Monday, April 30, 2012

Humane Bird Control

Servall Termite & Pest Control bringing you an article on an effective, humane way to capture a nuisance bird from

In the past 30 years, the pest control industry has seen a lot of changes. From IPM to GPS, technology is rapidly changing how we do business. Our ability to use older technology seems to diminish over time as our mindset becomes increasingly high-tech; however, many tools used for years in our industry are still just as effective today when used properly. Mist nets used for capturing birds are a case in point.

Introduced to North America in the mid-20th century, mist nets were widely adopted as an indispensible tool. Misuse and improper understanding of this capture method has led to a decline in usage, although it remains incredibly effective in capturing nuisance birds. Proper education on how to use mist nets can ensure results — and happy clients.

Mist nets, typically made from nylon mesh, have three to four panels that run horizontally and are separated by support lines. The support lines have loops attached to their ends to allow the net to be hung vertically. When a mist net is hung properly, it is inconspicuous to birds. Birds normally strike mist nets at considerable speed. The net is designed to “give” and gently decelerate the bird when it strikes the net.

After a bird strikes the net, the panels overlap at the support lines to form a pocket to hold the bird. When setting a mist net, there are several factors that must be taken into account in order for a successful outcome.
Know Your Bird. The first thing to consider is the target bird’s daily movements. Spend time learning where the bird is roosting, loafing and feeding, as well as preferred flight paths between these locations and when the bird is most active.
Net Location. Once you know this basic information, you can begin looking for the right location to place your mist net. Too often, mist nets are installed in areas where they are easy to put up but have no relation to where the birds are actually flying — you can guess what the results are. When looking for a location to set your mist net, avoid areas where the outline of the mist net will be visible. Birds will avoid visible netting. Look for areas where there are shadows or where there are other visual vertical surfaces that could camouflage the net outline. Movement also can cause birds to steer clear of netting. Once set, ensure your net is as still as possible. Air ducts and open doors are common culprits in sabotaging mist net effectiveness by causing movement that warns a bird of its presence.
Humane Treatment. After you’ve installed your mist net, it must not be left unattended. Mist nets must be checked a minimum of once per hour. When a bird is caught in a mist net, it has no access to water or food. Birds can die from dehydration in a matter of hours. As our industry comes under ever closer scrutiny by the public, we must ensure that we perform all of our services in a humane and professional manner. From the control measures we choose, to how we service them, to how we release or euthanize trapped animals, humane treatment must be one of our primary concerns.
Removing Birds from a Mist Net. The sooner a bird is removed from a mist net, the less chance it has of becoming deeply entangled (and as such, we minimize harm). In addition, removal helps keep the mist net still, increasing the likelihood of capturing additional birds. To remove a bird from a mist net, first determine the side of the mist net from which the bird entered. An easy way to do so is to locate the bird’s belly. Next, secure the bird by the wings and feet to prevent struggling. Gently lift the bird out of the pocket and away from the mist net feet first. As the bird comes out of the mist net, use your free hand to remove any strands that might still be caught on the bird. Once the bird has been removed from the net, it should immediately be placed in a transport container. The transport container must be blacked out in order to minimize stress on the bird. Trapped birds can either be released or euthanized in accordance with your state laws. Finally, after all suspected nuisance birds have been captured, mist nets should be removed to eliminate the chance of non-target species being captured and potentially harmed.  

A Valuable Tool. Using a mist net does demand attention to detail and intense monitoring for a period of time, but the tool remains as effective today as when it was first introduced to the industry. When used properly, it is one of the best ways to quickly and humanely remove nuisance birds from nearly any location.

If you find you have a bird problem or any pest problem that you cannot control or exterminate yourself please visit or call us today at anyone of our four convenient locations.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Battling Termites With Bait Systems

Servall Termite & Pest Control bringing you a question and answer session from The question concerns how effective bait systems are for termites. We think it's a good question so lets see what the answer is:

Are bait systems a good solution for subterranean termites? I live in a house that's partly slab and has some crawlspace. After it rains, I can see termites with wings. I have children with asthma and allergies, so I'm looking for the least invasive treatment method that won't impact their health.

This is the time of year that many pest control companies see the reproductive winged termites emerge. Though the "swarmers" are harmless themselves, their presence offers a strong indication that there is a colony near your home and likely feeding on your home's wood. That's an issue you'll want to address quickly before major structural damage occurs.

