Cockroaches – Our Specialty

cockroachThe German cockroach is the most common roach in the Sonoma area. They are found in houses, apartments, restaurants and even offices. One female, in one year, can produce 35,000 cockroaches, so it is important to abate as soon as they are discovered. They can transmit bacteria like Salmonella from place to place. TIP: Don’t leave pet food out at night. Cockroaches are active a night and may contaminate your pet’s food.

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Rats Chewing in the Attic

Roof RatThe Roof rat (Rattus rattus) accounts for nearly all the rodent pest activity in Sonoma County. Sometimes called a ship rat, house rat or black rat, it is the one that chews on your house, mostly at night. It has to chew to keep its front teeth trimmed. It chews on everything, but the roof rat’s favorite foods are grain and fruit. They will feast on fallen fruit and ivy in your yard, then scamper back along fences and utility lines into your house. They will chew in your kitchen, then snooze all day above the ceiling. They are good climbers and they tend to flee upwards and range in color from light brown to black.

The fleas on a Roof Rat carry bubonic plague, typhus, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis as well as other less well known diseases. They live in social groups of up to 60 rodents. If water contaminated by Rat urine gets in unhealed breaks in the skin, it can cause Leptospirosis (Fort Bragg fever). Call Rats To Roaches to have them eliminated from your home.

Norway RatThe other kind of rat is a Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) which prefers cooler climates than Sonoma County, but can be found near creeks, sewers, agricultural areas and developed neighborhoods. It is also called a Brown Rat and is larger and more aggressive than the Roof Rat (Black Rat). The Brown Norway Rat typically lives outdoors in underground burrows, and eats garbage, pet food, fallen fruit, grain, and whatever is growing in your garden. We can get rid of these, too. Just give us a call for a free estimate.

You have heard of people who keep rats as pets. Most pet rats are domesticated Brown Norway Rats. Go figure.

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Ant Invasion – Help!

Ant Invasion ExterminatorAnts do their work in the garden all summer, but when it rains, cold water fills up their tunnels and they run to where it is warm and dry — they come inside your house! Here are some tips to try to stem the tide yourself, or you can call us to end the ant invasion quickly and safely.

Spray Entrances and Trails

When ants invade, you will be tempted to spray around doors and windows and if you see trails along baseboards, you will be tempted to spray there as well. The over-the-counter sprays available at grocery and hardware stores are fast-acting repellents that will move the ants from where you can see them to places where they are harder to find. DO NOT SPRAY YOUR KITCHEN COUNTERS because someone is sure to make a sandwich there. You can try scrubbing away the scent the ants leave with cleanser or dishwashing liquid.

We use a slow acting non-repellent material that clings to the ants. They bring it back to the colony and the entire colony is wiped out. Much more effective, and no unsightly cleanup!

Keep Ants Out Of Food Storage

Did you know that ants can get in screw-top jars? The only way to keep them out of jars is to use a rubber gasket, or place the jar in a ziplock bag. Don’t forget to put breakfast cereal boxes in zipped plastic bags, too! Some people store their cereal and sugar in the refrigerator, just to be sure.

Make sure you do not get any toxic spray on your dishes or tableware. Call us for help with ant invasions. We’re experts!

Posted in Ants, News

I’m Afraid of Bees!

You probably think that getting stung is bad for you, but it is much worse for the bee because stinging you kills a honeybee. “Good!” you may think, because the only good bee is a dead bee. But bees are important to us because they fly from flower to flower to gather nectar for honey. Bees aren’t interested in humans, they just want to be left alone to do their busy bee work which pollinates fruit and vegetables which is very beneficial to all humans. On the right is a picture of a Bumble Bee which is a roly-poly, chubby bee that gathers nectar to make honey. It is mild-mannered and not very fast. If you leave it alone, it will leave you alone. If you see lots of bees working in a field of flowers, stay away from them. They are busy as bees!

