New York City Termite Pest Control, Exterminator, Inspection and Fumigation

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Ask the Expert: How to Pest Proof Your Home – NJ Family

Posted: August 3, 2021 at 1:52 am

As temperatures drop, bugs, rodents and other pests start looking for shelter. Your home is an attractive option: warm, dry and with access to food and water. Determined pests looking for somewhere to overwinterwill be drawn to your property as a safe haven.

If you dont want to share your home with pests, there are things you can do to prevent that from happening. Pest-proofing your home is easy and quickand could stop costly major infestations later down the line.

Common Pests Drawn to Your Home

Some insects and animals are happy burrowing into the soil to hibernate and stay warm and safe during the cooler months. However, there are many you need to keep an eye out forotherwise, theyll soon become your roommates!

Common pests attracted to your home in the fall include:

If you see any signs of pest activity, the best thing to do is to call a pest prevention specialist to avoid the problem growing during the late summer or fall months.

How to Pest-Proof Your Home

The best way to avoid destruction caused by pests is to prepare before they move in. Follow these tips to pest-proof your home.

Inspect Walls for Cracks

Even the tiniest holes let bugs and beetles take up residence in your home. Carefully inspect your exterior walls for signs of cracks and holes that create an inviting entrance to pests.

While you could inspect your house on your own, aprofessional pest prevention inspection will ensure you dont miss the smallest of holes. Theyll also know exactly how to treat and seal cracks and crevices to prevent pests in the future.

Pay Attention to Wood Structures

Check your wooden window frames, door lintels and your woodshed storage. Wood is a wonderful place for small bugs to hide in cold weather, so any holes are a tempting entrance to a winter hideout.

If you have a wood stove, raise your logs off the ground and only stack them when theyre dry. Damp wood not only rots easily but also attracts pests that love to eat mushrooms and other things thatgrow on rotting logs.

Get Your Gutters Professionally Cleaned

One major cause of pooling water is clogged gutters. Not only is the overflowing water attractive to pests, but so is the leaf mulch that builds up in your gutters and drains.

The overflowing water also causes wood rot in window frames and fascias a tasty option for some pests.Cleaning your own gutters can be dangerous and you may not be able to fully empty them.Aprofessional gutter cleaningwillensure your gutters are totally emptied ready for fall. In addition, your gutter cleaning expert will check for problems in your gutter, such as a slipped bracket, that will affect the drainage.

Regularly Mow Your Lawn

Long grass is the perfect hiding place for rodents to get around in your garden and sneak into your basement or ground floor.

Similarly, trees and shrubs with long branches leaning close to your property offer an entrance route for pests and rodents looking for a way into your home.

Keep your shrubs trimmed back and your lawn mowed short to make the open space of your garden a less attractive option for rodents. Its also worth clearing leaf litter and mulch near your home, as these are perfect hiding spots for many pests.

Inspect Your Loft Space

Broken roof shingles let in more than the rain! You already know pooling water and damp areas are havens for pestsbut holes in the roof also allow pests in to keep warm in your loft.

Check your eaves for wasp nests, rotting wood or even termites. Nows the time to get these eradicated before the pests take hold over the winter months.

You should also check for signs of rodents and even bird nests! We dont often go up into our loft spaces, so you might be surprised to find just how many unwanted upstairs tenants have moved in.

House Ants

Theseants wont destroy wood like a carpenter ant, but theyre also attracted to moist areas, such as near your heaters or pipes. While you dont really have to worry about them ruining the structure of your home, you probably wont enjoy sharing your pantry items with them. You can make your home less attractive to all ants by:

Inspect Window Screens

Youll also want to inspect all your window screens to make sure theyre all still intact. Broken ones will also let pests in, such as stink bugs.

How Viking Pest Control Can Help Pest Proof Your Home This Fall

Pest-proofing your home this fall is easy with Viking Pest Control. Viking Pest has been providing pest control for families and businesses since 1980. Viking is a full-service pest control company offering control and prevention for ants, spiders, termites and bed bugs to name a few.

