Bees/Stinging-Insect Guide

As the weather warms up, more and more insects will start to become active. Of the various subspecies that you might see around your home, bees and stinging insects can be the most troubling to spot as they probe high up within the eaves and soffits. General activity, along with pestering you and your guests enjoying the outdoors, is a sign that you should consider getting your home treated to prevent nest-building and reduce exposure. However, there is more than one type of stinging insect, thus various kinds of treatments should take place. At Creature Control, we first determine what you are dealing with before approaching a solution. This article helps explain the basic differences among bees and other stinging insects.   

Carpenter Bees are large, black, and usually cluster in small groups in and around wooden soffits, decks, and pillars. They can be glossy in some areas of their body and are often larger than bumblebees, with which they’re often confused. They are completely harmless to people but can be scary due to their large size and comparatively loud buzzing noise. However, they can cause damage to the wood they chew through. Bumblebees are harmless pollinators and are most often seen solitary. We hardly ever get calls about bumblebees, as most people aren’t bothered by their presence.

A honeybee (small, fuzzy, and not usually aggressive) is an important pollinator and a big player in local ecosystems. They rarely sting, and if they do, a single sting will quickly kill that individual bee. Honeybees are rarely called in, but for a couple of situations, you may feel compelled to call a pest control company.  

One alarming instance are swarms: a cloud or large cluster of honeybees all in one place. A swarm of honeybees usually occurs because a queen is leading a large group to find a new nest. Swarms are generally harmless but can be frightening to see. Normally, they will move on before a pest control tech can get there, so it’s nearly always best to wait the situation out, as it will resolve itself before long. Another distressing issue honeybees may present is the placement of their hive, whether in a tree, wall or otherwise; a colony of honeybees can be frightening and damaging if inside a home. The honeycomb has to be removed after the hive is treated, which can be time-consuming and expensive but must be done in case it attracts other animals or rots and destroys the wood it’s built around. Calls for this situation are also rare: Creature Control cares greatly about our local honeybee population and works closely with beekeepers whenever possible to save the colony before the comb is removed.

Moving beyond bees, the common Paper Wasp is often seen by Michiganders this time of year.  They’re black and yellow with a thinner body and head than any bee and can (and do!) sting repeatedly if bothered. Their nests are small by comparison to those of hornets (see below) but can dot the eaves of a home in greater numbers than their stinging cousins. Wasps can be incredibly annoying if you have outdoor guests or a picnic, but they will often stick to themselves unless attracted or provoked.

Yellowjackets are slightly smaller than normal wasps (although they often have a proportionally thicker abdomen) and have a bright golden-yellow color, from which they get their name. Yellowjackets have large colonies and defend their nests aggressively. They make their homes in a couple of places, either in the ground (often confused with the near-harmless cicada-killers or mud-daubers) or in the walls of homes. This latter problem is usually diagnosed by a “crackling” in the drywall and some patches of your interior walls becoming spongy to the touch. If you have either of those problems, contact Creature Control right away. If yellowjackets have built a nest behind your wall they will break through soon enough!  

Michigan has a couple of hornet species, distinct from the average wasp by their elongated thorax and aggressive-looking silhouette. They’re often seen by themselves (though there can be several in the area) and can be aggressive if bothered. They are a scary-looking insect and come in black, yellow, and rust-colored variations.

Separate even from regular hornets is the Bald-Faced Hornet. They’re large, almost all back with a pale-white face, and they’re the most aggressive insect on this list. Their nests are made from a papery-gray material, and the nest can grow from golf-ball size to basketball-sized almost overnight.  Hundreds of these hornets can live inside and will aggressively pursue anyone who disturbs their home.

Whatever the pest situation you face, whether it’s with bees or some other stinging insect, Creature Control can be there to advise and help. Our technicians are trained to handle all of the above species and many less-common ones, so give our office a call or contact us anytime!

Edible Mushrooms for Survival

Wild mushrooms are popping up everywhere around this time of year. While some are edible, most are toxic and can make you sick. In emergency situations, mushrooms can mean life or death for survival. 