Wasps are different. They look different, and they act different. Wasps are wasp-waisted. Look at the difference in shape between the Bumble Bee and the wasp (pictured left). Wasps are very skinny and they are attracted to meat like bacon, food and garbage. They can be aggressive and female wasps can sting repeatedly. Wasps can scent you with a marker that tells other wasps that you are a target, so you want to get away fast. Yellow Jackets are especially aggressive and become especially persistent at the end of the summer when they are looking for protein to feed their young. Call us to eliminate wasps, especially Yellow Jackets.

Rats To Roaches can eliminate Yellow Jacket nests or refer you to a bee specialist to have the bees taken care of. Bees are domesticated and are becoming very valuable because so many bees have been lost in recent years due to mites and poisoning by pesticides. We don’t poison bees.

If wasps are a danger to you, call us to take care of the problem. There are some benefits to wasps, however. Because wasps act like meat-eaters, many people consider them beneficial. Worker wasps catch flies and caterpillars to feed the young. They need water and sometimes land on sweaty people to drink the moisture. Paper wasps and Mud Dauber wasps also prey on insects like aphids to provide food for their young.

Umbrella Wasps, also called Paper Wasps, build a a wasp’s nest that looks like a dry paper honeycomb shaped like an umbrella. Paper Wasp nests are often found near doorways, under the eaves and roof overhangs of a house. Call us to remove wasp nests.

Yellow Jacket nests are much harder to find. They can be underground so it is important to watch where they go. They often make nests in shrubs, bushes, and underneath mulch and bark garden covers. They are most active and aggressive in the late Summer and Fall, about the time school starts.

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Flying Ants – Or Termites?


Rats To Roaches is licensed to abate and prevent just about anything undomesticated, smaller than a wallet, has four or more legs and is “bugging” you. We can eradicate flying ants, but termite extermination is done by companies with a specialized license, so it is important to determine just what is flying around.

We have been doing pest control for a long time so we are not afraid to get “up close and personal” to determine exactly what insect we are dealing with, and we understand that you may not feel the same way. During mating season, in the Spring, female and male ants take to air for courtship. As you can see, the females are bigger and both female and male ants have wings. After mating, the males will die and the females become Queens and start a new ant colony. You don’t want that happening on your property! Ants are skinny, have long skinny legs, and have long antennae with a bent “elbow” that almost look like another pair of legs. We can eliminate them for you.

All termites have wings, all the time, not just during mating season. If they look like ordinary worker termites and everyone has wings, your best bet would be to call a specialty termite exterminator. Termites are most troublesome in the Spring and Autumn.

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Bedbugs Are Back in Santa Rosa

bedbug controlAfter an absence of several decades, bedbugs are back. Bedbugs are blood-sucking parasites similar to head lice. Bedbugs, like head lice, feed on the blood of humans but are not believed to transmit disease, according to the Center for Disease Control.

According to the New York Times, bedbugs are arthropods of mystery, the Bug That Ate New York. Why are they back? Why didn’t they stay in New York?

bedbug extermination“Back in the old days, mattresses were made of straw so you could burn them,” says Steve Gustafson, RatsToRoaches pest control expert. Bedbugs sometimes hide in rigid metal rib along the edge of a mattress (inspect to detect their excrement), or they hide in the box springs, but they are usually within eight feet of the bed or couch. In motels, they are often behind the wall-mounted headboard. This is why dogs are often used to locate bedbugs.

“Be very careful what you buy at flea markets,” Steve Gustafson counsels. “You can get more than fleas. You can get bedbugs. I found bedbugs in the toe of a keepsake baby shoe that was kept near a bed!”

How do you get rid of bedbugs? “To be successful, you need a partnership between the residents and the pest control people,” says Steve. Chemicals alone won’t eliminate bedbugs. “This is not like any other pest,” Steve continues. While 90% of bedbugs stay close by their food source, others will hunt for new sources, like the couch. And if an infested apartment is vacant for a long period, they will move to the next apartment in search of food. Steve Gustafson specializes in eliminating bedbugs from homes and apartments.

