What to Look for in a Pest Control Company Choosing a company to handle your pest control problem may not seem like a difficult choice. After all, that is their job, isn’t it? But not all pest control companies are created equal. What you want is a company that will do the job right the first time, as well as safe for your family and pets. First you should know if the company is licensed to operate in your state. You can ask for proof of this license to be sure. You can also contact a local council or licensing authority to check the company’s rating. Finally, you can request references to talk to previous clients (like True Local and Facebook) and see if their questions were answered, and if the company did a satisfactory job. Once you select a few companies, don’t be afraid to ask them plenty of questions. Ask about the products they use, what sort of results you can expect, what their prices are, and what their policy is if you see a pest after having a treatment done. Will they do a free re-service in the event that you are not totally satisfied? Do they train their staff thoroughly? Have their employees had background checks and drug testing before being hired? Don’t be swayed by advertisements and promises. Make sure you fully understand what the company has to offer you and what sort of guarantees they may have. Know what kind of products they will use and whether these products have the potential to hurt pets or cause damage to your lawn or garden. Companies like thirstypestcontrol.com.au aim to satisfy all customers, utilising botanical pest solutions that won’t harm lawns or leave unpleasant odors. Families, pets, lawns, and gardens will all stay protected while we make sure pests stay away from the home. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. But don’t just take our word for it – contact us today to see what we can do for you. Do I have Bed Bugs? Here are a few things to look for if you suspect you might have Bed Bugs: A physical sample of an actual bug or egg is required to be 100% certain that you have bed bugs Bite symptoms are a good indicator but cannot be diagnosed with 100% certainty The most effective inspections are conducted by a qualified pest management professional The only way to know for sure if you have bed bugs, is to produce an actual sample of the bug itself. Do not automatically assume that any bite-like mark is a bed bug bite. It is important to realize that medical professionals cannot give a positive diagnosis simply by examining bite symptoms, they can only suggest some possible explanations for what may have caused the bites/symptoms to occur. Obviously if you see bugs in your home associated with your bedding or other furniture, you should have it examined by a professional that is qualified to provide a positive identification. However, if you are experiencing bites but have not seen any bugs, you should consider the circumstances in which the bites are occurring. For example, there is a very good chance that you have bed bugs if you keep repeatedly waking up each morning with bite symptoms on your body that were not present when you went to sleep. A situation like this would be a good reason to have a pest management professional perform an inspection to identify if bed bugs are present. On the other hand, bites that occur at various times of the day in various locations such as at home, in the car, at work, etc. are much less likely to be caused by bed bugs. It is also important to realize that just because you have looked for bed bugs and could not find them, does not mean that they are not there. These insects lead a very cryptic and secretive lifestyle and will often go undetected. It is best to have a highly trained professional conduct the inspection for you. Occasionally you may see evidence of a bed bug infestation without actually seeing any bed bugs. Bed bugs leave fecal stains in the areas they inhabit. These stains are actually partially digested blood but remember that it will not be red unless you crush a bed bug that has just recently fed. As the blood is digested it turns black and therefore the bed bug droppings usually consist of several black spots in one area. The fecal spots will not flake off if rubbed and will smear if wiped with a wet cloth. Pest Inspection When conducting a pest inspection insure you check all items brought into a building for pest infestation. Also inspect trucks, trailers or railcars for pests. Often, pests are brought into a facility through a method of conveyance. Vermin Trapping Besides their benefits as monitoring devices, traps are used to kill pests or to catch pests so they may be removed from an area. Many types of pests can be managed through trapping. Traps do not require the use of chemicals and the user can easily view the success of the trapping program. However, successful trapping programs require skill, time and attention to develop workable techniques. Even so, trapping may not always work well enough under some conditions to satisfactorily manage target pests. Trapping techniques that are successful in one situation may not always work as well under different conditions or at other locations. Using Pesticides The application of pesticides is often the most common pest management method. To be effective, however, chemicals must be used in conjunction with other techniques. Furthermore, pest specific, low-toxicity compounds should be used when possible. Compounds should never be applied on a schedule and be someone who is not trained and certified. Summary A well-designed integrated pest management program is an extremely effective in controlling current pest infestations and preventing new populations from becoming established. All programs are developed following a series of steps and utilizing a variety of chemical and non-chemical techniques. Success, however, is dependent upon proper training, communication and cooperation. Pest sanitation and habitats. Habitats are areas within a larger environment that are suitable for pest