Archive for February, 2010

Industry Links and Information

February 28, 2010

Check out some of these great industry links and other useful information on pest & termite control.

The Adams Pest Control blog recently featured a post on available positions in the company.

This Arizona Bee, Bird, Pest & Termite Control Company has a cool blog they update daily. has some very useful information for both consumers and business’s alike.

All American Pest Control has a blog where they keep you up to date with the buzz around Nashville.

Bulwark Exterminating also has an interesting blog with lots of great information.

Al Hoffer's Pest Termite & Lawn Care - South Florida


Do Ultrasonic Pest Boxes Work?

February 26, 2010

You almost cannot open a retail catalog, whether it’s one that comes in the mail or ones you glance through to pass the time on an airplane, without coming across ads for “ultrasonic” pest control devices. These magic boxes promise to “Eliminate Pests Safely!” and “The Safe Way to Rid your Home of Ants, Fleas, Mice, and Cockroaches!” I once went through a pet supply catalog, and there were easily 12 different insect repellers advertised for sale, from collars to wrist bands to plug-in boxes.

How do these boxes propose to perform this wondrous feat? “Ultrasonic Repeller sends high frequency sound waves that keep rodents and insects 1000 feet away from the unit – only $19.95″. (Or $29.95, or $39.95). In most cases there will also be some mention of your ability to eliminate “harmful” pesticides by using these environmentally friendly and safe devices instead.

Do they really work? Perhaps not. There have been many researchers at many universities who, in the past 20 years, have put many variations of “ultrasonic frequency transmitters” and “electrical wave generators” to unbiased and scientific testing, and their results have not exactly supported the claims of the manufacturers of the magic boxes.

One of those active in this area is Dr. Roger Gold, professor of entomology at Texas A&M University. Some of his comments from reports published in trade journals or personal comments made at educational seminars include these:

  1. “Based on the research results it appears that sonic and ultrasonic sound is ineffective to control or repel German Cockroaches.”
  2. “There continues to be a lack of confirmed studies to scientifically document the claims of efficacy against insect pests”. This comment was in 1993, when the Office of the Attorney General in Texas had just concluded imposing a permanent injunction against the manufacturer of some “electronic vibrating devices”, prohibiting future sales in Texas, due to inaccurate claims by the manufacturer.
  3. “Test protocols and regulations that will protect the public from unscrupulous manufacturers and marketers of these types of devices must be developed.”
  4. “These devices are an outright fraud perpetrated by unscrupulous people.”

Dr. Michael Dreydon conducts flea research in the State of Florida, and he addressed the efficacy of ultrasonic flea collars that claim to repel fleas from any pet that wears the collar. His research, and the research of what he said have been over a dozen studies world wide, prove that such devices do absolutely no good in affecting the population of fleas on an animal. Dr. Dreydon states that fleas and all other insects are incapable of even hearing ultrasonic sound, and therefore no effect would be the expected result.

However, he also goes on to say that possible “behavioral disorders” have been noticed in the pets that wear these collars, because the poor pet IS able to hear the sound being emitted right next to its ears, and it is beginning to affect it. Dr. Dreydon also made the observation that it was curious, that the pet owners who used such collars were thrilled with the results, even though he and his team could count just as many fleas on pets after collars were placed on them as there were prior to the collar’s use. As he put it, “an interesting placebo effect.”

A few more comments from researchers around the world

Mogens Lund, the Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory, Denmark:

“…ultrasonics are in no way a solution to a rodent problem” – “In no case has the effect on brown rats been of practical importance” (following testing of 11 different devices that produce sounds in different ways) – “our negative attitude is based not only on information from experts in many other countries, but primarily on our own investigations”

Dr. Michael Rust, Univ. Calif. At Riverside, Dept. of Entomology:

“There is nothing in the way of behavioral or biological response that has any meaning”.

L. O. Nelson – Office of the State Chemist, Purdue University, Indiana:

“The best advice regarding ultrasonic devices is to let the buyer beware. Ultrasonic devices have never been shown to control rats and mice by themselves or control insects.”

Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have given close scrutiny to the claims made for ultrasonic pest control devices, and they are highly concerned that claims are made with no verifiable data to back them up. In Indiana the state required 44 manufacturers of the devices to submit data to support their claims, and received it from only 5 of the 44. Upon review of this data from the 5 manufacturers the state found no information or evidence that would support the claims made on the labels, “and that includes the rodent control claims.”

So, what can you expect from the use of ultrasonic repelling devices?

Some manufacturers agree that the device cannot eliminate the pest by itself, but perhaps can irritate it enough to move it around where it may contact the other pest control measures, such as pesticides. Some manufacturers suggest it might make rodents move out long enough that you can seal up the holes and cracks they used for entry, and keep them out. This has long been a guideline set down by the professional pest control industry – removal and exclusion – and is hardly something new.

University researchers are also concerned that, since there have been no proper and independent studies on the use of such devices, there also has been no research to test the long-term implications to the health of pets or people exposed to the constant (if there even are any) ultrasonic sound waves being emitted. As Dr. Dreydon in Florida reported, pets do seem to be exhibiting problems.

So, it is really tempting. All you have to do is plug in a box and all of the animals you don’t want around in your house or yard will simply go away, and, magically, all the animals you do want around (your cat, your dog, your parakeet, the ladybugs outside) are unaffected by it. Somehow the ultrasonic device can distinguish between the desirable animals and the vermin.

However, the bottom line appears to be that such Ultrasonic Sound Wave transmitters will do zero to affect any insects you don’t like, and at best will temporarily irritate any birds or rodents, who quickly get used to the new sound and begin to ignore it.

I would suggest you not fall for the advertising claims at this time. If it was that easy then every pest control professional in the world would simply be selling $19.95 boxes instead of going to all that hard work. The same way you probably aren’t going to look like a cover-girl model by sitting on a vibrating pillow for a half hour each night (while watching TV), it just isn’t an easy answer for eliminating pests.

Courtesy of—->

Introducing the Termite & Ant Institute

February 25, 2010

BASF (The world’s leading chemical company) has recently launched a couple of very useful, informational websites for consumers. The Ant Institute is a site dedicated to relaying vital ant control information to home owners. The site features great tips on how to avoid an ant infestation, and also contains facts about colony behavior, and the biology of ants. Another cool aspect of the site is it has an ask the expert feature, which is always a useful resource. Remember, you can always ask us about your pest & termite control questions.

The other site BASF recently launched is The Termite Institute. The site has many similar aspects as the ant institute does except the focus is on termite inspection & control. The site provides homeowners with many answers to questions that people constantly have about these common invaders. You can find the answers to questions such as…

Can termites tunnel through cement?

Does homeowners’ insurance cover the cost of termite damage?

Can I treat my termite infestation myself?

You can also find a useful termite identification chart to help you identify this particularly annoying pest. Be sure to let us know what other pest and termite control resources you use when looking for a professional to protect your home and family.

Black Widow Spider Control Tips

February 24, 2010

Black Widow Control Methods/Tips

  • Areas that are conductive to spider activity e.g., dark protected areas that attract insect prey, should be identified.
  • Clutter and debris inside structures and scrap lumber, woodpiles, rocks, and other protective outside materials should be removed.
  • A vacuum cleaner should be used in order to remove spiders, webs. And eggs sacs; the bug should then be sealed immediately and discarded.
  • Outside lighting that attracts insects to the structure should be changed.
  • Pesticides can be applied as residual sprays or dusts with special emphasis on application into potential or known harborage areas.
  • Non residual aerosols, mists, and ULV’s that contain a pyrethroid insecticide can be used to kill exposed spiders.
  • Dusting spider webs and leaving them undisturbed for several days is also a strategy.
  • Pesticides are the most effective way of killing the spiders’ food, insects, rather than killing the spiders.

Pest Poll

February 23, 2010

Please take part in our Florida pest control poll below!

South Florida Pest Termite & Lawn Care

What South Florida pest have you seen the most of this year? (Click Here)


Florida bed bug prevention

February 22, 2010

The following bedbug prevention tips will help you reduce your risk of bedbugs:

* Thoroughly check your belongings after a hotel stay.

* Wash all bedding regularly in hot water. The water should be at least 120 degrees.

