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Pest Control Questions and Answers - Paul W. Smith Show - WJR Detroit-April 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Rose Pest Solution's entomologists Mark VanderWerp and Mark “Shep” Sheperdigian join Paul W. Smith on WJR radio to take listener questions about ants, rodents, mosquitoes and the unspeakable things mites do on your face!

 [Paul]    But what's new in the world of bug, bugs and those things that we are concerned about? Anything new. I did ask you this before we came on the air. I said I saw a story that said there were fewer bugs now than ever. It seems that some bugs are leaving us. There is some belief and disbelief between the two of you on this one. Let's let the youngster go first.

[Mark]    Well, we want to just dive in the controversy off the bat.

[Paul]     Didn't know it was that controversial, but I guess yes.

[Mark]    It is one of these, it's hard to tell what were things like in the past and what are things going to be like in the future? There has been some evidence that the total numbers of bugs on the planet are declining. Some people probably think that's fantastic news, but of course, you've got to remember all the good things that insects do. So if that's true, that certainly cause some a concern for some ecosystem services they provide.

[Paul]     Mark, I know we go through this every year, but regale me with stories of what good mosquitoes do, for example.

[Mark]    Yeah. Well, hey, I'm right with ya on that one. There are a couple of mosquitoes that I would love to smack off the face of the planet for good.

[Paul]     If mosquitoes were extinct, I think that'd be a blessing.

[Mark]    We tried to do that as humans.

[Mark]    Now there are if you really want to look for good things, they do some good things. Obviously, they feed a lot of animals, lots of things eat them. There's certain aquatic beetles and fish that really eat lots of mosquito larvae. Of course, some adult mosquitoes pollinate flowers. Some of them exclusively pollinate, some really rare orchids and stuff rely on mosquito pollination.

[Paul]     Right, okay.

[Mark]    So there's a couple of weird flowers that might vanish if mosquitoes vanished, but we might be okay with that.

[Paul]     I'd be okay with that.

[Shep]    It's a finely balanced ecosystem. Truth be known, there are a number of species that if they went away, things would only get better for a lot of us, and other organisms would rise up to fill their little niche and life would be good. But it's not all species.

[Paul]     So Shep, do you think there are fewer bugs or that we just have miscounted?

[Shep]    I think they've miscounted. I see as many as ... No. It's a science thing. You've got to remember that the insects are really a reflection of the environment they occur in. So as the environment changes, the insect populations change to reflect that.

[Paul]     We have had concerns about bees for example. In fact, I remember doing Rose commercials where we would talk about, you'd come in and help them with their backyard problems like mosquitoes and stuff. You also said, "By the way, we won't hurt the bees and the other good bugs." Do we still have a bee issue?

[Mark]    Oh yeah. It's tough to untangle these things on air, but there are lots of different bee pieces and that's one thing people don't realize. The main concern has been over honey bees, which is really just a domesticated species. It'd be like if you had a cat problem, all of a sudden people's cats aren't living as long. That's what a honeybee problem is. But then there are all these native bees. There's actually some evidence that some of them aren't doing so well either. That certainly is a whole different level of concern. Because now we're not talking about our pet bees, we're talking about things out in the wild.

[Paul]     We want to talk about what's out in the wilds around your house and in your own yard. Give us a call. Now's the time to speak to these guys with what's bugging you, really. WJR, toll, free number --, -- WJR. The two marks from Rose Pest Solutions here with us on the Paul W Smith show at WJR, bringing you "What's bugging you?" And our friends from Rose Pest Solutions. Ouch! Helping out. You can call in with very specific questions. This is the time to ask the experts if you will --, --WJR.

[Paul]     As we line these callers up, we tend to talk about insects a lot, but rodents are a big issue. Mice and I hate to say it, I don't even like to hear myself say it, but the rat issue is bigger and bigger wherever we live, a matter of fact.

[Mark]    Yeah.

[Shep]    It's true.

[Paul]     I suspect people call Rose for those kinds of problems too.

[Shep]    It's true. We get a lot of calls for rats.

