboard

The Chik-fil-A cows are certainly well known, but these ants just might take them down – if they weren’t in the process of getting sprayed.

This is the first time in Jacksonville that a company has created a full-three dimensional billboard. Chik-fil-A has done it on a much smaller scale. In fact, the vendor who built those cows for Chik-fil-A also built the ants. We have full library of ants in production and a story to tell about our local sign ordinance. Being creative is also about working within the laws established locally and we changed the direction of the board along the way to accommodate the sign ordinance.

Paper recycling bin now at Peninsular Pest Control

Georgia Mote of Sweetwater will celebrate her 100th birthday 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Twin Hills Civic Association, 6743 Watoma St.

Mote still lives on her own, loves word search puzzles, crocheting, watching the Food Network and talking about her past, said her niece, Sarah Lundy of the Westside. Lundy said Mote claims a census worker from Georgia came to her house and found that her parents had not yet given her a name, so he named her Georgia.

“Not sure if that’s true or not,” Lundy said with a laugh. “That was in 1910.”

Avondale artist’s work chosen for cultural council awards luncheon

Art by painter Tayloe White of Avondale was selected for the programs and invitations to the city’s cultural council artists award luncheon Tuesday, April 20, at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

White recently opened Tayloe White Studio & Gallery, 2720 Park St., where she teaches art classes and her work is on display and for sale.

White’s father, Frank McDonald, a professional copper sculptor who lives in Los Angeles, is coming to Jacksonville to do a father-daughter art show Friday, April 23, through Friday, May 14, at her studio. An opening night reception will be 6 to 9 p.m. April 23 for the show, billed as “Currents: Rivers, Reeds and Redfish,” which includes an exploration of the coastal South.

Both father and daughter started second careers as artists at about the same time. McDonald grew up in South Georgia and works in the ship repair industry.

Community garden grows at I-295 in Argyle area

A new nonprofit called the Argyle Area Community Garden hopes to grow vegetables at an 1-acre plot owned by Park City Farms at Park City Drive and Interstate 295.

“We are hoping this will be a model, with an educational component and to get youth involved. Young people love to connect with the land,” said Tom Dumas, an organizer. “We’ve lost that as a society.”

The garden will have plots for residents to grow produce.

For more information, go to meet up.com/Argyle-Area-Community-Garden.

Safe House ministry moving to Owen Street on Westside

Safe House, a non-denominational Christian ministry and church on Plymouth Avenue in Murray Hill, is moving to a bigger location at 540 Owen St. on the Westside.

The goal is to be operating in the new location by Saturday, May 1, said Gary Polletta, a board member of the nonprofit, which collects and distributes food to families in need.

Safe House is renting and renovating the Owen Street building, with the option to buy. At 6,600 square feet, it is twice as big as Safe House’s current facility. Plus it has fenced-in parking lot and a kitchen.

For more information, visit 425-4228 or visit safehousejax.com.

Bishop Snyder to dedicate track, host Catholic Invitational meet

Bishop Snyder High School on the Westside will dedicate its new eight-lane track at 2 p.m. Friday, April 9. The Daniel J. Brown track dedication ceremony will be followed by the first Catholic Invitational track meet.

Paper recycling bin now at Peninsular Pest Control

Peninsular Pest Control Service, 2609 Phyllis St. in Riverside, now has a paper recycling bin from the Paper Retriever program. The public can recycle newspapers, magazines, catalogs, mail, etc., there. All revenue earned from the recycled paper benefits HabiJax. For more information, call 940-3546.

Recession won’t stop changes at Peninsular

You wouldn’t think a company with a commanding market share would choose to re-brand itself, particularly in the midst of a prolonged recession. But that’s exactly what Peninsular Pest Control Service Inc. did.

Carolyn Richardson, the company’s president, said the time was right.

“We wanted to keep it fresh,” she said. “We didn’t want to lose our position as market leader.”

A female owner in an industry dominated by men, Richardson is a rarity. Her parents founded the company out of their Arlington garage. Richardson’s father, R. Earl Dixon, was a University of Florida graduate, professor and former member of the Legislature. While he served in the Legislature, Richardson said her mother, the first woman to hold a pest control license in the state, ran the business.

Now, 55 years after the company’s founding, Richardson has stepped it up a notch, launching a new marketing approach that incorporates social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, while continuing some of the historical marketing efforts that tie the company to its customer base.

Richardson said the new retro-style logo and outreach gels nicely with her desire to get the company more engaged with the community. She’s added a Paper Retriever recycling bin at her location that will allow people to drop off recyclable paper products to benefit HabiJax.

The goal of creating a fresh brand while maintaining an allegiance to a company’s roots is always a difficult fence to straddle. In the end, all parties seem to be quite thrilled with the result.

Richardson says for all of the efforts, referrals from her loyal customer base remain the biggest source of clients.

And, lest anyone worry, the company’s sign over its offices on I-10 that has become a signature Jacksonville landmark will stay put.