“So…you work in pest control. That sounds, um, fun…”
I’ve heard some variation of that more times that I can recall! But actually, pest control is a great field to work in. As Pest Management Professionals (PMP’s), we get to help people in a very personal way, by providing some peace of mind where and when it is most needed.
If you’re anything at all like me, you like to be well-informed about any subject that might come up in a conversation. At the very least, it helps you to avoid awkward silences in social situations. When you know something about someone’s livelihood or can find some common ground, you’re more likely to connect with that person, and that’s what we’re all about here at Tomlinson Bomberger – building relationships with our clients!
Having said that, here’s a list of pest control facts that might impress the people around you at your next social gathering:
1. Ants in our area almost always require recurring visits to control.
The two most common ant problems we get called for here in Central Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Dauphin, Berks and Cumberland counties) are carpenter ants and odorous house ants. Both require multiple visits to ensure control.
Carpenter ants do NOT feed on the wood in your home. They will merely excavate decaying or soft wood to establish their colonies inside that wood.
Carpenter ants feed on any source of sugary substances or proteins they can access; food crumbs on counters, your pet’s food bowls on the ground, even the sweet, sticky substance produced by scale or aphid insects on landscape plants called “honeydew.”
The problem is that some species of carpenter ant will forage up to 100 yards away for a food source. What this means for you, the homeowner, is that your PMP may or may not be able to track and locate the actual colony. That “parent” colony might be on your neighbor’s property two houses down the street, making it impossible for your pest control service to treat the colony at it’s source. If you can’t locate and treat the colony, get to the queen, and eliminate her, you might never get rid of the problem entirely.
This is why you often need multiple visits to treat for these ants. It becomes more a matter of prevention than anything elimination.
Odorous House Ants
The other ant species we most frequently deal with, the odorous house ant, has a different set of challenges.
First, the colony isn’t somewhere in the lawn. Unfortunately, it is inside your home. They will establish colonies behind the kitchen cabinets or the void between wall studs. They will travel from home to home this way, and may still feed on things outside (like that honeydew the carpenter ants are after), but that colony is in your house.
Secondly, they establish colonies with multiple queens. If they are disturbed by a change in their physical environment (like a kitchen renovation) or chemical irritant (like the Raid you tried before you called a PMP), they will simply rally several workers to a queen and relocate her to another part of the home. Entomologists call this behavior “budding.” It’s a clever survival adaptation, actually.
Since your PMP can’t tear out all the walls in your home to locate the colony, this particular type of ant requires some persistent and knowledgeable follow-up. You’ll quit seeing the ants in a couple of weeks, but a colony inside the home will generally take a year or more to locate, treat, and to be reasonably sure it is controlled.
You now know why ants here in Central Pennsylvania require more than one application to control!
2. Mice breed faster than roaches.
You read that correctly. As our previous blog article states, German cockroaches have a maturation period of about 60 days before they are able to reproduce. Female mice, however, can achieve that same feat in a six-week (42 day) timespan.
Cockroaches are generally more prolific because of the large numbers they produce when they mate. A female German cockroach will hatch between 30-48 eggs at a time, where as a house mouse might have a litter of up to 14 babies, but 6-8 mice is more typical.
Again, this reinforces the need to contact a knowledgeable PMP for help if you’re experiencing a problem with these pests. A problem like this can get out of hand pretty quickly.
3. The stinkbugs in your home have been there since Thanksgiving.
The perennial headache for many homeowners is the stinkbug. Stinkbugs are actually an agricultural pest, feeding on crops and plants. There’s nothing for them of any real value in your home.
Except that it’s warm.
Stinkbugs are simply seeking a warm, sheltered place to ride out the winter. Outside, in “the wild,” this place might be beneath a stone or some ground cover plants. But, like us, they’d prefer to spend the winter inside instead of under a rock.
Stinkbugs will often start this migration late in the summer and continue through fall. On “warm” winter days, you might see some in you living room. However, they will generally start to emerge in the Spring to try and get back out.
Only, they really “stink” at getting back outside (see what I did there?).
The best defense you can have against them is to try and seal off the entry points into the home. Making sure weather stripping is intact and windows close all the way will help. Also, sealing up the window air conditioner will prevent them from getting in that way. Holes in screens should be repaired, and holes or gaps in siding closed.
Once all the cultural remedies have been exhausted, your PMP can help with treatment options.
4. There’s a National Pest Management Association that sets industry standards.
Most folks probably could not care less about this one.
But they should.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) sets industry standards for professionalism, equipment calibration, knowledge of common household pests, and customer service and more.
We’re proud to have attained a “QualityPro” certification. It’s hard work, and it means we are equipped to deliver a superior level of service.
You can look up QualityPro providers in your area here.
There you go! You’re equipped to really “Wow!” your friends with some pest control knowledge! If you have any further questions, please Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help!