Family Pride
Since 1921

Scratch That Flea Itch Right Out of Your House

southern_house_mosquitoWhile swatting away mosquitoes is an inconvenience, these flying nuisances can pose serious health threats to both humans and animals. Mosquitoes – both the northern and southern house breeds – can spread West Nile virus, dengue fever, eastern equine encephalitis and dog heartworm, and that’s just for starters.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 48 states reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. In those states there were a total of 2,469 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 119 deaths.

Despite the glorious weather and the lack of screened in porches that dot yards in the Midwest, Southwest and East Coast, the West still has issues with mosquitoes.  In California there were 379 reported cases – the second highest number of reported cases in the country – and unfortunately 15 deaths linked to West Nile virus.  County vector control departments do a great job controlling mosquito populations, but short of eradication there are things we as consumers can do to thwart these little pesky pests.

Recently, my good friend Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association was a guest on NBC’s Today Show talking about the threat mosquitoes pose and how to protect your family.   Both Missy and I recommend the following personal protection steps you can take to keep mosquitoes at bay:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET or eucalyptus oil.
  • Use citronella candles on the patio.
  • Since mosquitoes are not good flyers, install a ceiling or box fan to literally blow mosquitoes away from your deck or patio.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants, including specially treated mosquito repellant clothing.

But more importantly, how can you prevent mosquitoes from becoming a nuisance in the first place?

The key is to eliminate any standing water (over a tablespoon is too much) on your property because water is prime real estate for mosquitoes. Standing water can gather due to over irrigation, broken sprinkler heads, clogged gutters, ornamental ponds, swimming pools, bird baths, trash cans and flower pots. Such casual puddles are important breeding places for these annoying and sometimes very serious disease vectors.

Adult mosquitoes usually take blood from birds but to our misfortune are also happy feeding from unsuspecting humans. It is the female mosquito you really have to watch out for as she is active from dusk to dawn in search of a tasty blood meal.  Mosquitoes even try and enter homes and businesses in the fall as temperatures drop, looking for a place to settle in over the winter months.  Given the opportunity, most mosquito targets (that would be humans in general) can’t tell the difference between a male and female mosquito, so it’s best to stay clear of them all.

As I mentioned, if there is standing water present on your property for any length of time, mosquitoes are likely to try and move in and develop a new mosquito nursery.

To prevent mosquitoes from invading your turf, follow Mr. Little’s Top 10 Mosquito Prevention Tips:

  1. Dispose of unwanted or unused artificial containers and properly dispose of old tires.
  2. If possible, drill drainage holes, cover, or invert any container or object that holds standing water that must remain outdoors. Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or buildings.
  3. Clean clogged rain gutters and storm drains. Keep outdoor drains flowing freely and clear of leaves, vegetation, and other debris.
  4. Aerate ornamental ponds to avoid letting water stagnate.
  5. Change water in birdbaths, fountains, and animal troughs at least once per week.
  6. Ensure rain and/or irrigation water does not stand in plant containers, trash cans, boats, covers, or other containers on commercial or residential properties.
  7. Regularly chlorinate swimming pools and keep pumps and filters operating.
  8. Unused or unwanted pools should be kept empty and dry.
  9. Minimize sites mosquitoes can use for refuge (harborage) by thinning branches, trimming and pruning ornamental shrubs and bushes, and keeping grass mowed short.
  10. Control plant growth in ponds, ditches, and shallow wetlands.


Have a question about mosquitoes? If so, send me an e-mail at and I’ll get back to you right away with the information you are looking for.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.



Pests and Allergens: An Un-Dynamic Duo

In a recent survey of allergists from across the United States, 97% of respondents said they believe a pest-free home is an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms.

The survey, conducted jointly by the National Pest Management Association and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, revealed that aside from dust mites, cockroaches are the most problematic household pest for patients suffering from asthma or allergies. Rounding out the top three allergy-inflaming pests are rodents and stinging insects.

First reported back in the 1940s, cockroach allergies are most common in urban areas. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates 23% to 60% of urban residents with asthma are sensitive to the cockroach allergen.

Cockroaches are one of the oldest and most adaptable pests pest professionals are asked to eliminate from homes and businesses. Consumers in California, Arizona and Nevada are most likely to encounter the German cockroach but the American and Oriental cockroaches are also arch nemeses.

These disease carrying pests can be found both inside (German) and outside (American and Oriental) structures and thrive when they have access to food, water and secure harborage spots.

