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V.25 No.23 | 06/09/2016

Pest Control

Less toxic options

This week I would like to offer some least-toxic alternatives for controlling pests. I say least-toxic, not non-toxic because if it can kill a bug, it is slightly toxic. I will mention some brand names. I have no vested interest in recommending them. I do recommend them because they work very well.

Terro Bait is an excellent ant control bait that you can buy in stores. There are several Terro products, but I recommend the box that contains 6 bait stations. Terro is a sweet gel bait made from Borax. You take a bait station out of the box and hold it upright and cut off the colored section. Then place is and the rest of the bait stations in the box label side up near where the ants are active and where they may be coming into your home. Even though the active ingredient is Borax, make sure you don't place the baits where children or pets can come in contact with it. It can make them sick if they eat it. However, this product is much safer than the bait stations most pest control companies use as they contain pesticides as an active ingredient. This bait will work on a number of different species of household ants including the very common odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile), little black ants (Monomorium minimum) and pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum). If you have ants that don't take this bait, then you need to get them identified. You can send me some specimens and I will be happy to identify them for you and make a recommendation on a non-toxic control method.

Niban Bait is a granular bait made from Orthoboric acid. It is an excellent bait for controlling cockroaches and is also labeled for controlling silverfish, crickets, slugs, snails, carpenter ants and some other species of ants. It also works on controlling harvester ants, the ones that make the big mounds outside and sting if you bother them. Niban lasts several months, so you don't have to apply it very often. I recommend putting Niban under and behind appliances, under kitchen and bathroom counters, around hot water heaters, in your garage and in areas around your home, such as where the water meter is. If you only have cockroach problems, you will never have to use an exterminator if you use Niban Bait. You can buy Niban online from several sources. One source in New Mexico is pestcontrolsupplies.com.

EcoSmart products are very good and are safe. They are made from plant oils and are EPA exempt. Much better than using synthetic pesticides. EcoSmart products are available in many stores.

There is an excellent fly trap that you can buy in stores. It is called Rescue Fly trap an it is a plastic container that flies will enter but can't get out. There is an attractant that comes with it that you put in the trap and add water. Flies love it. I have caught hundreds of flies in some areas in just a few hours. I would not recommend using indoors as the attractant is not pleasant smelling. The attractants are made with sucrose, putrescent whole egg solids, yeast, trimethylamine and indole. It will catch house flies, blow flies and flesh flies as well as some other species. These traps should be used on ranches where dairy cattle are kept and other livestock facilities but they work around homes when flies are present in large numbers for some reason.

Believe it or not, beer is very effective at controlling some pests. If you soak a rag in beer and put it in the middle of your garage floor at night, it will be covered in drunken cockroaches the next morning waiting for you to dispatch them. If you put some pie pans filled with beer out in your yard you will attract cockroaches who will get drunk and die in the brew. They do not check IDs and, for some reason, do not like Lite beers.

If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at askthebugman2013@gmail.com or call me at 505-385-2820. My website is askthebugman.com.

Ticks!

They're mite-y disease transmissive

Ticks are not insects. They are arachnids belonging to the group – mites. They are bigger than all other mites and they are very important. There are hundreds of species of ticks in the world and they are capable of spreading more than 65 diseases, many of them serious. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever and tularemia are a few. If someone made a list of the top ten most dangerous pests, ticks would be close to the top of the list. For some reason, they receive almost no attention compared to bed bugs which are absolutely harmless. Ticks mostly feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, but some species feed on reptiles. They can be found in lawns, yards with trees and shrubs and, occasionally, inside homes. They prefer the shaded areas of your yard.

When you have ticks in your yard, here is one way control of them. Get a large piece of flannel cloth and tie it to a stick. Drag it through the entire yard slowly and pay particular attention to shady areas. Any ticks he drags the cloth over will get snagged. When you are done, put the cloth in a burn barrel and burn it or in a trash bag and seal it shut and take it to the dump. Then get some food grade diatomaceous earth and spread it all over the shady areas including along the sides of the house. Get some all along the foundation where there is dirt abutting the house. Then get some Vaseline and put some on all the outside window sills. If Vaseline is too messy you can use duct tape sticky side up. It takes 30 to 40 days for tick eggs to hatch, so you should repeat this entire process in a month and then again one month later. If ticks are in your house, you need to treat all the areas where they can hide. This would be behind baseboards, moldings, in furniture and carpets as well as around window sills. You can treat these areas with food-grade diatomaceous earth, baking soda, talcum powder or spray them with Greenbug for Indoors. All of these products will be safe for you and your family and pets but will kill the ticks. Greenbug is available online.

