SCIENTIFIC NAME: Arilus cristatus
By Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena, AVMS member
The wheel bug is a large, predatory insect native to North America and is a common inhabitant of gardens and yards. Wheel bugs get their common name from the large, rounded extension of the exoskeleton that protrudes from the dorsal thorax. This wheel-shaped extension is said to resemble a cog or gear embedded in the insect’s back. The body of wheel bugs is usually gray with brownish legs and antennae. The head is long and slender and has a long “beak” which it uses to stab its prey (mostly caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects) and then drink the prey’s bodily fluids. The beak is folded under the head at rest, but is held downward or in front of the head during feeding.
Many people only learn about wheel bugs after being bitten … Read More »
Since intensive oral rabies vaccination (ORV) efforts were conducted in central Alabama in 2005, new rabies cases in rac-coons and foxes have popped up in Elmore and Autauga counties, areas that were con-sidered to be raccoon-rabies-free. The USDA is considering these positive cases as “breaches” of the Alabama-Coosa river system, a natural, geographic “barrier” for the endemic occurrence of raccoon-variant rabies within Alabama.
Currently, USDA Wildlife Services and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) are working to identify the extent of the recent outbreak using trapping, night surveys, and enhanced surveillance of reportedly sick or dead animals.
Meanwhile, plans are underway at the national level to administer more ORV baits to these areas to stop the further migration of the disease and eliminate it from the area. Baits will likely be distributed with helicopters and targeted toward dense rac-coon population areas. … Read More »
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are medium-sized and stocky-built animals (23.7 to 46.5 in.) with long bushy tails that have five to seven black rings. The head is broad in the rear and narrows to a short, pointed nose. The feet have hairless soles and claws that are non-retractable. Raccoons are similar to humans in that they are plantigrade, a term used to describe animals that walk on the soles of their feet. The front feet have long, thin flexible fingers that are opposable to some degree and are very sensitive to touch. They have the capability of grasping or holding onto food or other objects. The face has a very notice-able black mask across the eyes and cheeks that is outlined with white. The fur is a coarse gray, brown, and black with lighter shades on the … Read More »
According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (364:1626-1633, April 28, 2011), researchers have discovered using genetic sequencing that armadillos infected with leprosy and some human patients diagnosed with the illness share a common strain of a leprosy-causing bacteria.
The finding provides the strongest evidence to date that armadillos could transmit the illness to humans, according to the study. Armadillos can be found in 10 U.S. states, and are the only animals other than humans that have been shown to be carriers of leprosy.
To preview the article for free, visit http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1010536
By Wesson Gaston, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
Feral swine are invasive mammals that have been known to carry over 30 diseases and 37 parasites that can be transmitted to livestock, people, pets, and wildlife. Their populations are spreading like wild fire across the United States through population dispersal, escape from high fence facilities and domestic operations, as well as relocation by humans for hunting purposes. Free ranging populations have been documented in at least 39 states.
The USDA-Wildlife Services National Wildlife Disease Program tests feral pigs for classical swine fever (CSF), pseudorabies (PRV), swine brucellosis (SB), swine influ-enza virus (SIV), hepatitis E (HEV), toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, foot and mouth dis-ease (FMD), and African swine fever (ASF). CSF, FMD, and ASF are foreign animal diseases that are not present in the United States. If these diseases were introduced into the U.S., it would have … Read More »
FDA Approves First Scorpion Sting Antidote
Once stung, twice shy‖ are words to live by in the Southwestern United States, where about 11,000 people a year are stung by scorpions in Arizona alone.
Though rarely life threatening, scorpion stings can be extremely pain-ful, causing numbness and burning at the wound site. And there’s been little a victim could do to ease the pain.
The Food and Drug Administration has just approved the first treatment specifically for the sting of the Centruroides scorpion, the most com-mon type in the United States.
The new biologic treatment—called Anascorp—was given a priority review because adequate treatment did not exist in the United States, says Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
This product provides a new treatment for children and adults and is designed specifically for scorpion stings,‖ Midthun says.
Scorpion stings can … Read More »
Alabama Dept. of Ag and Industries offers on-line renewal and payment for Certified and Commercial Pesticide Applicator Licenses
By Ashley Lovell, Editor
ADAI has stepped into the future by offering an online renewal option for pesticide applicator licenses. It has also updated permit numbers and the look of the license itself. The process is relatively painless, although take care never to hit the ―back‖ browser button or re-submit credit card information, EVEN if the site warns you that there was an error transmitting your card num-ber. Your card may, in fact, be charged multiple times, and getting a timely refund is impossible. Visit https://www.alabamainteractive.org/adai_commercialRenewal/welcome.action to renew or to check your point totals. I was able to see that I was short 10 points and take a quick course to bring my point total to 30 in order to renew. There are several last-minute courses available at the Alabama Green Industry Training Center (AGITC) in Shelby County for $42. Visit … Read More »
New Oral Rabies Vaccine (ORV) baiting strategy known as “pulse baiting” to address recent raccoon-variant rabies positive cases in Central Alabama
Since intensive oral rabies vaccination (ORV) efforts were conducted in central Alabama in 2005, new rabies cases in raccoons and foxes have popped up in Elmore and Autauga counties, areas that were considered to be raccoon-rabies-free. The USDA is considering these positive cases as breaches‖ of the Alabama-Coosa river system, a natural, geographic barrier for the endemic occurrence of raccoon-variant rabies within Alabama.
As part of a nation-wide contingency action to halt new cases in previous rabies-free areas, USDA WS plans to use a newly-studied pulse baiting‖ strategy in early fall. Pulse baiting will involve aerially distributing oral rabies vaccines for raccoons and other wildlife by hand from helicopters at a rate of 8 vaccine baits per 13 seconds in habitat that is attractive to raccoons. The proposed pulse baiting area will encompass roughly 400 mi2 in Elmore, Autauga and Chilton … Read More »
Hello to all the members of the Alabama Vector Management Society. I have been a bit behind since our meeting in Orange Beach and will take credit for our newsletter being a bit late this quarter. The first thing I want to do is thank Steve McDaniel, Jeff and Rachael Beck, Mark Tow, Drew Lockhart, Jennifer Wroten, Jason Carlee, Kelly Stevens,
Dee Jones, Nathan Burkett-Cadena and several others who volunteered their time and efforts to make our meeting at the Fairfield Inn and Suites such a success. And we would not have been able to have such a productive meeting without our vendors who generously support our society and our efforts to provide a relevant educational opportunity for our members each year.
I am honored that you have given me the opportunity to serve as your president this year. I hope that … Read More »
Power outages, intense lightening and thunder couldn’t put a damper on the speakers or limit the exchange of useful vector biology information at the 22nd annual meeting of the Alabama Vector Management Society held March 8th and 9th Orange Beach, Alabama. Book-ended by bad storms, 110 members still managed to attend.
Topics covered by the speakers included raccoon rabies, cockroach identification and control, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, tick-borne diseases, pesticide labeling and safety, bed bugs, the ADEM General Pesticide Applicator Permit required for applying chemicals to or near water (see text box below right for link to permit information), invasive insects, prescribed fire’s effects on tick populations, and updates from the Alabama Dept. of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
The evening banquet was held at the Orange Beach Community Center. The catered … Read More »