Park Tower Pest Control 101
April 14, 2016
II. Park Tower Basics
A. Weekly Household Preventative Visits – 1 floor per week
B. Weekly Bed Bug K-9 Visits – 2 floors per week.
C. Exterior Spider Control.
D. What if a resident finds or suspects bugs?
III. Weekly Household Preventative Visits
A. Technician with exterminator visits units on our list for the week, with Security or Staff. Typically each Friday. Notice posted on calendars, and door dropped/emailed weekly.
B. If someone is home, they will inquire if the residents have seen any pests.
C. They will inspect high risk areas, such as under kitchen and bathroom sinks.
D. They bait key locations and leave a couple glue traps in cabinets.
E. If they find pests, management and resident will be alerted and treatment is planned.
IV. Weekly Bed Bug K-9 Visits
A. K9 team visits units on our list. Typically each Tuesday. Notice posted on calendars, and door dropped/emailed weekly.
B. Read your notice – it has instructions which can impact how effective K9 will be.
C. K9 sniffs key areas, beds, baseboards, couches and other furniture.
D. YELLOW “Alert Notice” left if anything is discovered.
E. If physical evidence is found, management contacts owner to plan treatment.
F. Owners and Residents who do not want K9 service can pay for human inspection.
V. Exterior Spider Control Performed On Roof, Windows and Perimeter.
VI. What Can Residents Do?
A. Watch for signs of pests.
B. Report any presence or suspicion of pests immediately.
C. Don’t Panic! Don’t Be Embarrassed! We are here to help.
VII. Questions and Answers
1. Physically seeing a roach
The most obvious sign you have a roach problem is actually seeing one. The best time to spot roaches is during the night since they are nocturnal insects. You’ll typically see them scatter after you enter a room and turn on a light. If you spot roaches during the daytime, it can mean the infestation has been going on for some time or that it has progressed to the point where drastic action must be taken immediately. If possible, roaches remain hidden during the day, but overcrowding and a lack of food sources can cause them to brave the daylight in order to survive. Of course, you will also find dead roaches in areas where they hide, since the infestation is just part of their natural life and death cycle. Dead roaches are not a sure sign the infestation is over, but more likely that it is ongoing.
2. Spotting roach feces
Roaches eat everything from plant matter to people food, dead skin cells, garbage and even feces, but their high metabolism turns this appetite into one of the most telltale signs of roaches: a considerable amount of roach droppings. Depending on what type of roach you are dealing with (e.g., German roach, brown-banded roach, etc.), as well as the size and level of infestation, the appearance of roach feces can vary to resemble anything from tiny specks of pepper to brown stains to coffee grounds to oval pellets. A large amount of feces in a fairly visible location can be a good indicator of a large roach infestation. Check behind the stove and refrigerator, as well as all sinks, pantries, cupboards and other food storage areas in your home. If you spot a substantial amount of feces, you know the area is a high-traffic zone for roaches, so cut off nearby possible food and water sources.
3. Finding “oothecae” (aka roach egg cases)
Infestations continue to grow because roaches are aggressive breeders. While this is bad news for your home, it’s good news as far as finding evidence of cockroaches goes. Roaches don’t lay singular eggs – they produce oothecae. Oothecae are oblong, brown casings that house many eggs. When roach eggs hatch, the oothecae are left behind, providing undeniable evidence roaches have taken a liking to your home and don’t plan to leave on their own. Sometimes you might find oothecae with unhatched eggs still inside, but most species of roaches ‟glue” the oothecae to sheltered places where humans and DIY pesticides have trouble reaching. While most species of common household roaches in the United States produce oothecae with only 10 to 20 eggs inside, the most common invader, the German roach, produces an ootheca with up to 50 eggs inside. This particularly protective mother carries the German roach ootheca around until the eggs are ready to hatch, making it even harder to spot or eliminate than with other species. Search for full or spent oothecae inside pantries, behind furniture, in between cracks in the wall, in books and in other tight, protected areas.
4. Smelling roaches
Finally, roaches can produce a pungent, musty odor that gets worse the longer the infestation goes on. This oily smell can come from large numbers of roaches, but just one German roach can produce this smell on its own. There are also odors arising from dead roaches as oleic acid is produced during decomposition. Roach odors linger in the air and can even affect the taste of food.