survival. Habitats provide a pest with some or all of the necessary survival resources. A habitat can only accommodate a maximum number of pests due to limitations of one or more of these resources. This maximum number is known as the carrying capacity. Where large quantities of food are available and shelter and other specific requirements are ample, the carrying capacity is high. Such a habitat can support a high number of pests. If the carrying capacity is limited, however, the population/community tends to remain fixed. If you remove individuals from a habitat through pest management measures or if they die off due to natural causes, these individuals will be replaced by others, usually soon, unless the carrying capacity is reduced at the same time. Population/community size is maintained at the carrying capacity by increased reproduction among remaining individuals or by migrating individuals. Habitat modification usually involves improving sanitation practices. Sanitation includes removing food, water, breeding sites and harbourage used by pests. Outdoors, you may need to trim or remove vegetation near buildings, clean up trash, keep garbage in closed containers, provide for drainage of standing water, clean up animal wastes and spilled feed, and eliminate items which attract pests. Inside, sanitation includes storing foods and food wastes in tightly closed containers, cleaning up spills and residues for all areas, removing trash and other materials that can be used for nests, and thorough vacuuming and dusting on a regular basis. The cleaning of surfaces may also improve the effectiveness of pesticides by removing grease, oils, dust, and other contaminants that interfere with their function. Rodent trapping significantly improves with sanitation. To assist in good sanitation, make sure interior areas are well lighted to simplify cleaning and easy detection of pests and pest damage. Train employees concerning the importance of good sanitation practices. Other sanitation practices include removing dirt mounds, wood pieces and other cellulose debris from areas beneath buildings to keep from promoting termite problems. Provide adequate ventilation to areas beneath buildings to reduce moisture. Outdoor lights placed near entrances to buildings attract many flying and crawling insects at night. If possible, locate light fixtures away from entrances. Otherwise, modify the type of light being used. Sodium vapour lights are better than mercury vapour lights or standard incandescent lights for outdoor use because they emit a spectrum of light that is less attractive to insects; yellow “bug” bulbs work on the same principle. A program of sanitation and habitat modification requires cooperation. All people working in a building must keep food, food waste and trash in pest-proof containers and store other items in designated places where they cannot attract pests. Employees should promptly report pest problems. Housekeeping and landscape maintenance workers can help by keeping interior and exterior areas free of trash, nesting sites and other items that might be attractive to pests; they should provide containers for wastes and specify locations for storage of other materials. Waste containers should be frequently emptied and cleaned as well as the surrounding areas. Buildings must be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that sanitation conditions are maintained and to spot new problem areas as they occur. Pest Habitat Modification Using Exclusion Exclusion is a type of habitat modification useful for keeping pests from entering facilities. The design, construction and maintenance of a building may either promote pests or exclude them. Pest-proof design should be an important consideration when planning new structures and remodelling others. Check building exteriors for pest accesses. Obvious entrances for many pests are doorways and windows. These must be fitted with tight-fitting screens and doors. Properly installed weather stripping eliminated small cracks that provide access for some pests. Look for foundation or wall cracks, leaking plumbing, gaps in siding or joints and areas where pipes, wires or other objects pass through walls. Fill openings with concrete or another suitable patching material. Check window screening and air curtains for good repair and proper functioning. Pest control Action Thresholds Pest management decisions are influenced by health and safety issues created by the pest, legal restrictions and levels of pest tolerance. Occasionally a pest management decision depends on the costs involved to manage a pest weighed against the benefits received. On the basis of any of these factors, an action threshold can usually be established to determine what type of program (management components) is needed and when it should be implemented. Health and Safety Threshold Health or safety threats commonly require fast, extensive and sometimes costly pest management measures. Several pests have the potential for causing injury or vectoring disease. Others damage facilities (rats, termites) or cause product loss (stored product arthropods, rodents). Decisions to manage pests are based, in part, on knowledge of the potential harm they may cause. If serious injury or damage may result, the management threshold must be very low. Legal Thresholds Public safety codes often require pest management in public buildings, commercial housing, food service facilities and other public structures. Building and safety standards address the management of structural pests as well as the repair of damage. These legal thresholds dictate when pest management must be used, even though in some cases management methods cannot be economically justified or the pests may not be causing a hazard to public health or safety. For information on laws which regulate pest infestation in certain buildings and on food, contact local health or preventive medicine departments. Pest Acceptance Thresholds People have different degrees of pest acceptance that