Washington State Entomologists Working to Eradicate Invasive Murder Hornets and Gypsy Moths

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, an insect known as the “Murder Hornet” has been spotted in the United States.

Entomologists in Washington state have spotted them in at least two areas.

Native to Asia, the Asian Giant Hornet is a staggering two inches long and can deliver nasty, painful stings that can cause death in humans. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times and an attack releases pheromones that attract other hornets to come attack as well.

In Japan, dozens of people die of stings every year.

But the hornet is not on a mission to attack people. Scientists say that only happens when they’re provoked, or if an unlucky hiker nears their nest. What’s more terrifying is that the “Murder Hornet” does kill bees. Some reports show that the nasty bug rips off the heads of honeybees.

Honeybees are threatened and their population is declining world-wide. Now, scientists are working to get a grip on any predator that could decimate their numbers even more.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking anyone in the public to report sightings immediately.

The department has been busy this season, as reports began to surface that invasive Gypsy Moths had also descended on the Pacific Northwest. The bug is a major threat to local crops.

The moths can fly long distances and defoliate trees and shrubs. That process weakens them and makes them more susceptible to disease.

It’s such a problem that Washington state governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in May, saying that there is “imminent danger of an infestation…[which] seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries…and threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents.”

Newsweek reports that Washington state will drop more than 655 gallons of insecticide “to coincide with the Gypsy Moth caterpillar’s emergence in the spring.”

Entomologists in Washington will begin a trapping process to control the hornet’s queen population, as well.


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Journalists Discover Tennessee Officials Distributed Facemasks Treated with Dangerous Pesticide

Many pesticides come with a long warning label, advising customers and applicators to take caution when handling them. Touching, swallowing or inhaling the chemical compounds could have serious health consequences.

Now, Hamilton County Health Department officials in Tennessee are back tracking after investigative journalists discovered that they were giving out face masks treated with the chemical Silvadur.

Reporters at NewsChannel5 in Nashville uncovered documents from the Environmental Protection Agency that state that the product is, in fact, very “harmful if inhaled,” and people should “avoid breathing vapor or spray mist.”

The product is also toxic to fish.

Health officials were giving out the treated masks for free, and the covering was marketed as a “non-toxic silver antimicrobial.”

Dupont manufactures the pesticide, and says silver is a known antimicrobial agent.

“[Silver] has been shown to have a very broad spectrum of activity. Silver ions are extremely effective at controlling the growth of both Gram + and Gram – bacteria. With the controlled release of silver ions found only in the SILVADUR™ antimicrobial polymer system, all bacteria and fungi are extremely susceptible to this technology.”

NewsChannel5 says the state contracted with a North Carolina manufacturer to buy 5 million of them and they had plans to give them out at regular intervals.

WRCBtv obtained a statement from the Hamilton County Health Department, and a representative said “only trace amounts of Silvadur are applied to the fabric and that amount will continually diminish with each wash. Until more data is made available…the public is asked to refrain from using and distributing the masks.”

NewsChannel 5 interviewed a board member of Beyond Pesticides, who shared his skepticism about the face mask product.

"I wouldn't wear one,” said Dr. Warren Porter. "Nobody wants to breathe in COVID, but I wouldn't want to be breathing in something that I also knew could be poisoning my body in a relatively short period of time and might be having multi-year effects on my health."


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3 Self-Defense Summer Reads

"What would you do if..." 

If you're anything like me, you tend to think ahead, running scenarios in your mind about how you would handle any given situation, good or bad. I do this when I'm waiting at the doctor's office, driving along a long stretch of highway or during any other relatively mindless activity. It's entertainment for me as well as a means of preparing for "the unthinkable" as recommended in the personal protection and self-defense training I've taken.

I've learned through self-defense training that the more you imagine yourself working through various scenarios in your mind, the better prepared you will be should they happen in real life. Your brain tends to "click" into gear, and your reaction time is faster, allowing valuable seconds to act and escape danger when it's had the opportunity to "rehearse".

