Mosquito are coming!

Mosquito season is fast approaching and I will admit I have learned a lot about the state bird of Texas (A.K.A the mosquito)

I learned at my latest CEU class that fogging or spraying is roughly about a 1% kill rate!!! Let me say that again 1% kill rate!! I was floored when I heard this. We are taught how and where to fog and spray but no one ever shared how poorly we were doing is overall treatment goal. Let’s face it a 1% victory is just about anything is pretty sad, especially when it comes to mosquitos and the potential for West Nile virus. Out of over 300 in the room that day I was the only one I know of that was moved to action. I contacted the speaker and asked for help to serve my customers with something better than 1%.

So began my journey into how to establish an effective mosquito program. It will take several blogs to cover it all, so for now we have started with what does not work as well as we are lead to believe. Spraying and fogging does have its place just as does taking a bath in DEET. Afterall flying insects are the hardest to control once airborne and hungry for blood.

What if we focused how to keep them from ever becoming the airborne assassins seeking to ruin your day or even your health??

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To Green, Or Not To Green?

Why do I choose to focus on green products in my company?   One reason:  It’s SAFER!

This may seem selfish to some, but technicians are exposed to pest products at the highest concentrations, and for much longer than the customer; so it makes sense to use the safest and green-est producst I can find.

I mean, I don’t ever remember seeing a pest tech spraying with his hose reel while wearing a mask in the hot Houston summers.  Let’s face it, to wear a big bulky respirator in the 100+ degree heat is hard to do and most techs don’t bother.

So I choose a safer way for myself and my customers, who don’t have to worry about the kids or the pets getting a potentially harmful pesticide in their system by just crawling on the carpet.

Ask your pest control technician if he offers natural, green, botanical pest control products – or just call The Bug Man!

IT JUST MAKES SENSE!

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Why do I have bugs?

Bugs invade for three main reasons:  FOOD, WATER, and NEST.

1.  Food is simple; what are you offering them?  Take away the food source and sometimes it works well, but they will look for something else to replace what you have taken from them.  Here’s a good example I had just the other day:  A lady had ants in her dirty-clothes basket.   Now what can they possibly be in there for?  The answer is salt!  Dirty clothes contain salt from perspiration, and that can draw them to your laundry area.

2.  Water is another simple one.  Just think about water from a insect’s perspective. The pipes in your walls create condensation, and that is plenty of water for a tiny bug.  And they really like it even more under the bath tub or kitchen sink, where you use hot water, because that makes the pipes sweat even more.

3.  Nest is the hardest to deal with.  When insects do nest under the tub and there is no trap door for access, it is difficult to treat; and most times it requires installing a bath-trap door.  If they nest under the shower pan, it can be even harder.  When we get days of rain and the insects get flooded out of their home, your house has ample dry places for them to move into.

This is why it is important to treat more than just next to the exterior of the house.  I have seen ants that had a nice little nest way off in the back of the yard, climb up the power pole, travel along the wire coming from the pole, and right into the house when their nest got flooded.  They found it much drier and warmer under the clothes washer than in the back yard.  And what else did they find?  Water from the washer pipes and hoses.

So be on guard and look around your entire yard, or just call the BUG MAN and let us take care of it for you!

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Don’t Get Gouged This Termite Season!

As swarm season begins, lets take a minute to talk about the money side of things.

Termite treatments are priced by the lineal footage of the house, not the square footage. We simply measure all the exterior walls and add it up to get our total lineal footage. We then multiply by whatever dollar amount we charge.

With termite season coming, you have to watch out, as some companies will take advantage of customers who are freaked out by the swarmers and will charge you a large per-foot price, just because they can.  This is selling based upon fear.  I’ve worked for a few large companies in my time, and they are not the only ones, but many will take advantage of the fact that you want those bugs out of your house ASAP, and that you won’t take the time to get other estimates.

Many companies actually teach their sales staff to raise the lineal-footage price and sell to the fear.  Truth be known, waiting a few days (if necessary) to get other estimates could save you hundreds of dollars.

