|Venus Pest Blog
There was an article at http://fireant.tamu.edu/ recently where they debunked a new myth that is spreading on how to kill fire ants. Somehow it got spread across the internet, where everything is true right? Then it got picked up by news outlets and spread even more, all without a credible source or any testing of any kind. The claim…pouring club soda over a fire ant mound will eliminate the entire colony, including the queen, in 48 hours.
Ok, this one has already been debunked but it’s still included here for comedic purposes. Below are three common misconceptions on how to get rid of fire ants.
o The carbon dioxide in the soda is supposed to choke out all the oxygen and suffocate the ants in the colony, including the queen.
o If you’re lucky, you might drown a few ants with this trick, but otherwise you will achieve nothing more than some “impressive bubbling action.”
- Soapy Water
o You’ll actually kill more ants with this one than club soda between drowning a few and the actual soap taking a few out as well.
o The soap will actually get you some mortality but its effects are very short lived and will have to be repeated many times. Not really worth the effort if you ask me.
o This theory suggests that fire ants will take in the rice, eat it, and die when their stomachs explode from the expanding rice.
o The problem is you have to trick the ants into eating the rice with a different ingredient, they are not naturally attracted to foods that will kill them.
o Finding the right way to make this work is not worth the effort when extremely effective baits are available.
We’ve written about a couple of these as well as other theories for natural and organic pest control in The Truth About Natural, Organic, or Green Pest Control. As previously mentioned, baits have been consistently proven to be the best form of fire ant control. It’s also been proven that broadcast treatments are more effective than individual mound treatments. Fire ants can forage several hundred feet away from the mound so they’ll pick up bait from a large area.
Lastly, please don’t pour gasoline on an ant pile and start a mini bonfire. Granted, you’ll probably kill the mound, but it’s never a great idea to pour gasoline in the ground. That’s all the Dr. Suess we have for this week.
If you need help with your fire ant control, call Venus Pest Company and ask us about the Texas 2-Step Program.
Founded as Venus Organic Company by Dr. Scott Lingren, BCE, our focus has always been on finding the most environmentally friendly ways of controlling pests in homes and businesses. Although our services have grown, and the name changed to Venus Pest Company to reflect that, our core values have not changed. Providing the most effective pest control services while minimizing harmful effects on the environment is still at the heart of everything we do.
As part of our commitment to PESP, we are subject to auditing and accountable for measurable results for the promotion of IPM and reduced risk pesticides. Our commitment includes:
Our Environmental Stewardship Activities
All our services have always been based on the principals of IPM; our Bee GreenTM service takes that one step further by using only pesticides classified by the EPA for low environmental risk. To learn more, please visit our IPM and Bee GreenTM pages.
We have also overhauled our internal and external operations to ensure our minimal daily impact on the environment. Among other things, we have implemented a new recycling program, more fuel efficient vehicles, and energy improvements to our facilities to prove our dedication and commitment to sustainability.
If you don’t remember the story of Clement C. Mouse, allow me to reahash it for you.
One dreary morning in Fall 2009, a shrill scream could be heard throughout a quiet neighborhood in College Station, TX. It was the scream of a frightened woman as she opened her shower curtain to find a live killer mouse staring back at her from inside her tub! A quick call to Venus Pest Company and Dr. Scott was out there with his rubber boots and haz-mat suit ready for the no-good scoundrel.
Ok, it wasn’t really a killer mouse, it was more cute than anything, but it still scared her and needed to be dealt with! It didn’t really require a haz-mat suit either for the record. Nevertheless, even though the little fella scared her half to death, she made us promise not to kill him. Why would you call a pest control company and ask them not to kill the pest? Well, it made us scratch our head too, but we aim to please. So, one mouse rescue later and Venus Pest Company now had a pet mouse.
We held a contest to name our new friend on myBCS.com and received a ton of hilarious entries for naming. See the results and some of the other names from our mouse naming contest that ran on myBCS.com. The winner was Clement C. Mouse for the obvious double entendre since we spared his life on what would have normally been his execution day. A very gloomy scenario for most rodents indeed, but not this guy, not that day!
So we thought we’d share updated pictures. Clement C. has probably tripled in size since we brought him back to the office and seems very comfortable. He loves time in his play ball so he can roll around the office, although he seems to increase his size and frequency of poops by about 600% while he’s in there. His favorite food is sunflower seeds - he’ll dig through an entire pile of other fresh food to get to those sunflower seeds. Then, top of it off with a raspberry yogurt treat!?!? Are you kidding me, a mouse at a pest control company living like…well, Dr. Scott!?
I will sign off with a request of my own; please don’t call us to come save mice from your house for purposes of keeping them around. We’ll call this a one-time special offer! That said, we are more than happy to take care of any of your mouse and rat control needs.
