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“ Prompt, reliable service and very thorough too. They clean up the spider webs and service my home like it is their home. We've seen steady improvement in our spider problem. ”
—B.T., Sausalito

Quick tips

During spring and summer, honey bees can swarm while looking for a new place to live. This is a transitory behavior. Don't go near a swarm—be patient and usually within 24 to 48 hours, they will move on.


Why do I have ants?
When ants (commonly known as Argentine Ants) invade, they are looking for a warm dry spot, and for food. The ant diet includes fruits, seeds, nuts, fatty substances, dead or live insects and dead animals.

My ant problem seems to get worse in the summer. Is that normal?
During the summer months, they will invade in search of water. Ants usually nest in the soil next to buildings, along sidewalks or close to plants that harbor honeydew producing insects. A nest may have thousands of ants, and there may be 30 or 40 nests on every piece of property. Ants may even nest under a pile of leaves, bark, or black plastic.

What is the best way to keep ants out of my house?
Don't leave out any sweets, such as candy, sodas, or jam. Keep pantries and other areas where they may find food or sweet items (such as toothpaste) clean. Clean all food spills completely. Remember that it doesn't take more than a grain of sugar on the counter to send the scout ants in. Therefore, it is extremely important that all counters be cleaned regularly. Jams, jellies, honeys, etc., should be stored in the refrigerator, and sugar, sweet cereals, etc., should be tightly stored. For those who recycle, please rinse out cans and bottles before putting them into the recycle bins.

I'll be out of town for an extended period. I don't want to come home to find ants. What can I do?
If you are going out of town, leave nothing opened (even breakfast cereal). Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed back so they are not in contact with the side of the structure. Remove debris, and try to make certain tree branches do not touch the roof or structure. Ants will climb trees and enter a house through the attic. Over-watering your yard and garden can force the ants inside. Please be sure to set your sprinklers only for the amount of time necessary to keep your already beautiful gardens healthy.

Every winter, the rain causes ants to come inside. Why does that happen and what should I do when I first see them come in?
If we have unusually heavy rains, you may see some scout ants (a dozen or more) inside seeking someplace dry. Scout ants can be contained by using soap and water, or a window cleaner with ammonia in it. Start cleaning the invaded area first, and work your way back to their entry point.

I think I may have bed bugs. What are the first questions to ask?

  • Have you introduced anything new (from thrift store, flea market, etc) into the house?
  • Have you recently purchased a new bed? If so, where was the new bed when plastic was removed?
  • Any recent travels?
  • Any chickens or birds, domestic or otherwise (pigeons, swallows, etc), or bat problems?
  • Where are you being bitten?

What is the life cycle of a bed bug?
A female bed bug can lay 200-500 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch in 7-14 days. Once hatched, they can live almost 1 year. Youngsters molt 5-7 times, feeding between each molt. It takes 21 days from egg to adult. Eggs cannot stay dormant. They will either be dead or hatched within no more than 14 days.

Where do bed bugs live?
Bed bugs live in cracks and crevices (baseboards, seams on mattresses, etc). They prefer to hide in cloth, wood products and paper, as opposed to concrete or stucco.

What else should I know about bed bugs?
Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases. Bed bugs cannot fly. Not everyone reacts to bed bug bites (one partner may show symptoms while the other may not). Bed bugs are nocturnal. They can travel up to 100 feet to feed.

What treatment options are there for getting rid of bed bugs?
The only things that can kill bed bugs are pesticides, fumigation, drowning, and prolonged heat or cold.

What should I be doing if I suspect I may have a bed bug problem?
Proper identification should be made before making any decision about treatment. Therefore, a licensed pest control company should confirm identification to make sure you really do have bed bugs.

I am seeing ants that look bigger than ants I normally see. Could they be carpenter ants?
Yes. Carpenter ants are larger than regular Argentine ants. Some can have wings. You may see them swarming during the Spring months.

Why are they around my home? Are they attracted to sweets too?
Carpenter ants usually nest in wood and they prefer wood that is damaged by fungus. They are often found in conjunction with moisture problems. They are attracted to moisture, not sweets.

Do they eat the wood?
They excavate nests in damaged wood by burrowing. They do not eat the wood.

How do I get rid of carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants can be very difficult to control and require an integrated approach. It is important to locate the source of the ants. They will have a main nest and satellite nests. The next step is to eliminate moisture by removing overhanging tree limbs, stumps, firewood and any other decaying wood near the structure.

There are roaches in my kitchen and I don't know where they came from. I've never had a problem before. How did they get in?
Cockroaches gain entry into buildings in a variety of ways, but the most common are in grocery bags, cardboard boxes and infested equipment, such as used refrigerators, toasters or microwaves. Therefore, any potentially infested products should be inspected closely before you bring them into your home.

