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Thread: Pest control services: a public service or a racket?

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Pest control services: a public service or a racket?

    We got the exterminator coming out next week to treat for the carpenter ants that have infested the area between the upstairs floor and downstairs ceiling. Good thing we caught it when we did or the bathtub might have ended up in the kitchen. The thing is, we treated for carpenter ants 4 years ago and now they're back again! I understand they're difficult to eradicate, but I have the distinct impression that when we treated initially a bunch of ants croaked and then they proceeded to invade the neighbors house instead. I know this because I've seen an exterminator out at three of the four neighbors houses during the ensuing years! So I feel like we're playing 'pest ping pong'

    I don't know, maybe I'm being too cynical. How about you - have you ever hired a pest control service and got your problem cleared up without any recurrence?

    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I've been doing battle with carpenter ants for about three years now. They are by far the hardest pest I've ever had the pleasure of trying to eradicate--more difficult than termites, fire ants, mice, roaches, etc.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    We had a carpenter ant infestation about 4 years ago and had it treated. To my knowledge they have not come back- sure we have occasional carpernter ants on, in or around the huose, but that's too be expected where I live (in the forest). I have yet to find another infestation of them (crosses fingers)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    I've had bugs in my apartment for awhile now. Supposedly an exterminator came when I was on vacation once but their visit didn't seem to do anything. I should probably request one again but the bugs seem to be relatively harmless and have largely confined themselves to the kitchen.



    A photo of them.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I believe that carpenter ants are a sign of some kind of moisture problem. I had them in a wall in my house in Albany because the previous owner hadn't put cement board behind the ceramic tile in the shower! A visit from the exterminator and a new fiberglass tub and surround cured the ants and the moisture problem ...

  6. #6
    Heh. Heh. Heh.

    Well, yes, I've had an experience. We had the home we were purchasing inspected for termites and Lo! and Behold! there was a mild infestation and it was recommended that we have it treated. We set up the appointment (we hadn't yet closed on the house) and my wife decided she wanted to be there, so she could verify the treatment.

    The blessed day and hour arrive and my wife escorts the exterminator around the property while the owners look on dispassionately. It seems the principal source of the termites is located outside where the owner has stacked very old, damp firewood against the foundation. From there the suckers got onto the plate and into old growth oak joists. As the location was close to the front corner of the house, the exterminator decided to spray the underside of the porch (brick and concrete, but they could be living in the dirt underneath) which is accessible from the a small cabinet type door in the basement. Spritz, spritz, spritz. Okay, it seems all is done here. (Well, other than the sales pitch to do annual re-inspections and treatments, if required...)

    I'm in my office when Mrs. G calls. 'How's the house?' I ask innocently. 'Fine', replies the missus, who then adds 'The Fire Department's just now leaving'.
    'Honey, did you say "Fire Department"'?

    Seems the previous owner had disconnected a knob-and-tube wire that had run outside to illuminate a sign dating to when the house was also used as an insurance office. Of course, he simply disconnected it and let it hang in mid-air. No junction box, no wire nuts, no need for no stinkin' 'lectrical code! When the exterminator spritzed under the porch, he unknowingly hit the exposed wire starting a small fire. Fortunately, it was extinguished quickly and without damage.

    Did I ever mention any other fun times I've had with the 'lectric in my house?
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    On of the advantage of living in Montana is we are much less impacted or inconvenienced by bugs. Our pets are not bothered by fleas. Ticks are a problem but much less common than in other parts of the country. Roaches are only found in restaurant storage rooms (they come in the produce boxes). No termites. Never seen a carpenter ant around here.

    We have to deal with hornets and wasps. I had hornets getting into our house through a hole in the chimney, but once I plugged it they were no longer a problem. I set traps for them just to keep them from being a problem in the yard.

    Our only annoying insect pests are box elder bugs. They come into the house during winter and stick around until the weather gets warmer. They are not bad boarders. They do not bite. They don't get into the food. They just are looking for a warm place to stay.

    Every few years we use those store-bought fumigating cans to take care of an overpopulation of spiders.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    We had a carpenter bee problem in our garage. We could hear them munching the wood at night and they even stained the outside of the garage with their poop. Repeated visits from the pest company did no good so we replaced the wooden eaves with another material and they haven't been back since.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    What is it with carpenter ants. I just found a next of them in a windowsill. The window had been closed since before we moved into the house, and I finally was able to get it open only to discover a severe moisture/ rotten wood issue that will involve me opening up the wall and replacing wood.

    I think that the exterminator/ pest control service can be a great value… however they don’t work on unwanted yard guests of the human nature.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    There's some company in our area called MosquitoSquad claiming the ability to eradicate mosquitoes on one's property. Keep in mind, this is in the middle of a swamp in the South. Don't mosquitoes travel more than 50 feet?

    Last week, I had to run inside as I heard the hum of the county health department's mosquito sprayer truck coming down the street. What a waste of tax money. The mist barely reached my house, nevermind the drainage ditch behind it.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    We've had the roach doctor out once in the last three years and its time again. We have A LOT of roaches in our neighborhood! They aren't inside the houses so much, but they are EVERYWHERE outside at night.

    The guy that came to our house used a synthetic pyrethrum (which is derived from chrysanthemums) and it worked very well. BUT, there are so many others in the area that they have re-occupied our yard over the last year and a half. I'm not sure its possible to entirely rid our space of them because of that.

    One thing this guy told me not to do is call the City to come spray the water meter boxes which is a service they offer. The result is that they simply flee that area and move into the yards. He said every time the City does that, they get a lot of business.

    This guy sprayed a band around the house, all other buildings and the perimeter of the yard. Took about a week for the mass killing to stop. In a sick way, it was pretty satisfying to see thousands of dead roaches each morning. Amazingly, the ants did an excellent job of clearing out the bodies.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    I had a guy out for carpenter ants three or four times in the six years I lived in my former house. It was almost like a spring ritual. Clean the cars, mow the lawn, kill the ants.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    In my house in central FL, I had carpenter ants around the door of the screened back porch (guy came right out and got rid of them), then in some shrubs in the back yard (had those taken out, they were ugly anyway), then a few in the attic, and finally traced them to a very old pink grapefruit tree outside of my son's room. Although we got a lot of fruit, the ants had pretty much eaten the tree from the inside out. A massive spraying of the tree, then having the tree taken down, took care of the ants. Sure missed the tree, though.

    Other big problem: fire ant mounds. You spray/poison them, they just spring up a few feet away. I haven't tried a lawn pest control service, though. That just seems like too many chemicals out where we're trying to grow things to eat!

    You can't get rid of every bug down here. You put the dog out back, a roach flies in, etc. But a good exterminator can sure make a difference.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I understand they're difficult to eradicate, but I have the distinct impression that when we treated initially a bunch of ants croaked and then they proceeded to invade the neighbors house instead. I know this because I've seen an exterminator out at three of the four neighbors houses during the ensuing years! So I feel like we're playing 'pest ping pong'

    Maybe you and the neighbors need to hire exterminators at the same time so that the ants have no where to flee.

  15. #15
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I know this guy who has an ex-brother-in-law that has a second-cousin that has an uncle who owns a deli that knows a maître d' at an Italian restaurant in Chicago that knows....oh wait, wrong type of exterminator. Never mind. Clearly off-topic.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post

    I think that the exterminator/ pest control service can be a great value… however they don’t work on unwanted yard guests of the human nature.
    I know a guy.....

    Edit: I see that RJ knows him too

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