A&D Professional Pest Elimination: Pest News
Friday, August 3, 2007
"It's not that the problem has gone away," she said. "Some of our neighbors on Ferncliff Avenue and Byron Street say they still see rats, but we do think it's getting better. I think the challenge right now is to get everyone to cover their garbage. We do notice a lot more neighbors who have their trash cans covered, but there are still a few who don't."
"The rats are never going to go away completely," said Luigi DelPonte, who lives near Bailey's Pub on Smith Street and who has long complained about rats.But DelPonte said he, too, believes the situation is getting better. "We have to educate all the neighbors that they need to cover their garbage cans and clean them once in a while," he said. "Convincing them to do it is the hardest part."
But DelPonte said he, too, believes the situation is getting better. "We have to educate all the neighbors that they need to cover their garbage cans and clean them once in a while," he said. "Convincing them to do it is the hardest part."
Back on July 9, Mayor Charles A. Lombardi invited a pest control expert to speak to area residents about ways to control the rats. The expert, Anthony Tudino, of A & D Professional Pest Control, said it is possible to get rid of rats, by denying them a food source.
Lombardi said yesterday that it is too early to declare victory, but he thinks the town and the area residents are starting to get a handle on the problem.
"It's a day-to-day thing. It has been another job for our inspectors to make sure people are getting their barrels covered," Lombardi said. If we can eliminate the food source, we can make a difference." Besides covering their garbage, residents have taken other steps as well, sometimes with an assist from the town.
Ferreira noted that she and her husband used to see rat holes underneath their deck until her husband installed bricks around the deck to make it less accessible. "I suppose they could dig new holes," Ferreira said. "But we haven't seen any."
As part of his war against rats, DelPonte recently removed two sheds that, it turns out, had rats nesting underneath. Because one of the sheds was large and heavy, he got an assistant from the mayor, who sent over a bulldozer from the public works garage to help him move it.
"It's not our policy to go on private property," Lombardi said. "But I felt this was a special situation. This was a public safety issue and the man needed a little help getting his shed moved."
DelPonte said he thinks taking away the sheds has made a difference, but he also plans to cement the area around his garage to make it more difficult for any rodents to dig their way in.
"I don't think we want to let up pressuring our town officials. We don't want to let down our guard," he said. "The rats may never go away completely, but maybe we can get them to go back where they came from."
Rat Problem Spreads to Fruit Hill and Beyond
"Close trash cans and cut off food sources", says exterminator
Friday, August 3, 2007
"We're not ever going to get rid of them completely," said a defeated Luigi DelPonte, who has fought the rats in Centerdale himself for several months. "But we don't have to feed them and we can reduce their numbers."
The rats began to be a problem in early 2006, residents say. According to Anthony Tudino, of A & D Pest Control, the rat problem can indeed be solved. He said he won't be charming the rats out with a whistle, but he does need cooperation in cutting off food sources.
"A few houses are causing problems for the whole neighborhood," he said. "The garbage is not the whole problem. Take away their food source, then they will leave, but you can't just blame the garbage."
Tudino was brought in by Mayor Charles A. Lombardi to consult with various residents on how to get rid of the rats, which some say have become an infestation in other neighborhoods.
"People leave their fried stuff right out in the open," said Al Seguin, of 421 Fruit Hill Ave. "It's becoming a real problem over here."
He said the rats aren't afraid of anything, even scavenging for food in broad daylight.
"There are rats right next door," he said. "I counted 11 rats underneath the steps."
Tudino spoke with about 30 residents at a meeting called by Councilor Mansuet "Manny" Giusti last week. He said that rats' teeth, which are harder than iron, grow at a rate of .4 millimeters-per-day, and the force of their bite is about 7,000 pounds per square inch. He said putting your trash in the garage, as some have resorted to, won't help, because the rats will chew right through the garage door.
"They can jump three feet straight up in the air too," he said. "Right into your trash can. They can bite six times a second, so a garage door is really just a nuisance to them."
Some residents are trapping dozens of rats in Centerdale monthly.
DelPonte said he's fed up with people tossing their food without lids in their cans, throwing their trash in the local clothes collection bins, and in general not caring about the rat infestation in their neighborhoods.
"My wife has been here for 45 years, and I have been here 28 years and I have never seen anything like this," said DelPonte. "I don't see any improvement yet, because the people that are at fault didn't attend that meeting. They've all got to cover their garbage cans when they throw it out." He said that even though his best efforts may work in his own yard, it won't fix the problem unless everyone participates.
Luz Camacho, an employee at the Salvation Army on Smith Street in Centerdale, said that while she hasn't seen much in the way of rats, she has seen plenty of mice, both dead and alive, around the donation bin at the Salvation Army store.
"People are always throwing their trash in there," she said. "Then the mice get into the bags of clothes."
Camacho said she had no idea why it is such a compulsion for people to throw their garbage in donation bins instead of throwing it in their own bin on the sidewalk.
Causes blamed for the rat boom include fruit trees, open trash cans, exposed food, animal droppings of everything from dogs to seagulls flying down from Twin River, bird feeders, and vegetable gardens.
