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No Covid Christmas

Posted by Robert J. Russ on December 26, 2020 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (16)

We, in the Pest Control industry are considered Essential Workers.  As such, we have continued to service our customers, albeit with more care than usual, wearing masks and gloves, and being very considerate, especially for our elderly clients.  I have a large family and we all come together at Christmas, at my home.  This year, of course, that couldn't happen.  I could not, and would not risk putting my customers nor my employees in danger of Covid, from having a large group of people in the house, especially for an extended amount of time.  My solution was to have an outdoor Christmas.  We have what we call Our Tiki Bar, an open structure in the back yard, which we use for summer parties.  We worried for days, with the weather reports calling for storm winds, tornadoes and even hail.  In spite of that, I went ahead and decorated the room, plus and additional area in front of the room, covering as many of the tropical decorations with a Christmas theme.  I bought propane heaters, electric blankets, and heat lamps to make sure the family stayed warm and cozy.  I set up a separate area for each clan, so we could all be together-but-separate.  Yes, we did have to make some changes   due to Covid 19, but we all enjoyed a great Christmas.                                                                                                                                                                          

Pest Management Month

Posted by Robert J. Russ on April 6, 2020 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (164)

For over forty years, April has been recognized in the industry as Pest Management Month.  It is done to educate home and business owners of the importance of pest control.  It honors pest control companies everywhere for their role in protecting public health.  In the midst of Covid 19, we find ourselves providing a service even more important.  We're protecting the food we eat, the medical facilities that play such an important role in current battle, and also, and no less important, we're protecting your homes and businesses from the dangers and diseases of pests.  We know, for example, that German Cockroaches cause and/or worsen symptoms of asthma.  With Covid 19 attacking the respiratory system, it is now, more than ever, to stay on top of those problems, as well as rodents.    As essential personnel, we will continue to provide our services as requested and/or needed

Some questions/concerns from our customers

Posted by Robert J. Russ on October 9, 2019 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I wanted to share some of the things people will often ask me or Robert. I had Robert look it over and he added some additional thoughts..


1. I don't want you to spray while I'm home because I don't want to be around chemicals.

If you don't want to be around chemicals, you should get rid of the Clorox, the fabric softener, the laundry and dish detergent, your perfumes and colognes, your deodorant, and your table salt. They're all chemicals, far more dangerous than what we use. Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service rates pool chemicals, hydrogen peroxide and bleach as Class 5 hazardous materials, but Concentrated Pesticides are classified as Class 6? You might want to get rid of all your water too. Am I being facetious? Not really, but water is a chemical too. Not dangerous, you say? One can die from water intoxication causing your body to release deadly toxins, or one can drown. But that would require a lot of water, might be your argument. Exactly. When used correctly, and measured appropriately, any chemical that we spray in your house can be perfectly safe for humans, and our company has yet to make any pets or humans sick.


2. I don't want you to spray while I'm home because I'm allergic.

We have a wide variety of products with differing ingredients. Just because one is allergic to lemons does not mean one is allergic to all fruits. If you know you have allergies, please let us know exactly what active ingredient in some pesticides you are allergic to. We can craft around that. Thinking it will smell is most often false and is not an allergic reaction.


3, Aren't you afraid you're going to get cancer being around all those chemicals?

No, there's no fear of cancer, because we use the correct measurements, and use all precautions as described on the label of each product. And most, if not all the products we use, are not carcinogenic. If they were, they would have a much more extreme Warning Word on the label. The pesticides you hear of that are carcinogenic or poisonous (technical term not common usage) or have shown to toxify land or water are almost exclusively not what most people think. They are not the pesticides used in homes nor the ones used for bugs. They are the ones used for weeds, nematodes, molds and fungi. Your lawn care guy is using vastly more toxic chemicals than your pest control tech ever does and in much higher quantities. BTW so does your painter and housekeeper.