There are certainly good reasons for trying a bait system to rid yourself of the subterranean termites. Bait systems are designed to eliminate an entire termite colony by strategically placing them in the soil around the perimeter of the home. They are an environmentally friendly way to eliminate termites because the active ingredients are contained within the bait system and aren't accessible to children or pets. Liquid treatment methods, by contrast, are injected into the ground or into the structure, but only provide protection to areas that are treated and offer more exposure to the chemicals involved.

The challenge with using a baiting program is that the termites must find the bait to ensure effective control. So, the bait stations must be strategically placed to enhance the opportunity for the termites find them. Termites typically move in a random fashion to find food. Unfortunately, this means they can easily travel between two bait stations to get to a home.

If termites are already feeding on wood, treating them with both a liquid barrier and a bait station will likely offer the best results. Liquid treatments generally involve repellent termiticides which are designed to deter termites from approaching the treated areas or non-repellent termiticides. Many companies have turned to using the non-repellent treatment, which is undetectable by the termites and can easily be spread within a colony after termites come in contact with it.

Because you likely have a termite issue with your visual confirmation, your best option is to have a licensed and reputable pest control company that specializes in termite remediation perform an inspection. Talk about your concerns with using chemicals in and around your home. A professional can discuss your different treatment options and devise a plan of action that will be suitable to you and still effective in treating the problem.

Servall Termite & Pest Control offers the best in professional termite treatment and prevention. If you find you have a termite problem visit or call us at one of our four convenient locations today!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

At Servall Termite & Pest Control we know how annoying fruit flies can be. You forgot about a banana on the counter and one day you notice a fruit fly, within a day they are everywhere, long after the banana is gone. Here is an article from we found to give you some tips on how to control fruit flies.

Learn to find the source of fruit fly infestation. Kill the pests safely without contamination of food, and prevent re-infestation.

There are few pests in the home more annoying than fruit flies. These tiny, swarming insects take to the air in large groups when startled. They can arrive in the home easily via an open door, through a window screen, or come in on produce that contain the larvae.

Though entry to the home is easy, getting rid of these insects can be a challenge. The fruit fly has a life cycle of one week and each fly can lay 500 eggs in that time. The potential for population explosion is enormous. Fruit flies are often confused with fungus gnats. It is not terribly important to identify which you have, since both pests respond to many of the same treatments. There are many types of flytraps available for purchase or easily made at home, but the user needs to keep in mind that the traps only kill the adults and the real need is to kill the maggots. Any small container, like a glass of water with vinegar and sugar stirred in will attract the adults and some will drown.

The key to getting rid of fruit flies is identification of the food source, which is also their breeding ground. They are attracted to rotting, fermenting fruits and other decaying, moist organic matter. If the flies have been present for any length of time, they may have located more than one source of food, so do not stop looking when you find one rotten piece of fruit in your fruit bowl. Check drains, garbage containers, empty soda bottles and cans, etc. Remove and clean up drainage from all rotten fruit and vegetables. Empty garbage containers and clean the container with soap and water. Do not leave containers like soda bottles that may contain a small amount of attractive liquid lying around. If you are lucky, this alone may solve the problem.

If you continue to be plagued by these pests, you have not found all the food/breeding grounds. Yellow sticky traps can be helpful in locating a hard-to-find source. They are inexpensive and readily available anywhere pesticides are sold. Each is a small (perhaps two inch by 3 inch) piece of bright-yellow poster board coated with a sticky material. It is possible to make your own, but it is a messy chore and I do not recommend it. Fruit flies are attracted to the color, land on the trap and are stuck. Place them in locations around the problem area. While it may be satisfying to see a bunch of flies stuck on the trap, only adult insects are killed. It is still necessary to find out where the larvae (maggots) are. Use the traps to locate the breeding ground. Some traps may have few insects caught while others have many. Check the area near the busiest trap. Clean up the source of the problem. For drain infestation, I have found it helpful to flush out the drain with hot water then pour in a tablespoon of liquid dish soap gently mixed with a quarter cup of water. Do this at the start of a time the drain will not be used for a while, like before retiring for the night. Repeat for two or three days.

