Pest Control in Wrentham MA (Podcast)
By Chris Williams on November 23, 2020.
Zack Ciras, quality manager at Colonial Pest Control, discusses pest control in Wrentham, Massachusetts, including the types of pest in the area and the services offered by Colonial Pest Control.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Zack Ciras, Quality Manager with Colonial Pest Control. Today, our topic is pest control in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Welcome Zack.
Zack Ciras: Hey John.
John: How are you doing today?
Zack: Very well. How are you?
Pest Control in Wrentham, MA
John: Good, thanks. So let’s talk about Wrentham a little bit. Are there any sort of general things about pest control in Wrentham, Massachusetts that you’ve noticed when you’ve worked there?
Zack: Yeah. Wrentham is a nice town. It’s right on the border of Rhode Island. So you get a little bit more style. Massachusetts isn’t a huge area, but you do notice some things as you get more south and more north. More north it’s colder, you see fewer things like termites that like the warmer environments. Actually at a point halfway up New Hampshire, they just drop off. You don’t have termites.
Zack: You get a little bit more south and you start to see some things that are a little bit warmer, a little bit more bog related. You have a lot of cranberry bogs in the area. The county itself has a lot of agriculture. So you have a lot more insects that you’ll tend to see in cranberry bogs and small farms, things like that. Heavily wooded area as well, so you do see a lot more conifer seed bugs and a lot of wasps and hornets love that area as well.
Pest Control Services in Wrentham
John: Okay. So what are some of the pest control services that you’ve done in Wrentham? Maybe you can talk about a few of them.
Zack: Yeah, we mostly do residential in Wrentham. It’s a lot of maintenance programs, take care of people’s homes because there’s persistent pest activity in the area. People like to have their home protected 365. So we have a lot of folks on our maintenance program, our Gold Plan, which covers you for rats and mice, which they do have a growing population of rats and mice down there as well, bees and wasps, spiders, [silverfish, carpenter 00:01:51] ants, all that kind of normal creepy-crawly type stuff. There’s a lot of that there and a lot of our residential customers in the area, they just like to have their home protected all year round. So we do a lot of exterior sprays as well as baiting for mice, exclusions, closing up holes, and trying to track down where problems might be coming from and limit that if we can.
John: Okay. So give me an example of one of the jobs that you’ve done in Wrentham.
Zack: Sure, sure. I can think of one home, a very nice house, maybe 3,000 square feet, a good size house but not overwhelming, wood-sided house with a lot of gables on it. There’s an addition above the garage, which has a couple of gables on it. So with the wood siding and then the gables, there’s a lot of opportunities for things to open up, things to crack open as the paint dries up, and you always need caulking and painting done on a wood-sided house. Then those gables where the roof lines come together, there’s a lot of potential for opening up inside there. A lot of people with gables have bat and squirrel problems as well. And this house I’m thinking of, she had persistent problems with bees and wasps getting into the house. She had some gutters that didn’t quite angle correctly, and didn’t flow very well. So she had some organic buildup that happened from time to time. She actually got some phorid flies breeding in her gutters. So part of my job when I go there is to look at her gutters and clean the troublesome ones, which you don’t think of as pest control but sometimes that’s what it takes-
John: Right. So you might have a situation where your gutter is maybe angled in the middle or something like that so all the water and the leaves and things like that all gather into one place. And then that’s a perfect breeding ground for that kind of pest.
Zack: Yeah. When we’re talking about flies, especially things like phorid flies or filth flies, decaying organic matter, that’s the name of the game. So if you can find and eliminate the decaying organic matter, and with phorid flies, it’s usually really kind of nasty stuff. You can smell it as you walk up to it. That’s where the phorid flies like to breed. The sitting water also attracts different wasp species. And she has a fruit tree in the front yard but she doesn’t really collect the fruit. It’s just pretty when it’s blossoming and she likes having the fruit around, even though she doesn’t eat it. Some kind of crab apple. So she has a lot of fruit on the ground. And occasionally a few years ago, she would hear ping, ping, ping, ping, ping on her windows at night and she saw these wasps, these giant, giant wasps. And I was actually working in the office on the phones that night. And she called and she says, “I have these giant hornets. You got to come help me. They’re giant hornets and getting in my bedroom,” which was the room above the garage actually was made into her bedroom.
Zack: I said, “Oh, it’s probably yellow jackets.” Getting into the fall, it’s their time of year, yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets, those are the two big ones this time of year. She sent me a picture and there was nothing to compare it to. She didn’t have anything size-wise, like a penny or a quarter near it so I could see. It was just on the hardwood floor. Yeah, looks like a yellow jacket. And she said, “No, they’re huge. You got to believe me.” So fine. Finished up in the office, went to go see her. I remember it was a late night. But she was right. They were huge. They were over an inch long and they looked exactly like a yellow jacket, maybe a little bit more red hues, but they were huge. So go up to the attic right above her bedroom in that loft area above the garage and there was a paper nest you could see that was in the last gallery, last bay between the joists for the roof, and it was paper covered the whole way up, probably four, five feet, easy, going up just that corner piece. And there were a few of them flying around that found their way out and they were just exploring or they were lost and it turns out they were European hornets. Very interesting. Not very common to see inside of a structure, but they’re pretty cool if they’re not in your house.