The following books are highly recommended by Personal Safety & Self Defense instructor Preston L. Taylor.  Preston Taylor  (aka “PT”) is a police officer with over 20+ years of experience and a vast knowledge of personal protection and self-defense.

Within his course, he mentions the benefits of reading three books. Add them to your list of must-reads, to prepare for the unthinkable.  I'd say it's a "win-win" situation, you can never be too prepared.

 

#1. The Gift Of Fear - Gavin deBecker

True fear is a gift. Unwarranted fear is a curse. Learn how to tell the difference.

A date won't take "no" for an answer. The new nanny gives a mother an uneasy feeling. A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers unsolicited help. The threat of violence surrounds us every day. But we can protect ourselves, by learning to trust—and act on—our gut instincts.

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including, how to act when approached by a stranger, when you should fear someone close to you, what to do if you are being stalked, how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls, the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person, and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life. Amazon

 

#2. Survivors Club - Ben Sherwood

Which is the safest seat on an airplane? Where is the best place to have a heart attack? Why does religious observance add years to your life? How can birthdays be hazardous to your health? 

Each second of the day, someone in America faces a crisis, whether it's a car accident, violent crime, serious illness, or financial trouble. Given the inevitability of adversity, we all wonder: Who beats the odds and who surrenders? Why do some people bound back and others give up? How can I become the kind of person who survives and thrives?

The fascinating, hopeful answers to these questions are found in THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, this book reveals the hidden side of survival by combining astonishing true stories, gripping scientific research, and the author's adventures inside the U.S. military's elite survival schools and the government's airplane crash evacuation course.

With THE SURVIVORS CLUB, you can also discover your own Survivor IQ through a powerful Internet-based test called the Survivor Profiler. Developed exclusively for this book, the test analyzes your personality and generates a customized report on your top survivor strengths.

There is no escaping life's inevitable struggles. But THE SURVIVORS CLUB can give you an edge when adversity strikes.  Amazon

 

#3. The Unthinkable - Amanda Ripley

Discover how human beings react to danger–and what makes the difference between life and death

Today, nine out of ten Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow, some of us will have to make split-second choices to save ourselves and our families. How will we react? What will it feel like? Will we be heroes or victims?

In her quest to answer these questions, award-winning journalist Amanda Ripley traces human responses to some of recent history’s epic disasters, from the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917–one of the biggest explosions before the invention of the atomic bomb–to the journeys of the 15,000 people who found their way out of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. To understand the science behind the stories, Ripley turns to leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts. She even has her own brain examined by military researchers and experiences, through realistic simulations, what it might be like to survive a plane crash into the ocean or to escape a raging fire.

Ripley comes back with precious wisdom about the surprising humanity of crowds, the elegance of the brain’s fear circuits, and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses. Most unexpectedly, she discovers the brain’s ability to do much, much better–with just a little help.  Amazon


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3 Myths We All Believe

There are 3 myths we tend to believe when it comes to safety.

Myth #1. There are people whose job it is to protect me.

Know this, government alone cannot and will not keep you safe. A police officer will not be right around the corner in your time of need.

Myth #2. Nobody really pays attention to me or notices me.

Believe it or not, you are always being observed.  It doesn't matter if you are not attractive, overweight or old.  Assaults happen to anyone regardless of age, maturity or physical attributes. Regardless of your personal self-image, you are at risk of attack. It could be the sound of your voice, the fragrance you wear, your demeanor any number of things could be a trigger that attracts a would-be attacker.

Myth #3. Nothing has ever happened here, and nothing has ever happened to anyone I know. 

Things that "never happen", happen somewhere all of the time (complacency kills!) Fear is a necessary evil, just don’t let it control you.
You cannot rely on the fact that you live in a very safe area, you need to be prepared. You don't want to be afraid, but you must be aware and prepared for any situation.

 

How others see you will dictate how they respond to you.

