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Pest & Termite Control in New Jersey | Horizon Pest Control

Posted: March 27, 2020 at 3:43 am

As a family-owned and operated business, Horizon Pest Control understands the importance of treating your home like your sanctuary. Thats why we offer our signature Home Guard maintenance program, which covers over40 pests. We also provide special Yard Guard andant control plans for residential clients, and invest $70 thousand a year on training, so our technicians can stay up-to-date on all the latest industry advancements. And with 35 service trucks, you already know we are equipped with the latest tools and technology to provide your home or business with the quality pest control you deserve.

Call our Angies List-approved New Jersey pest control company today for exceptional service, includinggreen pest control options.Click here to check out our blog, and dont forget to call about ouravailable specials and promotions.

Here at Horizon Pest Control, we provide the most comprehensive, reliable, and courteous New Jersey and New York pest control services youll find from any company in the area. Fromrats tobed bugs, our work is fast and effective, and can be tailored to take care of a wide range of pests. We also back up everything we do with our service guarantee. We promise that if any pests return to your property, so will weFOR FREE! Many of our clients have been with us for 10 years or more, which is why Horizon has a stellar 98% satisfaction rating. Just check out ouronline reviews to see how much customers love our services for yourself!

For more information about what Horizon Pest Control can do for you, call now at (888) 617-6133.

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Exeter puts facilities in focus with revenue measure – Foothills Sun Gazette

Posted: March 25, 2020 at 9:42 pm

Wood also identified in adequate HVAC ducting throughout the building.

That building has been chopped up, and rooms have shifted for years. You can tell where the ducting has been ripped apart, cut apart and moved from here and there, Ennis said.

As a result rooms throughout do not get an equal level of air conditioning. Some are freezing while others become hot. Ennis said the front portion of the administration office that faces C Street needed a window unit to supplement the amount air conditioning the room gets.

Wood suggested that the city hire an inspector for termites as a just-in-case measure. City councilman Frankie Alves asked how serious the threat is and noted that the city may have to adjust if it turns out they have to tent the building for extermination. Ennis said that Wood was not confident that there are termites but wanted to be sure before repairs were made. And Ennis said that there are other options to get rid of termites before tenting is necessary.

To repair the wood paneling on the side of the building, Wood suggested the city either paint the side as a protective coat, or stucco the building. But each comes at a different cost.

Its about $80,000-90,000 to probably stucco it, or you can pay $25,000 to $30,000 painting it every five years, Ennis said.

Not as bad as the city administration and police department buildings, but still in bad shape, is the corporation yard for the public works department. Ennis said that Wood identified the overlapping metal and fiberglass sheets that are the roof of one of the buildings. Wood said that the fiberglass lets light into the building and should be replaced. If nothing else than because someone could fall through.

In addition, he found electrical infrastructure in need of replacement and three rolling doors that cannot open because they dont have the equipment to fix them. The most outstanding repair is to an entire side of a building. Ennis showed in a picture to the council a considerable hole to a metal building. Although, the building is used for storage.

Other buildings like city hall and the fire department all had electrical repairs needed. In city hall the city realized the need to fix massive water damage that forced them to cut out half of damaged drywall. Ennis added that there are not safety switches for the bay doors. And there are broken tiles on the roof.

In all the city determined that they would need approximately $53,900 per year to keep up annual maintenance and $170,750 in onetime repairs. The largest chunk going to the city administration building and police department worth $106,700.

Overall, Ennis said that he was surprised there wasnt a greater need for repairs.

Jim and I kind had the same responsewe were both surprised there he didnt find even more stuff. But there are some things there that if we dont start working on them they are going to get worse and more expensive, Ennis said.

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Guest View: Fight the wolf, then the termites – Foster’s Daily Democrat

Posted: at 12:49 am

As the nation grapples with devastating healthcare and economic consequences of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers in Washington have been ratcheting-up their responses. Bills and proposals have included actions to fight the virus, maintain employment and stimulate the economy. Given the unique nature of the crisis we are facing, vigorous efforts are needed on all these fronts.

To be effective, fiscal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic should be timely (get the money out fast), targeted (get the money to those who need it most) and temporary (permanent changes to spending and tax policy can wait). They should also be large enough to have an impact. While the costs will be substantial ($2 trillion at least), and will inevitably result in a major spike in the debt, this concern must take a back seat for now to protecting the nations physical and economic health.

