ERIC CZARNIK C & G Staff Writer
Published: December 11, 2008
This Christmas, many homes will have more than "even a mouse" stirring in them. But local pest control companies say the average person can deter bugs and rodents from spreading disease, eating food and damaging a home. Gene White, an education director and entomologist at Rose Pest Solutions in Troy, said it is common for homeowners to see wandering insects during the colder months - and not just because the bugs are seeking warm shelter.
"People stay inside more and notice things that may have been there prior to the winter," he said.
White classified pests into three categories: food-product insects, rodents and overwintering insects.
White included ants, cockroaches and Indian meal moths under the umbrella of food insects and said they are somewhat easier to deal with once the infested food is removed from the home.
"Those are insects that actually live in our stored foods that we have kept a little too long in the house," he said. "Some of these food-stored product pests can actually be in things like decorative items, like ears of corn that we used for Halloween."
When it comes to rats and mice, White said the best preventative measure is to inspect the home's perimeter and seal up cracks or crevices that would allow a rodent access. Because rodents are good climbers, it pays to look for crevices in the second story too." If they can get their head through it, they can get their body through it," he said.
White said the best time to caulk up those cracks is before the weather gets bad, so it might already be too late to prevent rodents from inviting themselves in this year. However, he recommended using traps to kill vermin already in the home.
The last group, overwintering insects, range from ladybugs and cluster flies to box elder bugs, paper wasps and yellow jackets. These species tend to lie dormant within the home until the warmth disturbs them into action, he said.
Properly sealing a home before the winter can thwart an invasion, White said. He added that it's more difficult to kill insects with pesticide now because their metabolism lowers in the winter.
As an alternative, homeowners can use vacuum cleaners to suck up insects when they're visible in the winter, he said.
If you're worried about the environment, Absolute Pest Control of Rochester Hills urges homeowners to buy pyrethrum-based sprays. Pyrethrum is more eco-friendly than other common pesticides because it comes from the chrysanthemum flower, said owner Art Abbott.
"I don't know why all pest control companies aren't required to use it," he said. Abbott said pyrethrum can take care of crawlers like centipedes, millipedes, pill bugs and spiders. "You can do a good job just spraying around the baseboards in the basements," he said.
Meanwhile, Abbott said he often injects a combination of pyrethrum, boric acid and diatomaceous earth into walls to get rid of cockroaches and carpenter ants.
"I'll take my time and take (out) the switchplates inside the walls (and) shoot this dust wherever you want it," he said. "You take this hand duster, take an equal mix of these three dusts. It does an excellent job of getting rid of carpenter ants."
White said pyrethrum works best when it kills on contact. "We use it to kill large numbers of insects quickly when we don't want them to escape," he said.
Absolute Pest Control serves the Rochester area and can be reached at (248) 882-1472. To contact Rose Pest Solutions, call.
You can reach Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at email@example.com or at (586) 498-1058.