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Firewood and heat values to keep winter cozy – Farmers Advance

Posted: December 7, 2021 at 1:57 am

Ned Birkey| Farmers Advance

Ned Birkey

EAST LANSING, MI. December is the first of three months of climatological winter. People who use firewood enjoy the heat, light and crackling sound produced by this renewable resource.

The denser and drier the firewood, the better it will burn and the more heat it can produce. Because of its density and comparatively low levels of sap or pitch, hardwoods generally make for better firewood than softwoods.

Homeowners should not burn green wood (freshly cut) that hasnt had a chance to dry out or season as this will create a lot of steam and smoke. For an inside fireplace, dont burn driftwood, which can be wet or construction wood, which may be treated with chemicals, contains nails, screws, glue or finishes.

One cord of wood with a high heat value, as measured in BTu (British Thermal units), will replace about 200 to 250 gallons of fuel oil. These wood species include (listed alphabetically); American beech, apple, ironwood, mesquite, red oak, shagbark hickory, sugar maple, white ash, white oak and yellow birch.

One cord of wood with a medium heat value will replace about 150 to 200 gallons of fuel oil. These wood species include; American elm, black cherry, Douglas fir, red maple, silver maple, tamarack and white birch.

One cord of wood with a low heat value will replace about 100 to 150 gallons of fuel oil. These wood species include: aspen, cottonwood, hemlock, lodgepole pine, red alder, redwood, sitka spruce, western red cedar and white pine.

The cord is a standard measure of volume used for stacked wood. The volume of one cord of wood is 128 cubic feet of stacked wood. Generally, a cord is laid out in stacks that measure four feet tall, four feet wide and eight feet long. Due to air space between the stacked wood, the volume of solid wood in a cord may be only 0 to 90 cubic feet. A face cord in generally four feet tall, two feet wide and eight feet long. A rick is generally four feet tall, eighteen inches wide and eight feet long. Some wood is simply sold as is to the stack.

Freshly cut wood contains up to fifty percent moisture and must be seasoned (dried) to 20 to 25 percent moisture before burning. Wood of higher moisture is wet, or green, and should never be burned in a fireplace or wood stove. If steam bubbles and hisses out of the end grain as the firewood heats up, the wood is wet.

Splitting wet wood is easier than dry wood. Wood must be split into pieces and stacked out of the rain for at least six months to season properly. It can be covered or leave the top pieces with the bark side up to repel the rain.

Buying firewood from local sources is recommended due to invasive species such as gypsy moth or Emerald ash borer. Wood should never be stacked inside the house or garage as termites or carpenter ants can hide in the wood and invade the house. Pine should seldom be used as firewood as it is a resinous softwood.

Wood ash is a readily available source of potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are three of the 17 nutrients needed by plants. It is also one way to quickly increase the soil pH as wood ash is water soluble and changes the soil pH rapidly. Apply roughly twice as much ash by weight as a soil test lime recommendation. A cord of wood will leave about 20 pounds of ashes, or about one five-gallon pail to apply per 1,000 square feet of garden, flower bed or other ornamental outdoor space annually without raising the pH unduly. Do not add ashes to acid loving plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas or holly.

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Mayor – News – December 2021 – The City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board Reports West Nile Infected Mosqui – City of New…

Posted: at 1:57 am

The City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board (NOMTRCB) reports that mosquitoes collected this week from Orleans Parish tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).WNV cycles between wild birds and mosquitoes and can be transmitted to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. The City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board (NOMTRCB) will conduct adult mosquito abatement tonight in the area bounded by Lakeshore Drive, Wisner Boulevard, Filmore Avenue and Canal Boulevard. The treatment will be conducted by truck from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., weather permitting.

We are asking that residents protect themselves from mosquito bites by limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn and mosquito-proofing homes by maintaining screens on windows and doors. If outside for long periods of time, especially at night, wear long-sleeve shirts and pants. Use insect repellents containing EPA-registered active ingredients, including DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. When using insect repellent, always follow the recommendations on the product label.

We also ask that residents remain vigilant in emptying water-filled containers around the home and yard to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Change water once per week in containers that cannot be removed, such as bird baths, sugar kettles, pools and ponds. It takes seven days for mosquitoes to grow from an egg to an adult, so it is important to inspect outdoor areas around the home every week. Remove trash and clutter, including tires, buckets, tarps and any other items that can collect water. Make sure swimming pools and fountains are functioning and that water is circulating. Call 311 or emailmosquitocontrol@nola.govto report dumped tires.

For additional information about West Nile virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:


Protecting Yourself

Protecting Your Home

Report Tires

Report Mosquito Issues

Residents are encouraged to contact NOMTRCB with any other questions or concerns regarding mosquitoes at (504) 658-2400

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @nolamosquito.

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Mayor - News - December 2021 - The City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board Reports West Nile Infected Mosqui - City of New...

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Wave of armadillos rolling into NC and may be here to stay; interactive map shows where theyve been spotted – WSPA 7News

Posted: November 20, 2021 at 1:51 am

(WGHP) A wave of armadillos known to travel through the southern United States has started moving into habitats further north, including North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

The NCWRC is asking anyone who sees an armadillo to report it.

If you spot an armadillo in the wild, you can upload and share any photos on the NC Armadillo Project, which launched in 2019.

As of Nov. 2021, 71 armadillos have been reported as part of the project.

The nine-banded armadillo is native to Central and South America and was first recorded in Texas in 1849.

