Thrasher Termite & Pest Control Best Pest Control and Termite Control in Silicon Valley and San Diego Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:35:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 10 Bad Ideas for Getting Rid of Bed Bug #9–Flammable Chemicals Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:35:59 +0000 TOP 10 LIST-flammable chemicals

I’ve said it before, one of two things usually happen when someone attempts DIY bed bug extermination: either they poison themselves and their family, or they start a fire intentionally or not. Using flammable chemicals to fight bed bugs is our Number 9 in our–

Top 10 Bad Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Smoking while using flammable chemicals adds stupid to this already bad idea.

From the News (I am Not Making This Up!)

An Ohio man in found bed bugs on a pull out couch. He sprayed them with an alcohol-based bug spray that claimed to kill them on contact. Later, when his wife entered the dark room and lit a lighter, whoosh! The couch caught on fire. The family of six made it out safely, but the house was destroyed.

A Kentucky woman accidentally set fire to her apartment while trying to get rid of bed bugs in her home. Firefighters in Carlisle, Kentucky say a woman doused her couch in alcohol in an attempt to kill bed bugs.  Then, she accidentally dropped a cigarette onto the couch, which started a fire at her apartment complex last night. Everyone who lived at the complex was able to make it out okay but about 30 people lost their homes. Four people were treated for smoke inhalation.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, one adult and seven children were displaced after an apartment caught fire while a resident was treating a couch for bed bugs. An open flame came into contact with the couch and sparked the fire.

Medical Daily reported:

A New York City building collapse left 12 injured, including four firefighters. Insect pesticide canisters, also known as ‘bug bombs,’ were found inside the Chinatown apartment that exploded. A fire followed the explosion, and eventually the five-story building partially collapsed….

‘Bug bombs’ are a form of pesticide used to fumigate an area infested with cockroaches, fleas, or other insects. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that although they are ineffective at killing bed bugs, they can be damaging to a person’s health. When used, all people and pets must be cleared, and if used in an apartment building, all tenants must be notified, even if they aren’t close to fumigation area.

The eight civilians and four firefighters were brought to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation and burns.


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Top 10 Bad Ideas for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs–#10 Fire Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:24:27 +0000 Top 10 Bad Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: FireBed bugs can lead even the most sensible, level headed person to try the most preposterous extermination measures. One of two things usually happen when someone attempts DIY bed bug extermination: either they poison themselves and their family, or they start a fire. Using fire to fight bed bugs is Number 10 in my —

Top 10 Bad Ideas for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Want proof? There is ample evidence of bed bug fires getting out of control.

From the News (I am Not Making This Up!)

Two tenants in Indianapolis had been in a rental property for about three months when they spotted bed bugs on the furniture — three couches and two chairs.  They moved the upholstered furniture outside and set it on fire. The blaze quickly spread to the house. Firefighters who contained the blaze estimate that this antic cost the landlord about $15,000.

Phoenix, Arizona, man fed up with being bitten by bed bugs tried to spray the them with cologne (yes, he was drunk). When that didn’t work, he set the bedding on fire inside his apartment. When the fire got out of hand, he moved the sheets to his front porch. Firefighters contained the blaze and the man was arrested for arson.

Five people escaped a house fire in Columbus, Ohio after a teenager living inside the home spotted a bed bug on the couch and tried to use alcohol to kill it. His grandmother then tried to light the bug on fire, which lit the couch on fire. Two adults and three children made it out safely.

Danny W. Alcorn of Miamisburg, Ohio, was charged with aggravated arson, a second-degree felony after setting a couch on fire to rid it of bed bugs. He moved the couch to the yard between his residence and a store before setting it…and the store on fire.

A fire started in an apartment in Kalamazoo, Michigan when the tenant used a cigarette lighter to chase bed bugs. No one was injured and the blaze was contained to a bedroom, which sustained fire, smoke and water damage.

Finally, here’s a fire mishap that did not involve bed bugs, but was too comical to skip—

A fire that destroyed eight units at an apartment complex in Holland Township, Michigan, was sparked by a man using a propane torch to cook a squirrel for lunch. The man was on a deck on the third floor of the apartment building when he lit a torch to burn off the squirrel’s fur. The deck caught fire and flames spread to the roof and other parts of the building. Eight apartments were destroyed and two dozen other units were damaged by smoke and water.

