Cockroaches: Fact or Fiction

Q: Are albino (white) cockroaches common in infested homes?

A: All newly molted cockroaches are white. Over the next several hours after ecdysis (molt), the wings and body gradually tan and acquire the characteristic color and pattern of the species. Although various mutants, including albino and white-eyed mutants, are occasionally found in lab colonies, they are extremely unlikely to be found outside the lab.

Q: Can female cockroaches reproduce without males?

A: Cockroaches, like many other animals (e.g., chicken), can oviposit unfertilized eggs, and, in most cockroaches, these eggs are inviable. In some cockroaches, however, unfertilized eggs can develop into females only, and parthenogenetic reproduction can be sustained for several generations. Some cockroaches are facultatively parthenogenetic (e.g., American cockroach), and one, Pycnoscelus surinamensis, appears to be an obligatory parthenogen; males are not known in this species.

Q: Do all cockroaches form egg cases?

A: Cockroach eggs are always packaged into oothecae. Some oothecae are thick and hard (American cockroach), some are thin and softer (German cockroach), and some have been reduced to a very thin membranous structure. In the family Blaberidae, a large clutch of eggs is contained within a very thin ootheca, extruded, rotated and withdrawn into the uterus for incubation. One species (Diploptera punctata) does not make an oothecal case at all.


Q: Can all cockroaches walk up walls and upside down on ceilings?

A: Cockroaches use a combination of pretarsal arolia that serve as suction cup-like devices, and tarsal pulvilli, which create friction with surfaces, for upward, downward and upside-down walking. These devices, together with the pretarsal claws, allow cockroaches to grip smooth and rough surfaces. But some cockroaches do not have arolia, severely limiting their ability to walk on smooth surfaces.

Q: Why do cockroaches die on their backs with their legs up?

A: Neurotoxic insecticides cause tremors and muscle spasms, flipping the cockroach on its back. A healthy cockroach can easily right itself, but without muscle coordination, the cockroach dies on its back. Cockroaches exposed to slow-acting insecticides that target respiration (energy production) also can die “face-down,” as they run out of energy without experiencing muscle spasms.

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Bird Control: 4 Es of Bird Management

Pest management professionals who service commercial facilities are well aware of the dangers that insect and rodent pests can pose for food-processing facilities. But how often do you think about birds as a pest? Birds can harbor dozens of bacteria, disease-causing germs and parasites — dangers that quickly can spread to humans via droppings, feathers or handling birds themselves.

As a pest management provider,  you can make sure your clients are protected from potential bird risks. Where do you begin? Utilize what I like to call the “4Es” to move through developing a plan to protect your clients from bird contamination: exterior, entry, evacuate and educate. 

Exterior Areas

Keeping birds out of any facility begins on the exterior. In fact, most of your bird protection work should be focused on working with the client on the exterior to make the area less attractive to birds.

  • Keep trees well pruned, with an open form canopy.
  • Prune trees and shrubbery to eliminate understory.
  • Landscaping should be at least 1.5 feet (.5 meters) away from the building.

Entry Ways

Employees often prop exterior doors open to save time and energy. But of course open doors often allow birds (and other pests!) access to the building as well.

  • Keep doors, including those at loading docks, closed whenever possible.
  • For doors that must remain open, use heavy-gauge plastic strip curtains to form a barrier. To be effective, curtains must touch the ground and strips must overlap.

Evacuate Birds

No matter how effective a bird management program, birds may sometimes gain access to a building. It is important to remove any birds that get in as soon as possible to prevent contamination. In some facilities, intrusion by a bird could call for production shut down.






Educate Employees

Employees are your first line of defense at such facilities. They also have insights into where pests are seen or may be entering. Be sure to interview them too as applicable — in addition to educating them.

Final Thoughts

As always, remember that bird management has different public relations concerns than typical pest management.