The armadillos have since expanded their range north and east, crossing the Mississippi River sometime in the early 1940s, appearing in western Tennessee in 1980 and reaching North Carolina in 2007, according to the NCWRC.

"As of December 2020, we documented armadillos in 23 counties, stretching from Cherokee to Dare counties," said Colleen Olfenbuttel, a biologist who monitors armadillo expansion with the NCWRC. "We have had reports of armadillos in 57 counties, but cannot confirm all those reports due to lack of pictures or a carcass. And in at least four western counties, the population has become established based on evidence of breeding and young armadillos."

Researchers in NC believe the armadillos are moving into new areas like the Blue Ridge Mountains because of climate change.

Whether armadillos continue spreading beyond their current range will be largely determined by climate, Olfenbuttel said. Mild winter temperature conditions are good for armadillos. Since they lack thick insulation and must dig for most foods, freezing conditions can cause them to starve or freeze to death. However, North Carolina is experiencing fewer long stretches of below-freezing weather, which is allowing armadillos to expand northward.

The range that armadillos are found across the north and south is expected to increase as global temperatures continue to rise.

"We expect the armadillo to continue to naturally expand its range in North Carolina as their populations increase in North Carolina and in adjacent states," Olfenbuttel said.

Researchers say North Carolinians should not be concerned with armadillos in the state.

"While armadillos are often associated with leprosy, it is fairly uncommon and can easily be avoided by wearing gloves if you ... touch or handle an armadillo," Olfenbuttel. "The main issue we see with armadillos is the damage they can cause through their foraging behavior, as they will dig up gardens, flower beds, lawns, and golf courses to find insects, grubs, and earthworms.

Click here to learn more about armadillos in NC.

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An Artist Who Disavows the Possibility of Individual Agency – The New York Times

Posted: at 1:51 am

THE FIRST BRISK day in September found the conceptual artist Agnieszka Kurant perusing Thomas Edisons lesser-known inventions in West Orange, N.J. Waffle irons, mimeographs, movie cameras and batteries lined a long, creaking hall of the laboratory turned museum, but it was a blond doll in a blue dress that drew Kurants gaze. The doll reached forward, porcelain lips parted, as if to touch the artist on the other side of the glass. Equipped with a miniature phonograph in place of a heart, the antique toy once emitted nursery rhymes. Back then, to see and experience a talking doll must have been just completely uncanny and frightening, says Kurant. Its impossible, she says, for us to grasp how shocking the spectacle would have been for 19th-century consumers, now that the breakneck pace of technological discovery has numbed us to even the most startling innovations. But that is what Kurant seeks to conjure in her work: the eerie, uneasy wonder we used to feel toward progress that augured new ways of life.

Over the course of her career, Kurant, 43, has used electromagnetic fields to make stones float above their plinths and trained parrots to bark like dogs. She has released fake currency into circulation and printed heat-sensitive newspaper with disappearing stories based on a clairvoyants predictions. She has created maps of nonexistent islands, periodic tables of collective delusions and ersatz fossils using sped-up geological processes as a form of fiction writing. Works like these are calibrated to reset viewers perceptions of reality, to conjure experiences that, if only for a minute, make the rest of the world look suddenly suspect.

Kurant is fascinated by moments in which new developments the agricultural revolution, the invention of writing, the advent of electricity transform humanity, rewiring both individual brains and the collective unconscious. We are, she believes, living in such a moment, and her works give expression to the heady, ominous potential of our current evolution. Shes actually interested in how technology becomes magical to most of us, says Mary Ceruti, the executive director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, who organized Kurants breakout exhibition. Shes interrogating both how seductive the magical part of it is and how potentially sinister the invisible parts are. In an era when our digital selves are bought and sold, data mining has extended to our dreams, cellphones have practically become prostheses and algorithms determine whom we date, Kurant probes the uncertainties of the volatile present and unknowable future through projects that verge on scientific experiments. If technology is remaking individuals and society in ways we can barely articulate and certainly cannot predict, her projects examine the mechanisms driving these changes and where they may take us.

To create one of her best-known works, Kurant supplied termite colonies with unusual building materials: crystals, gold and neon sand. Over the course of several months, the insects produced a glittering suite of knobby spires in electric shades of blue, violet, yellow, orange and green. Kurant titled the 2014 piece A.A.I. (Artificial Artificial Intelligence), borrowing Jeff Bezos dubious term for the humans who perform microtasks, often for pennies and given little context regarding the projects they are helping to realize, on his online labor platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk. At its most basic level, the piece spotlighted the condition of workers more alienated from their product than Marx could have imagined, but it also spoke to the extent to which we have all become workers in a global digital factory, inadvertently generating profit for private corporations. The termites had no idea they were producing art for Kurant they were just doing what termites do. Humans may be slightly less oblivious, but we continue cranking out intangible capital simply by logging on and going about our everyday lives.

What distinguishes the piece, and the Polish-born artists practice in general, is the lack of dystopian hand-wringing in the face of technological change. Although she is disturbed by digital surveillance, dehumanizing forms of labor, environmental ruin and what she calls the assorted horrors of late capitalism, Kurant is equally excited by some of the developments she senses are underway along with an indictment of free enterprise, A.A.I. was also something of a celebration of collective creativity, a model of how the art of the future might be created by entire societies, not individuals.