Most of the ticks listed below are only found in the woods and remote areas and won't infest your homes. I am listing them because they can be serious vectors of disease if you should encounter them.

Talaje soft ticks (Ornithodoros talaje)
Man, rodents, pigs, cattle, horses. Very painful bite. Found in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Nevada. It can transmit tickborne relapsing fever in some areas

Relapsing fever ticks (Argasidae - Ornithodoros turicata)
It feeds on kangaroo rats, rabbits, sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, humans, rattlesnakes and turtles. It is found in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and California. May produce intense irritation and swelling at bite site in humans. Also produces relapsing fever spirochetes.

Rocky Mountain wood ticks (Ixodidae - Dermacentor andersoni)
Rocky Mountain wood tick immatures feed on rodents and rabbits. Adults feed on cattles, sheep, deer, humans and other large mammals. They are found from the western counties of Nebraska and the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains, and from northern Arizona and northern New Mexico in the United States to British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan in Canada. May transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick paralysis and tularemia.

Brown dog ticks (Ixodidae - Rhipicephalus sanguineus)
Brown dog ticks are found worldwide, mostly in warmer areas. They are small and reddish-brown in color. Females can lay up to 5000 eggs, depending on the amount of blood consumed. Immature brown dog ticks feed on a variety of animals. Adults feed on domestic dogs and occasionally bite humans. In dogs, Brown dog ticks can transmit canine erhlichiosis and canine babesia. It has recently been identified as a reservoir for Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the southwest.

If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at askthebugman2013@gmail.com or call me at 505-385-2820. If you like you can join my Bug Club. Go to my website at askthebugman.com to join. You will get a copy of my book on safe and effective pest management and I will help you with any pest issues you have.

V.25 No.14 | 04/07/2016

Trouble with Termites

Roaches, too

Termites are swarming now because of the recent rains. The drought-like weather conditions have prolonged the normal termite swarming season, which usually occurs in March. What should you do if you see termite swarmers in your yard. If you are concerned, it would be a good idea to get a termite inspection to make sure they aren’t infesting your home. If someone finds termites, or you just want to get your home treated to be on the safe side, then make sure you hire a reputable company. When they give you a quote, they need to give you a graph of your home showing where there may be an infestation. The graph should tell you how they are going to treat it as well. They will measure your home and determine the linear footage. Most companies do this, but some of them do not measure the depth of the footer, which they need to know as the amount of termiticide they will use depends both on the linear footage of your home and the depth of the footer. If a company finds termite activity in your home and wants to use bait sticks outside, I would recommend passing on that. Why would termites leave a perfectly edible home to go out in the yard for a termite bait stick? If you opt out of getting your home treated, is that bad? Not necessarily so. We have arid land subterranean termites in most of NM and they are the least destructive species in the country. They often do some minor damage to drywall and occasionally studs, but rarely do substantial damage. However, if you are ever planning on selling your home, you should get it treated anyway, so you don’t have to deal with repairing damage later, even if it is minor. The most destructive species of subterranean termite is the Eastern species. That termite is found over much of the eastern half of the country and is found in NM in the eastern counties. That species if very destructive. Because of climate change I suspect this species will eventually expand its range over all of the state. If you have swarmers, make sure you get them identified to species. Any competent termite company should be able to look at the swarmers and identify them. It isn’t hard to tell them apart.

We also have drywood termites in NM, but they are not as common as subterraneans. They have brown swarmers, instead of black ones and they usually swarm in summer rather than in spring. They can be more difficult to treat so make sure the company you call knows how to treat them.

