Do Cockroaches Deserve Their Bad-Boy Reputation?

Dead cockroach. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about Do Cockroaches Deserve Their Bad-Boy Reputation?.

You flip the light switch in your kitchen and watch hundreds of little brown bodies flash across the floor and table looking for hiding places. You are beyond concerned; you are disgusted and angry. Cockroaches rank high on the list of creatures we never want to see in our homes. Hundreds of horror stories exist describing their resilience, persistence, and overall putrescence. Do they deserve this reputation? Below is a list of 14 cockroach bad-boy facts.

  1. There are more than 4,000 types of cockroach, 30 of these will try to invade your home.
  2. Cockroaches can live without a head. Due to small breathing openings called spiracles all along their body, they do not need a head to breathe. The only reason they die is they can no longer drink.
  3. They can go without food for a month and a half, but only a week without water.
  4. Everything is on the menu. While most Cockroaches prefer sugar and anything that is fermenting, desperation can force them to eat soap, hair, leather, grease, paper, wallpaper glue, and even bookbinding.
  5. A crack the thickness of a dime won’t keep a cockroach out of your house. They can squeeze through tiny openings and are thigmotrophic, meaning they like the feeling of a tight fit.
  6. They can produce their own vitamins. Cockroaches have a symbiotic relationship with bacteriods living within their body; roaches don’t have to ever worry about the nutritional value of their food.
  7. Disease is their friend. E. coli, Salmonella, typhimurium, Entamoeba histolytica, and the poliomyelitis virus can all be carried and spread by cockroaches. It doesn’t end there; scientists have discovered that ground up roach nerves can kill germs.
  8. A cockroach can hold its breath for more than 45 minutes. As a coldblooded insect, they often restrict breathing in order to regulate body temperature.
  9. After being underwater for 30 minutes, a cockroach will still be alive.
  10. It takes 36 days for a hatchling to become an adult.
  11. One will soon be hundreds. A female roach can lay a sac (ootheca) that contains nearly 40 eggs. She can produce several ootheca in her life time, resulting in approximately 400 offspring.
  12. In a nuclear holocaust, cockroaches would outlast humans. A roach can resist a lethal dose of radiation 15 times higher than that of humans.
  13. Roaches can run. The fastest was clocked at 3 miles per hour. It might not sound very quick, but if the cockroach were the size of a human, it would be going nearly 200 miles per hour.
  14. Cockroaches can sense infinitesimal changes in air movement and can react within 8.2 milliseconds or 25 times faster than a human.

Despite this list of terrifying facts, a licensed pesticide applicator can make quick work of these cockroach bad-boys. At Interstate Pest Control, we will make sure you don’t learn about the secret life of cockroaches first hand. We know all of their behaviors and how to eliminate even the most serious cockroach problems. You will be smiling in satisfaction each time you turn on a light.

Does Green Pest Control Really Work?

Green recycling heart. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about if green pest control really works.

First off, green pest control has nothing to do with Bruce Banner or The Hulk.

Currently there are no regulations for the term “Green Pest Control”. Indeed, any pest control company could advertise for “Green Pest Control.” Consumers should beware that the term green pest control is still too vague to carry much weight. The terms environmentally friendly and organic are regulated terms within the pest control industry.

Green does work…

Green pest control works if implemented by a qualified professional company who are actually using a green control standard as Interstate Pest Control does.

These include:

Natural enemies of insect pests, also known as biological control agents, include predators, parasitoids, and pathogens.

Materials of natural origin may be either organic, such as plant oils, or inorganic, such as boric acid. Some plant oils used include Rosemary, Wintergreen, Eugenol (Clove Oil) and other oils. They act as insecticides at some concentrations and as nonselective herbicides at other, higher concentrations.

At Interstate Pest Control, we have been implementing green pest control since it started in the sixties. We follow the standards set by the (IPM) Integrated Pest Management program using the most natural and least toxic chemicals to keep those invasive pests under control.

By the use of these natural substances and treatment methods, the environment stays safer and so do you, your family, and your pets.

Like the Hulk, we at Interstate Pest Control are constantly changing—except for the better—trying to keep the environment free of dangerous pesticides. So, go ahead, be environmentally conscious and support green pest control. Think of the future for your family and the safety of your home. Go green!

Mosquitoes, Mankind’s #1 Killer

Up close image of a mosquito biting a person. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about mosquitoes, mankind's #1 killer.

The warmth of summer brings barbeques, landscaping, and a quick dash through the sprinklers. Sunlight demands that we leave the dark confines of our homes for the chance to soak up solar rays. But there is something else waiting for us outside other than fun. Little flying pests are out for blood, human blood, and they are coming to a backyard near you.

