Pest Control Problems
Special pest control problems are a concern for many of our customers
living in the Pensacola, Florida area, problems that are related to Hurricane
Birds, animals, bees, roaches, rodents, snakes and other creatures have been
displaced or confused not only by the hurricane but also by the huge footprint
left by the storm. Our customers in Pensacola are experiencing problems
directly related to Ivan.
It is not only our Pensacola area that has special pest management needs
but also those living in other areas of Florida that suffered multiple hits from
hurricanes in 2004.
Flying Insect Pests
Wasps, Bees Biting
Flies, Filth Flies Mosquitoes
The first visible pests (after the storm) were flying insects: wasps, bees
and yellowjackets that had been displaced by the hurricane. At the time of
this writing (a month after the storm) these angry little pests have settled
down to their normal routine.
Due to pools of stagnant water and various types of debris
from damaged buildings, there have been some problems with flies. Biting
flies breed in areas where there is shallow, standing water. Until
cleanup of the area is complete, you might need to protect yourself from the
painful bite of these flies. (Eliminating the flies is almost impossible
because elimination of their breeding sites will be a slow process.) Products
are great for mosquitoes but will not be very effective against the biting
flies. Broad Spectrum Insect Spray
contains a special combination of products that are safe for applying to your
skin and will repel biting flies.
Other flies that are beginning to be a problem are those
known as filth flies. These pests (house
flies, blow flies, etc.) can be found in organic
materials ranging from dead animals to household garbage. As the area's
cleanup efforts continue, the filth flies should not continue to be a
problem. Your options for controlling flies include fly traps and fly
baits. Stimukil and Maxforce
Fly Bait are great products to use, as long as some effort is made to remove
organic materials where the flies breed. Dumpsters that are constantly
being filled with household debris are a common source of fly problems.
Using Maxforce Fly Bait in and around
these dumpsters will kill most of the flies in the immediate area, both in and
around dumpsters. Advantage
Fly Traps can be used in areas of filth fly activity to reduce the numbers
of annoying flies. Although fly baits work better than fly traps, baits
can be a hazard to children, pets and wildlife. If you cannot safely use a
good fly bait, consider using a fly trap to help keep fly populations under
Mosquitoes have become a major
problem in areas hit hard by Ivan and other hurricanes. Not only are there
more breeding grounds for mosquitoes (due to the storms) but there are now many
more people working outdoors in the cleanup effort. Most people work in
mornings and evenings to avoid the heat of the day. Unfortunately the most
pleasant times to work are also the times of tremendous mosquito activity.
Most people that are affected by West Nile
Virus were bitten by mosquitoes in early morning hours or at dusk.
Protection from mosquitoes involves four different approaches; use any
combination that best suits your needs:
While working outdoors (especially during times of
day when mosquitoes are most active) you can protect yourself by wearing proper
clothing and with a spray containing DEET
repellent. DEET is highly recommended by the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) and is safe to use when used as directed. The various
formulations of DEET can be a little confusing when trying to choose a mosquito
repellent. Simply put: a higher concentration of DEET will not repel
mosquitoes better than a lower concentration. Higher DEET concentrations
do, however, last longer. When using a low concentration, low odor product
such as DEET Lotion,
you will have to reapply the product more often. When using the maximum
strength DEET, you do not have to apply the product as often as you would
with weaker strength products. When used as directed, the maximum strength
products are just as safe as the lower dose repellents. Use Maxi DEET when
working outdoors for extended time periods. Use DEET Lotion when you will
not be outdoors for long periods or if you prefer a very low odor product.
With thousands of mosquito "hot spots" in
areas hit by hurricanes, it is impossible to eliminate all mosquito breeding
sites. You can do your part by eliminating breeding sites on your personal
property and by using Larvacides on your property and in
areas adjacent to your property that are not inhabited.
Rake up all leaves and other vegetative litter that can attract egg-laying
mosquitoes. Carefully inspect your property for any standing water, no
matter how small the pools of moisture might be. Eliminating these
breeding sites are more important than most people realize.