There are still other places these flies can live and breed. Are there any puddles under appliances? Moist crevasses at the base of cabinets should be checked. There is no substitute for good sanitation. It may be helpful, after cleaning, to spray crevasses with pyrethrin, an organic insecticide made from marigolds. Since most fruit fly infestations are in food storage and preparation areas, it is important to consider the safety of any product used to kill the pests. You may find that houseplants have been infested. While it is possible for fruit flies to live and breed in the moist soil of a houseplant, it is more likely to be fungus gnats. There are products specifically for the treatment of fungus gnats in houseplants. I suggest a small amount of research to find those products, if houseplants are a problem.

Any treatment for fruit flies, cleanliness, pyrethrin spray, drain treatments, must be continued for a week to insure all the larvae and adults have been killed. The yellow sticky traps are used for monitoring. When you stop catching new insects, your problem is solved.

Prevention of re-infestation is the next step. Remove all rotten produce and wet garbage from the building promptly. Do not allow puddles to accumulate under appliances. Flush out kitchen or other affected drains with hot water daily. With these measures, you will not keep fruit flies from entering your home on occasion, but you will stop a couple of hungry flies from turning into a full-blown problem.

If you find you have a fruit fly problem that you cannot control or exterminate yourself please visit or call us today at anyone of our four convenient locations

Friday, April 20, 2012

Exploring America's #1 Nuisance Pest

At Servall Pest Control we deal with all types of pests on a daily basis. It's always nice to read something that lets us know what's going on in the pest control world. This article from talks about a recent study done called "Exploring America's #1 Nuisance Pest".

"Exploring America's #1 Nuisance Pest," conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Dr. Laurel Hansen of Spokane Falls Community College and Washington State University, has found that ant infestations are on the rise across the country. The study, which surveyed U.S. pest professionals, found that 100 percent of respondents treated ant infestations in 2011, and that the most prevalent species found were carpenter ants, odorous house ants and pavement ants.

"Ants have long been a nuisance pest, but the prevalence of carpenter ants is especially concerning. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood and nest inside homes, which can compromise a property's structural stability," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Fortunately, our survey also shows that pest professionals have great success in treating infestations through Integrated Pest Management, which utilizes a process of inspection, identification and treatment."

Here are several key highlights from "Exploring America's #1 Nuisance Pest":

-- Every participating professional treated ant infestations in 2011. Most treated several hundred infestations, while some treated many more. Carpenter ants (66%), odorous house ants (62%) and pavement ants (59%) were treated most often. Infestations were most common in office buildings (88%), restaurants (83%), apartments and condos (82%), and single-family homes (80%).

-- Ant infestations are on the rise. More than 5 out of 10 (54%) of pest professionals report infestations are rising. Reasons include increased moisture (27%), changing pest control practices (22%) and new species (44%).

-- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) works. While one out of three pest professionals (33%) considers ants the most difficult pest to control, nine out of ten agree IPM is an effective method of controlling ants. IPM is a process involving common sense and sound solutions. The most popular include clearing shrubs and vegetation from the base of structures (82%) and cleaning up crumbs and spills (81%).

For a full summary of findings and tips for how to prevent ant infestations, visit .

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

What is your personal #1 nuisance pest? Is it ants or something different? If you find you have a pest problem visit or call us at one of our four convenient locations today!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Ostrich Defense

Servall Termite & Pest Control bringing you an article from Pest Management Professional magazine written by Paul Bello president of PJB Pest Management Consulting.

