Laura Simpson, President of Dugas Pest Control, was presented with the Paul Adams Award of Excellence at the annual banquet of the Louisiana Pest Management Association held in late January. This award, which has only been given to thirteen people since its creation in 1983, is the highest honor the Association can bestow upon a member.
“Laura has done so much for our industry both in Louisiana and nationally through the National Pest Management Association,” said Jeff Porter, Executive Director of LPMA. “She has served the local, state and national organizations with skill and leadership for many years and is a well-deserving honoree.”
Simpson has been the president and primary license holder of Dugas Pest Control since 1996, succeeding her father, Doug MacPherson who purchased the company in 1973. She has been active in the pest control industry for over 35 years, serving as President of both the Louisiana Pest Management Association and the National Pest Management Association.
Dugas Pest Control, a Quality Pro Certified and family-owned company, has been serving South Louisiana for more than 50 years.
Since 1995, the Volunteers of America Drop In Center has served as a point-of-entry for the street homeless. The primary focus of the Center is to assist homeless individuals and families with obtaining treatment and housing. The Center provides case management as well as a place for homeless individuals to do their laundry, shower, receive mail and use the telephone.
When we were approached to quote an annual inspection of Volunteer Services of America Greater Baton Rouge’s drop in center, we discovered an opportunity to give back to the Baton Rouge community we’ve been part of for 60 years.
The whole company came together to donate time and services for the Center. “These guys are all off the clock right now,” said Jeremy Clark, our General Manager , as four employees inspected the building. “We’re proud to be in a position to be able to give back. Our team enjoys volunteering their own time in the community, and we want to encourage and support them in that.”
“We are pleased to have this partnership with Dugas Pest Control,” said Janet Pace, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge. “They are a recognized leader in their field and share in our efforts to ensure that the individuals we serve are in safe and welcoming spaces. It is heartening when companies invest in their communities.”
Please join us in supporting this valuable organization – learn more about the Drop In Center here: https://www.voagbr.org/
If something has been getting into your garbage, eating your pet’s food and creating strange, scratching noises in the attic, it may not be squirrels or raccoons that are invading your property. It may be opossums coming into your Baton Rouge home.
Opossums are especially skilled at identifying entry points that allow them to get into home to seek food and shelter. Although they prefer living by streams and swamps in the wild, burrowing in brush piles and tree cavities, they can fare quite well in the average south Louisiana home. Besides getting into the attic, opossums also live underneath sheds and decks, and they eat just about everything, from garbage to fruits to grains to pet food.
How to Identify an Opossum
Many people don’t know that there are more than 100 species of opossums, and that they are related to kangaroos! They are white or gray in color and feature a rat-like tail that lacks fur. Although these nuisance pests vary in size, they are generally the size of a household cat, with an average of 6 to 7 pounds for the males and 4 to 5 pounds for the females.
Other notable characterizations include their naked, rounded ears and monkey-looking hands. They leave behind little tracks that feature a bent thumb. Since opossums have a varied diet and flexible stature, they are able to move into attics and underneath structures, living off food scraps and pet food.
Why are Opossums Considered Nuisance Pests?
Fortunately, opossums are not generally dangerous to humans. In fact, if you were to approach one, it would most likely pretend that it was dead. Nevertheless, these Louisiana pests are bothersome in the home, and like any wild animal can be dangerous if cornered. They create mess by going through garbage, eating up pet food and being plain messy. They have large, smelly droppings, and they will harass your pets. Once they get into the home, they can shred insulation and wiring in an effort to create a comfortable spot to sleep during the day.
Opossums have strong odors and are hosts to a variety of parasites and diseases. Interestingly, they rarely attack people and do not carry rabies. Most people notice that they have an opossum problem when they hear scratching and scooting at night, notice that pet food and trash is getting ripped through and when they smell the awful odor of the feces. Generally, opossums don’t burrow in the ground, but they will still live in already-dug burrows. They also climb very well – in trees, on telephone wires and vines – so it’s important to look both high and low.
Opossums Have Gotten into the Home. What’s Next?
If you’ve identified that it’s opossums making all the noise in your home, it’s time to call in the professionals at Dugas Pest Control. We practice wildlife exclusion, which is the humane way to trap and relocate an animal into their natural habitat. Our ultimate goal is to remove the pests from the home without killing them, while sealing up all points of entry. We look for loose vents, tears in screens and holes in the siding.
Once we patch up these points, you won’t have to worry about pest problems in Baton Rouge anymore. If pests do come onto your property, they won’t stay long, as there won’t be any source of food or shelter to pursue.
In addition to sealing up your home’s entry points, we also encourage our clients to be smart about food sources around the home. Since opossums will eat just about anything, you should always keep trash cans tightly shut, remove pet food at night and perhaps even reconsider bird feeders. Opossums are nocturnal, so they will often come out and look for food when humans are sleeping. It’s never a good idea to tackle pest control in Louisiana on your own, so be sure to consult Dugas Pest Control as your first step. We have the necessary tools and trapping methods to safely remove pests from the home while protecting the health and safety of your family.