People usually think of honey when they think of honey bees, but did you know that honey bees are also responsible for around 80% of all plant pollination? Around 1/3 of the human diet comes either directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants, thus conservation of honeybees is vital to our way of life. Interaction with bees is a necessary part of human life, so understanding what they are doing will go a long way towards helping us all get along! Below are answers to a few of the questions our clients most often ask about bees.
Where did all these bees come from?
This is a common question during early spring, like right now, or late fall. There are very few available sources of nectar for bees during these times, so their foraging may be ultra-concentrated on the few flowering plants or sometimes even soda cans. Fortunately, foraging bees are rarely a threat, they are simply gathering nectar or pollen to take back to their colony, which could be miles away. If bees are frequent visitors to your garden, use these helpful tips to avoid being stung.
When should I worry about bees?
If you notice bees entering or and exiting a hole into your house or other structure, there may be a colony in that structure. Honey bees will aggresively defend their colonies. With as many as 50,000 bees in a colony and Africanized bees in our area (aka Killer Bees), it is best to contact a pest managment professional and avoid the area.
Another time to be concerned is if you see a swarm on your property. A swarm is easily noticeable by the large number of bees stuck together in a tight ball. Swarms most often occur in late spring and can be found anywhere from on the ground to in a tree. Bees swarm to establish a new colony when their old colony becomes too large, or the queen's health or reproductive ability begins to deteriorate. The bees are non aggressive during a swarm, which lasts one to two days until they find a suitable place to build their hive.
You don't want a swarm to build a hive on your house, so it's best to contact a pest management professional. Venus Pest Company will usually re-locate swarms if possible. Unfortunately, swarms must sometimes be destroyed.
What if I am attacked by bees?
Although you are more likely to be killed by lightning than by honeybees, knowing what to do if attacked can greately reduce the number of stings.
o You are allergic to bee venom
o You are experiencing difficulty breathing
o You have been stung repeatedly
Remember, if you are unsure of what you are dealing with, always call a professional that has the knowledge and training to keep everybody safe.
What do you do when animal control says they can’t help you? Who do you call when the shelter won’t come pick them up?
You call Venus Pest Company!
Recently we received a call from a panicked business owner in Downtown Bryan who told us they had been hearing a cat meowing in their wall all day. He called animal control, but they wouldn’t help because the cat was inside the building. He then called the local animal shelter and they told him they couldn’t help him either.
His landlord recommended he call a pest control company, and directed him to another popular pest control company in the area. What did they tell him? By his account, they laughed at him a bit and said they could not help. The next call was to Venus Pest Company and while we were apprehensive at first, we just could not leave a cat stuck in someone’s wall to starve. Plus, this presented a new challenge and appealed to our adventurous side so we decided to go check out the situation.
When we arrived, we were shown the area where the noise was coming from. Want to hear the best part? The only way to access that area was through a small, we’ll say 18 inch by 18 inch hole. Oh, and it’s about 20 feet off the ground too! When we climbed up a ladder to get our first look, we could tell immediately that it was more than one cat, but luckily they were in the attic, not in the wall.
After going back outside to check the roof to see how they were getting in to the attic, we found some large open vent shafts. We weren’t sure at first if these were the actual entry points because we couldn’t see down inside them. At that moment, one of the cats actually jumped out of the vent and scared us so badly we nearly fell off the roof! Now it became a question of how to keep the cats from getting through these vents, and how to catch the ones that are in there and get them out?
At this point, it became a rodent job on steroids. The three components of a successful rodent control program (and now feral cat control program) are:
Since Dr. Scott is second cousin to Andre the Giant (not really for those who don’t know him), it was not really an option for him to squeeze into the attic. Climbing through the tiny hole into the attic and maneuvering around the small space without falling through the ceiling was not an easy task. You can see my shoes sticking out of the hole in this picture. I was able, however, to block off the access points underneath the vents using hardware cloth (screen) and securing it so the cats could not disturb it. One of the cats had jumped out again, but I knew there was at least one other cat still in there. Ever been trapped in a dark attic, hardly able to move, knowing a feral cat is somewhere close to you and you have no idea what it’s thinking? It’s like an episode of fear factor!
Of course we can’t use any kind of poison bait to solve this type of problem. Using some dog food the owner had and a bowl of water, we set up a scenario we thought would work.
We set up a live animal trap that we usually use for squirrels or other small animals using the dog food as bait. Like other animals and rodents, theory holds that if they are trapped and only have one food source, chances are they are going to eventually have a go at it.
Well, we caught the cat the very next day and are so thankful that the animal shelter agreed to take the cat when we delivered it over there. Sorry we didn’t have our camera when we caught the kitty or I would have posted it here.
Situations like this are why I love working for Venus Pest Company. When everybody else turned them away, or laughed at them, we were able to solve their problem and make some new friends (and clients) in the process. It’s amazing what you discover when you’re able to say “Yes, we can help!”
Rob Jones, CMO Venus Pest Company
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