Archive for the ‘Removal’ Category

Rats!

Remodeling in the East Bay

From dirt to doorknobs

It’s a rare attic or crawlspace where we see no evidence of these nasty critters. It seems like they climb, swim, dig, or chew their way into our houses no matter what we do. One homeowner complained of rats that ate the fruit out of their dining table centerpiece!

Rat raceway between insulation and subfloorRat raceway between insulation and subfloor

It’s bad enough that they get into our attics and crawlspaces, worse yet is what they leave behind. Proteins in their urine are potent allergens and become airborne when dry. Their urine and feces can contain hantavirus, a group of deadly virus that can be aerosolized and transmitted through air movement (more on hantavirus).

In the average house ducts leak at least 30%, and the building “shell” leaks at least 100% more than what’s required for adequate ventilation (data). If the leaky ducts run through the attic or crawlspace, they can directly vacuum up rat leavings and deliver it into each room of the house. If they don’t vacuum it up directly, they can depressurize the house, causing the house itself to suck it in through all the little holes and cracks between the attic or crawlspace and the house.

Rat urine on a water pipeRat urine on a water pipe

 In a typical building performance project that involves rodent infestation, we remove all contaminated materials and neutralize soiled surfaces. Then we reduce duct leakage and eliminate air infiltration between the attic or crawlspace and the living space. Even if the rats eventually get back in, the bad stuff stays in the attic or crawlspace, not in the bedrooms.

This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.
 

Curiousity Almost Killed The Cat

We received a telephone call from a woman who claimed that she had a cat in the attic. “Did you say a rat?” I asked. “A cat!” she said..I still had to clarify..”A bat?”..”No, a cat and I think I heard it meowing” she said.

Well this was first for us, so we rushed straight to women’s house. If there really was a cat, he was in big trouble but I have to admit, I expected a raccoon.

We arrived, grabbed the ladder and flashlight and Brandon was in the attic in seconds. he was very cautious in case there was a raccoon in the attic. With moments I heard him say…”It’s a cat, dad!”

I warned my son to be very careful of his approach of the cat but he said the cat was very weak and wobbly on its feet. I climbed the ladder and stuck my fat head into the attic to see the cat “zip’ by me…..not too wobbly I thought.

It was a sight to see, my son chasing the cat all around the very low and very hot attic. Brandon disappeared behind some A/C ducts at the far end of the attic and I heard him say “Gotcha!”

I asked Brandon if the cat was vicious and he replied that the cat was now barely alive. Brandon cradled the cat all the way from the far end of the low attic, gently climbing over A/C ducts and coughing on “raised” dust and insulation.

At my first look at the cat, I thought, “This thing is dead”. It just hung there, lifelessly.

Brandon crawled out of the attic, down the ladder and out the front door with this poor exhausted, hungry and very dehydrated feline.

The cat laid in my son’s lap with very little movement. The cat could not even lift its head. After a few minutes, we gave the cat some water, being sure not to give it too much too fast. At first it did not want the water but then gradually started to drink. We offered it some sardines in a can (our raccoon bait) and the cat ate slowly but then increased as he ate.

Brandon had to actually put water on his finger and rub it on the cats mouth to get the poor animal to drink

After some more water and a little more food, the cat could finally make a meow sound, it was very weak and dry sounding but it was a meow.

Now we were faced with the next ordeal…what to do with this cat? I was afraid to take it anywhere that may put it to sleep due to its extreme weakness, it looked very pitiful with its bones protruding from it’s skin.

Brandon is actually holding the cat up, if he released of the cat, it would immediately collapse.

The homeowner stated that the only time the cat could have entered the attic was FIVE weeks ago when the A/C people were working in the attic. Apparently they removed the gable air vent for some reason and the cat must have wandered in. The A/C workers movements may have startled the cat and it must have hidden, that’s what a cat would normally do in this type of situation. unfortunately, the A/C workers sealed the attic back and went home, leaving the cat in the attic.