The first thing to recognize about the current situation is that the developing economic downturn, almost certain to become a recession, is a direct and necessary result of fighting the virus. Stay at home orders, closed businesses, canceled events and postponed travel are all part of an effort to limit the scope of the healthcare damage by limiting daily routine commerce. Economic assistance, no matter how broad or how deep will be an ineffective bottomless pit unless the spread of COVID-19 is brought under control.

The second thing to recognize is the enormity of the economic hit that will come from deliberately shutting down the economy for an indefinite period. Second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) could plunge by as much as 24 percent, according to Goldman Sachs. This would be much larger than the 8.4 percent quarterly drop at the height of the Great Recession in 2008 or the 6.1 percent drop during the 1982 recession. It goes well beyond what can be treated with traditional economic stimulus. It will require a major and immediate infusion of cash just to stabilize the economy.

The main concern is to maintain cash flows for employers, states, families and individuals in the face of efforts to keep people at home and close non-essential businesses. As income plummets, businesses will face insolvency through no fault of their own, layoffs will surge,gig workers will go broke and states will run through available cash. Making sure that businesses can stay afloat and that individuals can pay their essential bills such as rent, mortgages, healthcare, food and utilities is necessary to prevent a much deeper economic problem.

As we begin to emerge from the crisis, traditional economic stimulus may be needed to coax Americans out of their self-isolation and encourage businesses to ramp-up operations. In the meantime, direct payments to those most in need can help limit the damage and better position the economy for a rebound.

The nation will recover from this pandemic. The sooner we stop the spread of the virus, the sooner that will happen. When it does, policymakers will need to turn their attention to the fiscal fallout. We will have a much larger debt but more importantly we will still have the pre-existing condition of an unsustainable gap between routine spending and tax policies. The latest projection from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which was issued on March 19th, showed a $13.1 trillion increase in debt held by the public over the next 10 years with the annual deficit reaching $1.8 trillion (5.5 percent of GDP) by 2020. That is why its important for the pandemic response to be aggressive but temporary in the sense that it does not make the pre-existing structural fiscal gap even worse.

It is sometimes said that the deficit is more like having termites in the basement rather than a wolf at the door. Right now we have both. First, get rid of the wolf. Then fight the termites.

Robert Bixby is the Executive Director of The Concord Coalition.

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CloudHauz LLC Announces the Immediate Ability to Build Medical Facilities, Shelters and Other Dwellings Needed For Current US Crisis – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 12:49 am

CloudHauz Dwellings are Hazard-Resistant, Emergency-Grade and Re-Usable Up to 300 Years

MORAGA, Calif., March 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- CloudHauz LLC, a provider of disaster-resistant dwellings, announced today it has formally launched the company months earlier than anticipated in order to address the emergency dwelling situation worsened by COVID-19 outbreak.

The company in conjunction with strategic partners, have queued up its East Coast manufacturing facility and are ready to accept architectural drawings and begin mass producing structures immediately. CloudHauz will begin manufacturing any and all types of structures needed in this crisis including: homeless shelters, ADU (accessory dwelling units), medical facilities, warehouses and more. The factory is exempt from the quarantine, and will remain open for business as usual, as this manufacturing is considered essential for building emergency dwellings to support the crisis.

CloudHauz uses a patented steel-composite construction technology that has been used around the world for over 30 years and is currently in 70,000 dwellings in 28 countries. Its steel and composite structures are more durable than wood which doesn't stand up in fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and is prone to molds and dry rot. CloudHauz is launching the company based on a superior durable, construction technology to promote its ability to build fast, safe, long-lasting and eco-friendly dwellings that use less wood, which also reduces deforestation.

"CloudHauz dwellings will absolutely shelter us from the storm in these chaotic times," said Lisa Copass, CEO and Co-Founder of CloudHauz. "With CloudHauz we can build for the next disaster giving ourselves the best chance of survival."

"We're all in this together," said Chip MacDowell, COO and Co-Founder. "And CloudHauz is here and ready to help."

Hazard-Resistant:CloudHauz dwellings are remarkable in that they are: fire-resistant; earthquake-resistant (up to 9 on the Richter scale); hurricane resistant (winds up to 200 mph) and have high thermal values (R-59). Because CloudHauz uses wood-less structures (only steel and composite) there's no food source for mold, termites, fungus, dry rot orrodents to thrive on, thus destroy.

Fast and Easy Assembly:The structure of a CloudHauz comes in pre-fabricated, lightweight panels which save an enormous amount of time in labor. The structures assemble in an inter-locking tongue and grove style and require two tools an electric screw driver and hot knife/saw. The pre-fabricated panels reduce project completion time by 50%, reduces labor costs by 75% and cost of materials by 50%, compared to wood construction projects.