* Vacuum floors regularly. Use the brush tool of your vacuum to vacuum your mattress. Use the crevice tool to vacuum crevices in the mattress and your baseboards.

* Use a plastic cover over your mattress. Bedbugs can’t hide on the plastic cover.

* If you purchase used furniture, examine it for bed bugs. Pay special attention to used mattresses and bed frames.

* Check your own bed for bedbugs from time to time. Catching them early will make bedbug treatment easier if bedbugs do occur.

You can also consult Al Hoffer’s as we will be able to provide treatment for the problem and help assist you in finding where these creatures may be hiding.

Florida Bed Bug Control

Florida cockroach incident

February 19, 2010

The cockroaches in Florida are at it again. This time they are at a 24 hour news station right here in Florida. Check out the video below to see what happened. Remember to call us for all of your South Florida cockroach control.

Siafu Ants

February 18, 2010

Siafu ants, also known as Driver Ants are one of the most dangerous ants in the world.

Colonies of driver ants can number up to 22 million. Almost daily, swarms embark on raids for food which can be brought back to the nest. Although totally blind, driver ants have no problems getting around. They rely on touch, smell and chemical signals from the abdomen of the leading ants. The swarms can travel at up to 20 meters per hour, stripping all animal life in their path. They are also known to raid the nests of other social insects, although never those of other driver ants. They do not rely on stings to attack; rather they use their large and powerful mandibles to create puncture wounds and tear off sections. Driver ants have a larger impact on their habitat than any other creature and they have to move location at regular intervals to find new feeding grounds. During their nomadic existence they form temporary nests called ‘bivouacs’ made from the living members of the colony, in which they house the developing grubs. Whenever the ants swarm or migrate, they form large highways of workers, bordered by the soldiers, which hang over the action, their mandibles waving, to protect the colony as it moves.

Termite Facts

February 16, 2010

Here are some general facts about termites, remember to call Al Hoffer’s Pest at the first sign of termite activity. We have been specializing in termite inspection and control in South Florida for over 30 years! Also check out the image below on how to distinguish an ant from a termite.

  • Termites are insects. They have hard, saw-toothed jaws that help them to eat lumber, wallpaper, plastics, and fabric made of plant fibers.
  • There are four different groups of termites: dampwood, drywood, subterranean and mound builders. Dampwood termites like to live and feed in very moist wood. Drywood termites can survive in very dry conditions and do not need moisture or soil. Subterranean termites are very common and live and breed in soil. Mound builders live in Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia and part of South America; they are able to build large earthen towers 25 feet or higher.
  • Termites can be found in almost every state as well as Mexico and parts of Canada. They favor warmer climates and actively avoid light. (See range map below)
  • As a species, termites date back to the time of the dinosaurs.
  • Termites are 24/7 bugs, which means they eat non-stop – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They feed on wood and may also destroy paper products such as books, cardboard, boxes and anything containing cellulose. Even buildings with steel framing and masonry walls are targets because of the wooden door and window frames, cabinets and shelving within the buildings.
  • Termites live in underground colonies, some containing over two million members.
  • The social structure of a colony includes the queen, king, winged reproductive swarmers, soldiers, and workers. Worker termites are small creamy white insects. They are the most numerous and the cause of all the termite damage.
  • Swarmers, or winged reproductive’s, are termites that leave the colony to mate, reproduce and start new colonies.
  • In a large nest, a queen and king may live for 15 years, with the queen laying up to one egg every 15 seconds for most of her life.
  • Termites can cause serious damage to structures often long before they are discovered, i.e., more than $1.5 billion in property damage a year to over 600,000 homes in the United States.
  • How do termites enter the home? The most common termite, the subterranean, builds its nest in the ground. These termites construct mud tubes that are used to explore for food and connect their underground nest to that food source. They can enter a building without direct wood contact with the soil through such tubes. They can find their way into a structure through an opening as small as 1/32 of an inch (smaller than the size of a pinhead!).
  • Al Hoffer’s techs are termite control specialists, and can provide protection from termite infestations. Our termite inspectors are trained to locate specific areas in homes where a termite attack is most likely to occur. If termites are found, we can design a treatment plan to control current infestations and to protect homes from future infestations.

Image courtesy of American Pest Control


February 16, 2010