One Million Deaths Per Year

Mosquitoes cause more problems for humans than any other animal. The bite might be itchy and irritating, but that is not the problem. It’s what comes with it. Mosquitoes are vectors, meaning they are transporters for bacteria, parasites and viruses. Over one million people die each year from diseases related to mosquitoes. Add the number up over centuries and it easy to see how mosquitoes have caused more deaths than any war or conflict that has ever occurred. West Nile, Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis, and Rift Valley Fever are just a few of the potential maladies carried in mosquito saliva. It is estimated that a child dies every 40 seconds from Malaria alone. People aren’t the only animals at risk; horses, dogs, cats, and even birds are all targets. For dogs, mosquitoes carry something terrifying. Have you ever heard of heartworms? If the dog becomes infected, the little parasitic roundworms will seek out the heart and lungs as a living space.

What can be done?

First off, we are at war. It is a battle against the little winged vermin and the prize is a safe and enjoyable summer. In order to win, understanding the enemy is crucial. Mosquitoes don’t start out in the flying adult form. Their eggs and larvae thrive in still water. The first defense against mosquitoes is to eliminate these areas. You should dump the water out of buckets, toys, planter boxes, anything where water can accumulate. It is not always easy to find all the potential problem sites. A trained pest eradication specialist from Interstate Pest Control can assist with inspections and education. Mosquito larva breathe through spiracles located at the back of their wiggling bodies. There are substances that a trained specialist can use that will prevent the larva from breathing. In addition, there are chemicals specifically formulated to target the larva in other ways.

Feel Safe in Your Yard

Even if you are vigilant at removing the larval growth areas, your neighbors might not. Even if your neighbors all joined in the battle, an adult mosquito can fly for miles looking for a blood meal. Before you walk away from your grill in defeat, Interstate Pest Control can also target the adults. A technician will work with you and help determine your goals. They will customize a mosquito control system that will fit you and your lifestyle.

Don’t let mosquitoes hold your summer fun hostage and keep your furry best friends safe as well. Win the war against mosquitoes with Interstate Pest Control on your side; starting in your own backyard.

Six Freaky Facts about Box Elder Bugs

Up close image of a box elder bug. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about six freaky facts about box elder bugs.

Though they don’t damage structures or contaminate our food, Box Elder Bugs can be a nuisance. They are indigenous to every state in the Union and come in large numbers. Below is a list everything you might never have wanted to know about Box Elder Bugs.

  • Trees are on their menu. Your favorite foods are safe, but certain trees in your yard will suffer damage. Box Elder Bugs love box elder trees; with piercing mouthparts, they suck the juices from developing seeds. Other trees are also at risk, including Ash and Maple. In the fall, the pest will feast on the fruit of apple, cherry, plum, and peach trees.
  • Watch out, their guts will leave a mark. Put down the fly swatter and control the squishing impulse. When smashed, the insides of the Box Elder Bug will stain fabrics and surfaces. An effective method of household elimination is to grab a broom, sweep them up, and toss them outside. If you have a more devious streak, a vacuum will be certain to satisfy. That doesn’t mean you will stop finding them, but the immediate concern will be alleviated.
  • These bugs don’t wear deodorant. Adult Box Elder Bugs lack predators. This is because they emit a foul odor when threatened, which also results in a terrible taste. Spiders will only occasionally eat one and birds tend to avoid them all together.
  • Watch out for the swarm. When nights begin to cool in the fall, Box Elder Bugs accumulate in the thousands. Their favorite place to hangout is on the southern face of buildings and homes. In some cases, they can become so thick that the wall will look like a writhing mass of red and black.
  • Box Elder Bugs like it hot. When the temperature plummets, you might have hundreds of uninvited guests living indoors with you. Cold weather triggers survival mode. The pests seek out stumps and debris piles in which to overwinter, but your house is also a delicious target. If there’s even the smallest way in, they will find it. The indoor warmth causes them to go out of survival mode and they begin wandering your home searching for food.
  • They’re tough. Box Elder Bugs are resistant to a wide variety of pesticides. Many of the over-the-counter sprays available at your local hardware store will not kill them. You’ll just be giving them an expensive shower.

Don’t let Box Elder Bugs freak you out. They might be all over your, trees, yard and house they might be tough, sneaky, and stinky, but Interstate Pest Control can help. A certified exterminator from Interstate will know the best methods to keep the pests out of your home and away from your yard. Interstate Pest Control has trained technicians that will use the best chemicals to effectively keep these six-legged invaders from being a nuisance.