CertificationsIn addition to being Title 24-compliant and Net Zero-Approved, the structure of a CloudHauz meet certified building codes in the state of California and every state in the US. Other certifications include: HUD-approved and ASTM International-certified.

Eco-FriendlyCloudHauz dwellings are extremely eco-friendly, made from recycled materials and are 100% recyclable. The structural materials are manufactured in an entirely green facility with no waste and no environmental pollution and does not produce off-gasses or toxins.

Specifications and AssemblyTo get specifications on the structures of a CloudHauz dwelling. Download the brochure here. To see how easy it is to assemble the structure click here to watch a video. To watch how fire-resistant the structures are click here to watch a video.

Experience CloudHauz and its strategic partners have built multiple homes in California and have many more under development. The company has a combined experience of over 600 years in the areas of: construction, architectural design, electrical and HVAC engineering, real estate development, solar power, city planning, government relations, marketing and finance.

What Does A CloudHauz Look Like?CloudHauz dwellings look like any other dwelling. One would not know it was a CloudHauz unless the exterior cladding and interior walling was removed the steel beams and composite foam would be visible. The structure of a CloudHauz can be cladded (exterior finish) with virtually any cladding material including; brick, Hardie Board, vinyl, synthetic stucco and more.

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Procuring CloudHauz Dwellings.The company has spec drawings and is ready to mass produce and manufacture virtually any dwelling needed.Prospects can also submit their drawings to CloudHauz for quotes at info@cloudhauz.com. Structures can be manufactured and delivered in 30-90 days depending of specifications and features.

Made in the USACloudHauz structural materials are 100% made in the USA. As well, the company supports and is offering priority jobs to US disabled veterans. The company will provide training on how to assemble CloudHauz dwellings.

Opening California Manufacturing FacilityCloudHauz is planning to open a manufacturing facility on the West Coast which will take approximately 9-15 months once funding is secured. In the interim, the East Coast factory will be operating 24/7 in order to help meet the great demand on the West Coast. It's estimated the company needs to raise approximately $7 million for the West Coast factory and is looking to build on Mare, Island in Vallejo, CA which is an opportunity zone, helping to build jobs and restore the community.

About CloudHauz Dwellings for a New Planet:

Formed in June 2019 and headquartered in Moraga, CA, CloudHauz is a leading provider of hazard-resistant dwellings that save lives. The company's primary goal is to help people and the planet. We do that by manufacturing, designing, and building dwellings that offer best chance of survival. CloudHauz and its strategic partners have built multiple homes in California and have many more under development. Of equal importance to the company is the concern for our planet. CloudHauz promotes building with less wood and timber construction. Instead using an alternative of steel and composite. The weaning off of wood will reduce deforestation which is a major cause of climate change. Forests are the lungs of the planet and thereby absorb much of our CO2 emissions. By using steel and composite construction structures, we lighten the load on our forests and allow them to flourish again.

Contact:Kelly Greenwellinfo@cloudhauz.com925-388-9082

Photo(s):https://www.prlog.org/12815847

Press release distributed by PRLog

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SOURCE CloudHauz

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Art Lander’s Outdoors: Most outbreaks of disease like covid-19 trace to consumption of wildlife in China – User-generated content

Posted: at 12:49 am

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of viruses common in animals that can cause human illness ranging from the symptoms of the common cold to life-threatening respiratory infections.

According to a posting on the World Health Organization website, COVID-19 is the latest version of Coronavirus, a strain discovered in 2019 that was not previously found in humans.

Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from wild animals to humans.

Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans, the website posting noted.

Chinas Illegal Trade in Wildlife

China is one of the main sources of this family of deadly viruses, whose origins trace back to their illegal trade in wildlife.

The Chinese peoples appetite for bushmeat and wildlife parts used in traditional medicine are fueling most of these dangerous worldwide public health pandemics.

Pangolin (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

In the past decade, wildlife trafficking the poaching or other taking of protected or managed species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their related parts and products has escalated into an international crisis, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

World Pangolin Day is celebrated every year on the third Saturday in February to raise global awareness about pangolins the threats they face and the efforts to prevent them from becoming extinct.

In a 2015 article The New York Times reported that pangolins are the most trafficked mammals in the world.

The pangolin is a scaly anteater. There are four species in Asia, all of which are either threatened or endangered.

Pangolins have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin. They live in hollow trees or burrows and are nocturnal. Their diet consists mainly of ants or termites.