With locations servicing NJ, PA, MD, and DE, Viking is the local business that you love, with the coverage that you need. Viking offers all clients a FAST FREE Quote by a Pest Management Professional.Call us todayor request aFREE estimate online. With Viking, One Call Gets Them All!

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Global Termite Baiting Treatments 2021 | Extensive Growth | Opportunities | Impact and Precise Outlook 2030 Rentokil Initial, Orkin, LLC, The Terminix…

Posted: at 1:51 am

Global Termite Baiting Treatments Industry Research Report, Growth Trends and Competitive Analysis 2020-2027

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Armyworms outbreak in the Mid-South is destroying yards – WATN – Local 24

Posted: at 1:51 am

Armyworms are dark-greenish or black to brown wriggling worms that turn into moths, but it's the worm-like larvae stage that causes the most damage.

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss There's an outbreak of worms in north Mississippi and parts of Shelby county and they are destroying people's lawns. Posts on social media from all across the mid-south show dark-greenish or black to brown wriggling pests, called armyworms are living up to their name. They're marching from yard to yard, invading people's lawns.

After about two weeks, they eventually become moths, but it's the worm-like larvae stage that causes the most damage. According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the armyworm problem is much worse this year. Lawn care services and pest control offices are getting swarmed with calls from grossed-out homeowners.

We are getting lots of calls and questions about FALL ARMYWORMS. There is a big outbreak in the state now, and they...

Austin's Womack Pest and Termitesaid its company is treating about 30 lawns every day in DeSoto County because of the worms. Experts said they like to feed in hayfields, bermudagrass, and turf.

Armyworms also feed around the clock, so a heavy infestation can destroy grass in just a few days. The first sign you might have an armyworm infestation is a patch of brown grass in an otherwise crisp, green lawn. Lawncare experts said this is the best time to start scouting for the worms.

So, what can you do if you have armyworms on your lawn? Pest control experts say you can:

Armyworms do not bite or sting, according to experts they are not harmful to people, pets, or outdoor plants.

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More Formosan Termite Infestations Confirmed in Southern California – PCT Magazine

Posted: at 1:49 am

GREENSBORO, N.C. Go-Forth Pest ControlVice President Leah Hazelwood was announced as chairperson of the 2021-2022 Guilford County's Go Red for Women campaign. The campaign will focus on the importance of women making health and wellness a priority, with emphasis on wellness at work.

Hazelwood said, "I am so very honored and enthused about leading the Guilford Go Red for Women campaign this year along with our executive leadership team. With this amazing group of leaders, I am confident we will exceed our goals in fundraising and increasing awareness to help improve the health of women in our community."

The Go Red for Women campaign is driven to help prevent and fight heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, killing one woman every 80 seconds. Nearly 60 percent of all stroke deaths are women. Cardiovascular disease takes the lives of more women each year than all forms of cancer, accidents and diabetes combined. Yet, 80 percent of heart attack and stroke-related incidents can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes, such as knowing vital health numbers, moving more, eating smarter and managing blood pressure.

Hazelwood said, "In a matter of seven years, I lost my father and several grandparents prematurely due to heart conditions. This makes me personally passionate about educating our community about the power we have to live longer, healthier lives with preventative lifestyle choices. We are excited to partner with individuals and companies in Guilford County to support education on the importance of preventative lifestyle choices, healthier workplaces and CPR training."

Hollan Anderson, American Heart Association development director for Guilford County's Go Red for Women, said, "We are thrilled to have Leah's experience, passion and energy to lead Go Red in Guilford County. Together, we know that we will have a positive impact on the lives of women in our community and the families that depend on them."

As part of Hazelwood's chair focus, Go-Forth Pest Control is serving as the Go Red for Women Online Wellness Series sponsor. Through this collaboration, the American Heart Association will provide a series of webinars to companies, organizations and their employees in Guilford County. The wellness at work webinars will be announced later this fall.

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The recent Arizona rain brings out some creepy critters. But what are they? – KPNX

Posted: at 1:49 am

Have you seen any of these bugs in your backyard after weekend downpours? We check out Palo Verde beetles, vinegaroons and flying termites!

