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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'termites' Category


09
Sep

Ten-Year-Old Suffers Traumatic Brain Injury After Home Treated with Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides September 9, 2015) A young Florida boy and his family are reeling after a routine termite treatment resulted in a devastating outcome. Ten-year-old Peyton McCaughey of Palm City, Florida has been in the hospital for weeks following a severe reaction to chemicals used to fumigate his family’s home. According to news reports, the  fumigation was performed by Sunland Pest Control, a subcontractor of Terminix. The Florida Department of Agriculture has since issued a “Stop Work Order” while it  investigates the company in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Health. After returning to their home hours after the Terminix subcontractor told them it was safe to enter, the whole family became very ill. While the parents and the 7-year-old daughter recovered, the young boy’s condition continued to worsen. “He was having some uncontrollable muscle movements, couldn’t stand up, couldn’t speak, so they took him to a local walk-in and the doctor quickly recognized it was probably poisoning from a treatment,” said Peyton’s uncle, Ed Gribben. Current reports indicate that the boy has likely suffered brain damage and has lost all muscle control, rendering him unable to stand or speak. He remains in a […]

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26
May

Study Shows Neonicotinoid Pesticide Has Devastating Effect on Termites Due to Eusocial Behavior, Similar to Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2015) A study led by Purdue University Entomology Professor Michael Scharf, Ph.D. finds that small doses of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, can halt the normal functioning of termite behavior, leaving colonies vulnerable to disease and eventual death. While this effect may be celebrated by the pesticide industry as a victory for termite control, it has serious implications for the use of imidacloprid and other neonicotinoid pesticides on all eusocial insects, such as ants and bees. Eusocial insects thrive as a colony, working, living and sometimes even fighting diseases as one organism, rather than as many individuals existing together. Termites, specifically, exhibit a remarkable resistance to many diseases because they engage in social grooming, clearing pathogens off of one another. Other examples of eusociality can be found in ant and bee colonies. Ant colonies create foraging trails and engage in cooperative transport, where they create long chains of ant individuals to form a whole assembly line to transport food back to the colony and work as one to carry large prey that would not be otherwise attainable. Honeybee colonies send out foragers to report back with the location of plentiful food sources so that other bees know […]

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09
Jun

Scientist Warns of Ecological Effects Associated with Lawn Care Pesticide Runoff

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2014) A recent talk given by Donald Weston, PhD, a professor emeritus in UC Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology, to a community group in San Jose, California warned residents about the dangers that  lawn care insecticides present to  local aquatic life. The talk focused on the problems synthetic pyrethroids and fipronil can have on Hyalella azteca and Chironomus dilutes. Increasing levels of pesticide runoff in local stream systems have not only led to decreased populations of these aquatic crustaceans, but also populations that have become resistant to pesticides. Aquatic invertebrates are extremely sensitive to pesticide runoff and different states around the country have struggled with creating pesticide regulations that foster a healthy aquatic ecosystem. A good way to reduce pesticide runoff is to transition away from toxic land care methods and adopt organic practices. Hyalella crustaceans, a tiny shrimp-like animal, are hypersensitive to pyrethroids, which are a class of insecticides used by professional lawn care companies and found in common products like Raid and mixed with fertilizer products like Scotts Turf Builder under the name SummerGuard. Chironomus dilutes, a red worm-like invertebrate, is sensitive to fipronil, which is used to kill fleas on dogs and cats […]

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12
Apr

Study Shows Brain Tumors in Children Caused by Parental Pesticide Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2013) A study released this month on termite pesticide applications reveals that women exposed within a year of pregnancy are almost twice as likely to have a child that develops a brain tumor. Research was led by Professor Elizabeth Milne, PhD., head of the cancer epidemiology group at the Telethon Institute for Child Research. Published in Cancer Causes and Control, the article, “Exposure to Pesticides and the Risk of Childhood Brain Tumors,” studies whether exposure to pesticides a year prior to conception, during pregnancy and exposure during childhood were likely to augment the risk of brain tumors. Instead of examining household applications by homeowners, the study examines the role of pesticides applied by professional pest control applicators particularly to eradicate termites, spiders, and insects. “The findings confirm what has been found in previous studies but we have been able to go a little bit further,” Professor Milne said. Interestingly, “The increased risk associated with termite treatments may be as high as twofold, while the increased risk with other pesticides may be about 30 percent.” The study accounted for 303 cases of those that were exposed to pesticides and 941 families that were not exposed. Data came […]

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11
Jun

Sugar Derivative Found to Disrupt Insect Proteins Integral to Immune Response

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2009) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers and collaborators from Northeastern University have discovered a novel way to make pest insects more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections by blocking part of the immune defenses. The new technique could offer a more sustainable way to protect crops and buildings from damage by termites and other pest insects. The study, “Targeting an antimicrobial effector function in insect immunity as a pest control strategy,” published in this weeks Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that a sugar called GDL (glucono delta-lactone), a naturally occurring derivative of glucose, disables the specific proteins that insects embed in their nests and makes the insects more vulnerable to infection. GDL, commonly used as a food preservative, is biodegradable and inexpensive, making it an attractive alternative to chemical pesticides. The researchers, including senior author MIT Professor Ram Sasisekharan, Ph.D., found that the proteins, known as gram-negative bacteria binding proteins (GNBPs), act as a first line of defense against pathogenic bacteria and fungus. Once the researchers discovered this function, they decided to try inhibiting the proteins, with an eye toward new methods of pest control. The researchers gauged the effectiveness of GDL […]

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30
Aug

Vetiver Grass Repels Termites, Prevents Flooding

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2007) Vetiver grass, a species native to India, may provide protection against two plagues facing recovery in New Orleans: termite infestations and floods, according to Dr. Gregg Henderson, Ph.D. Already known for its effectiveness in erosion and sediment control, vetiver is both a repellent and toxicant to termites, which cause an estimated $5 billion in structural damage per year in the U.S. The plant is highly tolerant to extreme soil conditions, which, along with its deep roots, make it ideal for rehabilitation of contaminated lands and holding soil together on hillsides and contours. However, Dr. Henderson, an urban entomologist with Louisiana State University’s AgCenter, is interested in what is inside vetiver’s roots, namely the chemical responsible for turning away termites, as well as cockroaches, ants, ticks, weevils, nematodes, mole crickets, and other insects. His research team isolated several compounds from vetiver oils and determined that a chemical called nootkatone, is a repellent for Formosan subterranean termites. Dr. Henderson has been studying Formosan termites for years and is a strong advocate for taking advantage of the chemicals in vetiver grass to control the termites in many locations. Throughout the world, termites have caused problems on levees by […]

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