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Rodent Control Issue - A Different Approach Pays Off - Boston, MA

30 Aug 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Boston's EHS Pest Services works primarily at commercial accounts, servicing a variety of diverse locations — from grocery stores and restaurants to pharmaceutical research facilities and the city of Boston. And many of the company's accounts include rodent work.

Jeff Fenner

EHS Pest Services in Boston, MA
© Sean Pavone | Thinkstock.com

When John Stellberger opened EHS Pest Services in December 1985 he wanted the company to be different. He wanted his approach to solving pest management problems to differ from the industry norms at the time and embrace the principles of Integrated Pest Management.

A lot has changed since then — including the Red Sox winning three World Series titles — but Stellberger and his team of more than 50 pest professionals remains just as dedicated to providing pest management services that leave a smaller environmental footprint.

The company focuses mostly on the commercial market and services a variety of diverse accounts from grocery stores and restaurants to pharmaceutical research facilities and the city of Boston.

"We like the challenge commercial accounts present and solving pest problems in a wide array of unique and sometimes complex environments," says Stellberger. "We enjoy working with clients that share our philosophy and vision for IPM, and are capable of buying into to what it takes to deliver this style of service."

EHS Leaves Rodents Out in the Cold

An April 2016 article in The Boston Globe titled "Boston's new method of killing rats will give you the chills," featured a review of how the city is using dry ice to kill rats.

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. As it undergoes sublimation (a solid turning into a gas without becoming a liquid), it turns into carbon dioxide gas (which is heavier than air and displaces oxygen). The carbon dioxide gas fills the burrow, suffocating any rats inside.

EHS Services provided the training for the city of Boston on this project.

"We have been successfully using this method for four years, including city properties, as an approved vendor. EHS does not use rodenticides at all in open air burrows. (There are) no downsides at all," said John D. Stellberger, A.C.E., president, EHS Pest Services.

Stellberger said this method features no rodenticides so there are no secondary effects to hawks and owls; there is no contamination to groundwater; it is 92 percent effective after the first application; and rodents are eliminated after two to three visits.

Stellberger says what makes the Norwood, Mass.-based firm stand out in the competitive Boston market is the company's genuine interest in helping clients solve pest problems and collaborate to find long-term solutions.

"We want to support our clients as well as educate them on how our systems work and what role they play in the success of the program," says Stellberger. "We also are dedicated to supporting our technicians and employees to empower them to find the right solutions for the customer."

With continued growth in the commercial sector expected, EHS is adding staff — including Technical Director and Board Certified Entomologist Justin Hedlund, who started in January — and is focused on hiring a new generation of technicians with deeper educational resumes that include an emphasis on biology.

"We view our technicians as observational biologists in the field who can deconstruct a building and apply exclusion and sanitation protocols to prevent pest incursions," says Stellberger, whose commitment to the environment includes deploying hybrid fuel service vehicles.

EHS sponsors 2016 Boston Rodent Summit

Earlier this year, famed rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan offered his New York Rodent Academy for the first time in Massachusetts as part of the 2016 Boston Rodent Summit. The summit, which was conceived and sposnored by EHS, included professionals from the cities of Boston and Cambridge, as well as manufacturer Xcluder Rodent Exclusion products. EHS paid for the event; the city of Boston donated use of the venue.

With an educational focus on keen observation, exclusion, prevention and pesticide-free alternative techniques (such as carbon dioxide and open air rodent control), the event was "a huge success," said EHS President John Stellberger. "Bobby exudes an infectious passionate mix of science, environmental stewardship and common sense like no other human being."

Securing buy-in from clients for a more labor intensive — and costlier — approach to pest management requires more education but the end result is worth it, he said.

"We have a number of progressive clients who embrace the IPM approach and we work closely with their staffs to educate them on what it will take to get the job done and secure their buy-in," says Stellberger. "It may sound old school but if you take care of your clients they will take care of you."

The author is a frequent editorial contributor to PCT.

Source: PCT Magazine (http://magazine.pctonline.com/article/august-2016/a-different-approach-pays-off.aspx)

Preparing Your Home for Mice this Winter – Norwood, Boston, MA

24 Aug 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Soon it will be the time of year when mice start looking for a place to spend the winter. And one of the places they may be looking at is your house.

Mice can enter a house in a variety of ways. So you want to seal up every opening they can find. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

The common house mouse weighs about an ounce, has a two-inch-long body and can slip through a hole just a little bit bigger than a pencil.

Every building has a pipe that goes through a wall somewhere. And most times, the space around the pipe is big enough for a mouse to get through.

Such spaces can be easily plugged with steel wool; use wire mesh on bigger holes.

You also want to look at all your doors and see how they seal, garage doors in particular provide convenient entry points for mice. Make sure there is good weather stripping around all doors, especially on the bottom.

When mice have already infiltrated a house or apartment, there are two basic options: trapping them or poisoning them; trapping is more labor-intensive.

One of the most effective traps is the familiar Victor snap trap made out of a piece of flat wood, a tightly wound spring and a triggering platform that holds the bait.

The problem is, a lot of people are afraid of these traps. They’re scared they’re going to whack their fingers.

For them there are a number of other traps available that are less intimidating and easier to set.

