A CONSUMER INFORMATION BULLETIN PREPARED BY STAFF ENTOMOLOGISTS Fall 2009
OUR “PACKAGE PLAN” COVERS PESTS, FIRE ANTS, AND TERMITES IN ONE SERVICE
Over the past year we have been refining a combination of the services we offer into what we call our “Package Plan”. With this program you can have regular pest control combined with either fire ant treatment, termite monitoring or both for complete pest protection for your home and business. These services are all performed by your current technician and as a group are available at a substantial savings. The value is incredible.
Fire ant treatment will cover up to 9,000 sq feet which is the size of an average lawn. Along with your normal pest service, we will treat yard and will monitor to treat any additional mounds that may show up in the covered area at no additional cost.
Our termite monitoring program consists of inspection stations placed around the structure to detect termite activity. If termites are found in a monitor, we will spot treat the area at no additional cost.
This program is available for both new and current clients. If you are a current pest control client we would be happy to convert your current program to this new service. Your home or business will need to meet some qualifications to be part of this program. Please ask you technician or call our office for more details.
BEDBUGS BEGET GREATEST FEARS
Sucking your blood while you sleep, these secretive insects cause mayhem-even lawsuits. “Why” is a big question as they are not known to transmit diseases as is the case with some other blood-suckers like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, kissing bugs, etc.
Quite common in the first half of the 20th century their population declined with the mid -century advent of pesticides the likes of DDT and Chlordane. In the second half of the century finding bedbugs was a rarity. Then in the 1990’s they began to show up with vengeance worldwide and with considerable resistance to many pesticides. Motels, hotels, apartments, dormitories-even homes are showing up with infestations. Used furniture, bedding, backpacks, suitcases-you name it are all implicated in spreading them. Given their unique habits and resistance, control is proving to be challenging. Are they in our area? You bet! We are occasionally having to cope with them and the problems are growing. At first this all seemed a bit of a joke. Not now! Call us quick if you suspect a problem.
RASBERRY CRAZY ANTS ARE SPREADING
Rasberry crazy ants may be coming to a neighborhood near you. Since June our staff has found these invaders in several new areas. Infestations are now known in Beaumont, Bridge City, Fannett, Vidor, and rural Hardin County. Rasberry crazy ants were first found in Houston in 2002. The exact origin is unknown but they are thought to have come from the Carribean. They were first found by our company in the Golden Triangle last year. Rasberry crazy ants do not sting but become a nuisance by sheer numbers. Imagine not being able to enjoy your yard because ants cover every square inch or trying to run a business with a huge trail of ants moving across the front step. Massive build-up of numbers inside can drive you from your home.
Effective control methods for these ants are limited. Do-it-yourself products will not provide adequate control. The best tools we have available will provide several months of relief but retreatment will be necessary. As this is a new invasive ant species, it is not included in your pest control program. Ongoing research is being done and we hope to have better control options in the future.
OUR POPULAR MRS (MINOR REPAIR SERVICE) OR HONEY DO LISTS
For many years we were asked to make minor repairs and referred folks to a contractor or carpenter. Such proved difficult as they didn’t like to fool with small jobs. Having a competent carpenter on staff we began to offer this as an add on service and it has been well received.
• Cleaning and minor repairs of gutters.
• Inspection, detection and sealing of various cracks and openings.
• Trim back ground cover, shrubs, limbs, small trees, high soil levels, and remove debris from around structures.
• Small animal removal and/or exclusion from structure.
• Repair of minor decay or damaged areas.
And the list goes on. Look around! Or, get us out to look with you. Putting off minor aggravations may lead to major problems.
CLOTHES MOTHS AND CARPET BEETLES CAN DESTROY VALUABLE RUGS
Animal hair rugs, whether cheap or valuable, are highly vulnerable to being damaged by various fabric pests. Sight unseen, it usually happens where seldom moved furniture sits on a rug. Prevention is by far best by periodically (like quarterly) moving furniture off the rug and vacuuming rug thoroughly. Otherwise you may find the fabric damaged. Tell-tale small cocoons up on furniture or walls means trouble. If you see signs, or, are concerned, call us for our specialists to take a look.Our Techs are not experts in this highly specialized field-and, your routine pest service does not include controlling fabric pests. We have evolved a cooperative deal with a local rug cleaning company where they pick up the rug and clean them and we “treat” rugs on their premises. Then the rugs are put back in place by the rug cleaning company. Proceed then on a routine of moving furniture and thoroughly vacuuming. We can cite you some horror stories on these problems and wanted to emphasize that you can get serious damage done by fabric pests.
