Monday, May 18, 2009

Great Article from USA Today

Your Health: Bug control goes beyond the spray can

When a bunch of pesky flies got into insect expert Art Antonelli's house, he did not reach for a can of insecticide. Instead, he got out a fly swatter — and his shoes, which he used to walk outside his home to look for the source of the sudden fly infestation.

He found it, under his house: "I had a dead rat and a dead possum," say Antonelli, an entomologist at Washington State University's extension center in Puyallup. He called a pest control company to remove the dead animals and then closed up openings that were allowing critters into the crawl space.

CHEMICALS: Skip commercial cleaners for those made from pantry products
His fly problem was solved and the use of a pesticide was averted — something that experts say still happens too infrequently, even among health-conscious, organic-food-buying, environmentally aware consumers. "When there are insects in their homes, there are some purists, but not many," Antonelli says.

"The biggest abusers of pesticides are consumers," says Dini Miller, an urban pest management specialist at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. "They see an insect in the bathroom, and most people will want to empty half a can of Raid until the last leg stops moving."

Carolyn Randall, a pesticide safety educator at Michigan State University in East Lansing, agrees: "People tend to panic when they see one ant or one earwig," she says. "They reach for chemicals too quickly or call a pest control company too quickly."

Pesticides for home use are carefully reviewed for safety by the Environmental Protection Agency and are not highly toxic to humans, Miller says. "But you never want to use more than you need."

Antonelli says: "If you follow the label absolutely, you can have peace of mind. ... But the label has no eyeballs. It can't see if you point the nozzle the wrong way and spray it in your face." And it can't observe, as Antonelli once did, a woman running through her house spraying multiple doses of insecticide at a single airborne fly.

Here's how to keep your own home (relatively) insect-free without dousing it with chemicals:

•Keep outdoor insects under control. This does not mean bombing your yard with pesticides or getting one of those bug zappers (they kill lots of beneficial insects, Antonelli says). Instead, limit outdoor breeding grounds, Miller advises. Insects love wood piles, tarps, kiddie pools (especially the moist underside) and mulch. If you must use mulch, keep the stuff at least six inches from your foundation, she says.

•Keep outside insects out. Repair screens, caulk cracks, replace inadequate weather stripping and outfit door bottoms with tight rubber sweeps. If you can, Miller says, avoid lighting up doorways at night: That attracts insects, which attract spiders, which are then happy to come inside.

•When an insect gets in, don't panic. Most are harmless: They don't bite or carry diseases, Miller says. And most are easy to kill. Miller endorses stomping, vacuuming and, for those kitchen counter ants, spraying with soap and water.

•Trace the enemy to its source. Those ants on your counter top may come from a nest in a rotted porch column; fix that and lose the ants.

•When you do use pesticides, choose carefully. Read labels to make sure the product is intended for indoor use and the pest in question. You may need to try more than one. For example, ants may ignore one bait but find another irresistible.

•Know that some problems require professional help. Those include bedbugs, termites and, in most cases, cockroaches (which are a major cause of allergy and asthma symptoms), Miller says. Contact your state's cooperative extension service for more information. (Find one at

Sometimes, it is best to leave bug problems up to the professionals. If a pest control problems becomes too much to handle, call the speedy, professional, green team at Craig Thomas Pest Control for all your pest control needs. Visit our website at or call 800.255.6777 for a free estimate and inspection.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Hudson Valley Green Fair Success

April 25-26, 2009 the Hudson Valley Green Fair was held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. This is the first year Craig Thomas Pest Control participated in the second annual event. The Fair was designed to help everyone learn how to “go green” and be environmentally friendly.

Craig Thomas Pest Control takes pride in offering environmentally sounds services and natural products to combat your pest control problems. CTPC may implement steam cleaning, exclusion, baiting, heppa filter vacuums and when necessary our organic line of products, called EcoSmart. For more information on these products: CTPC takes pride protecting your health, homes and property against pest.

Thank you for everyone who came to the Green Fair (I know it was hot) and stopped by our booth. Below is a picture of our booth at the fair and me (Sarah).