The keys to using traps effectively lie in the number used, their positioning and the bait.

If you’re not starting with a dozen traps, you’re not serious about catching mice.

The traps should be placed wherever there are mouse droppings — often, behind appliances — and along the perimeter where the wall meets the floor.

You want them perpendicular to the wall, with the baited end closest to the wall.

As for bait, cheese only works in cartoons. A dab of peanut butter works great, and if the mice are not interested in that, a good alternative is a cotton ball with a few drops of vanilla flavoring.

For those who would rather not have a dozen or more traps baited for the meandering mouse, another option is poison.

One drawback to poison is that if the mice die inside the house, you could have an odor problem.

Traditional mouse poisons are blood thinners. The mice eat the bait and bleed internally; the idea that a poison will make the mice so thirsty that they will go outside to find water is “an old wives’ tale.

Another problem with poison is that what’s bad for a mouse is probably going to be bad for a cat, dog or child. So it is important to follow the directions when using poisons.

Many people believe that if they place poisons behind an appliance or in the basement, they are safe. They may be out of sight, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from a dog or cat or an inquisitive child.

If a poison is going to be used indoors, it is best to place it in a special tamper-resistant container, which should then be secured to the surface so that it can’t be moved.

For help preventing mice this winter, contact EHS Pest Control in Norwood.


Keeping Bed Bugs Out of Classrooms – Norwood, Boston, MA

11 Aug 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Recently, states have seen an increased number of bed bug infestations plaguing residents. As bed bugs infest more and more homes, they may find their way into schools. When this happens, the school needs to take proactive action to prevent infestation and stop them from spreading in the school setting.

Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but they can cause significant itchiness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Bed bug infestations are also very difficult and expensive to control. Usually, bed bugs will hide during the day and only come out to feed during the night. Unlike head lice, they do not live on a person. However, they can hitchhike from one place to another in backpacks, clothing, luggage, books, and other items.

Could a classroom be infested? Commonly, a few bed bugs will hitchhike to school from an infested home by hiding in a student’s clothing or backpack. Bed bugs that hitch a ride into the school in one student’s backpack could be carried home by another student, making the school a potential hub for bed bug spread. This is not a minor concern – bed bugs are very expensive and difficult to eradicate. If a bed bug infestation is suspected or a number of students are getting bitten during class, the school should contact a licensed pest management professional for assistance.

How to eliminate bed bugs from a classroom? 

  • DO NOT allow untrained staff to apply pesticides on school property. By law, only IPM trained applicators can apply pesticides in schools, and in compliance with the school’s IPM plan.
  • Backpacks, lunchboxes, and other items that travel back and forth to school can also be inspected daily and sealed in plastic containers to prevent bed bugs from getting into them at home.
  • Hard surfaces can be cleaned with standard cleaning products.
  • If bed bugs have been found repeatedly in a particular classroom, have the room inspected by a pest management professional or other trained staff.

For more information contact EHS Pest Control.


Prevent Bed Bugs After Traveling – Norwood, MA

02 Aug 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

"Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" may have been a clever thing to say when tucking children in at night, but bed bugs are more than just child's play. Bed bugs have long been a threat to humans and other animals. Archaeologists have found that bed bugs in human dwellings date back roughly 3,550 years.

Even though bed bugs are commonly associated with areas void of cleanliness, just about any person can end up with a bed bug infestation. That's because bed bugs are very good at hitchhiking. They can nestle into small crevices, such as in the cracks of suitcases, clothing and linens.

Then those same bed bugs can take up residence in another home, dormitory or office.

The National Pest Management Association says bed bug encounters have become more common in public places in recent years. Travelers need to protect themselves by learning how bed bugs operate and how to prevent them from becoming a problem. The following are some fast facts about bed bugs.

  • Bed bugs are found living with humans worldwide.
  • Bed bugs feed on human blood to survive and reproduce, feeding roughly every three to seven days.
  • While an immature female bed bug or a male bed bug will not cause an infestation in a home, all it takes is one pregnant female to lay eggs anywhere she wanders. It takes eggs only six to 10 days to hatch, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
  • Bed bugs can survive cold temperatures and go months without feeding. Drying out kills bed bugs in isolated areas more so than not feeding.

With this knowledge in mind, people can prevent bed bugs from becoming a problem. The NPMA recommends the following bed bug prevention tips, particularly during and after staying in a public place.

  • Pull back sheets and inspect mattress seams for telltale bed bug stains. Inspect the entire room, including sofas and chairs and behind the headboard, before unpacking. Notify management of anything suspect and change rooms or establishments immediately.
  • If you need to change rooms, don't move to a room adjacent or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
  • Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during your stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there.
  • When home, inspect suitcases before bringing them into the house and vacuum them before storing.
  • Wash all clothes - even those you did not wear - in hot water if you suspect the presence of bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Inspect yourself for any bites. While a bed bug bite may not hurt, it can cause itching and irritation. Presence of bites is a clear indication that bed bugs are around and need to be treated.

Bed bugs can be problematic. With the increase in travel or the start of a new school year, bed bugs can start spreading to new areas. Be diligent in your efforts to prevent infestations.

For more information on getting rid of and preventing bed bugs, contact EHS Pest Control in Norwood.


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