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Pest News - 18th March 2010

Environmentally-friendly Bed Bug Detection Units
After months of trials under both laboratory and practical in-field conditions, Midmos Solutions Ltd has launched its BB Alert Bed Bug Solutions product series, first shown at PestEx 2009.

The BB Alert Bed Bug Solutions products are two environmentally-friendly bedbug detection units for both proactive daily/weekly/monthly monitoring programmes and targeted checking for signs of bedbug activity before, during and after treatment. 

BB Alert Passive
The BB Alert Passive detector is a small, cost-effective, simple-to-use and fast to inspect unit which, placed in protected and out-of-sight locations in close proximity to potential hosts, provides a perfect harbourage for bedbugs. Once in position, the stand-alone detector requires no maintenance and will continue to be effective for up to 12 months. Regular inspection for tell-tale defecated blood spots and cast nymphal skins provides early-stage warning of the presence of bedbugs and enables faster, more effective treatment directly at the site of the problem.

BB Alert Active
BB Alert Active is a revolutionary, new attractant monitor, easy to install and inspect, with a replaceable activator that attracts bedbugs seeking a ‘warm-blooded’ meal and holds them securely for inspection. Its small size and narrow profile allows for complete discretion in use, with placement under and behind beds and furniture. Placed here its proven attraction of all nymph and adult stages of the life cycle gives assured detection of the first signs of bedbug problems. The effective attraction of BB Alert Active also makes it an important aid to targeting control treatments, monitoring treatment progress and in confirming that control has been achieved and rooms, or properties, are ready for use. 

 

Both BB Alert units have been designed to give constant labour-minimal monitoring of at risk locations. Their low unit cost makes them ideal for use in multiple rooms and locations as part of a proactive monitoring programme. Completely insecticide-free, their simple placement and inspection requirements mean they can safely be used by trained on-site staff to support and alert pest controllers responsible for professional inspection and treatment of the problem and so closely involving the client in the pest control solution. 


The Scotsman - Tuesday 20th July 2004

A LUXURIOUS lochside resort has taken the war against the Scottish midge to a new level of sophistication and spending in its quest to ensure guests do not suffer as they relax on holiday.

De Vere, which owns the £50 million five-star Carrick golf and leisure resort at Cameron House on Loch Lomond, drafted in a leading insect expert to carry out a study into where the creatures breed, in preparation for an all-out assault on the blood-suckers.

Dr Alison Blackwell, a senior research fellow at Edinburgh University, carried out a £25,000 survey of the 300-acre site, identifying the soggy areas where the midges flourish in their millions.

Now the crucial hotspots have been found, the company is to spend more than £100,000 on machines which electrocute the midges before they become a menace.

BiteBack Professional the machine which is being used, is designed specifically to attract and kill biting insects such as mosquitoes and midges.

Carbon dioxide, octenol and a thermal lure are used to fool female midges, the only ones which bite, into thinking the trap is an animal or human, which they can feast on, before electrocuting them.

Matthew Kaye, the sales and marketing director of MidMos Solutions, which manufactures the BiteBack Professional, was delighted to help solve the midge problem.

He said: "Tests have shown if you have traps at the correct distance from each other you can create a barrier around the place you want to protect."

Mr Mitchell said the idea to get rid of the midges was inspired by the company’s chairman.

He said: "Our chairman, Lord Daresbury, has a particular dislike of midges. We were discussing the resort one day and he jokingly asked if we could get rid of the midges."

"It got me thinking and I contacted Dr Blackwell who told us there are ways to get rid of the biting midges, and it has just gone from there."

"It is a substantial investment, as we are looking at between 100 to 150 of the machines in total on the


BiteBack will put the bite on pesky bugs Aug 19 2004

A new machine which eliminates biting insects by mimicking humans has been launched by a West Midlands company.

The BiteBack has been specifically designed to attract and kill biting insects by emitting carbon dioxide, octenol and a thermal lure in the pattern of a human's bloodstream.

Midges and mosquitos believe the machine is a human, but when they touch it they are electrocuted.

The machine has been in development for the last seven years by MidMos Solutions, part of Dudley-based Brandenburg UK. The one metre high Dragonfly can eliminate anything between 50,000 and 500,000 midges a day.

The company has now agreed a deal with hotel group De Vere to supply up to 150 of the machines to its new Carrick golf and leisure resort on Loch Lomond in Scotland.

Each machine, which costs £1,100 each, will be set up along the golf course to keep a control on midges and other biting insects.

Mathew Kaye, sales and marketing director at the company, said: "This deal with DeVere is the first time we have sold the Dragonfly, but we are already getting expressions of interest from South America, Canada and Asia. It works by

emulating human beings, and the midges think it is a human where they can get a blood meal, but instead they will be electrocuted.

