Pest Control in Framingham MA (Podcast)
By Chris Williams on November 22, 2020.
Zack Ciras, quality manager at Colonial Pest Control, discusses pest control in Framingham, Massachusetts, including the different types of pests and the various services offered.
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 Framingham, Massachusetts. Welcome Zack.
Zack Ciras: Thanks John.
Pest Control in Framingham
John: Sure. So Zack, talk a little bit about Framingham, are there any general things about pest control in Framingham that you’ve noticed?
Zack: Yeah, Framingham, you have a variety of things going on in Framingham. You have a lot of more tenement houses, closer to the college, closer to Waverly Street and that downtown area, so you have a lot more issues that you see in cities with bed bugs, and German cockroaches, and mice, and rats, and an old sewer system inviting a lot of things to come up and visit from time to time. Then as you get north from west of the city you have a lot of bigger homes, three to five thousand square foot homes, that have expansive basements, large attics, a lot of complex construction, so you have a lot of wildlife getting in those areas, bass and squirrels, mice for sure get into those. A lot of deer mice and white-footed mice, closer to that end of the woods so to speak.
Speaking of deer there’s a lot of deer that get into Framingham too, with the deer comes ticks, especially deer ticks. When you have deer roaming around the woods into people’s backyards then you have the white-footed mice, which is notorious for carrying the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick. You do have potential for Lyme disease, increased potential for Lyme disease because of the wildlife in the area. We do have a program that helps mitigate the ticks in the yard too. But you have a large variety of things in Framingham, large homes, small apartments, and everything in between.
The Campanelli houses, I believe is what they’re called, these houses built on slabs, they don’t have basements so they have a concrete slab. And a lot of them were built all at once right after the second World War. A lot of those types of houses kind of north of Route 9, but not quite in the woods. More think of a classic American neighborhood, everybody has their half acre, and they’re nicely stacked along. In a lot of those houses, because of the slab construction and the type of construction that occurred at the time; where you have this big forest, chop down the trees, what do you do with the trees, well you just dig a hole, bury the trees in the hole, and pour the slab on top; you get a lot of pavement ants, which pop up through the concrete. And whenever you have, in your driveway, or in your garage, or if you have a slab you know what I’m talking about too, the piles of sand, the anthills, those are usually pavement ants in that area.
And we have a lot of termites getting through the cracks as well, especially when the builders bury the trees or bury the lumber underneath the slab. The termites are just doing their job to chew up the wood. You know digest the cellulose, turn it into humus, but that causes some sinkholes, some cracking. Termites, once they’re done feeding on that wood that was buried, they’re looking for something else to chew on and they don’t know the line between the slab 4″ on top of their old food source, which has new food on it, which could be your house unfortunately.
John: Right. Like you said, they’re just doing their job, and when it’s out in the forest and they’re eating through a downed tree, and turning it into dirt for the forest floor, it’s great and healthy for the forest but you don’t want them eating your house and turning it into dirt.
Zack: Right. Sometimes they need gentle reminders, that’s what we’re here for.
Pest Control Services in Framingham
John: Right. So talk a little bit about some examples of pest control services that you’ve done in Framingham.
Zack: Sure. So I’ll think of one house that I did earlier this summer, a couple months ago now, but it was right at the peak of the heat. And, I mean, we’re trying to be very cautious about safety and health concerns these days, so I didn’t get to do much inside the living area of the house, just because the husband’s feeling sick, we want to be respectful of everybody. So we did some treatments on the outside and then the basement.
Their major issues were mice and carpenter ants. The mice actually were pretty limited, I’ll start with the mice. They were getting in the garage, and then going from the garage through a regular sized door, underneath that door the door sweep was broken in a section, and that was their main entry into the house. Searched the rest of the house, all the corners, behind all the typical penetrations that you’d think mice might be getting in, and that was really the one spot that they were getting in.
John: Just right under the door-
Zack: So typically you’d say, “That’s the homeowner’s responsibility.” Yeah, right under the door. And the garage door needs some concrete work on the slab, the door itself is probably original to the house, it had a good 30, 40 years on it, so there wasn’t a lot I could do then. But that personal door going into the basement, where the mice were, they had their rub marks, the sebum staining that they leave whenever they’re squeezing through an area. It’s just a coating of oil on their coat and as they squeeze in they leave a rub mark, a stain. I mean, you could easily see that they were getting in through the broken section at the bottom of the door, where the door sweep should have gone all the way across. I happened to have a door sweep on my truck that day, so I said, “Do you mind if I just replace the door sweep?”
So we baited through the basement where the levels of activity were, baited in the garage; tried to control them in the garage as best we can, knowing that they might still come through the garage door, which needs additional attention; put a new door sweep on the door. And we did a followup just a little while ago, maybe a month and a half after the initial service, no more mice in the house. In the garage just keep on refreshing the bait and working on them to have somebody come out to fix the door up, but that actually solved … Knock on wood, it solved the mouse problem just with a door sweep and some bait to control the existing population.
