Pest Control For Home Or Business

For nearly 20 years, Steve Gustafson has worked with homeowners, contractors and business managers to control pests like rats, mice and other rodents, cockroaches, ants, spiders and other crawling insects, yellow jackets, wasps and other flying insects. For nearly a decade, Rats to Roaches has specialized in Sonoma County pest control.

Posted in News

Roof Rats are Attracted to Ivy

The Garden Doctors, Gwen Kilchherr and Dana Lozana, answered a reader’s question about Norway rats vs. roof rats.  The Garden Doctors explained, in a Press Democrat article on June 18, 2016, that Norway rats are bigger and have burrows along building foundations, woodpiles and any piles of rubbish.  They eat a wide variety of food, including pet food, the fruit from your trees and vegetables in your garden.  Our many creeks offer them plenty of water, so once they get established, they are hard to eliminate.

Roof rats are smaller.  They prefer fruits, nuts and berries and can be found nesting in dense ground covers such as ivy and in spaces such as attics, walls and cabinets.  Early signs of roof rat damage:  hollowed-out citrus fruit, girdled trees and shrubs, damage to crops and general damage in and around the home.

Roof rats are difficult to see during the day; they are most active at night.  Roof rats are attracted to ivy.  At the first sign of rodent problems, begin trapping.  Additional strategies:

  • Clean up wood piles, firewood and crates where rodents live
  • Eliminate trash and garden waste
  • Make sure pet food is not available to rodents
  • Seal all cracks larger than 1/4 inch around building foundations
  • Remove English ivy or Algerian ivy around fences, buildings or grounds
  • Repair damages ventilation screens with hardware cloth or heavy-duty wire screening
  • Cut back overhanging tree limbs so they do not have easy access to the room

There are many strategies with setting snap-traps, so experiment with hard baits like dried fruit, nuts, or bacon or soft baits like peanut butter.  Experiment setting them along runs where the rats travel.  When you are ready to call in an expert, contact us.  Steve Gustafson will know how to help.




Posted in News, Rats | Leave a comment

Roof Rat Elimination in Santa Rosa Home Along Creek

I got this nice testimonial from a recent customer:

As a retired physician, I really appreciate the approach Rats to Roaches took to solving my roof rat problem.  They took a history, asking me about the sounds made by the rats, they made a physical inspection of the problem areas, then they made a diagnosis.

Even though a friend advised me to get three bids from high-profile competing companies, after talking with a neighbor, I chose Rats to Roaches to help me.  I felt they were invested in delivering good work as they are locally owned rather than a franchise.

I spoke with Steve Gustafson, the owner of the company, and worked mainly with his son-in-law, John, the next owner of the company.  John was very thorough and informative about how the rats got in and what I needed to do to prevent subsequent infestations.

Helping me solve the rat problem permanently, rather than setting me up for yearly visits, is a mark of professionalism.

roofratSteve and John eliminated my roof rats and recommended Tom, who was expert in sealing the house to prevent further infestation.  He dug a trench around my foundation, filled it with cement, then embedded expanded metal in the top to create a burrow-proof barrier around the house.  He then covered the barrier with soil to restore the appearance of the house.  I have not been troubled with rats since, and that is quite a claim for someone living next to one of Santa Rosa’s beautiful creeks!

Kathryn R.
Santa Rosa

Posted in Rats | Leave a comment

How Do Cockroaches Disappear?

A roach can flip under a ledge by swinging its body around like a pendulum and hanging on underneath. It uses hooklike claws to hold on firmly.

The movement occurs in milliseconds, too fast for the human eye to process. To the naked eye, it appears as if the cockroach has disappeared.

“It was a serendipitous discovery,” said Robert J. Full, an integrative biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of the study, which appears in the journal PLoS One. “We were actually studying how these animals cross gaps.”

Brian McRae, a Berkeley undergraduate who is also listed as an author, was working on the project and noticed that the cockroaches disappeared at the end of a ledge.

A closer look at video recordings revealed that they ran full speed toward the end and then dived off, grabbing the edge with their claws (at times using a single leg).

This may be why “sometimes when we’re chasing them they are just gone,” Dr. Full said.

The group also looked at geckos and found that they exhibited the same behavior, using their own hooklike toe pads.

The researchers have now joined forces with Ron Fearing, a computer scientist at Berkeley, to try to develop a robot with the agility of a cockroach. A team of graduate students has built a working prototype with six legs.

“We don’t have the robot agility to really make robots as useful as they could be yet,” Dr. Full said. “This is a demonstration of that agility.”

Another way to make cockroaches disappear is to call Steve Gustafson, the magician of extermination for cockroaches.