DelPonte said he is in the process of recreating his trash receptacles and backyard to be mostly cement and steel, and said he sprays his trash and cans with ammonia to keep the pesky rodents away. "They don't like that," he said.
"The rats are desperate," he continued. "They'll chew out the four corners of a trash can just to get at the food. People don't have to go to the extreme that I'm going to do, but they have to at least try to put a stop to this." DelPonte said he's even used rodenticide in his yard, a step some residents are afraid would harm their pets or children.
"That's because they're throwing the poison on the ground," said Tudino. "But when a company does it, it is put in a station that's locked and staked to the ground." He said that residents should not be handling rat poison themselves, as strict laws govern how rodenticide should be used.
"By law you have to keep it out of the reach of children, and the bait has to be in a tamper-resistant station," said Tudino. Tudino said the rats aren't even able to get the bait out of the stations to trail it across the ground. He suggested that the best poison is the kind that takes a week to kill, so the rats won't panic immediately, and most would eat the poison before the first one dies. He said that while many people are having the poison traps installed on their property, the food sources still need to be cut back.
"When the food source is closed off they won't multiply that fast, they won't have as many offspring, and they'll turn on their own offspring," he said. "Rats are rats. They'll eat their own offspring, and I'm confident that this isn't a long-term problem."
Tudino agreed with DelPonte about the ammonia, saying that pouring it on trash forces rats away from those food sources, to the poison traps. He said he doesn't believe an infestation on the same level as Centerdale has moved into other parts of town and doesn't expect it to.
"When it rains, you'll see rats come up out of the storm drains," he said. "That's why it looks like there's more rats sometimes."
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"You can get rid of rats," pest control expert Anthony Tudino told nearly 30 residents who came to a special meeting called by Mayor A. Lombardi. "It's not that hard."
Tudino, who runs A & D Professional Pest Control, had been asked by the mayor to join him in a tour of the streets that residents have identified as ones that have been most hard-hit by the rat invasion including, among others, Byron and Halsey streets and Ferncliff Avenue.
The pest control expert said their tour not only confirmed the presence of rodents in a neighborhood in which most homes are well-kept, but also pointed to some of the reasons why the rodents, having come into the area for whatever reason, have decided to stay on.
"If they find a food source in your yard, or within 100 feet of your yard, they'll stay there," Tudino advised residents.
Lombardi and Tudino said that while most residents appear to keep their garbage cans covered, it was clear that some people were not heeding the warnings of minimum housing inspectors to not leave garbage bags lying around for rodents to enjoy at their leisure.
They found open garbage cans with no lids, garbage in plastic bags in no cans at all, a couple of dumpsters behind Bailey's Pub where the doors to the dumpsters were left open. They found a plastic garbage can on Ferncliff Avenue where rodents had chewed their way in from the bottom. And they found a discarded appliance with rodent droppings inside – a clear sign that rats were using the appliance as a haven.
To be sure, none of this was anything new to people such as Luigi DelPonte, who presented pictures that he had taken of a Salvation Army bin that some people have been using to dump garbage and trash, characterizing it as a message to pesky rodents: "Come to dinner. We're having macaroni and cheese."
Nor was it a surprise to Mary Ferreira who reported that as of yesterday she had trapped 26 rodents in her yard on Byron Street during the last six months.
Tudino said there are any number of reasons why rats may have come into the neighborhood – from recruiting mild winters or flooding to demolition and reconstruction of old buildings. Councilman Mansuet Giusti told the gathering that he personally believes that the rat problem began when a dam burst causing a stream that runs through the neighborhood to become extremely shallow.
The pest control official said he wouldn't disagree. At the same time, he warned residents that to cut off the rats' food supply, they need to consider other food sources beyond discarded garbage. Among those, he said, are fruit trees and vegetable gardens, fecal material from dogs or other animals, even the seeds placed in bird feeders. What they should know, he said, is that when rats are desperate they'll eat anything.
But what are residents to do if they keep their own property neat and clean and a neighbor does not?
That is where the town is going to need residents' housing official of any neighbors who are not getting with the program so they can be warned and cited if they fail to comply, Lombardi told the residents.
"I can only say, on behalf of the town, that we're not going to let a dozen individuals create a problem for the rest of us," Lombardi said. "They will be dealt with."
And yes, if residents take the collective steps to deny the rats the food source, there is another step that can also be employed: rat poison. Ann DeBlois, of 2215 Mineral Spring Ave., said she does not live in the same neighborhood that was the main focus of concern, but that she, too, had observed many rats of late roaming through her property and wondered what she could do. She said she'd be very uncomfortable about having any poison on her property, given the presence of a 2-year-old child. Tudino said the kind of poison used by professional exterminators minimizes that risk to other animals and children. To get at the poisoned food, the rat would have to go into a strategically placed poison station. And because the poison would be tethered to the inside, the rat would not be able to take the food out, but would have to eat it there.
The best poison, he said, would be one that would take a week or so to take effect. That way other rats would not immediately become alarmed and would join in the feast.
