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Uninvited visitors have wormed their way into Hawthorne's kitchens and bathrooms. A minor infestation of bloodworms--larvae of the gnat-like midge--is forcing the city to purge its municipal water system, which serves about half of Hawthorne's 12,000 households and businesses. The scarlet creatures, although unnerving to residents who have been finding them in their water glasses and bathtubs since last week, do not pose a health hazard, officials say.
January 9, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
The cockroach infestation that closed a Foster Farms chicken plant in Central California was the latest setback for the giant poultry company, which last year faced a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 400 people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations Wednesday at a Foster Farms plant in Livingston, southeast of Modesto, and the 250,000-square-foot plant remained closed Thursday as the poultry giant tried to remedy the problem. Several food safety experts said they were surprised that cockroaches prompted the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service to take action when it had failed to do so after last year's salmonella outbreak.
September 22, 2010
What if you threw a bedbug party and everybody came? That's kind of what happened at the two-day Bedbug University: North American Summit in Rosemont, Ill. About 200 people were turned away from the sold-out session that brought together diverse professionals such as medical researchers and exterminators, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. How you get rid of bedbugs, which can cause nasty red welts, was addressed by 50 or so vendors who displayed their techniques at killing the critters.
January 8, 2014 | By David Pierson
The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations at a Foster Farms poultry plant Wednesday because of a cockroach infestation. The plant, which is located in Livingston, Calif., 25 miles southeast of Modesto, was one of three Foster Farms facilities linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 416 people nationwide since last March. "Our inspectors wrote several noncompliance reports for insanitary conditions at the plant and then took the action to suspend today," Adam Tarr, a spokesman for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said in an email Wednesday.
Five nationally known experts in the study of red fire ants will tour ant-infested areas of Orange County today to assess the danger from the aggressive species that has colonized nurseries, backyards, parks and fields in several cities. The experts were invited by officials at the California Department of Food and Agriculture who are concerned about the ant outbreak, the largest and most widespread ever recorded in California.
July 8, 2011 | By Ashlie Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
California agricultural officials will release hundreds of tiny, stinger-less wasps this month to combat the fruit- and leaf-eating light-brown apple moth, in a move to find alternatives to aerial pesticide spraying. The California Department of Food and Agriculture will deploy the wasps, no bigger than a grain of rice, in San Luis Obispo and Sacramento counties and may expand the program to other counties with more serious infestations. The wasps lay their eggs inside light-brown apple moth eggs, where they incubate until the larvae emerge and kill the developing moths.
July 29, 2000 | From Associated Press
A chemical assault on an invasive seaweed that threatened marine life along the coast appears promising, marine researchers said. An initial treatment of concentrated chlorine has killed patches of the plant and much of its roots. The plant has been flourishing in a half-acre of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, 20 miles north of San Diego. Scientists estimate it will take at least three months to completely rid the lagoon of the plant.
February 25, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Experts see signs that the infestation of Mormon crickets that has plagued Nevada for six straight years, with swarms stretching across millions of acres, may decrease this summer. The insects, which got their name after nearly destroying the crops of Utah's Mormon settlers in 1848, infested about 12 million acres in Nevada last year, roughly the same acreage infested in 2004. That made last year the first since 2000 that the acreage didn't substantially increase.
October 25, 1991
In the first indication that this month's Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak may not be confined to neighborhoods west of downtown Los Angeles, agricultural officials have trapped a female Medfly in San Gabriel, about 12 miles from the previous trappings. The mature, unmated female fly was discovered Wednesday in a persimmon tree in the 200 block of West Main Street, officials announced Thursday.
California growers are expressing heightened frustration and anxiety about the stubborn infestation of Mediterranean fruit flies, saying that they particularly fear erosion of the public's acceptance of aerial pesticide spraying. Amid these concerns, state officials announced Friday that malathion spraying will be required in an area surrounding the spot in Garden Grove where a mated female was found. Typically, spraying occurs within a 1.
October 28, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
The owner of a Westside bakery has been charged with two dozen misdemeanor criminal counts for alleged health code violations that included allowing rats and pigeons to infest his business. Peter Plotitsa, 53, is accused of continuing to operate the Cake Collection after he was ordered in January to close the business by county health inspectors who observed evidence of rodent droppings, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office. In a follow-up inspection at the Sawtelle neighborhood bakery in July, "investigators allegedly observed live rats, live pigeons roosting, rodent and pigeon droppings as well as gnaw marks on the building," officials with the city attorney's office said in a statement.
