Live Cockroaches Found in Koto Japanese Steakhouse

Friday afternoon, the Department of Health put a notice on the door of Koto Japanese Steak House & Sushi that it was closed for a pest issue.

A guest at Koto saw three live cockroaches while dining at the sushi bar and filed a complaint with the Department of Health on Tuesday. The complaint stated that one cockroach was on the wall behind the sushi grill, another was on the counter of the bar and one ran in front of the guest’s plate on the bar.

Upon inspection, officials with the Dept. of Health saw a live cockroach on an electrical box in the kitchen and at least five dead cockroaches in preparation areas. There was also a dead cockroach found in a glass sitting on a counter.

According to a previous pest control report filed on Nov. 21st, there was cockroach activity throughout the establishment then as well.

Koto must remain closed until the following is completed and the Dept. of Health approves it to operate:

1) Have pest control service establishment and provide a copy of the service report to the health department at re-inspection.

2) Clean up all live and dead pests throughout establishment.

3) Clean up food debris throughout establishment.

4) Seal back door so that no daylight is visible. Repair wall baseboard at sushi bar under hand sink.

5) Eliminate any sources of water throughout the establishment. Repair leaks and sinks.

Chicago Pest Control Reviews | Best Chicago Pest Control Company

“Smithereen is professional, affordable, and overall a great company to interact with. There website is full of information about their services and easy to figure out. I had difficulty finding info about other pest control companies online like no website or phone number listed. You can easily request an inspection online and someone will get back to you.” – Branda

Best Chicago Pest Control

Best Chicago Pest Control

January Cold and Bugs

– National Pest Management Association

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Once my lips stopped shivering this morning, I sang the Baby it’s Cold Outside song all the way to work. As the car thermostat read a mere five degrees, it was only fitting. I suppose those who live in Chicago or the Dakotas may try and tell me I had it easy. I will gladly let them win the “we had it worse contest,” but regardless, cold is cold! Since everyone of late is writing about the freezing temperatures, I thought it would be appropriate to chime in with a perspective on what the unusually cold weather might mean in regard to bugs. In general, they don’t like this cold weather very much and a winter like this can only hurt insect populations. However, entomophobes – no rejoicing for you just yet.

Insects are equipped to avoid the bitter cold by migrating, entering houses and other structures, and burrowing below the freezing depth. Or, they can tolerate freezing temperatures by producing a substance similar to antifreeze, entering “diapause” (an overwintering like state) or by burrowing into leaf litter and soil. Their innate coping and adaptation skills are truly admirable and amazing. Believe it or not, many insects are able to withstand temperatures well below zero degrees. Invasive insects, however, may be more susceptible to death due to freezing depending on where they originated; emerald ash borer populations, for example, are believed to be greatly affected by Minnesota weather.

So the crystal ball question for those squeamish of spiders and insects has been “will this cold make bugs go away”? Answer: We aren’t sure. Generally, cold winters produce lower insect numbers than mild winters, but it is not 100% certain. It’s really the freeze-thaw cycles that are most determining for insect populations as the freezing causes ice crystals to form, which expands and ruptures cells. The more times this occurs, the greater the likelihood of severe damage or death. Gradually decreasing temperatures makes survival more likely. Hard freezes kill many insects, especially in southern states (perhaps due to rarity of this kind of weather and lack of snow cover). Extended freezes can potentially reach insects farther below ground and harm them. Snow cover insulates some overwintering insects and protects them from the extreme temperatures we have been experiencing across the country.

So, I guess we will just have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for us and the bugs throughout the rest of the winter season. Only time will tell.

*A special thank you to Dr. Bennett Jordan for his insight into this topic.

View Comments

Bed Bugs: Facts, Bites and Infestation

Bed Bugs: Facts, Bites and Infestation

By Megan Gannon
A bed bug nymph in the process of ingesting a blood meal.

About the size of an apple seed, bed bugs lurk in cracks and crevices and feed on human blood. Though they don’t transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites leave itchy and unsightly bites. Once bed bugs take up residence in homes and businesses, they can be difficult to exterminate without professional help.

Appearance, lifestyle and habits

Bed bugs are flat, round and reddish brown, around a quarter-inch (7 millimeters) in length. The ones that typically plague humans are the species Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. The insects can be found around the world, but they have been spreading especially quickly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The creatures don’t have wings and they can’t fly or jump. But their narrow body shape and ability to live for months without food make them ready stowaways and squatters. The creatures can easily hide in the seams and folds of luggage, bags and clothes. They also take shelter behind wallpaper and inside bedding, box springs and furniture. The ones that feed on people can crawl over 100 feet (30 meters) in a night, but typically creep within 8 feet (2.4 m) of the spot its human hosts sleep, according to the CDC.