"Non-biting, ecologically beneficial insects are not targeted by the system, and it is environmentally friendly because it does not involve any chemical pesticides which are becoming more toxic and the animals adapt themselves to."

Brandenburg, which special-ises in pest control devices, was the subject of a management buy-out by Mathew Kaye, John Burrows and outside investor Clive Turner, five years ago.

At that time the company had five customers and 26 people, but has rapidly expanded to the extent that last year products were shipped to 48 customers in 69 countries.

The company, which has a turnover of around £7 million now employs 65 people.

Mr Kaye said: "Because of growth, innovation and varied expertise, we are constantly putting new products into new markets.

"No other company in the world has combined such efficiency and attractive design into a fly trap and we are also very proud of the Dragonfly Professional, which can be equally effective in a variety of environments."


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De Vere tackles Scots midge menace - Monday 19th July 2004

They are the bane of all tourists to the west of Scotland at this time of year - and hotel chain De Vere is rolling up its sleeves to tackle midges at its £50m time-share resort on the banks of Loch Lomond.

The chain has hired midge and biting insect specialist Dr Alison Blackwell to help eradicate the pests at its The Carrick at Cameron House golf and leisure resort.

It commissioned Dr Blackwell and her team to undertake a £25,000 survey of the resort, taking 500 soil samples between March and April to locate the main midge breeding grounds.

Having identified the midge “hot spots”, the company then set up special midge trappers from pest control firm MidMos Solutions, which it hopes will substantially reduce the problem over the next two years.

"The new machines will not affect the ecological balance of the site and we're only looking at very localised management, which will involve a very small proportion of the midge population in the area,” said Dr Blackwell. 

While the traps wouldn't solve the problem alone, it would be combined with an education programme to make people more aware of the problem and what they could do about it, she added.

In the meantime, the company has drawn up a “top 10” of midge facts:

There are more than 1,000 species in the world and about 40 in Scotland 

Only the female midge feeds off blood, which is required to mature her eggs 

Male midges survive on plant sugars 

In Scotland, more than 90% of the biting attacks are down to a single species - culiocides impunctatus 

The female midge uses about 500 different sensory hairs on her antennae to locate a host by smell 

In Scotland, there are two generations of midges between May and September, but in warmer areas of the world, there can be many more 

Midge larvae live in a variety of habitats rich in organic matter, from peat bogs in Scotland to decaying fruit in the Caribbean 

A single female can lay more than 200 eggs in her lifetime 

Ecologically, adult midges form a minor part of the diet of some species of bat and bird and the larvae help break down decaying organic matter 

Midges don't transmit any diseases in the UK but in other areas of the world they are important insects in transmitting some serious livestock pathogens 


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Reality bites for Scotland (and so do the midges) - Wednesday 21st July 2004

Scotland's embattled tourist industry is stepping up its war against an ancient enemy - one that makes its presence felt in a most uncomfortable way. 

On ancient maps they used to write Here Be Monsters, and the beasts they pictured were bloodthirsty, terrifying and enormous, but usually imaginary. Yet on modern maps of Scotland you could write your monster warning with perfect justification, for the beasts there are bloodthirsty in the extreme, terrifying to the strongest men, and all too real.

There is this one difference: Scotland's terrors are the size of a pinhead. You probably will not even see the attack coming, when the midges get you.

The tiny biting insects that swarm in the Scottish summer and make hungrily for the skin of the nearest human are the great curse of the Highlands and Islands, and such a problem that one luxury lochside resort is this year spending a small fortune on countering them.

The £50m five-star Carrick golf and leisure centre, at Cameron House on Loch Lomond, has brought in a leading entomologist to survey its midge populations, and is forking out more than £100,000 on special midge-electrocution machines. Think that's excessive? You do not know midges.

They are the great potential downside of any Highland holiday, far more distressing than the rain, far more dismaying than the accumulation of tartan tat at tourist honeypots; if they are out and about, they are at you, though you may not realise it, if you have never been up there. The brochures go on about the purple of the heather, the skirl of the pipes, the memories of ancient clan battles and the peaty aromas of the vast array of single malts; they tend not to mentionCulicoides impunctatus, the deadly Highland midge.