PHOENIX The weekend rain brought much-needed relief to the Valley, but it also caused some creepy critters to come out of the woodwork.

"Bugs literally sit at the edge of death without moisture so when moisture happens, it brings them all out," Brad Olsen said. He's the owner of Urban Desert Pest Control.

The rain and subsequent humidity brought out the expected mosquitoes, but there may be some bugs in your backyard you don't even recognize!

For example, termites that can fly. No thank you.

"When the humidity goes through the roof, ants and termites say 'let's do it,' they grow wings, they fly out to find new colonies and thats what swarmer termites and ants are."

Even if you don't notice them flying around, they may leave some clues behind.

"When they land they drop their wings pretty quick so what happens is eventually you walk out there and all you find are wings so people call and literally say 'I've got wings all over my pool,'" Olsen explained.

Are swarming termites harmful to me or my home?

The short answer is no.

You should only worry about termites if they're inside your home. Before you get to that point,preventative treatments are available.

"Swarming termites dont have a very good survival rate, its a very small amount that finds a new area, finds moisture, and sets up shop. Theonly time you need to lose sleep and panic is when you have termites inside of the structure."

Palo Verde Beetles

A lot of people are talking about these beetles on the Nextdoor app. It's probably because many in Arizona aren't used to seeing them!

"Palo Verde beetles are literally only brought out by rain and the humidity," Olsen added.

"I would say 3-4 inches, theyre scary."

Harmful or harmless?

For the most part - harmless.

"They have pinchers on the end of them so they do have the capability to pinch you pretty good but theyre not aggressive or they don't go after you. To get pinched you would literally need to stick your toe in front of it and pick it up with your finger."


Vinegaroons look like little lobsters and get their name from the substance they spew.

"They have a tube at the end of their abdomen to spray what is essentially vinegar at anything, it's just like an acidic liquid," Damien Renner, Senior Keeper of Ectotherms at the Phoenix Zoo said.

You probably won't see Vinegaroons around your property.

"They typically dont like being in suburban areas," Renner explained. "Vinegaroons are not an animal you would typically see inside your house. If they are in there, they would probably not want to be in there."

While they aren't directly drawn out by rain, Renner said they will take advantage of all the other bugs that thrive in moisture.

"They would probably be out opportunistically eating any of the other bugs that come out during the rainy season."

Dangerous or just disgusting?

For the most part - just disgusting!

"Unlike other arachnids, they're actually not venomous, their only defense really is their two little pinchers. They would normally be under rocks and logs in the nighttime, overall theyre pretty harmless."

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Bugging you: What pests and bugs to look out for this summer – Alton Telegraph

Posted: at 1:49 am

While summer can bring heat waves, including an upcoming one, and outdoor activities like water parks, it can also bring the most active season for some insects.

These pests can sting or bite, but they can also carry diseases and cause structural damage to houses or create problems for living conditions. These pests seek shelter from the heat and rain in your home.

This summer could be especially bad for mosquitos, as a particularly damp year has led to more humidity. That's on top of St. Louis and Chicago already being major cities for mosquitos, as Chicago was rated fifth-worst for the pest by Orkin and St. Louis was ranked 27th.

"They're very prevalent," said James Newcomer, owner of Mosquito Joe's in Pontoon Beach. "This year is unbelievable because we had such a wet spring and summer and a ton of humidity and thats created a big mosquito problem."

Mosquitos can be primary disease carriers, with diseases like West Nile, encephalitis and Zika (although Newcomer says this is less prevalent in Illinois) being carried by mosquitos. They're not the only pest-carrying disease, as ticks, which are more prevalent in the rural areas of Central Illinois and the Metro East, carry lyme disease.

To tame the pest problem and help keep them at bay, one of the tips Newcomer had was to be active after rain.

"We provide recommendations like doing a five-minute walk around the home and eliminating stagnant water sources," Newcomer said. "That leads to less of a mosquito and ticks problem. Water is the key. Keep the yard tidy, dont let brush piles build-up, keep the grass short, get the water out of everything. Clean your gutters out every six months. Sometimes they go in your gutters."

Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing, stagnant water, so things like outdoor pet bowls, fountains, birdbaths, rain barrels and plant containers should be emptied and changed frequently.

Ticks can be avoided by walking in the center of woodland trails and treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Quite a few customers have ticks," Newcomer said. "Some of the tick problems are in subdivisions but more in the rural areas with heavy wood lineswhere they are pretty prevalent. In our area, the most common is deer ticks."

The greatest risk of being bitten by blacklegged ticks or deer ticks is in the spring, summer and fall. Deer ticks are prevalent in the eastern United States including Illinois and Missouri.

Mosquitos and ticks are not alone in being pests to avoid. While termites are less of a problem in Illinois, as there are no drywoodor dampwood termites in the area, carpenter ants are similarly drawn to wood and can cause similar structural damage.

Ants are a common pest in homes during the summer and so are spiders.To get rid of ants, bait them using an ant bait found at home goods stores and destroy their mounds.

Spiders which are often forced indoors by the heat and humidity in the Metro East and Central Illinois include the American house spider, cellar spiders, wolf spiders, brown recluses and black widows. To prevent them, keep your spaces clean and organized. Spiders love clutter, so keep the outsides of your home clean as well and eliminate yard clippings, weeds and log piles as possible.

Cockroaches can also be a more prominent problem during the summer, as they thrive in the summer months. Roaches bring disease-causing bacteria and food contamination. To prevent the pest, keep your home clean by taking out the trash often, cleaning dishes and keeping the home crumb-free. Keep food in tightly-sealed containers as well.

Finally, bed bugs are also more prevalent during the summer, as they use hotter months to feed and breed. To prevent bed bugs, don't bring in used furniture without checking for signs of bed bugs and be weary after traveling, staying in hotels and using shared laundry facilities.

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Opinion | The Cyber Apocalypse Never Came. Heres What We Got Instead. – POLITICO

Posted: at 1:47 am

What we got was neither the unbridled promise of digital cooperation nor a fiery cyber apocalypse. Instead, todays cyber reality seems simultaneously less scary and more of a hot messa series of more frequent, less consequential attacks that add up not to a massive Hollywood disaster but rather to a vaguer sense of vulnerability. This can make it hard to understand whats going on and how bad it really is. Are all these high-visibility cyber events more of the same, or are we living through a new era of cyber warfare?

In some ways, the events of the past few months arent that surprising given the trajectory of cyber activity over the last decade. Theyre the evolution of a steady, somewhat inevitable shift toward using digital tools as a means of international statecraft and political contestation. However, what we are seeing is also subtly different from the way experts had previously thought cyber would affect the international landscape. Over the last decade, authoritarian governments have embraced digital tools and leaned on shadowy gangs of cyber criminals to do some of their dirty work, while the pandemic has made the world reliant on the internet and created a rich world of targets for those seeking money and leverage. As a result, cyberspace may be less apocalyptic than predicted, and more like a termite infestation, eating at the very foundations of our increasingly digital societies. The good news, though, is that the long-sought international consensus on appropriate uses of cyber means within foreign policy may be finally coming togetherwhich means theres hope that todays cyber disorder may eventually abate.

Its true that Russian cyber espionage, cyber criminals, Chinese intellectual property theft and private actors in cyberspace have been with us for years. Hackers affiliated with the Russian government have long used Ukraine as a testbed for hacks on critical infrastructure and governance and military capabilities, all while the Kremlin looked aside at burgeoning cyber criminal activity. Over the past few years, Xi Jinpings China has also built up its cyber capabilities, embarking on large-scale espionage hacks (like the 2015 Office of Personnel Management data exfiltration) and courting widespread economic sanctions for its illicit efforts to steal intellectual property via cyberspace.