Pangolins are threatened by poaching for their meat and scales, which are believed to cure a variety of ailments including excessive nervousness, hysterical crying children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever, and deafness, according to Chinese traditional medicine.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that more than a million pangolins have been poached from the wild in China, Africa and Southeast Asia the past decade to meet the demand for their meat and scales.

Commercial Trade of Wildlife in the U.S.

The commercial trade of wildlife in the U.S. was outlawed 120 years ago.

The Lacey Act was introduced into Congress by Rep. John F. Lacey, an Iowa Republican, and signed into law by Republican President William McKinley on May 25, 1900.

The act outlawed market hunting and fishing, and created civil and criminal penalties for trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that had been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold.

One of the major causes of market hunting and fishing in the U.S. was the Industrial Revolution that shifted human populations from farms to the cities and created a demand for fresh fish and meat.

The Lacey Act of 1900 granted protection to game fish, elk, deer, wild turkeys, bears, small game animals such as squirrels, rabbits and quail, wild sheep, antelope, migratory game birds such as waterfowl and mourning doves, and other wildlife species, both game and non-game.

Game species began being managed with state and federal hunting and fishing seasons and harvest limits. This legislation saved many game species that were clearly headed for extinction, and paved the way for the monitoring, restoration and habitat management of many threatened and endangered non-game species in North America, such as the iconic Bald Eagle.

Similar strict laws and protections have either not been mandated, or are not being actively enforced, throughout China.

Chinas Wildlife Laws

China has vowed to overhaul its wildlife laws to prevent future viral outbreaks, but to no avail.

Wang Ruihe, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National Peoples Congress (NPC) said that the time has come to improve regulations related to the wildlife protection law and crackdown on culprits involved in the trade.

Laws related to trade in wildlife were last revised in 2016, but the changes were not enough to effectively put an end to the commercial trade. Despite the proven effects of the law on the protection of wildlife after its revision in 2016, there are still some problems in its implementation, Wang Ruihe told the Xinhua News Agency, Chinas state-run media.

Coronavirus Outbreak Timeline

In recent years there have been several Coronavirus outbreaks. Heres some details:

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Civet (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

The first case was in November 2002 in Chinas Guangdong Province. The virus was traced to the Civet, a nocturnal omnivorous cat, sold for meat in local markets in Yunnan province.

The virus originated in the Horseshoe Bat, with the Civet ultimately infecting humans who ate undercooked meat.

The resulting viral outbreak killed 774 people.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)

The disease, transmitted from Dromedary camels to humans, first appeared in 2012.

In June of that year virologists identified the cause, a new strain of the Coronavirus.

The Dromedary, also called the Arabian camel, has one hump on its back was domesticated from wild, free-ranging animals about 4,000 years ago.

Its meat and milk is a staple of northern Arabian tribes and this camel is also commonly used as a beast of burden.

Dromedaries are susceptible to parasites, sarcoptic mange and brucellosis. They are also a host to MERS-CoV, which is transmitted to humans by eating camel meat, drinking camel milk that has not be properly pasteurized, or simply living in close proximity to camels.

Victims experience pneumonia like symptoms, but also suffer gastrointestinal distress and sometimes experience kidney failure.

According to a World Health Organization report issued in November 2019 there have been 2,492 reported cases in 27 counties and 858 deaths since 2012, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

COVID-19

This highly-contagious, deadly new strain of Coronavirus was reported to have first been detected in December, 2019, originating from a seafood market in Wuhan, capital of central Chinas Hubei Province, where a wide range of bushmeats were being sold.

Horseshoe Bat (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

According to researchers, the virus was transmitted from Horseshoe Bats to an unknown host, probably live snakes or pangolins on sale at the wet market.

Alarmed over the situation, China temporarily banned wildlife trade and game meat consumption until the end of the outbreak.

In February 2020, university researchers in China employing genomic sequencing found a 99 percent match between the Coronavirus found in pangolins and the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an article published in Medical News Today, of Brighton, East Sussex, England.

Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary medicine at Hong Kongs City University said the Chinese government should have implemented legislative changes (to wildlife laws) after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-Cov) outbreak in 2002.

As of March 23, 2020, The World Health Organization reported 351,705 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 15,361 confirmed deaths.

In the U.S., as of March 23, there were 35,418 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 473 confirmed deaths.

Passing stricter laws prohibiting commercial trade in wildlife, and the aggressive enforcement of those laws, will help protect the ecological integrity of wildlife in China, and throughout Asia.