Birds often are not regarded as pests and are deemed “friendly” creatures by the public at large — therefore, any control methods could be misconstrued as harming or hurting these animals.

One “E word” that doesn’t apply to bird management: easy. Like pest management, bird management is a skill that requires training and expertise. However, if you build a well-thought-out plan centered around the 4 Es and develop a strong collaborative relationship, you’ll be well on your way to protecting your processing clients from the dangers of contamination by birds.

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Public Health Update: Tick-Borne Diseases

While pest management professionals can’t offer advice on the medical aspects of ticks, they can offer advice when providing tick-management services.

Tick-borne diseases have become more prevalent in recent years, but through advances in modern science, scientists have been able to identify illnesses with greater ease.

Most people associate tick-borne illnesses to Lyme disease, which is caused predominantly by the deer tick. Biologically, ticks are limited to rural areas. The expansion of home construction in rural areas has increased the likelihood that someone can become exposed to ticks or become infected by a tick-borne illness. In addition, the risk of co-infection (a situation in which a single tick bite can bring on one or multiple other diseases) has become greater than ever before.

As pest management professionals, we cannot give direct medical advice or diagnose our clients. However, we do have a responsibility to give our clients guidance when appropriate.

Our services, in this respect, are a bridge, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the client to seek medical attention should he or she be bitten by a tick. It is appropriate to encourage our clients, especially if they have been exposed to ticks, to seek appropriate medical attention, such as an infectious disease specialist.

Tick-borne diseases are serious; they can turn deadly. Tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis have become more common, and will continue to in the coming years as suburbanization continues. This, combined with continued climate change, has triggered increased moisture levels and warmer seasons (April to September) throughout the year; these are all conducive conditions for ticks to thrive.

Additionally, the surge in deer populations and their close proximity to humans can, and do, ultimately allow greater exposure of ticks to deer and humans alike.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, tick-borne diseases can be acquired through bacteria, a virus or a parasite on the tick itself. Most infections occur during summer months, but they can occur at different times of year, depending on the overall climate in a specific area. Symptoms of tick-borne diseases include a rash, which may be pronounced and obvious, such as in the case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (where it is acute); in the case of Lyme disease, the rash appears similar to a “bull’s eye” pattern. Additional symptoms include fever, chills, and aches and pains.

The onset of symptoms can range from immediate to as many as a few weeks. It is highly recommended that if you (or a client) suspect that you have been exposed to ticks and may have acquired a tick-borne disease, you seek appropriate medical care. Treatments are most effective when caught early. Vaccines against most tick-borne diseases either do not exist or have been discontinued because these illnesses are not prevalent in a high segment of the population. Lyme disease, as the most common tick-borne disease, is no exception; treatments are most effective in earlier stages. Many sufferers of Lyme disease do report post-treatment syndromes or what is commonly referred to as “chronic Lyme disease.”

Statistics show the overall prognosis for someone who has been exposed and bitten by a tick is good, if caught early.



The photo shows a pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye,” which manifested at the site of a tick bite on this Maryland woman’s arm, who’d subsequently contracted Lyme disease. 





Prevention, by far, is the best medicine concerning ticks. Simple preventive measures include avoiding areas known to harbor ticks, such as areas with high grass and leaves. Some additional preventive measures include the use of 20 to 30 percent DEET or a 0.5 percent permethrin spray. Clothing with permethrin contained within the fibers is commercially available and can help in repelling ticks that come in contact with the material. Bathing as soon as possible after being exposed to a tick-infested area, as well as tumble-drying any tick-exposed clothing on high heat, is helpful. Pets also need to be treated if infected. Pets can become a major source of tick entry into a home or business. All of these contributing factors occur on a case-by-case basis, but they can reduce and/or eliminate the overall likelihood of coming in contact with a tick.