When you see a bug is your reaction worse than simply being “grossed out”? Many people have strong reactions to seeing a bug, even if the bug in question is not harmful or near them. Let’s find out why.
Entomophobia is fear or aversion to insects and can also be referred to as insect phobia. When an individual with entomophobia comes into contact with an insect, they have a slight to a severe emotional reaction that includes anxiety or panic. Let’s take a closer look at this unique phobia, what the signs and symptoms are, and if there is anything that can be done to change the attitude the individual has toward insects.
Signs and Symptoms of Entomophobia Include:
– Feeling of panic
– Feeling of terror
– Feeling of dread
– Rapid heartbeat
– Shortness of breath
– Uncontrollable crying
– The need to leave the area
Because the symptoms associated with entomophobia are related to other phobias, it takes an experienced, certified healthcare professional to reach a diagnosis. Generally, a psychologist or therapist will meet with the patient, show him or her photographs of insects and record what responses occur. These professionals will look to see what exactly is triggering the strong emotion: crawling objects or the insects themselves.
Entomophobia is treated in the same manner as other phobias. Ongoing therapy and counseling are provided for the patient, along with the adequate medications. Often times, there is an underlying reason for the phobia, so this will hopefully be addressed during the therapy sessions. The insects will be introduced slowly to the patient so that he or she can eventually overcome the phobia to insects.
Many times, people associate aversion with phobia. Yet these two terms are not synonymous. It is innate that humans are turned off from insects; we know this firsthand. A phobia, however, is what causes the immense fear and irrational behavior. Sometimes if the aversion is strong enough, it can turn into a phobia over time. The most notable cases of entomophobia have been with bees and ants. Industrialized countries are more likely to suffer from extreme phobias or aversions to insects because they are not used to insect infestations as in underdeveloped countries.
As Hurricane Isaac slammed into the Louisiana coast as a Category 1 storm at the end of August, we were reminded just how unpredictable life can be. Isaac left behind plenty of rainfall, adding to the existing problem of pests, mosquitoes and West Nile.
West Nile: Already a High Threat
As you may already know, West Nile has reached a peak this year, with hundreds of confirmed cases in the southern states alone. Residents have been encouraged to take preventative measures that include avoiding the hours of dusk and dawn, wearing insect repellent on the skin and clothing and dumping out standing water.
With the rainfall from Isaac, standing water has become an even greater problem. Puddles and ponds of murky water have been left in some of the most unlikely places, and while residents may notice standing water in flower pots, gutters and wheelbarrows, there are many other places that are getting missed. These murky waters are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes and could therefore increase the threat of West Nile, especially as we’re still in the height of the season.
Cleanup Efforts after Isaac
So far this year, there have been 145 cases of West Nile and nine deaths reported in the state of Louisiana. With the high number of mosquitoes, high threat of West Nile and plenty of rainfall from Isaac, there is the potential for swarms of mosquitoes thanks to new breeding areas.
Fortunately, proactive measures from volunteer crews and rescuers to improve flood protection and clean up after Isaac have been effective. Still, there are many areas where standing water sits undetected. As always, health officials remind residents to be proactive by dumping out standing water and being on the outlook for potential mosquito breeding grounds. Some of the larger parishes have professional spray treatments as well to help cut down on these pesky insects. For those who want added protection on their property, a mosquito misting system could prove beneficial, especially after such a rain-heavy storm like Isaac.
As we say goodbye to the summer and approach slightly cooler temps and shorter days in the fall, many wonder where the West Nile virus stands in Louisiana. Is there still a moderate threat? Should residents still be taking preventative measures? Are there still confirmed cases of the virus in Baton Rouge?
The Centers for Disease Control released another West Nile virus update that was updated during the week of September 10. The CDC has updated us with the following information:
– A total of 2,636 cases across the U.S.
– 118 deaths
– 1,405 neuroinvasive cases
– 1,231 non-neuroinvasive cases
– Two-thirds of all cases have been reported from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota
For the Baton Rouge area, West Nile poses a unique threat because there are no cold temperatures in the near future that will wipe out mosquito colonies. As long as mosquitoes are a threat, so is West Nile. And this year, it seems as if the virus is back with a vengeance. The virus reached new heights in 2002, but continued to drop over the years. In 2002, there were 328 cases in Louisiana, and this year, there have been 176 reported so far. To put these numbers into perspective, there were only 12 reported cases last year.
Some parishes have also been struggling with getting the proper proactive measures in place. Spraying treatments can be costly and in turn raise taxes, and not all parishes have passed these proposals, especially rural parishes. The good news is that even though this has been one harsh year with the West Nile virus, the number of cases is expected to drop.
West Nile is most commonly seen in the late summer and early fall, and we’re starting to get past that point. While it’s still critical that you take preventative measures – dumping out sources of standing water, wearing mosquito repellent and avoiding dusk and dawn hours – the threat will be subsiding over the next few weeks.
