Saturday, May 29, 2010
Use Baits To Control Roaches, Crickets and Ants
By Richard Fagerlund
For the Journal
Q: We are low income and cannot afford an exterminator when we see bugs. Can you give us a few hints that we can use to control pests in our home? — R.T., Albuquerque
A: There are a few bugs that get into our food products. These are referred to as Stored Product Pests, and they include a number of species of beetles and a few moths. These insects are easily controlled by throwing away the food they are breeding in and using pheromone traps.
Pheromone traps catch the males of the species and prevents them from mating, thus stopping the breeding cycle. Clothing moths also can be controlled with pheromone traps unless the infestation is severe. Pheromone traps are available online from www.pestcontrolsupplies.com, an Albuquerque company.
Cockroaches, crickets and ants can be controlled with baits. Niban Bait, made from boric acid, is very effective against roaches, silverfish and crickets. You can't buy Niban in stores as the manufacturer chooses not to sell it to the public. However, it is available online from the source listed above.
Ants can be controlled with a variety of baits, depending on the species of ants involved. A mixture of peanut butter, jelly (or honey) and boric acid will control most species of household ants. Mix the bait as follows; two tablespoons of peanut butter, two tablespoons of jelly (or honey) and a teaspoon of boric acid.
Place the bait where the ants are foraging but out of the reach of children and pets. Harvester ants, the large stinging ants that make the large mounds, can be controlled with a product called Amdro. Amdro is available at Walmart or Home Depot.
It is always important to identify the ants in your home before using any bait. If you don't know what they are, you can send me some and I will be happy to ID them (or any other bugs) for you. Go to my website, www.askthebugman.com for instructions on shipping bugs for identification.
When we get ants in our house, my wife will put a little bit of jelly in a corner of the counter. All the ants will go there and pig out. After a couple of weeks they just leave. My wife lets the ants live in a certain restricted area of her choosing and out of her way.
Mice are common in homes and need to be controlled. Because deer mice are common and Hantavirus is always a possibility, never use rodenticides to control mice. They can die in an area where they can't be retrieved and the decaying corpse could cause a health problem. Similarly never use glue boards to control mice because a mouse stuck in a glue board will urinate and defecate for hours before it slowly dies, and the urine and feces can contain Hantavirus pathogens.
Always use snap traps when controlling mice in your home or business. The best bait is a piece of Slim Jim. When you catch a mouse, spray it and the trap with Lysol, place it in a plastic bag and dispose of it.
If you are using an exterminator and he has placed poison or glue boards in your home, ask him to pick them up and use snap traps instead.
Spiders, springtails and most other insects can be controlled simply by spraying them with a mixture of alcohol (40 percent), water (40 percent) and dish soap (20 percent). Those measurements don't have to be exact. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and you can kill any bug you see. You will have to spray the bugs directly as it doesn't have any residual capability, but it is very effective.
Of course, most insects and other arthropods are harmless and need no control. Inspecting the outside of your home to determine how the bugs are getting in is helpful. Sometimes installing door sweeps on your outside doors will be sufficient.
However, treating the outside of your home with pesticides is also effective as long as the company doing the treating is competent. This may be particularly important if you live in an area with a high population of scorpions or centipedes.
Q: You said you can control weeds with vinegar. Why doesn't everyone use it instead of herbicides like Roundup? — G.S., Tijeras
A: Vinegar has been registered by Sweden as a herbicide. The acetic acid in vinegar kills plants by dissolving cell membranes, which causes desiccation of the plant's tissues. The stronger the acetic acid the better and quicker the control. There are commercial herbicides that have vinegar as the active ingredient.
In fact, some cities use vinegar on city property as opposed to herbicides to better protect their citizens. Santa Fe uses vinegar herbicides to control weeds.
Q: You mentioned using fish oil emulsion to control gophers. I can't find fish oil emulsion. Where can we get it? — R.J., Albuquerque
A: You have to use fish oil emulsion that still has the odor. Deodorized material won't work. One supplier in Albuquerque is Osuna Nursery on Osuna near Edith in the North Valley. They told me they have both deodorized and the smelly stuff, which is the one you need.
Other nurseries may carry it as well, but I do not know which ones.
Richard "Bugman" Fagerlund, an entomologist, does home inspections, consults about pest problems using nontoxic pest management, and runs a nonprofit (501c3) animal sanctuary, Rio Grande Animal Humane Association. He can be reached by phone at 385-2820 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.askthebugman.com.