Pest-proofing a Single Exterior Door

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 

Everyone knows that pest-proofing or pest exclusion measures should be part of any job involving pests that are getting in from outside. Pest-proofing of ground level or below-ground level doors is especially important since most foundation pests and rodents first interact with a building at ground level. Pests are attracted to exterior doors by odors, heat, light, or moisture escaping from inside. If there are gaps around a door, why search any further for an opening?

Pest-proofing of exterior doors is mostly directed at keeping out rodents but may also be necessary to keep out seasonal or occasional invaders such as stink bugs, oriental cockroaches, crickets, sow-bugs, even lizards. Sometimes interior doors need pest-proofing as well, especially in commercial accounts when you want to isolate a room or area that is highly desirable to pests such as food-handling or food storage area, or a restroom.

The main components for pest-proofing a single entry door are sheet metal flashing, door thresholds, door sweeps, and weather stripping. When pest-proofing doors to prevent rodent entry, the materials that you use should be gnaw-proof. Begin by standing in a dark room and looking at the closed door with bright light behind it. Look for light leaks where there are gaps at the bottom, along the sides, or at corners. These are the places that need you attention.

Door Bottom – Doors can’t fit so tightly at the bottom that they won’t open and close easily but there shouldn’t be extra space either that would allow a mouse to enter. There should not be a gap between the bottom of the door and the floor beneath the door. If the gap beneath a closed door is larger than 1/4-inch (6 mm), close the space by adding a threshold or by installing door sweeps that will cover the gap but still allow closure. There are automatic door sweeps for commercial sites, nylon, brush sweeps, and plastic or rubber sweeps (not gnaw-proof). In commercial sites or areas with rodent pressure, wooden doors can be fitted with 12 inch (30.5 cm) high, 26-gauge sheet metal kick plates on the outside bottom to prevent gnawing.

Door Sides or Jambs – Weather seals or weather stripping improves the tightness of the seal at the top and sides of a door. Weather stripping is available as foam tape, wrapped foam flange, or rubber, vinyl, or felt compression strips. Door sealing kits come in a wide range of sizes and include header seal, jamb seals, and door bottom seal.

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 


Meet the House Spider

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 

The house spider,  Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is also known as the American house spider, the common house spider, or the cobweb spider. It belongs to the family of comb-footed spiders, Theridiidae. This is the same group that includes the black widow and other widow spiders. While the house spider has some features in common with the widow spiders, it does not have a poisonous bite.

Like the widow spiders, the house spider female has a globular body that is about 1/4-inch (6 mm) long but the spider can be an inch (2.5 cm) or more across with legs outspread. Coloration of the female is variable, usually light tan with various darker markings giving it a mottled appearance that is sometimes confused with the female brown widow spider. The legs are banded pale yellow and brown. The less noticeable make house spider is much smaller than the female with an elongated abdomen and orange legs. He is sometimes found in the web with the female.

Female House Spider

The web is not a nicely-shaped, circular orb web but is instead a cobweb: loose, messy, and tangled. A light tan, almost round, silken egg sac or sacs may be hanging in the web. The egg sac is often bigger than the body of the spider. From each sac, an average of 250 spiderlings will hatch out in 7-10 days after which they slowly disperse from the web.

The House Spider as a Pest

House spiders feed on small household insects and other arthropods such as ants, flies, centipedes, and cockroaches. The spiders are found in their webs constructed in hidden, protected places preferably in damp sites. Webs are found underneath furniture, in corners behind doors, and near windows or lights that attract prey. The female cues in on web movement to entangle and paralyze her prey. Underneath the web, you may find dried out silk-wrapped prey carcasses that have been dropped to make space in the web.

If a web does not capture prey, she will build another, so the number of dusty webs found is not necessarily an indication of the number of spiders present. But in a desirable site, several female house spiders may build their nests near each other. When disturbed, the house spider will retreat and hide and may “play dead”.


Key Points to Remember – The house spider can be found outside but is common in structures, including warehouses, throughout the U.S. and Canada. It bites only in self-defense, but the bite can be painful. A female can live for more than a year, producing 17 egg sacs.

