Pest Prevention and Control

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Necrodamus » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:01 pm

First, excellant job EH! Somebody needs to sticky this or put it in the Hall of Fame!

Second is a question I was at the hardware store the other day and I saw these easy set black plastic mouse and rat traps. The rat version had like plastic serrations or teeth on the edge.
I have always liked the old reliable wood and steel versions, but I was curious.
Whats your opinion? Do these work? Do the rats eat the trap instead of the bait?

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Jeriah » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:16 pm

Definitely Hall of Fame worthy. This is great info.

For some reason, back when I worked at the hardware store, I ended up being in charge of "manual rodent disposal." Mice and rats both chewed into our birdseed bags. We set traps (I like the old-fashioned wood-and-wire kind) and that worked, although a couple mice foolish enough to come out while we were open met their ends under my boots. Then there was this rat, a young one, that must have been sick or poisoned, because he crawled out from below cover right in front of me. I used the "grabber" to pick him up and drown him in a trash can lid full of water. The fucked up thing is that I couldn't just hold him under and let him drown, because right then a customer came up to me and needed help with something, and I didn't want her seeing what I was doing and freaking out, so I helped her and sort of watched out of the corner of my eye as the rat tried to climb out of the trash can lid, couldn't, and eventually slid into the water and drowned.

Steph and I recently discovered Spider Beetles in our house. Freaky looking but apparently harmless. They weren't in our food, they were eating dust bunnies and skin flakes and shit in the unswept corners of our bedroom. Now that I know they aren't harmful, they've been promoted out of my "smash on sight" list (flies, cockroaches, ticks, mosquitos) and onto my "take it outside" list (house centipedes, beetles, moths, bees, wasps, butterflies, etc.).

I have a surprisingly tolerant attitude towards insects. If they aren't REALLY problematic, I prefer to live and let live. Steph and I found a bunch of caterpillars on our arugula a few weeks ago. Instead of smashing them, we moved them into a terrarium, fed 'em a couple arugula plants, and watched them turn into butterflies. That was made of win.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by elkhills » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:21 am

FLEAS
Fleas are one of the most common, and difficult to control, parasites humans have to deal with on a regular basis. They are true parasites, feeding on blood meals from warm blooded creatures such as rats, birds, dogs, cats and man. They are excellent jumpers, the best in the animal kingdom, able to jump many times their own height- though being only an 1/8" long and even less in height and width, that jump equates to about 12" or so. This is important as it shows that fleas cannot jump up from the floor to a bed or even a chair- they must hitch a ride on a host animal. They can, and do, transmit disease to humans through their bite, in fact they were a major contributor to the spread of the "Black Death" or Bubonic plague of the Middle Ages, a disease that is still present today.
While there are at least five different species in the U.S., the two most commonly encountered are the Cat and Dog Flea. All are similar enough in biology, habitat and control measures that we can skip positive identification and treat them all the same.

LIFE CYCLE
Fleas go through a complete 4 stage metamorphosis- Egg, Larva, Pupa, Adult. The female lays her 8-20 eggs after each blood meal. The eggs are slippery, and so some will slide or fall off the host into the animals den, nest, bed or your homes carpeting. The eggs typically hatch in 10-20 days, one of the reasons a pest control company will often do a 2 week follow-up treatment. The newly hatched larva will feed on hair, dried blood, feces, skin flakes and other types of food materials found where they hatch. Depending on environmental conditions the larva will mature and pupate (spin a silken cocoon) in as little as 7 days, or take up to several months. The pupal stage lasts from 7 days up to a year. When the adult emerges from the cocoon, it's primary goal is to immediately feed, and breed.

IDENTIFICATION OF INFESTATION
The first sign of fleas are usually found on a pet. Fleas are a successful species living on wild animals like birds, squirrels, racoons, etc. and so will be found nearly anywhere those creatures live- including our own backyards. It is easy for a flea to jump onto a new host (your dog or cat, or even you) and so enter your home. Inspect your pets at the first sign of excessive scratching for fleas. Check for bites and red, irritated skin where the pets fur is thinnest- often the pets stomach area. Flea bites are often found in clumps of 2 or more red, itchy bumps. The irritation is caused by our own bodies auto-immune response to the fleas saliva, which contains an anti-coagulant (keeps blood from clotting) similar to the mosquito. The adult fleas themselves are small, flat and black or reddish-brown in color.