4. What precautions should I take in my home if I have a baby vis a vis pest control?

We would wish to give a wide berth to the baby's room, crib, and playpen because, "Better safe than sorry" and in the case of a newborn even wildly, irrationally too safe is a workable plan. Toys and such which the child could put in his mouth should be picked up before we come. But let's be very clear, responsible use of very low toxicity pesticides is much much safer and less likely to harm your children than spider or fire ant bites or German Cockroach infestations. The baby's room should still be inspected, even if no treatment is done, to make sure the real threats to health are not present.


5. Can you spray a stronger solution so you can get rid of the bugs quicker?

See #3 above. I cannot, by law, use a stronger solution. We have to abide by Federal laws that dictate how to mix each solution. Stronger is an ignorant understanding of how pesticides work. If a doctor cut off a growth on your skin and then it was back a month later, you would not suggest they use a hacksaw instead of a scalpel because it is stronger. If a product isn't working at the legal maximum limit it will not work with more of it. It will almost certainly work worse and it will surely make it less safe to you and yours and the technician and our company's pocketbook and freedom (It is a fineable, jailable state and federal crime).


6. Do we have to leave for four hours during a flea spray because it is dangerous?

What I spray for fleas is very dangerous – to the fleas. The reason we ask you to vacate the premises for about four hours is so that the spray has a chance to dry. You wouldn't want to have your upholstery or carpets cleaned, and then have someone sit/walk on them while they were still wet. Or mopping a floor and then walking all over it while it was still wet.


7. I want you to use something more natural, because I want to “go green”.

If you're trying to “go green”, you should start by getting rid of the pine straw around your house; trim back bushes and plants away from the house; keep the gutters cleaned out; repair any leaks right away (bugs love your house when you have a leak); repair or replace any broken screens; beware of the bird seed you keep in the house; shake down any plants before you bring them in for the winter. As to using something more natural, many products advertise that they're natural and intentionally let you think that that necessarily means safer. If there were a natural, safer, similarly effective pesticide to be used we would be using it. Orkin Pest Control would be using it. Most every company would be using it. The fact is, none of those claims is accurate.


A) Many pesticides are natural. Boric Acid occurs naturally and our own bodies make it in small amounts. Permethrin, one of the oldest and most common pesticides, although now synthetically made, originally came from chrysanthemums and it is still based on that same basic chemical structure. What is more natural than a flower?


B) Those products get to call themselves natural and not get monitored, tested and verified by the EPA because of a legal distinction, not a safety distinction. If they are based on anything that is edible they do not have to apply to the EPA, they do not have to get a Material Safety Data Sheet and they do not have to be tested to show they have any efficacy on bugs. You can take your left over apple core, lettuce nub, banana peel, and sausage casing and puree them up in a blender, then sell it for $50 per ounce as the greatest pesticide in the world and it is completely legal. It won't help. It will likely bring you more bugs. It will be more expensive. And you can throw in some peanuts in the mix to make it potentially deadly. But it is legal and it is natural.


C) Natural does not mean safer. I have a list of natural things for you: Peanuts, poisonous mushrooms, Poison ivy and oak, Sumac, pollen, hurricanes, pufferfish (fugu), wasps, snake venom, fire ants, rhubarb leaves, oleander, cherry seed pits....shall I continue? As a fun note, eating so-called organic fruits and vegetables that do not have pesticides applied to them to keep bugs off, in some cases, may expose you to greater amounts of more toxic pesticides. Some varieties of potatoes (Lenape, for instance) have been taken off the market for this reason. The thing is, the most hardy varieties of fruits and vegetable that can survive shipping and time make their own pesticides for their own plant protection. And guess what? An apple tree doesn't care if its own evolved pesticide is safe for humans.


D) Many natural products can have some control, usually by repellent effect, on insects. But it is generally very specific and it would take one hours of study and hundreds of dollars to concoct enough different "natural" remedies to handle the menagerie of insects invading your home. For instance, mixing green jelly and Boric Acid in just the right amount and consistency is extremely safe and can be very effective on sweet eating ants. But if you have Red Imported Fire ants or Carpenter Ants or Argentine Ants it will do very little, if anything to help. And that is just ants. What of roaches and spiders and earwigs?