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 













The Anobiid Powderpost Beetles

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 

The Anobiid Powderpost Beetles – Tips for Identifying an Active Infestation

There are three groups of powderpost beetles that can infest wood in structures: lyctids, bostrichids, and anobiids. Of the three, the anobiids (family Anobiidae) have the greatest damage potential in certain parts of the country since they are more likely to infest structural wood. They primarily infest the sapwood portion of both new and old softwoods, as well as hardwoods.

There are more than 300 species of anobiids in the U.S. with our pest species belonging to several different genera. Some are called deathwatch beetles and Anobium punctatum is known as the furniture beetle.

Anobid powderpost beetles require a wood moisture content of 13-30% and so are usually found in poorly ventilated damp crawlspaces or in houses or out-buildings that have been unoccupied and unheated for some time. In homes, unfinished basements or garages can have infestations if damp enough. Although found throughout the U.S., anobiids are primarily a problem in the southeastern U.S. and in warm coastal states with high humidity. The amount of damage correlates with the moisture level of the wood and is greater in damp areas of a structure. Anobiids most often infest unfinished wood and if the right conditions exist, anobiids can move upward into living areas and may infest furniture or hardwood floors, especially in humid climates.

Infestations spread slowly, often starting in damp areas near the ground. Because the grub-like beetle larvae are feeding in wood that is in rarely visited parts of a home or other structure, the infestation is often not noticed until it has been underway for years. Larvae feed for 2-3 years on average before pupating in the wood. The first indications of an infestation are usually the tiny, round exit holes left by the adult beetles as they emerge from the wood. Holes range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch (1.6 to 3 mm) in diameter. Mated females will lay eggs in the same wood if moisture remains high enough.

Accompanying the holes are piles of frass directly underneath or streaming down the wood from the holes. The frass looks like very fine sawdust and is primarily wood that has been digested by the larvae. When the infestation is in a crawlspace or unused basement, the frass may be overlooked as just dust. There are slight differences in the frass of each group of powderpost beetles. Anibiid frass is powdery but includes tiny pellets that usually give the frass a gritty feel when rubbed between your fingers. The larval galleries inside the wood remain tightly packed with frass.

When you find what seem to be powderpost beetle exit holes in wood, the first question is always whether it;s an old infestation or one that is still active. Anobiids have only one beetle “emergence” per year. occurring from spring into summer. IF you miss an annual emergence, answering this question will be more difficult.

Check moisture levels of the wood. Wood with a moisture content below 12% is spring and summer will rarely support a beetle infestation. The infestation may have died out as the wood dried over time.

Look for exit holes in wood. Adult beetles emerge over a 3-4 week period from April to mid-summer, depending on your location and the species. At the time of your inspection, use a permanent marker to mark existing holes in crawlspaces or take a photo, and then check back later for new, unmarked holes. You’ll have to make sure that you check back after emergence time in your area to find new holes. if you’ve just missed adult emergence, don’t expect any new holes for another year.

Powderpost Beetles Frass

Look for fresh frass. At the time of your inspection, sweep up the “sawdust”, and dust off the exit holes so that you have a clean slate when you check back for new frass. Old frass will be yellowed and cakey. Fresh frass will be light-colored, loose, and powdery. BE careful not to confuse small quantities of frass that may sift out of holes naturally due to vibrations with piles pushed out by beetle emergence.

Look for adult beetles. Anobiid beetles can be hard to find since they are active at night and don’t live long. Some head for light so you may be able to find them, alive or dead, at windows or light fixtures or in spiderwebs, especially near foundation vents. Sometimes you can find beetles on the wood surface between dusk and midnight. Finding dead beetles does not necessarily mean a still active infestation. The beetles are 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3 mm – 6 mm) long, reddish-brown to nearly black, and elongate or cylindrical in shape. The head is hidden by the pronotum when viewed from above.

