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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Six Degrees of Separation (AKA: EVERYTHING is pest control)

Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. Forget six degrees, I can make anything about entomology in two degrees and anything to do with pest control in less than four! It’s a special talent, I know. Since it’s National Pest Management Month, and I’m on a working vacation out of state, here’s a few things that have come up for me this past week and how they relate to pest control.

American cockroach
They aren't roaches here, they are "palmetto bugs"!

I walked into the condo we rent and there was a cockroach on the floor. It was dead, but still, not the way most people want to start their holiday adventures. Hospitality is particularly prone to pest problems because of pesky reviews. There are even websites specific to finding bed bugs in hotels. It doesn’t matter if it’s a five star hotel or a little Airbnb, for some reason, people finding pests in these spaces is worse than if they find them in their own homes. Pest management is essential for hospitality so guests are happy and leave good reviews for future guests.

Flies on food
Ew, yuck

Since I’m on vacation, I’m eating out a bit. I’m a big fan of seafood and being on the beach, the seaside restaurants are numerous. So many pest control issues we could talk about here:

  • Kitchens – cockroaches, rodents, etc.

  • Dining rooms – add in small flies, particularly around bar areas, and whatever else crawls inside.

  • Outdoor dining – large flies, birds (why do people think it's “cute” to feed the birds?), and of course the nighttime fliers like moths, and more (the f$@&ing no-see-ums totally nailed me last night).

A spiney orb weaver spider

I’m still trying to stick to my routine and I’m walking most mornings. As much as I like spiders because they are natural pest control, I’m not a fan of walking through their webs. Controlling spiders is all about controlling their food. We have to think about where the insects are and try to reduce those so spiders go elsewhere. I was sitting by the pool the other day and I watched a little snake make its way along the patio edge, probably looking for a snack. I wasn’t bothered, but you can imagine if another guest had seen that, it would have been an issue.

Florida damselfly
Pretty sure it was this one I saw

Speaking of natural pest control, I saw the coolest little damselfly. I’m in an area with a high mosquito population and dragonflies and damselflies eat tons of mosquitoes. With mosquitoes comes disease. While current US cases are low (it’s still early in the year), pest management is incredibly important to protect people from disease. Mosquitoes are still estimated to cause over 400,000 deaths per year due to disease. And we won’t even get into ticks on this post. Pest management saves your health.

Pest management protects structures, food, and health. If you don’t believe that, consider this:
  • The Maasai in Kenya must completely rebuild their homes every 9 years due to termites. They are estimated to cause a loss of $40 billion a year world wide.

  • Postharvest losses due to pests (insects and rodents) are estimated at 20% worldwide. In developing nations, it’s over 33%.

  • Before modern pest control, the plague (rats and fleas) reduced Europe’s population by at least a third. More than 200,000 people died in the US from yellow fever (mosquitoes) in a span of 200 years. Today, over 400,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease (ticks) every year.

That’s just a sampling of some major benefits of pest management and the fact that pest management is evident throughout our daily lives. Ultimately, a good pest management plan should focus on prevention when possible and implementing multiple tools to manage pests. If you have had pest issues, continue to have pest issues, or want to know more about how effective the pest management plan you have in place is, contact us to learn more about how we can help!


Your favorite sweater? Clothes moths love it too!

Like your furry pet (Max the cat!)? – veterinary pests.

Art lover (I am)? – so many museum pests.

Happy that pot is becoming legal? – greenhouse and stored product pests are happy too.

Have taxidermy items? – hide beetles, and meal moths, and more!

Urban entomology consultants


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