KURANTS DRIVING PASSION is collective intelligence: phenomena in which vast numbers of independent agents cooperate to produce unpredictable, novel and complex behaviors. Collective intelligence is present in bacterial colonies, slime molds, human cities, online communities and artificial intelligence systems picture flocks of starlings wheeling through the air, thousands of male fireflies flashing in perfect unison to attract mates or social movements that coalesce on Twitter and erupt onto the streets. But could collective intelligence also become a form of artistic production? Culture, Kurant points out, was created collectively for thousands of years in the form of authorless myths and epics. The concept of the lone creative genius is a comparatively recent development and a tenuous one at that.

Im trying in my work, in various ways, to talk about the fact that theres no such thing as individual intelligence, just as theres no such a thing as an individual self, says Kurant. Billions of gut bacteria producing dopamine and other neurotransmitters impact our moods and thoughts and ultimately our behavior; computer algorithms shape our decision making, spending, research and love lives. So were hacked from the inside and from the outside, she continues. And basically, what is a human? Its a multitude of agencies. Its a polyphony. Its an assemblage of all these various types of agencies human, nonhuman, mineral, viral, bacterial and A.I.

Last spring, Kurant unveiled the first part of The End of Signature (2021-22), a colossal installation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Looping black lines composed of high-tech lights were designed to simulate the flow of ink scrawl across the facades of two new buildings, as though an invisible hand were repeatedly signing the walls. Kurant worked with computer scientists to create two collective signatures one for the scientific and academic community at M.I.T. and another for Cambridge residents by aggregating those of hundreds of individuals using artificial intelligence.

The work is a reminder that although we tend to credit individuals with key discoveries, scientific triumphs typically involve broad communities of collaborators, unseen technicians, rivals, peers, partners and patrons. Edison, for instance, may have patented the light bulb, but he was hardly the only person experimenting with electricity, as Kurant emphasized during our visit to his former laboratory. She is encouraged by the fact that Nobel Prizes are increasingly being awarded to teams, or even to multiple teams, instead of to single recipients. Textbooks, she believes, should be revised so students understand that discovery doesnt happen in a vacuum. I think that basically not only the history of culture but the history of humanity should be rewritten from this perspective, she says.

Fittingly, most of the projects Kurant undertakes are collaborations. She has worked with linguists, sociologists, neuroscientists, epigeneticists, economists, anthropologists and philosophers. This fall, Kurant won a grant from the Artists and Machine Intelligence department of Google to work with its computer scientists on a new project. She plans to produce a film, in which every detail will be determined by different forms of collective intelligence among them artificial society simulations used by sociologists to predict riots, ethnic conflicts, the growth of cults and new religions, as well as the spread of memes and viruses. Although Kurant signs her works as an individual, she sees her role as that of an impresario. I more or less just create a system that can produce something, or a program, she says. I create conditions for things to emerge.

Kurant possesses an encyclopedic mind and a laser focus. When shes really on a roll, she rarely pauses for breath. Ideas gallop forth as her small, expressive fingers pinch, squeeze and pull the air as though it were taffy. The average sentence unpacks itself like a set of Russian dolls, revealing others nested inside. During another recent excursion with the artist to see the collection of vintage automatons (the ancestors of modern robots) at New Jerseys Morris Museum, our driver missed the exit and made the bold, if questionable, decision to reverse 150 feet on I-78 instead of getting off at the next one. Tractor-trailers veered around us, honking wildly. Cars went careening past as we crawled backward against traffic. Eventually, deep in her discussion of the theories of the French philosopher Catherine Malabou, Kurant asked what was going on. I explained, clenching the leather seat. She cast a glance out the window at the would-be exit and murmured something about this all being a little dangerous. And then she picked up right where she had left off.

Kurants rhetorical style is arguably an extension of her views on authorship. The verbal deluge of interdisciplinary references, research and ideas serves to disintegrate her own identity within a sea of information and other thinkers. She wants to say that there is no she, says the curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, but to say that, she has to become a ghost. The irony, of course, is that the constellation of wide-ranging figures Kurant brings together could never exist without her.

KURANTS INTERESTS IN science and technology were hard-wired at an early age. Her parents were both electrical engineers, and together they founded a company producing a line of heat-resistant markers to label panels of electric, telecommunication, pneumatic and hydraulic cables. An only child, Kurant grew up playing with crayon-colored bits of plastic in their at-home workshop in Lodz, a former manufacturing city in central Poland. Real toys were scarce. Poland in the 80s was an extremely gray country, says Kurant. Communism was breaking down, and even basic goods were in short supply. But this was really good for imagination because we would just develop ideas and invent language games, she says. When Western merchandise trickled in through back channels, children would trade the vibrant candy wrappers and barter the broken nibs of colored pencils. Kids would turn anything into a currency because there was a shortage of everything, she says. These ad hoc systems of value and collective fictions have remained for her a constant muse.

When Kurant was a teenager, relatives visiting from Brazil took her to the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw. It was only there, surrounded by broken headstones defaced with swastikas, that she learned her mothers family was Jewish. Her grandparents survived the Holocaust hidden as workers in a pots and pans factory. Kurant, who was raised Catholic, discovered that she only knew them by the pseudonyms they had adopted during the war. Her dual heritage has fueled her attraction to hybrid objects and sharpened her radar for the missing parts of history.

Kurant studied philosophy and art history at the University of Lodz and, at the urging of her more practical parents, also studied photography at the Lodz Film School. She had no ambitions to become an artist she thought she might write essays or criticism; her interest in bringing together multidisciplinary ideas prompted her to apply to the creative curating program at Goldsmiths College in London, where she moved in 2002. There, she had the opportunity to meet with a number of curators, including perhaps the worlds only celebrity curator, Hans Ulrich Obrist. The artistic director of Londons Serpentine Galleries, he is known for the broad range of people from Rem Koolhaas to Yoko Ono who populate his professional and personal lives, and included Kurants work in his latest book. The thing I remember most from that meeting is that incredible connection to knowledge, says Obrist, who locates Kurant in an artistic lineage descended from Nam June Paik, a new-media pioneer who believed that art can liberate or activate the poetic dimensions of technology.

