Archive for Friday, April 25, 2008

Got bugs?

You’re not alone; experts offer advice on what to do about pests

Vanja Mehmedovic, right, a technician with Haley Pest Control, hunts for colonies or trails of ants as well as termites around a Lawrence home in 2008. In the background is Pete Haley, owner of Haley Pest Control.

Vanja Mehmedovic, right, a technician with Haley Pest Control, hunts for colonies or trails of ants as well as termites around a Lawrence home in 2008. In the background is Pete Haley, owner of Haley Pest Control.

April 25, 2008


More advice on pest control

¢ There are some biological pesticides and home remedies, but they are not as effective as chemical pesticides. Jeff Whitworth, an entomologist at K-State, said while some people believe home remedies work, "there's no hard research data to show that stuff really works." The best home remedy is sanitation.

¢ All insects can grow in numbers inside the home. Pete Haley, owner of a Lawrence pest control business, has seen hundreds to thousands of termites, Asian Lady Beetles and ants. Every pest problem is like a new puzzle waiting to be solved, he said. "There's no easy solution."

¢ Here are Haley's basic costs for getting rid of pests: Ants and Asian lady beetles, $100; termites, $800 to $1,500; spiders, $150 to $200. Of course, the costs vary depending on the structures, amount of pests and amount of labor required.

¢ For more information or help, contact Whitworth at (785) 532-5656 or click on Haley Pest Control also has information on its Web site at

Finally, spring has arrived. It's a great time to throw a barbecue for family and friends and enjoy the outdoors.

And then, there are the uninvited houseguests: bugs.

Not only are they inviting themselves, but all of their friends as well. They seem to be having a party of their own.

"When it starts warming up, all of those insects become active and start looking for food or mates or whatever their interest might be," said Jeff Whitworth, a specialist in entomology at Kansas State University.

Particularly bad this time of year are ants, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles and termites.

That's because:

¢ Ants are looking for food, especially after such a long, cold winter. There's not much out there for them to feast on.

¢ Asian lady beetles have hibernated over the winter in cracks and crevasses of the house and are now looking for the outdoors.

¢ Termites are swarming or leaving their established colonies to form new ones.

Their activity is driving many households buggy, and Pete Haley is hearing about it. He owns Lawrence-based Haley Pest Control and the phone began ringing this week. He's fielded calls about all sorts of insects, including termites, Asian lady beetles, silverfish, roaches and ants.

"We've had tons of calls on ants," he said. "They are real hungry because they just survived winter. They are trying to find food sources, and there's not enough stuff."

Among his customers this week were Scott Bush and his wife, Cady, who were finding about 20 ants on the kitchen countertop, mainly when food was left out. They had noticed some ant trails from the door and a few ants in the bathroom sink. They tried ant sprays, but the tiny creatures kept crawling back.

"When my wife noticed they were on the dishes, that's when she said, 'We need to get something done,'" Scott Bush said.

So, when should homeowners call for an expert? Haley laughed. There's no simple answer.

"It's whatever the tolerance level is," he said. Some people freak out over one or two ants while some can handle hundreds.

He said the Bushes represented the average ant customer. To eliminate their ant problem, Haley's employee, Vanja Mehmedovic, sprayed an insecticide around the inside and outside of their home. While Mehmedovic was spraying, Haley inspected the home and found damage from termites on the wall above the shower. There were tiny holes and brown spots where the termites had brought dirt.

While Scott Bush wasn't happy to hear about the termites, he would rather know sooner than later.

"We are looking to sell our house in the next year. It's good to find out so we can get the repairs done that we need to do," he said.

The ants were an easy problem. The spray should take care of them, and if not, Haley will come back and spray again. The cost was about $100. But the termites are a pricey problem. Haley said he would need to treat areas around the plumbing that wouldn't be easy to get to. He also would need to drill a hole in the wall where the termite damage was. He said the cost to exterminate termites can range from $800 to $1,500.

While termites can be costly to get rid of, it's best to pay for a professional, said Whitworth, of K-State's entomology department.

As for ants, he advises spraying them with a chemical treatment and keeping the house clean.

"I tell everybody ants are just actually helping us keep clean. They are just there to pick up the crumbs that we miss when we clean our house," he said.

Whitworth said a general insecticide can be used to kill Asian lady bugs, but "if you can use a vacuum and let them loose, that's best."

