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Lots of Mice in the Ceiling - Brockton, MA

29 Dec 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

A video quickly spread on social media depicting dead mice in the ceiling of a Brockton public housing site. The Brockton Housing Authority said that it responded immediately to the complaint, removed dead rodents from the ceiling of the first-floor community room on Christmas Eve, and then used a deodorant to get rid of the smell that permeated the building.

A video quickly spread on social media depicting dead mice in the ceiling of a Brockton public housing site.

"It absolutely stinks in here," said Jacob Tagger, the former mayoral candidate and Brockton Diversity Commission member, while he filmed the video. "It stinks in the hallway and everything. ... This is definitely a health concern."

The video shows the community room on the north side of Brockton, focusing on the discolored ceiling tiles, with narration about the odor of dead mice located above.

Tagger said there were about a dozen dead mice in the ceiling of the community room.

These people - I know them from doing volunteer dinners and things like that - they don't have anybody to speak up for them," Tagger told The Enterprise. "My message was, basically, that people need to make sure they address issues when they happen, and follow up to make sure they're taken care of."

The Brockton Housing Authority said that it responded immediately to the complaint on Christmas Eve, removed dead rodents from the ceiling of the first-floor community room, replaced stained ceiling tiles, and then used a deodorant to get rid of the smell that permeated the building.

"The system worked," said Thomas Thibeault, executive director of the Brockton Housing Authority, reached on Thursday. "When they called, the service call manager was on their way out."

Thibeault said that most apartment complexes deal with pest problems, and that this is the worst time of year for mice.

As the weather starts to get cold, the mice are looking for somewhere to nest.

In this case, Thibeault said, the community room was using a bait station in the ceiling, in order to poison the mice, while small traps are used in each of the apartments. Often, the poisoned mice will leave the building and die elsewhere, but sometimes they stick around and cause a stink.

"It's the most effective way to get rid of them," Thibeault said. "The negative part is the odor."

Thibeault said his only problem with Tagger's Facebook post was a comment made alleging that a part-time maintenance worker refused to do anything about the dead mice.

Thibeault said he received a message from Tagger on Facebook, personally letting him know about the problem, after he posted the video.

Thibeault said the BHA will follow up with a residents meeting to make sure all concerns are heard.

Tagger said he hopes that the managers at the housing authority can be proactive enough to address similar issues before resident complaints begin to mount up.

"You can have an exterminator go, but they need to follow up to make sure any dead animals are taken out," Tagger said. "It's very important. ... We're talking about peoples' lives here."

For more information on getting rid of mice from apartments this winter, contact EHS Pest Control.

Happy Holidays from EHS Pest Control

21 Dec 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

It is once again "end-of-year" blog post reflection time.  If you are reading this blog post, you care enough about us and our business to invest a minute or two reading here.  That means a lot to us.  The primary reason for this blog is to educate and inform our readers; as an ongoing act of giving thanks for the privilege of earning your continued trust and continued professional partnerships. So we're glad you're here.

We reflect today on the blessings that so many of you bring to both our personal and professional lives. Over the course of 2016, we hope that we have made a difference in many personal and professional lives. This is the true essence and a key measure of professional reward and business success.

It is our sincere wish that all of you bask in the joy of reflection and within the warm confines of family and friends throughout 2017. Cheers!

Happy New Year!

-from all of us here at EHS Pest Control.

Dry ice given the cold shoulder for rodent control

09 Dec 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Dry Ice for Rodent Control

BOSTON — John Stellberger knows how cunning rats can be.

That’s why the president of EHS Pest Services pushed an unconventional method of controlling them: dry ice.

Dry ice – solid carbon dioxide – melts and becomes gas. Workers place the ice into the exits of rat burrows, where it breaks down over a period of hours and gasses the rats, who eventually die underground.

“There’s no doubt, it’s the best tool I’ve ever had for dealing with rodents,” said Stellberger, who used dry ice for four years for his private clients.

Stellberger and his team trained the city of Boston’s pest hunters on the process of using dry ice to combat a growing rat problem.

“It is incredibly effective with minimal harm to the environment. Zero harm, actually,” Leo Boucher, assistant commissioner of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department, told Beaudet.

But half a year after it was introduced to Boston, dry ice for rodent control has been banned in the city. In late October, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources issued a cease and desist order to the city of Boston. Under the order, which was initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, city officials must register dry ice as a pesticide before they use it to kill rodents.

EHS Pest Services, MA, RI - John Stellberger

Launching the movement

Boston became the first major U.S. city to use dry ice for rodent control, and advised New York and Chicago, which soon followed suit.

“It’s a no-brainer. I would encourage it certainly,” said Stellberger, whose team held a public demonstration of the technique in late April.

It is illegal to use dry ice as a rodenticide, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, known as FIFRA, according to the EPA.

“If manufacturers represent the product as being effective at controlling rodents, or if they have knowledge that the product they are selling is going to be used as a rodenticide, then they are subject to FIFRA and would be in violation of selling and distributing an unregistered pesticide,” the EPA said in a statement.

“(C)ities, school districts or other persons responsible for such applications could be penalized under FIFRA,” the EPA said.

It's disappointing news for ISD Commissioner William “Buddy” Christopher at a time when he needs all the help he can get.