As a pest management consultant I travel a lot and spend a significant amount of time staying at hotels. Each morning business travelers greet one another in the same way; "Good morning!" However, I doubt my fellow travelers know what I --- a bed bug professional --- am thinking when the words good morning escape my lips to greet them. They have no way of knowing that my thoughts include:
  • Did you check for bed bugs in your room?
  • Do you know how to protect yourself from bed bugs?
  • Are you aware of the magnitude of the bed bug problem?
  • Did you get bit last night?
  • Did you bring bed bugs to this hotel last night?
  • Are you about to carry bed bugs home with you from this trip?
  • Are you the type of person who gets bit but doesn't react?
  • Do you have a delayed bite reaction that prevents you from realizing that you may be carrying bed bugs before it's too late? 
One aspect of the bed bug world that has become painfully obvious during my travels is the general lack of public awareness of the bed bug issue. Bed bugs have been on the news and continue to receive extensive media coverage but, it appears that people either have a short memory, think that this just happens to other people or are implementing the classic "ostrich defense" by burying their heads in the sand. When I travel I ask my fellow travelers these questions; often while sharing a ride on the airport parking shuttle. These are the typical responses.
  • Are you aware of bed bugs? (Nearly 100 percent say yes.)
  • Have you seen bed bugs on the news? (Nearly 100 percent say yes.)
  • Are you concerned about bringing bed bugs home with you from business travel? (Nearly 100 percent say yes.)
  • Do you know how to inspect your hotel room for the presence of bed bugs and do you know how to protect yourself from bed bugs? (Nearly 100 percent say no.)
Consider the questions, the responses above and the underlying implications. Basically these folks are telling me that though they've heard about bed bugs, don't want to bring them home, they have no idea how to prevent or protect themselves. Invariably someone asks; "What can I do to protect myself?" However, by the time this happens we're nearly at the terminal and I have about 37 seconds to cover the subject.
Clearly the ostrich defense --- hiding our heads in the sand and hoping the problem goes away --- will be about as effective as the Maginot Line was for France in 1940. If folks don't know what to do about bed bugs they are inadvertently subjecting themselves to the risk of bed bug introduction and infestation. The pest management industry can provide a significant public service by continuing to provide the consumers with clear, concise and viable bed bug awareness information.

Servall Pest Control wants you to be knowledgeable and prepared when it comes to bed bugs. Consider this blog post a wake up call, do you know how to inspect for bed bugs? Do you know how to protect yourself from bed bugs? If the answer is no, visit and give us a call today!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beware of Ticks!

This tick season is setting up to be one of the worst. Servall Termite & Pest Control wants you to be prepared, this article from the Chicago Tribune talks more in depth about the tick problem we are about to see this summer. 
Rich Witkiewicz arrived home Feb. 2 from a trip to the Palos Forest Preserve in Willow Springs and discovered he brought an unexpected, unwanted piece of nature with him.

Embedded in the right forearm of the avid hiker and nature photographer was a black-legged deer tick.

A hike leader for the Sierra Club Chicago chapter, Witkiewicz has seen his share of ticks, but never in February.

"I've had previous bites (in other years), but they were not that early — not supposedly in winter," he said.

Witkiewicz's story confirms what entomologists and ecologists are saying. The drawback to our mild winter and early, unusually warm spring is that ticks — those tiny, potentially dangerous creatures — have come out early. They are hungry for blood and there could be a lot of them.

Generally ticks spend winter in a leaflet but come out of dormancy in temperatures ranging from 45 to 80 degrees, said Tom Velat, insect ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

"We have personally seen that the ticks usually out in the beginning of April were out as early as January this year," Velat said.

Witkiewicz, of the Southwest Side, was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and gloves Feb. 2 (a 44-degree day) but he had been off the trail, taking photos and picking up garbage. It was his third straight day in the preserve and he suspects the tick might have attached to him on one of the first two days.

Because the tick was the size of a sesame seed, he didn't see it until he felt it. And it felt like a pinprick, he said.

"I know about ticks because I'm into the nature stuff. If you're on the trail, you're fine," said Witkiewicz. "But if you're off the trail or in the brush, you need to do a thorough check of yourself and have a friend check your back. I think this one must have got between the cuff of my shirt and the glove."

There are at least 15 species of ticks, and the two most common in northern Illinois are the American dog tick, also known as the wood tick, and the black-legged deer tick. American dog ticks are generally the most frequently encountered throughout Illinois and are also the primary carrier of the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Rocky Mountain fever actually shows up more in non-Rocky Mountain states and occurs throughout Illinois, more commonly in the south and central parts of the state. It is marked by the sudden onset of moderate to high fever.

Deer ticks can carry the bacteria that transmits Lyme disease. Lyme can be cured by antibiotics in the early stages but untreated it can lead to complications involving the joints, heart and nervous system.

"What people need to know is that in general ticks can transmit pathogens, but we can protect ourselves," said Velat, who has been out collecting deer ticks for a research project at theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

If a tick is on your scalp...