There are thousands of ditches, ponds and other area where
water stands constantly. Even the holding areas that are designed to keep
roads from flooding are not percolating as they should, due to leaves, limbs and
other debris that cover the bottoms of the areas. In these areas (as well
as abandoned or damaged swimming pools, bird baths, pet water dishes, etc.) a
Larvacide will be a great help in reducing the numbers of mosquitoes. Mosquito
Dunks, Mosquito Bits and Methoprene
Granules should be used in these areas. These products are great for
killing mosquitoes in the larvae stages - before they become biting adults - and
will not harm people, pets, wildlife, birds or fish. Use Mosquito Dunks
and Methoprene Granules for long term control. Both products will kill
mosquitoes for several weeks. Mosquito Bits should be used in areas known
to harbor existing populations of mosquito larvae.
Mosquito Dunks last a long time but you will not be able to see a difference in
the numbers of adult mosquitoes for a week or so. Mosquito Bits only last
a couple of days but do give an immediate kill of existing mosquito
larvae. Use Mosquito
Bits for a quick kill; use Mosquito
Dunks and Methoprene
Granules for prevention and long term control.
Killing adult mosquitoes is sometimes necessary when
mosquito populations are too high for people to work or play outdoors.
Spraying vegetation with Permethrin and fogging
the area for mosquitoes a couple of times each week will help bring down the
numbers of biting mosquitoes.
(Volunteers and other disaster relief personnel welcome donations of Broad
Spectrum Spray, DEET
and sun block!)
With the combination of altered landscapes and rising
water, snakes and rodents have become more visible. Take care of downed
trees and other vegetative litter that can harbor rats and mice. If
rodents have moved into your home or business, read the articles that contain
rat and mouse information. There are different methods of rodent control
from which to choose: live
traps, kill traps and
If your area is a potential haven for displaced or hungry
snakes, use Snake-A-Way snake repellent liberally around your home. For
those who know or fear that snakes are inside buildings, set out a couple of
snake traps to capture any unwanted snakes.
Thousands of trees have been uprooted, destroyed or will have to be removed in
our area. These trees are the homes of many animals that may wander onto
your property. Most of us who had fences no longer have that
protection. Be on the lookout for wildlife and also for lost pets that
might wander onto your property. In most cases these animals will not
cause any harm. If you have small children or pets, the situation
could be a little more critical. Keep areas around your home well
lit. This will help discourage most wildlife. In the event of an
animal moving into your area for food or shelter, humane
live traps of various sizes are available for trapping and relocating
Weeds and Lawn Care
In 1995 we experienced another storm, Hurricane Erin. One of the
after effects of the storm was one that effected our lawns and gardens:
weeds. The storm's winds blew around a great deal of weed seeds, some of
which we had not experienced in the past. Chamber Bitter is an example of
a weed that we did not have in our area before the storm.
Whether or not new weeds are introduced into parts of Florida, you can be sure
that are lawns and gardens have already taken a beating from the multiple
attacks of four hurricanes. Besides the obvious damage done by fallen
trees there are already signs of damage from standing salt water (to lawns) and
wind burn. Steady winds in excess of 100 miles per hour tend to blister
the leaves of shrubs, trees and some lawns.
Heavy equipment (used to remove trees and debris, replace downed power lines)
have left behind scarred turf grasses.
Now that cooler temperatures are moving in, the weather is perfect for fighting
and preventing weeds while making sure that turf grasses come back stronger next
Spring. For existing weeds in healthy lawns, cheaper herbicides such as
Trimec can be applied to kill broadleaf weeds. Dollarweed, Crabgrass and
other tough plants can be treated with Image
Herbicide. Image is also preferred for lawns that have been stressed
by the hurricanes.
Mid-October through the first week of November is the perfect time to apply
Lesco Pre-M granules to lawns. Pre-M is one of the best multi-purpose
products on the market. This fertilizer/ pre-emergent herbicide will
prepare your lawn for the cold months ahead. The product will not kill any
existing weeds but will prevent any existing weed seeds from germinating - while
giving your turf grass strong, healthy root systems. Many over-the-counter
winterizers contain far too much Nitrogen to be used in the Fall of the
year. Pre-M has a 5-10-20 analysis that does not have that dangerous
Nitrogen "push" seen in other fertilizers. You do not need the
eye candy of high Nitrogen products during the cool months; you need strong root
To prevent Winter weed seeds from germinating and to shore up your grass for the
winter, use Lesco Pre-M in late October or early November. Use one bag per
10,000 square feet of lawn. [Lesco Pre-M should also be applied in mid to
late February with a second application 8 weeks later. This Spring
application stops Spring and Summer weeds from germinating and gives your lawn
the boost it needs at the end of Winter.]