At the same time that Russia and China became more capable and more audacious in their cyber campaigns, non-state actorswho have always played an outsize role in cyberspacewere changing the balance of power in the cyber spyware competition. Companies like the Emirati-based DarkMatter recruited talent from across the globe (including former NSA employees) to develop cutting-edge software that can track targeted users phones, monitor their communications and even geolocate them. These commercially created spyware applications were then provided to governmentsmany authoritarianto track dissidents, journalists and international leaders. Most notably, claims have been made that the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi was linked to spyware that the Israel-based NSO group provided to Saudi security officials, who purportedly used it to monitor Khashoggis movements and influence the investigation after the murder (both the Saudi government and NSO deny their involvement).

So, to an extent, Russian-linked ransomware attacks, the collective callout of China for the Microsoft hack and the revelations about the NSO group are more of the same. But theres also something new going on.

First, the geopolitical context in which cyber battles are fought has changed fundamentally. The early Obama administration was relatively restrained in cyberspace, relying on deterrence, limited sanctions and efforts to establish cyber norms through the United Nations. This approach changed under Trump, whose foreign policy adopted a zero-sum view of the world, characterized by great power competition, trade wars and transactional relationships with allies. Accordingly, the Trump administrations cyber efforts put more focus on defending forwarda more aggressive strategy that emphasizes preemptively entering adversaries networks before they launch cyber attackswhile sidelining efforts to create international consensus on cyber warfare. Meanwhile, the simultaneous rise of personalist regimes across the world ushered in a golden age for digital authoritarianism, with dictators embracing artificial intelligence, disinformation, deep fakes and hack and reveal campaigns to cement their power both domestically and in the fracturing international order.

Add to this digital tinderbox a pandemic that not only drove countries apart (physically and ideologically), but also forced them to become more digitally dependent as they turned to automation, remote work and digital bubbles to protect from the physical threat of Covid-19. As court systems, physicians, classrooms and local governance all went virtual, societies struggling with the pandemic became rich targets for cyber criminals. Ransomware attacks increased exponentially, both in scope and in economic cost.

Pandemic-induced vulnerabilities werent just lucrative cyber targets for criminals. They also created new access points for states looking to add more vulnerabilities to their cyber arsenals. Many of the critical infrastructure companies that went fully digital in response to the pandemic are also potential targets for states like North Korea or Iran that want to coerce the more militarily capable United States. The concern is that these states may use cyber vulnerabilities to attack power supplies, data centers or health and human services as the first salvo in a broader geopolitical crisis. This idea of using cyber attacks against critical infrastructure as signals to deter further escalation has been a major concern for onlookers worried that the uptick in cyber intrusions could not only create economic costs, but inadvertently escalate into violent conflictthus creating exactly the situation these cyber attacks were meant to avoid.

A more competitive geopolitical landscape, the rise of digital authoritarians and Covid-induced vulnerability have helped create a final trend: the blurred line between state and non-state actions in cyberspace. Authoritarian governments have looked aside (sometimes purposefully) as groups of cyber criminals with loose or unclear ties to the state became cyber headliners. North Korea has always used cyber criminal campaigns to generate revenue for the regime. Russia has pursued strategic and willful ignorance about criminal cyber activity originating within its borders, and used cyber criminals as a patsy to avoid retribution for state-sanctioned hacking activities. Even China, which a few years ago made a concerted effort to clamp down on its cyber militia of patriotic hackers, seems to have rediscovered the value of state-sanctioned cyber side hustles. The White Houses recent statement on the Microsoft hack accuses China not just of ignoring cyber criminal activity, but actually contracting such criminals to pursue official foreign policy goals.

Governments are now using cyber criminals the way they use other non-state actorslike maritime militias or un-uniformed special operations forcesto achieve foreign policy objectives without engaging in outright conflict. This murky middle is what international relations scholars call the grey zone. Most directly, states can sanction cyber criminal activity to bring in revenue, use non-affiliated organizations to propagate disinformation, or lean on civilian companies and criminals to create technologies and exploits that states can then buy to use against adversaries. More indirectly, non-state actors can generate chaos, confusion and cost all while introducing enough uncertainty about whos really responsible to dissuade states from retaliating. Scholars have frequently viewed these more shadowy cyber actions as less dangerous than traditional war, but they come with the risk of accidentally pushing too far and escalating into conflict.