What is the best way to get rid of cockroaches?
The biggest key to roach control is sanitation, sanitation, sanitation! Eliminate the food, water and harborage they need for survival. Clean food residue around ovens, stoves, refrigerators, trash cans, and areas where food is stored. Reduce clutter in food areas and keep garbage and old food cleaned up. Eliminate their access by sealing cracks around plumbing pipes, baseboard moldings and behind sinks.

What is the best way to control fleas?
Effective flea control requires customer cooperation and involves 3 major steps: Sanitation (vacuuming, rodent exclusion, and wild animal control), insecticide application (that's our job) and on-animal flea control (talk with your vet).

I never had fleas before. Why am I having a problem now?
Along with our household pets, wild animals or rodents can also trigger a flea problem, outside or inside. If you're hearing noises, contact a pest control professional to help rid yourself of unwelcome wild animals.

I have a fly problem. Can you tell me about flies?
Flies reproduce very quickly and can hatch within a day. The average life cycle for an adult house fly is less than 7 days. Flies can travel hundreds of feet or yards, even miles in some cases, away from their breeding areas.

What is the best way to get rid of flies?
Sanitation is the most important step in fly control. Keep trash areas clean and tidy, and as far away from doors or windows as possible. Do not allow flies easy access to garbage. Use a liner in your trash can if possible and keep cans tightly lidded. Do not allow garbage to accumulate in the bottom of trash cans. Make sure recycling bins and trash cans are washed and cleaned regularly. Keep doors and windows closed or screened whenever possible. This is the number one way flies enter buildings. It is extremely important that there are no holes or rips in window screens, and that doors close properly.

I have questions about pesticides. Are they safe for my family and pets?
One of the most commonly asked questions is about toxicity and pesticide application. This is a very important question for you and your family, and one we'd like to take a moment to address.

First, it's important to understand that we are not legally allowed to say a product is "safe" or "non-toxic". No substance is 100% safe or non-toxic. At some level of exposure, everything, including water, could pose a risk to human health. It is HOW the product is used, and the level of exposure that determines whether or not it will cause harm.

Let's use the example of a typical ant control treatment. All products used are rated by the EPA as "slightly toxic", even in their concentrated form. We then dilute it in water according to the product label and apply that over the targeted square footage of your home. We ask that you remain off that surface, inside or out, until the product is dry. Once it is dry, the water has evaporated away and the active ingredient remains. In the case of carpet fibers, the active ingredient is now tightly bound to the fibers. At this point, contact with someone's skin on that carpet would only remove a minuscule amount of the active ingredient.

Here's an analogy of how this works. Compare the application of a pest control product to an aerosol can of paint. When you spray the paint, it is airborne and droplets could be inhaled. Once it is dried on the surface, it would take a solvent to remove it.

If a bait product is used, bait is not volatile and will not put any toxic vapors in the air. Similarly, if an active ingredient is applied to surfaces, it will have essentially no volatility. They do not release toxic vapors, so no one is going to inhale anything hazardous once the treatment dries.

In the case of fogging, once the unit is properly ventilated, no residual remains in the structure.

We encourage you to continue to ask questions. And always be aware of the health consequences that living with many pests can bring. Eliminating dangerous pests with discrete application or materials that are low in toxicity can actually bring a health benefit to you, your family and your pets.

I've schedule a service visit with your company. What should I do to prepare for your visit?
If we need to come inside, please make problem areas accessible to the technician by picking items up off the floor and removing items from subarea or attic access doors. Outside, pick up pet toys, food, and water bowls.

Should I clean up the ants before my scheduled service?
Whenever possible, we like to track the ants by following their trails to their access point. The day of our visit, we ask that you leave the ants so we can better determine where they are getting in. Also, using over the counter bug sprays can force ants deeper into wall voids, making it much more difficult to get the problem under control.

The technician was here yesterday, and I'm still having a problem. What should I do?
Be patient. You may still see pest activity after our visit. Just as it took time for the pests to invade your home, it may take time to get them to leave. In the meantime, good sanitation habits such as vacuuming, keeping food areas clean, keeping exterior doors and windows properly screened or closed and keeping trash areas tidy will go a long way toward speeding up the process.

Do rodents really breed quickly?
They are quick breeders, producing anywhere from 60-70 offspring per year (with each litter averaging 6 to 8 offspring); therefore their populations build up rapidly. Their life span is approximately 1 year.

Why do I hear rodents more at night?
Rodents are nocturnal. They have poor sight, but keen senses of smell, taste, hearing and touch.