DIY Pest Control Myths

Woman opening door with cleaning supplies in hand. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about DIY Pest Control Myths.

Have You Fallen for these Do-It-Yourself Pest Control Myths?

If any pest control tip from your neighbor starts with “I’ve heard…”, then you can probably assume it’s a myth. Faulty do-it-yourself methods have been circulating for nearly as long as pests themselves. For example, ancient Egyptians believed that fat from an oriole worked against flies and fish eggs against fleas (Ebers Papyrus). While our techniques have evolved considerably since that time, pest control myths still exist today. See if you’ve heard any of these myths below—or even said them yourself.

Modern Day Myths

  • “The best mouse bait is cheese.”
    • While a mouse might come out of hiding to nibble that piece of cheese you’ve left out, it isn’t nearly as effective as some other foods. According to Mouse Trap Bait, (http://www.mousetrapbait.org/) mice are attracted to sweet and fatty foods that have a strong aroma. You could use candy, pet foods, butter, marshmallows, and many other items. Whatever you choose, make sure you are able to stick or tie the bait to the trap; if you don’t, the mouse will run off with a free treat and you’ll still have a pest problem.
  • “Fido and Whiskers will keep any pests away.”
    • While your dog or cat can scare off the occasional rodent, a full-blown infestation is much more than a pet can handle. A pair of brown rats, if uninhibited, could produce up to 2,000 offspring in a year (http://discovermagazine.com/2006/dec/20-things-rats). You see how a few unwanted guests can turn into a small army. Give your pet a break and call Interstate Pest Control.
  • “My house is spotless. There couldn’t be any pests here.”
    • We are all for cleanliness, but the state of your house actually has little to do with pest problems. Bed bugs, for example, enter your home by hitching a ride on luggage, clothing, or pets. From there, they don’t care if your house is dirty or clean—they only want to settle in your couch or bed. Another false assumption is the idea that pest problems are always visible. In fact, an infestation isn’t usually visible until it has become a huge problem. Termites and carpenter ants are notorious for wreaking havoc on a home’s interior without ever making their presence known. Waiting to see these little intruders in the open could turn out to be a big mistake.

Real-Life Results

You can search far and wide for the next do-it-yourself trick for pest problems, but nothing beats your local Interstate Pest Control expert. Whether there are bed bugs keeping you up at night or ants aggravating you in the day, our experienced technicians can handle anything. So don’t waste your time with myths when real results are just a phone call away.

The Beatles

The Beatles music group. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about The Beatles.

In My Life – A Musical Tribute to The Beatles

If, in 1964 you somehow missed the Beatles invading the US or if you weren’t born yet, let me tell you what a magical time it was. For a brief six years, everything seemed possible. Their music empowered an entire generation to rise up against war and tired social norms. The potential of music to change everything gave rise to a new way of seeing the world. The Beatles’ backbeat continues to influence philosophy and the performing arts to this day. It seems impossible to believe that it was 50 years ago. It feels like yesterday.

If you would like to relive the frenzy and excitement of the Beatles or experience those psychedelic years for the very first time, then Abbey Road’s musical In My Life is for you.

Abbey Road, hailed by critics as the premier Beatles tribute band, stars in this musical retelling of the life of the iconic band beginning with their 1964 Ed Sullivan performance. Narrated by Brian Epstein, their manager, it is a note-for-note live concert and re-creation of famous interviews and dialogue featuring the wit, charm, and antics of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Relive the 60’s in one magical evening and leave believing, “All you need is love.”

Time: June 6, 7:30 pm

Place: The Newmark Theatre
1111 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon

Visit http://abbeyroadtributeband.com/ to learn more

Bed Bug Apocalypse

People's feet hanging off a bed. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about bed bug apocalypse.

When you think “apocalypse”, zombies undoubtedly come to mind; mindless, groaning drones of death and rot, their brain-hungry corpses staggering creepishly toward their next victim. And then there’s the zombie bite…that bite that will turn you and your loved ones into hollow-skulled cannibals to forever wander the earth chanting, “brains, brains…” until every last human has been bitten.

The Bite

Zombie bites turn humans into zombies, but thank goodness for you, a bed bug bite won’t turn you into a bed bug. (That would be awkward in the morning. “Good morning honey . . . aahh!!”) However, their bites are no less terrifying. Dozens of little creatures feasting on your blood at night certainly conjures up an apocalyptic feeling.

