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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7 Personal Safety Tips For Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Professionals, in particular, need to be cautious of their surroundings.  Especially during an open house or private showing.  You can't avoid showing your clients their dream home, but there are certain precautions you need to take to ensure your safety.  Here are 7 personal safety tips to keep in mind during your next open house or showing.

  1. Arrive to your destination early and become familiar with the home and its surroundings.  Is it in a populated subdivision or in the woods or country setting where cell service is spotty?  Check various areas where cell phone coverage might be limited. This is good to know in case you need to make an emergency call for help.
  2. When parking your vehicle, be cognizant of exits and potential escape routes.  Always get in the habit of backing into a parking spot nearest the entrance. Avoid areas where your vehicle might become blocked.
  3. When your client arrives, ask them to allow you to go up to the house to make sure that the entrance was secured properly.  Once you've determined that the area is safe for entry, and checked your phone for a strong signal, you can direct your clients to enter the home.
  4. Clients should always be walking ahead of you. Direct them to where you want them to go and remain in a position where you are able to escape quickly should the need arise.
  5. Try your best to create opportunities where direct access to your person is obstructed. If you are showing a kitchen and there is an island or peninsula feature, remain on the side closest to your point of exit while the client is on the other. Never sit beside the client on a couch, but rather sit across from them while discussing buyer-seller negotiations or other paperwork.
  6. When showing the property, keep your dialogue with the client real estate specific.  Avoid personal conversation and details of your personal activities, schedules etc.
  7. Take a moment during your tour to mentally assess how this showing is going.  If you have a gut reaction that something is not right, it probably isn't and you should listen to your inner instincts.  If you have any concerns at all, take action. Grab your cell phone and check for signal strength. If the signal was clearer outdoors by your car, excuse yourself and politely explain that you need to call the office. Call another realtor to the location or cut the showing short and leave immediately. Usually, if the cell signal is not strong, the homeowners will have a landline phone.  Pick up the phone and call your office, using your predesignated signal or code phrase to alert someone that things are not right at this showing.

These are just a few of the many valuable skills you will learn when taking Certified Training Institutes Personal Safety and Self Defense 4 Hour CE Course. Real Estate Professionals, learn valuable safety skills and meet your continuing education requirements at the same time. Be prepared for the unexpected, visit Real Estate Training Institute, choose your State and take this class today!


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Safety and Real Estate Showings

There are many factors that can influence a seller’s judgment when selling a home, and safety may not be a top priority. Real Estate Agents, remind your sellers that total strangers will have access to their home! Before you show the home, they need to safeguard their personal information, take care of valuables, and eliminate any clues criminals may be looking for.

Picking a Hiding Spot

Get creative! Under the mattress, dresser drawers, and the freezer are NOT sufficient. You should have a safe for firearms, documents, and valuables, but remember it is an indicator of valuables. Don’t think the bad guys won’t notice what's in your closet or basement!

Liability

Ask your client to direct all inquiries to you for the safety of the property.

  • Do not show the home on your own.
  • Do not meet with anybody about the home; they may not be who they represent themselves to be.
  • Do not divulge information about the house.
  • Remove pets before a showing.
  • Be sure the house is empty before entering the house.

Realtor Liability

  • What if a viewer gets injured? 
  • What if you forget to lock up, and the home is burglarized? 
  • What if something is damaged or broken?

Each state has different laws, familiarize yourself!

During the Open House

  • Have a sign-in/sign-out sheet.
  • Ask questions to determine legitimacy.
  • Keep an eye on browsers.
  • Never provide information about the current owners.
  • Check all rooms for lingerers.
  • What will you do if you find someone?
  • Lock up! People may be waiting for you to leave.
  • Make sure someone is expecting you, make this a policy with your company.
  • Be wary of “pop-ins” and cars driving by repeatedly.

What you've just read is a snippet from Certified Training Institutes Personal Safety and Self Defense 4 Hour Continuing Education online course. You can never be too cautious when it comes to the safety and well being of your clients, family member,s and home. So when it comes to personal safety. . . Be Aware, Be Cautious and most importantly . . . Be Prepared. 

 
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Personal Safety for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities experience higher rates of assault than other populations. Some people see individuals with disabilities as an easy target. Here are a few ways to avoid an attack.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Many of us are guilty of talking on the phone as we travel through public areas. Often a potential assailant will see this as an opportunity to catch someone unaware. By simply showing that we are paying attention to our surroundings we can lessen our chance of attack by up to 75 percent.
  2. Adjust your posture. To the best of your abilities, straighten your posture. A straight posture can help give the impression of awareness (as discussed in #1), improve your peripheral vision, and heighten your sense of hearing. Additionally, improved posture gives off an impression of confidence that is often a deterrent to attack.
  3. Work on your reaction to stress. Some people have a hard time talking during stressful situations or they may have muscle spasms. Each of these reactions can be incredibly detrimental in an emergency.  Learning techniques such as breathing exercises can help keep your head clear and avoid these unfortunate reactions. 
  4. Don't prioritize the feelings of others. Often, we do not speak out about what makes us uncomfortable because we are afraid of hurting someone's feelings. Don't be afraid to let someone know they are invading your personal space. 
  5. Take a self-defense class. While the course you can take may depend on your personal abilities, there are self-defense courses for disabled individuals. 

