All About Assassin Bugs

Assassin bugs, sometimes known as conenoses or “kissing bugs,” are occasionally found in the home (bathtubs, sinks, drains, etc.) and, if handled carelessly, can inflict a very painful bite, causing a severe reaction in some persons. Some are attracted to lights and require blood meals to complete their development. Many are bloodsucking parasites of mammals, including humans. Others are predators, feeding on bed bugs, flies, caterpillars and other insects. Most are found in late June to early August.

These bugs have a long narrow head, short beak (three-segmented), long slender antennae (four-segmented) and an abdomen often widened at the middle exposing the margins of the segments beyond the wings. Occasionally, they are confused with the leaffooted bug, which is distinguished by its flattened (leaf-like) hind legs.

Identification, Biology and Behavior:
Bloodsucking Conenose
Adults are 3/4 to 13/16 inch long, brownish-black, broad, stout-bodied with six reddish orange spots on each side of the abdomen, above and below. Eyes are large with an elongate protruding head. The beak is not curved (slender and tapered) and almost bare. It is kept folded back between the front legs when not used. Adults are winged and able to fly. They are found in nests of rats and will feed on any animal including humans. Oval, pearly-white eggs are laid singly from May to September. Each batch is laid after a blood meal. Nymphs have eight instars requiring three years for the life cycle.
The conenose is a vector of Chagas disease prevalent in Mexico, Central America, and South America, where these bugs may colonize human habitations. This sometimes fatal disease, caused by a flagellate protozoan, has symptoms of swelling of the eyelids and face, loss of nervous control, high fever, anemia and destruction of the cardiac and skeletal muscles. This disease is not common in the United States.
The bloodsucking bugs are active at night usually feeding on sleeping victims. These bugs are usually found outdoors in hollow trees, in raccoon and opossum dens, or near wood rat nests. Indoors, they are found in bedding, floor and wall cracks, under furniture, etc. They are poor fliers and sometimes attracted to lights. Bites are sometimes painless, but may cause a severe reaction. They are more often a problem to people living in wooded areas.
Masked Hunter
Adults are 3/4 to 7/8 inch long, chocolate brown, beak curved (not slender and tapered), with slender antennae and walking-type legs. They are called “kissing bugs” and are attracted to lights. They are very active and enter houses in search of bed bugs, flies, and other insects. Eggs are laid singly in the dust in cracks and corners. Nymphs have the body, legs, and antennae covered with a sticky substance to which dust and lint adhere especially on the head (thus, the name, masked) and are only visible when moving. Nymphs hibernate in the 4th to 5th instar and reach maturity the following spring. Bites are very painful on humans.
Black Corsair
Adults are black and 9/16 to 11/16 inch long. They resemble the masked hunter except have short wings. Adults overwinter under stones and are collected in early spring. Bites are painful to humans.
Wheel Bug
Adults are 1-1/4 inch long and have a slender, long antennae (reddish-brown). The body is grayish-black with an upright one-half “cogwheel-like” crest on the thorax bearing 8 to 12 protruding teeth-like structures. The membrane of the front wing is coppery colored. Wheel bugs are rather uncommon, but attract attention when found due to their bizarre appearance. They are voracious predators, attacking large caterpillars, such as tomato hornworms, and suck them dry. They will not bite humans readily, but when they do, the bite is very painful.
Spined Assassin Bug
Adults are 1/2 to 9/16 inch long, brown colored, narrow, angular, and rough-bodied. The head, thorax (middle part) and front leg (upper portion) are covered with spines and the female’s abdomen is wavy. Cylindrical white eggs are laid in small groups covered with a reddish secretion. These bugs are very beneficial to agriculture, feeding on many injurious insects, attacking all stages of the Mexican bean beetle.