Some bedbugs are resistant to most approved chemicals; sprays or foggers will just drive them to new territory, according to the New York Times. It usually takes a combination of techniques to effectively eradicate bedbugs, and experience counts. Some more toxic chemicals are under consideration. Call Steve Gustafson at RatsToRoaches today for a free estimate for your pest control needs.

Posted in Bedbugs, News

Waterbugs and Oriental Roaches

Oriental Cockroach Water BugThere are three main kinds of cockroaches, the German cockroach, the American cockroach which is larger and can fly, and the Oriental cockroach which is often called a Waterbug because they prefer dark, moist places. You might find them around compost heaps, sewers, drains, damp crawl spaces and other damp dark places. Food, water and a place to hide are the three things cockroaches need.

Oriental cockroaches are harder to eradicate that ordinary roaches. They require different techniques to eliminate the adults and a separate technique to eliminate the immature roaches (nymphs). We specialize in determining exactly what pest is present and we use the correct technique and the right products to stop the problem. Call us with your pest problems. We can help. Free estimates.

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Poisonous Spiders

Black Widow SpiderBlack Widow Spiders are found throughout California and may be encountered when cleaning trash from closets, garages, attics and other places inside. Black Widow Spiders are also found outside in woodpiles, trash piles and other dark places. From the top, a Black Widow is shiny, inky black with eight legs, up to one inch across including the legs. The red-orange hourglass marking is on the bottom.

The females are larger than the males, and only the females are poisonous. Sometimes they bite without injecting venom. If the bite develops the appearance of a target (a pale area surrounded by a red ring) and muscle cramps develop within two hours, seek medical attention. To eliminate the spiders from your property, call us.

Brown Recluse Spiders

brown recluse spiderFamous for hiding, brown recluse spiders are sometimes called violin spiders or fiddle back spiders because of the violin-shaped marking. It is only about a half-inch long, including legs, about half the size of a Black Widow Spider. The violin marking is hard to see. It starts at the eyes with the fiddle back pointing to the spider’s “waist.” Call us for help with insect and spider pests. Free estimates

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Ouch! I’ve Been Stung By a Bee!

You can’t get honey without bees, but you don’t want to be stung. In Sonoma County, we have more of a problem with wasps. Around here there are three main kinds of wasps, Umbrella Wasps and Mud Daubers which have the white papery nests that you can see, and Yellow Jacket which have nests that can be hard to locate. We are experienced and can help you get rid of many kinds flying pests. Mosquitoes are abated by County Vector Control.

Yellow Jackets like the sugar in fruits, flower nectar, but they feed protein to the larvae which is why they seem to be “meat eaters,” showing up to ruin picnics. Wasps can be particularly aggressive in late summer when colonies reach maximum size. They get aggressive when they are defending the colony, but will sting you if you annoy them by swatting them away from your picnic. When yellowjackets sting they may leave behind a small amount of chemical marker that identifies you as an enemy of the nest, so if you get stung, move away quickly. Leave the area after being stung before other wasps have a chance to swarm you as an enemy of the colony. Then call us to eradicate the colony.

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Low Impact – High Quality

You want to rid your home of business of pests like cockroaches, silverfish, rats or mice without harming pets, children or yourself. Toxic means poisonous, and if you intend to poison the pests, you wouldn’t choose an ineffective poison. We have many years of experience and know which compounds and chemicals to use to get results. We are careful to use the minimum effective dose for abatement and prevention. Because of our long experience, we can use a combination of techniques to get the greatest effect with the lowest chemical impact. We always use the highest quality products, for the greatest safety.

Low Impact Pesticides

  • Insecticidal soap
  • Pyrethrins
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Borax, boric acid and borate
  • Baking soda
  • Dormant oil
  • Targeted bacterial biopesticides (BTK, BTI)
  • Predator insects, parasites, nematodes
  • Synthetic pheromones – substances produced by insects that can be used to lure or trap them
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