[Paul]     Rats, mice, nobody ever attacks the doggone squirrels the way I would if I were in charge.

[Mark]    Paul, what's shocking about mice is so many people don't even realize they have mice in their house. People think, "I have a cat. I'm fine. I'm protected." But how often does the cat get in the attic? How often does the cat behind the refrigerator and into the wall boards where the mice can get? Mice are pretty safe in our houses.

[Paul]     That's terrible. I mean, Mark, you put it that way. The mice are everywhere. They can survive. They can squeeze through the littlest of holes. I've seen the whole demonstration. It's just astonishing. How do you know you have a mouse problem or a mice problem? What signs would you see?

[Shep]    Well the most obvious signs are, no way around it, mouse droppings.

[Paul]     Mouse droppings, yeah.

[Shep]    Yeah. Little chocolate sprinkles around the baseboards. Where ever the mice go, they leave that. That'll show you where the activity goes. You may see mice, you may see dead mice, you may see damage where they've chewed into things.

[Paul]     What do we do? Do the old mouse traps work? Or do you do something else?

[Shep]    Oh, we use a lot of the old mouse traps. You build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door or so they say. But we're still using the old mouse traps. They work well, but you've got to put them in the right place. The most effective thing you can use is a solid knowledge of mouse behavior and what they're gonna do.

[Mark]    And look for entry points. It's great to track 'em out and that's the first step. But hopefully the second step, and this is where a professional is often, their eyes are very helpful in finding how the heck did the mice get in the first place. Because even though they can squeeze through small gaps, they do still need an opening. So things that look solid to us are in fact porous to mice. Finding those and sealing up those holes is huge too.

[Paul]     All right. Let's see what our WJR listeners, what problems they're facing and could use some help with. First up is Michael in Grand Blanc. Michael has an issue I think with ants. Michael, good morning.

[Michael]    Good morning guys. Yeah, this has been plaguing me for quite some time now. I live in an apartment complex, at least for the next four months, for the past four years I have these Pharaoh ants. They're little, micro brown ants. The complex has had ex-terminators in nonstop. I can't get rid of these darn things. Primarily in the bathroom, a few in the kitchen, but it's terrible. I don't know what to do you guys.

[Mark]    So yeah. I like how you prefaced this by saying what's plaguing you. Anytime someone uses that particular modifier, we know it's something big going down. Pharaoh ants are one of those issues where it's not just your problem. So I don't know how it's been explained to you, but this is not just going on in your apartment. This is a building-wide problem. This is a really tough species of ant to beat, just because of the fact that it's itty bitty tiny. It's tough to inspect for and find where the trails are. They'll get throughout the entire structure. You can't just go in one apartment, knock out the colony and be done with it. They are going to have, in some cases, hundreds of queens. To actually knock out the entire situation is really difficult.

[Shep]    You have to do the whole building, successfully.

[Mark]    Have to do the whole building. And usually over a period of many, many months to actually eradicate a well-established Pharaoh ant colony. Fun fact, I was just on Spring break flying back in from Tampa. I found Pharaoh ants in the Tampa airport.

[Paul]     Really?

[Mark]    Wonder how long they've had them for.

[Paul]     Did you tell anybody?

[Mark]    No, but I did collect some to take home.

[Paul]     VW has outed the Tampa airport. They'll be calling soon.

[Shep]    You took some home? You carry a specimen jar with you at all times.

[Mark]    Of course. Well yeah.

[Shep]    What am I thinking?

[Mark]    You never know when you're going to need it. But I actually needed some good specimens for the training class I do of Pharaoh ants. I said, "Hey, you never know when you're gonna find some."

[Paul]     All right, so what do we tell Michael? It's hopeless.

[Mark]    If you're moving out in four months, I'd say a grin and bear it. It's probably not going to get resolved before the four months is up. How does he make sure he doesn't take 'em with him?