Most advertised natural products have a very small scope of what bugs they control and a questionable success rate in controlling those, but since they bypass the EPA and the testing phase, they can over-promise and literally mislead about their effectiveness and safety.

No bug bombs

Posted by Robert J. Russ on July 26, 2019 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (2)

Trying to get rid of roaches? Why 'bug bombs' don't work


Raleigh, N.C. — Got roaches? Researchers at North Carolina State University say a new study shows a popular way people try to get rid of them does not work.

"A lot of people are using these foggers, and what we found with the bug bombs is nothing happened," said Dr. Zachary DeVries.

DeVries said the bug bombs do not work to help get rid of the roaches in our homes. In an effort to study them, he and his team raise the bugs in their lab.

For the study, DeVries used Triangle homes with known roach problems. In some, they used pesticide gel baits, and in others, they used bug bombs.

"We came back two weeks later, after we set off the bombs, and there were still just as many roaches as there were at the beginning," he said. "Two weeks later, and then a month later ... so, nothing had happened to the roach population."

The researchers give two reasons, first, the pesticide lands on many surfaces but not where roaches typically hide, including underneath ledges and in cabinets and crevices. The other problem they say, is that roaches are almost immune to that pesticide.

"These cockroaches are so resistant to these products you could put out a hundred foggers in a home and you're never going to control the cockroaches," said DeVries

So, what does work?

"The number one thing when we're talking about cockroaches are gel baits," he said. "We put those in, and the cockroach numbers plummeted. They dropped very quickly and, even within one month, we were down to 10 percent of what we were at the beginning."

Multiple retailers sell them. They look like a syringe and you can dab the gel in the areas where the roaches run most.

Devries says roaches eat it, and that it spreads to others through their feces. And, he says, that will rid your home of more roaches than a bomb ever will.

Another big part in battling roaches - we have to make our homes less comfortable for them. Don't leave out any food, including pet food.

Foggers are no cure for German cockroaches

Posted by Robert J. Russ on February 4, 2019 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (11)

NC State Study: ‘Bug Bombs’ Are Ineffective Killing Roaches Indoors


Not only are they ineffective, but they leave behind toxic residue, according a new study from North Carolina State University.

Bug-bomb chemicals fail to reach places where cockroaches congregate the most – on the underside of surfaces and inside cabinets, NC State researchers say. Besides leaving behind numerous cockroaches, bug bombs also leave behind nasty toxic residue in the middle of floors and countertops, areas cockroaches generally avoid but which are heavily used by humans and pets.

“There’s been a general assumption that bug bombs work to eliminate cockroaches indoors, but no one had conducted a formal assessment of their efficacy and any exposure risks,” said Zachary DeVries, an NC State postdoctoral researcher and the lead author of the study, published in BMC Public Health. “We’ve done that simultaneously in this study.”

To understand more about the effectiveness of total release foggers, the researchers tested four different commercially available bug bombs with various insecticide active ingredients in five different apartment complexes with moderate to severe infestations of German cockroaches (Blattella germanica), common indoor household pests.

“All the fogger products contained pyrethroids, a class of fast-acting insecticides, and some contained piperonyl butoxide, a chemical that prevents roaches from metabolizing, or breaking down, the insecticide,” said Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor of Entomology at NC State and senior author of the paper.

After gauging estimates of cockroach populations in 20 homes, the researchers set off the bug bombs, following the labels’ instructions – and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines on preparing the homes for fogger release – to the letter.

The researchers then monitored cockroach populations two weeks and one month after the bombs were released and found no declines from the pre-intervention estimates.

“The bug-bomb products did absolutely nothing to control cockroach populations in these homes,” DeVries said.

Meanwhile, the researchers treated 10 additional homes with either a commercially available gel bait or a professional-grade gel bait. Gel baits are generally applied in small dabs via syringe, so they can be placed directly in the places where cockroaches hide. In contrast to the bug bombs, these baits were effective, after two and four weeks, in eliminating cockroach populations in the 10 homes.