Bed bugs reproduce by a gruesome a strategy appropriately named “traumatic insemination,” in which the male stabs the female’s abdomen and injects sperm into the wound. During their life cycle, females can lay more than 200 eggs, which hatch and go through five immature “nymph” stages before reaching their adult form, molting after each phase.

Bed bug bites

Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans (though some species have a taste for other mammals and birds, too) by inserting a sharp proboscis, or beak, into the victim’s skin. The critters become engorged with blood in about 10 minutes, which fills them up for days.

The insects are most active at night, though not exclusively nocturnal. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth, moisture and the carbon dioxide released from warm-blooded animals, according to Purdue University. On sleeping human hosts, bed bugs often bite exposed areas of the body, such as the face, neck, arms and hands.

Bed bug bites are small, red, itchy and typically arranged in a row or cluster. Some people, however, have little visible reaction to the insects’ nibbling and may not notice their home has been invaded until they actually see the insects.

The bites themselves don’t pose any health risk, since bed bugs are not known to spread diseases, but an allergic reaction to the bites may require medical attention, CDC officials say. Excessively scratching the itchy, bitten areas also may increase the chance of a secondary skin infection. Antiseptic creams or lotions can be used to ward off infection and antihistamine can be used to treat the itching. And an infestation can take a psychological toll on those affected: People whose homes have been infested with bed bugs may have trouble sleeping for fear of being bitten in the night.

Infestation and treatment

Bed bugs often invade new areas after being carried there by clothing, luggage, furniture or bedding. The creatures don’t discriminate between dirty and clean homes, which means even luxury hotels can be susceptible to bed bugs. The most at-risk places tend to be crowded lodgings with high occupant turnover, such as dormitories, apartment complexes, hotels and homeless shelters.

Getting rid of clutter may help to reduce the number of hiding places for bed bugs, but according to the CDC, the best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.

You should look for traces of the insects in the folds of your mattresses, box springs and other places where they are likely to hide. Besides the bugs themselves, other signs of their presence include the light brown empty exoskeleton shells that they shed after molting and the small, rust-colored spots from the blood-filled droppings they leave on mattress and furniture.

If you suspect an infestation, experts recommend finding a professional exterminator who has experience dealing with bed bugs. Sprayed insecticides are commonly used to treat infestations, and exterminators may also use nonchemical methods, such as devices to heat a room above 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), a lethal temperature for bed bugs, according to the Mayo Clinic. You may have to throw out heavily infested mattresses and other items of furniture.

Looking for a career?

Current Job Openings

Smithereen is searching for qualified candidates for the following positions:

Operations Manager
Do you enjoy working closely with customers and leading a service team? Do you have experience setting budgets and goals and then developing a plan to execute your objectives? Do you enjoy finding solutions to challenging problems? Smithereen’s Operation Manager position maybe a good fit for you.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Commercial Technician
Are you looking to advance your career and experience while serving many of Chicago’s landmark companies. Are you a highly motivated worker who takes pride in his or her work? Do you have experience controlling and solving pest problems in sensitive locations? If so you may be qualified to join the Smithereen service team as IPM Commercial Technician.

Account Manager
Are you a motivated person? Are you organized and professional? Do you understand how to listen and form creative solutions to complicated problems? Are you able to effectively prospect, account plan, and close new business? Then apply to join Smithereen’s growing sales team.

Service Manager
If you are a service oriented and organized leader? Then service management may be the career for you. The service management position is fast paced and ranges from dealing with some of Smithereen’s top clients to managing many of the key costs within the organization.

Pest Control Technician
Smithereen is currently hiring in the fields of Bird Abatement, Wildlife Control, General Pest Control and Bed Bug Technician. Smithereen offers a complete training program at these entry level positions.

Smithereen Pest Management is an equal opportunity employer. We offer a full range of quality benefits to full time employees.

Apply online today!

Thermal remediation bed bug control services

Thermal remediation bed bug control services:
1. Apply Heat. Electric bed bug heaters are placed within the space; introducing and recirculating heated air with a target temperature not to exceed 135°F for the controlled application of heat.

2. Monitor. Temperatures are monitored in real time from a remote location using wireless sensors to ensure lethal temperatures are reached without damaging the space and its contents.

3. Move Air. High temperature fans move heated air throughout the space to reach insects in cracks and crevices or high infestation zones.

How Locusts Learn to Be Part of a Swarm

A strange thing happens when desert locusts get crowded together. They undergo a Jekyll and Hyde transformation.

In their solitary phase, locusts are unassuming insects. Their brown-green bodies are camouflaged to blend into the background and they walk slowly with a low, creeping gait. They generally avoid other locusts unless they are mating — or if they are forced together by food shortage. When this happens, the crowding of solitary locusts together induces a change. The insects transform into what’s known as their gregarious phase. Gregarious locusts are colorful, move faster, and are attracted to other locusts. It is in this phase that locusts form the oppressive swarms that can blacken the skies and decimate crops.

