Raccoons Can Behave Aggressively Toward Humans Even When They Are Not Infected With Rabies

While raccoons may prefer to nest within certain structures on residential properties, such as in sheds, garages and beneath decks, the nocturnal animals make every effort to avoid being spotted by nearby humans. This is why raccoons are rarely brazen enough to invade a home where their presence would become immediately noticed by a home’s occupants. Of course, raccoons sometimes manage to secure warm shelter within attics and storage spaces, but raccoons are relatively intelligent creatures, and they know that residents rarely venture into such locations. Despite this, on rare occasions, a raccoon, or several, will invade a home in clear view of the occupants. In these cases, the invading raccoon may be infected with rabies, as this infection negatively affects neurological functioning, causing raccoons to behave boldly, aggressively and in a manner that runs contrary to their instinct for self-preservation. Sadly, back in December of 2017, an aggressive raccoon invaded an inhabited home before brutally attacking a baby. Luckily, the child lived, but the raccoon was never caught.

While this unexpected incident is certainly tragic, the baby’s parents were not at fault, as they were unaware that a raccoon had invited itself into their home. Surprisingly, some people willingly bring wild raccoons into their home in order to adopt one as a misguided gesture of compassion. For example, during the spring of 2014, a two-week year old baby boy was attacked by one of the two raccoons that his mother had adopted and left alone in her son’s room. It did not take long before the baby began to scream. Upon entering her son’s room, she found the raccoon thrashing at her son’s face, drawing blood and leaving serious wounds. Happily, the boy fully recovered, but officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife cited the mother for housing two raccoons without a license. In addition, police had also considered charging the mother with child endangerment as a result of the incident. The two raccoons were euthanized immediately within the home before they were sent to a lab for disease testing. It turned out that neither raccoon had contracted rabies or any other disease, proving that being infected with rabies is not a precondition for a raccoon to aggressively attack humans. This is why residents should always avoid meddling with raccoons no matter the circumstance; instead, a wildlife removal service can safely remove problem wildlife from properties.

Have you ever found a raccoon within your attack or garage?

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Why Are Termite Infestation Cases Increasing In Southeast Texas?

Several destructive termite species exist within every region of Texas, but cities in the southeast near the Gulf Coast have been seeing a dramatic rise in termite infestations over the past few years. Last summer it was reported that the invasive Formosan termite species had been establishing colonies within new areas of Houston and Galveston. During 2017, San Antonio and surrounding towns saw a whopping increase in termite infestation cases within homes and buildings. Infestation cases also exploded in other southeastern cities during 2017. That same year, San Antonio was ranked as the second most termite-infested city in the United States. And earlier this year, two Texas cities, Tyler-Longview and Dallas, made the top ten list of most termite infested cities in America. Last month entomologists and pest control professionals in Texas claimed that the southeastern portion of the state will soon see frequent and large sized termite swarms. The increase in termite swarms and infestation rates in southeast Texas is due to a few factors. First of all, Formosan subterranean termites are still spreading to new areas of Texas, mostly in the east and southeast region of the state. Climatic conditions, particularly short mild winters and frequent rainfall, are also contributing to the termite explosion within the state.

Native subterranean termites typically swarm during the late winter and early spring seasons in Texas, but a cold winter and a lack of rainfall may have postponed their seasonal swarms. Formosan subterranean termites typically swarm toward the beginning of May in Texas, and considering the growing Formosan termite population in the southeast region, cities like Houston, Galveston, Baytown and even San Antonio are likely to see frequent and massively sized Formosan termite swarms in about two weeks from now. Formosan subterranean swarms are known for being relatively sizable, as their colonies contain up to 50 million termites, which is far more than the mere 50,000 that can exist within a native termite colony.

Do you think that 2019 will see a record amount of termite infestation cases in Texas?

Landlord Of Rat-Infested Texas Home Says That Tenants Are Responsible For Eradicating The Animals

Whenever there is an infestation situation in rented homes, there will inevitably be problems between the landlord and tenant in regards to who is responsible for eradicating the pests. No one wants to deal with ridding a home of a pest infestation and the cost that comes along with it. One family in Houston, Texas had to deal with this very problem when they discovered that the house they were renting was infested with so many rats that it wasn’t safe for them to live in it.

Chantel Edmonson and her family were perfectly happy with their new home they had rented in northwest Harris County until they discovered the hundreds of rats also living there. They moved into the house on Fernstone Lane in May, but didn’t learn about the rats until they spoke to a former tenant that had also had problems with rats in June. The house was full to bursting with their little rodent houseguests. They see rats crawling around the house everyday, leaving feces all over the counter, and frightening the children with all of the racket they made in the back portion of the house. The family sent videos of rats scurrying around the house to a local news channel, and even found a rat stuck in the space between the dishwasher and the cabinets, which had to eventually be removed by an exterminator. Dozens, if not hundreds of rats were living in the walls and attic. The children were literally frightened to live in their own home because of the massive infestation.