The best way to enjoy wild mushrooms is to handle and cook them thoroughly because certain mushrooms raw can cause gastric distress. Also, some people have allergies or intolerances to specific types of mushrooms. For these reasons, wild mushrooms should initially be consumed with caution. 

Toxic mushrooms range from “deadly poisonous” to “occasional gastric distress” in terms of how they affect humans. Several mushroom species are extremely deadly since symptoms do not develop until six to 36 hours following ingestion. The only remedy for those situations is a stomach pump. 

Some mushrooms can also cause allergic-type of reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, kidney failure, or cause hallucinations. 

To avoid mushroom poisoning, follow the steps below: 

  • Never eat any mushroom unless you are absolutely sure it is safe.
  • Do not eat raw mushrooms; always cook thoroughly.
  • When consuming a new mushroom variety, start small and wait several hours for a potential reaction.
  • Some mushrooms react with alcohol so avoid drinking while eating mushrooms.
  • Save a tiny portion of each mushroom you consume to ensure medical staff can identify it and treat you accordingly in case you get sick.
  • Never eat inedible mushrooms,

Once you have thoroughly verified that the mushroom is safe for consumption, start collecting. You can dry them for later or enjoy them after cooking. Mushrooms are nutritious and delicious. Enjoy!

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Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for your prepping and survival needs. We are your trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop-shop and prepare now, before you’ll need it later. Visit our website for more information. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

EverTears Innovative Dry Eye Treatment Expands

An effective treatment for dry eyes has emerged from a collaboration between an industry leader in dry eye treatment and an innovative medical device startup. Mann Eye Institute and ThermaMEDx partnered to evaluate EverTears, a novel combination of a self-heating eye compress with a pre-moistened cleansing pad.

Carl Sweat, a co-founder of ThermaMEDx, said that EverTears is designed to provide a convenient, affordable, over-the-counter dry eye solution that is similar to standard, in-office treatments. With precise heat and eyelid cleaning, the novel patented technology provides relief for dry eyes and restores the eyes’ natural tear film. 

Dr. Dana Ondrias, Mann Eye Institute CEO and Executive Director, said, “Just as our founder, Dr. Mike Man, was one of the first doctors in America to perform refractive surgery in 1981, our dedicated staff embraces innovative solutions that advance patient care. Our doctors and staff began administering EverTears treatment for dry eye patients last year and we’ve been pleased with both patient feedback and improvement in their underlying MGD.” 

Ben Nobles, co-founder of ThermaMEDx, said, “Texas is the epicenter of dry eye disease in America and innovative organizations like Mann Eye Institute are at the forefront of bringing the latest technologies to their patients. We are committed to support the implementation of EverTears as the best treatment for dry eyes related to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).”

Have concerns regarding the health and vision of your eyes? Schedule a free consultation with Dr. Rohr today!

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Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Commercial Landscaping Services Defined

Most commercial properties have a goal of drawing customers to its storefront. A well-groomed landscape plays an important role in making the business appear attractive and tidy. Moreover, a clean, welcoming outdoor area improves the company’s overall image. 

Both potential customers and employees can be positively impacted by an attractive landscape, which allows you to retain staff and increase profit. Plants and landscape such as grass or trees will need to be maintained to ensure appearances are kept up. 

But who is going to take care of your property? Most business owners do not have time to personally trim the bushes, mow the lawn, or plant vegetation. The best way to keep your property well-maintained is simple: hire a professional landscaping service. 

Those who work in commercial landscaping have an in-depth understanding about property maintenance and can make it unforgettable. Stand out from the gray mass of other landscapes by ensuring your property is beautiful, well-groomed, and colorful. 

Services typically included in commercial landscaping services include: 

Mowing Grass
While it might seem simple, mowing can be a challenge without the proper tools. Moreover, specialists know techniques that can make your lawn standout above the rest. 

Soil Fertilization
Special soil fertilization compounds assist the growth process and help to deter plant diseases. Soil has to be fertilized at specific intervals using the correct chemicals, which can be challenging without the proper knowledge. Specialists are trained to know all of the unique techniques, and can execute professionally for your lawn.  