The woman was totally freaked out about the cat, she also said that there was a “missing cat” poster on the telephone pole in front of her house. I ran out to the telephone pole and the poster was ripped up with only a few remaining pieces of paper left hanging. I talked to several neighbors and they knew nothing about the missing cat.

 We refused to give up, this cat survived the hot Florida attic with no food or water for five weeks….it did not give up and neither were we!

Brandon sat on the front porch sidewalk, cradling the cat in his lap. He gave it little sips of water and food and then let it rest.

I drove all over the neighborhood looking for more posters of missing cats. finally I located a poster that was less damaged than the rest. The poster was still torn but had a better picture of the cat…but no phone number.

The picture looked exactly like the half dead cat in Brandon’s lap, things were looking up for us and the cat. I started knocking on doors and asking about the “missing cat” poster but no one knew anything. I saw a few kids on bicycles down the road and remembered an old saying from a when I was a private investigator, “If you want to know anything about a neighborhood, ask a kid…they see everything.”   I drove over to the kids, asked about a lost cat and they immediately pointed to a house farther down the block.

I went up to the house, knocked on the door and a women answered. I inquired about her lost cat and she bent down and picked up a cat and said that it had been found days ago. Directly in front of me was the perfect copy of the cat that was fighting for his life in Brandon’s lap….not  good news at all.

By the time I returned to Brandon, the cat was doing much better, it was holding its own head up and its eyes looked much clearer.

We knew things were not looking good for the cat but we refused to quit. I called several friends and finally hit pay dirt. We were directed to a woman who loved cats and was willing to nurse the little guy back to health.

Within thirty minutes, we were at a McDonalds parking lot and meeting the cats new owner. The woman almost cried when she saw the cat. It’s funny because to us, the cat looked damn good (compared to the non responsive attic cat we intially observed) ! It was purring and meowing so much better. It was still a little wobbly on its feet but all in all, it was going wonderful!

Break time for Brandon and the cat. Brandon ate french fries while the cat enjoyed more sardines.

She took the cat and the last we heard it was  recovering and doing very well. A happy ending all around!

Update: It’s been well over a week and the cat is GREAT!

Spider Web Removal – A Must for Each and Every Service

I cannot tell you how many times I have started a new pest account and while during my exterior treatment, the customer walks out with a totally confused look on their face and ask me “What the heck am are you doing?”

These Black Widow Spider eggs were located in the garage doorway!

I inform them that their home is loaded with spiders and their webs and desperately need to be removed. The new customer usually states that they have had several pest control companies over the course of many years and the  pest control company never removed spider webs. I generally grin and tell them…”You do now” as I go back to “de-spidering” their home.

To me, it is natural to take a trip around the customer’s home on each and every visit and remove spider’s and their web’s as well as wasp/wasp nest.

It really is not that time-consuming and it creates more value to your service!

It can be tricky at times but after a few bites from  spider’s as they creep down the spider pole while working or wasp stings as you knock down the nest, it becomes easy. 

I have not been bite or stung in many years (of course, after writing this, it will happen very soon, lol).

 An extending spider broom is a must! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may ask what keeps those little creatures from returning? Well my friend, I will tell you. We treat the exterior of each residence with a six foot band of a long lasting product as well as round the door’s’ window’s and of course the soffit area.

Since no pest products last forever and with the brutal Florida summer heat , the pest product tends to break down in some of the more exposed areas.

Once a good exterior treatment is initiated, it is imperative to maintain that service to prevent the “bug” situation from returning.

I have literally spent  an hour on one of my initial services clearing the exterior, this house was absolutely covered with spiders and wasp!

 

As I mentioned before, some pest companies do not perform this service because they were not trained that way, they do not want to spend their valuable time or they just refuse. 

As for Beucher & Son, it’s just a another part of an excellent treatment program that we provide to every customer, everyday, everytime.

