Pest Library

bed bug control service Massachusetts

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are one of the most prolific insects in the entire world. Bed Bugs have been ectoparastites of humans for thousands of years. The term ectoparasite simply means the parasite lives outside the host, not inside. Bed bugs were pushed to the brink of extinction because of certain pesticides (DDT in particular) in the 1940-1950 period but because of new evidence sighting the damage these pesticides may cause on the environment and because of research like that referenced in a book names Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962, DDT became the first widely used pesticide to be banned by the newly created EPA. As time passed, bed bugs became more resistant to today’s common pesticides and slowly began to re-emerge on the global scene. Changes in how import containers are inspected by local authorities and because international travel has become easier for many people, bed bugs crept steadily closer to the average person. Some reports indicate that 1 in every 3 people will deal with bed bugs during before 2020.

Bed Bugs are relatively easy to identify when discovered. Adults are brown to red-brown in color, flat and oval in shape. Nymphs (immature young) are translucent (clear) in color and their abdomens darken once they’ve had a blood meal. Bed bugs can move quickly when discovered in daylight since they are sensitive to light due to being primarily nocturnal. Bed bugs are known to be lazy feeders, essentially falling off of their hosts when they’ve filled their needs. They crawl slowly back to their hiding places which are usually in or around beds or furniture where people spend large amounts of time. This would be like if you slept next to your refrigerator so you could get up and eat and go right back to bed. Furniture can be difficult to inspect because of the way it’s manufactured but it’s important to know that bed bugs can live clutches of their eggs in the smallest of areas or openings. Bed bug victims sometimes experience red bump-like marks where the bites have occurred but this is not in every case. Some people show no signs of bites at all. We have seen cases where a husband and wife share a bed and the wife has bite marks but the husband has none even though his side of the bed has the most activity. When bed bugs excrete the consumed blood, it will darken when exposed to the environment and will appear as black spots or smears on the bedding.

Bed bug infestations have nothing to do with sanitation, only opportunity. There have been many cases of people picking them up while traveling in planes or hotels. We have treated places like movie theaters, public transportation, etc. Anywhere large amounts of people congregate for potential large periods of time can be a risk. When traveling always inspect your bedding, beneath mattresses, headboards and furniture like nightstands and bureaus. Leaving luggage inside the bathroom is also a good idea since it’s furthest from the bed areas and typically has tile or linoleum flooring which is smooth and difficult for bed bugs to travel on. When you arrive home always leave your luggage in the garage for a few nights, bag the contents and immediately wash them. All an infestation t=needs to begin is a few eggs or 1 pregnant female.

Treatment can be very difficult, time consuming and expensive. The reason most first treatments fail is because of the customer failing to properly prepare the home for service. Several methods such as conventional material applications, thermal room heating or freezing areas with C02 have become most effective when done properly by a licensed and well trained company. No treatment is better than avoidance and education.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Description:

Can be exceptionally difficult to control requiring multiple treatment techniques and services.
Most common species in the Northeast is the Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) but they may also be red, brown or a mix of all of the colors.
Carpenter ants are polymorphic which means they can range in size depending on what their role is in the colony. Just because some might be small doesn't mean they're not carpenter ants.
Prefer moist wood (i.e. leaking windows, where porches or decks meet the house, damp basements, etc.) to set up satellite nests. These satellite nests will be used for egg storage and food storage while the main colony often still exists outside.
They eat the same types of food we do (proteins, sugars, etc) and although they don't eat wood like termites do, their damage can be just as significant.
As they carve out their "galleries" in the wood, they clean out the resulting sawdust, often times mixing it with body parts from dead ants of the colony.
Can easily overwinter inside of a home if their nest is given ample time to mature and secure a weather-proof area to protect themselves.
Carpenter ants are active year-round and can be found both indoors and outside.
carpenter ant biology

flea biology


Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that feed off of the blood of mammals and birds. Our primary concern is 2 aptly named species: the cat flea and the dog flea. Their names can be deceptive though, since the cat flea is also the primary ectoparasite of domestic dogs as well. Fleas can often bite humans as well but will not be able to sustain themselves over extended periods of time. Eggs (20 or so) are laid n the host and can develop within 1-2 weeks. Eggs often fall off of the pets and onto their bedding or surrounding areas. Adult fleas can live 30-90 days under ideal conditions. Fleas can jump 7 inches high which is impressive in itself but in comparison that would be like an adult human jumping over 100 feet high.

Prevention against fleas is best. Topical treatments and second generation pet flea collars are reasonably priced and offer coverage from 30 days up to 8 months depending on the product.