Weed Control
Weeds can swiftly infiltrate your lawn, and without proper maintenance, they will surely take over your landscape. While store bought weed killers are a decent option, they don’t tackle every weed and need to be applied in a specific manner. Lawn care specialists know how to destroy, reseed or sow the area, and bring your lawn back to its glory. 

Aeration
Plants grow more quickly when they are aerated, and the soil is circulated with air. Unique holes are made by specialists and do not damage the surface of your lawn; rather, they help it grow. 

Pest Control
Insects can easily destroy vegetation and carry diseases that will negatively impact them. Oftentimes, once the owner is aware of a problem, it’s too late. Lawn care specialists are trained to identify pests and prevent their reproduction by using an insecticidal cocktail tailored to your landscape. If these substances are used incorrectly, they can adversely affect beneficial insects (bees, butterflies, and other pollinators) or the plants themselves. It’s imperative to always hire a professional to treat your lawn for pests. 

Reducing Plant Diseases
Plants can inevitably become sick from a number of causes including improper fertilization, fungi growth, and more. Landscape specialists can easily identify and correct these issues before your vegetation deteriorates. 

At T&T Property Maintenance, we specialize in providing excellent commercial landscaping for companies of all sizes. Contact us today to learn how we can beautify your lawn. 

T&T Property Maintenance has been visualizing, creating, and maintaining commercial properties since 1997. We offer a vast number of services for our clients, including lawn and landscape maintenance, irrigation set up and repair, fertilization, weed and pest control, snow plowing and salting, and tree trimming and stump grinding. We are licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, so you can rest assured we will do the job right – every time. We work with commercial businesses of any size and offer our services in seasonal or yearly packages, and a la carte. For over 20 years, we believe a satisfied customer is the only kind of customer. Check out our website, call, or e-mail us today to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Novel Technology Can Remediate Forever Chemicals in Water

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS are virtually indestructible and infiltrate the bodies of more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states. These cancer-causing carcinogens are present in drinking water across the country.

These man-made chemicals are tough and durable and have been widely used for their ability to repel oil and water in firefighting foams, cosmetics, non-stick cookware (Teflon), anti-static spray, and more. You can’t see, taste, or smell PFAS, so it’s impossible to know whether your water is contaminated unless you test for it. 

Since PFAS do not break down over time in the environment, they can easily contaminate soil and drinking water. Over time, these chemicals make their way into the food chain, with 99.9 percent of people worldwide having PFAS in their bloodstream.

PFAS have been around for more than 60 years, and remediation has yet to be discovered…until now.  Battelle, a scientific nonprofit, has developed a new technology that can finally eliminate PFAS. Using water oxidation, supercritical chemical bonds can be broken down in just seconds.

Amy Dindal, PFAS program manager for Battelle said, “The [PFAS] threat is real. ‘Supercritical water’ means that you increase the temperature and increase the pressure and you get it into a special state, where the oxidation will occur more naturally. So in this special state, it breaks the [carbon–fluorine] bond.”

Battelle claims it has successfully utilized the process to destroy PFAS in drinking water and has started partnering with the waste management company Heritage Crystal-Clean for further testing.

Brian Recatto, CEO of Heritage Crystal-Clean, said, “I absolutely think it’s an answer that nobody has had before. We’re hoping to have a scalable version of the plant within six- to eight months.”

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Arthritis Surgery Expectations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the term arthritis refers to over 100 conditions that affect the joints. Generally, arthritis is characterized by pain, inflammation, or swelling of a joint, surrounding, and other connective tissues. 

Typical arthritis treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, physical or occupational therapy, assistive aids, and remedies without medication. If these treatments do not work, surgery might be recommended to help remediate the damaged joint, decrease pain, and improve joint functionality. 