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Simple Self-Defense Tricks

Escape from a wrist hold
The best way to break a wrist hold (like the one pictured above) is to pull your arm towards where the fingers and thumb meet. This may seem like common sense but many people forget this when dealing with an attack.

Use the heel of your palm to strike
Put your hand in high-five position with your palm pressed forward and your fingers back. Step towards the attacker as you forcefully bang your palm at the top of your attacker's nose, just below their eyes. This will cause extreme pain as it makes their eyes water, giving you a moment to escape the situation.

Pack more pain in your punch
Clench your fist at the last second when you throw a punch. If you clench and then swing you will lose power.

Aim for the weak points
Go for the eyes, throat, and knees. If you are attacked from behind stomp on their foot. Hit the groin last as most attackers will expect you to go for it first.


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Unique Tips for Staying Safe

  1. Never trust a door chain. Many homes and hotels utilize door chains as a way to safely lock doors. These should never be used exclusively as even amateur burglars can often remove locks with ease.
  2. Keep your car keys reachable from bed.  Many modern key fobs include a panic button. This will be useful if you hear an intruder in or around your home. Set off the alarm and most criminals will flee, fearing the alarm will call the police.
  3. Cover your eyehole.  Hotel doors often have eyeholes leading outside or into the hallway. Most one-way eyehole technology is not infallible. If you have an eyehole without a cover use tape or tissue paper to cover it.
  4. Set the home address on your phone or GPS to a business nearby. If someone steals your phone or car they will have access to all of your information and possibly your garage door remote. It is wise to set your home address as a business to avoid leading the thief directly to your home.
  5. Invest in a self-defense courseThe best way to stay safe in any situation is to be able to defend yourself. 
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Safety Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Many first-time home buyers are unaware of the simple methods that can be used to increase safety. Here are a few tips from Real Estate Training Institute you can give your clients when purchasing a new home. 

  1. Change those locks! The first thing that homeowners should do is change the locks on all their outside doors. There is a chance that not all of the keys were collected, and someone could still have a copy. It is also wise to change out the garage door remotes as well.
  2. Lighting is everything. Having a well-lit exterior is great for discouraging criminals. Encourage clients to check all light fixtures for any burnt-out bulbs that need to be replaced, and for any places that lighting needs to be installed.
  3. Be Neighborly. It is always a good idea to meet and get to know the local community and neighbors. They can provide an extra set of eyes looking out. Encouraging clients to meet with their neighbors helps build a relationship that allows them to notify each other more comfortably if something is amiss.
  4. Alarms are not a bad idea. A home that has been on the market might be a magnet for criminals. Installing an alarm system will not only be a deterrent for criminals but also give homeowners peace of mind in their new home.
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5 Security Tips For Single Women Living Alone

Single women can never be too careful when it comes to their personal safety, at home, work or on the go.  We’ll focus today on personal safety measures to take at home.

  1. Schedule any service visits very carefully
    When scheduling any service visits, or deliveries, you should arrange for them to coincide with a visit from a friend. Most laborers are professional and trustworthy, but there are unsavory characters out to take advantage of a single woman home alone.
  2. Install a panic button to be able to call for help immediately
    There are many options available and can even be worn on your person to alert your neighbors or police if you need assistance.
  3. Date in public
    Avoid hosting a first or even a second date in your home or allowing your date to pick you up at your address. Meet them in a very public place and drive separately or if you must ride together, drive your own vehicle with him as a passenger.
  4. Self-Defense and Personal Protection
    Women living alone should be familiar with self-defense techniques and ready to utilize them should the need arise. Find a class nearby or an online self-defense course that will give you the tools you need to defend yourself. Keep personal protection items, such as pepper spray nearby at all times. Sleep with your key fob on your nightstand. The panic alarm can be set off in the case of emergency. Even if your car is in the garage, the noise could startle your attacker enough to allow you a moment to escape.
  5. Door and Window Locks
    Keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Women living alone should examine their locks and make sure they are in good working order and replace any that are broken or damaged. Check the screws on your door hardware to be sure the screws are of proper length (at least 3 inches) extending into the door frame making for a stronger connection.

There are plenty of great tips and tricks for keeping yourself safe, you just have to be willing to take the time to educate yourself with the right information. Taking a few hours learning and practicing how to defend yourself could be key to surviving an attacker.

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