A cockroach’s food tastes can be described accurately in one word – all-encompassing. Cockroaches eat just about anything including decaying matter such as food, garbage, feces and the like. They also enjoy strength in numbers; did you know a female German cockroach and her offspring can produce over 30,000 little cockroaches in one year.  So, the sighting of one cockroach is nothing to sneeze at!

The allergens these filthy pests leave behind in homes linger in the air or settle in house dust. They become airborne when the air is stirred up by movement like children playing or running through the house.

Diagnosing to determine if a person with persistent asthma is allergic to cockroach allergens can only be made by a skin test. A doctor will scratch or prick the skin with cockroach extract and if redness, an itchy rash or swelling appear, then it is likely the person is allergic to cockroaches.

Western Exterminator has years of experience effectively eliminating cockroaches from homes and businesses. Based on our work in the trenches, I offer you Mr. Little’s Eight Simple Steps to Eliminating Cockroaches from your kitchen cupboards, laundry room or pantry:

  1. Cockroaches can sneak in with paper products, packaging and used appliances. Inspect bags or boxes of groceries brought into your home or shipments brought into your business.
  2. Regularly vacuum or sweep areas that might attract cockroaches.
  3. Seal cracks and openings around or inside cabinets.
  4. Store food in sealed containers. Never leave food, crumbs or trash uncovered anywhere.
  5. Clean up any food debris or spills right away; do not allow them to sit overnight; do not leave uneaten pet food out overnight.
  6. If you must leave dirty dishes, put them in the sink and cover them with soapy water.
  7. Use trash cans with tight fitting lids. Avoid placing trash under the sink. Empty trash cans often. Put garbage in sealed containers.
  8. Fix leaky faucets and drains.


Do you have questions about eliminating cockroaches in your home or business, or concerns about any other pest related suject? If so, I want to hear them. You can send me an e-mail at I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!


Take A Bite Out of Termites

Did you know that you can only see 25% to 35% of the interior of your home that the most damaging of residential pests – the termite – might find just delicious?

Like many of their pest brethren, termites and wood destroying pests (wood borers, carpenter ants and carpenter bees) are opportunists that look to take advantage and gain access to that other 65% in a structure where they can hide and begin their destructive antics.

Having your home inspected annually for termites and other wood destroying organisms by a trained professional who knows where to look and what to look for is the peace of mind you deserve and is the best way to combat these voracious little pests.

Experienced termite inspectors focus their expert eyes on the most vulnerable areas of a structure and can recognize signs of termite presence such as blistering or weakness in wood, frass (termite droppings) from hidden termite galleries or termite wings near light fixtures or window sills.  They also know how to spot what are called “conducive conditions” – conditions that, when present, can invite termites in for a feast.

With 40% of subterranean termite infestations originating at utility entrances through slabs, and settlement and expansion cracks in the slab, our inspectors will start at the foundation and work their way up examining every crack, crevice and potential termite entry point.

When the weather is right, usually in late summer, drywood termites colonies will split, and winged reproductives will ‘swarm’ to find a new place to start a colony. Often they will start their buffet of your home on a window sill or through a gap that leads to the attic or a patio post.  Depending on the weather over the next year, drywood termites will move to various parts of the structure, eating away the wood members as they travel to the areas that are most comfortable and tasty to them.

When inspectors identify the presence of termites or wood destroying pests and organisms in your home they will first determine the source of the infestation and then provide you with treatment recommendations. They will also make recommendations for any necessary repair work for damage as a result of the infestation, and finally point out ways you can change conditions so that termites aren’t as likely to reappear.

Protecting Your House

Homeowners can also join the fight against destructive termites and other wood destroying pests by following my “Mr. Little’s 11 Tips for Taking a Bite out of Termites:”

  1. Keep shower pans free of leaks and all plumbing in good repair – termites are attracted to moisture.
  2. Routinely fill in any cracks in your masonry or concrete; make sure there are no entry points to your attic.
  3. When watering your lawn, don’t sprinkle stucco or wood siding causing excessive moisture conditions.
  4. Keep your gutters and downspouts in good repair and clean. Wet leaves provide moisture and food.
  5. Keep foundation air vents fully exposed; don’t let them become overgrown with shrubbery so that subareas are fully ventilated.
  6. Avoid moisture accumulation around the foundation of your home.
  7. Remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., if they were left in place after the building was constructed. Also, don’t store firewood on the ground next to the house.  These are great food sources for termite colonies.
  8. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building.
  9. Eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.
  10. Avoid planting trees too close to the house. Trim trees and shrubs when necessary. Keep them from touching your house since it provides an easy pathway for termites.
  11. Keep the exterior of your home well painted and in good repair. A good coat of paint acts as an excellent line of defense and works as a barrier from drywood termites.

