Common Questions & Answers

The following questions will commonly be asked..


Regarding Cluster Flies


What time of the year is best to treat for Cluster Flies?

Late August or early September is usually the ideal time but weather conditions and the type of late summer and early fall we are having will be important. Our job is to prevent the flies from overwintering and treating a bit early is better than a bit late.  In a very cool late summer, we want to be treating in August..  In a very warm late summer, we may have a number of extra weeks. 


Once you have treated will the flies all be gone and will they be gone forever?

Simply put... NO and NO

Treatment for Cluster Flies prevents them from overwintering and it needs to be understood that on some days, when the fly numbers are very heavy, there is no pesticide I know of that will keep them from landing on your home and a few getting indoors. We have traps that can help significantly reduce the numbers indoors at these times. 

As far as length of residual life of pesticides.. The products we use are botanicals or synthetics of botanicals that are formulated to last for a long time but that is measured in months and not years.. You will need to treat every year to maintain control.


Why are Cluster Flies Bad?

Well, they are good and bad, depending on how you look at it.. There are actually no bad insects as all of them are integrated into the life cycle of our environment. They all have a role as a food source, as predators and so on.. Cluster flies are actually good in the sense that they provide a great food source for birds and other insects and spiders. They also lay their eggs in the soil and the fly larva feed on earthworms which are an invasive species in this area. 

On the bad, shall we say, inconvenient side.. they overwinter in our walls and provide a never ending nuisance factor for us. The flies that die in the wall also provide a food source for beetles that feed on dead animals.. Larder Beetles and Black Carpet beetles to name a few. We treat a number of homes that have both problems and it is not easy to rid a home of carpet beetles, once they are in the wall voids.

We can treat this problem very surgically and not impact the vast amount of the flies out there..only the ones that are targeting your home. 



Regarding Carpenter Ants


How long will a Carpenter Ant live?

A worker may live for as long as 8 years, with an average around 6-7 years

A queen may live for as long as 25 years 


Why are Carpenter Ants Bad?

Carpenter Ants excavate wood to build their nests. They are very good at this and given a good amount of time can cause significant damage. The big issue is really not the volume of wood removed but all the fungal spores they bring in that can cause wood rot if not checked. 

Your home will not fall down but over time you will be replacing a lot of structural wood.


Are there Termites in St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties

NO.. This author knows of no reports in NE Minnesota. I have seen termite colonies in St. Paul and almost all of the surrounding suburbs however. Warmer weather patterns over time may briing termites north eventually.


Once treated will Carpenter Ants be gone forever?

NO.. Carpenter Ants will re-acquire habitat and in time will be back. There are some very basic preventative measures that can be taken that will prevent this from happening. 


What causes Carpenter Ants to invade?

Carpenter Ants are oportunistic. They are constantly looking for food, water and nest sites. Our living quarters are ideal for their survival and the spaces in walls and the wood we build our homes out of are ideal as well. Moisture will attract them and make it easier for a nest to start but they will occupy dry wood as well. They just need water close by.


How many Carpenter Ants are in a nest?

Depending on the conditions and species there can be as many as 10,000 ants in a nest.


Why am I seeing winged ants? 

Every year, usually in the Spring or Summer, mature colonies of ants (all species that I know of) will go through what we call a reproductive swarm. This event lasts a few days to weeks and produces, in the case of the Large Black Carpenter Ant, about 200 large winged ants. These ants mission is to get outside and into the soil to start a new colony that will eventually get into wood. You are seeing them because the nest is mature ( over 7 years old) and the winged ants emerging from a nest that is probably close to you. Seeing winged ants indoors in large numbers is a 100% sign of an inside nest.. Seeing a single winged ant or a couple inside during the Summer in the middle of a forest is not necessarily something to worry about but more inspection is warranted. It is also common to see large ants after loosing their wings. Huge Carpenter Ants having no wings are in most cases nothing to worry about insofar as infestation. They emerged from their nest days ago and wandered indoors by accident.



What are the danger signs that I have a Carpenter Ant infestation?