they are willing to tolerate. Pest acceptance thresholds may be high because of social or cultural factors or because of concerns about the costs or hazards of pest control methods. A pest acceptance threshold may be extremely low due to revulsion or fear. Acceptance thresholds may sometimes be modified if you can provide factual information regarding specific pests, the potential for pest damage, and pest management programs. Economic Threshold In certain instances, the cost of management measures may need to be justified. Economic thresholds may apply if there are no health and safety, legal or tolerance thresholds that need to be considered. An economic threshold is a level of pest abundance at which the potential loss caused by pest damage is expected to be greater than the cost of managing the pest. Consumer confidence may also be considered an economic cost. Integrated Pest Management in Facilities-An Example Pests may be prevented/managed, through sanitation and habitat modification or they can be managed by trapping, pesticide use and in some instances biological management. Pests in facilities are usually more efficiently managed when a combination of compatible management methods are used. The following is a generic example of a basic pest management program used for facilities. Pest Detection and Monitoring Devices Different types of simple devices may assist you in detecting and monitoring many pests. Additionally, because these devices are present 24 hours, they will often reveal pest problems that you may have missed during active visual pest inspections. The following provides information about a few common devices. Pheromones and Other Attractants Pheromones are chemicals produced by insects (and other animals), which affect the behavior of the same species. Pheromones are used for mating, aggregation, feeding, trail following and recruitment. Synthetically produced pheromones mimic the action of naturally produced pheromones or some pest insect species. These are useful for monitoring the adult forms of a variety of pest months, beetles and certain flies. Other materials may also be used as attractants including foods. Light Traps Traps equipped with ultraviolet lights, or black lights, will attract several species of flying insects. These traps usually have a container with a funnel shaped entrance that allows insects to enter easily but blocks their escape. Some light traps have an electrically charged grid that kills insects as they approach the light. These traps, however, are not used for insect monitoring and have little value in flying insect control. Sticky Traps For monitoring cockroaches and rodents, glue boards are often used. However, they do have some restrictions including specific environmental. Pest Management Program Development Locating and Monitoring Pests Program design must be based on pest detection, monitoring and accurate identification. Visually inspecting an area where pests or their damage is observed is the most common method of detection. Inspection involves careful and thorough searching for signs of the pest and conditions, which favour pest survival. Monitoring is a systematic method of observing pests or pest signs over a period of time. Monitoring may help you detect pests and determine their accesses and harbourage. Monitoring is also helpful in evaluating management programs. Once a pest is discovered, accurate identification is essential. For example, managing a German cockroach infestation is different to an Australian or American cockroach problem. Mistakes in identification could lead to miss-allocation of resources and program failure. Visual Inspection The purpose of visual inspection is to actively search for pest evidence. During an inspection, look for: (1) conditions that favour pests (poor sanitation, clutters, access to food and water); (2) signs of pest damage, entry or presence; and (3) the pest itself. When doing an inspection, it is helpful to prepare sketches of the structure or area. Observe any conditions that may cause problems during pest management operations. Note areas that you were unable to inspect because they were inaccessible. Show locations of landscaping, trash and garbage storage, water sources and other features of the area that may attract or harbour pests or promote pest build-up. Solicit assistance from facility managers and employees. They are your “eyes and ears” and will know when conditions in the facility change. It is important to provide basic pest management training to all involved and encourage communication. Make everyone a part of the solution rather than the problem. The Theory of Integrated Pest Management (iPM) In the not too distant past, pest control relied upon scheduled pesticide applications to achieve the desired result. Over time, however, the policy of “spray and go” proved to be ineffective and controversial in many situations. Due to the inherent limitations characteristic of many chemical control programs, a new theory (integrated pest management) based on common sense pest management principles was adopted to fill the void. (IPM) incorporates a variety of techniques (chemical and non-chemical) into a comprehensive, situational program based upon pest prevention/elimination through exploiting pest behavior and biology. Although all pest problems are unique, developing an IPM program consistently follows a series of pre-established steps. For example, all programs begin with accurate pest identification. From this, a plan is organized which targets the elimination of specific pest requirements (food and harborage). Once a plan (using chemical and non-chemical techniques) is developed, action thresholds are established (to determine when treatment is necessary), populations monitored, and program results documented to determine effectiveness. If it is determined that the program is not meeting expectations or the situation changes, re-evaluation and modification of program components is conducted until the desired effect is achieved.