Treatment is most often accomplished with direct application using an adulticide to kill the mature fleas as well as a growth regulator which will sterilize eggs when they hatch. Vacuuming surfaces several times a day for a week after treatment will also be necessary. Flea bombs generally do not work for long periods of time and can be very dangerous because the contents are highly flammable and combustible. 

German Cockroach

German Cockroaches are one of the most common and widely distributed insects in the world. German roaches are relatively small (1/2 inch to ¾ of an inch), light brown or tan in color to almost black and it will have 2 distinct black stripes on the upper section of its back. German roaches are sensitive to light which is why they are more active at night and they will scatter when someone turns the lights on in a room. Finding multiple German roaches during the day can indicate a “stressed” population due to overpopulation or lack of sufficient food sources. German roaches are attracted to anything that creates heat from refrigerator compressors, light sockets, microwaves, etc. These roaches are true omnivores and will eat anything left behind from food items to books, papers, candles; always searching for new food sources. German roaches can develop from an egg to a reproductive ready adult within 60 days. A fertile female will carry her egg case (or ootheca as its named) and that egg case will contain approx. 30 eggs. Left unchecked, a German roach population can explode from one pregnant female to upwards of 300-400 within 90 days of initial infestation.
german roach biology

mice biology


Mice are the most abundant rodent in the world. There are several species of mice which are indigenous to our area but our primary concern is the house mouse, a subspecies of field mice. House mice can vary in color from brown to grey and typically have white underbellies. Adults are typically 3-4 inches in length and ½ to 1 ounce in size. Mice can be particularly destructive to our food supplies such as grain and crops because of their numbers and food preferences are similar to ours. They can also cause damage to our food supply and our homes due to contamination by their droppings and urine. Mice have pointed snouts and small round ears and their tail will have some hair on it. Mice can be distinguished from baby rats by the size and location of their ears and baby rats have hairless tails.

Mouse populations can explode very quickly under the proper conditions. Mice become sexually mature and able to breed when there are about 2 months old. Babies or “pinkies” are born after about 20 days and there will often be 10-12 in each litter. Mice will breed all year long as long as there are male mice available.

Mice are incontinent and will defecate constantly on many surfaces and along their travel paths. Their droppings can contain many potential risks such as Hanta Virus, toxoplasmosis, typhus, leptospirosis, etc. Special care to disinfect their droppings needs to be taken prior to removal.
Mice will typically nest within 10-15 feet from their entry points and their food sources. Finding multiple locations of large amounts of droppings can indicate more than one group or family of mice, since they are highly social mammals. Nests are often built with insulation, shredded papers, scraps of cloth etc. And since mice are mammals, just like we are, they want to be inside when the weather is bad and food id hard to locate outside. Mouse activity will often spike in the fall and throughout the winter and decline in the height of summer.
Treating for mice can be difficult. Inspecting for entry points larger than a dime is imperative to their control. Mice have very poor vision but powerful hearing and sense of smell. Trapping mice is highly effective if done in the right locations and with the right amount of traps. Baiting or using rodent poison can also be used if the bait is in locked stations and out of the reach of children and pets. Loose bait pellets or trays should never be used unless the area where the mice are is completely and permanently inaccessible to people and pets.


Mosquitoes are small flying insects with large front and rear legs (relative to their entire body) and slender body segments that are classified as “flies.” Like most flies, male mosquitoes usually only live 5-7 days after emerging as adults and mating. Males do not seek out blood for food; they rely strictly on nectar or plant sugars. Males will form large swarms at dusk in spring and summer and females will fly into these swarms to mate. Females will seek out a blood host (they’re ectoparasties of all mammals) only when she has been impregnated, otherwise she consumes plant sugars for energy.  Once a blood meal is found she will rest under plant leaves and vegetation while she digests. The female will then lay her eggs and begin the process again. Most females will die within 2 or 3 weeks naturally and the process occurs over and over during the summer months. Mosquitoes in our area have been found to be vectors of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). All area of standing, stagnant or slow moving water are potential areas for mosquito breeding sights. Mosquitoes are most common in our area from early May until the first frost (usually around the end of September).
mosquito biology

rat biology


There are 2 important species of rats of concern in our area. The Black rat or Roof rat and the Brown rat  Norway rat. Both rats are considered medium in size, weighing 9 to 12 ounces and approximately 10 inches in length with naked or scaly tails. Their coat color can range from black, brown, grey or mixes of all 3. Both rats have small ears and blunt noses. Rats can become sexually reproductive within 5 weeks of birth. Pregnancy lasts approximately 21 days and each litter can yield 7-14 babies.

