Q&A: House mice, silverfish and termites

|  July 4, 2016

Restaurants are a potential buffet for house mice and other rodents.

Photo: ©iStock.com/Dieter Meyrl

Photo: ©iStock.com/Dieter Meyrl

Q: We just landed a restaurant account with a heavy mouse infestation. Can we use tracking powder in the wall voids? Can we use it anywhere else in the building? What options do we have?
— JOHN O., ILLINOIS

A: The label is your legal guide. It permits use in commercial food-handling establishments, but tracking powders may only be applied to prevent contaminating food. The label does indicate wall voids and between floors as acceptable application areas.

Other options include bait stations, traps and glue boards. If the mice are living in wall voids, the tracking powder should quickly provide a high degree of control. However, the mice not harboring in wall voids must be eliminated using one or more of the alternatives above. Tracking powder of any type should not be exposed in food areas.

Q: We service a townhouse complex. The buildings are two stories tall, with cedar shake siding on all sides. There’s an outbreak of four-lined silverfish (Ctenolepisma lineata). It’s mostly on the upper floors, although they’ve also been observed outside at night on the siding. Unfinished attic space is above the second floor. Where do you think they’re coming from, and how should we approach the problem?
— RICK C., ALASKA

A: I would suspect the attics are the source of the silverfish. There might be a moisture problem from either roof leaks or inadequate ventilation. If you have access to the attic spaces, you can power dust them, spray the underside of the roof sheathing or apply one of the dry baits available. A power spray of the exterior siding also would help, but the challenge is to find a product labeled for such a widespread application. If you don’t have access to the attics, an exterior siding application is probably your only option, plus crack-and-crevice applications in the affected living units.

Q: Is this going to be a good termite swarming season?
— KYLE H., OKLAHOMA

A: I wish I knew. Swarming has been limited in many areas for years. However, the termites are still there. I don’t know of any scientific studies that indicate why swarming is not what it used to be, only a great deal of speculation.

That’s why I encourage companies to install monitors around customers’ homes to find the termites (Editor’s Note: See Paul Hardy’s how-to article for details). If you rely on swarming for leads, you’ll fall behind your competitors.

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

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