If you have a bed bug problem, there are signs. When you wake up, look for bites resembling red welts. Most often, they’re found on your neck, arms, and face. Be careful, there are numerous insects that leave the same type of mark. A second key to identification is by looking for reddish brown spots within you sheets. It’s distasteful and disturbing, yet bed bugs defecate while they feast. That explains the stains. As the infestation grows, the number of bites and spots will increase.

The Light

One controversial topic is whether or not zombies are afraid of the light. Some “How to Survive an Apocalypse” guidebooks suggest bringing a flashlight just in case. You never know until you meet a zombie just how they could react, so that flashlight could save your life.

Unlike zombies, we DO know bed bugs ARE afraid of the light; photophobic is the proper word. They wait until its dark before attempting to feed. Not only do they love the dark, the C02 you exhale while sleeping wakes them up and tells them it’s time for breakfast. Don’t worry, their bite is painless since they give you a numbing agent to make sure their dining experience isn’t ruined by you waking up and giving them a swat. In severe infestations, you are served up luau style for hundreds of bed bugs at a time.

The Multiplying

In a true, full-scale apocalypse, zombies bite humans who become zombies and then they bite other humans who become zombies until millions of zombies are biting to create other zombies until the whole world is filled with zombies. Terrifying, yes?

In the world of bed bugs, this is a real life nightmare. When you have an infestation of 200 bed bugs that are each laying one or more eggs per day suddenly in one day you have 400 bedbugs. Give it a week and those 200 have multiplied to 1400 bedbugs and if your infestation waits one whole month, you could have 6,000 or more blood-thirsty cretins waiting to make a meal out of you while you have a nightmare about zombies.

The Life

Like zombies, going without food isn’t a problem for bed bugs. A zombie is virtually immortal and can wander this planet for centuries searching for brains. Bed bugs are like the zombies of the insect world, they aren’t immortal but they can survive for several months without a meal. In cooler climates, when food is scarce, their bodies enter a state of hibernation and they can remain in stasis for an entire year. The moment they sense carbon dioxide, bed bugs awake and are ready to feast.

In zombie movies, anyone not properly armed gets munched. When you buy chemicals at the garden center bed bugs, like zombies, just keep coming. Bed bugs have adapted to most pesticides. You need serious bed bug weapons for this fight. Entomologists recommend calling certified professionals to deal with infestations.

Interstate Pest Control is the Solution

The certified pest control specialists at Interstate Pest are the zombie killers in the bed bug world. If you have an infestation, it isn’t too late. Interstate Pest Control has certified bed bug specialists. We even went to a special school to become bed bug experts. Our experience allows us to use the most advanced methods and effective chemicals. Our process is safe; the only living things that need to worry are the pesky bed bugs invading your sleep. We’ll end any bed bug apocalypse, because that’s what we do. Give us a call and we will put an end to this horror film so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Top 5 Bug Festivals in America

Mallorica. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about the top 5 bug festivals in America.

While most people get squeamish and run away screaming when they see a bug nearby, there are others who absolutely live, breathe, and eat (yes, EAT!) bugs. Because there are so many self-proclaimed entomologists out there, festivals surrounding and glorifying the very existence of insects infest towns all over the United States every year.

The Woolly Worm Festival (Banner Elk, NC)

Celebrating the ever so cuddly Woolly Bear caterpillar, this larvae of the Isabella Tiger Moth has quite the reputation. In some parts of the world, they believe the severity of the winter can be predicted by the intensity of the black on the wooly bear caterpillar. Whether or not she can foretell the future, this caterpillar is a real celebrity at this festival. The most noteworthy event is the woolly worm race. An excited crowd gathers, all cheering fluffy caterpillars to wiggle faster up a string toward the finish line above—nothing could be more stimulating!

Hahira Honey Bee Festival (Hahira, GA)

This bee loving festival boasts a tremendous 35,000 in attendance every year with a spectacular list of events to entice both old and young. From dog shows, to 5K races, to arts and crafts in the park, this festival draws attention for miles. Gospel singing and a parade all focused on the beloved honey bee, are the crowning jewels of this event.

Mariposa Butterfly Festival (Mariposa, CA)

What festival conjures up an image of thousands of tranquil, beautiful flutterbys flitting to heaven in the sunset? The Mariposa Butterfly Festival of course! WIth a butterfly release, a butterfly parade, and a butterfly hat competition—you will definitely enjoy your fill of this kaleidoscope of color. But that’s not all! There’s a quilt show, sidewalk chalk art, a free breakfast, costume contests, entertainment and much more! Why wouldn’t you check this one out?