  • Walk with purpose; chin up, direct eye contact (especially you ladies)
  • Appear confident yet approachable
  • Keep your appearance neat and tidy
  • Remain orderly; hands-free focused and persistent
  • Stay organized: ensure anyone you deal with realizes you are clear and methodical in your planning

Be prepared for the unexpected!  Learn this and more in our extremely popular Personal Safety and Self Defense course.  Instructor “PT” Taylor (with over 20 years experience as a law enforcement officer) will teach you the skills you need to learn to keep yourself safe at work and at play. The skills learned in this course can also be applied to the workplace. In fact, we’ve combined this course into our curriculum for Real Estate Professionals. To find this course for your industry, visit Certified Training Institute, then choose your industry and state.


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Trust Me, You Are Going To Want An ECD!

What would you do if you found yourself in a situation where you needed to defend yourself against an attacker?  Would you be prepared to fight or would you flounder? If you're like me, you've already visualized various scenarios and how you'd handle them. Look in your car or purse, do you have the means to thwart an attack if necessary?  Have you thought about getting a Stun Gun?  Trust me, you're going to want an ECD!  While a stun gun may not be for everyone, I'm going to tell you just about everything you need to know to help you make the right decision for you. 
 
What is a Stun Gun?
A Stun Gun (also known as an Electronic Conducting Device (ECD) is an electrical self-defense device designed to use high voltage to stop an attacker. There are metal prongs located at the tip which send an electric shock that quickly immobilizes the attacker. Stun guns are designed to key into the nervous system and send high pulse frequencies that stimulate the muscles to work very rapidly, but not efficiently. It depletes blood sugar by converting it to lactic acid within seconds, resulting in energy loss and difficulty of movement. The
 attacker becomes disoriented and confused, they are rendered passive for several minutes, allowing you precious time to escape. Just in case you were wondering, there is no significant effect on the heart or other vital organs. 
  

 

How long does it take to immobilize a would-be attacker?

  • One-half second of contact will repel and startle an attacker, causing pain and muscle contraction. He will usually let go at this point allowing you to run away.
  • One to two seconds can cause muscle spasms and a dazed mental state.
  • Over three seconds can cause loss of balance and muscle control, mental confusion, and disorientation. (Keep in mind that 3 seconds is an awfully long time when you are in a physical struggle.)

 

Will I get shocked if my attacker is touching me when I use it?

No, you will not get shocked, even if you and your attacker are wet or standing in water.

 

Will it still shock my attacker through a shirt or jeans?

Yes, they are designed to be effective even if used in an area that is covered by fabric. 

Do I need a special license or permit to own a Stun Gun?
It would be a good idea to investigate whether or not there are any restrictions in your State, for example, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, and Hawaii are states where they are restricted.  Check with your local police department. 
 
If I have Pepper Spray and a Stun Gun, can I use both at the same time?
It is not recommended to use both. Pepper spray is highly flammable, and there is a chance of setting the assailant on fire. 
 
What type of device is right for me?
There are dozens of options when choosing your device. Stun Guns come in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as voltage options. They can be disguised as a lipstick, flashlight, cell phone, canes and walking sticks to name just a few. Just do a Google search and you'll have no trouble finding the one that suits your particular needs. 

Once you've purchased the Stun Gun of your dreams, here is a 3 step lesson on how to use it.

  • Lesson One: have the weapon out and in your hand in any situation where you could be an easy target. I'm not saying to walk around Wal-Mart with a stun gun in your hand while you shop, but criminals look for easy targets or opportunities. If you're walking through the mall parking lot, a parking garage or alone, in general, you're a pretty easy target. If you're walking in these same areas with a weapon in your hand, the criminal is going to find someone else. Nobody wants a huge scene when they're trying to rob, attack or rape you.

 

  • Lesson Two: if you are attacked, pick a large muscle group to stun. The chest, the stomach, obviously the groin, the thighs and the back are ideal places to stun an attacker. These large muscle groups will bring down an attacker very quickly. Now, you don't have all day to make a decision, so if the face or neck is the closest body part you can reach, well, then it's just not his lucky day. Also, the longer you hold it on someone, the longer and more effective the stunning will be. One to two seconds will get their attention. Three to five seconds will get their attention, most likely drop them to the ground and leave them confused.

