Bugs in Bermuda? You Bet

When Walter Saul moved to Bermuda from Florida 28 years ago, it was for a six-month gig as a pest control training supervisor…or so he thought. “Six months turned into a year, then the operations manager retired and I stayed on… more than two decades later, I’m still here,” says Saul, who has been operations manager for Bermuda Pest Control since 1988. Considered an island paradise by most travelers, Bermuda sits in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Though isolated from the multitude of mainland U.S. insect pests, Bermuda still struggles with its share of pest problems. “Bermuda is predominantly volcanic limestone rock with about a foot and a half of soil sitting on top of it,” says Saul. “Basically, we are a 21- square mile ant mound in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!” Using baits to control ants is out of the question, according to Saul. “It’s a giant ant colony — mostly Argentine ants,” he adds. “The colony is too big to eliminate – but with the right tools, we can control the ants.” Through the years, he’s used many different products with varying degrees of effectiveness. But when Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granular technology came on the market a few years ago, he began using it exclusively for his ant-control program. Talstar XTRA with Verge contains bifenthrin with zeta-cypermethrin, designed for fast knockdown and accelerated control. In addition, it provides up to four months of reliable control of more than 75 insect pests. “It’s the best of all possible worlds – they’ve got the dual formulation on a good granule that applies evenly...

Pest Control Company Has Success with a New Ant Control Product

Nineteen years ago, Dave Novak answered a “help wanted” ad for a service technician and thought he was applying for a job as a fleet mechanic. Quik-Kill president Paul Baietto, Tim Baietto’s father, had hired him but failed to tell Novak what was in store. “The next day I was in a crawl space,” said Novak, now Quik-Kill’s service manager. “That was a surprise.” Today, Novak handles all service-related aspects for Quik-Kill, which includes providing his team with an array of items to get the job done, from insecticides to detection devices to handyman tools. He works on both residential and commercial accounts, often accompanying his eleven technicians in the field. Novak has seen bed bugs resurge, as well as mosquitoes, but cites ants as the new “number one” pest in Illinois. “Odorous house ants, Argentine, carpenter, pavement and citronella,” he said. “Bed bugs come and go, but ants are constant, even in winter.” Novak uses a variety of products for ants, from liquid sprays to granular products to aerosols. Recently, he’s begun using Transport® Mikron™ liquid insecticide, which leaves “no residue and is totally clear.” “Of course, nothing replaces a good, old fashioned ‘get-your-knees-dirty’ inspection,” Novak explained. “Many species can be ‘trailed’ to nesting sites, so I seek out the source and ask the question ‘Why are they here’?” “Exclusion is important because simple repairs can make a huge difference,” he added. “That coupled with a great insecticide means another ant problem solved.” Looking for more information about ant control? Sharpen your ant identification skills with our ant identification...
Pro Bono Fire Ant Treatment Saves a School from Pests

Pro Bono Fire Ant Treatment Saves a School from Pests

Children in northern Florida are just returning to school and may find something more frightening than homework—fire ants. This summer’s excessive rains have caused fire ant populations to explode, just before the school year begins. But at one school, fire ants have been expelled. That’s because Trad’s Pest Control, a full-service pest control and turf management company in Jacksonville, teamed up with FMC to treat the grounds of San Juan del Rio Church and School in nearby St. John’s, Florida. The school’s fire ant problem has grown significantly over the summer, when turf was untreated and consistent rains caused the red imported fire ant (RIFA) population to boom. Trad’s donated the manpower while Philadelphia-based FMC Professional Solutions donated the ammunition, namely its Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology. Talstar XTRA is a new type of granular insecticide that controls fire ant mounds in as little as fifteen minutes while generating virtually no dust or odor when applied. “Verge technology is based on the same technology as kitty litter,” explained Denise Wartan, General Manager of Trad’s. “It’s a clay based granule that breaks down and disappears into to the soil quickly and stays there. This is great for schools that need help fast, but also need a solution that lasts.” Wartan adds that Trad’s is certified in ‘integrated pest management’ for schools, so the company uses approved, low-impact products and treats in a manner to limit children’s exposure. Red imported fire ants (RIFA) live in mounds in all types of turf, along driveways and sidewalks and just about anywhere there is ample soil and moisture. When disturbed, fire ants will...
After the storm: fighting Florida fire ants after Hurricane Debby.