The only way to know for sure if you have bed bugs is to produce an actual sample of the bug itself (methods for doing this are discussed below). Do not automatically assume that any bite-like mark is a bed bug bite. Also it is important to realize that medical professionals cannot give a positive diagnosis simply by examining bite symptoms, they can only suggest some possible explanations for what may have caused the bites/symptoms to occur. If you are experiencing bites but have not seen any bugs, you should consider the circumstances in which the bites are occurring. For example, there is a very good chance that you have bed bugs if you waking up each morning with bite symptoms on your body that were not present when you went to sleep. A situation like this would be a good reason to investigate the possibility that bed bugs are present in the car, at work, etc. are much less likely to be caused by bed bugs. It is also important to realize that just because you have looked for bed bugs and could not find them, does not mean that they are not there. These insects lead a very cryptic and secretive lifestyle and will often go undetected. It is best to have a highly trained professional conduct the inspection for you. Occasionally you may see evidence of a bed bug infestation without actually seeing any bed bugs. Bed bugs leave fecal stains in the areas they inhabit. These stains are actually partially digested blood but remember that it will not be red unless you crush a bed bug that has just recently fed. As the blood is digested it turns black and therefore the bed bug droppings usually consist of several black spots in one area. The fecal spots will not flake off if rubbed and will smear if wiped with a wet rag. Remember the key to knowing if you have an active bed bug infestation is to produce a live sample of a bed bug and there are several ways that you can easily do this including:
1. Visual inspection of sleeping and resting areas such as beds and upholstered furniture.
Carefully examine the areas beneath fitted sheets, along the edges of mattress piping, if no bugs or evidence of bugs are found, remove the mattress and continue with inspection of the box spring paying close attention to the four corners under the plastic corner guards and the on the underside of the box spring where the dust cover is stapled into the frame. Keep in mind that bed bugs can easily be missed during a visual inspection so using one or more of the other methods below is recommended if no bugs are found during a visual inspection.
2. Installation of interception devices or active monitors.
Installing interception devices under the legs of beds and couches is one of the most effective and economical methods to detect low level bed bug infestations that are missed during a visual inspection. Interception devices can be placed directly under or immediately adjacent to the legs of sleeping and resting areas such as beds and sofas. Bed bugs will naturally move around in an infested environment and these devices will trap them as they travel to and from beds and furniture. It is best to leave interceptors in place for up to 2-4 weeks inspecting them once every few days to once per week for activity. University based research has demonstrated this method to be a highly effective method for the detection of bed bug activity.
Active monitors are traps that use attractants (usually CO2 and/or chemical lures) to detect the presence of bed bugs. These types of monitors can be effective but tend to be more costly than the interception devices. For more information on passive and active monitors see sections on Early Detection and/or Early Detection Tools and Methods (at bedbugcentral.com).
3. Installation of mattress and box spring encasements
Mattress and box spring encasements are more expensive but are an invaluable tool for anyone who is concerned about bed bugs. Encasements not only aid in the early detection of bed bugs but they also protect the bed and are an important part of bed bug management. Encasements aid in early detection by restricting them to the exterior of the encasement where they are easily detected through visual inspection. Use of encasements coupled with the use of interception devices is a very effective combination. For more information on encasements see sections on Mattress and Box Spring Encasements, Early Detection and/or Early Detection Tools and Methods (at bedbugcentral.com).
4. Contracting a pest management professional to conduct a thorough inspection.
While you can certainly conduct you own inspection, qualified pest management professional know exactly where to look and what to look for and thus are more likely to discover a low level infestation compared to an individual who lacks such training. Still, low level bed bug infestations can be difficult to detect and no matter how good the visual inspection performed is, bed bug infestations can remain undetected even though bugs may be present so it is wise to monitor for activity over a period of time to identify very low level infestations.
It is important to remember that no one detection tool or method is every 100% effective, so using a combination of methods is always recommended.
As a part of the Association’s efforts to prevent pest problems at Park Tower, all residents are entitled visits by our exterminating team once a year and our bed bug canine inspection team twice per year. Also, should you experience any problems with most household pests, our program includes exterminating.
SO, what are the details? What should residents know about our pest control efforts and procedures?
Most importantly, what should residents do if they find a bug?
Management will hold a Pest Control Awareness Meeting, Thursday April 14th in the Party Room to answer these questions. We will:
Join us on April 14th to discuss these issues and get answers to your questions about our pest control program.