May 29, 2013 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
The school health clerk took a comb and pointed to the near-microscopic bugs crawling up and down my daughters' scalps. I cringed. Then she checked my head for the pesky parasites. I held my breath. We had lice. Lots and lots of lice. My youngest daughter scratched her head and started crying. Embarrassed, we headed home. And that began the frustrating, icky, unending, exhausting, humiliating, disgusting battle against the bugs. Parents across the nation are terrified of lice - not because they cause disease, but because even one minuscule egg has the power to keep children out of school and their mothers and fathers out of the office.
December 8, 2012 | By Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times
Just before Thanksgiving a few years back, Raquel Lopez fielded her umpteenth call of the day to find an irate man on the line. Someone had littered his lawn with Butterball turkeys. "This is not funny!" he shouted, demanding the shrink-wrapped birds' immediate removal. It was another priceless moment for Lopez, who has been answering L.A.'s 311 information line for seven years. CITY BEAT: Life in Los Angeles "We're like a human Google," she said, laughing one recent morning as she sat, headset on, in a gray cubicle on the 10th floor of a building across Main Street from City Hall.
June 5, 2012 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Armed with a new county report citing the health dangers of feces, urine and hypodermic needles recently found on Los Angeles' skid row, city officials could resume controversial cleanup sweeps of the downtown area's streets and sidewalks. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health inspected a nine-block area and discovered human waste, injection needles, condoms and a rat infestation in violation of county and state health codes. City officials say they have cleaned up the waste and debris cited by inspectors last month.
May 29, 2012 | Hector Tobar
William Perez has been waiting a long time to tell someone all the sad and crazy things he's seen. Perez runs a crew that crisscrosses Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley doing the dirty but essential job of cleaning up homes that have been foreclosed and then trashed by humans and neglect. "The good news about this place," he told me as we stood inside one such property on Wilmington Avenue in Watts, "is that there's no fleas. " No fleas, but plenty of trash, and an odor most foul.
March 14, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton and Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has weathered a lot of criticism over the years, but nothing like the broadside that hit it from inside. A departing executive in the firm's London office accused Goldman in a newspaper column Wednesday of losing its moral compass and being overtaken by a greed-infested corporate culture. "I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it," Greg Smith, who quit as head of the firm's U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times.
June 1, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
More than 12 million acres of Nevada are infested with crawling carpets of Mormon crickets, twice as much land as last year. The insects are mating and making themselves a nuisance for humans in their way, especially around Elko, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and north of Reno. It's the fourth year of infestation by the insects. "It's pretty much in full swing," state entomologist Jeff Knight said. "We have easily doubled the number of infested acres this year."
The voracious poinsettia whitefly, which has devastated produce in Imperial and Riverside counties, has invaded California's fertile San Joaquin Valley, agricultural officials said Friday. Lenord L. Craft, the agricultural commissioner for Tulare County, described the infestation as "very light" and added that "it is not a big economic problem--yet--and we don't anticipate any major outbreak because of the cooler weather."
January 16, 2012 | Bill Plaschke
The giant black metal gate slams shut, click, locked, leaving the scrubbed faces of the Sacred Heart High basketball players alone with the weathered streets of Lincoln Heights. The girls collectively sigh. They shake away the worry that stretches from the bob in their ponytails to the dirt on their sneakers. They begin their daily journey. For the next 15 minutes or so, covering a mile that feels like a marathon, the 10 players will walk or jog through a neighborhood that will stare and scowl.
November 16, 2011 | By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times
For roughly 24 hours, Facebook's news feed was not a family-friendly place. Facebook acknowledged Tuesday that the social networking site was briefly infested with a mix of hard-core pornographic images, doctored pictures of celebrities in sexual situations, photos of extreme violence and even a picture of a beaten dog. Facebook said it had identified the problem — if not the culprit. During the attack, users mistakenly downloaded programming language that resulted in their sharing offensive images on Facebook without knowing it, a company spokesman said, adding that the website's engineers were working on a fix. Facebook said it built mechanisms to quickly shut down the malicious pages and will put users who were affected by the offensive spam through "educational checkpoints" so they know how to protect themselves.
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