Call us today for your FREE  57 PLUS Pest Audit and Inspection

727-388-6759

Village of the Damaged

Those cute little creatures that share our living space here on earth are quite good at damaging our world in places not normally noticed. maybe its just their way of pay back.

 Pecking Creatures

In the pictures below, birds have been “pecking” out the latex sealant in many areas of the roof’s edge. The problem here is that water flows into the holes during one of our heavy Florida rains and is running down to the floor below and heavily damaging the walls.

This has been going on for many weeks, just as soon as the gaps are resealed, the birds return and peck out more holes.

 

Gnawing Creatures

This customer heard a gnawing sound in his attic, we checked out the attic and found a heavy rodent evidence but there was no signs of gnaw marks anywhere to be found. Gnaw marks can’t always be located but the customer was so adamant about the gnawing that we checked the roof. Bullseye!

 

THE VERY DESTRUCTIVE TYPE

 

 This is from my aunts house, she had a raccoon in her attic. The raccoon would walk along the wooden fence, hop onto the rain gutter and slip into the attic through the vent that the raccoon had ripped open.

And my personal favorite…

THE  WEIRD TYPE

A new customer called in with a rodent problem. We met the home owner and she described the usual rat observations until she mentioned that the curious little rodent was pulling the upholstery tacks out of the dinning room chairs.

 She said that each morning the little rascal would remove a few tacks out of the chairs.

The Evidence…..

 

Here is some rat trivia from Wiki

Did you know….A 2007 study found rats to possess metacognition, a mental ability previously only documented in humans and some primates.

Domestic rats differ from wild rats in many ways. They are calmer and less likely to bite; they can tolerate greater crowding; they breed earlier and produce more offspring; and their brains, livers, kidneys, adrenal glands, and hearts are smaller.

Rats are edible by humans and are sometimes captured and eaten in emergency situations. For some cultures, rats are considered a staple.

Ancient Romans did not generally differentiate between rats and mice, instead referring to the former as Mus Maximus (big mouse) and the latter as Mus Minimus (little mouse).

On the Isle of Man (a dependency of the British Crown) there is a taboo against the word “rat.” See Longtail (rat) for more information.

The Black Death is traditionally believed to have been caused by the micro-organism Yersinia pestis, carried by the Tropical Rat Flea (Xenopsylla cheopis) which preyed on Black Rat living in European cities during the epidemic outbreaks of the Middle Ages; these rats were used as transport hosts.

The normal lifespan of rats ranges from two to five years, and is typically three years.

 

Northern Manhattan Subway Riders Say Rats Abound

Fulton Street in Manhattan, June 2010.Marcus Yam/The New York Times The rats are downtown, too: Fulton Street in Manhattan in June.

Rodents, the traditional scourge of New York City, are having a rough year. The rise of the bedbug seems to have rendered rats a has-been pest, a mere nuisance to be ignored rather than read about in countless alarmist trend articles. The bedbug is a breakout media star; the rat is, well, still a rat.

But there is one realm where the rodent still rules, where rats play the stars of an underground theater with a captive audience in the millions. Where else but the subway?

Earlier this year, the city’s Board of Health, in what was called the first study of its kind, discovered that half the subway lines in Lower Manhattan exhibited signs of mild or severe infestation. At the time, many New Yorkers expressed a surprising fondness for the creatures.  Now, a new, slightly less scientific survey has found a similar rat takeover of 20 stations in Upper Manhattan, based on the observations of thousands of riders who say there is a “severe” rodent problem in the underground.

The Have You Seen a Rat Today? campaign, sponsored by State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, collected responses from about 5,000 New Yorkers who filled out surveys distributed by the senator’s office.