These laws could also help prevent future outbreaks of zoonotic diseases that are a threat to public health worldwide.

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Buildings grown by bacteria its not as crazy as it sounds, and its actively researched – ZME Science

Posted: at 12:49 am

Buildings are not unlike a human body. They have bones and skin; they breathe. Electrified, they consume energy, regulate temperature and generate waste. Buildings are organisms albeit inanimate ones.

But what if buildings walls, roofs, floors, windows were actually alive grown, maintained and healed by living materials? Imagine architects using genetic tools that encode the architecture of a building right into the DNA of organisms, which then grow buildings that self-repair, interact with their inhabitants and adapt to the environment.

Living architecture is moving from the realm of science fiction into the laboratory as interdisciplinary teams of researchers turn living cells into microscopic factories. At the University of Colorado Boulder, I lead theLiving Materials Laboratory. Together with collaborators in biochemistry, microbiology, materials science and structural engineering, we usesynthetic biologytoolkits to engineer bacteria to create useful minerals and polymers and form them into living building blocks that could, one day, bring buildings to life.

In one study published in Scientific Reports, my colleagues and Igenetically programmed E. coli to create limestone particleswith different shapes, sizes, stiffnesses and toughness. In another study, we showed thatE. coli can be genetically programmed to produce styrene the chemical used to make polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam.

In our most recent work, published in Matter, we used photosynthetic cyanobacteriato help us grow a structural building material and we kept it alive. Similar to algae, cyanobacteria are green microorganisms found throughout the environment but best known for growing on the walls in your fish tank. Instead of emitting CO2, cyanobacteria use CO2 and sunlight to grow and, in the right conditions, create a biocement, which we used to help us bind sand particles together to make a living brick.

By keeping the cyanobacteria alive, we were able to manufacture building materials exponentially. We took one living brick, split it in half and grew two full bricks from the halves. The two full bricks grew into four, and four grew into eight. Instead of creating one brick at a time, we harnessed the exponential growth of bacteria to grow many bricks at once demonstrating a brand new method of manufacturing materials.

Researchers have only scratched the surface of the potential of engineered living materials. Other organisms could impart other living functions to material building blocks. For example, different bacteria could produce materials that heal themselves, sense and respond to external stimuli like pressure and temperature, or even light up. If nature can do it, living materials can be engineered to do it, too.

It also take less energy to produce living buildings than standard ones. Making and transporting todays building materials uses a lot of energy and emits a lot of CO2. For example, limestone is burned to make cement for concrete. Metals and sand are mined and melted to make steel and glass. The manufacture, transport and assembly ofbuilding materials account for 11% of global CO2 emissions.Cement production alone accounts for 8%. In contrast, some living materials, like our cyanobacteria bricks, could actually sequester CO2.

Teams of researchers from around the world are demonstrating the power and potential of engineered living materials at many scales, includingelectrically conductive biofilms,single-cell living catalystsfor polymerization reactions andliving photovoltaics. Researchers have madeliving masks that sense and communicate exposure to toxic chemicals. Researchers are also trying togrow and assemble bulk materialsfrom a genetically programmed single cell.

While single cells are often smaller than a micron in size one thousandth of a millimeter advances in biotechnology and 3D printing enable commercial production of living materials at the human scale.Ecovative, for example, grows foam-like materials using fungal mycelium.Biomasonproduces biocemented blocks and ceramic tiles using microorganisms. Although these products are rendered lifeless at the end of the manufacturing process, researchers from Delft University of Technology have devised a way toencapsulate and 3D-print living bacteria into multilayer structuresthat could emit light when they encounter certain chemicals.

The field of engineered living materials is in its infancy, and further research and development is needed to bridge the gap between laboratory research and commercial availability. Challenges include cost, testing, certification and scaling up production. Consumer acceptance is another issue. For example, the construction industry has a negative perception of living organisms. Think mold, mildew, spiders, ants and termites. Were hoping to shift that perception. Researchers working on living materials also need to address concerns about safety and biocontamination.

The National Science Foundation recently named engineered living materialsone of the countrys key research priorities. Synthetic biology and engineered living materials will play a critical role in tackling the challenges humans will face in the 2020s and beyond: climate change, disaster resilience, aging and overburdened infrastructure, and space exploration.