Generally, a tenant is supposed to contact their landlord to deal with this kind of situation, but that proved to be little help in this situation. The family’s landlord, one Henri Olivier, refused to take care of the problem when confronted by them. He insisted that the rental agreement the family signed stipulates that the tenant is the one responsible for exterminating any pest infestations, not the landlord. As you can imagine, this led to some serious issues between the family and their landlord. Although, as the rats seem to have been infesting the house even before the family moved in, it seems to me like this landlord has some explaining to do. The moral of this story? Always read your rental agreement thoroughly, and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you agree to move into any house or apartment.

Have you ever had a pest infestation in a home you were renting and had issues with your landlord over who is responsible for getting rid of said pests?

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An Infestation Of 50,000 Bees Turned A Texas Home Into A Honey Palace

Not long ago, a study conducted by North Carolina researchers found that insects and spiders exist within all homes. While failing to keep sanitary living conditions will most certainly attract unwanted bugs, the study found that even the most immaculate homes contained sizable arthropod populations. Considering the results of this study, it is no wonder why insect and spider infestations within homes are so common. The term, “insect infestation” conjures up images of unsightly cockroaches, relentless bed bugs, and ant swarms that seem to come out of nowhere. But honey bees are not normally associated with insect infestations within homes. However, bee colonies often become overcrowded during the mid to late summer season. When this occurs, a sizable population of bees will ditch an overcrowded colony in order to establish a new nesting site elsewhere. Unfortunately, these temporarily homeless bees sometimes take up residence within the attics or behind the walls of residential homes. For example, a resident of Spring discovered that she had an infestation consisting of 50,000 honey bees hidden above her ceiling and behind the walls of her home. The woman did not notice any signs of her numerous honey bee roommates until honey started to literally drip down the sides of her walls, turning her house into a honey pot.

After hiring workers to renovate her roof, Latanja Lavine was told that honey bees had been swarming out of a hole on her roof, and work could not begin until the bees were no longer deemed a threat to the construction crew. Lavine then hired a professional to plug the hole, at which point the construction crew began renovations. Within a day, Lavine could not help but to notice massive amounts of honey dripping down her walls where it formed puddles on her floor. While Lavine struggled to mop the sticky substance off of the floor, a pest control crew smoked the honey bee colony out, which consisted of approximately 50,000 honey bees. According to Lavine, the bees had been swarming everywhere, and the pest controllers were unable to locate the queen, indicating that a new colony could take form within her home in the future, but nobody has heard from Lavine since.

Have you ever found one or more bees within your home?




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How Structural Defects In A Texas Municipal Building Made Of Stone Resulted In An Infestation Of Termites

With the exception of Alaska, termites can be found in all 50 US states. But homes and buildings located in the south are particularly vulnerable to termite attacks, as the south is home to the greatest number of termite pest species. Due to the relatively significant threat that termites pose to homes and buildings in the south, several state laws and building codes have been enacted in the region that require building contractors to install anti-termite features to homes and buildings during construction. For example, chemical or physical termite barriers surrounding structures must be installed during construction, and structures must be built in such as way as to minimize moisture retention. Perhaps some building codes of this sort were ignored during the 2002 construction of The Brazos River Authority headquarters in Waco, Texas, as moisture buildup within the building has been attracting termites.

The cost of building the 40,000 square foot structure amounted to 5.5 million dollars 17 years ago. Since then, water leaks, ventilation issues and moisture retention in the building’s stone exterior has contributed to mold buildup and termite infestations. It is well known that subterranean termite colonies require massive amounts of water in order to survive, which makes structures with leaky pipes and poor ventilation an ideal habitat for the wood-devouring pests. It is also unfortunate that termites are attracted to the mold that forms as a result of moisture buildup. According to several studies, termites find moldy wood to be more appetizing than non-moldy wood. Termite consumption has been shown to increase by 120 percent once mold forms on wood, and aggregation behavior increases by 81 percent. This is not surprising considering that the presence of moldy wood increases termite trail-following behavior by a whopping 200 percent. In fact, feeding on moldy wood even increases the survivability of termites by 136 percent.

The building’s exterior is made of Austin stone, which may be aesthetically pleasing, but the porous texture of the stone has allowed for a significant degree of moisture buildup. As a result, moisture has become trapped behind the stone and has saturated the vinyl wallpaper inside, which attracted termites. The termites ate away at the paper facing the gypsum sheathing, thereby decreasing its strength. The ventilation problems within the building only contributed to this moisture buildup. City leaders are now debating on whether to demolish the building or devote additional funds to its restoration. Government officials in the city are considering a lawsuit against the construction firm that built the structure due to their alleged violation of building codes that ultimately led to the termite infestation.