The solitary and gregarious phases differ in their looks, behavior, and life history, but do they also differ in their learning and memory capabilities? The learning and memory capabilities of animals are often adapted to their particular ecology and life history. This could be problematic, however, for an animal like the locust in which adults can transform from one phase to another; memories that are adaptive for a solitary lifestyle may not serve the insect in its gregarious way of life.

Tasteful Memories

Patrício Simões, Jeremy Nivens, and Swidbert Ott decided to investigate how locusts learn and what they remember . They used an associative training technique: First, they paired an odor (like lemon or vanilla) with another stimulus (like food). Then they presented the learned odor and another odor at the two ends of a Y-shaped maze and recorded which arm of the maze the locust chose to walk down.

When an odor was paired with a food reward, all the locusts, regardless of phase, were able to learn the association. But the researchers found a difference between the phases when an odor was paired with a toxic food. Solitary locusts learned this association right away, avoiding the odor associated with the toxic food on the first test. Gregarious locusts did not avoid the odor until several hours later.

Simões, Nivens, and Ott repeated the experiment with solitary locusts that had been crowded for 24 hours, and so were in the early stages of the gregarization process. These locusts were able to learn the positive association between an odor and food, but they showed no aversion to the odor paired with the toxic food at any time point tested. Their ability to form an aversive memory was blocked completely. And this failure in learning was specific to the aversive association, not reflective of a general impairment in learning.

The researchers hypothesize the delay in aversive learning in gregarious locusts is a consequence of the different ways in which the two phases form aversive memories. “We think that faster aversive learning is mediated by taste,” says Jeremy Niven. “The solitary locusts taste the bitter compound in the food and form an aversive memory. On the other hand, the gregarious locusts bypass the taste and only form aversive memories when they have ingested a toxic compound, and it’s this need to ingest the compound that causes the delay.”

This difference seems to relate to the different lifestyles of solitary and gregarious locusts. The solitary locusts dislike the taste of bitter compounds. The ability to quickly form aversive associations should help solitary locusts avoid ingesting toxins. But in their gregarious phase, locusts actually seek out some plants containing bitter compounds to make themselves distasteful to predators. In this case, the lack of a rapid, taste-mediated aversion to bitter compounds helps the gregarious locusts eat the bitter plants they need to defend themselves. Recently crowded locusts, the ones in the early stages of gregarization, seem to lack the ability to form aversive associations altogether. This allows them to eat greater amounts of bitter compounds without forming aversive memories.

A Plague of Learning Locusts

Finally, the researchers looked at how this might work with the real-world case of hyoscyamine (HSC), a toxic alkaloid found in some plants native to the locusts’ habitat. Solitary locusts avoid plants containing HSC, but gregarious locusts prefer them and seek them out. In tests, solitary locusts avoided an odor associated with HSC, whereas gregarious and recently crowded locusts tended to approach it.

This seems like it would pose a problem for a solitary locust that learns to associate an odor with food containing HSC but then undergoes gregarization. As a gregarious locust, it would need to seek out and eat plants containing HSC. What mechanism allows these locusts to start to eat the toxins they need?

Simões, Nivens, and Ott took solitary locusts that learned an aversive association between HSC and an odor, crowded them to induce gregarization, and then exposed them to the odor-HSC pairing a second time. When tested in the Y-maze, these locusts no longer avoided the odor paired with HSC. This demonstrates that recently crowded locusts can update their memories upon re-exposure to the same stimulus. The experience of crowding alone transforms a further exposure to the odor-toxin pairing from an aversive experience to a positive experience that overrides their previously formed aversive memory. “This provides the means for the solitary locusts to switch their memories, helping them to adopt a new gregarious life history,” says Niven.

The crowded conditions that induce gregarization in locusts also produce an intense competition for food. Gregarious locusts eat all available plants in their path, but they preferentially eat plants with toxic compounds to become unpalatable to predators. Simple learning mechanisms, combined with hunger and competition for food, allow locusts undergoing gregarization to update and override previously formed aversive memories when they are re-exposed to the same stimuli. They effectively retrain themselves: locusts driven to hunger by overcrowding eat the plants containing HSC. But during gregarization, aversive memory formation is blocked. So they form a new, positive association with the odor they previously association with an aversive toxin.

“We think the mechanisms we’ve uncovered provide a means for the solitary locusts to be able to change phase and still behave appropriately,” Nivens says. They allow solitary locusts to make a complete transformation — in looks, behavior, and learning — to become part of a ravenous swarm.