 

  • Lesson Three: take quick but detailed mental notes of the attacker and then RUN! Go get help immediately. If you've stunned the guy long enough to drop him to the ground, chances are it'll take some time for him to run off. And even if he does, you should have some details to give to the police. Oh and be sure to even call the police. Some people figure that if the guy runs off, it's too late. It's not. The guy with a few screws loose that just attacked you will do it again. And if you don't report it, then we can't warn others. And the next person may not be as prepared as you.    https://www.tbotech.com/stun-gun.htm

 

Now that you've learned a thing or two about stun guns, I hope you never find it necessary to use one.  Always be aware of your surroundings, educate yourself by taking a class on Personal Safety and Self Defense.   Always trust your instincts, if your gut tells you something isn't right, get out quickly.


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Running in the Dark

Running is great exercise. It will increase your endurance, build muscle, strengthen the heart, and even improve your overall mood. Many of us can only find the time in our busy schedules to exercise in the early morning, or in the late evening. If you find yourself going for a run in the dark here are a few tips to make it safer.

  • Start with your gear. Following the rules of the road may not be enough for the traffic to see you. Consider wearing a reflective vest, or headlamp. You can find them at many safety supply stores.
  • Keep it quiet. As nice as it is to listen to your headphones while out on your run, this is not safe. Make sure you can hear everything going on. If you absolutely need some type of noise, try wearing only one earbud and keep it turned down. This way you can still hear the noises around you.
  • Carry your phone and ID. This is a great habit to get into even when not running in the dark. Having your phone is nice if you want to track your progress, or just need directions if you take a wrong turn. The most important reason to carry your phone is to call for help if you ever feel unsafe.
  • Lastly, always run with a buddy. Not only will you feel safer. You have someone to pass the time with, and help you in (space) case of an accident or injury. Running with a buddy will also help keep you motivated.

Not everyone can have a running buddy. If you must run alone, you should still have a sense of security. No one ever wants to be in a position where they need to defend themselves against an attacker. Take our online Personal Safety and Self Defense class today. This 4-hour course is designed to provide important safety tips and precautions for personal safety. The Instructor Preston Taylor has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years, is a Police Academy Instructor, and a Defensive Tactics Instructor for over 15 years.  You can feel safer today.


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States Are Banning Electric Weapons for Self-Defense

The CEO of TASER International estimated that 70% of C2 Taser purchases were made by women. Despite their popularity for self-defense, five states and several localities have banned all electric weapons. These laws have a lasting and serious impact on women. Women who chose to continue carrying electronic devices as a means of protecting themselves can face jail time or large fines as punishment. For example, Jamie Caetano of Massachusetts was given a stun gun after an ex-boyfriend hospitalized her. When he returned she brandished the weapon and it worked to scare him away. Several months later Caetano was shopping and the store she was in was robbed. When police arrived, they searched everyone on the premises and charged Caetano for carrying the electric weapon. 

Caetano took her case to the supreme court and ultimately all charges against her were dropped but the Massachusetts law banning electronic weapons remains. Massachusetts argues that stun guns are not protected by second amendment rights because they were not in existence at the time of the constitution. However, electronic weapons are often safer than their early American counterparts.


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Does Your Company Have Your Best Interest In Mind?

There have been a number of assaults on Real Estate professionals reported on our nations news networks.  One such incident regarding a female real estate agent Beverly Carter is still making headlines. 

Carter was abducted and killed in 2014 after meeting a couple (Aaron Lewis and Crystal Lowery) who arranged a fake tour. The couple is currently incarcerated and serving 30 years and life sentences.

The victims family is suing her employer stating in a lawsuit document that “Crye-Leike was well aware of the life-threatening dangers Mrs. Carter faced in the real estate industry and had the duty to provide Mrs. Carter with the necessary tools, guidance, skills, information, awareness, consulting, training, support and technology to keep her safe. Defendants failed in this regard, and as a result, Mrs. Carter's life ended much too soon.”

While most companies have employee safety and welfare at the forefront of their minds, some safety aspects are often overlooked.  The Real Estate Industry has its share of hidden dangers and opportunities where an agents safety is compromised.