A little bit of science: Ticks survive and thrive on blood meals from mammals and rely on that blood to evolve. The ticks generally begin feeding on small rodents, particularly the white-footed mouse for the deer tick, and then move to other small mammals, deer and possibly people. They are technically not insects. Eight-legged creatures, they are arachnids like spiders and mites. They do not fly or jump. They crawl and are usually found in low vegetation, ankle-high grass and twigs, said Linn Haramis, entomologist for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Some good news: Ticks do not drop out of trees onto your head.

Some bad news: If a tick is on your scalp, it most likely managed to crawl up your body after catching a ride. Ticks like to travel upward.

Scientists know that ticks are active and early to the dinner table this year. But will there be more than usual? Velat said there may be more because the hatching eggs have not had to contend with harsh weather. That may mean more ticks again next year because ticks have a two-year life span.

Jerry Stoeckigt, of Aurora, executive director of the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers, said organization members who maintain and build bike trails through the woods encountered ticks earlier this year, and bikers with dogs have been pulling ticks off the animals.
"We're not usually fighting them this early, but one guy got two ticks the other day," he said.

"The mosquitoes have been out too," Stoeckigt said. "They were bad when we had that warm stretch of weather. I've swallowed a few this year already. It happens, just usually not this early."

How much of this will continue depends on the weather, which we know is unpredictable beyond 10 days, Haramis said. A late spring freeze could change the picture for insects. A hot and dry summer could shut them down.

Haramis said ticks have sticky pads on their feet that allow them to grab on to humans and other mammals. They often hang out in the brush along deer trails and footpaths and hop on when they detect the carbon dioxide from a mammal's respiration. If we have a wet spell, fewer people will be out to get bit, and the "glue" on their feet won't work as well.

Don Orton, of Wheaton, author of "Coincide: The Orton System of Pest and Disease Management," reports that plants are conservatively four or five weeks ahead of schedule this year and pests are following suit.

"Things that often happen here in May were happening in March," he said. "The arrival of pests continues to correlate with the blossoming of plants. The spring we have is like going south and east a couple hundred miles."

The role acorns play

Missy Henriksen, spokeswoman for the National Pest Management Association, said acorns are to blame for what they believe will be large numbers of black-legged deer ticks this summer. A prolific acorn crop in 2010 caused a boom in the white-footed mouse population last year. More ticks survived, and so more will be looking to other mammals for their blood supply this summer, she said.

"The whole cycle of life is what's causing what is suspected to be one of the worst times for ticks," she said. "People are putting on sun protection, but not always thinking about insect repellent. "

Velat said the white-footed mouse is the primary host for the black-legged deer tick and also the carrier of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Last year there were 192 reported cases of Lyme disease in the state, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. In 2000, there were 35 cases.

A tick bite does not always result in disease but the less time the tick is on you the better. Scientists encourage early detection by doing a tick check when you come inside. According to Velat, it takes at least 24 hours for the tick to literally sink his minuscule teeth into you and prepare the bite site for fluid transmission.
This tick season will be the worst we've seen in many years, Servall Termite & Pest Control wants you to be prepared. Ticks can carry diseases and it is always a good idea to check yourself if you've been out in the woods. This article from the Chicago Tribune gives great information about ticks this year.
Veterinarian Kathleen Heneghan, public education chair for the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association in Burr Ridge, said veterinarians typically begin educating pet owners about ticks in early April, but they sprung into action when they heard of ticks on dogs in early March.

"Based on the early onset of spring it appears it will be a worse than usual parasite — fleas, ticks, heartworm — and allergy season for our four-legged friends," she said.

"We're seeing more allergies, more itchy feet, skin lesions, parasites. There are a lot of miserable pets already."

She encourages pet owners to consult their vet about heartworm medicine and topical medicines for fleas and ticks, and the Lyme disease vaccine.

Many pet owners assume they don't need to worry about parasites if their pet never leaves the yard. But other critters visit at night, even if you have a fence, Heneghan said. "You know how your pet likes to detect those nooks and crannies where other animals have been," she said.

If you find a tick on you or your pet? Experts say use a fine-tipped tweezers to slowly and steadily pull it straight up and out. Drop it in alcohol or flush it down the toilet. Wash your hands and the bite site with soap and water.

Witkiewicz used tweezers in February and killed the tick in the process. He disposed of it in garbage that he soon removed from the house. If he finds a tick on him in the woods, he will flick it onto a leaf and smash it with a rock.