[Paul]     That's a good question. They tend not to nest in belongings so much, although that's not unheard of. Probably the best, if you're going to accidentally bring them, it would be in an appliance. Hopefully, it was a furnished apartment and you're not taking the refrigerator and microwave and that kind of stuff with you. If you are, that would be probably the biggest area of concern about where you might bring some with you.

[Shep]    And if you've got rooms where you see them a lot or a lot of them, don't, just pick up a box out of there and take it, go through it and check it. If there's a nest in there, a colony in there, you will recognize it as you take it out.

[Paul]     Good luck Michael.

[Mark]    Sorry man.

 [Paul]    All right, thank you. That would be a tough four months now, four long months. Let's get to the callers because they've been waiting there. I have a couple of other questions about clearing out the garage right now and if there have been mice that's dangerous with the dust that comes up. Spring, if it's wet, people wonder if it'll be a bad year for mosquitoes. You guys say it's not that simple and tick-borne diseases, which we should touch on, too.

[Paul]     But first, your questions and comments. Since you've been waiting for the longest, Chuck in Troy, welcome to WJR and our friends at Rose Pest Solutions.

[Chuck]    Well, hi Mark and Shep. My question is in past years, I've applied a home perimeter around my house. I use the same product, the base of my trees. When I would entertain folks in the summer, I would put down a mosquito spray, which has worked very well the past. But however, that has now changed because now I have a new dog. He really likes to lick his paws. I know I've heard that once the product dries it's safe, but I'm just really concerned if there's a hazard to my dog of that transferring to him.

[Shep]    I don't think you have too much to worry about is as far as pets go with. The products that offer any hazard at all in that vein would tell you about it on the label. You got to read the label. There's an awful lot of reading and the print's awfully small, but it tells you basically what the serious hazards are with that. Now as far as a treatment like that, if it's working for you that that should do well. Keep in mind that the dog doesn't go everywhere. If you're treating the spots where the dog isn't, or if the dog's hanging out at the bases of your trees or at the edge of the house, there are things you can do to keep the dog away from that and reduce its exposure to it that way.

[Paul]     Good luck to you, Chuck in Troy. Let's go to Keith in Shelby Township on WJR. Hello Keith.

[Keith]   Hey, good morning.I had caught flying ant the other night, I think it was Wednesday. It was on my TV screen. I think it was a flying ant. When I looked at it, it looked like a real miniature wasp. But I'm guessing it was a flying ant. How do I treat that?

[Paul]     Well, first of all, what program were you watching?

[Keith]   I think I was watching the NCAA tournament, to be honest with you.

[Mark]    Ants love that.

[Paul]     All right, that draws people like flies.

[Mark]    Yeah, obviously knowing what it is important. There's a couple of things that it could be from your description. It could be an actual wasp. Sometimes there are wasps that hatch out and get inside homes. Usually, it's not the kind of wasp that's going to sting you, a little parasitoid. It could be a flying ant. That's probably a pretty good guess. It could also be a termite, although it's still a tad ... we're getting into termite swarming season. But if you only saw one of them, a wasp or an ant's probably your best bet. If you just saw one, probably nothing to worry about. It's when you see lots of things, that's an indication that there's a problem inside the structure.

[Keith]   That leads-

[Paul]     Go ahead, Keith.

Keith      That leads to my next one. Last year, I did see a fair amount of these, about this same time. I put out those liquid traps. I don't know. Two to three weeks of it and then they all went away. But I just am concerned.

[Mark]    I think the best course of action would be to get this thing identified, especially if you see a bunch of them. You really got to know what it is for us to give you any kind of advice. Could be a big problem. Could be nothing.

[Paul]     Have the cell phones helped your business? 'Cause people can take a picture of these things now and send them to you.

[Shep]    No doubt about it. In fact, we get a lot of cell phone pictures. But I'll tell you something. There are cell phone pictures and there are cell phone pictures. You get a picture of a white background with a blurry black spot in the middle and they go, "What is this?"

[Shep]    And you have no idea. Needs to be sharp and clear. One of the things to remember, if you're going to take a cell phone picture, lots of light is good. Set the phone down, set it on a cup. So it's stationary.

