COVID19: Yes, we are open! See how we’re preserving the health of our customers and protecting their property.

Author Archive

Red-Imported Fire Ants In Coastal Areas Are More Aggressive, Venomous, And Dangerous

Red-imported fire ants are already infamous among ants for their aggressive behavior and painful bites. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, it seems they are getting even bigger, more aggressive, and venomous in coastal areas. Flooding and the consistently rising sea levels seems to be triggering a physiological and behavioral adaptive response in red-imported fire ants that makes them breed larger and more aggressive ants. This spells bad news for Louisiana, as after the South American species was accidentally brought over to the United States via Alabama in the 1920s, they spread quickly across the south, their numbers proliferating throughout the state of Louisiana over the last century. Add to its massive red-imported fire ant population the fact that Louisiana is becoming increasingly flood-prone and faces the highest rate of relative rising sea levels and things begin to look bleak indeed.

Linda Hooper-Bui, a wetland ecologist at Louisiana State University and lead author of this recent study, first noticed the difference in red-imported fire ants after flooding during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Red-imported fire ant populations seemed to boom in New Orleans after Katrina, and Hooper-Bui began to notice that people that had walked through the flood waters had huge unexplained rashes that turned out to be many, more severe fire ant bites.

Hooper-Bui discovered that both fresh and saltwater flooding increases the already aggressive nature of red-imported fire ants and upgrades their arsenal by giving them a larger head so their bite is stronger and much bigger venom sacs that make those bites more painful and increase the swelling. However, while freshwater flooding that occurs inland causes an increase of 34 percent in the volume of venom sacs, coastal saltwater flooding causes a whopping 72 percent increase. Coastal flooding also causes the red-imported fire ant colonies to breed larger and more aggressive ants than colonies located inland. Fire ants are able to cling together to build floating rafts made up of entire colonies in order to survive flooding, but this also forces them to subsequently locate and build a new nest. Hooper-Bui concluded that since frequent flooding disrupts colony life and makes it harder to find food, it is the stress caused by the increased flooding in the state, and particularly by the coast, that is forcing red-imported fire ants to adapt and breed larger, more aggressive ants that can better handle the harsher environment.

Unfortunately, things are only going to get worse in the coming years, with the Gulf of Mexico expected to raise sea levels along the state’s coastline by 4 to 7 feet by the end of this century, increasing tidal and storm-related flooding. The risk of flooding from rivers and rain is also steadily increasing throughout the state. Basically, if you live by the coast, you want to stay as far away from those red-imported fire ants as you possibly can.

Have you noticed red-imported fire ants being larger and more aggressive than in the past?


New Orleans and Formosan Subterranean Termites

The Formosan subterranean termite is an invasive pest in the southeastern states and parts of southern California. These destructive pests probably first arrived in the country within infested boxes that were unloaded from ships that had just returned to the US from the far east during the 1940s. However, Formosan subterranean termites (FST) were not officially documented as inhabiting the US until the 1960s when colonies were recovered near Houston. Less than two years after FST colonies were discovered near Houston, the pests were documented in New Orleans, but they did not emerge as major pests in the city until the late 1970s and 1980s. By 2000, FSTs had inflicted more than one billion dollars in structural damages in the Gulf Coast States, and most of this damage occurred in the French Quarter. That same year, experts estimated that 80 percent of urban buildings and nearly all residential homes in New Orleans had been affected by FSTs.

Today, FSTs can be found in 11 states, but pest control authorities have managed to contain the further spread of the pests, and they remain most problematic in New Orleans. Humans are largely responsible for this species’ expansion across the southeast, as research conducted by Brian Forschler, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, provides strong evidence that infested railroad ties from Louisiana were sold as landscaping products to stores in nearby states. In the late 1990s, the federal government initiated a 15 million dollar area-wide FST abatement program in New Orleans that would go on to last for 15 years. This program was named Operation Full Stop, and while there is no way to eradicate FSTs once they have been established, the program succeeded in containing the pests and reducing infestation rates in New Orleans. The program also allowed pest control professionals and urban entomologists to better understand how this exotic termite pest behaves and how it could be controlled. For example, it was found that an FST colony can eat 1,000 pounds of wood per year, while a native subterranean termite colony can only eat a mere seven pounds of wood per year. This is not surprising considering that a mature FST colony contains 10 million individual termites, far more than the hundreds of thousands found in mature native subterranean termite colonies. In fact, a home in Lake Charles was found to be infested with one FST colony that contained 70 million individual termites.

Were you living in New Orleans while Operation Full Stop was in progress?

How Frequently Do People Sustain Medically Harmful And Deadly Brown Recluse Spider Bites

The brown recluse spider has become notorious for  inflicting bites to humans that sometimes cause tissue necrosis, dangerous allergic reactions, and/or systemic symptoms like fever, chills, vomiting and diarrhea. The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is the most widespread and commonly encountered recluse spider species in the US, and they are abundant throughout Louisiana. The US is home to 13 recluse spider species, two of which are non-native species that were inadvertently transported into the country. One of these non-native species, the Mediterranean recluse, has become established in New Orleans and other urban areas in southern Louisiana.