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When travelling: To Avoid Bed bugs

When traveling:

  • Use luggage racks to hold your suitcases when packing and unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor.
  • Check the mattress and headboard before getting into bed.
  • When you get home, unpack directly into a washing machine. Wash all items showing bed bug stains, and dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. The heat from the dryer kills the bugs.
  • Inspect and then vacuum luggage. Empty the vacuum or seal and dispose of its bag outside of your home after each use.



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Preventing Bed Bug Infestations in Hamilton

The best way to control bed bugs is to prevent them from entering your home.

Here’s how:

  • Inspect second hand furniture, beds, and couches for signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.
  • Enclose mattresses and box springs in covers labeled “allergen rated,” “for dust mites,” or “for bed bugs.” Periodically check for rips or openings and tape these up.
  • Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
    • Repair cracks in plaster, repair or remove any loose wallpaper, and tighten light switch covers.
    • Apply caulk to seal crevices and joints in baseboards and gaps on shelves or cabinets.
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Hiring a Professional to Eliminate Bedbugs in Hamilton

  • Make sure that you really have bed bugs and not some other pests.
  • Use a professional with experience in bed bug control. Controlling bed bugs is different than controlling other pests.
  • Be wary of exterminators who show up uninvited and offer a free inspection. They may use scare tactics to pressure you into authorizing immediate and costly treatments.
  • Deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company.
  • Be wary of choosing a company based on price alone. Quality control is the most important factor.
  • Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance to cover any damage that occurs to your home or furnishings during treatment.
  • If you get a written “guarantee,” look for what it covers, and how long it lasts.



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Do-It-Yourself; Bedbugs in Hamilton

If you try to control bed bugs on your own with pesticides, choose products that are intended for that purpose.

Before you use a pesticide, read the label. Never use a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use. Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly can make you, your family, and your pets sick. It also can make your home unsafe to live in. Never spray pesticides on top of mattresses, sofas, and other upholstered furniture, or in areas where there are children or pets.

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Treating Bed Bug Infestations in Hamilton

Experts agree: Bed bug infestations are difficult to control, and no one treatment or technique has been found to be effective in all cases. Still, bed bugs can be controlled through a combination of techniques known as integrated pest management (IPM) – an environmentally sensitive approach that includes prevention, monitoring, and the use of chemical pesticides.

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False Bed Bug Claims in Hamilton

The resurgence of bed bugs has caused more than the creepy little blood suckers to come out of the woodwork. Some self-proclaimed pest control professionals and marketers are trying to take a bit out of your wallet by peddling products that claim to prevent or remedy bed bug infestations. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – one of the federal agencies responsible for managing the bed bug problem – reports an increase in the number of individuals and companies making unrealistic claims about their abilities to control or eradicate the pests.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to be cautious when shopping for products and services related to bed bug infestations to avoid being sucked dry financially – and possibly making the problem worse.

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Battle of the Bedbugs Continues in Hamilton

Scientists may be on top in the battle against bedbugs. These insects are one of the most difficult to control. But research, from the journal Scientific Reports, could help scientists to develop new, improved control methods.

They feast on our blood while we sleep – leaving itchy, red welts as their calling card. Bedbugs are an insect that many would like to see the back of. But in North America, Europe and Australia, infestations are on the rise – and our insecticides are losing their bite.130315141335_bed_bugs_226x152b_spl

Researchers at the University of Kentucky in the US have found 14 genes associated with resistance to these chemicals. They’re causing a number of biological changes in the bedbugs. These include the development of a thicker skin that stops the poisons from penetrating and mutations within the insects’ bodies that prevent the toxins from hitting the nervous system.

The genes linked to these changes are active in the insect’s tough outer shell – creating a formidable first line of defence. These findings could help scientists to develop new insecticides that could either turn these genes off or bypass the pest’s molecular shields.

But until these substances are developed, exterminators are having to resort to more primitive tactics, and more thorough treatment.

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Unproven Bedbug Method

The Federal Trade Commission said  that it reached a settlement with two companies marketing unproven remedies for bed bugs and lice over deceptive advertising.

