"What’s Bugging You?" Segment on the TODAY Show

Today Show

On March 28th, the TODAY Show featured a “What’s Bugging You?” piece that informed viewers about common spring pests like ants, termites, ticks, and hornets. Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association was there to talk about these pests and our pest control company has transcribed the segment:

Tamron: “The reality is, this is springtime, but are all of these pests damaging to us personally or our property?”

Missy: “Fortunately no, but there will be a lot of insects this spring. They’re just as excited for the warm weather as we are and it’s important people understand about the risks they can pose to property and to health.”

Willie: “Let’s take a look at some of these – we’ve got ants down here, live ants, and some wood. What kind of damage can those ants do?”

Missy: “We’ve got a couple species of ants here. First of all, ants are the number one nuisance pest in America. Most people are going to be seeing the odorous house ants and pavement ants, the ones you typically think of crawling across your counter tops and around your sugar bowl. Good news is, no property risks there and no damage to our health, but they can contaminate food sources. The ants you most want to be worried about this season are the carpenter ants – these big ones that we have here. They can actually do damage to wood, and you’ll see some of their handy work right here.”

Tamron: “Wow.”

Missy: “A lot of people are surprised. [the wood] is a beautiful piece of art, but not something we want in our home.”

Willie: “So what can you do about it? If you see a couple of these running around your house, what should you do?”

Missy: “With the carpenter ants, the most important thing is to eliminate the moisture. That’s what they’re attracted to – leaky ceilings, leaky pipes, [it’s a] good time of year to take care of those.”

Tamron: “Moving on to termites.”

Missy: “Yeah, we’ve got termites here. Termites are called the silent destroyer. They can eat away at our homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can actually eat a cup of wood every two hours.

Willie: “Wow.”

Missy: “Yeah, so all of this destruction actually equates to about $5 billion worth of property damage every year, and generally that damage is not covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy.”

Tamron: “Because they’re silent, how do you know?”

Missy: “It’s a good question. This wood here looks fine to us from this side, but actually if we turn it over, we’ll see the damage that these termites have caused. So it is important to have an annual inspection done for termites at least every year – every 1-3 years, depending on what part of the country you live in. Also interesting to note, termites don’t just eat on the wood, they eat the cellulose that’s in wood, so they’ll actually eat through books and even our wallpaper, too. This is the pest you want to contact a professional to inspect.”

Willie: “So far the damage has been to property, but now we get into ticks, where it can affect your health.”

Missy: “Absolutely. The ticks that we have here today, these are the black-legged or the deer ticks, these are the ones we hear associated with Lyme disease, which can be very debilitating. Certainly these are found in certain parts of the country, but ticks are all over. Different species do transmit different diseases.

Tamron: “So what do you do?”

Missy: “It’s important to cover your head if you’re outside in the woods, you really want to make sure to put insect repellent with at least 20% DEET, and cover up – put your pants inside your socks and shoes.”

Tamron: “Are there extra measures that you take with kids?”

Missy: “Kids we really want to pay attention to. When they’ve been outdoors, you want to inspect – spring is a really heavy time where Lyme disease is transmitted. If you do find a tick on your child, most people don’t know how to take care of them properly. You want to take a pair of fine-nosed tweezers, put the tweezers right against your skin as close as you can to where that tick is, and pull upward with a steady motion. You don’t want to twist or turn because you might leave part of that tick in there.”

Willie: “And you do look for that bull’s eye?”

Missy: “It can be a sign of Lyme disease – if you see that bull’s eye rash, you do want to go to a healthcare provider, but you can still have Lyme without it, so if you suspect something, go see a doctor.”

Willie: “Stinging insects, now – what are we looking at here?”

Missy: “A variety of stinging insects. They are a pest – that buzzing sound we hear. Be fearful. They send over 1/2 million people to the hospital every year. If you do see signs of some kind of stinging insects on your property, such as this hornet’s nest, you want to contact a professional to take care of that.”

Tamron: “Thank you. We’re out of time, Missy, but great information, especially with the ticks and children this time of year.”

To watch the video, click here.

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