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b2ap3_thumbnail_lovebug.jpgFlorida residents should have a very close relationship with car washes this month as we’re smack in the middle of the second lovebug swarming season.

The small flies’ acidic bodies can wreak havoc on auto paint. Leaving their splattered bodies on cars for several days only strengthens the acidity.  According to the University of Florida’s entomology department, if enough get under your hood they can even clog your radiator.

The bugs are a huge issue in the Gulf states and Central America. According to WDAM-7 TV in Mississippi, Rainforest car wash in Hattiesburg has set up a lovebug station so customers can make sure the bugs are removed.

“Customers have the option to pull over to the side before they wash their car and take as much time as they need to scrub the bugs off the front of their vehicles,” Rainforest operations manager Barry Broome told the station.

The good news is that the bugs only swarm for about four weeks. The bad news is that, like most other flying insects, there is little pest management that can be done to control these nuisances.

Just be prepared to load up on car wash products next spring when they return.

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The increasing numbers of Zika cases in the United States has led the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to activate rapid response teams to deal with outbreaks and deaths.

b2ap3_thumbnail_mosquitoSucking.pngAccording to reports, these CDC Emergency Response Teams (CERT) assist local authorities with investigating cases of highly communicable diseases. One such case is in Utah and that case has officials in that state and CDC officials baffled.

A man seems to have contracted the virus from his now deceased father, but the CDC still doesn’t know how. The Associated Press reports that the man told authorities that he kissed and hugged his dying father. Those actions hadn’t previously been associated with transmission of the disease. Dr. Angela Dunn with the Utah Department of Health told the AP the case may lead to more research into whether the disease can be transmitted through tears or bowel movements.

Closer to home here in Florida, there have been 823 confirmed cases according the state’s department of health. The department has 20 ongoing investigations - 16 Miami-Dade County, three in Palm Beach County and one in Pinellas County.

If anyone believes they’ve been exposed to the virus, all Florida county departments of health offer free Zika risk assessment and testing for pregnant women.

To guard against Zika citizens should remove all standing water on their property, keep their air conditioning on, keep arms and legs covered, and use mosquito repellant.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Carpenter_ant-53.jpgFirst things first on the Florida Carpenter Ant, they do not eat the wood in your home like a termite would. The common, large and brown Florida Carpenter Ant will eat rotten wood, but is not eating on the normal type of lumber found in a home. If you encounter the Florida Carpenter Ant you will likely notice its rather large size in comparison to other ants, this is because it is one of the largest types of ants found in Florida. It is also one of the more common ants to find indoors in Florida. 

The Carpenter Ant will bite and it can be painful. To make matters worse they often spray formic acid onto the flesh of something they have recently bitten, which increases the pain. Florida Carpenter Ants like both sweet and protein rich food depending upon which point they are at in their life cycle. They like to be near moisture and away in wall voids so they are safe from people and predators. They forage generally at night and swarm during the spring months, which is the time many people become aware of a home infestation. 

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There are over one thousand different species of scorpions. The United States as a whole is home to about ninety species. Fortunately for Floridians, the state is known to house only three species, none of which deliver a sting that is fatal to humans. The three species of Floridian scorpions are the Bark Scorpion, the Hentz Striped Scorpion, and the Guiana Striped Scorpion. Of these three, it is the Bark Scorpion that humans are most likely to come into contact with. Florida scorpions range from one inch to four inches in size and have that classic crab-like-only-slender appearance.

b2ap3_thumbnail_AC01_03.jpgIf someone is stung by one of these scorpions the sting is comparable to a wasp with possibly slightly more intense pain. There can be a burning, stinging, painful type of feeling at the site of the sting.  The post-sting effects of a scorpion sting encounter is also similar to a wasp sting. Soreness, tenderness, swelling and pain can last for a few days. If the reaction is particularly bad, medical attention is a good idea as a scorpion antivenom is available from medical professionals.

Scorpions generally prefer living outdoors but certainly can be found indoors at times. They like living in the shade and under things. Things like firewood, garbage cans, and tarps. Putting these things on blocks or removing them is a smart way to reduce scorpion harborage. Another fairly simple solution that can possibly cause a dramatic decline in a scorpion population as well as other other pests from getting indoors is to keep tree branches and shrubbery pruned back so that they do not touch the walls or roof of a structure. Tree branches and shrubbery that is in contact with a house acts as an easy highway transport system for unwanted pests such as scorpions. 

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Both the Florida Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that a case of the Zika virus being spread by a mosquito in Florida has been confirmed. This will be the first case of the Zika virus being spread by an American mosquito/s to American human beings. Florida officials say a total of four people have contracted Zika and they all live in a neighborhood in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. As has been previously recommended, Floridians and especially pregnant women need to take precaution by wearing mosquito repellent when spending anytime outdoors. Currently in Florida there are 386 cases of Zika related to travel and that trend seems to be on the upswing. This is terrible news for residents of Florida and the United States as there seems to be a link between the Zika virus and the infant brain deforming disease microcephaly.

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