Break into the wood. This is destructive sampling and might be a last resort since it depends on finding the right spot in the wood at the right time. Not finding galleries or larvae in a piece of wood does not mean larvae are not developing unseen elsewhere.

Article is from Techletter For Pest Control Technicians – – Volume 34, No. 2 – Published by Pinto & Associates, Inc. 






Dave’s Soapbox: Hunters Make Better Pest Managers

Dave’s Soapbox: Hunters Make Better Pest Managers

By: David Mueller

First the moral of this story: Hunters make better pest managers because they are intensely alert and vigilant, and they prepare for success.

I was recently sitting in a duck blind waiting for birds to fly by when a thought popped into my mind: “The preparation and energy that I just put into this hunt is much like pest managers and fumigators put into their job.” Let’s examine this statement.

I set the alarm clock for 4:30 AM. I had a good breakfast before I started out. I packed the truck with decoys, hunting license, my new shot gun that I sighted and practiced shooting prior to the hunt. I had my Black Lab named Buddy excited and well trained prior to the opening day. I carried dog treats for those times when a pat on the head was not good enough. I knew exactly where I was going and what time I would arrive. I had
permission to hunt at this location prior to opening day.

My ‘bucket’ had a box of steel shot shells, a knife, a leash, a good flashlight and a backup flashlight with new batteries. The clothing was the correct camo for this marsh grass background. My waders were checked for leaks prior to leaving. My duck and goose calls were tuned up and ready to coax those wary ducks back within range of our duck blind.

It is dark in Indiana at 6:00 AM in December, but the sun starts creeping up the eastern horizon about 6:15 am. The first 30 minutes of duck hunting is when the birds like to
stretch their wings and look for somewhere to feed. A dozen decoys may attract them to take a look or better yet set their wings to land in your decoys. I’m starting to carve my own duck decoys.

The hunter is on constant alert from 360 degrees to be ready to sight in this shotgun. The hardest lesson in my life is how far do you lead a flying duck. The reaction of pulling the trigger, the shot gun shell discharging, the flight of the shot through the barrel and then 40 -50 yards toward the fast flying duck is always a mystery and challenge.

Now I shoot a duck flying by and it falls into the tall marsh grass. You don’t know if it is crippled or dead. Now is the time for your dog to do their job. Without a hunting dog the chances of finding this downed duck would be slim.

Buddy Video Screen Grab

Click here to watch Buddy make a duck retrieve.

Preparing for success: Hunters make better pest managers because they prepare, are vigilant, and they educate themselves with well-honed skills. The equipment they gather prior to the job makes them more successful. Identifying the pest is half the battle in
controlling the pest. A hunter doesn’t want to shoot an eagle when he thinks it is a goose or a grebe when he thinks it is a teal.

Hunters have the correct equipment and clothes for the outing. Flashlights are key to the success of the pest manager. So, don’t buy a cheap one, buy a professional one that performs in all situations. Scanners are now the norm in pest management. I would not want to take an under sized shot gun and shells to the field. When your customers need a fumigation, you don’t sell them a fogging.

Pheromones (OK, you knew this was coming) are lures like the duck or goose calls or the authentic looking decoys. Some pheromones work better than others, well carved and painted decoys in the correct place will look more realistic than others.

Dave and Buddy.JPEG

Dave and Buddy





INDIANAPOLIS –  Insects Limited and FSS will be hosting the 13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference June 12-14, 2018 at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis.

Throughout the past 25 years, this biennial conference has followed the theme of “Sharing Through Education”.   David Mueller, program organizer stated, “This conference is one you don’t want to miss.    Attendees and speakers from over 30 countries come together to share their experiences and offer an international perspective on protecting stored products”.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Steve Yaninek, former Department Head and current professor at the Department of Entomology, Purdue University. “We are honored to have Dr. Yaninek share his many stories and tell about pest management around the world”.

This conference will feature two days of speakers and classroom interaction, a special conference dinner, and two hands-on practical workshops to choose from.  For more information and conference registration visit www.insectslimited.comEarly registration ends April 1st.