If humanity had a blank landscape, how would people build things? Knowing what scientists know now, Im certain that we would not burn limestone to make cement, mine ore to make steel or melt sand to make glass. Instead, I believe we would turn to biology to help us build and blur the boundaries between our built environment and the living, natural world.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Our NJ, PA, MD, DE Pest Control Solutions | Viking Pest …

Posted: at 12:48 am

Coronavirus Special Announcement

The number one priority at Viking Pest Control is to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers. We are diligently monitoring this evolving situation and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We have policies and procedures in place across our business to address issues that may arise during this outbreak and have educated our staff accordingly.

In the event we are unable to access the interior of your home or business, we will continue to provide protection to the exterior areas to proactively prevent pests from entering. Please understand our staff follows a strict confidentiality agreement should you need to contact us due to issues preventing service to the interior of your home or business.

The Viking Pest Team will be transitioning from an office setting to working from home. With this transition, there may be an interruption with our Care Center answering phone calls. At this time, Email may be the most effective form of communication. If you do not have a current email on file, please follow the instructions in the link below. The Viking Team thanks you in advance for your patience and understanding during this time.

Thank you for allowing our Viking Team to serve you.

Viking Pest is Open for Business

Viking would like to ensure all new and existing customers throughout our service region, Viking Pest is open and will continue to provide all residential and commercial customers with service, as Viking Pest is a provider of essential service.

Coronavirus FAQs

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Urban owls are losing their homes. So we’re 3D printing them new ones – The Conversation AU

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 5:55 am

Native to southeastern Australia, the powerful owl (Ninox strenua) is threatened and facing the prospect of homelessness.

These birds dont make nests they use large hollows in old, tall trees. But humans have been removing such trees in the bush and in cities, despite their ecological value.

Read more: To save these threatened seahorses, we built them 5-star underwater hotels

Owls are lured into cities by abundant prey, with each bird capturing hundreds of possums per year. But with nowhere to nest, they struggle to breed and their population is at risk of declining even further.

Conservationists tried to solve this problem by installing nesting boxes, but to no avail. A 2011 study in Victoria showed a pair of owls once used such a box, but only one of their two chicks survived. This is the only recorded instance of powerful-owl breeding in an artificial structure.

So as a team of designers and ecologists were finding a way to make artificial nests in urban areas more appealing to powerful owls. Surprisingly, the answer lies in termite mounds, augmented reality and 3D printing.

Nesting boxes arent very successful for many species. For example, many boxes installed along expanded highways fail to attract animals such as the squirrel glider, the superb parrot and the brown treecreeper. They also tend to disintegrate and become unusable after only a few years.

Read more: The plan to protect wildlife displaced by the Hume Highway has failed

Whats more, flaws in their design can lead to overheating, death from toxic fumes such as marine-plywood vapours, or babies unable to grow.

Designers and architects often use computer modelling to mimic nature in building designs, such as Beijings birds nest stadium.

But to use these skills to help wildlife, we need to understand what they want in a home. And for powerful owls, this means thinking outside the box.

At a minimum, owl nests must provide enough space to support a mother and two chicks, shelter the inhabitants from rain and heat, and have rough internal surfaces for scratching and climbing.

Traditionally, owls would find all such comforts in large, old, hollow-bearing trees, such as swamp or manna gums at least 150 years old. But a picture from Sydney photographer Ofer Levy, which showed an owl nesting in a tree-bound termite mound, made us realise there was another way.

Termite mounds in trees are oddly shaped, but they meet all necessary characteristics for successful breeding. This precedent suggests younger, healthier and more common trees can become potential nesting sites.

To design and create each termite-inspired nest, we first use lasers to model the shape of the target tree. A computer algorithm generates the structure fitting the owls requirements. Then, we divide the structure into interlocking blocks that can be conveniently manufactured.

To assemble the nests, we use augmented-reality headsets, overlaying images of digital models onto physical objects. It sounds like science-fiction, but holographic construction with augmented reality has become an efficient way to create new structures.

So far, weve used 3D-printed wood to build one nest at the University of Melbournes System Garden. Two more nests made from hemp concrete are on the trees in the city of Knox, near the Dandenong Ranges. And were exploring other materials such as earth or fungus.

These materials can be moulded to a unique fit, and as theyre lightweight, we can easily fix them onto trees.

We are still collecting and analysing the data, but early results are promising. Our nests have important advantages over both traditional nesting boxes and carved logs.

This is, in part, because our artificial nests maintain more stable internal temperatures than nesting boxes and are considerably easier to make and install than carved logs. In other words, our designs already look like a good alternative.