Were you aware that termites sometimes infest buildings that are made largely of non-wood materials?


Asian Lady Beetles Frequently Invade Texas Cities Where They Often Enter Buildings And Homes

Ladybugs are one of the most beloved insects, as even those who fear creepy-crawlies don’t seem to mind handling them with their bare hands. Despite their approachable appearance, several ladybug species in the United States are not native to the country, and many species are considered nuisance pests. The most significant ladybug pest is the Asian lady beetle. Although Asian lady beetles are hardly discernible from common ladybug species, they do not cause the same degree of nuisance infestations within homes. Texas did not see major Asian lady beetle invasions into homes and buildings on a mass scale until the 1990’s when their populations seemed to explode in the state and the rest of the country. In recent years, Texas residents have found themselves perplexed by the sudden appearance of the insects within their home during the winter season when insect infestations are not expected to occur in houses.

Although Asian lady beetles were not known for infesting homes until recent decades, one Austin resident and business owner, Cooper Anderson, recalls seeing the insects pour out of the vents of his rural home as a child. In response to the bizarre sight, Anderson’s father told his son that the insects were brought to Texas from a foreign land in order to allow them to prey on crop-damaging aphids. As it happens, Anderson’s father was correct, as the insects have proven effective at saving crops from large-scale aphid damage since the species was introduced into the country as a biological pest control agent many decades ago. This is why Asian lady beetles have long been an insect pest to homes in agricultural regions of the state where Anderson lived as a child. Today, however, Anderson claims that the lady beetles often infest his urban home and even his car.

Asian lady beetles are abundant outdoors during the summer season, but they move into homes once winter approaches in order to find warm shelter. Once spring arrives, the lady beetles emerge from their hiding places in homes where they are often treated as a nuisance by homeowners. While the spring season sees the greatest degree of lady beetle pest activity in Texas homes, the relatively warm climate in many areas of the state can cause infestation problems for homeowners during the winter when the insects scramble into homes.

Have you ever witness a large mass of ladybugs either indoors or outdoors?





Rodent Infestations And Rodent-Borne Disease Cases Have Been Increasing In Texas

Just about every type of troublesome wildlife pest a person can think of dwells within the large state of Texas. Of all the animal species that exist in the United States, the state of Texas is home to three fourths of them. Texas is home to 33 bat species, which is more than any other state. Rodents make up one third of all mammal species in Texas. Common rodents in Texas include squirrels, pocket gophers, numerous rat and mouse species and scores of others. Of all the wild animals that are known to invade, damage or nest within Texas homes, rats and mice are probably the most hated. While some years see a greater amount of rodent infestations than others in Texas, residents can always expect a massive influx of rodents within residential areas of the state once the winter season nears an end.

Rats and mice do not just invade homes where they annoy occupants with the noises they make while hiding away within their obscured nesting spaces, but they also cause expensive damage in hard to reach areas. For example, pest controllers in Texas have found rats chewing on cables and electronic wiring within attics, basements and utility boxes. It is also not uncommon to find rats infesting garages where they sometimes chew away at electrical wiring within vehicles. Even worse than having to shell out money to repair expensive rat-induced damage to electronic devices, fires can start as a result of rats chewing through electrical wires. Rats also commonly chew on pipes, eat threw water hoses, gnaw on clothing, tear up furniture, and they damage floorboards, drywall and insulation. And if all this is not enough, rats and mice also facilitate the spread of diseases to humans. Unfortunately, one of these diseases, typhus fever, is becoming more common among Texas residents. For example, up until July of last year, Galveston health authorities documented 18 typhus cases, while only one case was reported in the area during the entire 2017 year. Many residents are contracting typhus indoors, as dogs spread the disease to humans after contracting the disease from fleas that they picked up from backyard rats and opossums. Although a pest control professional is almost always necessary to eradicate a rat or mouse infestation within a home, typhus can be prevented by making sure that dogs receive flea treatments.

Have you ever killed a mouse or rat within your home with a simple trap?


A Rabid Bat Fell Out Of A Student’s Pocket Amidst Public Health Warnings About The Presence Of Rabid Bats Around Texas

The abundance of bats within the state of Texas gives some residents the creeps, and this is understandable, as the airborne critters spread rabies to humans and they often appear within homes in the state. There exists 33 documented bat species inhabiting Texas, most of which do not dwell near human living conditions. However, of these 33 species, 11 are known for dwelling near human populated areas, and each one is known to transmit rabies to humans. Six bat species in Texas regularly inhabit homes and buildings, while four solitary bat species are known for roosting within manmade structures. It is not uncommon for Texas public health officials to issue warnings to the public when rabies-infected bats are thought to be prevalent within urban and suburban areas. For example, not long ago, residents of the Lakewood neighborhood in Dallas were put on alert when officials discovered two dead bats in the area that later tested positive for rabies.