John: Wow, that must be one of the easier jobs you’ve had to do?
Zack: Yes, it was. It’s nice to see those from time to time. Sometimes you’re going to get the mortar out, and there’s holes in field stone, and there’s holes in every corner, and there’s rotted wood. This was a nice one and pretty straightforward. The mice, being the bad criminals that they are, they showed me exactly how they were getting in and let me stop them.
She did have carpenter ants though and that’s going to be a little bit more constant maintenance issue for her.
Dealing with Carpenter Ants
John: Okay, so talk a little bit more about that. Where were the carpenter ants and how were they getting into the house?
Zack: Well they were just about everywhere around the house. She lived in a neighborhood with a lot of split ranches, that was the style of the neighborhood, and a lot of old growth pine trees, and maple trees, and just a lot of wooded area. A big pine tree in the front of the house is almost 100 years old, a big tree. And the root system of that, as well as crawling up and down to an old dead limb, along the side of the house by the walkway there were some other root systems that you could see the carpenter ants they were actually nesting in the ground, as well as in the trees. And then the back of the house had a small hill going up, lined with some old trees as well, and you could see them in the middle of the day just walking back and forth from the house.
So because we had limited access inside the house at that time the best choice, I felt, was let’s try to hit the outside really well, see what we can do from the outside, be smart about it. And that actually did a lot of good for the inside. We ended up going back and doing some minor treatments, and small crack and crevice type liquid treatment inside later on, but the majority of them were controlled. We used a non-repellent spray outside, so we can hit the foundation and some key areas around the house with a non-repellent, so any of the ants that were getting in, especially by the front door had some water damage by the kick plate, so especially in that area the ants are crawling back and forth every day, not knowing that they have the material on them, and then they can bring it with them. And as the ants communicate they often groom each other. If you groom an ant that’s just walked through some non-repellent material and he doesn’t know, you’re going to ingest that as well and pass that along.
We also used some granular baits around the hotspots around the trees, so the ants could pick up the bait, bring it back into the nest, and hopefully feed enough of them that it really knocks them down. It seems to have done the trick, between the exterior non-repellent spray and then the granular bait around the trees as well.
John: So is there much that you can do, in terms of closing up a house so that ants can’t get in and out, or is it really more about putting those baits out in the areas where they are coming in and out of the house, and baiting them, and getting rid of them that way?
Zack: That’s a very good question. I think for carpenter ants especially, if there’s a population in the area it’s going to take a little bit of both actually. So if there’s water damage; there’s wood decay; there’s openings around the house; getting all of that replaced, especially the moisture repaired or replaced, caulked up, new wood, whatever it takes, that’s going to go a long way. But you still have ants that can get through any little gap, or crack, or a vent hole, or anything like that, you will still have some pressure on the house. So I do recommend, regardless, if there’s a lot of carpenter ants in the area to have the maintenance program. And we don’t go crazy. Some companies come every month or four times a year. We do twice a year. If we need more for your home we’re happy to do more and we don’t charge you any extra for that. But twice a year on the outside, preventing the ants from crawling in and really establishing themselves.
I’ll actually leave Framingham and go south a little bit to a town called Upton, the little town of Upton if you’re from this area. And one of our great customers there, who has been with us for a long time, actually owns some rental properties in the area too. She doesn’t love chemicals, so we apply materials that have chemicals to control pests, and the better job we do outside the fewer chemicals we need inside. But even with that she really wants us to play it safe and limit what goes on outside. So one year we did our limited spray and followed her wishes, we’re happy to help. But I did see that the carpenter ants were crawling to the front door, and it was a granite slab at the front door, a nice white painted kick plate, wood-sided house, and I could see one little gap in the corner where the caulking had dried up and come off. Just a little 1/8″ round hole, and that’s where the ants were crawling in and out.
Zack: So she was very happy to use a Borax type of bait inside the house, very safe for her, she’s comfortable with that. I took some caulking, caulked up around that door, and that actually did the trick for her. Between that and then just a limited application outside, just trying to be smart about everything.
And if a customer has sensitivities, whether you’re ill and you don’t want to do the interior at this portion, or you’re chemical sensitive we want to accommodate our customers as much as we can, while still solving the problem. And sometimes, like you said, closing up the gaps and cracks to keep them out, as well as the minimal things that we can do outside, that really goes a long way to think about it a little bit more and work with their behavior, and kind of think about them, more than just throwing material on the house.
Dealing with Termites
John: Right, right. Yeah, that’s really interesting and good advice. Any final thoughts on pest control in Framingham, Massachusetts?
Zack: We love Framingham but we have a lot of termite customers in Framingham. So those slab style houses keep a keen eye for any kind of moisture damage or wood to ground contact because, unfortunately, just that style of house gets a lot of termites. Give us a call.
John: All right, that’s great. Zack thanks again for speaking with me today.
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.