Read more: B&Bs for birds and bees: transform your garden or balcony into a wildlife haven

And while its too early to say if theyll attract owls, our nests have already been visited or occupied by other animals, such as rainbow lorikeets.

Imagine an ecologist, a park manager or even a local resident who wants to boost local biodiversity. In the not-too-distant future, they might select a target species and a suitable tree from an online database. An algorithm could customise their choice of an artificial-nest design to fit the target tree. Remote machines would manufacture the parts and the end user would put the structure together.

Such workflows are already being used in a variety of fields, such as the custom jewellery production and the preparation of dental crowns. It allows informed and automated reuse of scientific and technical knowledge, making advanced designs significantly more accessible.

Our techniques could be used to ease the housing crisis for a wide range of other sites and species, from fire-affected animals to critically endangered wildlife such as the swift parrot or Leadbeaters possum.

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Stonebriar Property Inspections Celebrates Its 2,000th Frisco Home Inspection – The News Front

Posted: at 5:54 am

Stonebriar Property Inspections, a leading North Texas home inspection company, is proud to have reached a major milestone after having performed its 2,000th home inspection in Frisco, Texasone of the fastest growing cities in the area.

Keith Boggs, professional home inspector and founder of Stonebriar Property Inspections, says, Were proud to have reached this major milestone by supporting the buyers, sellers, and realtors in Frisco. Weve established a firm foothold and solid reputation by delivering thorough, detailed inspections and reports and putting our customers first.

The City of Frisco estimates its current population at 183,896, with an expectation it will grow to 231,500 by 2030. Much of the continuing growth has been the result of large businesses moving to the Collin County area, with Toyota settling in Plano, The Dallas Cowboys in Frisco, and Raytheon in McKinney, to name just a few.

An influx of businesses and people, Friscos commuter-friendly location near major highways, and a wealth of land on which to build has led to lots of new housing construction, with nearly 5,000 residential building permits being issued in 2018, according to governing.com.

Rapid growth has led to a highly competitive housing market and an increase in new construction. Its also difficult to find experienced, professional contractors, making a home inspection critical even for a newly-built home, says Boggs. Any houseeven a new propertycan have underlying problems that may need immediate and expensive repairs.

He cites a few examples of defects his inspections have uncovered in new homes, including attic stairs installed backwards, rendering them unopenable; water leaks and damage that may have gone undetected for years. A home inspection performed by an experienced professional provides buyers the information they need to negotiate a fair price based on an understanding of the homes true condition.

Stonebriar Property Inspections offers the residents of North Texas a wide range of home inspection services for buyers and sellers, and demand has been steadily increasing during their 13 years in business, with home inspection Frisco engagements growing the most year over year.

Im honored to have established trust and long-lasting relationships in Frisco, says Boggs. We look forward to serving its residents and businesses for years to come.

Contact Stonebriar Property Inspections by calling (214) 923-7304, sending an email to [emailprotected], or visiting their website at http://www.stonebriarpropertyinspections.com.

Source:https://thenewsfront.com/stonebriar-property-inspections-celebrates-its-2000th-frisco-home-inspection/

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Stonebriar Property Inspections Celebrates Its 2,000th Frisco Home Inspection - The News Front

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Rescued pangolins assigned human walkers to help them find their feet again – Independent Online

Posted: at 5:51 am

By Sheree Bega 1h ago

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Shes felt your presence. Thats why she has gone into the thicket now, explains her dedicated walker, Gareth Thomas, keeping a keen, watchful eye on her. Pangolins are incredibly sensitive and intuitive.

It takes a few minutes for Corona to re-emerge, her long snout sniffing the moist ground as she continues her hunt for sugar ants.

Its their highly nutritious larvae that the young Temmincks , a solitary, reclusive species, is really after. Using her powerful front claws, Corona strikes gold: an ants nest. She slurps the larvae up with a tongue almost as long as her cat-sized body.

After a few moments of feasting, the pangolin moves off, ambling back up the hill, with Thomas constantly at her side.

Its here at this undisclosed location, a patch of grassland dotted with anthills and termite mounds, where the mammals, confiscated from the lucrative illicit trade, are brought every second day to roam for up to eight hours in guided and supported feeding by a team of devoted walkers.

The hospitalisation, specialist treatment and rehabilitation programme is run by the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, working in collaboration with the African Pangolin Working Group (APWG).

Corona, who was rescued in a sting operation in Midrand early last month, was named after the coronavirus, by the hospitals wildlife vet Dr Karin Lourens as she came in just as the virus broke.