Enjoy your home, but make sure that termites aren’t munching away while you’re sleeping.  They do eat 24/7 you know!  Get a professional inspection today.  Do you have questions or concerns about termites or other wood destroying organisms? If so, I want to hear from you. You can send me an e-mail at I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.


Honoring Those Who Serve

patriot - 3rd draft cloisinne

As Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, I urge you to take a moment to remember that freedom is not free.

On behalf of our Western Exterminator team I’d like to offer a special tip of my Top Hat Salute to all of those who have served our great nation and given the ultimate sacrifice. May we never take them for granted nor the freedoms they so heroically defended; let’s fly our flag proudly in their honor.

Over the years Western Exterminator’s ranks have been filled by men and women that have nobly worn the uniform on behalf of their country.

When our founder, Carl Strom, arrived in the United States from Sweden in 1914, he passed through Ellis Island and was offered a deal familiar to many immigrants of the World War I era: U.S. citizenship in exchange for service as an American soldier.  He accepted, and was immediately shipped back to Europe.

Strom served his time on the battlefields of France and Germany, returned to the states and headed West. He stopped briefly in Ohio working for a tire manufacturer, and then decided that his true destiny lay further west – in Los Angeles. 

He arrived in L.A. with little money, only one pair of shoes and no contacts; he luckily secured a job with Darby Pest Control. He was soon driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and the American dream to create his own successful business based on one pivotal paradigm—quality service at a fair price.  He set up shop with a desk, phone, a shared office, $25 in chemicals and with that simple but powerful principal he created Western Exterminator Company in 1921. He was 25 years old.

Strom came to the United States because he sought what many before and after him have—the freedom to be who he wanted to be.  He believed in the American dream—that hard work could give you the life you sought, and that the circumstances of your birth, your gender, your race or your religion just didn’t matter.  No matter our political beliefs, it is these freedoms promised in the Declaration of Independence that have caused hundreds of thousands of dedicated men and women to fight for the freedoms we all enjoy today.

What is a proper thank you for these honorable men and women? It could be simply saying “thank you for your service” whenever you come across a member of our military or a Veteran. It could be picking up the tab for a military member’s meal or groceries or it could be stopping by a retirement home to spend time playing cards or talking with a Veteran.

No matter the size or amount of the gesture, never taking those freedoms or the sacrifices made for them for granted is something we all need to remember on this Memorial Day and always.

In honor of the memory and service of all our soldiers, I encourage you to support any of the many opportunities we have to give back to these very brave men and women. (Just be careful and check out the organization to make sure the lion’s share of your donation actually goes to helping the Veterans.) There are numerous military and veteran-oriented charities to which you can donate time and services and we have listed just a few of the most highly regarded:

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”


Have a pest free Memorial Day, and a heartfelt “thank you” to our troops!


Join A Colony Of Insect Aficionados At Bug Fair 2014


close up (smaller)

Did you know there are more than 15,000 known ant species around the world with more than 680 species calling California, Arizona and Nevada home? Did you know some ants can lift and carry up to 100 times their own weight? Did you know most ant communities are headed by a queen, whose sole function is to lay thousands of eggs to ensure survival of the colony?

These are just a few of the fascinating facts visitors will learn about ants when they attend the 2014 Los Angeles County Natural History Museum’s Bug Fair.

Scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, May 17th and 18th, Bug Fair 2014 celebrates the “Year of the Ant,” and visitors can explore every aspect of their fascinating world, as well as the world of hundreds of other flying and crawling insects including live pet tarantulas, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, butterflies, and the list goes on and on.

Western Exterminator is proud to once again partner with the L.A. County Natural History Museum to let visitors get up-close and personal with ants and all things ‘bugs.’  You’d be surprised at the whole range of fascinating insects who share our environment.

Western has been sponsoring the Bug Fair for over 20 years, and we look forward to the event as much as the over 20,000 visitors who attend annually!  Bug Fair traditionally attracts more visitors than any other event at the NHM.  And no wonder.  What’s not to like when it comes to the world of bugs?

