This week Bernard Black from Black Pest took some time to talk to us about pests...
1. What is the most common pest in the Portland area? How many homes have some kind of pest living in them?
The most common pest that we help people with is the odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile. It is a little brown-black ant that frequents kitchens and is fond of sugary things.
Most homes, even brand-new homes have some pest. Beetles and moths in the bird seed, fleas on the dog, lice on the children, mice, rats, ants etc.. I could probably find some pest in or around any home.
2. What's the strangest pest infestation you've seen?
I responded to a call about spiders that was quite terrifying. The home had hundreds of thousands of large, orb-weaving spiders both inside and outside. They were under the sheets and pillows of the bed, in the vents, on the walls. They were in the shower, inside the drain, in the cloths. Everywhere. Following treatment, the sound of spiders falling was like a hail storm. It was so bad even I was creeped out!
Normally, I can figure out why there is a pest infestation, but in this case, reason and logic were missing. It looked more like a curse than a pest issue.
3. How can pests be structurally harmful? What can home owners do to prevent damage?
Some pests, including termites, wood beetles and carpenter ants, directly damage the wood members of a home. Other pests, like raccoons, rats and mice can damage a home but also contaminate property with their urine and feces.
One easy tip on prevention is to repair broken building vents (these are the vents leading into the crawlspace). A broken building vent can allow a raccoon, opossum, rat or other intruder to gain entry into the crawlspace. From there the animal can pull down insulation, chew wires, and do thousands of dollars of damage.
Another way to prevent pest damage is to have a pest control company inspect your home (including the crawlspace) periodically.
4. Do any of the home remedies you see out there work?
There are lots of ways to do pest control with everyday things in your home. For example, soapy water will kill most small insects, Mayonnaise can kill head lice (it suffocates them). Putting flour in the freezer will kill weevils. Cats control mice, (but then you have cats!).
5. What pests cause the most damage? What can Black Pest help with?
Wood destroying insects cause the most physical damage to structures. This includes termites, wood beetles and carpenter ants. We have excellent, low-tox pest elimination programs for each of these pests. For example, we treat termites with a bait (Sentricon) that won the presidential green chemistry award.
Rodents are a close runner-up in home destruction due to their ability to eat our food, contaminate surfaces and spread disease. They also damage buildings when they gnaw. When we perform a rodent control service, we carefully inspect and repair potential entry points, we remove contaminated items, such as insulation or vapor barriers. We replace the vapor barrier, if necessary. We place traps and bait as required.
If you'd like Bernard to help any of your pest questions, email him directly! Bernard Black firstname.lastname@example.org