Because this type of survey is self-selecting, and because there was no way to verify the responses, the results of Mr. Perkins’s study (also see below) ought to be taken with a grain of rat poison. But the findings do seem to match up anecdotally with many New Yorkers’ experiences.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they saw rats on a daily or weekly basis in the subway, with a majority of sightings on the tracks. (Far fewer rats appeared to make their way onto benches or into the trains themselves.) Only 1 percent of the respondents said they “never see rats.”

All 20 stations in Mr. Perkins’s district, the 30th, were cited. The worst offenders: the big 125th Street express stop at Saint Nicholas Avenue; the 145th Street station on the A, B, C and D lines; and the 163rd Street station in Washington Heights. Strangely, the new 96th Street station at Broadway was also cited, although perhaps all the recent construction sent rodents scurrying of late.

The point of the survey, Mr. Perkins said, was to prompt officials to examine new methods of attacking the rodent problem. He also proposed a ban on eating in the subway, similar to no-food policies used on transit systems in Chicago and Washington.

“What we know for sure is the rats are not growing the food they are eating, nor are they shopping at Whole Foods or McDonald’s,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview. He noted that discarded food and litter are the primary culprits that attract rats to the mass transit system: “If you feed ’em, you breed ’em.”

Mr. Perkins mailed his survey results to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Oct. 21, and he urged the agency to step up its eradication efforts. The agency has laid off station cleaners this year and acknowledged over the summer that it may not have the budget to pursue a more advanced attack against rodents.

“I know this is a challenging time for transit and for the M.T.A.,” Mr. Perkins wrote in his letter. “But rodents in the subway jeopardize the health of all those who travel and work underground.”

In the interview, Mr. Perkins emphasized the far-reaching effects of his cause.

“This system is so important to people,” he said. “It is an experience that determines significantly one’s daily life, not simply from a bread-and-butter go-to-work point of view, but from an emotional and psychic point of view.

“You’re on a subway and a rat is sitting next to you — that moment does not end for a while.”


All-natural bedbug sprays have little bite

Products such as Rest Easy and Bed Bug Bully claim to be highly effective at controlling the insects, but researchers say there aren’t yet any consumer products proven to keep bedbugs away.

Bedbug

Bedbugs can be very hard to get rid of, and “all natural” remedies don’t show much promise. (University of Florida Institute of Food / October 25, 2010)

Bedbugs combine all of the bloodsucking annoyance of mosquitoes with the survival instinct of cockroaches. No bigger than apple seeds, the adult bugs hide in ingenious places — inside electrical outlets, behind baseboards, deep in carpet fibers — during the day and attack their victims during the night. You may never know that you have a bedbug problem until bites start showing up on your skin. Bedbugs don’t spread any illnesses, but still. Ick.

The bugs are tough, they’re devious and they’re gaining new ground in homes and hotel rooms across the country, says Susan Jones, an entomologist at Ohio State University in Columbus. “They are the worst insects that we’ve ever had to deal with in an urban environment.”

As worry about bedbugs grows, it’s no surprise that many people are taking pest control into their own hands. Do-it-yourself exterminators can choose from many different sprays that claim to kill the bugs and prevent infestations.

Some products, like Rest Easy Bed Bug Spray, are sold as all-natural alternatives to traditional pesticides. Rest Easy, manufactured by the RMB Group, contains essential oils from cinnamon and lemon grass, among other ingredients. Bed Bug Bully, produced by a company called My Cleaning Products, claims to be 100% natural. The company website doesn’t list any ingredients, but a sales manager reached by phone said that the spray ingredients include tea tree oil and lavender. The company didn’t respond to a request for more information.

A 16-ounce spray bottle of Rest Easy — sold at many Walgreens, Ace Hardware and other stores — costs about $16. The company website instructs users to spray Rest Easy on “dressers drawers, closets, along baseboards, behind headboards, and around any other furniture you want treated.” The site advises against spraying the bed directly. “If bed bugs are present in the bed,” the site says, “call a professional for extermination.”