The Bug Fair, North America’s largest insect festival, offers insect devotees (like me!) as well as the casual insect observers an ant colony-size (and that’s really big) load of information and activities that are sure to entertain and inform.

~~~~~~~~~~ The “trail” for this year’s Bug Fair includes the following highlights ~~~~~~~~~~

Insect Chef Cooking Demonstrations: 11 a.m./12:30 p.m./3:30 p.m.

Presenting…David George Gordon, Zack Lemann, & David Gracer

Did you know bugs are a nutritional snack? Come get your protein fill in the OBP, where there will be four insect chefs on hand to whip up some bug delicacies for the adventurous snacker!

Antsy Activities: Visit The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Discovery Center for hands-on activities that include piecing together a buggy friend and joining the Museum ant colony. Also craft your own seed balls with local flower seeds and build a habitat bugs can call home.

Insect Meet & Greets: 10:30 a.m. / 3 p.m. Meet a six or eight legged animal!

nhm_bug_fair_2012     Girl with Cockroach (Small)

Insect Encounters: 10 a.m. / 11 a.m. / 2 p.m. / 3 p.m. While the dinosaurs are away the bugs will play! Join talented Museum performers as they delight you with six and eight legged antics. Butterfly stilt walkers, cockroaches, and bees will emerge throughout the day.


Citizen Science Monarch Butterfly and Caterpillar Hunt: 11 a.m. Learn how to participate in some buggy citizen science! Meet in the Garden at the bottom steps off the rotunda.

A Labrador Retriever that Smells Bed Bugs?  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet “Honey”, Western Exterminator’s certified canine bed-bug inspector!  Stop by Western’s booth to see Honey and learn about her unique job finding bed bugs.

Toy Theater: 11:30 a.m. / 2:30 p.m. / 3:30 p.m. Bug out with performing artists at the Garden’s observation deck for a variety of insect themed theatrics!

Bugs of L.A. Tours: 1 p.m. / 4 p.m. Join the hunt for an up-close look at some of our L.A. bug neighbors! Tours begin at the Get Dirty Zone. Space is available on a first come, first served basis.

Citizen Science School of Ants Project: 3 p.m. Learn how to participate in some buggy citizen science! Meet in the Garden at the bottom steps off the rotunda.                    

Make plans to stop by the museum this weekend from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and join in the fun. For more information on the Bug Fair visit Bug Fair and other programming (excluding the Butterfly Pavilion) are included with regular Museum admission.  Western Exterminator Company customers who bring in a copy of their May bill will receive discounted admission.

Have a question about Bug Fair, ants or any kind of bugs? I’d like to hear it. Send me an e-mail at I’ll get back to you right away with more information.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day and see you at the Bug Fair!


The Author Among Us


I want to take a moment to tip my top hat to several of my colleagues who recently contributed their time and talents to a new book devoted solely to the topic of commercial pest management.

Vice President of Technical Services Keith Willingham; Safety Manager and Technical and Training Specialist Fred Rozo; and Technical and Training Specialist Dr. Pari Pachamuthu, all Board Certified Entomologists, contributed their extensive knowledge to Pest Control Technology’s Guide to Commercial Pest Management.

Willingham authored the chapter on Pest Prevention in Commercial Accounts; Rozo wrote the chapter on Inspections, Audits, Recordkeeping and Documentation; and Pachamuthu co-authored the IPM in Commercial Pest Management chapter.

Willingham, Rozo and Pachamuthu and their fellow authors provide readers with a detailed reference guide for applicators servicing commercial accounts as well as a helpful training review of the many unique nuances that commercial accounts provide. The 391-page book, which includes a color pest identification section, is available for $29.99 at

Happy reading!


Commercial Pest Services Are Right Up Our Alley

Exterminator-Supermarket_cropProtecting a commercial facility from pests is vital not only to public health and food safety but also in protecting that business’s reputation and brand. Commercial establishments must rely on professional pest management teams that are available day or night to treat for pests that seek food, water and harborage in these establishments.

The health and economic risks posed by pests are no joking matter. Pests such as rodents, flies, nuisance birds and cockroaches not only spread harmful bacteria and disease including E. coli, salmonella and listeria but can also cause thousands of dollars in lost revenue by spoiling food or causing structural damage to buildings and equipment.

Did you know that a severe roof rat infestation can severely damage the structural integrity of a roof and cause it to collapse? Or that rodents chewing on electrical wiring are a leading cause of fires?

Would you believe that a flock of birds nesting in the exterior sign above your facility could cause a fire with their nesting material or that bird droppings are a major cause of slip and fall accidents in retail facilities?

In addition to the threat of disease and structural damage, pests can do significant harm to a company’s financial standing and public persona. Being forced to temporarily shut down a production line due to salmonella, issue a product recall due to E. coli or take a hotel room out of inventory because of bed bugs until the pests are eliminated, is just plain not good for business.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is bringing sweeping changes on how the food processing, distribution and transportation industry conduct their businesses when it comes to food safety and pest management standards and requirements.

