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You can reach us at 212-431-5009 - 718-961-9000 - 516-767-1700

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why is Winter Pest Control so Important?

Why is Winter Pest Control so Important?

I often hear "It's winter. The bugs are all dead. I don't need my workplace or home serviced." This is a very common misconception.

First, our homes and business' create false environments; they are heated during the winter and cooled during the summer. These false environments allow many common pests such as Termites, Carpenter Ants, the various Tramp Ants, Roaches and many other invaders to set up shop within the walls, attic, basement and storage areas of our homes or business'.

Next, rodents, who live in burrows, actively scavenge throughout the winter. If they are able to exploit our homes they most definitely will.

Lastly, winters vary in their intensity. The winter of 2010-2011 has been wet and fairly mild, with temperatures reaching into the 50's. The combination of moisture and moderate temperatures trigger most pests into activity.

Here are some ways to deter Winter Pests:

* Seal off holes on the outside of the structure, where insects may gain entry. Smaller holes can be patched with silicone caulk or spackle, while larger ones may require concrete to fill.

* Check around baseboards and inside cabinets for cracks and crevices that could hide pests, and fill holes accordingly.

* Remove sources of food and water, which include dishes in the sink and crumbs inside cabinets and desks at your business.

* Outside, mulch and firewood hold moisture, making them popular hiding places for rodents. Store these items at least two feet from exterior walls.

* Outdoors, trim hedges and trees that are in close proximity to the structure. The branches provide an easy path inside for insects & squirrels.

* To prevent squirrels and other animals from roosting in the eaves or attic, repair and patch any holes or other damage.

* Clean out gutters and overhangs, where rodents can also build their nests.

* Store yard waste ,like leaves and moss, away from the structure prior to disposal. These materials are popular nesting materials.

* Keep birdseed in a sealed metal container. Mice can gnaw through plastic and eat seeds.

* Common entry points are around pipes, where small cracks are frequently just large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Block holes with copper meshing.

* Inside, eradicate clutter that can hide mice and rat nests, and provide material for the nests themselves.

At Magic Exterminating we practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Our technicians inspect for the above conditions, treat when necessary, and inform you of required corrections that will keep your business and home pest free.

For a free estimate please contact us through our website at or by calling any of the phone numbers listed above.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In the News Mouse at McDonald's, Cyborg Rats & Washington DC's new Pest Law

Mouse in Bag of McDonald's Buns

Magic Exterminating can help prevent this from happening at your Restaurant or Food Preparation Business.

Our Technicians are highly trained by our 3 Entomologists to find the source of the Rodent problem, eliminate present populations and prevent future infestations.


New Washington D.C. law forces exterminators to capture and relocate rats, and critters,0,1815294.premiumvideo  
Mark Holmberg
11:19 p.m. EST, January 16, 2012

Ken Cuccinelli, the man who interprets and enforces Virginia law, said a year-old Washington D.C. law could cause a flood of rats and mice across the Potomac into Virginia from the nation’s capital.

During a recent interview with WMAL radio in the Washington area about the rat infestation in Occupy D.C. parks, Cuccinelli said, “Last year, in its finite wisdom, the D.C. City Council passed a law, a triumph of animal rights over human health, where those pest control people you suggested they bring in aren’t allowed to kill the rats. They have to relocate the rats. And not only that – that’s really not the worst part – they can’t break of the families of the rats . . . it’s worse than our immigration policy.” Really, sir?

We read the law, the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 (B18-498). There’s no doubt it is very animal-friendly. Pests like raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks and pigeons have to be humanely trapped – no more snap traps or glue traps. And all the humane traps must be checked every 24 hours, at the least.

If possible, the critter must be relocated, humanely, which is a tough job in D.C. because it’s mostly all city. And every effort must be made to move the whole family of animals.

But right there on page one of the Wildlife Protection Act it said “commensal rodents” are exempted – they’re still fair game for extermination. That’s your Norway rat, roof rat and common house mouse.

Also, there’s plenty of wiggle room in the law. If relocation options are not feasible, it’s okay to euthanize the animals.

We asked Cuccinelli’s office about this, and his press secretary said the rice rat and deer mouse are not exempt, and they’re also concerned about infections like Lyme disease being spread by rodents and other animals relocated to Virginia.