Firefly Festival (Tionesta, PA)

Aww…those little flies of glowing wonderment. What could be better than devoting a whole festival to that fantastical childhood favorite insect? With firefly exhibits, arts and crafts, music, vendors of all types, fun for the kids AND an all natural “light” show at night, this festival is nothing but fun!

Grasshopper Festival (Augusta, KS)

Celebrating the early pioneers of Kansas who persevered through the 1874 grasshopper invasion where grasshoppers ate tree, shrub, and crop and then proceeded to eat even the clothes on the line. This family friendly, down home party includes a barbeque contest, barbeque dinner, live music, children’s events, an art fair, and a movie night. What better way to honor those courageous pioneers than by glamorizing their grasshopper villains, right?

The varieties of bugs are about as diverse as their corresponding festivals, so pick your favorite bug and search to find a festival to match because there will most likely be one to tickle any insect fantasy you might have.

5 Endangered Bugs You Shouldn’t Stomp On

Tiger beetle. Interstate Pest Management serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about 5 Endangered Bugs You Shouldn’t Stomp On.

At the end of the recent sci-fi movie, Ender’s Game, Ender Wiggin mourns his role of decimating an entire insect species. His remorse is genuine, as he fears he won’t be able to live with his speciocide. The movie, however, is more relevant than you might think.

Why not smash?

Flattening pesky insects might not seem like a big deal, but you could be eradicating an entire species with the stomp of a foot. Clearly, entomophobics everywhere might find this as a blessing. But take a lesson from Ender, the reason that you should catch that bug and examine it before you put it back on the floor and squash it, is that the loss of a specific bug population could be dangerous to an ecosystem. For instance, exterminating a major pollinator in your yard could have negative side effects on a nearby farmer’s vegetable crop. Also, some bugs eat other bugs, keeping infestations at bay.

Hundreds of insect species are in danger of extinction. Here are five examples of some creepy crawlies that you should let alone rather than smash.

1) Blackburn’s Sphinx Moth

There are a few nightmarish horror movies that have used moths to scare the tears right out of you. Why? Because moths are freakin’ NASTY, that’s why! Blackburn’s Sphinx Moth is no exception. Typically found in Hawaii and featuring a 5-inch wingspan, it flits around like a small, (disgusting) dusty bird. But moths have feelings too. This particular moth is on the endangered species list since its food supply is disappearing. Also, non-indigenous ants and parasitic wasps have been gobbling up the caterpillar stage. Up until 1984, they were thought to be extinct. Luckily, a small populations of survivors were rediscovered in a lowland on east Maui. Conservationists are now nursing this bug back from the brink.

2) American Burying Beetle

This beetle lives up to his name and spends its days burying. Burying what? Well, things we don’t want to see anyway—DEAD things. They drag carcasses of small birds and rodents underground to feed to their young. They are nature’s garbage man. Once found in great numbers in all 50 states, it is now rare, endangered, and only found in six states. So watch your step in those states, besides, there’s nothing more icky than the sticky crunch of a beetle being smashed. Save the trash collector beetle!

3) Spruce-fir Moss Spider

Arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias. Devilish, eight-legged fiends from the underworld, coming to bite you in your sleep, are how many people see spiders. The Spruce-fir Moss Spider is not exempt from this nightmare; it looks like a mini tarantula and IS as freaky as they come. Unfortunately, this spider is disappearing with the Fraser Fir trees that create the right mossy environment for this endangered spider. (Listed as endangered since 1995)

4) Tiger Beetle

These delicate looking, long legged beetles are known for their speed and aggressive predatory habits. They can run at a speed of 5.4 MPH, which relative to it’s body size, is the equivalent to a human running 480 MPH. Pretty amazing! They spend their days in sand dunes and lake beds and as far as beetles go, are rather entertaining to watch. All US varieties of this speedster have been on the endangered list since the 1990’s.

5) Great Raft Spider

This spider looks about like it sounds—like a bloated, raft shaped tarantula, skimming the water on puffy, water-walking legs. Native to Europe, you may never encounter one since they are now extremely rare and, you guessed it, in danger of becoming extinct. However, you can agree, the thought of a relaxing fishing afternoon being interrupted by waterskiing, look-a-like tarantulas would be enough temptation for anyone to grab stick and knock it lifeless. Though like all these incredible bugs before, resist this urge. Spiders are vital at keeping fly populations in check.

Before stomping on and decimating an bug in your area, check to make sure it isn’t an endangered species that will be totally wiped off this planet forever. No one wants that on their conscience, even if it is a bug.