Posted in Cockroaches, News | Leave a comment

How To Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling

We all want to come back from our travels with good memories and without bed bugs. Even the best hotels sometimes have bed bugs. How can we stay safe when traveling?

    bedbug contol

  1. When checking in, ask hotel personnel if your room has ever had bed bugs in the past year. If so, refuse the room and the adjacent ones.
  2. Pull back bedding to check mattress and box springs for spotting. Bed bugs leave a brownish residue of digested blood, a black specks like pepper. Use a hair dryer to blow hot air into along the edge piping of the mattress and box spring to see if there is debris or bed bug movement. Blow the hot air into crevices on the headboard and the corners of mattress to make sure nothing is living there.
  3. Use your flashlight and hair dryer to check behind the head board, a favorite bed bug hiding place.
  4. Never leave your suitcase on floor, use fold out luggage holder with metal legs.
  5. Keep all toiletry items in sealed bags – (zip lock).
  6. It may help to treat the exterior of luggage with repellent material registered for bed bugs.
  7. When arriving home leave luggage outside. Unpack outside and immediately launder all items in hot water. Inspect luggage for bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs before storing inside.

If all your precautions fail and you discover the tell-tale triple bites of bed bugs, please call us to eliminate bed bugs. Bed bugs only feed about once a week, so don’t hesitate because they reproduce quickly, making them harder to eradicate. Call us if you have questions!

Posted in Bedbugs, News | Leave a comment

Ants Stopped In One Treatment

Ant Invasion ExterminatorWhen ants invade, call Steve Gustafson for Sonoma County pest control. With many years experience in the Santa Rosa area, you can rely on us to eliminate the ant problem in one treatment — no expensive annual contract required.

Our many years of experience allows us to use a combination of techniques eliminate the ant problem by using the effective chemical levels. We solve the ant problem promptly, without requiring additional visits. This combination of techniques includes an undetectable material that clings to the ants. They bring it back to the colony which is then entirely wiped out in a matter of days. Because the ants disappear quickly and do not return, there is no unsightly cleanup! Call us to stop your ant invasion fast!

Don’t Spray Food Prep Areas

Sonoma County Pest Control experts at will arrive promptly to eradicate ants in your home. Do your best to limit spraying with over-the-counter products that may contaminate food preparation areas or harm pets. Make sure that the areas you spray do not come in contact with your pet’s feet. Those over-the-counter sprays can be absorbed through the feet of your pets, or ingested during grooming.

Low Toxic Treatment for Ants

Sonoma County Pest control experts will make sure that the ants are exterminated quickly and safely. Give us a call for immediate action! 707-578-9913 Free phone estimates. We will promptly remedy the ant problem without requiring an expensive annual contract. We get it right the first time. Call now.

Posted in Ants, News | Leave a comment

How To Get Rid of Cockroaches

cockroachWell fed cockroaches reproduce very fast. One female, in one year, can produce 35,000 cockroaches, so it is important to get rid of cockroaches as soon as they are discovered. It’s easy to bring one home from the grocery store — but if you bring TWO two home it can quickly lead to a cockroach infestation.

Steve Gustafson recommends both extermination treatment and habitat modification. First, deprive the cock roaches of food and water. Fix leaks to make sure cockroaches can’t track bacteria from a leaky toilet onto your toothbrush. Zip up all open food packages in baggies or jars to keep them out. Then call Rats To Roaches for expert extermination.

Successful extermination of roaches can be done in only one or two treatments. At RatsToRoaches, we use a low-toxic approach to get the maximum effectiveness with the minimum toxins. There are different kinds of roaches (see links below) and we will determine the right bait for your pest. We use growth regulators to interfere with the breeding cycle and interrupt the creation of new cockroaches.

Using our years of experience, we look for the location of the infestation and we use targeted spraying to knock out the infestation.

Most infestations in the Santa Rosa area are the German cockroach which is actually not from Germany but from East Africa. They they prefer the warm, moist environment typical of East Africa which is why it is important to deprive them of moisture.

Because cockroaches hang out where the food is, they often hitch rides in used microwaves, blenders, or TVs that make nice dark homes for them. Sometimes tiny cockroach eggs arrive in cardboard boxes from the grocery store or boxes that have been used to store books and magazines which cockroaches love. If the cockroaches start in the kitchen they will radiate outward to other rooms as their population grows.

Cockroaches can live as long as 200 days (more than 6 months) and female roaches will produce about 4 egg cases in a lifetime. A cockroach egg case contains from 30-50 eggs. Each cockroach egg can mature to a full size roach in as little as 28 days under optimum conditions (warm, dark, moist). It only takes another 10-11 days before the roach will begin reproduce, so it is important to act quickly to exterminate the infestation while it is still small.