Here’s the entire statement:

“The attorney general says he was afraid that the D.C. law might encourage transporting rats from DC, as it encourages catch-and-release technique.” (if you read this article, you will see that wildlife experts said the same thing:

The word from wildlife control experts is that to be effective in that method, animals should be released far from their catch point -- perhaps across the Potomac in Virginia -- so they do not return. The law exempts some types of rats, but not all.

While certain "commensal rodents" (which include two species of rats) are exempted from the law, the rice rat and the deer mouse are species that wildlife control experts note are within the District that are NOT defined as commensal rodents, so they would appear not to be exempt from the law (ie. - they would be required to be caught and released, etc.)

In addition to these particular rats and mice, raccoons, squirrels, skunks and other animals known to carry rabies, Lyme Disease, and other diseases are not exempt from the law.

While rats were one example the attorney general gave, there are many other examples of wildlife that he could have used. The point he was making is that certain rats, mice, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and other animals known to carry rabies, Lyme Disease, and other diseases have the possibility of being transported to Virginia, where they could infect humans. That is why he has been concerned about this issue.”

But since it’s against the law to transport wildlife across state lines, it is doubtful there’s going to be a flood of rabid or tick-infested raccoons any time soon.
That said, the law is going to make pest control more expensive and difficult in D.C.

Commonly used snap and glue traps for rats and mice appear to be out because they could catch non-exempt animals, like chipmunks and squirrels.

Clyde Wilson, with Anytime Pest Control in the Richmond area, said snap traps (like mousetraps) and particularly glue traps are effective tools in fighting rat and mice infestations.

And that the mandate requires traps be checked every 24-hours will add to the cost of many extermination jobs, he said.

But what the Wildlife Protection Act doesn’t address is the use of junkets, PAC money and sweet stock deals to bait and trap the rats that roam the halls of Congress in our nation’s capitol.


Controversial cyborg rat tests target brain treatments
By Katia Moskvitch Technology reporter, BBC News

A researcher monitors a sedated rat as part of the research project at Tel Aviv University

A rat lies motionless on a sterile, spotless table. It is alive, but heavily sedated. Closer inspection reveals that this is no ordinary rodent. Electrodes are being used to stimulate its brain, creating waveform readings on a nearby computer screen.

The rat is part of a research project at Israel's Tel Aviv University psychology department. Scientists are attempting to replace part of this and other rats' brains with digital equipment, effectively turning them into cyborgs.

Anti-vivisection campaigners have described the tests as "grotesque" but the researchers claim the work will eventually help them make repairs to what is possibly the world's most complex computer - the human brain.

Mending malfunctions

The work aims to help people with diseases such as Parkinson's or those who have suffered a stroke. It involves swapping impaired brain tissue with a microchip that is wired to the brain, allowing it to carry out the tasks that the healthy tissue would have performed.

"Imagine there's a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand the architecture of this damaged area," says Prof Matti Mintz, a psychobiologist at Tel Aviv University who is involved in the international project.

Prof Mintz discusses the ethics of developing a human 'memory chip' "So we try to replicate this part of the brain with electronics." To do it, the researchers insert sets of electrodes up to 1cm deep inside a rat's brain and then connect them to a microchip embedded just under the skin of the rodent's skull.

The chip then receives and interprets sensory information from the brainstem - the lower area of the brain - and analyses it as the original biological part would, before transmitting the information back to motor centres in the brainstem.

"For example, there's a region of the brain that controls one simple motor movement - breathing," says Prof Mintz.

"Right now, if a patient loses this area, there's no way to recover. But if we're able in the future to replace such an area that is responsible for very discrete but extremely essential movement, it will be great.

"And it is on the horizon."

Bionic rats

To demonstrate that its idea works, the team applied the principle of classical conditioning, first demonstrated by the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov in 1927.

He noticed that his dogs began salivating when they saw the person who fed them. So he used a bell to let them know that their meal was ready - and after just a few repetitions, he found out that the animals started to salivate when they heard the bell, even if the food was not there.

Prof Mintz's team did something similar with rats.

