Email your questions about insect identification and pest management technologies and techniques to Dr. Doug Mampe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions most likely will be printed and answered in one of Pest Management Professional’s upcoming Ask the Expert columns.
Q: I’m wondering whether heat treatments for bed bug control can damage vinyl windows and the seals of double-paned windows. Can heat affect the manufacturer’s warranty? I use heat, but want to make sure I’m OK.
— Tom D., Kansas
A: I’ve never heard of any damage from other pest management professionals (PMPs), so it must be rare if it occurs at all. I contacted the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) for comment. A representative told me the heat ranges used for bed bug treatments (135°F to 145°F) should not affect any windows or their warranties. Unless I hear otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it — but you can never be too careful.
Q: I service a university that has a hazardous material management program. It just sent me a form to complete. I am supposed to list hazardous material “events” that exceeded hazardous levels. I apply pesticides on a regular basis. How do I know whether any “events” have occurred? I’ve never had such a request before.
— Frank I., Oklahoma
A: Generally speaking, applying pesticides according to label directions does not generate hazardous materials that exceed hazardous levels. That said, applications that require that occupants be removed unless wearing the appropriate protection should probably be listed — space treatment, for example. The key words here are “events that caused excessive levels of a hazardous material.” I would fill out the form and indicate no such events occurred during the period covered by the questionnaire. If you had a spill or performed a space treatment, however, such incidents should be reported.
Q: A basement apartment has a mouse problem in the drop ceiling. I have considered baits, but I am concerned about a dead mouse causing an odor problem. Trapping seems to be a better alternative. Do you have any tricks for trapping in a drop ceiling?
— Jerry M., Ohio
A: I would agree that trapping is a better option. Not only can a dead mouse cause an odor problem, there’s the risk of rodenticide dropping from the ceiling.
When trapping, a peanut butter bait can be effective. Use several traps. Mark the drop ceiling panels with a thumbtack or other item so you know where the traps are. Move them every few days, as they might not always be in a mouse’s territory.
Lastly, find out where the mice are entering, if possible, and close the openings.
Q: How should a client preserve a blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) for testing by the health department for Lyme disease?
— Larry P., Connecticut
A: Many health departments suggest the specimen be placed in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Check directly with the client’s local health department, however, to discover what they suggest.
You can reach Dr. Doug Mampe, an industry consultant, at email@example.com.