As a young curator, Kurant dreamed up experimental projects: an exhibition inside a film, an exhibition as parasite that would take over its host museum. Her ideas prompted some discerning onlookers to suggest she might be an artist herself, but Kurant demurred. I didnt think I had anything in me original to say that other people would like to see, she says. That changed in 2004 when Kurant came to New York for the International Studio & Curatorial Program, a Brooklyn-based residency for artists and curators. One day, when the artists opened their studios to the public, Kurant did the same. Inside, she had created a mercurial exhibition of artworks reproduced in special pigment that would only appear in UV light. The art dealer Yvon Lambert invited her to restage the exhibition in his New York gallery not as a curatorial gesture but as an artwork in its own right. The installation went up in 2005, melting away and reappearing with the sun.

Eventually, no longer able to support herself, Kurant moved back to Poland. She stayed there for the next five years, trying to figure out who she was as an artist. She had few studio visits and made a living teaching French and English. By the time her mother was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, the future seemed inexorably bleak. Then, Kurants friend the architect Aleksandra Wasilkowska suggested that they submit a proposal for the Polish Pavilion of the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale. Together, they won the competition and transformed the pavilion into a charged space for physical daring and psychological release. A scaffold composed of bird cages loomed above a sea of fog; visitors were invited to jump off, into the void. There was a mattress just below the swirling mist and the drop was only a few feet down, but it was impossible to know that from above.

The piece offered what Kurant calls a cathartic, purifying leap into the unknown people left the pavilion laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time but it also testified to a collective need for risk. Where does elimination of risk lead us? Nowhere good, says Kurant, who continues to produce wry critiques of risk management in her work. To err is not only human but essential to innovation, she argues, pointing out that we owe aspirin, X-rays and Viagra to accidents. Without the aberrations of mutant genes, evolution could not occur and our species would not even exist.

A 2011 residency at Location One, a now-defunct New York arts nonprofit, brought Kurant back to the United States and into contact with some of her first major supporters: the arts patron Thea Westreich Wagner, Guggenheim curators who eventually invited Kurant to install an early version of The End of Signature on the white spiral facade of the museum and, later, Ceruti, who curated her first solo show at the SculptureCenter in Long Island City, Queens, in 2013. For that shows focal point, the film Cutaways, Kurant imagined encounters between characters who had been cut from the final versions of famous films, persuading Charlotte Rampling, Abe Vigoda and Dick Miller to reprise characters that were cut from Vanishing Point (1971), The Conversation (1974) and Pulp Fiction (1994), respectively. The short script, which Kurant co-wrote with her husband, the artist and writer John Menick, has the three meet through a series of coincidences and converse in an auto parts junkyard. (Walter Murch, the film editor for The Conversation, was a close collaborator on the project.) Ceruti remembers being stunned by the intellect, charisma and outright determination with which Kurant persuaded these cinema heavyweights to participate in the film (which was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art earlier this year), as well as by the artists grander objectives. She has ambitions to make major contributions to the way we understand ourselves, and to how we categorize and organize knowledge, says Ceruti.

KURANTS PRACTICE IS an ode to instability. Materials shift; categories bleed together; hybrid objects metamorphose in alchemical limbo. The artists medium changes with nearly every project, but the one constant uniting her most recent creations is their fugitive nature.

Crowd Crystal, the artists current solo exhibition at the Italian museum Castello di Rivoli in Turin, includes new examples of Kurants Conversions paintings, begun in 2019, which have no fixed state or appearance. Clouds of blue pulse within seas of acid green, only to be cannibalized by swells of burnt orange. To create the paintings, the artist worked with various scientists to develop pigment made of liquid crystals substances that morph and realign themselves in response to thermal and electrical signals and to design an algorithm that mines emotional data from members of protest movements on Twitter. The program translates expressions of rage, joy, sadness and grief into heat signals, and the paintings transform in direct response to the ebbs and tides of social movements. The works are therefore effectively authorless, and their hallucinatory swirls of color impossible to predict.

Although the Conversions sometimes resemble holograms or digital screens in reproduction, their physical reality is far more complex they have granular, textured surfaces and seem to defy everything one knows about how matter behaves. Whats it like to stand in front of one? In a word, weird, says Christov-Bakargiev, who compared the experience to being in a dream rife with contradictions. The indeterminacy of the paintings extends to Kurants practice as a whole. I think the essence of her work is that there is no essence, says Christov-Bakargiev, who notes that Kurants solo exhibitions often resemble group shows with multiple artists. Theres no stability in her oeuvre so that you can say, This is what she does, this is who she is. Some artists define their legacies through sustained inquiry into a single medium or subject, but the strength of Kurants practice may be her lack of focus.