So the post-pandemic cyber world has more vulnerabilities, more opportunities for economic and political exploitation, and more actors that blur the line between state and non-state involvement. The convergence of these bad-news trends certainly helps explain the battery of recent cyber headlines. However, there is some reason for optimism. The Biden administrations announcement accusing China of the Microsoft hack noted that an unprecedented group of allies and partners including the European Union, the United Kingdom, and NATO are joining the United States in exposing and criticizing the PRCs malicious cyber activities. This is a remarkable achievement given the difficulty of creating international consensus on what states should and should not do in cyberspace. Outside observers might be surprised to learn just how tough it is for states to agree on something even as basic as what a cyber attack is.

The joint callout of China comes a few months after a UN report signed by 25 countries (including China, Russia, and the US) emphasized the need to prevent cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. While this might seem like an obscure report, it was a diplomatic coup, reflecting a hard-fought, multi-year effort to create consensus among countries about how responsible states should behave in cyberspace. This agreement (and the recent US-NATO-EU statement against Chinese hacking) would not have been possible had pandemic-induced cyber vulnerabilities not galvanized international action. The succession of high-visibility cyber events in recent months, paired with a U.S. administration that is prioritizing cyber threats within its foreign policy, may have provided the impetus for the international community to slowly start agreeing on ways to punish problematic cyber activity.

Cyber attacks on hot dog plants or virtual elementary school classrooms may not look like the dystopian end times Panetta and Clapper warned about. But they insidiously eat away at the foundations of digital economies, societies and, ultimately, state power. Today, with these foundations crumbling, we may not need cyber Pearl Harbor analogies to understand the danger of cyber attacks. But can the U.S. and its now-energized allies build on this momentum to reverse the shifts wrought by authoritarian governments, the pandemic and the rise of non-state cyber criminals? Fingers crossed.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to include a more recent estimate for the number of companies hackers were able to access through the Solarwinds breach.

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Rollins, Inc. Named to Top 50 Green Fleet List – Johnson City Press (subscription)

Posted: July 20, 2021 at 1:48 am

ATLANTA, July 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Rollins, Inc. (NYSE: ROL), a premier global consumer and commercial services company,has been named #17 on Automotive Fleet's 2021 list of Top 50 Green Fleets, making it a company with one of the largest "green" vehicle fleets in the U.S.

"We are committed to increasing our numbers of alternative-fuel vehicles to be better stewards of the environment," said Chris Gorecki, Vice President of Operational Support for Rollins, Inc. "We're consistently assessing new solutions that generate sustainable efficiencies for the business. We are proud of how far we've come but know there is still much to be done across our large fleet."

The Automotive Fleet's 2021 list represents more than 92,000 vehicles everything from compressed natural gas (CNG), propane autogas and flex fuel to hybrid electric, electric, biodiesel, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles.Automotive Fleet's listing offers a full breakdown of all the alternative vehicles operated by each company on the list as well as the total number of green vehicles in each fleet.

As Rollins moves forward in the 21st Century, sustainability, stewardship, and shareholder engagement are at the core of our business. We constantly strive to uphold our values in sustainability, while making innovations to improve our service programs through new technologies and processes. Our annual sustainability report is available here.

About Rollins

Rollins, Inc. is a premier global consumer and commercial services company.Through its family of leading brands, Orkin, HomeTeam Pest Defense, Clark Pest Control, Orkin Canada, Western Pest Services, Northwest Exterminating, McCall Service, Critter Control, The Industrial Fumigant Company, Trutech, Orkin Australia, Waltham Services, OPC Services, PermaTreat, Rollins UK, Aardwolf Pestkare, and Crane Pest Control, MissQuito, the Company provides essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to more than two million customers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia from more than 700 locations. You can learn more about Rollins and its subsidiaries by visiting our web sites at,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, http://www.missquito.comand You can also find this and other news releases at http://www.rollins.comby accessing the news releases button.


