I hope your travels are safe, plates are full, and family is near. Or at the very least, I hope your football team wins and you don’t get too many emergency calls from your residents.
I listened to a talk about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) a few weeks ago. This tree pest is getting a lot of press in threatened states. Much of the interest has been generated by the EAB monitors that scientists hang in trees in vulnerable areas to monitor for new infestations. The monitors are big and purple. This summer there were about 65,000 monitors hanging in trees along the edge of known infestations and in areas that are vulnerable to new infestations like campgrounds and lumber yards. (FMI, see http://www.emeraldashborer.info)
One impact that the EAB program had to report was the dramatic increase in calls to their hotline after the monitors went out. People weren’t necessarily checking the monitors for EAB, they just wanted to know more.
In housing, we promote sticky traps and other types of monitors as conversation starters too. I’d argue that they are one of the most valuable tools in IPM. Every building with an IPM program must have monitors in units and common areas.
Well-placed and dated monitors:
- Catch pests when the populations are so low that a visual inspection might miss them.
- Tell the exact locations and levels of infestations.
- Help confirm a location is pest-free.
- Give evidence about pests so that we don’t have to rely on competing stories.
- Start conversations about IPM and specific pests—especially if the work order or hotline number is written on the monitor.
- Involve maintenance and residents in pest control—you don’t need an applicator’s license to place them and you don’t have to be an expert to see a trapped bug.
I’m often asked, “Should monitors be in all units, or just ones with pests?”
All units. At least in the most pest vulnerable areas of each home: the kitchen for cockroaches and the bedrooms and living room for bed bugs. Properly placed monitors are likely to detect an infestation when it is small. Addressing small infestations before they grow and spread is one of the main goals in pest management. Small infestations are easier (less time and cheaper) to eliminate than large infestations...even where you don’t have resident cooperation. Small infestations are less likely to spread to other units (which gets expensive). Small infestations are less of a health hazard. Monitors are an investment worth making.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, imagine the time and guess work that will be saved in your building-wide pest management program. With monitors that are checked routinely (at least quarterly as part of an inspection with a flashlight) you can know in a matter of minutes if pests are present in a home. If no pests are present, switch out the monitors for new ones that are dated and move on. No need to spend time applying pesticides if there are no pests. If there is a pest, allocate time and resources in that home. Do a thorough inspection and get rid of the pests using multiple control tactics. Don’t stop visiting (weekly or biweekly) until the monitors are pest-free!
Monitoring may be part of your pest control contract, but it’s a good idea to have some on-hand for maintenance staff and residents. One use is to confirm a home is pest-free after turnover before the new resident moves in. Talk to your PMP or local expert about monitors for cockroaches, flies, bed bugs, and rodents…there are many different types for our many different pests. Note: cockroach bait stations are not monitors. This is a common misunderstanding.
Below, I’ve included a newsletter article for residents. Fill in your work order number at the bottom. And if you are offering monitors for free, add that in!
And in case you are wondering what do get your IPM-loving friends for the Holidays—Pest Control Technology just published this excerpt from the recently updated pest control Bible, Mallis Handbook of Pest Control, 10th ed. The article goes over the inspection and more advanced monitoring equipment that the professionals use to find pests in our homes. Fun stuff! http://www.pctonline.com/pct1111-mallis-inspection-monitor.aspx
-------------------------Sample Newsletter Article-------------------------
Holiday Guests and Pests
Mice, roaches and bed bugs are hitchhikers. They get packed in bags and boxes. You want to catch these stowaways quickly to avoid an infestation in your home. If you don’t have pest monitors placed, get some before your holiday guests and unwanted pests arrive. Don't rely on ultrasonic pest repellers.
Before your guests arrive, put out monitors. These pest control tools are always a good idea—they’ll catch pests you didn’t know were around. Proper placement is key. Put the monitors where the pests might be.
- Under bed and sofa legs: use ClimbUp Insect Interceptors to catch bed bugs that try to get on or off furniture.
- Near corners in the kitchen and living room—where cockroaches like to hide: place sticky traps against the wall. Keep these out of reach of kids and pets.
- Along the wall in warm areas: set snap traps for mice.
Once your monitors are set, check them weekly for pests. Use a flashlight so you don’t miss anything. If you are visiting an elderly relative, check their bed. Bed bugs are hard to see and a lot of older people don’t react to their bites! If you’re worried about bed bugs, cover mattresses and box springs with snug fitting, fabric, bed-bug-proof encasements. These light colored covers make it easy to see the black spots the bed bugs leave behind. They also protect the mattress and may help with asthma.
Remember: We are committed to pest-free housing. If you catch a pest on a monitor, call ___INSERT WORK ORDER #__. Pest control is free.