Several laboratory studies on recluse spider venom, and multiple case studies on recluse spider bite victims have found that all 13 recluse spiders in the country are capable of inflicting medically significant bites that produce the same symptoms. The brown recluse is responsible for inflicting the vast majority of reported recluse bites, as the other species, with the exception of the Mediterranean recluse, prefer to dwell in undisturbed areas of the natural environment where they are very rarely encountered by humans. While the Mediterranean recluse is not widespread, it is similar to the brown recluse in that it is an urban-dwelling species that benefits from living in close association with humans. Mediterranean recluse infestations are becoming more common, as a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals revealed that the Mediterrranean recluse was the most commonly controlled spider pest within homes during the 2016 year.

Brown recluse spiders and the danger they pose to humans started to become well known to the public during the 1950s when the medical community took note of several fatal brown recluse envenomation incidents. Between 1983 and 2009, 42,544 brown recluse spider bites were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Of these thousands of brown recluse bite victims, only seven died as a result of envenomation. Brown recluse spiders are among the top five most commonly controlled indoor spider species in the US, and their presence within a home may go unnoticed for a time due to their habit of hiding beneath clutter in storage rooms, attics, garages, and basements. Infestations tend to grow more extensive over time, and eventually, their indoor population increases to the point where residents begin to spot the spiders in open living areas during the day. Although brown recluse spiders very rarely inflict deadly bites, residents should not attempt to eliminate the spiders from homes themselves, as most bites occur indoors. Most infestations require professional pest control intervention.

Have you ever found brown recluse spiders in your home?

A Recent Government Study On The Frequency Of Insect Pest Issues Within US Cities Found That Cockroach Infestations Are Most Prevalent Within New Orleans

Certain cockroach species benefit from living in close association with humans, and it has historically been assumed that all cockroach pests found within homes are nothing more than an ugly nuisance. However, this is no longer the case, as a growing amount of scholarly literature demonstrates that roach pests radiate bodily matter that contributes to the development of asthma when this matter is inhaled. If that is not enough, it is well known that common cockroach pest species are covered in more than 30 different types of disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, molds, and a couple of viruses. Also, researchers have recently found indoor cockroach pest species carrying an amoeba that causes dysentery, another parasite that causes giardiasis, and the poliovirus. Unfortunately for New Orleans residents, a recent study carried out by government researchers has revealed that cockroach infestations are most frequent in New Orleans when compared to all other US cities.

Every other year, Federal employees carry out the American Housing Survey, which asks people all over the US questions about housing satisfaction, the interior conditions of their home, and which, if any, pests have been problematic within or near their home, including insect, arachnid, and wildlife pests. Although the four primary cockroach species in the US infest homes in all US states, the housing survey almost always finds that cities located near oceans and other bodies of water see the highest rate of cockroach infestations. It probably won’t come as a surprise to residents of the Big Easy to learn that their historically notable home city is the most cockroach-infested metropolitan area in the country. However, residents of New Orleans may be shocked to hear that more than 41 percent of residents in the city have encountered cockroach pests within the past year. This is due to New Orleans’ subtropical geographic location, outdated urban and residential structures, and the city’s crude infrastructure, specifically the city’s anachronistic sewer system, which was constructed before the arrival of the 20th century.

Have you ever encountered two different cockroach species within your home on the same day?


The Summer Season Has Not Yet Arrived, But Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Are Already Abundant In New Orleans

Louisiana’s subtropical climate is conducive to mosquitoes, and although the summer season has not yet arrived, residents of New Orleans are already feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of mosquito species that are capable of transmitting disease to humans. In fact, city-wide pest surveillance detected an unusually high mosquito population in various areas of New Orleans last April. In response to this finding, city officials wasted no time carrying out area-wide insecticide applications throughout the entirety of Algiers and a few isolated areas nearby. The area-wide mosquito abatement operation targeted Culex quinquefasciatus, or the “southern house mosquito,” as the species is more commonly known.

According to a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals, the southern house mosquito was the second most commonly controlled mosquito pest within American homes during 2016, after the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which is also a disease-carrying species that is abundant in Louisiana. The southern house mosquito is capable of transmitting Saint Louis encephalitis, western equine encephalitis, and the West Nile virus, and they are active from dusk until dawn. Adult females of this species are able to deposit eggs in virtually any source of standing water, including bird baths, old tires, wastewater, and rainwater that collects in manmade objects in urban and suburban areas. Larvae emerge from hatched eggs 24 to 30 hours after they are deposited, and larvae develop into adults within a period of five to eight days, depending on climatic conditions.

Both male and female southern house mosquitoes feed on sugar from plants, but only females collect blood meals from humans and certain mammals and birds. Each night, females opportunistically collect blood meals from the first suitable hosts they find. Many southern house mosquitoes are already capable of transmitting disease to humans in Louisiana, as mosquitoes acquire disease pathogens from birds while nesting during the spring. The southern house mosquito is an invasive species in the US that lives in close association with humans due to their dependence of manmade water sources for reproduction. Keeping residential yards free of standing water will reduce breeding sites and will prevent large numbers of southern house mosquito females from becoming prevalent around homes. Since these mosquitoes readily enter homes, it is important to seal potential entry points on screens and on the exterior walls of homes. Standing water within homes should be minimized by keeping sinks free of water and dirty dishes, and house plants should not be over-watered.

Do you do your part to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on your property?

Contact Us for a Free Consultation and get more information

Contact Us Now


Our great reviews and why you should choose us


J & J Exterminating, Inc.

Corporate Headquarters
105 S College Rd
Lafayette, La 70503
Phone : (337) 234-2847
Email Customer Service

J&J Exterminating, Inc.