You cannot blame them. For this minuscule member of the two-winged fly family, only 1.4mm long when an adult, is capable of sudden biting attacks on people, involving hundreds or even thousands of individuals insects, which can reduce anyone caught - especially if lightly dressed in summer shorts and a t-shirt - to a bloodied state of frenzied terror. You cannot fight the little so-and-sos off. All you can do is flee. People climbing mountains get back down; people walking in forests get out; people fishing for salmon dive for the fishing lodge or the bothy; people hiking long-distance trails give up and go home. When Mel Gibson was making Braveheart, his controversial paean to the unflinching, warlike courage of the medieval Scots, he reportedly smothered himself in woman's skin cream in an attempt to stave them off.

There are 37 midge species of the genus Culicoides in Scotland, but it is impunctatus which is responsible for more than 90 per cent of attacks on humans. It is found throughout the country, but it flourishes most in the west and north, where the boggy and acidic ground provides ideal conditions for breeding. It breeds in astonishing numbers, with a hectare of land able to contain up 24 million larvae, in ideal conditions: in one study, 500,000 midges were collected from an area just two metres square.

Midges do not like wind or strong sunlight; the time to beware of is a warm, overcast day, and one of the scariest midge characteristics is how they can emerge from the grass as a black cloud, in an instant, when the wind drops.

The females cause the trouble. After mating, they need a blood meal for the eggs to develop properly, and mammals are the target: deer, cattle, sheep, and when the occasion arises, humans. The female midge is attracted to dark-coloured moving objects, especially when they are associated with carbon dioxide - mammals' breath - and can also detect various chemicals associated with human skin.

Three years ago, Scottish scientists confirmed what had long been suspected: that midges do find some people a more attractive meal than others. A study which tested their response to human perspiration suggested the type of chemicals found in the sweat influences the targets chosen by the insect.

Dr Sally Singh, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medi- cine, said: "We have established for the first time that some people are bitten more than others, and this depends on the behavioural and electrophysical responses of midges to different people's sweat extracts."

When you are targeted, the female midge lands undetected, cuts out an area of skin and begins to suck your blood. That is only the beginning. As she begins feeding, she releases chemicals called pheremones, which attract other females, and the mass attacks follow.

Search the internet for "midge attack Scotland" and you will see fearful accounts you would think were grossly exaggerated, were they not so consistent. For example: "I sprinted up the road away from my assailants waving my arms about like a maniac. Having escaped their evil clutches for the time being I examined the damage. It had been a rout. They seemed to have penetrated every exposed expanse of skin. I could not afford another attack like that today. If I did, I would probably itch myself to death. After yet another traumatic midge attack trying to get out of the tent, we packed up and were gone from Loch Morlich by 10.30am."

This is an account by an American hiker: "In May, you are OK. By June they start coming out. By July they can drive a normal person insane. I came upon a man in his fifties on the West Highland Way, beaten by the midges. The man was sitting along the trail sobbing - I am not making this up - actually sobbing, when I stumbled upon him.

"Thinking he was injured, I stopped and offered help. Turning his face toward mine with tears streaming down his cheeks, he showed me his arms and face swollen and bloodied by midges (and by his scratching) and said, 'I'm ruined ... I'm ruined ... and I even ran marathons ... now I'm ruined ... I have to quit'."

Unfortunately, the midge season in the Highlands and Islands coincides with the tourist season, from June to September, with a peak from mid-July to mid-August (right now).

Tourism in Scotland is worth about £2.5bn a year to the country - £286m a day in the height of the summer - and a survey by a team under Dr Alison Blackwell, a research fellow in entomology at Edinburgh University, discovered most first-time tourists who encounter midges are discouraged from further visits because of them. More alarmingly, the study showed 86 per cent of them would warn friends not to visit Scotland during July and August for the same reason.

Dr Blackwell was called in by the De Vere hotels group to make a £25,000 survey of their 300-acre Cameron House site on Loch Lomond, identifying the soggy areas where the midges flourish in millions. The team took more than 500 soil samples in March and April and found two high-risk areas and three medium-risk ones in the resort.

The Carrick, which includes expensive time-share properties and a championship golf course, is to open in 2006 and is intended to be a flagship destination for the west of Scotland. The company is now girding its loins for midge war.

It is investing more than £100,000 to buy between 100 and 150 BiteBack Professional midge-murdering machines which mimic the human body by releasing carbon dioxide and other chemicals, fooling the female midges into thinking they are homing in on a mammal for a drink. When they land, they are electrocuted. Several companies market midge-killing technology, but the centre is believed to be the biggest single investor so far.

"We are killing up to 40,000 midges a day with a single machine," Craig Mitchell, the managing director of De Vere Resort ownership, said. "Midges are a big problem, and they can easily spoil what would otherwise be a memorable trip. A lot of people who come to Scotland say the midge problem is a big issue, and we want to ensure our guests get the most out of their time here."