A 32-ounce bottle of Bed Bug Bully, available at many drugstores, retails for about $50. A video tutorial on the company website encourages users to spray “wherever you think bedbugs may be.”

If you want a little more punch in your spray, you might consider buying a product that contains an EPA-registered pesticide. Steri-Fab, a spray from Noble Pine Products, contains alcohol with a small amount of d-phenothrin, a common pesticide often found in flea and tick products. It’s sold online — Amazon is one option — and at many professional cleaning supply outlets. On Amazon.com, a 1-gallon bottle sells for a little more than $40. According to the company site, a gallon is enough to cover eight to 10 pieces of upholstered furniture or six to seven mattress sets.

The claims

The Rest Easy website says that its “optimized blend of natural ingredients has been universally recognized for thousands of years as a means for controlling insects.” In a phone interview, company President Howard Brenner said, “We are all-natural and highly effective.” He also said that people who have a serious and obvious infestation should call an exterminator. “Our product is for people who think they might have bedbugs or are paranoid that they might get them.”

The Bed Bug Bully site says the product is “by far the best bed bug treatment you can get on the market today.” It also promises “the same results delivered by pest service without evacuation.”

The Steri-Fab website says that, “unlike any other product available in the U.S. and the world,” Steri-Fab kills bedbugs, fleas, ticks and lice along with bacteria and viruses. The site also says it “dries in 15-20 minutes and leaves no residue.” The FAQ section explains that the product kills bugs on contact but becomes essentially inactive once it dries. In a phone interview, company Vice President Eric Bryan said his product “isn’t a panacea” but does have a proven ability to kill bugs. “Those all-natural botanical products” are baloney, he added.

The bottom line

Gail Getty, a research entomologist at UC Berkeley, says she’d love to see a day when people could quickly solve their bedbug problems on their own. “I want to encourage new research. It would be great if there was something that was safe and effective.”

Unfortunately, she says, no consumer products on the market today have been proved to completely remove bedbugs from the home. Because bedbugs are so adept at hiding, and because any bugs you can target with a spray are going to just be the tip of the infestation, it really takes a professional exterminator to get rid of the bugs, she says.

Jones, the Ohio State University entomologist, is especially leery of “all-natural” products. “If you think that using these sprays is going to get rid of your bedbugs, you are sorely mistaken.” Jones points out that pesticide-free products such as Bed Bug Bully or Rest Easy aren’t required by the Environmental Protection Agency to prove that they are actually effective against bugs — all that matters is that they are considered safe.

And while d-phenothrin, the pesticide in Steri-Fab, definitely has some killing power, Jones says many populations of bedbugs are developing a resistance to that chemical.

Jones adds that even professional exterminators armed with industrial-strength chemicals generally need several hours to clean out an infestation. “If somebody goes in and out in 15 minutes, you just wasted your money.”

Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs,Bed Bugs, Bed bugs, Bed Bugs,……Are you as tired of hearing about Bed Bugs as I am?

The truth of the matter is that those nasty blood sucking devils are here and getting worse. Good public awareness to their habits, signs of infestation and treatment is one of the best tools to getting some control of those guys (and gals).

One thing that you can do to keep safe from Bed Bug’s while traveling is to check the bed. Yep, check the entire bed and then some!

Before I even move anything into a room while travelling, I rip the sheets off, lift the mattress and check out everything from under the bed frame to the pillow cases. Does that seem extreme to you? On a recent trip to North Carolina, we stopped at three motels. Two of those motels had bed bugs, one of which was totally infested.    Check your rooms thoroughly!

BTW do not use a black light! You discover more problems with the room than bed bugs…..as seen below.

And since we are the subject of travelling stop over horro stories…lets keep going  and check out a few more.

ok, this is alittle different, lol.

Hospitals face bloodsucking parasites

by Heather Mayer, DOTmed News Reporter

On top of reimbursement cuts, shrinking procedure volumes, health care reform, mass layoffs and nurse strikes, hospitals now have to worry about an invasion of bloodsucking parasites.