The commission filed charges last year against Dave Glassel and the companies he controlled, including Chemical Free Solutions LLC, alleging that they made overhyped claims that their “BEST Yet!” line of cedar-oil based liquid products would treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations.

According to the FTC, they claimed that BEST Yet! products were invented for the U.S. Army and that their bed bug product was acknowledged by the U.S.D.A. as the top choice of bio-based pesticides, and that the Environmental Protection Agency had warned consumers to avoid chemical solutions for treating bed bug infestations.

Attempts to reach Glassel directly were unsuccessful; his attorney in the FTC case did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Under the agreement, the marketers can no longer make claims that the products by themselves can stop or prevent a bed bug infestation, or are more effective at doing so than other products, unless they have competent and scientific evidence to make the claims.

They also are barred from claiming that their products can effectively treat head lice infestations, unless those claims are non-misleading and they obtain FDA approval prior to making those claims.

In addition, they are prohibited from misrepresenting the results of scientific tests or studies, and from claiming that a product or service they sell is endorsed by a government agency or by any other third-party entity when it is not.

The settlement orders also impose a $4.6 million judgment against Glassel, who is facing bankruptcy, and a $185,206 judgment against Chemical Free Solutions LLC, which will be suspended due to the company’s inability to pay.

The FTC said in a statement that if it later determines that the company gave false financial information, the full judgment amount will become due immediately.

The agency said it will continue to pursue its case against the remaining three defendants: Springtech LLC, Cedar Oil Technologies Corp. and Cedarcide Industries Inc.

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Bed bug Elimination in Hamilton

Put our over 30 years of experience to fully eliminate your bed bugs in Hamilton. We have a patented process that gives you guaranteed results for up to one full year. We provide licensed technicians and we only use unmarked vehicles. Call for a free inspection today! (905) 318-1242

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Action Pest Control in Ontario

At Action Pest Control, we believe our success comes from our philosophy of valuing our customers over everything else. Coupled with building trust and providing outstanding service, Action Pest Control in Ontario puts you, our customer, first. We provide the highest quality service available, and we provide it 7 days a week. We have six licensed technicians and use only unmarked vehicles for your discretion. Call today for a free confidential quote!

Hamilton: (905) 318-1242
Burlington: (905) 637-3373
Oakville: (905) 829-8108
Mississauga: (905) 829-8108

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Mobility of Bed Bugs

From dawn to dusk, bed bugs remain mostly in their harborages. Understanding their movements after the lights go out can provide useful insight.

Running on Empty.
Bed bugs are mostly nocturnal, but will adapt to the sleep cycle of their host. For example, if a person works the night shift and sleeps during the day, the bugs will adjust and feed during daylight hours. Hungry bed bugs may feed regardless of the time of day — an occupational hazard experienced at times by service technicians. Hungry bed bugs also tend to move around more than satiated bugs, presumably in order to locate a food source. However, if host absence is prolonged (as might occur in a vacant apartment), their search activity may be reduced in order to conserve energy.

Video recordings of adult bed bugs in laboratory test arenas showed they can travel over 16 feet in five minutes, even in the absence of host-orienting cues. Given that the hunt for a meal could last for hours, it is understandable that wandering bed bugs can sometimes end up in suitcases and other belongings.

Recently we had an opportunity to study bed bug movement in a heavily infested house and an apartment. Interceptor-style (pitfall) monitors were placed in several locations, near and far from where occupants slept and bugs were observed. Most of the pitfall monitors were placed along baseboards and in corners of rooms — rather than beneath bed and furniture legs — which is more typical in commercial practice.

To further assess bed bug mobility, groups of bugs in various locations were marked with paint. Different colors were used to distinguish where the bugs initially resided vs. where they were subsequently found.

Each dwelling was re-inspected a week after the bugs were marked and monitors installed. The number of bed bugs captured in each monitor was recorded along with where marked bugs were found relative to their previous location.