First Aid:
Bites may be hardly felt by the bloodsucking conenose in contrast to painful bites by the masked hunter, black corsair, and wheel bug. Sensitive individuals may experience burning pain, intense itching and much swelling with red blotches and welts over the body. If bitten, remain calm and safely collect the bug for positive identification. Do not handle bugs without gloves. Contact your local poison information center to seek medical help. Relief from bites may be obtained by using lotions containing menthol, phenol or camphor.
Control Measures:
All potential breeding areas such as rodent and bird nests and trash piles in or near houses should be eliminated. Since these bugs fly at night and are attracted to light, adequate screening must be used around windows and doors. Use non-attractive insect yellow lights, if possible. Be sure to caulk and seal any openings into the house. Should a bug alight on one’s face or hand, it should be brushed off gently since it is likely to bite if pinched or crushed. Usually only a few individual bugs are found in the home at one time except for the bloodsucking conenose, which may be in groups of 10 to 15 at a time or scattered singly. Do not handle bugs. Use a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner to collect and discard individuals.
A household aerosol spray of pyrethrins can give good knockdown and kill against individuals. These bugs can be controlled with a spot treatment of a residual household crawling insect spray such as diazinon or propoxur (Baygon). Pyrethroid insecticides, such as permethrin, is the most effective at high concentrations. Before using any insecticide, always read the label, follow directions and safety precautions.

Arm Yourself Against Summer Ant Invasions


TERRO® Liquid Ant Bait Provides Long-term Ant Control, Both Indoors and Outdoors 
Ants are masters of waiting out the cold winter season, hunkering down in clusters to maintain their body heat and huddling protectively around the queen to shelter their population’s lifeline. Now, the warm days of summer are in full swing and legions of ants are back at work, in search of food. TERRO®, a leader in ant and pest control products, recommends controlling these hungry armies of ants with liquid ant bait, both indoors and outdoors.
outlook_w75_body1“For effective, long-term control of common sweet-eating ants, you need to bait the worker ants – the ants you see marching in and around your house – with TERRO® Liquid Ant Baits,” says Stew Clark, Director of Research at TERRO®. “As worker ants forage for food, they are drawn to the sweet liquid in the ant bait. While the active ingredient in the bait will ultimately kill the ants by interfering with their digestive system, it works slowly enough that the ants have time to get back and share the lethal bait with the rest of the colony, including the queen. This is the only way to kill the ants you see – and the thousands you don’t.”
Since this is a bait product, you’re going to see more ants at first – lots more. As ants find the liquid bait, they consume it and drop what is called a “trail pheromone” back to the nest that lets all the other worker ants know where a food supply has been found.
So, why bait with liquid? The worker ants you encounter are all adult ants and their anatomy is such that they have no “chewing” mouth parts. The easiest way for them to carry food back to the colony is to drink, drink, drink! And once they have returned to the nest, they can immediately share the liquid with the other ants. If the bait is in a paste or gel form, it would need to go through further processing before it could be shared and take effect.

Since most indoor ant infestations are linked to a colony outside, Clark also recommends setting up an outdoor home barrier. “Treating the perimeter of your house with a TERRO® ant bait product provides an added line of defense against unwanted insects entering your home,” explains Clark.
outlook_w75_body2TERRO® Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits Stakes work just like their indoor counterparts, attracting worker ants with the sweet liquid inside. The sweet liquid they will eventually share with the rest of the colony.
When searching for ants outside the home, look for “ant highways” or foraging trails. These trails are simply a line of marching ants that leads from their home to yours. Often, these trails are most active during the morning or evening. Walk around the perimeter of your house and carefully check for ant trails. Pull back the garden mulch, turn over rocks and look under pieces of wood to locate activity. Inspect potential entry points including windows, doors, exhaust vents, faucets and sliding glass doors. Also check for ants trailing up the sides of your home and along gutters.
“The key to successfully using any TERRO® ant bait product is to make sure the ants find the bait, eat it, and take it back to the nest to feed to the rest of the colony,” says Clark. “Be sure to eliminate all other food sources in the area. This will ensure the ants aren’t tempted to eat anything but the bait.”
Smaller ant infestations can usually be controlled within 24-48 hours. However, where there are very large or multiple colonies in the problem area, it can take up to 10 days to achieve complete control.
Order Now Using Program Number: W75E1

Merchandising: How To Optimize Your Displays

a01 displays.jpg Displays are another great way to increase your sales and leverage your consumer’s impulse behavior. To be successful, there are a number of different components that you must pay special attention to.