Arthritis surgery benefits include: 

  • Minimizing joint pain
  • Increasing joint functionality
  • Reducing future joint damage
  • Lowering the patient’s use of medications
  • Increasing mobility
  • Improving daily activities
  • Bettering quality of life
  • Avoiding more intensive future surgeries

Some different types of arthritis surgery are:

  • Joint Resurfacing: replacing part of a damaged joint with an implant
  • Arthroscopy: fixing tiny tears within the joint’s soft tissue
  • Synovectomy: removing most – or all – of the inflamed joint tissue lining
  • Osteotomy: cutting off a piece of bone or adding a wedge near a damaged joint
  • Arthrodesis aka Fusion: joining two or more bones using pins, plates, or rods
  • Total Joint Replacement aka Arthroplasty: removing sections of damaged joints, replacing them with a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis 
  • Joint revision: replacing an old, damaged joint implant and replacing with a new one

The complications associated with arthritis surgery include: 

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve damage
  • Joint stiffness
  • Reduced healing time

Do you experience pain or arthritis in your hands or wrists? Contact the Michigan Hand & Wrist experts to receive a consultation and get relief today.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Kitchen Renovations to Avoid

While eyeing which renovations to take a stab at, most owners choose the kitchen first since it’s the center for food prep and doubles as a social hub. Once the homeowner decides what to upgrade, they must think about the long-term benefits rather than the more obvious short-term ones.

As a guiding factor, kitchen renovations should not exceed 25 percent of the total home’s value since the homeowner will probably never receive the return on their investment. Some kitchen renovations can actually decrease the home’s value; keep reading for some examples. 

Too Personalized
Even though the kitchen is “yours” at the time of renovation, that doesn’t mean it will be someone else’s idea of “theirs” when you sell the house. Tom Satas, founder and CEO of Windy City HomeBuyer, said, “Just because you spent countless thousands of dollars on decorative ideas that you have dreamed about since you were a little kid doesn’t mean that anybody else will have the same tastes nor will most people care about what you spent. Your dream living room may look like a gut job to the rest of the world. So don’t drive yourself into debt or go overboard because the whole point of upgrading your home should be to get the money back when you sell and ultimately more.”

Low-Quality Materials
Cutting corners by using cheaper materials can be sufficient for right now, but keep in mind the future problems they might cause. The last thing you want is for your kitchen cabinets to be falling apart when you try to sell your home. Also remember that marble can easily chip, stain, etch, etc. so avoid using it.

Wallpaper Overload
Wallpaper is notoriously challenging to remove, and can turn-off potential homebuyers. Instead, opt for fresh paint and neutral colors. 

Chic Appliances
Luxurious or state-of-the-art expensive appliances can harm your home’s value; according to Kim Abrams, CEO of Abrams Roofing, “These appliances are much more expensive to maintain and repair, which will deter buyers from your home.” Also, according to real estate consultant Will Rodgers, “Smart appliances are great. But keep in mind that the tech you put in today will be outdated if you sell three to five years from now. High tech kitchens are for your convenience but will only add value if you plan to sell soon.”

DIY Work
If not professionally done, Do-It-Yourself renovations or plumbing can drastically reduce your home’s value if not performed up to code. 

JFC Remodeling is committed to providing top-quality home reconstruction services to clients throughout Livingston County. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, our licensed contractors create unique, individualized, and polished renovations. Whether the site requires an improvement, repair, or is a new construction, you can trust our experts to deliver remarkable results. Call: 810-923-1123, e-mail: jfcllc@comcast.net, or visit us at: www.jfcremodeling.com today.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Do High Interest Rates Mean Cheaper Houses?

The housing market has never been as hot as the last couple of years. A combination of a low inventory, supply chain issues, and high demand has sent prices through the figurative roof at a record pace.

No longer bound to downtown offices, remote workers can save thousands on housing costs by migrating to the suburbs and beyond. The most significant contributor for those moving has been record-low interest rates on mortgages.

But with news that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates on fixed-rate home loans, many are wondering if housing prices will fall as a result. Unfortunately, the truth is that the answer isn’t a universal one as some markets will see slow growth while others may not even notice.

Right now, the interest rate increase is driving demand from those who don’t want to miss out on locking in a low rate for the next 30 years. While higher lending costs tend to make buyers require a lower sales price, the focus has instead been on taking the plunge solely for the interest rates.