The beetles are beneficial because they eat aphids, a plant pest. But, they do bite.

"They can take a little nip out of you, and you can feel it," Whitworth said. "I don't know if I would say it hurts, but it's definitely a nuisance."

Sheila Reynolds knows all too well. The Douglas County master gardener said she has hundreds in her country home.

"Some of them I catch and put outdoors if I am in a good mood," she said laughing. "When you have that many, the vacuum is the best way to get rid of them.

"They really, truly, are a pest."

At least she hasn't been bitten by the bug.


gr 10 years, 1 month ago

"They crawl in and absorb the poison and pass it on to the queen."Isn't that construed as "cruelty to animals"?

Adrienne Sanders 10 years, 1 month ago

Using an ant "hotel" is a much better option than spraying toxic fumes all over the place. In my experience they work better too, b/c they eventually get rid of the colony, not just the ants that are around at the moment.

BARKY 10 years, 1 month ago

There are two kinds of houses in Kansas; those that have termites and those that will. Having a termite treatment is well worth the money in my opinion.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 1 month ago

are the asian bettles the ones that are black and have what looks like pinchers in the front?Have done both the hotel and torro for ants like the hotel better just cuz no real reason.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 1 month ago

never mind my question but still would like to know what those bugs are are asian beatles not lady bugs?

Paul Decelles 10 years, 1 month ago

The term bug has a more restricted meaning in entomology than in every day speech. In entomology the term bug applies to certain groups of insects such as aphids or box elder bugs or stink bugs. All bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs. So beetles are insects not bugs. Hence Lady bird beetle and Asian lady beetle. Both belong to the same family of beetles Coccinelidae.For more info on the Asian Lady beetle go here:

fu7il3 10 years, 1 month ago

I use Ortho Home Defense Max. Mostly for the spiders. I don't care how useful insects are in nature. I don't need my infant son getting bit by a brown recluse.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 1 month ago

still would like to know whatthe black bugs with pinchers are I call them terminaters cus the just don't die even if you step on them those pinchers just keep going and going and going.

PapaB 10 years, 1 month ago

For ants... Advance 375A. Clean near where they're coming in (take away their food) and sprinkle it as bait where they come in - They carry it back home and they all eat it, killing the colony. Works great, but new colonies will move in.

50YearResident 10 years, 1 month ago

Front Page News: Alert: Bugs are out in force.Must be a slow news Day..............

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

I have no problem with ants, as long as they stay outside. I work hard at getting rid of them when they come in, but they're always back next year, so I don't think I'm making them extinct. I think ants will even outlast cockroaches. But I also would recommend Terro or and ant hotel. They work fine without bothering other insects (especially bees) and your pets. A may be creating bad karma by killing the thousands of ants I have killed, but I just don't want them in my house.

BARKY 10 years, 1 month ago

I do not believe that people who use exterminaters are "bug haters". It just simply isn't realistic to live with a house infested with ants, roaches, termites, brown recluse spiders, and so on. First off, the pests can create allergies, life-threatening bites (in the case of brown recluse spiders), and deteriorate your home from the inside out (as with carpenter ants and termites). Exterminaters serve a good, yet dirty, job that most homeowners don't want to or cannot take care of themselves.

Paul Decelles 10 years, 1 month ago

Actually Ralph, in tropical areas insects are an important source of protein. Fried meal "worms" are quite good with peppers and onions. Tip! Keep the larvae on paper towels and without food for 24 hours so they void any wastes. They taste better that way.See this site for the latest on insects as food:

lounger 10 years, 1 month ago

Dont let anyone con you into buying poison to put in your homes for a few bugs. I just sprayed with POISON FREE ANT KILLER put out by VIctor. It works great and is natural. INERT Ingredients: 85.5% water 2.5% CO2 3.0% Lecithin 5.0% Mineral Oil ACTIVE Ingredient: 4.0% Mint Oil

hickchick1980 9 years, 10 months ago

ok, so I have a huge ant problem (I've identified about 3 different species) and as a result, I now have a huge aphid problem...they live in the 90 foot tall cottonwood tree in the backyard, AND the 110 foot tall Birch in the front. I have to get rid of the ants to get rid of the aphids, but also visa versa... is there any way to get rid of the aphids without having to call an exterminator? I know they arent harming the trees, but the honeydew is all over the pattio furniture, bbq, pattio, our cars, and is really a nuscance...HELP!

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