Here’s the math:  Take an average home at 200 lineal feet.  A salesperson who is taking advantage of your fear may tell you the job will be $6 per foot.  Well, that means you will pay $1200 to get your house treated.

If you shop around and get it to $5 per foot, you just saved yourself $200.  Every dollar you can get it down saves you $200, in this example.  Definitely something to think about and share with others!!

So don’t give in to the fear, but do get on the phone, schedule estimates from several different companies, and get a good deal with someone you trust.

Like The BUG MAN!

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ANTS, ANTS, and more ANTS

Have you ever been invaded by ants?

Where did they come from?

Fact:  Ants need water daily, so follow them and they will not be far from a water source, especially under your bathtub, your drain sweats, even in a water feature.

And check your weep holes on a brick house, because that is an easy entry point.

What is a weep hole, you ask?

Look in-between the bricks in the first layer of bricks closest to the foundation on the exterior of your home, and you will see gaps every couple of bricks. This is not a mistake by the builder, these are holes for ventilation, which allow your house to breathe.   These are important to the house, but unfortunately, loved by the ants.

If you follow the ants, they will lead you to the colony; and you will be able to eliminate them, not just slow them down.

Remember, treat the source, not just the symptom!

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How to ID the suspect in your swarm case

To some people, a bug is a bug.  However, it is important to properly identify the culprit.  Ants also swarm and look similar to the termite swarmer, but you treat them in two different ways.

Both have two sets of wings and are black in color.  The first thing to look for is a proper ID is those wings.  A termite’s wings are all the same length, whereas the ant swarmer has two different sized wings.  Simply fan them out and see if they are the same length.  If they are, you treat for termites.

Next, you look at the body of the culprit.  Ants have what we call a “pinched abdomen,” or a very defined waistline.  A termite does not, and they appear to be very straight, with no waistline.

Know your enemy and get as much knowledge as you can.  And don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are looking for someone to treat your home.  A good pest control professional will be happy to talk about bugs – it’s what they live for 🙂

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SWARM SEASON (Love is in the air)

Get ready, world, it’s swarm season for the subterranean termite.

What the heck is swarm season anyway?  It is the time of year that termites go into reproduction mode.  All bugs have a certain time of year when they reproduce, and for sub-termites that is early spring, begining in Feburary in most places.  Love is definitely in the air for the termite world!  The colony, or family, is growing and expanding its horizons, and your house could be on the menu for them.

Termites are extremely active during swarm season.  The colony begins to produce swarmers, or “elates.”  The elate’s job is pretty simple, to fly out away from the exsisting colony, drop their wings, find a mate, and begin to make baby termites.

The colony will build a swarm castle, which is a staging area for all the swarmers to gather, that is as high up as they can get in whatever stucture they are munching on. Then when conditions are just right, BOOM, here they come!  Termites like to swarm after a rain or heavy dew when the ground is soft, so that it is easy for them to burrow down into the dirt to form the termite love shack.

Depending on the colony size, sub-termites can send out up to 50,000 swarmers, and hat’s a lot of bugs inside your home!  Unforuntatly, termites don’t know if they are inside or outside when they swarm, and swarming termites can be pretty scary if they swarm inside your home when you are there.  If you are fortunate enough not to be home, you will simply find a bunch of black bugs crawling around with massive piles of wings everywhere, when you return.

All swarmers start out with wings that are delicate and made to fall off, so that once they find their lovemate they can burrow into the dirt to do what love-sick termites do! These swarmers don’t actually eat any wood, so they are not eating your house; but all their homies in the colony that produced them are doing just that.

An average termite colony consists of around 500,000 termites, so the swarmers come from a large family that could be using your house for their food source.  They eat, on average, a board-foot of lumber every two months, which equals, roughly, one six-foot 2 x 4.

So swarmers, whether inside or outside of your house, are the warning sirens telling you that you have a silent force whose mission is to eat your house.  And they will not stop until you make them, so keep your eyes open, and if you see anything like what I have described, find a trusted professional to inspect your home asap!  Your home is much too large an investment to become termite fodder.

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