Lesson Learned.
These tests clearly reinforce that bed bugs move around during their nighttime forays.

Bed bugs congregate near sleeping or stationary hosts, especially during early stages of infestation. As populations grow larger, they often disperse beyond the usual beds, sofas and recliners to other areas of refuge. Why this happens is still under investigation. One theory is that bed bug dispersal is initiated by adult females seeking to avoid repeated, potentially harmful mating attempts by males. Another hypothesis is that dispersal has little to do with “fleeing” females, and has more to do with refuge availability. Rather, as numbers increase and harborages near hosts become occupied, bed bugs (comprised of all life stages) gradually form new clusters farther away.

Another question researchers are attempting to answer is whether blood-seeking bed bugs return to their former harborage locations.

Bed bugs probably feed at least weekly in the presence of a host.

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Fact Sheet on Bedbugs!

Bed bus are parasites that preferentially feed on humans. If people aren’t available, they instead will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including birds, rodents, bats, and pets.

Bed bugs have been documented as pests since the 17th century. They were introduced into our country by the early colonists. Bed bugs were common in the United States prior to World War II, after which time widespread use of synthetic insecticides such as DDT greatly reduced their numbers. Improvements in household and personal cleanliness as well as increased regulation of the used furniture market also likely contributed to their reduced pest status.


In the past decade, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States, although they are not considered to be a major pest. The widespread use of baits rather than insecticide sprays for ant and cockroach control is a factor that has been implicated in their return. Bed bugs are blood feeders that do not feed on ant and cockroach baits. International travel and commerce are thought to facilitate the spread of these insect hitchhikers, because eggs, young, and adult bed bugs are readily transported in luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. Bed bugs can infest airplanes, ships, trains, and buses. Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, motels, hostels, dormitories, shelters, apartment complexes, tenements, and prisons. Such infestations usually are not a reflection of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping.

Bed bugs are fairly cosmopolitan. Cimex Lectularius is most frequently found in the northern temperate climates of North America, Europe, and Central Asia, although it occurs sporadically in southern temperate regions. The tropical bed bug, C. hemipterus, is adapted for semitropical to tropical climates and is widespread in the warmer areas of Africa, Asia, and the tropics of North America and South America. In the United States, C. hemipterus occurs in Florida.

Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened, and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long. Their flat shape enables them to readily hide in cracks and crevices. The body becomes more elongate, swollen, and dark red after a blood meal. Bed bugs have a beaklike piercing-sucking mouthpart system. The adults have small, stubby, non-functional wing pads. Newly hatched nymphs are nearly colorless, becoming brownish as they mature.

Life Cycle.
Female bed bugs lay from one to twelve eggs per day, and the eggs are deposited on rough surfaces or in crack and crevices. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance so they adhere to the substrate. Eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days, and nymphs can immediately begin to feed. They require a blood meal in order to molt. Bed bugs reach maturity after five molts. Developmental time (egg to adult) is affected by temperature and takes about 21 days at 86º F to 120 days at 65º F. The nymphal period is greatly prolonged when food is scarce. Nymphs and adults can live for several months without food. The adult’s lifespan may encompass 12-18 months. Three or more generations can occur each year.

A thorough inspection of the premises to locate bed bugs and their harborage sites is necessary so that cleaning efforts and insecticide treatments can be focused. Inspection efforts should concentrate on the mattress, box springs, and bed frame, as well as crack and crevices that the bed bugs may hide in during the day or when digesting a blood meal. The latter sites include window and door frames, floor cracks, carpet tack boards, baseboards, electrical boxes, furniture, pictures, wall hangings, drapery pleats, loosened wallpaper, cracks in plaster, and ceiling moldings. Determine whether birds or rodents are nesting on or near the house.

If you would like an inspection for bedbugs, call Action Pest Control today @ 90-318-1242

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