To further test the effectiveness of bug bombs, the researchers placed both roaches raised in the lab and roaches captured in the homes into greased cages – making them inescapable – and set the cages on the floor and in upper cabinets of the studied homes during the deployment of the bug bombs.

“The lab roaches, which are not hardy, had high mortality, as expected,” DeVries said. “The roaches captured in the homes and then brought back, however, had far lower mortality rates than you would expect from direct exposure to bug bombs, confirming the ineffectiveness of these products when used for German cockroach control.”

The researchers also examined whether bug bombs increased insecticide exposure risks in the homes. Prior to doing that, however, they swabbed floors and kitchen surfaces and found insecticide residue already present.

“Baseline levels of insecticides in these homes makes sense, because residents with moderate to severe cockroach infestations are likely to use insecticides to attempt to eliminate roaches,” DeVries said. “However, what was most disconcerting was that these swabs were collected from the middle of floors and kitchen surfaces, locations where roaches don’t generally congregate.”

Four to six hours after the bug bombs were deployed, the researchers again swabbed floors, kitchen surfaces, walls and cabinets and found average insecticide residues increased 600 times baseline levels on all horizontal surfaces.

One month later, those surfaces were swabbed again; 34 percent still had higher insecticide residue levels than the baseline.

“Bug bombs are not killing cockroaches; they’re putting pesticides in places where the cockroaches aren’t; they’re not putting pesticides in places where cockroaches are and they’re increasing pesticide levels in the home,” DeVries said. “In a cost-benefit analysis, you’re getting all costs and no benefits.”

“This is of particular concern in low-income communities, where bug bombs are frequently used because professional pest control may be too expensive,” Schal added.

A thank you from a customer

Posted by Robert J. Russ on September 28, 2018 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (2)

McClure Vacations is a Vacation Rental company in Ocean Isle Beach.  We service over 100 of their properties, and today, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this thank you card in the mail. 

Hurricane Florence

Posted by Robert J. Russ on September 17, 2018 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (1)

We're all safe from Hurricane Florence, but we're not running a route just yet.  It's not safe for our employees to be out in certain areas just yet.  I will ask all our customers to please be patient with us as we try to get caught up on our route next week, and for the rest of the month.  Hope you're all safe, and keep the faith.

Martha M. Russ

Pest Management Month

Posted by Robert J. Russ on March 31, 2014 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (13)

The governor of North Carolina has proclaimed April 2014 to be Pest Management Month.


April 1, 2014

WHEREAS, effective pest management in homes, businesses and public places throughout North Carolina is an important factor in maintaining the health and well-being of all North Carolina residents; and

WHEREAS, pest management professionals help protect our food supply, homes and the environment from disease and pest-related illness; and

WHEREAS, from how to combat childhood respiratory problems due to cockroach allergens to the best ways to guard against termite infestations in the home, pest management professionals can offer citizens sound advice on protecting their health and property from pests; and

WHEREAS, it is important to offer all residents of North Carolina an opportunity to understand and appreciate the important role that pest management providers play in ensuring the health and well-being of everyone; 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PAT McCRORY, Governor of the State of North Carolina, do hereby proclaim April 2014, as “PEST MANAGEMENT MONTH” in North Carolina, and commend its observance to all citizens.

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina at the Capitol in Raleigh this twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord two thousand and fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.




New truck

Posted by Robert J. Russ on March 13, 2014 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

New addition to our fleet.

Considered dangerous

Posted by Robert J. Russ on June 11, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The United States Postal Service has posted a list of items that they considered dangerous.  Fireworks, ammunition and gunpowder, of course, are considered Class 1.   What I considered interesting is that I'm often asked if the chemicals that I use are toxic.  I usually answer, "No more toxic than the bleach you clean with, or caulk, or hydrogen peroxide.   The USPS classifies perfumes as a Class 3 item; pool chemicals, hydrogen peroxide and bleach are a Class 5 item, and pesticides are farther down the line as Class 6.