The interest rate of a mortgage makes a massive difference in the overall cost. For example, a $400,000 home at 2.8% will end up with about $200,000 in interest over the life of the loan. On the other hand, if interest rates hit 6%, the total interest paid would exceed $450,000. That’s an additional $250,000 for the same house, which is why buyers are so keen to snag the lowest rate possible.

Another area impacted by interest rates is the rental industry. If interest rates increase too much, potential home buyers may rent instead. This possibility has many looking to invest in rental properties with historically low rates.

EB Mortgage is a locally-owned mortgage company with experts in new home purchase, refinancing, and commercial loans. Our wholesale rates can’t be beaten. We offer more products, more options, and more solutions. Our “3C” Process is simple: complete our pre-approval request, consider options based on your requirements, and choose the offer that suits your needs best. Call us at 866-246-0516 or e-mail contact@ebwmtg.com today.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Kaspersky Antivirus Used by Millions Is a National Security Threat

Russia’s Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity firm has been dubbed a national security threat by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC placed Kaspersky on a list of banned entities to ensure it would not continue to be downloaded or used by Americans. 

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, “Last year, for the first time, the FCC published a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security, and we have been working closely with our national security partners to review and update this list. Today’s action is the latest in the FCC’s ongoing efforts, as part of the greater whole-of-government approach, to strengthen America’s communications networks against national security threats.”

The Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act requires the FCC to publish and update a list of communication equipment and services that pose an “unacceptable” risk. United States citizens are at the forefront of security and safety guidelines for the FCC. 

Kaspersky is an antivirus and cybersecurity firm with corporate headquarters located in Moscow. In a statement, Kaspersky claimed the FCC’s movement (a continuation of an action started in 2017 under President Trump) is based on unsubstantiated allegations and made on political grounds. 

“Kaspersky provides industry-leading products and services to customers around the world to protect them from all types of cyberthreats,” the company stated. 

Also, the business insists that it does not have any ties with national governments, Russia included.

Are you looking for a recommendation for an antivirus software? Contact the PC experts at CPS today.

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Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Deciphering the Difference Between Critical and Mundane Tasks in Radiology

Successful people who thrive in their careers are typically engaged in their workload and manage responsibilities well, with a keen focus uninterrupted by distractions. Generally, it isn’t too difficult to decipher actual “work” from mundane tasks that are counterproductive or irrelevant, yet many people are guilty of partaking in the latter more often than not.

Diagnostic radiologists are typically responsible for interpreting images and providing reports outlining the findings. Whether certain clinical questions, managerial roles, or imaging protocols are involved, the overall group functions more efficiently when everyone is equally engaged.

Once in a while, radiologists might feel like they are partaking in mundane activities; for example, if a reporting template doesn’t match their personal style or search pattern. Another scenario might include defending one’s reporting language against a hypercritical QA reviewer.

Based on what the radiologist believes their work should encompass, one radiologist’s critical tasks are another’s mundane tasks.

To bridge the gap between critical and mundane tasks, it’s imperative one notes the subtle perverse incentives that might be happening in the workplace. Government, regulatory, and academic fields all succumb to perverse incentives when someone is rewarded for bad behavior or punished for good.

Common perverse incentives in radiology include no reward for productivity or no survey of who is contributing to the overall team effort. Radiologists who produce more RVUs might be extra stressed, which increases malpractice liability, both of which are perverse disincentives. To regain equilibrium, the radiologist can reduce their efforts or take more breaks, for example.

When certain team members become more aware of their performance impediments, suddenly, better tools, more personnel, etc., are instated. Once leadership is alerted, staff surveys are performed, which could lead to new hardware, software, coworkers, and more.

Without any sign of stress in the system, those who rank higher on the totem pole are unable to specifically outline any issues or provide support. However, with help from other team members through surveys and the like, leadership can improve the situation based on feedback.

Constructive evaluation and prevention is key in reducing perverse incentives and increasing overall morale.

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Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.