Another new piece in the exhibition, Adjacent Possible, consists of pseudoprehistoric rock paintings inspired by two recent paleontological revelations. Scientists studying extraordinarily vivid examples of ancient cave art in Australia discovered that the original pigments used by early humans contained bacteria and fungi that have been preserving them ever since, keeping the paintings fresh for thousands of years by consuming the pigments and replacing them. I really love this idea of pigments that are perpetually evolving and [that] we kind of needed these nonhumans, the bacteria and the fungi, to understand something about humanity, says Kurant. The project also takes the geometric symbols found on cavern walls across Europe painted zigzags, spirals and clusters of dots as a point of departure. For decades, paleontologists have examined the images of wild beasts, such as the bulls that parade across the famous Chauvet Cave in France, ignoring the abstract markings that often outnumber the animals. Working with Genevieve von Petzinger, the first paleontologist to focus on these symbols, which also include ladders, hatches and curves, and the computational social scientists F. LeRon Shults and Justin E. Lane, Kurant has used A.I. to create a suite of similar symbols and painted them on stone using bacterial prehistoric pigment. Kurant is fascinated by the way in which these geometric elements have been overlooked, their dismissal a case study encapsulating the biases of all sorts of scientific disciplines. Its important, she says, to remember how much evidence is just ignored.

History, Kurant often observes in her work, is as mutable as the pictures created by liquid crystals and fraught with blind spots. To write is to edit, and any account represents a slender facet of the staggering, unwieldy whole. Writing about anyone else, I might not have mentioned the following for the sake of a tidy narrative, but I make this confession in light of Kurants love of cutaway pieces: Our successful visit to Edisons former laboratory in West Orange was a second attempt. The first time we tried to go, Kurant and I punched Edisons name into a smartphone and allowed ourselves to be squired to the first appropriate-sounding place the ride-hailing app suggested. We ended up at the Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park. Edison did once have a laboratory there, but it had burned down over 100 years ago. And so we found ourselves stranded at a bizarre memorial on a sweltering summer day, staring up at an absurdly tall, inescapably phallic tower capped with a giant light bulb.

Well, we can look at the plaques, Kurant said brightly. We read a few brass panels extolling Edisons singular genius in purple prose. Edison, though, described himself and his work in terms that may sound familiar: I am not an individual I am an aggregate of cells, as, for instance, New York City is an aggregate of individuals, he once said. Kurant is not a fan of Edison; she stresses that her interest in him has more to do with the social transformation he helped bring about than the man himself. Still, I cant help but think they would have gotten along.

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An Artist Who Disavows the Possibility of Individual Agency - The New York Times

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Are Cheap Old Houses Really Bargains? Beware of These Hidden Pitfalls and Traps – GOBankingRates

Posted: at 1:51 am

Thanks to HGTV, everyone knows to use words like character and phrases like good bones when discussing the dream of buying a cheap but grand old house for a bargain, and then they can add a little TLC and make it a home all their own.

Read:Craziest Things That Kill Your Homes ValueHome Improvement:20 Home Renovations That Will Hurt Your Homes Value

A little TLC is where the reality check usually comes in.

Although there is no universally agreed-upon age when a house becomes old, generally, old homes were built at least 50 years ago. Houses built 100 years ago or more are commonly referred to as heritage, antique, century or historic homes, although that last designation usually requires an important person to have lived there or something important to have happened there.

Either way, the charm, character and history of old and antique houses have a way of masking the story behind the tantalizingly low asking price. Yesteryear building materials can be dangerous and hard to remove, and old homes were built under old housing codes that often fall short of the standards of life in the modern era.

Lead and asbestos are among the most common and most dangerous of all the building materials that were standard in the 20th century but are now recognized as potentially deadly hazards. According to Old House Online, nearly nine out of 10 homes built before 1940 contain lead paint, and the substance wasnt banned until 1978. Lead, a toxin that affects the nervous system, was also once commonly found in plumbing pipes.

Asbestos a group of fibrous minerals prized for their heat resistance was used in everything from roof shingles and insulation to vinyl and linoleum floors. Its use in building materials has now mostly been banned because it was linked to cancer.

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Left alone, lead and asbestos arent harmful, but when building materials fail or are disturbed through renovations, or when lead paint peels or chips, they can become airborne or otherwise easy to ingest. Even in small quantities, lead can cause nerve and brain damage in children or lead to horrible birth defects if ingested by pregnant women. Breathing in even small quantities of particulate matter from airborne asbestos can cause cancer.

Identifying and removing either of these hazards is intrusive, expensive specialty work that you cannot DIY. The average cost of removing lead paint, according to HomeAdvisor, is between $1,557 and $5,309. Asbestos removal costs $1,159 to $2,993.

Old houses come with old plumbing, and a burst pipe can quickly cause widespread water damage that can cost thousands of dollars to repair tens of thousands, in really bad cases and even render the home uninhabitable until the damage is fixed.

Even if a pipe doesnt burst, old homes often require re-plumbing for reasons that are less dramatic or obvious. According to Bonney Plumbing, Heating and Air, houses built in the 1960s and earlier were often fitted with pipes that were galvanized to extend their useful life an excellent idea at the time that has since proven to be a mistake.

Find Out:Here Are 34 Tips To Make Household Items Last

Over the decades, water flow corrodes the inside of galvanized pipes, causing deposits of iron and other minerals to separate from the zinc. These metal deposits settle, accumulate, block the flow and reduce water pressure. Those same metal deposits can harden water and leave a residue and discoloration. But most importantly, metal deposits particularly when they contain lead can lead to a number of long-term health problems.

Sprawling, home-wide plumbing repairs are not cheap. If youre forced to replumb an old house, you can expect to spend between $1,500 to $15,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

About 51,000 home electrical fires kill more than 500 people, injure more than 1,400 and cause more than $1.3 billion in property damage every year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Electrical distribution systems are the No. 3 leading cause of all home fires.

Unless they were consistently upgraded over the years, old homes come with old wiring and old electrical systems.