But there’s an answer.  The commercial pest experts at Western Exterminator are ready and willing to put their 90 plus years of experience to help commercial clients navigate the fast moving and ever changing regulatory waters and prepare for their third-party inspections.

From restaurants to food processing facilities to sports venues to cruise ships and trains, hotels and healthcare facilities, they all need protection from unwanted pests and Western, with its team of highly trained commercial pest service technicians, has the recipe for success in commercial facilities.

If you have a question on how Western Exterminator can help manage pests in commercial facilities, I want to hear from you. You can send me an e-mail at I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day!


Taming The Backyard Jungle


I bet you didn’t know that pre-spring is prime mating season for skunks – one of the most noxious smelling nuisance wildlife residential homeowners can encounter. Skunks, along with a veritable zoo of other animals are rapidly becoming bigger headaches for homeowners across California, Nevada and Arizona.

While observing the curious habits of these animals and appreciating the role they play in our ecosystem is something Mr. Little values, I also know that at times these animals can pose a threat to people and structures.

As urban sprawl continues the habitats of these animals are vanishing and they are becoming more prevalent in urban areas. A coyote in Beverly Hills? A raccoon in downtown San Francisco? Don’t laugh, it happens.

Bats, raccoons and skunks are not just a nuisance but they are frequent carriers of rabies, which is potentially fatal if left untreated. In fact, as many as 40,000 people each year in the United States are exposed to animals that might have rabies, and must receive preventive treatments.

Remember the 2012 outbreak of Hantavirus at Yosemite National Park that claimed the lives of several people? Hantavirus is caused when people breathe in the virus when rodent urine and droppings containing the virus are stirred up into the air. The deer and white-footed mouse are two vectors of this fatal disease.

Squirrels, raccoons and rodents taking up residence in your attic can chew on electrical or computer wiring and are a leading cause behind home fires.

Mr. Little’s List of Commonly Encountered Nuisance Wildlife includes:

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Deer Mouse
  • Skunks
  • Snakes
  • Scorpions
  • Bats
  • Opossum
  • Coyote
  • Moles and Voles

What can homeowners do if they encounter wildlife in their backyard? The first thing is don’t feed wildlife or leave any pet food out that is attractive to wildlife.  These animals are ‘wildlife’ because they need to be able to live and survive in the wild.  Humans can often do a great deal of unintentional damage thinking they are being helpful.

The second thing is to resist the urge to try and solve the problem yourself. Remember, these are wild animals and in addition to the harmful diseases or venoms they might carry, they could attack you or your family – call a professional.

Nuisance Wildlife Control Tips

  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the foundation and windows.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Keep food in airtight sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly – use securely fitting lids on garbage cans.
  • Keep tree limbs cut back 6 to 8 feet from the roofline and store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • If you encounter a wild animal on your property, do not attempt to remove it on your own.

Do you have questions or concerns about nuisance wildlife? If so, I want to hear them. You can send me an e-mail at I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.



Big Ass Spider In Theaters This Friday

It’s time to adjust my trusty top hat and get the tuxedo out of the closet and head to the theater for another movie premiere, but this time where yours truly has a starring role.

Yes, my speaking lines were dropped in editing (I’m sure that has happened to Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks too!) but my pal and Western customer Greg Grunberg is the star.  And, you will see plenty of my likeness throughout Big Ass Spider, an 90 minute comedy/sci-fi thriller where a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and unleashes a rampage on the city of Los Angeles.

The plot thickens when a massive military strike fails and it falls to a team of scientists and one clever Western Exterminator technician to kill the creature before the entire city is destroyed.

The movie stars veteran character actor, Greg Grunberg, as a wise-cracking and fast-thinking Western Exterminator service technician named Alex Mathis whose job is to protect Los Angeles from this killer arachnid that no one can stop. His sidekick is bumbling but very sincere security guard, Jose Ramos, played by Lombardo Boyer whose comedic pratfalls and fear of insects in general and spiders in particular add levity to the film.

Big Ass Spider has been shown at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival, where it earned Official Selection status; Imagine Film Festival in the Netherlands, the U.K.’s Dead by Dawn Film Festival and the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and continues to receive positive reviews from critics.

Online movie review site FEARnet had this to say:
“Call it slight or silly, but don’t call it stupid. The slick and satisfying Big Ass Spider ranks surprisingly high partially because a lot of those moves stink, but mainly because this one does not. If you like giant spider movies, you will definitely dig Big Ass Spider.”

The brainchild of director Mike Mendez and writer Gregory Gieras, Big Ass Spider reminds me of the old King Kong movies where the guerilla climbs the Empire State building in New York City.

In this 21st century horror film our arachnid villain climbs atop and over the famed Los Angeles city hall, snares iPhone picture taking picnic goers with its deadly web maker that shoots like a missile from its legs, and chases the Western Exterminator service vehicle through the Hollywood Hills.

It is the movie’s special effects that I really enjoyed and found fascinating. The Big Ass Spider special effects gurus created a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade sized spider that readily eats unfortunate Los Angelinos and wreaks havoc on Southern California smashing and flipping cars along the way.

While I won’t give away the ending I can tell you that the green and yellow shines brightly and that my trusty mallet once again comes to the aid of Southern California consumers that are faced with unwanted pests – fortunately none the size of Big Ass Spider!

For a quirky evening of fun I absolutely recommend heading to your local theater or ordering through video-on-demand, ordering up some buttered popcorn and taking in Big Ass Spider.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

See you at the movies!

Have a pest free day!

It’s A New School Year For Pests

Back to school usually means going through a checklist of items: Have the class schedule memorized and know where my classes are – check. Remember my locker combination – double check. Don’t forget to pack my lunch – triple check. Make friends with the brainiac in calculus class – quadruple check!

It’s back to school time for thousands of kids in Arizona, California and Nevada, and Mr. Little wants you to study hard, have fun with your friends and enjoy a pest-free school year.

Pests in schools (and I’m not talking about the kid who thinks it is funny to eat worms at recess to gross the girls out!) have been around as long as chalk has been meeting blackboards.

Why are pests attracted to schools? It’s as easy as an open book social studies final – because there are ample sources of food, water and shelter available.

Think of all the places an insect or rodents can set up shop in a school environment. Start with the cafeteria or dining hall where meals can be served around the clock to hungry students.

With all that food being delivered, stored and prepared, there is bound to be crumbs, spills, leftovers and garbage. This presents a delicious buffet for ants, cockroaches, rodents and stored product pests.

When you add in the water for preparing food and cleaning pots and pans, you are two for two when it comes for ideal conditions for pests to live in complete and utter happiness.

And when you factor in the numerous hiding locations such as storage boxes, under or inside kitchen equipment, in garbage cans or even hollow chair legs – then you have hit the trifecta!

The cafeteria is a haven for hungry pests, but beyond the cafeteria are a syllabus of other potential pest hiding locations. Student lockers, desks and gym locker rooms easily become homeroom for pests who feed on left behind food. Boiler or furnace rooms are attractive “study” locations for pests who enjoy the warmth and moisture associated with these locations.

The same goes for delivery docks and storage areas where food and supplies are delivered on a daily basis. Pests can transfer in and out of school buildings – no transcripts required – quite easily if the proper exclusion practices, including making sure window screens are in good repair, doors are kept closed, cracks and crevices filled with caulk, and trash removed on a regular basis, aren’t completed.

Finally, you have to consider the impact students, teachers and staff hasve on pest pressure in a school. They are unknowing “school buses” for pests; bringing them to and from home in backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes and on clothes!

What can you do to prevent pests from “enrolling” this semester in your home? Since entomology was my major in college (I assume you could guess that one?), I have a short homework assignment for the parents of young scholars.  Here are Four ’s 4 Tips for Straight A’s in Pest Management:

  1. Regularly inspect and clean out backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes, and any other packages that come home from school. Pests can easily hitch a ride home in any of these items so keep an eye on them.
  2. Remind budding scholars not to leave food or snacks in backpacks, lockers or desks. An open package of chocolate chip cookies or a spilled soda is extra credit for mice, ants or cockroaches.
  3. Pests such as cockroaches and mice are most comfortable when amongst the clutter of a dorm room or school locker. Eliminating clutter will reduce pest hiding and breeding locations.
  4. Use storage containers or sealed plastic bags to store clothing and dorm room bedding. This will keep bed bugs and other pests from hitching a ride home for the weekend.

Do you have questions about pests in schools or your home (sorry, I don’t do homework requests although I’m happy to answer your pest questions!)? If so, I want to hear from you. You can send me an e-mail at I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.

Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®.”

Have a pest free day and have a great school year.