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5 Essentials of Townhouse Fumigation Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:12:54 +0000 Townhouse with termites

Townhouses and condominiums are excellent candidates for fumigation when drywood termites are found. So then, why are so few townhouses, condos, and other multi-unit structures fumigated? It’s difficult enough for an HOA to get residents to agree upon a date and menu for a barbecue party, let alone build consensus for something as little fun, though far more essential to property upkeep, as a drywood termite fumigation.

If you own a townhouse with at drywood termite problem and you want to schedule a fumigation, the first thing you must do is speak with the neighbors in the adjoining units–because the fumigation tent must cover their units as well. The information below will help educate you and your neighbors about the efficacy of termite fumigation versus local treatments. Once everyone has all the facts, it’s much easier to agree on the best solution to protect your adjoining homes.

5 Essentials of Townhouse Fumigation

To understand the reason that fumigation for drywood termites may be recommended for a townhouse, it is important to understand a few things about drywood termites.

1 Termite damage happens from the inside out, so it can be difficult to find all the termite colonies in a structure, and there can be a lot of damage before there are visible signs of termites. According to independent research from the University of California , “for local treatments to have maximum effectiveness, infested boards need to be accessible to drilling and treatment. By some estimates, inaccessible areas in (single-family) homes can represent 40% of the structural members.” Inaccessible areas in multi-unit residences comprise 50% to 70% of the structure.

2 Termite queens can live up to 25 years and lay thousands of eggs a day. Killing the queen does not stop the colony. The colony just replaces the queen. The only way to stop the colony is to kill all of the termites.

3 By the time you see a drywood termite swarm (sexually mature termites called alates), the colony that produced the swarm is at least three years old. The only job of the alates is to create a new colony, often in another part of the same building. Multiple colonies in the same piece of wood may contain up to 10,000 individuals.

4 Termites do not respect property rights. They often exist in the walls, roofs, attics, and crawlspaces of joined units. It’s all wood to them!

5 Termite damaged wood does not improve over time. Untreated, you’ll just end up with more damaged wood and more expensive repairs.

Check out these photos of actual wood we pulled from a termite damaged structure.

Drywood Termite Damage

Frequently Asked Questions About Townhouse Fumigation

Who pays?

Either the HOA (Home Owners Association) pays if fumigation is necessary or the owners of joined properties split the bill.

Why does My Unit Need Fumigation? Termites are My Neighbor’s Problem

Termites rarely infest only one unit of a multi-unit structure. Remember, termites eat from the inside out, so by the time drywood termites create visible damage, they’ve been attacking the wood for years and have very likely spawned several other colonies whose damage is not yet visible. Those colonies are often dispersed throughout the same structure. As much as an owner may wish to think their unit is unique, the fact is that termites know no boundaries. As long as your unit shares wood with another unit, it probably shares termites as well.

What’s Wrong with Local Treatment? That’s what the HOA Recommends

There is nothing wrong with treating an isolated, young colony, with a local treatment. But, as we’ve discussed, drywood termites are rarely “local” or “young.” However, as a termite inspection and control company, we often perform local treatments for drywood termites in townhouses–only because the owners of both units rarely agree on fumigation! In most cases, local treatment is a second best solution. HOA’s usually authorize local treatments because they do not want the headache of persuading multiple property owners to do the right thing: kill the termites and stop the property damage.

Even HOA’s that understand the importance of getting rid of wood destroying termites, sometimes face the challenge of hold-out homeowners. In California, the HOA of one eight-unit townhouse complex that was riddled with drywood termites faced two lawsuits: one from the single hold-out who refused fumigation and the other holding the HOA board collectively and individually responsible for all termite damage to the other seven units because of the delay in fumigation!

Isn’t Fumigation a Big Hassle?

Termite fumigation is less of a hassle than it was in the past. It is certainly a lot less of a hassle than having the wood framing on your windows disintegrate from termite damage.  Fumigation requires that you bag some consumable items in specialty bags provided by your termite company, remove plants and pets from your home, and take a 2 night/3 day vacation. That’s not much of a hassle to maintain your largest investment, is it?