According to Wire Chief Electric, old wires degrade and break down over time, as does the insulation theyre wrapped in. They can be chewed by mice, struck by errant nails hammered into walls, or become wet with water damage. Cloth-insulated wiring, common in homes built from the 1950s-1970s, is now considered a fire hazard but is still very common in older homes. Even more primitive and dangerous is knob-and-tube wiring, which is still found in some heritage homes.

Old homes were often wired for lower amperage than todays power-hungry houses, which can lead to dangerous overloads. Also, older homes often have outdated electrical designs or poorly modified wiring that was installed before todays strict standards were codified in the modern era.

If you buy an old house only to find that it needs to be rewired, you can expect to pay $12,000-$20,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

When touring heritage houses, newbies often chalk up things like swollen floors and buckling wood as part of the aging homes unique character.

In reality, its probably termite damage.

There is a long list of reasons that older homes are more susceptible to damage from termites and other destructive insects, including older building materials and building standards, natural settling and the breakdown or absence of protections designed to keep pests out.

While ecologically important, termites can destroy entire homes and its easy for their presence to go unnoticed until its too late. Over time, they can compromise the structural integrity of the entire house.

Repairing and replacing carpentry framing damaged by termites can cost thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, according to HomeAdvisor.

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Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.

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Are Cheap Old Houses Really Bargains? Beware of These Hidden Pitfalls and Traps - GOBankingRates

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Tampa homebuyer asks state to investigate realtor for contradicting inspections, undisclosed termites – WFLA

Posted: at 1:50 am

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) A pair of termite inspections offered opposite assessments for a Tampa home, and a disgruntled homebuyer claims the results from the first one were never disclosed.

The second inspection of the split-level on East Osborne Avenue was conducted by unlicensed exterminator Jose Joe Mendoza, who is now facing four felonies connected to falsified and forged wood-destroying organism (WDO) reports.

Realtor Laura Keyes, her broker Dalton Wade and the home seller Darlene Allen are being sued by Jonah Huggins, who bought the home for his family in April.

Huggins, an Army veteran who recently served in Afghanistan, has also filed a complaint against Keyes with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, alleging she committed fraud.

Our game plan was to get married, go on our honeymoon, come here and start our family and everything was going to be perfect, Huggins said. Problem with it is after a couple of days, termites started swarming from everywhere.

There are contradicting inspections tied to the property.

One from January indicated visible evidence of wood-destroying insects. Shortly after that inspection, a deal to buy the home fell through. A home inspection from that failed sale also stated there were signs of termites in the attic.

Another report from April indicated no visible signs of termites.

Records show Keyes was the sellers realtor during both inspections and requested the second one that was conducted by Mendoza.

In his lawsuit, Huggins claims the termite issue was never disclosed. When asked why that wasnt disclosed, Keyes was silent before driving away.

According to the Mendoza arrest warrant, text messages showed that Mendoza worked multiple other jobs for Keyes, including the home Huggins bought. According to a court document, Keyes said she did not know Mendoza was not licensed.

Huggins attorney Alex Mindrup alleges the sellers and Keyes purposely concealed the termite issue.

They know if they disclose, theyre not going to be able to sell it for more or even be able to necessarily sell it, Mindrup said.

Keyes, Wade and Allen deny the allegations in their response to Huggins lawsuit and have filed a motion to dismiss. Huggins is seeking damages and has asked the court to order the seller to buy the home back from him.

In addition to the claims about the termite issues, Huggins also alleges the seller did not disclose the bottom floor of the home was connected to a failed septic system. According to Huggins, connecting the home to the city sewerage system has cost close to $20,000.

Defense attorney Shawn M. Yesner said in an email, given that this litigation is currently pending, I am unable to comment further.

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Pest Control Murfreesboro | Termites | Bed Bugs | Mold …

Posted: November 6, 2021 at 2:15 am

Ameri Care Services, offers a complimentary evaluation of your home or businesses. Our exterminators will inspect for signs of bugs or other pests and then offer you a plan to help you get rid of them. We offer ourpest controlandexterminatorservices inNashville, Murfreesboro, Mt. Juliet and Franklin TN. Call one of our expert trained technicians to schedule your FREE evaluation today.

Mold can grow inside or outside of your home and requires damp, wet conditions. Mold spores are similar to pollen in that they travel through the air and degrade the air quality in your home and can cause allergy symptoms and other major health disorders. Mold inside your home creates a major health and safety problem for you and your family.

Damages from termites can progress undetected in exposed wood because oftentimes the outer surface of the wood can be left intact. Signs of a termite infestation most often takes the eye of a trained termite control specialist. If you suspect your home or business has termites dont delay contacting Ameri Care Services for a termite inspection.

Ameri Care Services specializes in all types of basement and crawl space moisture problems. We have the products and experience no matter your problem to find the best solution to solve your crawl space issues. Call the professionals at Ameri Care Services for a FREE estimate!

If you have bed bugs then call the professionals at Ameri Care Service to schedule your bed bug inspection today! Call or email us today if you live in the Nashville, Murfreesboro, Mt. Juliet or Franklin area.

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How to Prevent Termites: Prevention Checklist | Terminix

Posted: at 2:15 am

Termite prevention checklist

The following are some recommended practices that you can use to help prevent termites from invading your home. However, this list is not comprehensive. Every house is unique and it's always advisable to consult a termite control professional for the best and most effective ways to help prevent and treat termite infestations.