After the storm: fighting Florida fire ants after Hurricane Debby.

The average June rainfall in Live Oak, Florida is six inches. In June of 2012, forty inches of rain fell, resulting in a formidable surge of Florida fire ants. The perpetrator was Hurricane Debby, a 200-mile wide storm that lashed north central Florida with high winds, tornadoes and sheets of rain. In the small farming community of Live Oak, more than 40 businesses and 900 homes were flooded and six months later, many were still holding water. “It was unbelievable,” said Roy Crain, general manager of Live Oak Pest Control, Inc., a 40-year-old, family owned pest control company serving Suwannee, Lafayette and Madison counties. “The storm seemed to just come in and sit. Numerous homes and businesses were flooded.” And the insect pressure was daunting. “I never saw so many photos of floating fire ants on Facebook,” said Crain. “And now, we are still seeing unprecedented amounts of ants, even in areas with no problems before. And I’m talking about beach ball size mounds, not little ones.” So what is Live Oak’s strategy in the wake of the storm? Most homes and businesses get two subsequent applications of Talstar® Professional on their lawns to start, before dropping down to applications in March, May, July and September. The liquid applications keep fire ant activity “under control” without too much expense. A granular insecticide is applied around the perimeter of the homes for an added layer of protection. Live Oak Pest Control is also trying a new product, Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology, which offers fast and long-term mound control, as well as less dust and odor. Crain received free...
Develop a white-footed ant control program that stops them in their tracks.

Develop a white-footed ant control program that stops them in their tracks.

White-footed ants peaked in Southwest Florida three years ago, creating an explosion of business for Fort Myers Pest Control. Accounts in both their lawn care and general household pest control divisions were affected by the invasion. “The day white-footed ants decide to visit your house and not the neighbor’s is a day you will never forget,” says Ivan Starkey, pest control supervisor at the North Fort Myers company, which covers four counties and services 17,000 homes each year. “They are extremely tough to control.” The worst case Starkey witnessed was a woman from Canada who moved into her newly purchased Florida home to find it already occupied by millions of white-footed ants. “There wasn’t a room or wall not covered by ants,” says Starkey. “They were in the lawn, in the shrubs, pouring out of the fruit trees and running rampant in the house. After calling us, she packed up and went back to Canada for the rest of the winter.” The Fort Myers Customer Solutions Manager, Ken Coleman soon devised a program to stop white-footed ants in their tracks. The protocol includes interior treatments and shrub sprays, in addition to a perimeter application of Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology. “We’ve had great success with Talstar XTRA – it’s a lot better than the products we’ve previously used,” remarks Coleman, who started at Fort Myers Pest Control in 1981. “It has better knockdown, a broad-spectrum label and provides excellent residual control.” Coleman’s technicians apply Talstar XTRA around the perimeter of the residence, using it in some of their quarterly treatments, as well as part of the white-footed ant...

Perform a successful carpenter ant treatment with an aerosol insecticide.

Gary Pietrucha knows the power of small. When he started his own pest management business 25 years ago in the northern Chicago suburbs, his goal was to remain a size where he could easily service his customers. “I never wanted to get so large that I lost sight of who I am,” says Pietrucha, who has worked in the pest management industry for 37 years now. “I’m a boutique company. As such, I provide high quality work to small accounts.” Located in Itasca, Illinois, Envirosafe Pest Management, Inc. serves the greater Chicago metropolitan area. With five technicians, the company handles mostly commercial accounts, but does some residential work, as well. Recently, Pietrucha had a customer with a fairly large carpenter ant problem. In this case, it was a private residence in a heavily wooded area, on the bank of a river. “It was a perfect scenario for carpenter ants, but when I initially talked to these folks, I didn’t realize the magnitude of the problem,” he adds. “They were everywhere!” Pietrucha decided to try new Talstar® insecticide, the industry’s first aerosol bifenthrin product, to solve the problem. He used the aerosol insecticide as both an interior and exterior carpenter ant treatment, spraying around landscape timbers and a wood porch. “The product did a marvelous job of seeking out all the little nooks and crannies and galleries that carpenter ants make,” he explains. “Because of its distribution, it got into all the voids where satellite carpenter ant colonies were living. You can’t get to these places with a regular injection spray.” The initial treatment reduced the problem by at least...