NON CHEMICAL CONTROL FOR PESTS
Pesticides are part of insect control but not always the first or best options. Pests need food, shelter, and moisture to survive. Limiting access to these resources is part of a complete pest management program. Fixing leaks, cutting high grass, replacing a door sweep, or caulking a gap may be the best pest control option. We offer minor repair services to correct conducive conditions that may allow pests to enter your home or office.
MEET THE RODENT FAMILY
Where ever man has colonized, rats and mice have come too. Certain rodents called commensal rodents have become almost dependent on us for their survival. Commensal literally means to eat from ones table. These common rodents are the Norway rat, the roof rat, and the house mouse.
Norway rats are the largest of the three with blunt noses and stout bodies. These rats tend to make burrows and are typical of the rats you would imagine in alleys, and corners of any urban area. Norway rats favor meats as food but will eat many different items.
Roof rats, or what some may call long-tailed rats, are climbers and easily move over fences and through trees as well as climbing on buildings. They are limited to warmer, coastal areas of the U.S. Their home range is much larger than that of a Norway rat and roof rats favor fruits and vegetables as food.
The house mouse is the smallest of the three but sometimes the most troublesome. Mice can slide through tiny holes and multiply extremely fast. One mouse can turn in to many mice in a hurry. They nibble on nearly everything.
Fall is primetime when we see rodents move into homes and other structures to find food and avoid cold weather. We offer rodent control with several of our pest packages and can make many of the repairs needed to keep rodents out of your home to begin with. Prevention is the way to go.
THE CHALLENGE OF INSECT IDENTIFICATION
More than half the known animals in the world are insects. With this in mind telling you exactly what bug you have may sometimes be difficult. What we can do is tell you if a certain insect poses a risk to you or your structure. Our staff is continually trained in recognizing common and often not so common pests. Our company was the first to find Formosan termites, chinch bugs, and Rasberry crazy ants in this area. With the abundance of insects in Southeast Texas, an insect that is generally not a nuisance may make it inside your home or business occasionally. Based on what we see, we can take action or in some cases no action may be appropriate.
Once in a while we get a call from someone who has found a bug with a pincher on its rear end. This strange creature can only be an earwig. Earwigs are outdoor insects that occasionally enter structures through gaps around doorways or other small openings. Normally they prefer moist areas outdoors such as wood piles, stones, and landscaping timbers.
Earwigs are interesting in the insect world because they display mothering instincts by protecting the eggs and young. Perimeter treatment of buildings can help limit entry into structures. Control is aided by removing harborage areas such as rocks, firewood and other items from around structures.
BITS ABOUT BUGS ETC…..
….Scientist have found that poison frogs may acquire their toxins from ants in their diets…. The winner of a big roach contest in Florida was a 2 inch roach named “Icky”….Scorpion exoskeletons and rodent urine stains glow under black light…Conservative estimates are that 14,000 people in the United States are bitten by rats each year…Satellite images of pastures around the world show that two-thirds of cattle and deer orient themselves in roughly a north-south direction when grazing or resting…A man in India lost his life savings when termites ate the paper money in his safe deposit boxes…A California woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person…A woman in China with two cages full of grasshoppers was put off a bus because the other passengers could not stand the insect serenade…Exterminators in Brazil found a mummy and skeleton while opening the walls of a monastery to examine termite damage…Genetic studies estimate that the US population of red imported fire ants originated from nine to twenty queens…Enzymes used by termites to break down cellulose are being investigated as means of producing bio-fuels…A Malaysian man was accused of trying to harm a neighbor following an argument by putting four centipedes in the neighbor’s bed…Bed bugs can live at least five months without food…A Thai research institute has developed mosquito-repellent robes for sale to Buddhist monks who are prohibited from killing all animals including mosquitoes…