Most common termites across the U.S. are subterranean, making areas of contact between wood and soil in crawl spaces and other areas underneath your home a key entry point. Dr. Michael Potter, Entomologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, suggests the following as effective methods to aid in termite prevention:

While we all love having plants near our homes. Some plants can provide a pathway for termites. Plants can also make it harder to notice if termites are attacking your wood siding or exploiting cracks in your home's foundation. To better protect your foundation, Potter also recommends:

Termites love moisture, which can often exist in the foundation and crawl space of your home. To keep termites away, take the following steps recommended by the University of Minnesota to help keep these areas dry:

Termites eat the cellulose in wood and other paper products. Taking these steps to cut off access to their food sources can help make your home less attractive to termites.

Different materials like wood, metal, concrete and PVC shrink and expand at different rates over time. This settling process may lead to cracks and gaps that create other points of entry for termites. Because termites can enter a structure through a space as small as 1/32nd of an inch, you should seal these gaps when you notice them appearing. To help keep termites from entering your home:

During the early spring, flying termites may swarm to establish new colonies. These tips can help keep termites from swarming into your home:

While using this checklist can help with termite protection, it's always a good idea to have your home annually inspected by a trained termite professional. They should be able to locate points of access that aren't immediately apparent or identify early signs of infestation in your home.

Concerned about termites? The termite control professionals at Terminix know how to check for termites and can provide you with a strategy to help remove infestations and keep termites from finding their way into your home. Get started today with a free initial termite inspection.

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Battling Wood Rot & Termites With Borate – Old House …

Posted: at 2:15 am

When the 1827 Dominguez Rancho Adobe in Carson, California, was expanded from kitchen quarters to a comfortable six-room house and chapel, the builders placed wood beams next to the ground, leaving them prone to undermining.

Heres how borate might work in practice. At the 175-year-old Dominguez Rancho Adobe in Carson, California, termites had infested veranda pillars, ceiling beams, and floor beams. A no-no in todays construction, the wood in this section of the six-room rancho was in contact with the ground. The original floor was 46 beams covered with 1x oak boards that sat on earth, says Andre Ocampo, vice president of South Shore Exterminating in Huntington Beach, California. A lot of it had subterranean termites, and it was starting to buckle. As the contractors replaced damaged flooring, we treated the beams with borate products.

The new section of the house had been built over a crawl space, and the crew was able to apply a borate product (Tim-bor) to the floor joists. The crew used the same treatment in the attic on the buildings original rafters that were infested with termites. On the exterior sill plates, where wood was damp, and on some damp floor joists, they applied another borate solution (Bora-Care).

We did the treatment a year and a half ago, and theres no sign of new infestation or rot, Ocampo says. Our next project is one Im really excited about. Were going to treat all the wood at Mission San Juan Capistrano. One of the advantages of borate is that it allows homeowners to keep on top of termite infestations or incipient rot without having to use toxic substances. Borate is nonrestricted, which means anyone can use it.

Its important to know which product to use and how to apply it. To treat an entire house, youll probably want to hire a trained operator who has the equipment and know-how to apply the product correctly. For a small infestation or a follow-up treatment, you could do the work yourself.

To halt damage from termites and wood rot, David Ocampo of South Shore Exterminating treated the floor joists of the Adobe with the borate product, Bora-Care.

If you find an infestation of termites in a door or windowsill, for instance, you could inject a concentrated borate gel (such as JECTA) into small, pre-drilled holes. You dont have to strip the paint first. The borate will diffuse under the paint film and begin protection immediately, even if the wood is wet. Gel is also good for protecting the bottoms of posts, which are subject more to rot than termites, as long as theres no ground contact.

Lets say the unpainted risers beneath the back porch steps show signs of wood rot. A glycol-borate mix might be the best bet. Checks and weathering in unpainted wood actually improve penetration. If the wood is wet to the core, the borate moves toward the moisture.

If you want to reduce the risk of swarming termites in your attic, you can have the attic rafters, joists, and sheathing treated. The same goes for basements. As long as the sill plates and band joists havent been painted, liquid borate will provide protection.

You cant lose with borate because its relatively inexpensive. The cost is $95 to $120 per gallon, and you can treat about 800 board feet of wood, the equivalent of 150 2x4s, 8 long, or the average amount of lumber in an unfinished basement.

If your house is built with balloon framing, you may be able to finesse a paint brush up into the wall cavity by working from the basement. The ideal is to protect all wood within 3 of ground level. Even so, you should be able to brush or spray liquid borate on the band joists and mud sill. Outdoors, use a garden sprayer and treat the foundation wall and bottom of the siding. Dont go overboard because borate is a nonselective herbicide and toxic to plants.

Borate has proved practical for spraying or brushing on heavy timbers in historic structures, from log buildings to totem poles. (Photo: Richard Sexton)

In a heavy-timber building, such as a log cabin, the volume of preservative required is greater than the surface spraying that will protect a normal homes 2x framing. Treatments that can be brushed on or sprayed (Tim-bor, PeneTreat, Armor-Guard, or Shell-Guard) are the least expensive option, but for maximum penetration of wood that is already showing signs of rot or infestation, you might be better off with the glycol-treatment. Glycol makes the borate soak into dry wood more effectively, and glycol seems to make logs more resistant to termites. This was the treatment the National Park Service chose for totem poles in Alaska. Initially it darkened the wood, but after a few days the glycol volatilized, and the wood returned to its normal color.

