|Venus Pest Blog
For Your Business
Tips for businesses.
After a short hiatus from the Top 5 list to handle other important topics, we return to our list with the number 2 most disturbing thing in pest control, German Cockroaches.
German cockroaches are the small, fast cockroaches that are most often found in restaurants. Pretty much every restaurant has dealt with them at one time or another but German cockroaches can also be found in many other locations, including your kitchen! They are referred to as German cockroaches because of the two black stripes on their pronotum (aka back of the neck), thought to resemble German military stripes.
How Do They Get In?
Infestations arise when the roaches or roach eggs hitch a ride from one of the restaurant’s suppliers into the restaurant, or from the grocery store to your pantry. Typically they will come in the cardboard boxes or packaging coming from warehouses.
Roaches can also hitch rides with employees or customers. We once took over service for a restaurant that had a pretty bad infestation and we ultimately had to do roach control at all the employees’ houses and some of their relatives’ houses too. With pest control, it’s always a good news, bad news situation. The bad news is, you got a problem...good news is, we can take care of it! These little cockroaches can hide almost anywhere, they need only the tiniest of cracks or crevices to find shelter. Their babies are even smaller and they multiply very rapidly!
Look close, those are all cockroaches!
But My House Is Clean, How Do I Still Have A Problem?
It is not really filth that starts the infestation, but filth can make infestations tough to control. With a combination of baits, non-repellent insecticides, and insect growth regulators, German cockroaches are fairly easy to control for experienced pest management professionals. There is one exception however, hoarders. Cockroaches love hoarders. It is hard to treat an area infested with roaches when you can’t even see the floor, or the walls in some cases.
Bait may not work either since the roaches are full from eating all the filth behind and under all the junk. When I first started my business, I did a roach job for a landlord whose tenant was a terrible hoarder. I remember opening a cabinet in the kitchen and slamming it back shut when I saw all the roaches swirling around in there. You have to try real hard not to scream...must stay professional and not scare the client! In the same house while I was spraying into a heap of junk, rotting food, and cat feces where I saw roaches in the living room, something big moved. I watched in disbelief as a guy emerged from under a blanket near where I was spraying. Imagine the smell! Believe it or not, we got pretty good control of the roaches but it took a lot of extra effort and return trips.
Roaches plus hoarding = mega disturbing! When we first walk in to a hoarder’s place and they tell me, “I don’t know why we have all these cockroaches!?” I usually tell them, “I think I have a theory!”
What Are The Dangers?
Roaches can contaminate food and eating surfaces with their feces and by tracking through gross stuff onto the food. They are also the number one contributor to childhood asthma. In fact, German cockroach infestations have their own distinct, acrid smell. I can usually smell it before the door even opens. The thing that is most disturbing about German roaches to me, however, is their ability to scurry. Slow, lumbering Madagascar hissing cockroaches don’t bother me at all. There is just something about an insect that can scurry and hide in tiny, almost unseen cracks, that freaks me out.
Carpenter ants are swarming! This picture was sent to me by a new client that saw these buzzing around her bathroom. Turns out they had a carpenter ant infestation and the swarmers (i.e. ants with wings) were coming out in their bathroom. Unfortunately carpenter ants are wood destroying insects so you don’t want to leave them alone for long or they’ll do a number on your property.
Swarming carpenter ants are capable of reproduction and each year take a coordinated flight in search of mates. We wrote extensively about this and other carpenter ant behaviors and biology in another post called "Have You Seen These Flying Ants?”. Read that post for further detail.
Of course the best way to determine if you have a carpenter ant infestation is by having a highly trained professional perform a thorough inspection. However, there are three main signs you can look for if you suspect carpenter ants. Remember, only the reproductive ants will have wings as you will often see many more without wings.
1. Live Ants or Dead Ants
a. Obviously if you can see them with your naked eye, then you can easily suspect a problem.
b. Check our Pest ID page for some examples.
c. Carpenter ants are very large, queens can be up to ¾ inch long.