Not sure what kind of tick you found? Check for information. Illinois residents can also mail the dead tick in a leakproof container such as a vial or medicine bottle with alcohol to the department for identification. It will not be tested for pathogens such as Lyme disease.

Haramis said last year they received 10 to 20 dead ticks a week in the mail.

Remember to check yourself when you spend time in the woods. The diseases some ticks can carry can turn serious if not caught. Visit for more information on our services. Don't let a pest problem get out of hand, let Servall help!

Monday, April 16, 2012

How To Keep Pests Away From Your Restaurant

Servall Termite & Pest Control knows the importance of a pest free work place, especially a restaurant! One pest sighting by a customer can lead to a huge loss in business. Here is an article from Derek Roach about how to reduce the occurrence of pests in your restaurant.
It will take a constant effort to keep your restaurant clean and sanitary. However, constant cleaning and enforcement of pest and rodent control techniques can keep pests out and health code violations at bay.

Roaches and other types of bugs can infest a restaurant at anytime of the year, but rodents will usually invade homes and commercial properties during colder months. As a restaurant owner, you need to establish a pest control plan that will keep rodents away. With an effective pest management plan, you won't have to worry about a rodent or bug infestation. Also, your clients will leave satisfied without getting sick from food that has been contaminated by rodents.

Here are some tips restaurant owners can enforce to make for a pest-free establishment:
Rodent Proof/Exclusion - This is the beginning of your pest control plan. This will prevent rodents from entering your restaurant. First, inspect the interior and exterior walls and roof for any openings (cracks, crevices, holes) the size of a dime. All dime-sized openings should be stuffed or covered with a durable, flexible material (ex. steel wool). If you are a tenant in a complex, contact the property manager for solutions to rodent proof your unit.
All Food Should Be In Closed Containers - Food of all types (uncooked, cooked, leftover, trash,etc.) should not be left out or accessible without opening some sort of container (refrigerator, pantry, trash can with secure lid, etc). Foods stored in cardboard boxes should be off the floor.
All Surfaces Cleaned - Spray & wipe work areas with disinfectant after each use.
Reduce the clutter - Organize your supplies & tools so that every item is easily accessible. As items become piled up, they provide a place for bugs or rodents to hide. Also, keep all products off the ground.
Use Rodent Traps - if you are experiencing a rodent infestation, quickly call a rodent control specialist. They can strategically place rodent traps to capture all the rodents. You will want to avoid rodent control sprays or poisons in a food establishment since rodents can expose food to toxic chemicals. Also, chemicals may take a few days to kill rodents and they can end up dying in between walls. A rodent control professional is the best option to effectively remove your rat problem.

It isn't uncommon for a restaurant to be closed by the health department due to violating health code rules. In New York City, a popular restaurant was shut down due to findings of excessive rodent droppings found near counter tops, fridge, and water heater.

Huge fines are issued for pest infestations like these. Restaurants can avoid citations and the risk of losing the business with a well executed pest control plan. If you suspect rodents in your establish, call a pest control company quickly to keep the problem from getting worse.

If you suspect a rodent or pest issue in your restaurant contact Servall Pest Control at any of our four locations. Visit for more information on our services. Don't let a pest problem get out of hand, let Servall help!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Natural Pest Control: Bats

Servall Pest Control knows the value of natural pest control, especially when it comes to our farms. The less pesticides used the better, better for our farmers and better for consumers. Bats are some of the biggest bug predators eating somewhere between 100 to 600 bugs per hour when hunting. As a pest control company our job is to control bugs and keep them out of places they shouldn't be, a great way to help us out is to diminish some of that insect population before we even start. This article from provides more information on how to attract bats to your property.

Dusk settles over the farm and the horses whinny impatiently at the gate, waiting to be led into the barn. With the shifting evening light, one can glimpse the bats wheeling from the eaves of the barn for a night of insect hunting.

Most of the bats found in the United States are important for farming because they consume crop pests as a normal part of their diets. The corn earworm moth, for example, causes billions of dollars worth of damage to crops, such as corn and sorghum. These same moths are a favorite food of the Mexican free-tailed bat common to the southern half of the country.

According to Brian Pope, director of the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Gainesville, Fla., bats are the primary nighttime predator of insects, consuming 100 to 600 bugs per hour. Different species of bats prefer different insects, ranging from mosquitoes to crop insects—pests that both bother people and destroy crops.