Because the ends of logs absorb moisture, its a good idea to provide an extra dose of medicine beyond brushing or spraying borate. Inserting rods made from concentrated, fused borate (IMPEL Rods) will spread fungicide through the woods fibers when the moisture content rises above 30 percent the level at which decayed fungi become active. The borate protection remains in place even if the wood dries out, and it becomes active again if the moisture level rises.

With precautions, borate treatment can even protect wood in contact with the ground. The key is to provide an ongoing source of borate to replenish any that leaches out, to reduce or eliminate any source of oxygen (which is necessary for decay), and to protect the wood from water. One method is to paint gel on the surface of the post and wrap the post in plastic before putting it in the ground. The plastic cuts off the supply of oxygen and will retard wood rot even if water does reach the post. (Plastic made for this purpose is sold by borate suppliers.) Last, top the post with a zinc or copper cap to prevent water from entering.

Because borate follows moisture, its particularly effective against subterranean termites. The insects mud tubes are moist, and the borate goes right to them. The bad news is that if the wood dries out, the borate dries, and it rises to the woods surface where it can be washed off by rain. (It may also diffuse into the soil if theres ground contact.) Thats why its important to keep the wood that youve treated from getting wet.

Ambient moisture isnt a problem. Borate can go through unlimited cycles of wetting and drying as long as the moisture remains on the surface of the wood and isnt washed off. In attics it should last indefinitely. Even log homes generally have enough of an overhang to prevent borate from washing away with rain, but if you treat a shake or shingle roof with borate, make sure to follow up with a water repellent. The water repellent and borate product must be compatible. Some glycol-containing products may keep the water repellent from drying properly. Check with suppliers before buying, or do a patch test. (Make sure to wait until the glycol is dry before you apply the repellent.)

The termite problem is so severe in the South and Hawaii that youll find the future of borate in borate-treated lumber. Two companies that make borate-treated lumber products have retooled nine of their 200 factories, but in the next few years the availability of these materials will spread. Advance Guard dimension lumber is treated with sodium borate, and SmartGuard sheathing, siding, and cellulose insulation is treated with zinc borate, a form of the salt that doesnt diffuse as easily as others. This zinc borate also functions as a flame retardant. Costs run about 30 percent higher than comparable building products.

While youre waiting for the new borate goodies, you can always resort to the old dip-treat method. Set up a section of gutter or a bathtub for the borate solution, then immerse the lumber for three to five minutes. Leave the wood soaking for a week, and the chemicals will penetrate 1 or more, but youll have to contend with warping or raised grain. If youre making a repair after borate treatment, remember that borate is a salt, and for your carpentry to last with the wood, you must always use galvanized or stainless steel nails never aluminum or uncoated nails.

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NATURE: The Elephant and the Termite – KPBS

Posted: at 2:15 am

Premieres Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at 8 p.m. & Sunday, Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV + Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On Demand

In arid regions across southern Kenya, the waterhole, created by elephants and termites, is central to life. It is where animals visit to drink and where some creatures are born and die. Every visit is charged with tension; a waterhole is the perfect place for predators to wait in ambush. That is the traditional view, but there is an entire community of creatures that call the waterhole home, many of whom live at an elephants toenail height such as frogs, dung beetles and chameleons.

Preview of NATURE: The Elephant and the Termite

NATURE "The Elephant and the Termite" tells the remarkable story of the relationship between Africas largest and smallest and the unique wildlife community they support. Peabody Award-winning filmmakers Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone (NATURE "The Queen of Trees") and their small, dedicated team spent two years of their lives camped out at a waterhole in Kenya to record life at Africas great wildlife meeting place.

The Fish That Breathes Air

Buzzworthy Moments:

Tiny Dung Beetle Ping-Pongs Up Termite Mound

Featured Creatures:

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Bull elephant in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya with oryx in the background.

Courtesy of Deeble & Stone / Waterhole Films Ltd

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Baby elephants cannot suck up water with their trunks after they are born. This takes some time to master, during which they have to kneel or crouch to drink. Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Courtesy of Deeble & Stone / Waterhole Films Ltd.

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A typical waterhole with a family of elephants around it in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Courtesy of Deeble & Stone / Waterhole Films Ltd

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A termite mound next to a waterhole. The mounds clay manufactured by termites provides nutrients for elephants. A waterhole is excavated by elephants as they eat the clay, and the hole is also enlarged by them when they lather on sticky mud created from clay after rain. Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Courtesy of Deeble & Stone / Waterhole Films Ltd.

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A troop of baboons drinks at the waterhole. They take turns to drink as others keep watch for predators. Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Courtesy of Deeble & Stone / Waterhole Films Ltd.

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Yellow billed storks have one of the fastest reactions in the animal kingdom when closing their beaks. They fish by probing the water with their beaks open and snapping up anything they sense (seen catching lungfish). Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Courtesy of Deeble & Stone / Waterhole Films Ltd.

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Directors Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone. Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Courtesy of Mia Collis / Wild Inspiration Ltd.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Nature is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.

Small Bird Narrowly Escapes Eagle's Clutches

Join The Conversation:

NATURE is on Facebook, and you can follow @PBSNature on Twitter. #NaturePBS


A film by Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone. A Deeble, Stone & Oliff production with The WNET Group in co-production with Terra Mater Factual Studios in association with NHK. The film is directed by Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone. Etienne Oliff is assistant director and Victoria Stone is producer. Written by Mark Deeble and narrated by Noma Dumezweni. NATURE is a production of The WNET Group for PBS. For NATURE: Fred Kaufman is executive producer, Bill Murphy is series producer and Janet Hess is series editor.

NATURE: The Elephant and the Termite - KPBS

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