But this war is unlikely to be won outright. The machines are capable only of clearing localised areas, and the midges have held sway over vast swaths of Scotland for thousands of years, since the last Ice Age.

Trees for Life, a Scottish conservation charity dedicated to the regeneration and restoration of the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands, says in its own account of the midge: "It has been estimated that up to 20 per cent of the summer working days in outdoor jobs such as forestry are lost due to midge attacks. Even a simple task such as tying bootlaces becomes impossible when midges are at their worst.

"For the summer months of the midge season, this minuscule insect, by dint of its biting habit and sheer numbers, is a dominant factor in life out of doors in the Highlands, causing significant changes to human behaviour. There is a positive side to this though, [because] midges have undoubtedly contributed to keeping the north and west of Scotland sparsely populated, and therefore as wild as they still are today."

Nowhere is perfect. It would not be the Garden of Eden without the odd snake, and without Culicoides impunctatus, it would not be the purple of the heather.


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DE VERE ERADICATE SCOTTISH MIDGE BLIGHT - Wednesday, July 28, 2004

In what is the largest single commercial project of its kind, De Vere Resort Ownership Ltd (DVROL), through MidMos Solutions Ltd, has recruited the UK’s leading biting insect expert, Dr Alison Blackwell, to help eradicate the Scottish summer midge blight at their new £50 million time ownership resort on the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland.

Visitors to The Carrick at Cameron House on Loch Lomond, DVROL’s latest five-star golf and leisure resort, will not need to pack the Avon Skin So Soft - a travel essential for visitors to the West of Scotland in the Summer - as the UK’s largest five-star timeshare operator has commissioned a £25,000 survey of the 300-acre site to combat the problem at source.

Dr Blackwell and her team took over 500 soil samples during March and April 2004 to determine the location of midge breeding grounds, which was key to identifying potential nuisance areas, and discovered two high-risk areas and three medium-risk areas*.

Having assessed the midge hotspots, De Vere will spend £100,000 in the installation of state-of-the-art devices from MidMos Solutions Ltd, a subsidiary of Brandenburg UK Ltd, Europe’s leading manufacturer of professional insect control systems, so that guests will be able to enjoy their stay in a midge-free environment.

The BiteBack Professional [Pictured right on the De Vere estate] is a new technological development in the battle against midge and other biting insects. The ‘adaptable’ product has been designed specifically to attract and kill biting insect [such as midge and mosquito]. Dragonfly Professional uses a control system that allows the trap to be adapted to provide optimum attraction to the specific problem biting insect, at the De Vere resort this is the midge.

Carbon Dioxide, Octenol and a Thermal Lure are all used in combination to attract the female biting midge only to the trap, it does not attract and kill non-biting ecologically beneficial insect. By means of programmable electronic control Dragonfly Professional provides an efficient and environmental solution that is optimised for attracting and killing biting midge.

Craig Mitchell, Managing Director of DVROL, said: “Ensuring that our guests get the most out of their time here is our main concern and we are prepared to pay whatever price that security comes at. Midges can be a real menace in this part of the world and can easily spoil what could otherwise have been a memorable trip to Scotland.”

Dr Blackwell added: “In some parts of Scotland, we have found there to be more than 50 million midges per hectare (0.01sq km) of land. Unsurprisingly, it is a big deterrent for tourists.

“The new machines will not affect the ecological balance of the site and we’re only looking at very localised management, which will involve a very small proportion of the midge population in the area.

“The traps alone can’t solve the problem, but we’re aiming to integrate the technological addressing with a educational/information service to the site to make people more aware of the midge problem that exists and what they can do about it.”

The Carrick at Cameron House will be located just over a mile north of De Vere’s Cameron House Hotel and comprise 96 five-star time ownership properties – 78 lodges and 18 apartments within mansion houses (a new concept for De Vere Resort Ownership Ltd), a championship-standard all-season golf course, world-class spa and extensive leisure facilities. One third of the development will be committed to a nature reserve for the protection and enhancement of local wildlife.

The full build schedule will be completed in 2006 with the first phase of luxury two-, three- and four-bedroom lodges and the mansion houses available for sale off plan in August.

The Loch Lomond Resort will be the fourth time ownership development in the De Vere portfolio. The group also has Cameron House (since 1996), Slaley Hall, Northumberland (since 1998), and Belton Woods, Lincolnshire (since 1999).


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If you have a business that operates in an area where biting insects are present you cannot afford to ignore the problems that present themselves to you.

Your business will suffer:

Complaints
Lost Revenue
Lost Business
Lost Reputation
Lost Productivity

Customers and employees will suffer:

Irritation
Discomfort
Pain
Disease