CONTROL
As (almost) always in pest control, sanitation is a key component of control and a good starting place. Bathe your pets to rid them of adult fleas, and hopefully some of the eggs that may be present. An over the counter flea spray or dip can be used to assist in killing the adult fleas on the animal. To my knowledge, there is no product available that will kill the eggs. Additionally compounding the problem, eliminating the adult fleas food source is impossible, because it is you (and your pets)! This means physically removing the eggs and larva's food source from the home is the best course of action.
A common, and extremely effective method of removing eggs, larva and the hair, skin, etc. that they eat is to steam clean the carpets in the home. This method injects hot water/steam into the carpet or upholstery and vacuums the contaminants back out. Combined with properly laundering or discarding any other possible items where eggs may be present (pet bedding) this treatment alone should eliminate the current infestation, assuming the pet has been properly treated.
If steam cleaning is unavailable as an option, a second choice would be thoroughly vacuuming the carpets, cracks & crevices in floors where dust and the like can accumulate. If a flea powder or other pesticide is available, I recommend vacuuming a small amount into the vacuum bag to kill any fleas that are picked up while cleaning.
Regardless of which method is used to remove the eggs and food sources, treating the carpets and floors with a residual pesticide will kill all but the eggs, and add additional protection against future intrusions.

MAINTAINENCE
It is not possible to completely eliminate fleas from your yard, as this is their natural habitat. Treating the lawn and open areas with a residual pesticide spray or granular product will help in keeping adult fleas in the yard to a minimum.
In my experience, Flea Collars for pets are ineffective, but not counter productive and so can be used as a maintenance tool if desired.
"Flea Pills" are very effective- at killing adult fleas after they feed on your pets blood. They are a great maintenance tool but will not rid your home and family from flea problems alone. Be advised that not all the pills are equal, and additionally different varieties are needed for dogs and cats.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by bigmattdaddywack » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:32 am

Thank you Elkhills.
Very informative.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by elkhills » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:14 am

bigmattdaddywack wrote:Thank you Elkhills.
Very informative.
You're welcome. I'll write some more on Lice & Bed Bugs when I get some time.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by FanaticalModerate » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:25 am

And if anyone needed another reason to get serious about fleas: They are also the central part of the lifecycle of the common dog tapeworm. The little baby tapeworm resides in the flea's digestive tract, and enters the dog via the dog swallowing the flea.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by elkhills » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:26 am

Necrodamus wrote:First, excellant job EH! Somebody needs to sticky this or put it in the Hall of Fame!

Second is a question I was at the hardware store the other day and I saw these easy set black plastic mouse and rat traps. The rat version had like plastic serrations or teeth on the edge.
I have always liked the old reliable wood and steel versions, but I was curious.
Whats your opinion? Do these work? Do the rats eat the trap instead of the bait?
Are you talking about something like these?
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As long as they are intended to kill the rodent, as opposed to capturing them alive I think they are fine. Rat traps can be tricky to set, and are powerful enough to break a finger (ask me how I know that!). I haven't used these style of traps before, so I'm hesitant to say whether or not they are a good product, but if they eliminate the hazard of setting the trap, and effectively kill the pests they would be a great tool to have.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Necrodamus » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:49 pm

Thats EXACTLY the one!
Yeah the idea is to kill and on the package it says its very efficient at that.
Maybe I should buy some feed mice and do some test!

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by A.C.E. » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:45 pm

I few years back I used to spend a lot of time in a stable. Much like any other stable we had out fair share of mice and rats.

As stated earlier, rat traps tend to miss mice and mousetraps won't really do squat against real rats. In fact, we routinly had rats run away with the traps around their necks. Sometimes even rat traps would fail to kill them. I guess them sumbitches grow really big and mean when they have proper food to eat, like the grains and feed given to race horses.

What we did was to tie the traps down with a yard or so of steel wire, attached in the other end to a brick. It won't make a mousetrap kill a rat, but at least the rat won't run away with the trap.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Necrodamus » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:32 pm

A.C.E. wrote:I few years back I used to spend a lot of time in a stable. Much like any other stable we had out fair share of mice and rats.

As stated earlier, rat traps tend to miss mice and mousetraps won't really do squat against real rats. In fact, we routinly had rats run away with the traps around their necks. Sometimes even rat traps would fail to kill them. I guess them sumbitches grow really big and mean when they have proper food to eat, like the grains and feed given to race horses.

What we did was to tie the traps down with a yard or so of steel wire, attached in the other end to a brick. It won't make a mousetrap kill a rat, but at least the rat won't run away with the trap.
Scroll half way down this page and watch the video.
These mouse traps have some cool features!
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by A.C.E. » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:42 am

Necrodamus wrote: Scroll half way down this page and watch the video.
These mouse traps have some cool features!
T-Rex
Yh, looks like really good stuff. Back then we only used the old fashioned kind. These were pobably around but we had a whole bunch of the old kind, maybe 25 or 30 counting both small and large and I don't think anyone could be arsed to spend money on even more traps.