Guidelines for Building Display
  • Keep the display off the floor: This prevents the bottom of packages from getting damaged. Use pallets or platforms.
  • Make the display sturdy: Stack the packages safely and securely.
  • Be sure the display is accessible: Never stack packages too high or to low for shoppers to reach easily. The average shopper is 5’5”. Keep handles turned outward and, if displaying more than one brand, don’t bury one under the other.
  • Leave starter gaps on all displays: If a display looks too good, shoppers will be reluctant to buy off it. Once the display is built, remove a few packages from the top or stagger packages to make it appear as though it has been shopped.
  • All packages should be faced: All labels on packages should face shoppers. This provides an attractive billboard effect.
  • Make display creative: Stacking packages attractively draws attention and enhances the image of the store.
  • Merchandise the display: Displays should always be merchandised properly .
Best Location for Displays
Displays should be placed in high traffic areas. A recent study shows that:
  • Displays in back of store showed 113% sales increase
  • Displays in mid-aisle/perimeter showed 274% sales increase
  • Displays in front of store showed 426% sales increase
Size and Duration
The right size for a display depends on how the product volume the retailer can move. If the display is too big, product will move slowly and you may have rotation problems. Displays that are too small can run out of product and miss sales opportunities. How can you determine the best display size?
  • Use past sales information from a similar display period
  • Look at sales performance on a competitive display
  • Multiply the normal weekly volume by 2.5 (average increase for display)
The duration of a display is most effective when kept to two or three weeks. After the third week, the display loses its attention getting value. Shoppers become used to seeing it and ignore it. If a display must be kept for longer than three weeks, keep it fresh with a redesign, new POS materials or change the location.
Cross Merchandising and Brand Teaming
As explained in the ”POS Materials” course, impulse purchases play a major role in increasing sales. Cross merchandising and Brand Teaming on displays can take advantage of these purchasing behaviors. Brand Teaming pairs two or more brands together on one display usually using a strong and a weaker selling brand. The stronger selling brand draws attention to the display where they will be encouraged to try the other brand. When brand teaming, never put more than three brands together, as it could lead to cluttered display and makes it more difficult to manage. Also be careful about brand teaming with different price points, as this can encourage shoppers to trade down.

Encap: Lawn Repair Made Easy

outlook_e43c_bannerA lush, thick lawn not only adds visual and aesthetic appeal to your home, but it also offers a multitude of unseen benefits as well. A strong turf, with a deep root system, is nature’s best defense against invading weeds, fungus, and grub and insect damage. Cultivating a thick lawn is the best way to prevent unwanted pests and maintain a visually appealing lawn, and fall is the best time to achieve that lawn.

While many homeowners and lawn enthusiasts repair their lawns in the spring, mild temperatures, less competition with weeds, and dormant insects make fall the perfect time for seed establishment. Repairing your lawn in fall will give it the best chance at proper establishment and survival.
Lawn repair might conjure up images of back-breaking work and long days, but advanced lawn repair products from Encap® make fixing your lawn easier than it’s ever been. Whether you’re looking to repair bare spots, overseed a thin or damaged lawn, or start from scratch with a new lawn, Encap® carries the perfect product to help you create a beautiful lawn.