Ants and Carpenter Ants
The thousands of giant Oaks and Pines felled by Hurricane Ivan have
disrupted many ants in the area. We are seeing these ants invade lawns and
homes in great numbers. During these cooler days you can use either a good
broadcast spray treatment or a professional ant bait for the job. Ant
baits do not always work well during the heat of the summer but do a great job
with cool temps.
Talstar One and Permethrin
are two spray products to choose from. If you prefer a bait, there are
several to choose from: Maxforce Granular
Insect Bait, Maxforce Fireant Bait
Carpenter ants can possibly be a problem this Fall,
continuing on into next Spring. A general purpose spray (Talstar,
Demon WP, Suspend, Permethrin)
will help deter any foraging scouts. Once carpenter ants are seen in a
home or found in or near downed trees, Advance Carpenter
Ant Bait will be best to use.
Odors, Mold, Mildew and Wood Destroying
Damage to homes does not stop with the initial structural damage.
Another danger to buildings is moisture and the problems compounded or caused by
moisture. Wet carpets, furniture, insulation, sheet rock and other items
need to be removed as quickly as possible. Document the damage with
photographs before and after removal of ruined items.
In many cases, odors can be removed by spraying and/or fogging with products
such as Epoleon. If wet materials are
not removed, the odors usually return after fogging. The source of
odors must be removed in order to be successful. In rooms where odors
constantly return (due to inability to remove insulation and other materials),
Dual Odor Eliminators can help. These small aerosols give temporary relief
from odors until a contractor or other professional can help remove damaged
Another reason to remove wet, ruined materials is for your
health. Dangerous molds grow in walls and ceilings because of leaks, holes
in roofs and walls, etc. Small children, elderly and those with existing
upper respiratory problems are at more risk.
Wet or damp wood encourages a host of problems, including
infestations of wood destroying organisms. Powderpost Beetles, termites
and fungi will attack damp or wet wood faster than sound, dry wood. Damage
to roofs and wood members should be repaired as quickly as possible. If
contractors have you on a long waiting list, you should at least cover holes
roofs or walls with a temporary tarp or other cover. This temporary
covering will help keep moisture problems from spreading.
Tropical and hurricane force winds drive the rain at sharper angles.
This driving rain will wash away just about any type of residual products you
may have sprayed on the exterior surfaces of your home. With the high
numbers of spiders, ants, roaches and other crawling pests that have been
"stirred up" by the storms, you should re-apply your preventative
applications. Long residual and low odor products such as Demon WP, Demand
CS, Suspend SC or Talstar One should be used.
Homes in coastal areas or in the flood zone (Hurricane Ivan surged over a
mile in certain areas) endured not only water damage bug also soil
erosion. The homes in these areas have probably lost most (if not all)
termite protection. Have all termite bait stations checked and (if
necessary) replaced. Due to the tremendous flooding and erosion, an extra
booster treatment with a termiticide is recommended.
All of us living and working in Pensacola will forever be
grateful to the many volunteers and other workers who spent days and weeks away
from their families while helping us rebuild our community.
Countless volunteers from many different organizations kept emergency supplies
flowing to necessary areas and also offered helping hands to those who could not
fend for themselves.
The Florida National Guard kept our businesses safe and
also played a major role in keeping traffic flowing throughout town. With
no electricity to power traffic lights, intersections are a real
adventure! Our National Guard stood in the heat while directing
traffic. This was a blessing for our recovery as supplies, emergency
vehicles and regular traffic converged. Traffic accidents and gridlock
were prevented, due to the Guard's professionalism and dedication.
Cox and other cable companies from many areas of the
country followed closely behind the power crews to reestablish lines. A
few whiners complained because they did not have cable for their televisions in
the first days following the storm. These people either did not care or
simply did not realize that getting electricity back to the community had to
come before cable. (Without telephone poles, there is no place to hang
There were also a handful of citizens who complained when local businesses had
cable connected before many households. Getting our local economy running
is more important than most people realize. Companies who rely on the
internet for communications, transfer of money and many other transactions could
not possibly operate without cable, phones and electricity. Citizens would
not be able to purchase necessary supplies if their stores were not able to
We greatly appreciate the efforts of Cox Communications that resulted in
businesses getting back up to speed in a timely manner. It did not take
very long for homes to regain cable, once power lines, poles and equipment were
Hurricane force winds blew the warehouse doors off of their
tracks at our store. A big "Thank you!" to Keenan & Sons for
the quick repair, taking care of our building and keeping our inventory safe and dry.
