Mr. Pest Control


Q:

The scenario is an outdoor Jamaican restaurant on resort grounds near a beach. The flies are moderate until fish is served. Ambiance is a huge factor to management who wants a real Caribbean experience for customers. Fly sticks and fly bags are not an option because they are ugly and must be changed too often. The management only allows an insect light trap in the small indoor food prep area and permethrin applications to surrounding foliage. They will not allow fly baits because they are concerned the flies will spread pesticides to customer’s food. Do you have any suggestions for air circulation when the wind is calm or systems that emit products into the air to deter flies?

A:

Fans can help prevent flies from landing on food and are common in outdoor restaurants. Surprisingly, there are metered aerosols labeled for use in food-handling establishments. However, they are for indoor use only and the management already has concerns about food contamination. Unfortunately, they are limiting themselves with this concern. EPA-registered pesticides have label directions that reduce non-target risk as much as possible. As long as a product’s label is followed, the concern is not really necessary. There are several fly bait products labeled for food-handling areas that could really help with the problem, most with quick enough knockdown that food contamination is even less of an issue.

Q:

Spiders have attached themselves to the exterior of a newly constructed 18 story office building. The building is on a lakefront with a nearby river. The building is LEED Silver. The exterior facade is granite, steel, and glass with lots of edges, corners, gaps and voids. The spiders are feeding on the insects that are attracted to the lights that are on the exterior and the lights that are left on all night on the inside of the building that shine through the window glass. Recently we used a “webster” type brush and knocked down spiders up to a height of 18 feet around the building. Within a week there were just as many spiders on the building. Do you have any suggestions for a pesticide treatment on the exterior that will comply with the LEED requirements? Or, do we continue brushing?

A:

Continue brushing, my friend! Even if it weren’t a LEED building, there really isn’t a pesticide that’s going to overpower the attraction those lights have to flying insects. The more flying insects land on buildings, the more spiders are going to set up shop and try to eat them. If the building’s management values its LEED certification and considers the spiders to be a serious problem, then they should be advised on how to modify their lighting. Exterior lighting shouldn’t be mounted on buildings, but should be positioned around the perimeter and pointed towards the building. Also, yellow sodium vapor lights are less attractive to insects than blue mercury vapor bulbs. The most important point to communicate is that whether they change their lighting or a pesticide is used, they’re probably not going to see zero flying insects and spiders, only a reduction. So they might as well do what would be considered more environmentally responsible.