Black or Roof Rats prefer to nest in higher sections of building, walls voids, trees, etc. Excellent climbers.

Brown rats or Norway rats prefer to nest closer to the ground or water areas.

Rats in general are omnivores and considered “commensal” which means they live along side of humans and they benefit from our waste. Rats and their fleas were the primary carriers of the bubonic plague which wiped out as much as one third of the human population in all of Europe (estimated at more than 40 million people). The bubonic plague still exists today. There were 9 documented cases in the US in 2015.

Rats are highly intelligent and several different methods will often be used on conjunction to solve an infestation. Openings larger than a quarter should be sealed with chew-proof materials. Bagging trash and placing inside enclosed containers is paramount to restricting their food sources. Trapping can be tricky since rats are very cautious about new objects in their home ranges but can be highly effective if done properly. Baiting can also be successful if introduced slowly and correctly.


There are more than 50,000 species of spiders that have been discovered in the world so far. The vast majority of spiders are not venomous and pose little to no risk to humans. Interestingly though it is estimated that almost 50% of the world’s human population suffers from the well known arachnophobia. Although spiders are generally referred to as bugs or insects, they’re an actually arachnid which means they have eight legs and no antenna. Spiders and arachnids are primarily carnivorous, feeding on insects or sometimes even small mammals. Spiders are skilled climbers and patient hunters.

Tracking their prey and building their webs in key locations can lead to weeks of adequate food supply. Spider silk has incredible tensile strength and elasticity. Synthetic braiding used in suspension bridge construction is based on spider web silk.

Spiders can enter a home in many ways, but it’s always in search of food. Dark or damp basements often have large spider populations because there are so many other insects that prefer this environment and the spiders know this. All bushes and brush should be kept at least 12 inches from the home so spiders cannot build webs to the house easily. Small crack or gaps should be sealed and all vents should be properly screened.
Treatment often begins with identifying and eliminating their potential food sources. Foundation treatments using broad spectrum materials can help eliminate crawling insects and arachnids.
spider biology

termite biology

Subterranean Termite

The termites in our area of the country are classified as subterranean termites. This means this particular species of termite requires contact with soil (other species around the world may not). Subterranean termites can be found in every state in the United States (even a few times in Alaska). Subterranean termites used to be called “white ants” because of their fair color and similar size to ants but termites are more closely related to cockroaches than they are to ants. Subterranean termites have a caste (or “class” system essentially) where nymphs (immature young) can develop into a Worker (most common), a Soldier, or a Reproductive (king / queen). Colony size can be anywhere from a few thousand to a few million. Every full acre in the Northeast is home to 1 to 3 colonies of subterranean termites. Termites can be found under warm rocks, in tree stumps, fallen branches, wood piles, etc. Termites are always in search of new food and they will explore underground or in some cases they will build “mud tunes” to bridge the gap from soil to food. The termites will travel up and down inside these tubes, consuming the cellulose (the binding sugars in wood products) and returning to the underground colony to feed the rest of their nest mates. Termites do not die in the winter, they simply move further down in the warm ground. Subterranean termites will send of “swarmers” or small, black, winged reprductives in early spring (April to early June usually). These swarmers are often mistaken for flying ants but these insects break their little clear wings off and crawl around on the floor or ground. Ant swarmers will usually keep their amber colored wings their entire life. The average subterranean termite colony is said to consumer 3-7 pounds of wood each year.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are the most common WASP found in the eastern United States; they’re not actually bees. Easily identified by their bright yellow and black stripes on their abdomen, yellow jackets are prolific hunters and nest builders. Sometimes yellow jackets are confused with Hornets because of their colors but Hornets have much larger heads and most hornets in our area are black and white striped (bald-faced hornet) or yellow and red/brown (European hornet) These wasps do not pollinate but benefit the ecosystem by controlling smaller insect populations that damage crops and food items. Only the queen can survive the winter, living off of fat stores she built up during the summer and nesting in tree hollows, spaces in the ground, etc. Queens emerge in early spring (sometimes by accident on a warm winter day) and search for a place to build a nest. Nesting sites might be at the top of a roof peak, behind window shutters, under a pool deck, etc (typically this is the German Yellow jacket) and even underground nests (typically the Eastern Yellow jacket). Once the first group of eggs hatch, the queen will retire from nest building and only focus on egg laying. Populations can reach 3,000-5,000 by mid to late summer and nest size can easily triple within 2 weeks of ideal weather. All female yellow jackets can sting (repeatedly), often “marking” a person with a pheromone or chemical that will attract more yellow jackets to attack.
yellow jacket wasp biology

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