The following article was posted last week in the New York Times real estate section. We wanted to share it with you because it helps to shed light on our profession and how effective a well trained and educated pest control operator is. We think you’ll appreciate this article and may use it as a reference for your clients who think a home remedy will do the job.
The Pest Parade, and How to Stop It
By SAMANTHA STOREY
Published: May 17, 2012
IT has happened to everyone. You are standing in the kitchen and you see something out of the corner of an eye. Was it a mouse scurrying across the floor, or worse, a cockroach dashing along the counter?
Do you start feeling itchy every time an advertisement for a bedbug removal service comes on television?
In an ideal world, if all New Yorkers picked up after themselves, we would have far, far fewer cockroaches, rats, ants and moths to contend with inside our apartments. But there will always be supers who don’t take out the trash on schedule and neighbors who hoard pizza boxes, making this metropolis a utopia for pests.
“Whenever there’s more dense population, there’s greater opportunity for pest problems,” said Gary Braness, Ph.D, a pest management consultant and the owner of Yosemite Environmental Services, based in Fresno, Calif. “You’ve got eight million people living in New York paying high rent, and countless pests paying nothing. They hitchhike into your home in your purse or hide out in your grocery bags. There are so many hiding places, layers upon layers of construction, especially in old structures.”
So how do you take up arms against the vermin in your home? All pests want food, water and shelter. Get rid of those three necessities and you will go a long way toward a pest-free existence. This means sanitation is everything. Equally important is stopping critters from entering your home in the first place. If this seems daunting, call in the professionals.
Just don’t call them exterminators. Nowadays they call what they do pest management control, and with good reason. Today’s professionals are much more knowledgeable than the old baseboard jockeys, who sprayed and prayed. They regularly consult with entomologists. Some are certified in green business practices. Most are cognizant of what types of chemicals they use and how often. The really good ones will determine how the creepy crawlies are getting in, and stop them at the source. Prices for pest management services vary widely, based on the pests involved and the size of the invasion. But the tab can run from $250, for a minor case, to thousands for a full-blown bedbug infestation.
If you want to try and tackle the problem yourself, you might wonder whether homemade remedies will do the trick, or if that ultrasonic device on sale at the drugstore really does chase away cockroaches with high-frequency sound waves. It depends. The Web is full of sites with recipes for concoctions to ward off ants and the like, and some do indeed work. Try them out. Peppermint oil is said to be wizard at destroying bird mites. And you’ll know soon enough whether or not that citrus-sugar solution is killing off a colony of ants. Ultrasonic devices? The experts are skeptical.
But there is no true panacea.
“Sanitation helps,” Dr. Braness said, “but sanitation alone won’t totally control them. And unless you eat out every day and don’t bring home a single crumb of food, pests will thrive.”
Finding a buildingwide solution to pests like mice and cockroaches can make the individual’s battle much easier.
One bit of good news is that the number of complaints about bedbugs to 311, New York City’s information hot line, is on the decline, having fallen to 19,588 in 2011 from 27,298 in 2010. This doesn’t mean you are free to start rescuing nice-looking upholstered chairs from the sidewalk, but the peak of the bedbug invasion seems to have passed. Unfortunately, rodents and cockroaches are still as pesky as ever. So are ants, flies, bees and pigeons.
Their presence can be a particularly acute problem for people about to list their apartments for sale. Brokers will tell you it is hard to say which is worse for buyers touring an apartment: seeing mousetraps in every corner, or being greeted by the living, breathing pest itself.
As New Yorkers, we have little sway over who lives around us, but we can try to control the creatures living uninvited in our homes. Our guide to eradicating some common ones is a basic how-to on waging war against the harpies of the rodent realm and the billions of six-legged monsters marching and flying across the welcome mat. It was compiled after consultation with pest-control specialists and entomologists, and is intended as a starting point in what, with luck, will not be a prolonged battle.