Certain statements in this release constitute "forward-looking statements." These statements are based on management's current opinions, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or projections regarding future events or future results. These forward-looking statements are only predictions, not historical fact, and involve certain risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions. Actual results, levels of activity, performance, achievements and events could differ materially from those stated, anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. While the Company believes that its assumptions are reasonable, it is very difficult to predict the impact of known factors, and, of course, it is impossible to anticipate all factors that could affect actual results. There are many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements made herein including, most prominently, the risks discussed in the Company's periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law. If we do update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be made that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.

For Further Information Contact

Eddie Northen, (404) 888-2242

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Rollins, Inc. Named to Top 50 Green Fleet List - Johnson City Press (subscription)

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Condivergence: Termites of the economy – The Edge Markets MY

Posted: at 1:48 am

Most of us think about termites negatively. They eat up all the wood in our house and things fall apart. We spend money poisoning them and may end up poisoning ourselves.

A fiscal expert whom I have admired for a long time, Dr Vito Tanzi, formerly the head of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund, has written a brilliant book called Termites of the State: Why Complexity Leads to Inequality (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Vitos book is actually an analysis of the economic role of the state since the Second World War, but he uses the term termites to describe how complexity has created corruption and inequality for the majority of the population.

There are three types of economic termites. Termites of the state are various elements that enter into the political system and that corrupt, or distort, the legitimate economic role that governments try to play. Termites of the market distort the legitimate function of the market. Then regulatory termites enter into the passing and in the application of the laws, and in the functioning of the public administrations after policies have been enacted, creating governance problems and contributing to administrative abuses including corruption.

Today, we recognise that markets are ecosystems and economic termites are part of the economic system, just as real termites form part of the biodiversity of nature. All systems decay and grow at the same time. Termites help to hasten the decay of dead plants and, at the same time, build very complex nests or mounds that even have their own air-conditioning systems. They have been around for a long time because they have a symbiotic relationship with the environment. Thus, can economic termites be totally eradicated, or do we just need to make sure that they do not eat up the whole system?

Humanity created institutions to solve social problems. But all institutions grow and decay. There is an Asian saying that family businesses do not usually last more than three generations the grandfather builds the business, the father holds the business, and the children eat or destroy it.

This is similar to an iron law of state-owned enterprises. The first-generation managers work with dedication and integrity to build it, the next generation maintains it, and the third generation corrupts it. Then the cycle of organisational transformation begins anew. We see this in politics. Politicians who stick around long enough often find their legacies fall apart before their eyes.

Moving from local to global, things become even more complex in scale, scope and speed. Nation-states have grown in number, population and complexity. In 1945, there were only 51 members of the United Nations with a population of two billion, mainly because many territories were part of colonial empires, which gobbled up disparate tribes and less-defined states.

Today, there are 193 countries with a population of 7.8 billion, because democracy has allowed countries to split up into smaller states. Quite a few are failed or failing states that cannot be economically viable. On the other hand, we all recognise that there is no global government to provide global public goods, so we have a very imperfect system of national governments trying to cope with global public bads such as pandemics, global pollution, terrorism, illegal migration, international crime and climate change.

Even at the national level, complexity has created inequality and corruption. Free markets and widespread technology have not solved inequality. Growing the size of government from roughly 10% of GDP around 1900 to 30%-35% of GDP today has not solved these problems either. Many politicians and civil servants think that social problems can be solved by passing more laws and regulations.

Using the US Federal Register as an example, the number of pages of federal laws and rules has grown from 15,932 in 1951 to 185,984, with roughly 7,000 to 8,000 significant rule changes every year. That excludes laws and rules passed by local governments. I challenge any serious banker who claims to have read Basel III regulations fully. All CEOs of banks and financial institutions delegate these to specialist lawyers and compliance officers, many of whom are hired from the financial regulatory agencies.

The scale of complexity has made the public more confused, ignorant and distrustful of the political and social system. There are those who think that technology is the solution, but who owns Big Data and has the money to invest in artificial intelligence (AI)? Only the big companies and big governments. In the US, the private sector has to fill up 23,000 federal forms alone, not counting state government forms. Growing bureaucracy is a systemic issue also for private companies.

