Ask the Expert: Indianmeal Moths, Scabies and Cockroaches


January 20, 2014

Q: A variety store had an Indianmeal moth (IMM) problem. We found the source in an attached garage and removed it, but there are still a few adult moths in the store, which also houses frogs, lizards and larvae (for feed). I intend to use an insect growth regulator (IGR) labeled for IMM and install traps to collect the adults, but I’m concerned about the frogs and lizards. Could the IGR harm them? I’ve told the storeowner the larvae being kept for feed will die. T.P., Ind.

A: The IGR in question affects only insects. Frogs, lizards and humans don’t have such regulators in them, so the active ingredient in the product won’t harm them. You’re correct to advise the owner the larvae will die whenever they’re ready to molt.

Q: Union leaders claim there’s an outbreak of scabies at the office building that houses its headquarters. Leaders have notified the landlord (my client) via a letter requesting something be done about it. I’ve already notified the landlord and sent him information from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control & Prevention that explains scabies is a medical problem, not a pest control one. I don’t need to treat the premises, correct? What if the union insists? Scabies in an office sounds strange. Could it be something else? N.M., Calif.

A: You have the correct information, so stick to your guns and don’t treat. Scabies outbreak in an office sounds odd. They can be transmitted only through direct contact. Perhaps this is one of those mystery-bite situations. Ask the landlord to obtain specimens from the union to see what’s causing the problem. If no specimens are presented, an environmental survey should be conducted to determine what’s causing the “bites.” Good luck.

Q: A tenant on the fifth floor of a six-story apartment building has been complaining about cockroaches. My technician told me there are no roaches. I inspected personally and found roaches in the frame of the trash chute across from the complaining tenant. When I inspected the basement, I found roaches all over the compactor, so my technician wasn’t doing his job. I blew dust up the chute from the basement, and roaches came out of the chute on every floor. The landlord is going to have a professional cleaning company that specializes in cleaning these chutes do the job in four days. Yet I’m concerned more roaches will be disturbed and scatter. What can I do between now and then to minimize the problem? T.S., Ill.

A: I wouldn’t spend much time treating the chute because the cleaning company will remove most of whatever insecticides you place there. I’d concentrate on treating around the chute doors to kill any roaches that leave the chute between now and the cleaning. Because of the resistance problem with pyrethroids, use a nonrepellent insecticide. The apparent air draft in the chute indicates an insect growth regulator (IGR) wouldn’t be a viable option because the vapors would be drawn out of the chute before they could take effect.

Email your questions about insect identification and pest management technologies and techniques to Dr. Mampe at Your questions most likely will be printed and answered in one of Pest Management Professional’s upcoming Ask the Expert columns.

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