2. Sawdust or “Frass”
a. Carpenter ants remove their waste, loose particles, and dead bodies out of openings to their nest (see picture to the right).
b. Piles of bug parts and wood chips can be found in corners of rooms, windows, or baseboards.
3. Moisture damaged wood or limbs touching your house
a. Moisture damaged wood is an intoxicating lure for carpenter ants, this is the first place to look in many cases.
b. Tree limbs and shrubs should all be trimmed back away from the house to prevent easy access to your home.
Anytime you have a source of high moisture around your home, it’s going to bring a variety of problems, not just pest problems alone. Carpenter ants are certainly one of the problems that follow moisture, but we haven’t even started talking about termites yet! It’s always a good idea to have your home inspected for wood destroying insects once a year by a pest management professional. It could end up saving you tons of money and heartache in the long run!
Lloyd and Harry from ‘Dumb & Dumber’ wanted to name their pet store “I Got Worms” because they were going to specialize in worm farms, much like ant farms of course. They were talking about earthworms, but today I want to talk about something a bit more annoying, and certainly not cute like a worm farm. These are worms that are not fun to look at and can be damaging to your plants and trees, they are web worms.
Sometimes called silk worms, web worm caterpillars are a common pest of trees. They attack around 90 different kinds of plans, including many fruit, nut, and ornamental trees and shrubs. Their feeding preference varies depending on location. We’ve been seeing them primarily in pecan trees recently, but they are also attacking maple, mulberry, poplar, willow, oak, and hickory trees around Texas.
The web masses these pests produce are quite unsightly and they kill or consume the leaves and branches that they inhabit. Although rarely fatal to the tree by themselves, infestations that reoccur over several years can stress the trees and make them more susceptible to drought, disease, or other insect pests which can be fatal.
There are a few pesticide free tactics that can be used to get rid of webworms, but they all require being able to reach the web.
- Ripping open the web makes the worms available for meals for birds, wasps, and other animals that might feed on them if made accessible.
- Cutting the branch off will eliminate the live webworms feeding on that branch (You might miss some though…read on).
- Lighting a torch and placing it inside the web will kill or force out any webworms present.
Of course, if you can’t reach the webs, none of these tactics will help you. Also, webworms lay their eggs on the underside of leaves or on nearby branches. Just cutting out the branches with heavy web infestations leaves you at risk of missing many other budding infestations or conglomerations of eggs in different places.
Trees and shrubs can be treated effectively by a professional pest control company and can rid your trees and shrubs of any webworm infestations. The combination of a professional treatment and pruning the infested branches will give you the best chance of completely ridding yourself of these pests.
Household pests bring with them a wide variety of health and aesthetic concerns for homes and businesses. Cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks and are responsible for a slew of other gross bacteria and health risks. Bed bugs cause itchy welts when they bite you to get a blood meal, and can also transmit bacteria and disease. Rats, please, if we have to tell you how gross rats are, you’re in trouble!
Did you know April is National Pest Management Month? For more than 30 years the pest management industry has observed April as National Pest Management Month. In honor of National Pest Management Month this year, the NPMA is raising public awareness about the risks posed by household pests and encouraging homeowners to take proactive steps to prevent pest infestations in their homes and properties.
The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), in conjunction with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has released a new PSA campaign to heighten awareness. Check out this funny commercial where they’re interrogating a roach, a rat, and a bed bug.
There are serious implications when it comes to pests in and around your homes and businesses. Don’t let yourself be overrun and create additional problems that could have been easy to prevent by calling a pest management professional.
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
Partnering with a professional pest control company is a critical decision business owners and managers all face. For any business that regular interacts with customers inside a physical establishment, it is extremely important to present and maintain a clean environment, especially in regards to unwanted pests. Making mistakes in commercial pest control can result huge amounts of lost business. For example, local media outlets love to report on findings of rodents or insects in restaurants.
Commercial pest control services make up about 25% of an average pest control company's business. Although Texas does not require a separate certification, performing commercial pest control presents many different challenges than residential pest control. Responsible business owners and managers must ensure they are partnering with the right professional. Below is a checklist of important qualities to consider when selecting a pest control service for your business. This list is compl ...
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