“We were a little taken aback when we got the notice from the EPA saying that because of a procedural requirement that it's not listed on one of their recognized poisons, we had to stop using it,” Christopher said.

5 Investigates and Northeastern University School of Journalism analyzed thousands of rodent complaints made to the city and discovered that 2016 is the most complained-about year on record. People made 3,524 complaints so far this year, 776 more than two years ago, a 28 percent increase.

The city attributes some of the increase in rodent complaints on the ability to easily report rodent sightings with the 311 app which could result in multiple complaints about the same incident.

Rat populations are up worldwide, according to Stellberger, who is bothered about the EPA ban.

“All the strides we've made forward for this green approach has taken a step back and it hurts,” he said.

Stellberger is also disturbed because he believes the objections to dry ice have more to do with pest control competitors who don't use the technique.

“Why do you think they're complaining?” Beaudet asked him.

“I guess we really have to ask them, but probably because we were taking business from them,” Stellberger replied.

Emails obtained by 5 Investigates show one pest control company wrote to state regulators in July that “it is irresponsible to use this approach without a ruling from the EPA."

The pest control company that contacted the state about dry ice tells us it did so because dry ice was being used illegally, without EPA approval, not because of concerns about losing business. The state tells us it had already been looking into the issue before getting any complaints.

Back on the front lines in Boston, the city is sticking to traditional methods for now, including baiting and trapping rodents. But the city is working to get the proper approvals from the EPA.

“We'll continue our efforts, using poison and the acceptable industry standards as we go forward. I would prefer to be using dry ice,” Christopher said.

This investigation was reported on for a seminar in investigative reporting taught by 5 Investigates’ Mike Beaudet who is also a journalism professor at Northeastern University. The following students participated in the project: Olivia Arnold, Alison Berstein, Audrey Cooney, Matthew MacCormack, Scott Shurtleff, Maxim Tamarov, and Zachary Tweed.

Source: www.wcvb.com

Mice May Be Key to Kids' Asthma Attacks at School

07 Dec 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Study suggests, but can't prove, that rodent allergens could play a role

FRIDAY, Dec. 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Research investigating schoolchildren's asthma attacks has pointed to a tiny foe: mice.

Allergens from the rodents can infiltrate the air, the study found, and may be a major cause of asthma attacks in the school environment.

It's known that many different allergy triggers -- from dust mites to mold to pet dander -- can fuel children's asthma symptoms. But most research has focused on the triggers in kids' homes.

"In this study, we've identified the school as an important factor, too," said researcher Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul, an allergy specialist at Boston Children's Hospital.

That said, she stressed, the findings do not actually prove that schools' rodent problems were the cause of kids' symptoms.

The next step, Phipatanakul said, is a study where schools will get air purifiers and "integrated pest management," to see if that improves students' respiratory health.

Integrated pest management focuses on long-term tactics -- such as sealing up building cracks, and removing clutter, standing water and other conditions that attract pests.

In the United States, over 6 million children have asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including about 17 percent of black children.

The new study, published online recently in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, appears to be the first in the United States to look at school allergens and students' health.

"We've seen a lot of studies looking at the home environment," said Dr. Chantal Spencer, a pediatric pulmonologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

"But since kids spend so much time at school, it's important to study allergen exposures there, too," added Spencer, who was not involved in the study.

She agreed that the results do not prove that mice are the root cause of kids' more severe asthma symptoms.

"Asthma is a multi-factorial disease, and it's difficult to pinpoint one allergen exposure as the problem," Spencer said.

Plus, she noted, the findings are based on inner-city schools in the northeastern United States, and may not be true of schools nationwide. "Other indoor allergens might be important in other regions," Spencer said. Regardless, she added, the study highlights the potential role of school air quality in kids' asthma symptoms.

For the study, Phipatanakul's team focused on 284 students at 37 inner-city schools. Most were minorities, and all had asthma.

The researchers collected dust samples from the schools, to measure levels of different allergens. Over several years, the children had their lung function tested periodically, and parents were interviewed about asthma symptoms.

It turned out that mouse allergens were almost universal in the schools. But the amount seemed to matter when it came to students' lung health.

Children at schools with the highest levels tended to have asthma symptoms more often: On average, students in the top 20 percent for mouse-allergen exposure had symptoms on almost four days out of a two-week period -- versus three days among kids in the bottom 20 percent.

Some other allergens -- dust mites, and cat and dog dander -- were detected in many schools, but at low levels. And none was linked to the severity of students' asthma symptoms.

The researchers did account for kids' allergen exposures at home and some other factors. But, Phipatanakul said, it's still possible there are other explanations for the link between mouse allergens and students' symptoms.

The point, Phipatanakul stressed, is not to "alarm parents."

But, she said, if future studies prove that pest management, or other tactics, improve kids' lung health, "then we can help a lot of children all at once."

Spencer agreed. "Limiting allergen exposure is part of asthma management," she said. "Parents try to do a good job of that at home. If it could also be done at schools and day-care centers, that would be important."

To get rid of rodents and mice safely, contact EHS Pest Control.

Source: WebMD

America’s Rat Tree - Boston, MA

07 Dec 2016

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan examines what he describes as the "rattiest tree" he's ever seen. The beautiful old tree, located at the Boston Common, near the state house, was filled with Norway rat burrows.

To get rid of rodents and mice safely, contact EHS Pest Control.

America's Rat Tree Video


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