1. Seeing a large number of winged swarmers emerge indoors.

2. Seeing ants trailing into the home carrying food or coming out carrying fras or wood. 

3. Seeing a variety of sizes of larger black ants indoors, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. 

4. Seeing fras or chewed wood accumulating.

5. Hearing noises in the wall resembling rustling leaves or potato chips being crushed.

6. Uncovering ant damage when doing remodeling. 



Are all Carpenter Ants BIG ?

NO.. Some species are actually fairly small. While the most common is the Large Black Carpenter Ant, the diagnosis that what you have is Carpenter Ants is based on looking at specific body parts and characteristics. It should also be noted that not all Carpenter Ants are black.. Some have red middles and some are brown. 



Regarding Mice



How do I make sure mice do not get into my home?

The most effective application for mice is simply sealing holes and making sure items that could be habitat or shelter mice are removed from contact with the exterior of the home. Cut high grass along the foundation and repair door sweeps.



Are mice all the same?


The mice found in NE Minnesota will be primarily Deer Mice when dealing with cabins or remote homes. In a larger town, House Mice may be seen frequently along wiith deer mice. The two are basically the same in size but differ in coloration and pattern. The Deer Mouse has a distinct white underbelly and larger ears and eyes. The House Mouse is usually a grey to black mouse with smaller eyes and ears and not a distinct white belly.

Reproduction and habitat is different as well.. The Deer Mouse will often times just be confined to wall voids and attic spaces where the House Mouse will be found all over the house and in kitchen and pantry. Number of pups produced is about the same with the House Mouse usually having larger litters. Typically 8 pups per litter and 8 litters per year.



Why are mice bad?

Mice are bad because they have the habit of chewing constantly and not being terribly choosy what they chew on. Wiring can be exposed by gnawing and electrical fire can be the result.

They also are not particular where they shed hair and feces. A well fed, adult mouse will produce up to 70 droppings in a single day. While not likely to spread disease, they are capable of contaminating large amounts of food in a short amount of time. 

Their reproductive rate is amazing with a single adult female being able to have 8 litters of 8 pups each per year.



What is the best bait for mice on a trap?

The best bait for mice is probably what they need the most at the time. Peanut butter is always good with mayo or chocolate coming in a close second/third.. Cheese is actually not the best as it gets stale and hard to easily. Mice are on the lookout for clean and fresh food.. They will stick their nose up at stale material in most cases.

And the old fashioned snap trap is still king in most cases. Pest Control supply companies have developed many new traps but not necessarily a better mousetrap. General Guideline.. Get a trap with a big paddle.




Regarding Black Legged Ticks (Deer Ticks)


How do Deer Ticks get the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease ?


The Black Legged/ Deer Tick spends a large portion of its life as a nymph and during that time will likely feed off of and live with the local rodent population.. most specifcially, the White Footed Mouse and/or the Deer Mouse. It is during that time that the Deer Tick nymph will take a blood meal from the mouse which may be harbor the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease and should that nymph bite a human, there is a chance it can infect that person. The nymph is only the size of a poppy seed so it is possible you would not detect it.



What can be done to help reduce the number ot ticks ?


NSSPM uses a system that attacks the tick nymphs right in the mice nests. Rather than broadcast spraying for ticks, we distribute biodegradable tubes that contain a variety of attractive nesting components that the mice love. Raw cotton, cattail seeds, wool fragments and paper. These materials are treated with a non repellant botanical pesticde (synthetic of the extract of the Chrysanthimum flower ) that when used to line the mice nests, will kill the ticks, mites and other parasites on the mouse. It does not harm the mouse but prevents any tick from surviving within that nest. This tranlates into fewer ticks but dramatically fewer ticks carrying the Lyme bacteria. We love the process becuase it does not impact non target speciies or pollinators 



Will this treatment guarantee I will not get Lyme Disease?


NO..but it will significanly reduce the incidence of Deer Ticks in the area treated and likewise the chances of being bitten by an infected tick. 


We now accept Credit Card payments on line through the use of our Customer Portal..  Go to the address below to register for online payments and to see upcoming services..