Ask The Expert
MICHAEL BENTLEY, PHD, BCE, Director of Training and Education NPMA
Q My client wants me to use non-toxic bait inside stations on the exterior of their commercial building. Won’t this just draw rats to the building and make their rat problem worse?
A The short answer is no, but there are a couple of things that you have to remember when incorporating non-toxic bait into an integrated rodent management plan. Providing non-toxic bait without incorporating monitoring and population reduction components into your program is just food for the pest population, but that’s not the point of non-toxic rodent bait. Non-toxic baits must be inspected carefully on a regular basis to determine where rodents are active. When rodent activity is discovered, the non-toxic baits should be replaced with bait containing active ingredient. Once the rodents finish feeding on the active bait, it can be switched back to non-toxic bait. This kind of approach can be more labor intensive but can reduce the amount of active baits used (and sometimes wasted) at an account. This process can be especially useful when controlling rodents in sensitive environments where non-target exposure is a concern. The key to success is careful monitoring, documentation and the use of control methods when activity is found.
Q My customer just installed a new wooden deck and wants to know if anything can be done to permanently protect the wood from carpenter bees. Do you have any recommendations for long-term protection?
A Unfortunately, there aren’t any true "one-and-done" treatment options for your client’s wooden deck that would offer permanent protection against carpenter bees. Having said that, there are a few ongoing maintenance and treatment options to suggest that would offer protection and longevity to your client’s deck for years to come. To start, recommend that your client consider painting or varnishing the deck. Carpenter bees prefer bare, exposed wood to burrow into. Adding a protective layer of exterior deck paint or varnish will help to deter future carpenter bee excavation as well as protect the wood from moisture intrusion. You could also offer to provide an annual application of a repellant product to the wood trimming along the deck and other parts of the home to provide additional protection. The best time for this application would be early spring when emerging adults will be searching for new wood to excavate. If carpenter bee activity is detected, treating the holes with an insecticidal dust, and sealing the entry point with wood putty will resolve inevitable issues as they arrive.
Q I have a client who is dealing with a springtail infestation in their single-story house. The springtails are showing up in a back bedroom and nothing I do inside seems to provide long term control. Do you have any ideas for how to stop this persistent invasion?
A Anytime I encounter springtails, my first step is always to look for a moisture source. Springtails cannot survive for long in any environment without a moisture source present to keep humidity levels high. If any of the bedroom walls are exterior walls, it’s possible there is moisture intrusion from the outside that is creating the perfect conditions for springtails to thrive. I’d also check along the baseboard of the exterior wall to identify any potential entry points where they could be making their way into the home. If the bedroom lacks exterior walls, there could still be a moisture issue in one of the walls created by leaking plumbing. I’d recommend using a moisture meter to rule out these options. Lastly, check for potted plants in the bedroom that could be the source. Ultimately, your inspection should focus on finding and correcting the excess moisture condition that’s creating the perfect environment for these tiny invaders.