“A recent study by Justin Boyles, et al entitled 'Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture' discussed the dollars saved in the reduced use of pesticides through the presence of bats,” says Diane Odegard, outreach associate for Bat Conservation International. The study shows the loss of bats could cost farmers as much as $3.7 billion per year. “This saves consumers from getting pesticides on their produce as well as keeping [pesticides] out of the water table, a win-win all the way around.”

About 40 percent of bat species are threatened with extinction, Pope adds. Habitat loss and the spread of a deadly disease called white-nose syndrome have killed about 6 million bats between 2006 and 2012.

However, the good news is that your farm is the perfect place to nurture bat habitats. Use these tips to invite them to your farm:

1. Build a bat house.
Constructing and installing bat houses is perhaps the easiest and least-expensive way to support bats on your farm. Plywood (1/2-inch four-ply) or cedar make excellent choices for construction. Bat Conservation International offers detailed instructions for bat house construction, design, location, sun exposure and coloration of the house for different regions of the United States. Instructions include how high the bat house should be placed along with strategies for protecting bats from natural predators, such as snakes.

2. Old barns, new roosts.
Old, wooden barns are perfect bat habitats. The wood is naturally worn, making it easy for bats to traverse. Rather than tearing down an old barn, leave part of the structure standing and modify it to accommodate bats. Odegard suggested using the same specifications for the crevices as those described in the bat house instructions. Bats want to roost tucked between boards that are 3/4 inch to 1 inch apart and roughly scored so they’re easy to cling to. Bats already roosting in working barns can be left alone.

3. Nurture native habitats.
As hobby farmers seek ways to restore portions of the native habitat on their farmland, they’re creating the perfect conditions for bats. Water (like ponds), wetlands, woodlands and native species provide the right conditions for the insects bats need to consume to survive.

4. Let hollowed trees stand.
Bats are adaptable and will roost in hollow trees. Leaving standing tree snags on your farm will offer them natural habitat.

“Bats have gotten a bad rap,” says conservation biologist Karen Krebs of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. “They are very beneficial for the balance of ecosystems. They have faced negative publicity and now face disease.”

By learning about bats in your area, you can prepare the best habitat conditions to attract or maintain wildlife that benefits your farming endeavors. Contact your local department of natural resources for information about local conservation efforts.

Bats are a vital part of our ecosystem, let's do our best to keep them around! Less bugs more bats!
For all of your pest or home repair needs visit or contact us at any of our locations by phone! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hawaii Is Vulnerable to Invasive Species

Servall Termite & Pest Control is always looking for new information about the pest world. Hawaii is facing a pest crisis that could pose a huge threat to the state's ecosystem and population. This article from Huffington Post discusses the problem in more depth:

Cuts in the number of inspectors who check cargo and passengers entering Hawaii have some worried that more pests will get established in a state that is especially vulnerable because of its tropical weather and few natural predators.

Hawaii has a history of non-native animals and bugs that established a foothold and then spread like wildfire, from the mongoose, a weasel-like animal native to India, that has helped drive native birds to the brink of extinction, to a beetle from Central Africa that is destroying prized Kona coffee crops.

In the past few years, Hawaii has made big cuts to its team of inspectors who check shipping containers and keep an eye on tourists' luggage. The number of inspectors fell from 95 people in 2009 to 50 last year. Since then, a few additional positions have been filled, but there hasn't been enough money to come close to previous staffing levels.

Such inspections are vital in Hawaii because once creatures get established in the state, they thrive in the subtropical warmth and can cause extensive damage to farms and the environment. Often, they have little to fear from species native to Hawaii that evolved in isolation and lack natural defenses against their alien counterparts.

"It's paradise. Pests love it. Everybody does well here," said Christy Martin, a spokeswoman for the Coordinating Group on Alien Pests Species, made up of government and private organizations.

State Rep. Clift Tsuji has been leading efforts in the Legislature to boost funding for the state Department of Agriculture's inspector program, arguing that "reducing inspectors make us more vulnerable."

Already, it appears the decline in inspectors has resulted in fewer pests being found at airports and harbors.

State Department of Agriculture data shows 663 pests were intercepted on Oahu between July and December of 2009 — before the cuts. During the same six months of 2010, only 87 pests were found.