Don’t let the
bedbugs bite.
 

According to a series of news reports, health care centers around the country are finding unwelcome visitors under the sheets: bedbugs.

A surgical unit at the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston closed last week to allow exterminators to treat the area for bedbugs. The hospital moved patients out of the unit, and it said it hasn’t found any more bedbugs, according to The Associated Press.

And the Blank Children’s Hospital in Iowa recently treated two rooms for the bloodsuckers. While the hospital said the pests are gone right now, new ones can come in with new patients. According to one pest control expert, who treated the Iowa hospital, bedbugs are on the rise.

Orange Park Medical Center in Florida reported the problem several weeks ago, but said the issue had been resolved and it had established processes to screen for bedbugs.

George Richardson of Peninsular Pest Control said exterminators have been treating an increasing number of beds in homes throughout the area for bedbugs, according to a News4Jax article.

But Ron Harrison, director of technical services for Atlanta-based Orkin, said while bedbug infestations have grown over the last five to eight years, he hasn’t noticed a surge in hospital outbreaks, although the media may suggest otherwise. He attributes the seemingly new and frequent outbreaks to media hype.

The chances of hospitals having a bedbug infestation are “relatively small,” Harrison told DOTmed News. They are likely to appear in a long-term care facility where people stay for extended periods of time, thus bringing in belongings from home.

Although pesky, there is currently no evidence that suggests bedbugs carry harmful diseases, said Harrison.

“It’s more psychological than disease transmission,” he said of health concerns. “It’s not a comfortable thing for most people.”

Spotting the critters
The best way to contain bedbugs is to always remain vigilant, said Harrison. Spotting a bug early could save a hospital from a lot of headaches and bug bites.

Short of seeing a bedbug, the best way to determine if a facility or home has an unwanted visitor is by looking for fecal smears, said Harrison. Adult bedbugs, the size of an apple seed or tick, are easily seen. But after a blood meal, the bugs will defecate, leaving an ink-like smear on a mattress or linens. It’s also common to find a dried up ball of fecal matter on hard surfaces such as plastic, said Harrison.

Containing and treating
Often, if only one or two bedbugs are seen, it means they were brought in on an ambulance or by a patient’s personal belongings. Once a hospital determines that it has a minor infestation, it can get rid of the problem through basic isolation – getting rid of a bed or a piece of furniture – explained Harrison.

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“If you go into a long-term care facility or a rehabilitation center, you may be inclined to do a lot of work where you’re treating beds, linens – depending on how bad the infestation is,” he said.

It’s rare, said Harrison, that a hospital will experience a full-on outbreak. But in that situation, exterminators often use heat treatments, steaming or freezing. In a hospital situation, he said, fumigation is generally a last resort.

Bedbugs are notoriously hard to get rid of due to their resistance to most pesticides and their nocturnal nature – they only come out at night.

“If you’re not paying attention and the infestation gets out of control, it can be quite expensive to take care of bedbugs,” said Harrison. “It’s not a do-it-yourself kind of job.”

Cost
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact cost to get rid of bedbugs, explained Harrison. It could be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the infestation.

“If I find a few crawling around, it’s on the low end,” said Harrison. “If I find a big infestation, it’s on the high end.”

An Orkin spokeswoman would only say that for commercial infestations, the cost varies depending on the number of rooms infested, increasing if the infestation went either unnoticed or unreported for a long period of time, making the treatment more extensive.

But the problem of bedbugs comes down to paying attention. Outbreaks can be contained and costs can be saved by remaining vigilant.

“Just looking around and paying attention can prevent [bedbugs] from getting around,” said Harrison.

Other popular Beucher & Son Bed Bug Post:

Continuing Education: Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs Make A Comeback

Preliminary Profile of Proteins in Bed Bugs’ Saliva

Bed Bugs Are Back