An important part of success with cockroach extermination is denial of the food and water they need to reproduce. Clean up clutter and food residue. Don’t leave food out at night, even pet food, because crawling cockroaches can contaminate it. Call us to get rid of your cockroaches.

Related links: Waterbugs and Oriental Roaches
Jerusalem Crickets, Potato Bugs
Cockroaches – Our Specialty

Posted in Cockroaches, News | Tagged ,

How To Prevent Ant Invasions

Martha StewartMartha Stewart was asked, “How can I get rid of black ants without using harsh insecticides?”

Steve Gustafson agrees with Martha’s answer that little black ants, Monomorium minimum, are a common household pest. The safest and most natural way to deal with them is to make your home inhospitable to them. Keep food stored in airtight containers, and be vigilant about cleaning up dishes and crumbs on counters and taking out the trash. If you remove whatever is attracting them, the insects may eventually move elsewhere in search of other food sources. It’s also important to block possible pest entryways by caulking crevices or cracks along baseboards, around cabinets and pipes, and outside around the foundation of your home.

Ant invasionBoric acid powder, sprinkled into exterior crevices or mixed with sugar or syrup as bait, can be an effective poison for ants and other insects. It is less toxic than conventional poisons, but it’s not completely safe and shouldn’t be used near children and pets.

Diatomaceous earth (sold in many hardware and home supply stores) is a safer choice. Ground from the fossilized shells of aquatic organisms, this fine powder is safe for people and animals but deadly to ants and other crawling bugs. It scratches their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die.

To use boric acid or diatomaceous earth, find where the ants are nesting, and then surround the area so that they have to walk through the powder when they leave the nest. If you’re not sure where the ants are coming from, place a dab of jelly or honey on an index card and leave it in a prominent spot. Watch where the line of ants leaving the feast is headed, and focus your treatment there.

If none of these methods is effective, call Steve Gustafson at Rats To Roaches. We are experts that work to control pests using physical methods, as well as the least toxic chemicals available. Contact us or call 707-578-9913

Posted in Ants, News | Tagged ,

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs

During a bed bug eradication, Steve Gustafson’s assistant, John, demonstrates how exterminators pinpoint the bed bug infestation. Steve and John are treating a bedroom that has been prepared by emptying all the dresser drawers. John answers the question, “Do you find the bed bugs from their droppings?”

Posted in Bedbugs, News | Leave a comment

How To Get Rid of Yellowjackets

Get Rid of Yellow JacketsAs the weather warms up in the spring, it is time to put out yellow jacket traps; either store-bought or homemade ones. To make a yellowjacket trap yourself, take an old mayonnaise jars or mason jar and cut some smallish holes in lid. Fill one-third with apple juice and hang it away from the house, on a tree or something similar. In the spring and summer, yellowjackets like the sugar in apple juice, fruit and flower nectar so the apple juice attracts them.

You want to be sure to place your trap as far away from house as you can because you do not want to draw them to house. At night, when yellowjackets are inactive, empty the trap and refill with fruit juice. By eliminating worker yellow jackets around your home you will help cut down on number of breeding queens produced during the summer.

Late in the summer, when the larvae produced by the queens need to be fed, the workers become more interested in protein. That’s why yellowjackets have a reputation for being “meat eaters” and tend to ruin picnics. So keep the yellow jacket numbers down now and if they become too aggressive in late summer, call us to eradicate the colony.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or give us a call at 707-578-9913.

Posted in News, Wasps (Bees) | Leave a comment

Earwig Control – How To Get Rid of Earwigs

Want to control earwigs in your garden? Early summer is earwig time, and earwigs are often misunderstood and under-appreciated. While they do some damage to leaves and seedlings, usually because there is not much else for them to eat in a well cultivated garden. We often inadvertently create lots of hiding places for earwigs near our plants so their numbers may go up around our seedlings. But earwigs are not all bad. On the plus side they are good at suppressing aphids. The main rap against the European earwig is the one that they look a little fierce with their pincers in back which are harmless to people.

People also fear the old wives’s tale (and scary science fiction) that they crawl into ears, which they do not. On the other hand, they do make a nuisance of themselves by hiding in any little crack they can find and in some pretty unusual places. There are a number of ways to control earwigs without spraying.

  1. place rolled up newspapers at night in the garden, then dispose into the garbage in the morning
  2. place a small container, such as a tuna fish can, outside with a little vegetable oil in it and empty it in the morning

I hope these tips help you manage earwigs around your house. Do you have tips of your own? Please leave a comment and let me know how these ideas for controlling earwigs worked for you.

Posted in Ants, News | Leave a comment