How can I tell if its mice or rats?
Mice are good climbers and are very social in their behavior. They will readily explore anything new and are very inquisitive. They can enter buildings through ¼-inch gaps (roughly the size of a pencil). They prefer to nest in dark secluded areas, but will usually nest within 20 feet of their food source. They feed at dusk and just before dawn. Mouse droppings are smaller than rat droppings.

Rats, by contrast, are very shy and cautious about new objects. They will nest in trees, burrows and vegetation. They can easily enter buildings through ½-inch or larger gaps. Their foraging range is 100 to 150 feet from their nest. Rats can cause structural damage because they can chew through building materials.

What do rodents eat?
Rodents will eat seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables and cereals.

What can I do to help deter rodents?
Keep trash areas clean and tidy. Keep foods in airtight containers, especially seeds, grains, cereals, nuts, etc. Keep pet foods, bird seeds, etc., in sealed storage containers. If possible, keep stored goods at least twelve inches off the floor and eighteen inches away from the wall.

How can I tell if my problem is from rodents or bats?
Bat droppings are irregular in shape and somewhat pointy. Since bats can hang from sides of buildings and any covered entry or overhang, droppings can collect along walkways, steps, front porches, etc. If droppings are noted on the ground, look up at the siding and see if there is urine staining along the siding above where droppings are found.

Why do I have spiders?
They are looking for a place to live and are using your home as a grocery store. Most survive better in areas with high humidity. One exception is the black widow. They prefer dry, protected locations where their prey is likely to travel, such as wood piles, under decks, pump houses, basements, garages, etc.

What do spiders eat?
They feed on a wide variety of insects but especially flies.

What can be done to keep them away from my home?
Clutter, debris and scrap lumber piles should be removed. Outdoor lighting can be changed to yellow bulbs, since yellow is less likely to attract spiders. Inside, a vacuum cleaner can be used to remove spiders, webs and web sacs as long as the vacuum canister is immediately emptied or the bag is disposed of.

I've kept the webs down around my house and still have spiders. Why?
Spiders can and do blow in the breeze. Keeping webs down regularly will help, as well as trying to eliminate their food sources.

I have some kind of bee or wasp making a nest. How do I know what kind it is and what can be done about it?
The first thing to know is that any bee or wasp will sting or bite if threatened. Therefore, caution must always be used when observing any bee or wasp. Second, the only effective treatment is to treat the source, meaning the nest.

Yellow Jackets:
They can make a ground nest (in old gopher hole for example) or hanging nest which is usually round and paper-like, like a Chinese lantern. They can also infest attics and wall voids. Early season nests are small, baseball size. Toward the end of the season, they can be as large as a basketball and can contain as many as 30,000 individuals. They are a very aggressive species, and are carnivorous. You may see them hovering over bushes or lawns – this means they are feeding. They can travel up to 700 feet from their nest to feed.

Umbrella and Paper Wasps:
They have long dangling legs. These wasps usually make nests under eaves attached by thread, but can also infest attics or wall voids. Their nest is paper like, and you can see honeycomb cells from underneath. If viewed from above, it would look like an open umbrella. They are not a particularly aggressive species, although they are more active around noon and early afternoon. They hang around doors and windows and will fly into your house if either is left open.

Mud Dauber Wasps:
They are usually attached to walls, and the nest looks very mud like. They also have long dangley legs. They are not a very aggressive species.

Honey Bees:
Honey Bees are small and fuzzy with a yellow-brown to black appearance. They like voids in walls, trees, stumps, etc. Whenever possible, a beekeeper should be called in first to see if the bees can be extracted. If honey bees have nested in wall voids, there is a danger of honey in the walls. If there is honey in the walls, it can attract not only robber bees, but also ants. Therefore, the key is for the homeowner or beekeeper to remove any honeycomb/honey from the nest area.

Honey Bees can swarm. If they are looking for a new home, there may be hundreds or thousands hanging on a tree, wall, etc. This is a transitory behavior - they are resting and will locate to a new home soon. The key is avoidance!! Don't go near a swarm — be patient and usually within 24 to 48 hours, they will move on.

Carpenter Bees:
These bees are all black, somewhat shiny and are bigger than a honey bee (more the size of a bumble bee). They bore holes in wood. Holes will be about the size of a pencil. They like bare wood.

Bumble Bees:
They are larger than honey bees and are black and yellow. They nest in clumps of dry grass, rodent burrows and old buildings. They are important pollinators. The females can sting, and are more aggressive during foraging.

Bald Faced Hornet:
They are bigger by about a third than a yellow jacket. They are brown and black with a cream stripe on their tummy. They are a very aggressive species. The nest looks similar to a yellow jacket nest, but it may have a gray or red color to it.