Most human rabies cases are not transmitted by rabid bats, but during 2015, bats were the most frequently reported rabid wild animals in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although bats are not known for aggressively attacking and biting humans, people can still acquire rabies from bats if they go far out of their way to disturb the critters. Last year, an elementary school student was lucky to have avoided a rabies diagnosis after a live rabid bat fell from his jacket pocket as he was violently twirling the jacket around in the air.

Immediately after the live bat fell to the ground from the boy’s jacket pocket, deputies were called to the school to handle the situation. Nobody could understand how a live bat wound up in the boy’s jacket, but the animal was “confiscated” before it was examined in a laboratory where it tested positive for rabies. The boy’s name and age was not released to media outlets and there was no word on how the live bat responded after falling from the pocket. Apparently, the boy was subject to some form of discipline for his actions, but he likely took the punishment in stride after realizing how close he came to contracting rabies.

Have you ever found a bat in your home that had been resting on the ground or in any other location besides walls and ceilings?



Cricket Outbreaks In Texas Can Bring The Insects Into Your Home

Most people understand crickets to be non-threatening insects that can hop and make chirping sounds. Any further knowledge concerning the nature of these insects is considered superfluous to your average citizen. After all, crickets are not a significant part of anyone’s life. Well, for most people this is true, but for some residents of Texas, crickets can become omnipresent creatures during the late summer and early fall months. This is because certain cricket species are known for invading areas of Texas in massive numbers. These “cricket outbreaks” do not occur every year, and when they do, the outbreaks are, thankfully, limited to single towns, cities or counties, and not the entire state of Texas, as that would be horrifying. As you can imagine, these outbreaks often bring crickets into people’s homes, where they can damage clothing, drapery and wall paper. These materials can become stained with cricket vomit or feces, as well as from their feeding activity. Although crickets do not typically feed on textiles, clothes that contain human sweat and body odor sometimes sustain cricket damage. While researchers know that certain environmental factors can increase the likelihood of cricket outbreaks, there is still much that researchers don’t know about this phenomenon, as Texas cricket species are relatively understudied insects.

According to Justin Hale with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Johnson County, dry spring and dry summer seasons greatly increase the chances of a cricket outbreak. It is believed that a prolonged period of dry climate allows more cricket eggs to complete their life cycle and develop into fully grown adults. It has also been speculated that the dry climate prevents the formation of fungal diseases that often affect and kill large amounts of cricket eggs and larvae, but no studies have been conducted to verify this theory. Although residents of Texas don’t have to worry about these crickets spreading disease, during outbreaks crickets can become a nuisance for homeowners, as crickets are attracted to artificial light sources located around homes and buildings. In order to prevent massive amounts of crickets from invading your home during an outbreak, it is important to tightly seal door thresholds, weep holes, windows and garage doors, as crickets are known for accessing homes in these areas.

Have you ever heard about a cricket outbreak on the news or from a friend or relative who had witnessed one?

A Family Became Speechless After Finding Three Raccoons In Their Home After The Animals Crashed Through Their Ceiling 

Raccoons may be cute, but they can do more than simply spread trash around your lawn while scavenging during the late night hours. Of course, raccoons are well known for seeking shelter within uninhabited areas of a home, such as beneath decks, in garages and in crawl spaces. It is not uncommon for raccoons to inflict damage to homes and property while nesting and scavenging. However, the early summer season in Texas last year saw several incidents involving raccoons inflicting a significant amount of damage to homes that cost residents thousands of dollars to repair. More than one incident in the state during 2018 had raccoons breaking through the roofs of houses. In one case, a family was shocked upon finding three raccoons in their home that had fallen through their ceiling and onto their living room floor.

Fernanda Gonzales of Arlington had complained to her landlord about loud banging noises that seemed to be coming from the roof of her apartment unit. Unfortunately, the apartment manager failed to take action in the matter, as he dismissed the noises as being caused by harmless squirrels. However, upon returning home with her family on a Sunday night, Gonzales was startled upon finding three raccoons within her apartment unit. Gonzales also could not help but to notice a fairly large hole on her ceiling that led outside. Gonzalez quickly realized that her apartment manager was wrong about his “squirrel theory.” Understandably, an angry Gonzalez took photos of the damage before posting them to Facebook with some choice words for her apartment manager. Gonzalez specifically reached out for legal help concerning her apartment manager’s refusal to take her concerns over the safety of her family seriously. Gonzalez was particularly upset due to the fact that she had a baby at home that she was determined to keep safe from unwanted outside visitors. The raccoons were later released safely into the wild by police officers.

Have you ever heard of a raccoon inflicting extensive structural damages to a home?