Certified training institute offers an online Personal Safety and Self Defense training program to help prepare you and your staff for the unthinkable. 

Course instructor Preston L. Taylor “PT” is a police officer with over 20 years of experience, and is extremely knowledgeable in the realm of personal protection and self-defense.

This online course offers self-defense tactics from the stand-up position utilizing gross motor skill (easy but effective) techniques as well as ground defense and ground avoidance (rape prevention) tactics which can be used anywhere in any situation. You will also learn to be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers.

Certified Training Institute also offers corporate discounts. Not only will you learn lifesaving skills, you can also claim course credits toward your state required continuing education.  Don’t wait until another agent falls victim to foul play, Be Prepared, Be Safe! Sign up today.

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Professional Fighter Teaches Self-Defense in Uganda

Professional MMA fighter, D'Juan Owens is teaching self-defense to men, women, and children in Uganda through his organization Fighting for Uganda. Owens has had extensive self-defense training not only as a mixed-martial-artist but also, as a veteran of the Marine Corps.

Owens chose to go to Uganda because sexual assault is prevalent and there are little consequences for perpetrators. During his first trip to Uganda Owens taught self-defense, grappling, and MMA seminars in schools, community centers, gyms, and a few private venues. The focus of these seminars is often on grappling. According to Owens, this is the most important form of martial art. Grappling can make up for weight disparities, allowing the victim to neutralize an attacker to get away.  After the physical portion of Owens' seminars, he leads group discussions about situational awareness, domestic violence, and common misconceptions of assault.

Owens hopes his training will help Ugandans avoid danger and build self-confidence. 


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This Week’s Course Spotlight: Personal Safety and Self Defense

Real Estate Training Institute is proud to share our featured course of the week! Our 4-hour Personal Safety and Self Defense course is taught by instructor Preston Taylor. Part of a Realtors job is to meet strangers in isolated locations at odd hours of the day. They put themselves at risk every day (without realizing it) by doing “everyday” tasks that may seem harmless.

Personal Safety and Self Defense

This course is designed to provide important safety tips and precautions for personal safety in the workplace. This is especially true for real estate professionals as they are very often in situations that expose them to unknown situations, with unknown persons. It is important to understand the legal environment surrounding self-defense and the physical limitations that can be a factor for each individual. There are key “Rules of Engagement” that help those who work with the public to recognize and avoid dangerous situations. If a confrontation does occur, the instructor outlines and demonstrates the best and most practical ways to respond to and reduce potential harm. This program offers self-defense techniques from the stand-up position using easy and effective gross motor skills, to ground defense and ground avoidance (rape prevention).

This course covers 5 main topics:

Legal Environment: This section covers your legal rights, what you can and cannot do in a situation. You do have the right to defend yourself against an assault. A common sense approach to self-defense is that avoidance is one of the best ways to insure your safety.

Physical Limitations: This section covers the 11 rules of engagement as well as what happens to our body, without our consent, when suddenly attacked. Freeze, Flight, or Fight.

Safety Is Your Responsibility: This section covers the importance of the three R’s: Recognize, Respond, and Reduce.

Safety and Real Estate Showings: This section covers the importance and awareness of liability for the client, the Realtor, and material items in the home.

Self Defense Tactics: This section covers three methods of defense when force is the last resort.

About the InstructorPreston Taylor personal safety instructor profile picture

Personal Safety and Self Defense instructor, Preston Taylor (PT) has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years, He is a Sergeant for the Grand Traverse County Sheriff Department. He has been a Police Academy Instructor, and a Defensive Tactics Instructor for over 15 years. Preston Taylor has also been a speaker/trainer for the National Association of Realtors and the Michigan Association of Realtors. Outside of working as a Sergeant, Preston Taylor is an instructor with the Grand Traverse Personal Protection. He works to facilitate comprehensive Women’s Self Defense Programs and has established all training programs and conduct training sessions to women through individual and group lessons; i.e., private setting, offices, through organizations, at health clubs, etc.

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