Mr. Pest Control


Q:

What is the best way to manage rat mites inside a residence? Rats have been trapped out and the openings sealed up, but the customers are still receiving bites.

A:

Even though rat mites were a known issue, still make sure they are present with sticky monitors before you continue helping your customer. Although rat mites don’t necessarily disappear when the rats do, it’s common for people suffering from parasites to continue to believe the parasites are present after they’ve been managed effectively.

If not already found and you have an idea where rat nests might be in the structure, that’s the best place to start. Remove them if possible and/or treat the area with an appropriately labeled product. Tropical rat mites tend to like wall voids, especially if there is a heat source. Otherwise, they hide in cracks and crevices near their food source. Pay attention to where your customer says they receive bites. Treat the wall voids of the room(s) and the cracks and crevices around the problematic sitting or resting areas. The approach is similar to a bed bug treatment, except mites are even harder to see.

Here’s the good news – in the absence of rats, a rat mite infestation will not continue to grow like a bed bug infestation. Humans are not their principal host and they do not survive well without rats. They are not known to transmit human diseases, either.

Q:

We now have bed bugs in several classrooms. They first showed up a month ago. Will they die or no longer be a problem if the rooms remain empty over the three-month summer?

A:

Bed bug INTRODUCTIONS are more common in schools than bed bug INFESTATIONS. Usually, a student from an infested home brings bed bugs to school on their backpack or outerwear. These bed bugs then spark some commotion about bed bugs in the school, but it is rare to find full-fledged bed bug infestations in schools. The classroom environment isn’t as conducive to bed bugs as the bedroom environment. Bed bugs are often introduced and found in cubbies where they won’t get a blood meal and there’s a lot of movement in and out of classrooms every hour of the day. Then at night, there’s nothing to feed on except maybe the class hamster.

The areas where bed bugs are found in a school should be an inspected and monitored by a pest management professional. Treatment probably won’t be necessary. Depending on school IPM rules, treatment may not even be allowed unless a threshold is met. These classrooms should be inspected and monitored to determine whether treatment is warranted. If necessary, then follow up with treatment. For further information, there is a great bed bug protocol for schools by Texas A&M University.

About bed bugs dying after leaving the classrooms vacant for three months, it may occur because bed bug populations in schools don’t tend to become established. This would not occur with established bed bug infestations in bedrooms. However, how would you prove to parents that the bed bugs present at the end of the previous school year died of starvation over the summer and are no longer a problem? Having followed an inspection and monitoring protocol that documented the situation is a better answer.