On another note, cockroaches are also very active now because of the weather. In some areas, they can come up through the sewer system and into your sinks through the drains. It would be a good idea to keep all of your drains closed at night, as that is when the cockroaches are most active. Check your doors also to make sure they close tightly. If you can slide a piece of paper under a door, a cockroach can come in. So can other pests like scorpions and centipedes. You may want to install door sweeps. You should also get some Niban Bait, which is a granular bait made from boric acid, and put it under your appliances, under your sinks and even around the outside of your home. You can only get Niban online. One NM supplier is pestcontrolsupplies.com. If you like, you can put out some pie pans filled with beer around your house. Roaches love beer and will go in the pie pans and drown. And they don’t check IDs. They also prefer good beer and not Lite beers. Not making this up. Another good way to catch them is with some duct tape placed sticky side up in the garage or anywhere you want, where pet can’t step on it. The roaches are attracted to the glue and get stuck on the tape. Crickets will also be attracted to the tape and get stuck.

There is no need to use pesticides to control most pests as the pesticides are potentially hazardous to your family and pets. If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at askthebugman2013@gmail.com or by phone at 505-385-2820. There is also lots of non-toxic pest management information on the blogs on my website at askthebugman.com.

V.24 No.37 | 9/10/2015

The Bugman

Potential Hazards of Pesticides

UC Davis study may link poison to autism

The Bugman advocates that some pesticides should not be used in public areas without the knowledge of the public, and that pesticide applicators be trained in all categories for which they are re-certified.
V.24 No.27 | 7/2/2015

The Bugman

Choking on the Splinters

Termites aren’t the only bugs eating at Woody’s Diner

Certain beetles and ants will attack wood.
V.24 No.24 | 6/11/2015

The Bugman

This “Mite” Save You

Because of the weather activity, it would be a good idea to get a termite inspection, but there is no reason to panic.
V.24 No.17 | 4/23/2015

The Bugman

Pest Control Without Poison

Keeping bugs at bay without hurting the Earth or yourself

Tips for keeping pests out of your life while staying green.
V.24 No.14 | 4/2/2015
Photo by Jonrhanna

Opinion

Pesticides Are Weapons of Mass Destruction

Richard “Bugman” Fagerland takes on needless use of pesticides and rodenticides and the potential, devastating consequences of exposure.
V.23 No.30 | 7/24/2014

The Bugman

New Research Links Pesticide Exposure to Autism

Wherein Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund breaks down new research on the link between in-utero pesticide exposure and autism spectrum disorders.
V.23 No.24 | 6/12/2014
CC by Hamed Saber

The Bugman

The Bugs of Summer

A long-term drought shakes up the insect world, here’s how to deal with it.

New Mexico’s drought brings grasshoppers and other crawly fauna into our fair city. The Bugman explains how we can deal with them.
V.23 No.8 | 2/20/2014
http://askthebugman.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/antsofusabooklet-doc.pdf

weather

Forget the Groundhog: Harvester Ants Say Spring is Here

Important weather info: Not only were termites swarming early, but ticks are out in full force and that’s about a month too early. More importantly, harvester ants are coming out; they would never come out if the ground were going to freeze again. Spring is here to stay, and summer is around the corner.

Because of the drought, many insects will be trying to get inside your home. Many more will be coming out of the desert looking for water—there isn’t any out there.

Surprisingly, there was a mosquito under my outside light last night. I could tell by the way it was standing that it was an Aedes mosquito. Of the 18 species of Aedes in NM, 13 are vectors of encephalitis or West Nile Virus. There won't be much water out in the wilderness, so they’ll be breeding in standing water around our homes. Mosquitoes aren't going to go away; they are going to become even more common in cities and towns, where the water is.

The termites, ticks, harvester ants and mosquitoes convince me spring is here, and global warming is a real thing. You’ll need to keep plenty of non-DEET mosquito repellant on hand.

V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014
Compfight cc via Paul Carroll

The Bugman

Meet the Prairie Dog

And its friend, the burrowing owl

Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund makes the case for peaceful coexistence with the prairie dog.
V.22 No.47 | 11/21/2013

The Bugman

Home Invaders

The Bugman covers common insect invaders in your home. Here’s how to get rid of them without pest control companies or pesticides.
V.22 No.40 | 10/3/2013

The Bugman

La Cucaracha

Minimize roachiness the nontoxic way

Audit Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund’s virtual environmentally friendly pest control course; the cockroach is the star of this week’s lecture.
V.22 No.35 | 8/29/2013

The Bugman

Shoo, Fly, Get Off of My Cloud

Nontoxic solutions for Burque’s latest plague

Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund gives helpful tips on how to curb your fly problems without calling on toxic pest control.

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