We would also like to thank Shane and Don for ridding our properties of fallen
trees, downed fences and other debris. Our business and family members are
grateful for your help and hard work.
Patrick and Liz made trips out of town to purchase items not available locally:
fuel for generators, ice, etc. They also dug us out of our home and
uncovered our vehicles that were covered with a giant Oak. Thanks!
Cat and Mike: Thank you for setting up the generator for our home. Without
your help we would not have had a fan, refrigerator and critical medical
Patrick, Liz, Mike, Cat: Not only did you come to our aid but also to the aid of
numerous friends and family members throughout Pensacola. You are great
examples for everyone to follow.
Crystal, Chrissy, Lani, Steve, Justin and Tom: If it were not for your selfless
acts of love we would not have had food, propane, batteries, fans and other
critical supplies. You must have shopped at Wal-Mart in a dozen cities in
Georgia, Alabama and Florida! (The Bar-B-Q from Georgia was
a real treat.) You all spent many hours helping make our mess look more
like a home, hauling heavy limbs that we could not lift, ripping out ruined
carpet, covering the gaping holes in our roof, throwing out what used to be our
bedroom furniture - the list is endless but so is our gratitude. Alex:
Thanks for the smiles, love and hugs!
Vicky and Sherman: Thanks for all the things you did for our families. You
established communications via phone and internet when we needed them the
most. (We're looking forward to the generators you ordered for us.
They should be here in time for Christmas.)
Dave and Sandra: You both went out of your way to see that we had what we needed
- while your own home and business both sustained more damage than ours.
Thanks for your loyal and caring friendship.
Jean: The 7-Up Pound Cake was fantastic! A welcome break from hamburgers
and potted meat sandwiches.
And to the dozens of caring family members in all parts of the country: your
prayers, phone calls and care packages will never be forgotten. We'll see
you all during the holidays!
We probably left out many people that made life more bearable during and after a
major disaster. The list of helping hands could go on forever!
Professional Pest Control Products (home of
PestProducts.com) was out of commission for a week - but would have been closed
longer if not for the tireless efforts of Quebec Power. Thousands of men
and women from various power companies worked hard to get Pensacola back on
line; Quebec Power just happened to be the crew that made it possible for our
pest control store to re-open for business. Without a local economy
there would be no community. Emergency crews worked around the clock
to reestablish our infrastructure in Pensacola. Once the hospitals and
special needs organizations had electricity and water, power crews worked hard
so that local businesses could get back up to speed. In record time, Gulf
Power and the crews from other parts of the country had power, water, cable and
other utilities running for homes and business. A tip o' the cap to
Georgia Power crew for getting power lines off the driveway and hooking up our
The speedy recovery insured the stability of the local economy as well as our
health and welfare. Gulf Power workers continue to work very long hours (7
days a week) so that we can recover from Ivan and grow stronger. We all
appreciate those from different parts of the United States who sacrificed their
time and energy to come to our aid. We also have special feelings for our
local power company, utility workers, emergency personnel, law enforcement and
others who continue to silently work behind the scenes to keep Pensacola alive
The author would like to thank the employees of
Professional Pest Control Products, members of Calvary Baptist Church and
faithful neighbors. During the first hours after the storm my wife,
daughter, son-in-law and I could not get out of our own home. Our employees, neighbors
and members of Calvary Baptist Church cut through the downed trees with chain
saws, clearing the way for my family to exit the house safely. Thanks
guys! I owe you a Low Country Boil.
The cleanup continues. Crews are working hard to
clear tons of debris from every street and road in the area. Our
neighborhoods are slowly beginning to look like normal city streets. (The
beaver dams are beginning to disappear) When
the sun came up after Ivan's hit, the mountains of downed trees and power lines
looked so large that we could not imagine our streets could possibly be cleaned
up in less than a year but the special crews are making it happen.
The people of Pensacola have shown character, patience and
care for their community. Watching strangers help strangers (while
refusing compensation for services and materials) is indeed a blessed sight to
see. Not only have we survived Ivan the Terrible but we have grown