We caught maybe 10 or so every night. But tbh, we were not really winning. Maybe maintaining the population, maybe. The rats were thriving and the cat was terrified from going near the bigger ones. Not really strange since they were rougly the sme size.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by celtic-lion » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:02 am

Spiders are a problem at our old house . Easy to kill but they just kept coming . Of course they had to be brown reclouses. Put glue traps under the bed and it would catch 20 in about three days which was about the cleaning rotation . Yes the house stayed clean and no clutter . Finally got around in reinsulating the attic and for the last 2 years we have had no spiders , lucky no one was bite . But there was a lot of sleepless nights .
Now I have been fighting squirrels that has invaded the attic .They are chewing through the facial board the gutters are nailed to to get in. Traps and baits are not working .Been using a co2 pistol in the attic and in the moring sneaking out into the yard with an pellet rifle. Kill about 4 every few weeks and more are still trying to move in.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Krustofski » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:15 am

elkhills, this is a great and very informative thread.

I'm nit-picky and a bit of a smartass, and this is more of a semantic mistake, so please don't take the following as harsh criticism: "our own bodies response to the fleas saliva" is of course not auto-immune. Auto-immune responses are per definition directed against the body's own cells and tissues. However, constant exposure to potential allergens (like flea salvia) can drive the development of allergies or autoimmunity. Also, flea bites sensibilize the skin. And because flea salvia fuck with the immune system, old bites often start to itch again when new bites occur ("repeating").

Fleas are also easily disturbed by movement. Thus they often bite 3 to 10 times. As a rule of thumb, if you find an almost straight row of itching lumbs somewhere on you body, you can be almost sure it wasn't a mosquito, but one of them nasty flea creatures.

Fleas are also intermediate hosts & vectors for cucumber tapeworm (dogs, humans; has allready been mentioned, mostly harmless for humans, not so much for dogs), rat tapeworm (rats, humans; does seldom affect humans, mostly harmless) and dwarf tapeworm (almost every large mammal in existence, including humans; mostly harmless... I mean, almost everybody in Russia has it... insert "In Soviet Russia, tapeworm..." joke here).
Fleas have also been associated with epidemic typhus, but I'm rather sceptical about that. Watch out for lice in this regard.

Pyrethroids (synthetic as well as chrysanthemum extracts) usually work wonders against fleas. I found that lice killing shampoo for children works on dogs (insecticide is an insecticide is an insecticide), but YMMV.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Seanwins » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:53 pm

UGH. Thanks for the thread. I'm dealing with an infestation of warehouse beetles now (brought home in cat food or pasta I'm thinking) and we easily threw away nearly 100 pounds of food. I hear they are hell to get rid of, but I will follow your advice and let you know how it works out.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by grennels » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:45 pm

I have found fleas pretty easy to get rid of.

Just treat your pets regularly with Frontline drops.

Even if your home is already infested, within a month (two at most)
the fleas are gone. A few more may hatch as time passes but if you
keep your animals treated the new fleas will hatch, bite a pet and die.

If you want to hurry the process along, sprinkle powdered borax into your
carpets and work it into the carpets with a broom. Just leave it in. Kills the
larvae as they hatch.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by J-Bean Sammitch » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:45 am

Definately a very good post!

I wish I had known about the mouse traps when we lived in our last apartment. I first found mouse turds a few weeks before my daughter was born. Understandably I went apeshit and tore apart her room. In the process I found more turd trails leading to the nether regions of the closet. My wife was adamant about not seeing a dead mouse, so we ended up getting the flat glue traps and a live-capture trap. Caught a bunch of spiders and dust bunnies, but no mice. The property manager eventually had bait dropped around the property. (Lot of good THAT did with all the overhanging trees and shrubs! :evil: )

OK, noob question coming: I don't hunt. For all those that do, how do you keep fleas and ticks off you when you hunting and collect your winnings? Is DEET-based bug repelant enough? When the SHTF and DEET products are eventully used up, what then? :roll:

Again, great info here!

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:16 pm

OK, I have what may seem a couple of silly questions, but I'm asking in all seriousness.

What health risks are involved in a human wearing a flea collar for a pet, around their ankles? Will Frontline work on a human safely?

It seems that fleas attack a person's ankles first, since that's what's handy to them as they hide out in your carpet. Would a flea collar worn around each ankle keep them off you? How would this work vs. ticks out in the woods? A flea and tick collar worn around each sleeve or pant leg, maybe? Would wearing them on the outside of clothing work, and/or be safer?