The inspectors focus primarily on cargo because there's a greater risk an invasive species will be hiding in a shipment of goods than in a traveler's suitcase.

Officials said the drop in inspections could be troublesome for farmers, forests and even human health.

Warren Watanabe, executive director of the Maui County Farm Bureau, said farmers will have to spend more money on research to fight new pests, and then on spraying or other methods to combat them.

Maui is known for its sweet onions, but farmers there also grow zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage and other crops. Pests could even affect cattle farmers at a time when Maui ranchers are already fighting fireweed, a herb that's toxic to livestock.

"Anything that will add to the cost of production is a very big concern because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage," Watanabe said.

In Kona, on the Big Island, coffee farmers have had to spend hundreds of dollars per acre to fight the coffee berry borer.

And officials in Hawaii are particularly worried about the brown tree snake — a reptile native to Australia and the Solomon Islands that has eaten to extinction 9 out of 11 species of forest birds on Guam since it was accidentally introduced there after World War II.

Another worry is that a plant pathogen native to Brazil may find its way into Hawaii in cut flower bouquets. The pathogen, called eucalyptus rust or guava rust, has shown up in Florida and California. It's a threat to ohia, a native tree that forms the foundation of Hawaii's forests.

Officials also are worried that mosquitoes that could carry malaria, dengue fever and other diseases could hop from one Hawaiian island to another or hitch a ride to the state from Asia or other parts of the world.

Some of these worries were realized in March when Department of Health workers found yellow fever mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti — in mosquito traps at Honolulu International Airport. The species, which is capable of rapidly spreading dengue and yellow fever, is only found on the Big Island and Molokai and hasn't been seen on Oahu since 1949.

Carol Okada, an Agriculture Department plant quarantine manager who heads the state's efforts to control invasive species, said there aren't enough inspectors to check for each species that authorities worry about.

"Do you look at florist boxes and forget the mosquito? And yet that's where we are at this point," she said. "Because you can't do it all. You have to choose."

Okada warns people would need to sleep with mosquito nets if a disease-carrying mosquito were to become established in Hawaii. Visitors would have to take shots or pills before coming to Hawaii, and some people could die of malaria, she said.

"For us, it's not reasonable for us to be threatened with something like that happening to Hawaii," Okada said.

The state Legislature is considering a proposal to give Okada's department $1.8 million in the upcoming budget so it can hire more inspectors. The number of inspectors wouldn't reach previous levels, but it would raise the number to 82 and cover nine Maui inspector salaries now financed temporarily with federal money.

She hopes political and public support could ultimately bring that number back to 95 inspectors, enabling the state to check cargo and baggage at all hours of the day and night. Until then, she said her agency will have to scramble.

"It's hard to manage — it's like always juggling 'what's going to be important today? And what do we give up today for that?'" she said.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Early Bug Season!

Servall Pest Control wants to keep you updated on the pest situation and this year is going to be a big one for the bugs. We are already getting more calls than normal and we want you to be prepared. Here is an article that explains everything a little bit more:

The mild weather has pest control businesses in the Ozarks very busy.
Ants, wasps and bees name it, they are out.

The mild winter and early spring have kicked off an atypical growing season. But the National Pest Management Association says its also forecasting a heavier tick season.

Local exterminators say they're phone calls have doubled for this time of year. People calling needing help with ants, bees, wasps and asking about crane, or may flies, many mistake for mosquitoes.

But national pests experts are preparing for bigger problems with ticks this season - not because of the mild winter, but because of acorns.

The oak trees, they say, produced large crops of them in 2010 and that lead to a boom in the white footed mouse population. That also lead to an increase in ticks because they had more to feed on.

"It's a chain reaction from the food supply," explains Ivan Eftink of Bug Zero. "Two years ago so we had a lot of mice that survived the winter so that gave the ticks alot to feed on so now as the ticks is maturing they're looking for a second meal and if there's not as many mice they'll be looking for a second meal and they may be looking for a human for the next blood meal."

Experts are also concerned with the likely increase in ticks that could increase human cases of tick related diseases like Lyme disease.

All kinds of advice is offered of course using repellant, long sleeves and pants light in color so they are easier to detect. And for pets, you want to use medicine prescribed by your vet.

For more information about specific pests and how to get rid of them, check out

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