Townhouses can be Fumigated for drywood termites. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control

Yes, we can fumigate townhouses, condominiums, and other multi-unit properties. Fumigation is the best way to ensure that drywood termites stop eating you out of house and home!

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Five Signs You Should Fire Your Pest Control Company Mon, 25 Aug 2014 08:35:09 +0000

cockroach party

Do you know the five signs you should fire your pest control company?

Unless you understand best practices in pest control, you might not realize you’ve been receiving sub-par work. If you’ve noticed any of the following five warning signs of poor quality pest control, it may be time give your business to one of the many excellent pest control operators.

1. The pest control technician does not wear safety equipment. Long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and eye protection comprise the minimum safety equipment that every pest tech should wear while on the job. When techs fail to protect themselves, it is wise to question how they are protecting you, your family, and your property. A single lapse of judgment may not warrant ending relations with the company, but it certainly warrants a call to the tech’s manager. A second incident of sloppiness either in use of safety equipment or application of pest control materials does warrant finding a new pest control company.

Properly dressed pest control technician

Pest control safety equipment includes safety glasses, long sleeved shirt, long pants, boots, and gloves, and sometimes a respirator. At Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, we take staff safety and client safety very seriously.

2. After every service, you do not receive a written notice including the name and amount used of each pest control product. By law you must be given a list of products used. It is important that you retain this information should people or pets experience an adverse reaction to any of the products. Again, before you fire the company, give them a chance to remedy or explain the situation. Perhaps the tech did leave a notice behind, but it was dislodged by the wind or got shuffled in with the Pennysaver advertisements. Giving the company a second chance depends upon a believable and sincere explanation.

3. The company claims to only use “green,” “organic,” “eco-friendly,” or “natural” pest control products and then proceeds to apply synthetic pest control products. The problem here is not the pest control products being used, the problem is misrepresentation. There is never an excuse for obtaining business based on false or misleading information. Unfortunately there are several well-advertised companies that charge a premium for “green” services and then apply the same products used by the rest of the industry. That written chemical notice in red flag #2? Read it!

4. The company’s license has expired or is suspended. What? You don’t check the license status every six months or so? State licenses protect you. A licensed pest control company must carry workers’ compensation insurance, an appropriate bond, and are up-to-date on the safety requirements for the services they provide. Unlicensed operators or those doing business with a suspended license pose a financial and health risk every time they step on your property. Fire them immediately! (In California, check pest control licenses on the Structural Pest Control Board website.)

5. You see too many pests. Here’s an insider’s secret—pests travel. You may see a few pests even with regular treatments; however, you should not see cockroaches dancing the “La Cucaracha” or ants carrying off your cookies. If the pest control company isn’t controlling the problem, its time to hire someone else.

cockroach wants guacamole

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June Bug on a String Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:12:31 +0000 Western Green June Bug

June Bugs are Flying, Got String?

One of our staff caught this Western Green June Bug (Cotinus mutabilis) in her California garden and brought it in. This started a discussion of weird things to do with large live beetles. Abby said her brother and his friends would catch a June Bug and tie a string around its leg, then toss it in the air. It would buzz around and around. (In flight, they make a very loud sound and have the wingspan of a small hummingbird.) Evidently, June bugs on string has been a pastime of children for years. (Somehow I missed out.)

The other unusual thing to do with live beetles is to wear them as jewelry. This practice goes back to the Mayan civilization and the maquech beetle. To this day, in the Mexican state of Yucatán, the Maquech beetle is bedazzled and attached to a safety pin by a chain leash. (Note to self: not a good idea for Mom’s birthday.)

We doubt that this particular green June bug was in search of glue and glitter, so what was it doing in the garden? This garden lacked fruit and vegetables–the main food stuffs of June bug beetles. It’s likely that this bug was preparing to burrow and lay eggs. After the eggs hatch, they feast on the roots of ornamental plants and, in this garden, the roots of a magnolia tree. How do we know? Last spring, the same person brought in a grub that was eating the roots of the magnolia.

June Beetle Grub

Yes, this is the larvae of the June bug. And below is the underside of a green June bug.

Cotinus mutabilis-undersideSometimes it’s a fine line between being repulsed and fascinated.

Have you heard of either June bugs on a string or bejewled mequech beetles? Please comment.

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