The American systems-thinker R Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) invented the concept of Spaceship Earth in which humanity struggles with a critical path between mutually assured nuclear destruction on the one hand, and climate warming and environmental collapse on the other. In his last book, he felt that the world is being controlled by a Grunch of Giants (1983), which stands for GR-UN-C-H, or annual Gross Universe Cash Heist, that receives annual dividends of over one trillion dollars.

In todays terms, the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2020 showed that global household wealth grew to US$399.2 trillion from US$117.9 trillion in 2000, averaging 6.6% growth per annum. The top 1% of the worlds population owned 43.4% of total wealth; the top 12.4% owned altogether 83.9%; whereas the rest (87.6%) owned less than 16.1%. This is a very unfair and skewed world.

How unfair can be seen from the power of these giants and the harm caused by them. According to the Carbon Majors Report 2017, just 100 fossil fuel companies have accounted for 71% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. These companies spent billions in lobbying and campaign funds denying climate change. According to, the top 100 global companies are worth US$44.4 trillion in market capitalisation in 2021, equivalent to roughly half of world GDP. Companies are controlled largely by institutional investors, but 10 of the largest asset management companies manage US$31.8 trillion in assets, so even if the shares are owned by millions of investors, the actual management is by a handful.

Thus, global problems are not those of the majority, but a tiny minority who control the military, industry, finance and media levers of the world. This is true at the national as well as global level. I do not personally believe that there is a conspiracy of global Illuminati (secret elite), but these economic termites control the system without necessarily acting together. Just as termites do not have a central mind, they collectively act in a way that seems coherent in terms of pattern. Small wonder why so many people believe in conspiracy theories because the outcome is that a small minority is getting richer and the rest feel that the system is rigged against them.

The collective action trap that we all have is how do we collectively act to protect ourselves from the elite that is supposed to protect us from such predatory action? Until the arrival of US president Donald Trump, it was assumed that bipartisan electoral democracy had all the checks and balances. Today, with the US struggling to control its own political damage and with the Europeans trying to cope with more and more fractured politics resulting in complex coalitions, it is not surprising that faith in democratic politics has been shaken.

In essence, do we live with termites as a fact of life, or can we eradicate them? Since real termites are probably going to outlive humanity, this suggests that we should try to control them rather than aim for eradication. Healthy trees are more immune to termites. Old and dying trees are eaten by them. So how do we keep the trees (metaphorically our society and economy) healthy?

This is the Big question that no one has a good answer for yet. If the best economies and political systems are also struggling, it is not surprising that each society will have to find its own answer. There is no longer a first best model to copy.

My personal view is that we need to be more open-minded and have a bottom-up social conversation to see where we can find the social consensus on how to keep our society and nation-state healthy. How to engineer this is another story.

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng comments on global issues from an Asian perspective. The views expressed are wholly his own.

Condivergence: Termites of the economy - The Edge Markets MY

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Volunteers spend the day restoring the Ronald McDonald House – KERO 23ABC News

Posted: at 1:48 am

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) It's home to families of sick children, offering the opportunity for parents and siblings to access specialized treatment even if it's hundreds of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House has dedicated years to caring for others, but today it needs a little care of its own.

On Saturday, volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts will spend the day restoring the house. Scarlett Sabin, the director of the house, says over the years the house has a sustained some water and termite damage. On top of that, it is going to get a fresh coat of paint and some new greenery for the landscape.

The whole thing with Ronald McDonald Houses across the world is we try to create a sense of normalcy for a family during a really difficult time," Sabin said.

The Bakersfield RMH serves around 500 kids a year, allowing families to stay in the home in order to be near hospitalized children at little to no cost.

Were just excited to have it rehabbed so that when we do have kids here, they can play and enjoy it, said Sabin.

The project to restore the RMH is being funded by Bakersfield East Rotary. Sabin said all the supplies cost around $2,000.

After a decade of service to the community, thanks to the help of these volunteers and organizations, this household will be able to continue to provide a home to families in need.

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