Tudino acknowledged that if residents do not move to curb the rat problem, the problem could get much bigger. It only takes 22 days for a female rat to conceive and give birth to an average litter of 8 or 9 baby rodents, and it only takes a month for a baby rodent to fully mature. And they have powerful teeth, stronger than iron, with a bite that exerts 7,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.
DelPonte said he would not dispute that at all, since rats on his property were able to chew their way into his garage, biting through Masonite and even concrete.
Tudino suggested that residents invest in metal garbage cans, saying that plastic ones may prove too vulnerable.
The large heavy duty plastic containers used by the City of Providence, he acknowledged, also may have helped Providence in reducing its own rodent problem.
When residents complained last night that even if they buy a new trash can it is quickly dented by trash haulers, Lombardi took note, saying the town is in the process of seeking bids on a new trash-hauling contract, and will consider how carefully garbage gets picked in awarding the new contract.
Small fly infestations have been making themselves known in significant numbers around the nation in recent years.
Dr. Cisse Spragins, CEO and founder of Rockwell Labs Ltd in North Kansas City, Mo., manufactures the InVade line to combat just such invasions.
Rockwell Labs recently reformulated and improved the Invade line by adding natural citrus oil. The citrus oil has insecticidal activity and smells like fresh oranges.
"It's not necessary tp put anything else in the water because it's got the microbes, citrus oil chemical cleaners," Spragins explains. "It's used in areas where scum has been built up at the floor level, such as cracks in the tile or peeling baseboards."
In the northeast corridor, JP Chemical Co. in Milford, N.H., and A&D Professional Pest Control in Pawtucket, R.I., each use Rockwell Labs' InVade Bio Foam and InVade Bio Cleaner to rid their customers' facilities of these pests.
"The real bear of all small flies that we are asked to treat for is the dark-eyed fruit fly," says Chris Del Rossi, director of JP Chemical's commercial division.
"We've seen more of the dark-eyed fruit fly over the last six years, compared to the old days. They are related to the vinegar fly – commonly known as the fruit fly – but are a little larger in apperance. These small flies tend to be quite visible. The adults just sit on walls in public areas instead of flying around. That's not good for a facility's image."
Dark-eyed fruit flies breed in areas that are difficult to clean, such as broken tiles in aging kitchens, according to Del Rossi. They're also found in broken baseboards, neglected floor drains and other areas that are difficult to clean with a mop or brush.
"We apply InVade Bio Foam to those tough-to-clean areas," he explains. "The product breaks down the organic materials on which the larvae are feeding. It basically starves the larvae by eating the organic material faster than they do. It also has citrus oil agent that will kill a lot of the larvae on contact, so it's got dual effectiveness."
Del Rossi also uses InVade Bio Cleaner in his small fly control efforts. It's a product designed to replace the usual mopping solution used to clean difficult-to-reach areas. It leeches into the cracks and crevices when the end user is mopping the floor. "We usually sell it to our customers directly for their own use," he adds.
JP Chemical recently helped a doughnut retailer get rid of a dark-eyed fruit fly infestation.
"When we arrived on their premises, we found no less than 200 fruit flies on the walls and other public areas," Del Rossi said.
A wet-dry vacuum helped get the flies off the walls. The team then inspected the facility and found hundreds more flies literally billowing out of the plumbing conduits. Unfortunately, the floor drains were nearly impossible to reach and clean because cabinets had been built directly over them.
"One of their maintenance people sawed out the bottom of the cabinets so we could get access to the drains," Del Rossi recalls. "Once we reached them, we thoroughly scraped and cleaned them and used the Rockwell products. We got the place smelling and looking nice."
Upon inspection two days later, Del Rossi found only a few flies on the wall. Since then, weekly inspections only turn up an errant survivor fly or two.
"It's amazing – a true success story, " he says.
Anthony Tudino's A&D Professional Pest Control services a lot of restaurants, among other commercial and residential accounts, that suffer dark-eyed fruit fly infestations.
"The treatment for regular fruit flies in restaurants wasn't very effective until we started using Rockwell Labs' InVade Bio Foam about a year ago," says the 20-year pest control industry veteran. "Since then, we've had excellent success with it."
Along with the Rockwell product, Tudino uses Gentrol, an insect growth regulator manufactured by Wellmark International. It's not sufficient to walk into a restaurant and treat it only one time, he says.
"Start with weekly treatments of the biological products, and as you successfully eliminate the small flies, cut back to monthly or bimonthly treatments," he advises.
"When it comes to inspections, good sanitation and prevention both the client and PMP must act together. If we can find, clean and treat areas that have organic matter, we're going to prevent infestations before they happen."
This ranges from sealing water leaks to emphasizing that tile grout must be in good shape to prevent organic matter buildup underneath and behind tiles.
"We have to show our customers what they can do with shop vacuums and fans to keep floors dry," Tudino adds. "Cooperation is very important if you're going to eliminate small fly problems." PC
• Founded in 1925 by Justin Pestana Sr.
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Gaining control over dark-eyed fruit flies
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Solution Sanitation strategies that incorporate Rockwell Labs' InVade Bio Foam and Bio Cleaner