Tucker, Kolbe Offer Treatment Tips for Bed Bugs, Rodents

Tucker, Kolbe Offer Treatment Tips for Bed Bugs, Rodents

Pest management professionals learn hands-on tips at BASF’s Smart Solutions Skill Development Seminars from Jeff Tucker.

March 26, 2010
Jodi Dorsch

BASF's Bill KolbeBaltimore, Md. — In February, more than 100 pest management professionals attended the BASF Smart Solutions Skill Development Seminar in Baltimore, Md., to hear from two highly regarded pest management speakers.

Jeff Tucker, BCE, teamed up with Bill Kolbe, BASF market development specialist/Northeast field technical representative, to talk about application techniques, bed bugs and rodents with specific treatment recommendations during the half-day session.

Tucker began the meeting with a discussion of application techniques. He said application techniques are the “how to” part of insecticide application and the various techniques are used to improve effectiveness and reduce environmental impact. “Don’t put (the product) where it does no good,” Tucker said.

Specific application techniques are useful in documenting “targeted” applications, Tucker added. “Put the chemical where the bug is,” he said. “You have to understand how to get in those voids and other locations where insects hide.”

Tucker also discussed inspections and customer communications. “Your job is problem prevention and solution,” he said. “Our problems just have 2, 4, 6 or 8 legs.

“You need to coach your customers,” he said. “’Educating’ lacks a specific meaning. “Communication” is what you have to go out there and do with them, he said. “Show ‘em, tell ‘em and demonstrate what you need done,” he said. “Writing it on a service ticket doesn’t get it done.”

Tucker then reviewed several types of application techniques:
Targeted application is the precise application to only 1) locations where the target pest is observed or 2) to suspected pest harborage sites.
Crack and crevice is the most restrictive form of pesticide application but it is “really the best application we do because eventually everything hides in the crack and crevice.”
Void treatments are for hollow areas and involve the application of a pesticide to an enclosed space where pests may hide or travel.
Directed contact application means to kill the pests on contact. These applications are for only non-residual products.
General surface application is application to broad surfaces such as walls, floors and ceilings. This also includes exterior perimeter applications, band treatments, flea and fly treatments.

Tucker noted that the phrase “spot application” causes a lot of confusion. Spot treatment is an application to small areas on which pests are likely to occur. These may be on floors, walls, bases or undersides of equipment. To limit potential exposure in a commercial food areas, a “spot” should not exceed two square feet. But remember, he said: two square feet is not the same as two feet square.

BED BUGS. Later in the morning Bill Kolbe reviewed bed bug control. “There are no silver bullets out there,” he said. He also noted that industry researcher Gary Curl in his 2008 survey said bed bugs are the most difficult pest to control. “PMPs should expect bed bug infestations to continue for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Kolbe asked attendees how they control ant and fly populations. “Which stage do you go after to crash the population?” he asked. The answer? The larval stage. “We have exciting data with Phantom PI on bed bugs. With bed bugs we can now crash not only adult and nymph populations, but also the  eggs,” he said. “Our research at Virginia Tech shows 100 percent control of both susceptible and pyrethroid-resistant bed bug eggs.  Our next test will validate the efficacy of Phantom PI on newly hatched bed bug nymphs. We are confident Phantom PI will work extremely well on all stages of bed bugs.”

Kolbe said that after bed bugs take a blood meal, they go into a harborage, i.e., a crack and crevice, metabolize the blood, and therefore it takes longer for bed bugs to contact the residual insecticides that may be applied.
Bed bugs don’t like air currents or drafts, Kolbe said. He suggested PMPs go into areas and perform a bed bug count with a compressed air sprayer. 

Again, communication is the most important element of bed bug control. “You have to make sure the customer understands their role in bed bug control,” he said.

Kolbe noted that bed bug harborage sites include:
• Tufts, seams, buttons and folds of mattresses
• Box springs, bed frames and covers
• Couches, chairs, lamps, telephones, radios
• Window and door moldings, curtains
• Cracks in hardwood flooring
• Under carpet along walls (tack strip)
• Wall voids (outlets and switch plates)
• Luggage, wheelchairs, boxes

Rats and Mice. Tucker then spoke about rodent control. He said the three most common rodents that PMPs in the United States deal with are the house mouse, the roof rat and the Norway rat (which is the most common rat).
There are several ways to tell the roof rat and Norway rat apart, including:
• In Norway rats, the tail is about the same length at the head and body. In roof rats, the tail is longer than the head and body.
• Norway rats are pudgy.
• Roof rats have longer ears and tails.
• If the droppings have pointy ends, you’re dealing with a roof rat.
• If the droppings are short and blunt (with no curve), you’re dealing with a Norway rat.

Mice are the rodents that reproduce most quickly, Tucker noted. Mice typically have 8 to 10 offspring per litter while rats have four to eight. And since mice breed year round (unlike rats who breed seasonally), there are more of them scurrying around.

“Mice are curious, rats are cautious,” Tucker said.

“(BASF has) entered the rodent control business” with a bait and a bait station, he told attendees. The bait, Sorexa, is new to the United States but it’s been in use in Europe for some time, he said. The product is a second-generation anticoagulant and has a much lower toxicity to dogs than other second-generation products, he said.
BASF is also introducing a new rodent bait station, which Tucker showed to attendees. The Roguard Rodent Management System (RMS) is being marketed as the industry’s easiest station to clean.

Roguard RMS was created to improve the way rodent control is performed, and to make the technician’s role of servicing stations easier, and more efficient, BASF said. Roguard is designed without walls, wells or troughs and made for one-hand operation — saving a PMP about 30 seconds per station, BASF reports.

The key to the new station, Tucker said, is how it opens. “That’s a big deal,” he said. The lid opens away from the structure it is placed against, eliminating the need to move the station during maintenance.

For additional information about BASF, visit www.pestcontrolfacts.org. Also, to receive a copy of BASF’s Bed Bug Smart Solutions guide, contact your BASF sales representative.