The Best Lawn Starts with the Best Mulch
You might think the key to successful lawn repair is in the quality of the seed, the blend of fertilizer, or the rate at which you spread it, and those are all important contributing factors. But one of the most important aspects to successful lawn repair is in using a quality seed-starting mulch.
Applying mulch along with the grass seed helps to protect the seed and prevent it from washing away. It also maintains close contact between the seed and the soil, a vital part of the germination process. Though there are many mulches to choose from, choosing a quality mulch will maximize results and help to ensure successful establishment.
Unlike any other mulch of its kind, Encap® Lawn Starter Mulch uses a patented Advanced Soil Technology (AST®) to hold seeds in contact with the soil, preventing them from washing away and promoting successful germination. Once seeds are established, AST® acts as a soil conditioner, creating micro-channels in the soil to allow roots to spread freely, fostering a sturdy, well-developed root system, and helping moisture to get down to the root zone where it’s needed most. Used by professionals for years on sports fields, golf courses, and commercial landscapes, this product has made its way into the retail market to help consumers achieve better results with their lawns. Usable with any type of seed, this mulch takes the guesswork out of watering with its patented Seed Watering TechnologyTM (SWT®), which sparkles when wet. When the sparkle is gone, you know it’s time to water again!
Figure 1: This chart compares Encap® Lawn Starter Mulch
with other commonly used mulches.

Over-Seeding, Bare Spots, or a Brand New Lawn
In addition to Lawn Starter Mulch, Encap® offers a variety of combination products that make lawn repair easier than ever, no matter what the problem.
Combination products such as Encap® Grass Repair Kit®, Lawn Makeover, and New Lawn Kit® contain everything you need to repair or establish your lawn. With seed, fertilizer, and mulch all in one product, there’s no need to buy and apply these products separately, cutting your workload and cost substantially – one application and done!
Encap® Lawn Makeover is a unique product developed especially for over seeding a thin or damaged lawn. This product contains organic root and plant stimulants and has the highest coverage rate of any products of its kind.
All of the Encap® repair products contain their patented AST® and SWT® technology, giving your lawn the best chance to thrive. Soil is conditioned, nutrients are made available, and you know when to water!
Repairing a damaged lawn or starting a new one has never been easier with Encap®’s advanced lawn repair products with AST®. No matter what your lawn repair needs, Encap® has a product to help you achieve a healthy, thick, green lawn!

Marchioro Invades North America With New Colors

outlook_m78b_bannerMarchioro USA, Inc., announced the launch of new trend colors in the North American marketplace. Marchioro USA has always been a leader in style, design and color and the European color trends seem to be invading the North American markets.

Marchioro USA has launched a new, bright color pallet of products in their Ebla Bowl, Menfi and Petra Pot lines. Consumers and retailers have been asking for bright and happy colors for quite some time, but the industry has been slow to react. Marchioro USA has responded to the industry and its customers and has delivered.
The Ebla bowls range from 10.5″ to 20.5″ in diameter. The depths range from 4.25″ to 6″. These bowls are perfect for succulent plants or the ever-so-popular fairy gardens. The bowls can be used alone or with the optional SV Petra saucer. The new colors are pink, turquoise, purple, and lime.
outlook_m78b_body1The Petra pot line additions include sizes ranging from 8.25″ to 17.25″, along with coordinating saucers. The colors available in the Petra line are pink, purple and lime. The new colors make the Petra pot line the choice for high-quality, injection-molded pots. The Petra pots have a fluted design, making them perfect for any plant type, including small trees.
menficolors.jpgThe Menfi line is a cylinder-style, injection-molded pot that offers a larger base than the Petra pots. The line offers multiple colors such as bright orange, turquoise, purple, lime, pink and pearl gray. This pot offers a stylish, ivy leaf rope design embossed on the side. The new colors are available in sizes ranging from 9″ to 19″ in diameter. This pot offers large cubic volume capacity in a small footprint.
All of Marchioro USA products are made from high-quality plastics. The high quality and the fact that they also add UV-inhibitors allow Marchioro USA to produce a pot that will tolerate the coldest of temperatures without damage and will not fade from the sun. If you are looking for products that offer stylish designs, bright colors and durability, all while remaining affordable, then Marchioro USA has the products for you.