The researchers decided to work on an area of the brain called the cerebellum, which is responsible for controlling and timing motor movements, such as learning how to blink in response to a stimulus.

They took advantage of the fact that if a rat hears a particular sound before it gets hit with a jet of air, it will eventually blink when the sound is played ahead of the puff reaching its eyes.

Prof Mintz offered the BBC a tour of his lab at Tel Aviv University "We know how to blink. Currently, I'm blinking very freely," says Prof Mintz.

"We also know how to record that the animals are learning to respond to a stimulus - we plant electrodes around the eye, and record the muscle activity to see when the rat actually closes its eye.

"And we know that when we damage the biological structure [the cerebellum] the animal cannot learn this simple motor response any more, never again, and nothing in the brain can replace this learning.

"So after having studied this brain region, we constructed a simulation that works in a similar way to the original biological system - and when we see some recovery of the lost movement, it is clear that it is coming from our synthetic device and not from any other area of the brain."

Science amalgam

Science fiction helped the researchers come up with the idea of replicating a specific brain function with a microchip.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
Lives are [being]wasted on dubious and ego-driven experiments.”
End Quote
National Anti-Vivisection Society
The genre has long been populated by cyborgs and other related creatures, from Terminator and Robocop to Isaac Asimov's bionic robots and Blade Runner's bioengineered "replicants".

Although neuroscientists have quite literally been picking at the brain for decades, it is only recently that there have been significant breakthroughs in the area.

One instance is a brain-computer interface which allows a person with disabilities to control a computer cursor through the power of thought alone. It works via electrodes attached to their brain which read specific signals.

Prosthetic limbs function through brain implants, too, but they also only work one way, receiving signals and interpreting them into physical actions.

Getting the artificial portion of the cerebellum to receive one set of signals and send out an entirely different set of commands proved especially challenging.

A computer model of the chip that is attached to the rat "The only way to for such a project to succeed is by combining different disciplines - and this is where 'nano-bio-info-cogno' comes in - uniting nanotechnology, biology, informatics and cognitive science," says Prof Mira Marcus-Kalish of Tel Aviv University, who is also taking part in the project.

"We take nanoelectrodes into a biology application, try to analyse everything through informatics, and then also use cognition."

The next step will be getting the rats to perform not just one, but several physical actions, says Prof Mintz.

"Let's imagine a person loses a big chunk of cerebellum, due to a haemorrhage, or a lesion, or due to ageing. Cerebellum ages very fast, and that's why we lose tiny motor functions," he says.

"So we need to find how to recover motor functions consistent of longer sequence of movements."

Future cyborgs?

"The more replacement parts we have for our body, the more people are not just alive, but healthy.”

Once the trials with rats are over and successful, the researchers plan to move to human subjects.

They say they hope to help people and save lives. However, animal rights activists describe the research as "disgraceful" and "abhorrent".

"This type of research raises enormous ethical concerns, let alone the poor animals whose lives are wasted on dubious and ego-driven experiments," says Jan Creamer, chief executive of the UK-based National Anti-Vivisection Society.

"The NAVS is totally opposed to all forms of animal experimentation and advocates the use of sophisticated non-animal techniques, which this clearly is not. As an example, we are currently funding a long-term project concerned with the human brain and its functions and our research uses cutting edge technology, not the outmoded animal model."

As the researchers replace bigger parts of the brain with electronics other questions are also likely to be raised: how far the research should be taken and how many neurons can be replaced before our bodies become controlled by a machine, rather than the other way round.

Prof Mintz says that 'brain enhancement' is a 'taboo' subject Although some may argue that we already interfere with nature when we implant a pacemaker or transplant a heart, the brain is viewed differently because it is the organ that controls everything in the human body.

"It's fascinating how people get worried when it comes to their brain, there's this fear that some alien intruder will take over ourselves," says psychologist Prof Carlo Strenger from Tel Aviv University, who is not involved in the study.

"But think of the many people who have suffered brain damages because of accidents, of the people with degenerative diseases - the more replacement parts we have for our body, the more people are not just alive, but healthy.

"One philosophical question could arise once we'll be able to download a person's whole brain onto a chip and then implant the chip into someone else's body.

"This is a problem we don't yet know how to solve. But we're not there yet."