Elusive and enigmatic, pangolins, which have existed for 85 million years, are the most heavily trafficked illegally traded mammals in the world.

Each year, thousands of the endangered creatures are killed, largely for their scales, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Their meat is consumed as a delicacy and symbol of wealth in China and Vietnam.

Last year, 97 tons of African pangolin scales, equating to over 150000 pangolins were intercepted, destined for Asia, says the APWG. All eight pangolin species, four in Africa and four in Asia, are on the brink of extinction.

As the little-known mammals feed exclusively on ants and termites, their natural diet is impossible to replicate in captive settings. Allowing pangolins like Corona to forage naturally is a vital part of her recovery and ultimate return to the wild.

They wont eat anything else, explains Lourens, raising an arm etched with a pangolin tattoo.

They dont eat in captivity. You cant just put a food bowl down for them. Once theyre rehydrated, you have to walk them to eat.

Thomas, who has put in around 300 hours walking pangolins in the past year, expertly scoops Corona up and they trudge back down the hill.

Most of the pangolins, for whatever reason, make their way uphill. Ill take her back down, and shell make her way back up and so it goes, he grins.

Once shes finished feeding, shell stop being so active on the ground and sniffing around and then shell start walking a lot more. You dont want her to walk too much because then she is burning off everything that she is eating.

The softly-spoken Thomas has been out with Corona since lunchtime.

While pangolins are primarily nocturnal, she is an early riser. As the sun blazes, he uses his shadow to protect her.

Rule number one of pangolin walking is dont lose the pangolin, he says, showing two green zip ties attached to her scales. At night, bicycle lights are attached to the zip ties so we can see them or they disappear in seconds.

Thomas smiles as he watches her feed. Its just unbelievable seeing her now, like this, after we pulled her out of that rucksack where shed been living in her own faeces for two weeks.

Sometimes, the rescued animals he has spent months walking, dont survive.

I remember one pangolin last year, whose claws had been ripped out by poachers. The pangolin couldnt dig in the hard mid-winter ground. I spent hours out here with a pitchfork trying to dig up ants.

Eventually, it would get to the point where the pangolin would sniff around and find the ants, look at me, and then Id start digging. Then it could eat.

After several months, the animal had to be euthanised as its front claws were not growing back.

Still, Thomas, a volunteer, says hell keep walking pangolins for as long as I can. When youre out here for four to six hours a day every day for two months, its inevitable that you form a bond. Its crazy to think these are wild animals. Theyre so forgiving and trusting.

Think about what those people (the poachers) did to them, but here theyll walk around freely and let you pick them up. You do get attached They sort of see you as their saviour because they know youre out here helping them.

Coronas poachers had likely trafficked her from Zimbabwe and kept her for two weeks until she was rescued. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she was weak and emaciated.

Pangolins retrieved from the trade spend days, or weeks without food or water, placing a massive strain on their systems that is difficult to recover from, explains Lourens, co-founder of the hospital.

They are treated at the hospital, but kept at a secret location to deter potential poachers.

How well they do depends how long theyve been in the trade - you cant fix two weeks of no food and water, she points out.

Sometimes theyve got underlying issues that we never know about unless they die and we do a post-mortem, adds Nicci Wright, wildlife rehabilitation specialist and the executive director of the APWG.

Theres a lot of trial and error as this is an unknown species. We are learning so much about them all the time.

We are saving 85% of them, which is a good success rate, says Lourens. We went from 50% to 80% with all the stuff weve learned over the past three years. It had to be a steep learning curve because theres been nobody to ask.

When a trafficked pangolin arrives at the hospital, its super stressed, says Wright. Its been in its little quiet kingdom, this very benign animal who is moving around eating ants, knows where all its food sources are and where the burrows are... Suddenly, all hell breaks loose. It gets picked up, put in a sack, poked and probed and moved around.

Lourens interjects: Sometimes, its just left in the sack, tied up and left in its own poo and pee.

By the time they come here, they really are stretched, they havent slept, havent eaten, adds Wright.

They cant sleep because theyre so terrified and in such a noisy environment. Theyre just terrified, everything is terrifying.

For the first two days, they sleep. They almost sort of realise we are not harming them, says Lourens.

Pangolin walkers cant be loud, smoke or yell. The pangolins suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and it reminds them of being trafficked.

The walking guides are expertly trained. They know how to handle them and can interpret their behaviour, adds Wright.

When Corona is returned to the wild in a protected area, she will be fitted with VHF and satellite telemetry tracking devices and monitored intensively for a year in a soft release programme.

The Saturday Star

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