Many of us don’t imagine getting the West Nile virus, especially because mosquitoes are are a regular part of living in the south. However, there are effective ways to protect yourself and your family, and everyone should be doing their part. Just as you would wash your hands and cover your mouth to prevent the spread of germs while having a cold, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid the West Nile virus. While the best thing to do is try to avoid getting bit altogether, we know this can be extremely difficult in the south, and it takes more diligence than just spraying on your favorite bug spray. Let’s take a look at the best way to prevent these itchy bug bites and your risk of the West Nile virus.
The Correct Use of Insect Repellents
Any time you step outdoors, you run the risk of getting bitten by a mosquito. If you’re going to be outside for any length of time, apply insect repellent to the exposed skin and spray your clothes with an EPA-registered repellent. Most EPA-registered repellents have an agent called permethrin in them that prevent mosquitoes from biting through the clothing. However, you should never place these repellents directly on the skin. Also never spray repellent underneath your clothes. When choosing bug sprays, don’t think that just because the spray has a higher percentage of the active ingredient means that it’s stronger. Instead, it means that the repellent will last longer. With this in mind, select a product that will provide you with enough protection for the time you’ll be outdoors. If the weather is cool enough, wear long sleeves or pants, and always place bug nets on infant carriers and strollers. Dawn, dusk and early evening are when mosquitoes bite the most, so exercise extra caution when out during these times.
Preventing the Spread of Mosquitoes
Not only should you avoid getting bit by a mosquito, but also you should prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Since mosquitoes like standing water, draining sources that collect water will prevent them from laying eggs. Look for standing water in flower pots, buckets, barrels, cans, water dishes, bird baths and swimming pools. Clean out clogged gutters and remove items lying in the yard that could collect water, such as old tires or wood logs. Even trash items that blow under your bushes can collect water, so do a regular sweep of the yard and look for recyclable containers and plastic bags that may have blown over from a neighbor’s yard.
Place Tight Fitting Screens on Windows and Doors
You may be careful to avoid mosquito bites when you’re outdoors, but we often forget about bug control when we’re indoors. Be sure that you have well-fitted screens on both your doors and windows. These tiny insects can easily get through screens that have holes or are loosely positioned onto doors and windows, coming into the home and serving as a potential threat for West Nile. Having adequate screens also provides additional perks, such as keeping dirt and standing water out of the windows. If you feel that your mosquito problem is severe, don’t hesitate to call a professional pest control company. Dugas Pest Control has their own unique mosquito control system that will rid these stubborn insects from your work or outdoor space – for good.
Louisiana residents joke about the prevalence of mosquitoes in the area by saying that the state bird IS the mosquito. This year has been especially challenging with the increase in mosquitoes and the virus they carry – West Nile.
2012 Stats for West Nile
Just this week, officials in the Baton Rouge area alerted neighborhoods to take extra precautions from being bit by mosquitoes because of the prevalence of West Nile. Research has indicated that the infection rate for mosquitoes is 11.1 percent for every 1,000 mosquitoes tested. That is almost twice the number that has been found in the past, and even those numbers resulted in human cases of the West Nile virus.
So far, there have been 53 cases of West Nile in the state of Louisiana, and positive samples of the virus have been found throughout the parishes. Officials have been placing mosquito traps in the Baton Rouge area to trap mosquitoes and test them for the virus. There is growing concern over encephalitis – swelling of the brain – which has been found to be part of the virus in some of the mosquitoes tested.
Concerns for Hunting Season
As always, health officials are most concerned about the very old and the very young, but the entire population is of concern at the immediate time. Not only has there been more West Nile activity this year compared to the last three to five years, but also the next three months are the peak of the season. With hunting season around the corner, this is also a concern over West Nile cases that will occur during the fall. With hunters spending long days outdoors and around trees and animals, the number of West Nile cases could spike.
Local Efforts to Prevent West Nile
Thankfully, 90 percent of West Nile cases are asymptomatic, which means you carry the virus but have no symptoms. In about 10 percent of cases, the person will develop a fever; those who are over 65 years of age are of greatest concern because they are at a higher risk for complications.
To protect yourself against the virus, Louisiana officials urge all residents to look for standing water around their home and eliminate it – regularly. That means dumping out water that sits in flower pots, buckets, swimming pools and bird baths.
Working with a pest control company like Dugas Pest Control can get your home safe from these pesky insects so you don’t have to worry. It’s important to choose a local company that understands the unique environment of the south and how these damp and wet conditions can provide mosquitoes with the perfect grounds for breeding. You can also expect to see the Baton Rouge area stepping up in its own precautionary efforts, spraying each day to control these pesky pests.
Dugas Pest Control has just signed up to partner with one of our customers, Tanger Outlet Mall to help sponsor their Fit for Families 5K Run. The proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society in our area.
We had so much fun at our Carwash for the Cure last year, we wanted to participate in something even bigger and better. Hope you can come join us for a fun morning of fitness!