Pest Control



Pest control is a big headache and a big business. Over $5 billion in damage annually is caused by termites alone. The pest response is a function of the importance of the damage done, and ranges from tolerance, to deterrence and management, to attempts to completely eradicate the pest. Many homeowners, renters and landlords can control household pests through a combination of preventive measures, including proper sanitation and good home maintenance practices. However, some infestations may be extensive, or a particular pest may be difficult to eliminate. These may need pest control company services.
In residential settings, the pests include termites, cockroaches, bed bugs, mosquitoes, rodents, and other organisms. These share our environment and feed on and spoil possessions. A significant concern is that pests may transmit diseases including West Nile Virus, Hantavirus, malaria, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and encephalitis. Typical control methods for these pests are exclusion, repulsion, physical removal or chemical means.


Detection: Termites rarely emerge from soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling. Most people are not aware they have termites until they see a swarm or come across damage during construction. Some of the ways to discover if you have termites are: 1.) Probing exposed wood for hollow spots (using a flathead screwdriver or similar tool); 2.) Identifying termite swarms (sometimes ant swarms are mistaken as termites)


Winged Ant


winged termite

         front wings longer than the hind


         wings are roughly equal in length


         antennae bent at 90 degrees


          antennae are straight; may droop


Types of Termite Treatments

Non-Chemical Treatments - No Insecticides

  •     Physical barrier, typically incorporated during construction.

  •     Steel mesh and sands of particular sizes may perform effectively as physical barriers.

  •     Biological control agents (nematodes and fungi) have demonstrated some success

  • Chemical Treatments - Pesticide

    Termite related pesticides (termiticides) are licensed/registered by EPA for use in strict accordance with label directions. In most cases, termiticide application can only be properly performed by a trained pest management professional Approved treatments include: Liquid soil-applied termiticides, termite baits, building materials, Wood treatments impregnated with termiticides.

    Conventional Barrier Treatments

    The most common technique for treating termite infestations is the soil-applied barrier treatment. Such termiticides must be specifically labeled for that use. Improper treatments can cause contamination of the home and surrounding drinking water wells and will not protect against termites. Hence it is important to hire a pest management professional

    Termite Baits

    Termite BaitBait systems help reduce the overall use of insecticides and their impact on human health and the environment. These systems rely on cellulose baits that contain a slow-acting insecticide.

    Wood Treatment

    Borates (boron related minerals and silicates that occur in nature) are commonly used to protect wood as a spray on application during new home construction or repair. Borates provide a shell of protection around treated wood. A  limitation of any topically applied borate is that it must be applied to bare wood. Anything on the surface that inhibits the absorption of water into the wood. Thus the borate solution remains on the surface and no protection will be imparted to the wood itself.

     See Approach to Selecting a Pest Control Service Below


    Cockroaches have been around since the dinosaurs. They have six legs, wings, and antenna. They can run up to three miles an hour.  They range in size and color, and their shed skin contains allergens that can cause asthma. Cockroaches and their droppings cause several health concerns. Cockroach, eggs, saliva, feces and outer covering may be left behind on surfaces. Such Cockroach materials, which contain substances that are allergenic to humans, may trigger an asthma attack especially those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. Within and on the surface of their bodies, cockroaches carry bacteria that can cause salmonella, staphlylococcus and streptococus if deposited in food.
    Cockroaches live outdoors but occasionally come inside. They need food, shelter, and water.  Eliminate these elements as much as possible and infestations will be drastically reduced.
    There are 3 main species of Cockroach in the United States.

    US Cockroaches


    German Cockroach
    widespread and can be found in many indoor environments. Within these areas, the cockroaches prefer sites close to moisture and food, making them common pests in: kitchens, bathrooms and food-storage areas.


    Brown Banded

    Brown Banded Cockroach
    requires less moisture than other cockroaches. It lives indoors, but prefers warm environments and often lives near electrical appliances. The Brown Banded cockroach is more prevalent in homes, apartments, hotels and hospital rooms than in restaurants or stores. Evidence of this cockroach may be found: behind pictures, in furniture,  the underside of chairs and tables, in upper kitchen cabinets, on the upper shelves of closets and pantries.


    American Cockroach
    one of the largest cockroaches in the Northeast. This cockroach prefers dark, moist sites where it feeds on decaying organic matter. Sites include: basements, kitchens, clothes hampers, drains, bathroom plumbing or sewers.

    Cockroach Behavior

  •    Are resilient and fast-breeding

  •     Active at night—if you see them during the day, you have a heavy infestation.

  •     Live in cracks and crevices near food.

  •     Prefer to crawl along edges of counters or floors—rarely venture into the middle of rooms.

  •     Scatter when they sense vibration such as the sound of pesticide sprays.

  • Cockroach Detection

  •     Locate hiding places by putting sticky traps (such as a roach motel) on the floor next to walls and under kitchen appliances.

  •     Regularly monitor and note how many per trap and the age range. Lots of young roaches (smaller and wingless) indicate you have an active infestation

  •     Use a flashlight and small mirror to check behind or under cabinets and appliances.

  •     Flush out roaches with a hair dryer not aerosol pesticide.

  • Types of Cockroach Treatments

    Household chemicals like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) have been suggested, without evidence for their effectiveness.
    Garden herbs including bay, catnip, mint, cucumber, and garlic have been proposed as repellents.
    Poisoned bait containing hydramethylnon or fipronil, and boric acid powder is effective on adults.
    Baits with egg killers are also quite effective at reducing the cockroach population.
    Insecticides containing deltamethrin or pyrethrin are very effective.
    Few parasites and predators are effective for biological control of cockroaches
    Cockroaches can be trapped in a deep, smooth-walled jar baited with food inside, placed so that cockroaches can reach the opening. The method works with the American cockroach, but less so with the German cockroach.
    Be aware:  Cockroaches are better at hiding than novices are at finding them. In addition, their eggs are naturally protected from many easily available insecticides. Without special equipment, materials and know-how, cockroach control can be a losing battle. In most cases, significant cockroach removal should only be properly performed by a trained pest management professional. Here is a discussion on how to proceed.  

    Approach to Selecting a Pest Control Service

    Time is on your side

    Most pest control issues can wait a few days so take time to select a competent, reasonably priced company. Obtain several estimates. Estimates are usually free. . Be aware termite control can require several hundred gallons of diluted insecticide so per gallon estimates are somewhat open ended.

    Due Diligence is a Must (some key items to consider)

  •     Number of years have you been in business at your present address

  •    Get some references for the Pest Control Service and contact them

  •     The Pest Control Service must have at least one certified, licensed commercial pesticide applicator in the proper service category. Other company applicators must be certified applicators or licensed technicians under the direct supervision of an certified applicator. Licenses may be verified by calling your State Department of Agriculture or equivalent.

  •    Get a copy of your pest control license, copies of the labels for all pesticides used and the rates at which they will be applied. Pesticides are inherently toxic and may cause health problems and/or damage to the environment if used in a manner inconsistent with the label directions. Certain pesticides may pose greater risks than others.

  •    Generally, it is customary for termite control work to be guaranteed from one to five years.

  •    As in all such situations “Buyer beware”