I work nights, and get bored, so this is the kind of stuff I end up musing about...
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by arrowolf » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:57 pm

I've been having a mouse problem again. Apparently I wasn't the only one who noticed. Saturday afternoon, I saw a Gray Rat Snake slither under my dryer. By the time I got the dryer moved, I saw the snake going out and where the mice have probably been coming in. Yep, around the vent opening. Stuffed full of steel wool then coated it over with the expanding foam. Now about those damn scorpions...
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Chef » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:48 pm

Any opinions/experiences with diatomaceous earth as an arthropod control?
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by elkhills » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:14 pm

J-Bean Sammitch wrote:OK, noob question coming: I don't hunt. For all those that do, how do you keep fleas and ticks off you when you hunting and collect your winnings? Is DEET-based bug repelant enough? When the SHTF and DEET products are eventully used up, what then? :roll:
Personally I don't think Flea Collars are all that effective on pets, much less for people. Your best bet is to keep fleas, ticks, bugs-in-general off your skin altogether; long pants & sleeves w/ rubber bands at the cuffs is one good tried and true technique.
KnightoftheRoc wrote:What health risks are involved in a human wearing a flea collar for a pet, around their ankles?
Can't comment with authority on a medical safety question- read the Label. See above, I don't think they are worth the trouble.
Will Frontline work on a human safely?
I will comment on this one- NO! :shock:
Chef wrote:Any opinions/experiences with diatomaceous earth as an arthropod control?
If I remember right, that is a dessicant (dehydrates/dries out the bugs)? I think it's used as a filler or bonding agent in some wettable powders. Haven't used it straight as a pesticide myself- let us know how it works if you try it!

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Real_Ale_Act » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:47 pm

elkhills wrote:
Chef wrote:Any opinions/experiences with diatomaceous earth as an arthropod control?
If I remember right, that is a dessicant (dehydrates/dries out the bugs)? I think it's used as a filler or bonding agent in some wettable powders. Haven't used it straight as a pesticide myself- let us know how it works if you try it!
I just decided last night to put a nice layer of this stuff under my two decks as we prep for the rainy season. The front deck is only about 18" off the ground, and the back deck is over 4' off the ground (lot is sloped gently). There are a couple of outdoor cats that hang around the front yard (we have no objection to them being there) and all the animals hangout under the back deck, plus we store stuff under there.

But we have a pretty serious ant (either Argentine or Crazy Ants) problem which I have only just gotten under control with the 'kills the whole colony' baits, and I know there are more nests in the dirt in the back yard since I see the in my garden too. So I decided that diatomaceous earth would be the first thing I try to keep them subdued, before moving on to heavier toxins, since the spaces are relatively easy to access and Someone (read: me) has to go under the front deck anyway to do some repairs.

I, too, will report back how that goes, although it is tough to prove absence.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Elderberry » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:25 am

Diatomaceous earth works well but you have to keep it dry, as a powder. If it gets wet it just hardens into lumps and doesn't work--it needs to be a powder the bugs walk through in order to scratch their shells. If it hardens into lumps, they just walk on top of it and no harm is done to them.

I used it to keep carpenter ants from devouring a pile of 2 x 4s--they were under a tarp, so the DE stayed dry. I opened the tarp a couple of weeks after dusting the lumber with it and found lots and lots of dead ants.

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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Real_Ale_Act » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:43 pm

Hm, perhaps not as an 'under the deck' thing then. I was hoping that wouldn't be the case like it also is with Boric Acid powder. Drat.

I guess I'll just have to go back to bark mulch and ant baits as Plan A.
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Re: Pest Prevention and Control

Post by Elderberry » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:25 pm

In the past week we have had invasions of ants, those pantry moths, and mice. I guess they are all trying to get inside before winter hits.

I have been hoarding glass canning jars for a while--I would go to a yard sale and find they had boxes of canning jars they were giving away for a couple bucks per box, or even free because so few people can anymore. I would always take them--one place had 200 of them, the old wuart-sized "glass top and spring" ones, for free. Those need a rubber gasket, and the gaskets are still made, so I got a bunch of them from Lehman's in case I ever wanted to use the jars for storage. I also hoarded the regular canning jars that use metal lids. I had big stashes of them at my BOL and my regular home. Some I used for actual canning, the rest were just sitting in the basement.

So when all these critters appeared, I put all my food in jars. EVERYTHING. Now when you look in my cupboards, all you see is clean boards lined with these glass jars. If anything is infested, it'll be contained within that one jar and I can dump it. If any new insect or animal shows up and wants to eat, they're out of luck.

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