Sharing Through Education

13th Fumigants & Pheromones Conference 

Save the Date: June 12-14, 2018

F and P conference logo

The 13th Fumigants & Pheromones conference and workshop is different from most trade meetings or scientific working groups. The speakers who are invited to present are industry experts with decades of experience. The practical information you receive at the workshop and the people you meet at these gatherings of like-minded professionals will make you better at your own trade.

The previous 12 conferences, since 1993, have offered updates in technology and regulations and created a network of friends who gather every 2 years to share
through education. In all, over 2,700 people from 60 different countries have attended this conference over the past 25 years. This truly is an international event that
focuses on sharing through education.

We hope to see you in Indy in June.

For more information visit

Conference Flyer

Rankings of Cities with the Most Clothes Moths

For the very first time, Insects Limited has released a ranking of the top clothes moth cities in the United States.

Clothes Moth Map

New York City topped the list in 2017, followed closely by Boston. Find the entire list of rankings below.

Clothes Moth
Photo by Patrick Kelley, Insects Limited

1. New York
2. Boston
3. Los Angeles
4. Santa Fe
5. Philadelphia
6. Chicago
7. San Francisco
8. Minneapolis
9. Washington DC
10. Seattle
11. Dallas
12. Wilmington, DE
13. Albuquerque
14. Orlando
15. Portland, OR

Clothes Moth Populations on the Rise
Similar to the trending that we have seen with the elevation of bed bug populations throughout the country, webbing clothes moths, Tineola bisselliella, appear to be on a rapid rise in many metropolitan areas (See Note below). Research has suggested that webbing clothes moths are prevalent in cities and are rarely found in rural areas (Krüger-Carstensen & Plarre, 2011). They do not typically come into our homes and businesses from natural reservoirs (E.g. bird nests, dead animals) unless those natural reservoirs are in an area heavily populated by people These moths instead travel from
person to person, hidden away in our belongings. They are identical to the German Cockroach in the fact that webbing clothes moths benefit from an association with humans and the habitats that humans create.
As we pass along our wool rugs & blankets, cashmere sweaters, horse-hair stuffed furniture, fur coats, and other materials made of animal-based fibers to other people, we are aiding in the spread of these moths. While the presence of webbing clothes moths in nature in completely rural areas is nearly non-existent, areas like the highly populated
northern portion of the Eastern seaboard (Maine to Washington DC) seem to have more than their share of this moth pest. There is evidence to suggest that in densely populated urban environments, the moths can move from residence to residence by flight alone. Keeping them from doing that is an essential element in keeping  their numbers down. To prevent the spread of this damaging insect, make sure that all incoming furniture, rugs or textiles are free of moths before they enter into your home. Install exclusion measures (door sweeps, window screens, etc.) to keep neighboring moth populations from entering your residence or business. Clothes moth pheromone traps are available to inform you:
1. If you have the moths
2. Where they might be coming from if you do have them

(See: or to purchase pheromone traps).

If you find suspected moth activity in small items such as sweaters or individual articles of clothing, these materials can be frozen for a 2-week period in any standard freezer or “super-heated” in a clothes dryer for 1 full hour on the hottest setting, to kill all stages of of the moth (egg, caterpillar, pupae and adult: Click here for video on clothes moth life-cycle). Larger items such as area rugs and furniture must be treated by a professional pest management service.

Note: The list of top cities was compiled based on the total number of sales of clothes moth traps into the greater metropolitan areas of each ranked city during the period of January 1 – December 31, 2017. The statement above that the webbing clothes moth populations are on the rise is based solely on increased sales of pheromone products related to this insect and an increase in customer inquiries about clothes moths over several decades.

Krüger-Carstensen, B., & Plarre, R. (2011). Outdoor trapping and genetical characterization of populations of the webbing clothes moth Tineola bisselliella (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) in the broader area of Berlin. Journal of Entomological and Acarological Research, 43(2), 129-135.

Clothes Moth Adult and Larvae

Larvae, pupa and adult stage of the webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella
Photo by Patrick Kelley, Insects Limited