[Paul]     Yeah, on level with the, yeah. That makes sense. It's gotta be a good picture. Thanks a very much for that call, Keith.

[Paul]     All right folks, let me get to your phone calls very quickly. Some of you have been waiting for a long time. --, -- WJR. Leslie is in Bloomfield Hills. What's bugging you, [Leslie]?

[Leslie]   Well, it's a bug, I think. I was diagnosed with five experts. Okay. First of all, they're little black mites, I do believe. They're found in the corner of my eyes. They seem to have created a sty on one of my eyelids. That's gone now with the help of an antibiotic. But my family doctor was the only one that knew that they ate your eyelash.

[Paul]     Oh, come on! What in the world! [Leslie]!

[Leslie]   So I have hardly any eyelashes.

[Paul]     Okay. I'm not sure that this is the right ... these are the right experts to add to your five former experts.

[Leslie]   I think they're around, but they're very hard to diagnose because my dermatologist, an entomologist, and an ophthalmologist all could not identify the same thing. I went on the internet and I found them exactly how they look when I take them out of the corner of my eyes, of course.

[Paul]     Alright. Let's just get to these black mites. Yeah. Have you heard of them attacking humans?

[Shep]    Actually, there are tiny little creatures that live all over us and probably not anything anybody really likes to discuss too much, 'cause they just live there naturally.

[Paul]     On our bodies?!

[Mark]    Oh yeah, they're called follicle mites and they have sex on your face every night.

[Paul]     Well somebody should. But anyway, I mean what am I ...? Thank God they are. How did this happen? Anne, how did you give us this call in the first place? [Leslie]? Well it is interesting I guess in a kind of a sick way, but all right?

[Shep]    To help everybody out, any mites that would live on your person, you would never even know they're there. Once they get off you, they're really out in the open there. There's nothing you can do about 'em. We don't deal with such things. It would be a medical issue.

[Paul]     Yeah. Really [Leslie], as you say, you've talked to five experts already. I think that stick with those medical experts and best of luck to you, [Leslie], for goodness sakes. Yikes. That's a first. In all the years we've done this. [Chris] is in Dearborn and on the Paul W Smith Show with the folks from Rose Pest Solution. Chris?

[Chris]    I am helping a hoarder lady clean out her house.

[Paul]     Oh my.

[Chris]    This house has not been occupied for at least years. I find evidence of mice. Now. This stuff is all, this seems to all be dried. But tell, me how dangerous is this?

[Paul]     Well, add that to cleaning out your garage if there've been mice. The dust of cleaning up droppings in old nests can be hazardous. Quick answer on this.

[Mark]    Absolutely correct. There are an awful lot of rodent-borne diseases that you can get from old rodent droppings and those kinds of things. Whenever you're in such a situation, you need to take a lot of precautions, both respiratory and cover your skin.

[Paul]     Thanks to our Rose Pest Solutions experts, Mr. Mark D. Sheperdigian, BCE  vice president of technical services. We know him as Shep. Mr. Mark VanderWerp, manager of education and training. We know him as Mark. They'll stick around for a couple of minutes here to take your calls. I know we've got somebody concerned about stink bugs. Any other questions you have at --, -- WJR. They'll stick around for a couple of minutes.

[Paul]     Meanwhile guys, thanks for coming in and helping. We appreciate it.

[Shep]    You're welcome.

[Mark]    Absolutely.

[Shep]    Thanks for having us.

[Paul]     Very much. I hope you'll come back again.

[Mark]    Absolutely. I love coming to the freeze box here. It makes me so happy to get back outside to the warm weather.

[Paul]     You've got a coat on. Barb Craig is here. She's not complaining. She's got a thinner jacket on than you do. Well, you do have a sweater too, though. That's true.

[Mark]    She's made of better stock than I am.

[Paul]     All right guys, thank you for your help. Thanks for helping our listeners.


If you suspect you have a pest problem Contact your nearest Rose Pest Solutions service center immediately for a free inspection. 

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