• Chelle Hartzer

3…2…1… (AKA: I’m still a nerd…or is it geek?)

True story: when I was little, I wanted to be a ballet dancing muppet astronaut. Ballet lasted about six months, I still like the muppets, and going to outer space is still a goal. There was a rocket launch yesterday from Kennedy, and from where I am staying, I can walk out onto the beach and watch it go up. It is such an awesome sight.

I want to be the first interstellar pest control officer for the space program. Think about it: at some point, pest control is going to be needed on the space station. Pests like cockroaches and bed bugs are excellent hitch-hikers and even better at taking advantage of whatever

resources they have available to them for survival. We know that arthropods can survive in space. Along with spiders, these insects have been sent to space (on purpose): honey bees, silkworm moths, monarch butterflies, house flies, fruit flies, dung beetles, ants, and more. All it is going to take is that one dirty drain and we are going to have a fruit fly issue on the space station that is going to need to be dealt with. While the food for astronauts is sealed up, the leftover food waste (not to mention some human waste) could be resources for houseflies.

In the future with more space stations and more off-planet starter colonies, pest control is going to be essential to keep pests away from the valuable resources (food and water) that people will need. But it will be so much more than that. It will be using cockroaches and millipedes to break down waste into soil for growing food. Dermestid beetles will be needed to clean and decompose animal carcasses. Flies are great pollinators for many food crops. All of these insects will need to be contained and managed so they do what is needed, but are kept from other vital areas where they are pests.

It may sound a bit insane to be thinking about this; pest problems haven’t happened yet (that NASA has told us about!) and we haven’t started a moon base or any off-world colonies just yet. It’s not all that crazy though. Think about some of the sites on this planet that are extremely sensitive accounts: they often need some out-of-this-world thinking to solve pest problems. Food processing facilities (including those that supply the food for astronauts), are regulated and there are only so many options available when pests get in. Pharmaceutical plants (astronauts need aspirin too, right?) are even more sensitive and restrictive on what can be used inside. Zoos and aquariums have to contend with live animals that are supposed to be there (similar to lab rats in space), while trying to keep out pests that shouldn’t be there. Hospitals and healthcare facilities (Sickbay anyone?) are filled with people and various health issues that need to be protected from pests and treatments. Pest control has to address these situations, protect the food/animals/people, and still get rid of the pests.

You don’t have to be Richard Branson or Elon Musk to need help with troubleshooting pest issues. (But guys, call me, please!) Getting creative with pest control solutions can help to pinpoint problems and if not address the root causes, deal with them so pests are contained and reduced. It helps to think ahead to what could be a problem, and put steps in place so it doesn't cause a problem.


Think you have had some tough pest problems to deal with? Want some help with your current (or next!) pest problem so you can solve it faster with fewer interruptions to daily operations? That’s what we do so contact us!


Lagnaippe - yeah....I spent way too much time on this instead of doing work!



Urban pest control consulting

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