John: Right. Sure. So what is it about the European hornets that makes them different from other hornets that we have here in the United States?
Zack: Well, most notably I would say is they are a hornet. They are the only true hornets that we have in the United States. The bald-faced hornet, we call it a hornet because the term hornet usually refers to something that’s building a nest, an exposed carton or ball-shaped nest up in a tree or elevated some place. So that’s why we call them bald-faced hornets, even though they’re just a type or a version of a yellow jacket. So these European hornets are from Europe and they are true hornets. They usually are found in the woods in hollowed out trees, in different voids, away from people’s structures, for the most part. You think of Winnie the Pooh with a tree with the split in the middle, that’s usually where you see European hornets nesting in that area.
They’re different also that they forage at night. So most wasps and hornets, they’re out during the day, just like us and then they go home or find a nice stem to sting into and sleep for the night, wake up in the morning and do it again. But these bald-faced hornets, like I said, she mentioned she was hearing noises pinging against the window at night. They’re night foragers. So at her house, they were flying around looking for the dried up fruit on the ground and trying to get sugars and bugs that were eating that. And they were doing it at night and she had her light on in her bedroom, watching TV, getting ready for bed and they would ping up against the window just being attracted to the light.
John: Interesting. Wow. So with the European hornets, are they an invasive species? Or you said that they’re not normally found in this area. Where are they normally found?
Zack: They’re from Europe. They’re common to Europe. That’s where they actually come from. They were brought over by European settlers in the 1800s. They haven’t really taken over. They’re not invasive in that they’re going to push out another population. They’re not chasing the honeybees like those murder hornets you hear about on the West Coast. They’re definitely not murder hornets. They’re actually not very aggressive at all. They will sting. They can sting but that’s a pretty rare occurrence for somebody to be stung by a European hornet.
John: So was this the major problem that this woman in Wrentham had in terms of pests, were these European hornets or did you find other things there at the house?
Zack: Well, we had the phorid flies in the gutter.
Zack: We took care of those by cleaning out the gutters. We had the European hornets. She’s been with us for some years now. So she’s been on our maintenance program or Gold Plan for awhile. So we do a treatment around the outside of her house twice a year. She does have a history of mice inside the house. She had some holes under the deck and we were able to close those up some years ago. So we just maintain controls and monitors inside the house to make sure they don’t recur inside the house. Years ago, she also had bats too, and those bats are taken care of now. But the main pressing thing that can really freak you out, is those inch plus long stinging wasp-looking things. Yeah.
John: So what did you have to do to get rid of that nest and get rid of those hornets?
Zack: Yeah. We approached them from a couple different angles. One was on the inside where I could see the paper going up the corner board by the joists and to the roof. I was able to take a micro-injector, which is a machine that ionizes pyrethrin, an oil-based pyrethrin. So it comes out as a nice fog and can fill up a cavity. I injected that as I could, where I saw the paper, followed that up with some longer-lasting residual insecticide dust inside that void. They actually needed another return visit with some tall ladders on the outside of the house to get up in between the gable and where the trim comes together. But that was an issue where we had to inject and treat from the outside as well because they really got into a sweet spot for them. It was difficult to get to just from one angle. So we got up on the roof with some tall ladders, injected from the outside, dusted again from the outside as well as from the inside. So that one took a couple different visits with some additional materials like the ladders to really get on both sides of where they were building that nest.
John: And then what do you do to prevent those hornets from coming back?
Zack: Well, one thing that we could do is remove or limit the fruit that drops down from the tree. You can either chop down the tree, get rid of it altogether, or try to be more mindful about picking them up. But sometimes if they’re in the area, they’re just in the area. I actually spoke with her this year and she saw some when she was sitting on her deck. She saw some flying around at night. I inspected the house really well. We do the twice-a-year treatment around the outside. I think that’s doing a good job preventing them from coming in and really building in the house, but they are in the area. So whether they’re in a tree nearby and she’s abutting a very wooded area, conservation land. Some of the neighbors in the neighborhood on our street too. It was just the type of structure with a lot of gables, wood siding, one of them has a brick face and a stone face on a different section. Those look like they could have a lot of openings where the European hornets could actually build inside those areas as well. So there’s a population around.
And so when I first saw them a few years ago, I had maybe seen one more and heard stories in Blackstone, a nearby town. We actually made the newspaper 20-something years ago for another European hornet case where they were pinging against the garage late at night and they were living in a tree at the end of his driveway. Last year though, I talked to several of our technicians and each of them had dealt with multiple occurrences of the European hornet. So it seems like the population, it waxes and wanes, but last year especially, was a really big year for them. Haven’t seen as many this year, but I’ve seen some people reporting them. Haven’t had to deal with too many nests like we did last year, but they’re around.
John: All right. Well, that’s really interesting, Zack. Thanks again for speaking to me about pest control in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Zack: Thanks, John.
John: And for more information, you can visit the Colonial Pest Control website at colonialpest.com or call 1-800-525-8084. That’s 1-800-525-8084.