St Louis Pest Control Blog

St. Louis Cicadas – Let the Call of Love Begin

The St. Louis 13 year periodical cicadas have started to emerge from their long underground hideaway.  For the past 13 years, these particular cicadas have been living within the root system of every tree system and have now wiggled their way out to molt into an adult.  Let’s take a look back when these cicadas first emerged from their eggs.  The year was 1998 and this year was unique as we had two different set of periodical cicadas emerge at the same time.

Back then, after the cicadas emerged from their eggs they dropped to the ground and burrowed their way down to the root system.  And for the last 13 years they have been feeding upon the sap that they sucked from tree roots.  During this time they had molted many times getting themselves prepared for their final molt and transformation.  Once the cicada is ready to emerge they sometimes create mud tubes above ground just before they are ready to molt, though other times you may find a small finger sized width hole in the soil.

After the cicada has finally left the soil it will climb up a fence post, tree or whatever it can for it’s final molt.  Once the cicadas emerge from their final molt they have one purpose and one purpose only, to mate. The males sing their heart out in order to attract a female to mate with.  After mating has occurred, the female cicada will start laying eggs in small tree branches.  She will tear open the bark in a straight line and deposit the eggs in these gaps.  If the twig is small enough this may cause the leaves to wilt and die.  The eggs themselves will remain there for the next 5-7 weeks until they hatch and fall to the ground to start the whole cycle over again.

Cicadas can be harmful to trees, especially young trees.  So what can one do to help prevent damage?  There are actually several things that can be done.  One, if the tree is small and delicate, you can cover it with a mosquito netting or cheese cloth to prevent the female from laying eggs into the branches.  Now, this might  be practical for some smaller trees but trying to cover a big oak will be virtually impossible.  So for your bigger trees you will need to apply a pesticide directly onto the tree branches that don’t exceed 1″ in diameter for the best results.

The problems you are going to have with this type of treatment is getting the materials to all those branches way up high.  There is where you are going to need to hire a professional company to blow a pesticide upwards into the tree branches and leaves to help control the cicadas.  At Blue Chip Pest Services we have a service that will help control the cicadas as well knocking down the mosquito population in your yard at the same time.  The best advise I can give you is to treat your trees early.  If you wait until the first sign of leaves turning brown,then you may have waited to long and the damage will irreversible.

Oh yeah, did I meantion Cicada Killers?….we will save that for next week.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.

Is That Pest Control Product Safe?

If I only had a dime for every time I have been asked this question! It’s a serious question to ask though and one I never mind answering. Pesticides can be very effective with little safety implications for home owners and their families if the service provider is educated.

The first step any home owner should take in hiring a pest control service is to find a company that has a strong reputation.  Most companies with strong reputations have taken care to invest time and money into hiring, training and educating their employees year-round so that every application is an effective one. Companies that hire a new crew of technicians every spring, train them for the minimal time required by the state, and send them out can have difficulty maintaining consistency in their quality and culture over time.

Another way pest control services are made made safer is by concentrating treatments on the exterior of a home. At Blue Chip Pest Services, when we service a home we focus on areas that are most conducive for pest harborages.  And the most conducive area for a pest infestation is outside.  By concentrating on the outside where 99% of the pest problems come from you are essentially creating a pest free environment on the inside. Yes, you still may have an occasional insect make its way into your home, but most people find them laying upside down as they have already picked up a lethal dose on their way in.

If we do encounter a need to make an application inside a home, we only apply in areas that are considered conducive  for infestation or in the existing problem area.  These areas can include the basement, kitchen and any other area that has a water source.  We focus on using crack and crevice materials as well as general spray application.

We do ask that our home owners keep their children and pets away from the treated area until the product has dried, but once it has it is extremely difficult for anything but an insect to pick it up. Pesticides are manufactured to control insects and pests that are 1/10 of gram in weight and physical forms that are very different from yours and mine.  And also different from your bird, cat or dog.  Now if your pet happens to be a tarantula or some other type of arachnid or insect, then that information would very important to anyone treating your home for general pests.

Hopefully this will help clear up any more questions as it relates to this topic! Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.

How to Get Rid of Raccoons

Do you hear bumps in the night? If you do, you may have a raccoon living in your attic.  In St. Louis and other parts of the country this is a very big problem.  St. Louis Pest Control operators receive dozens of animal calls about noises heard in the attic each week.    Raccoons are nocturnal  and awaken around dusk to start searching for food.  Most people who have raccoons living in their attic generally hear noise in the early evening and then again right around dawn when they return to their den for a days sleep.  In some cases of  heavy weather, the raccoon will not venture out at all and walk around the attic all night until it becomes restless and beds down again for the day.  Raccoons forage for food at night.  They have excellent night vision and hearing to locate any meal near them.  They are opportunistic feeders and are classified as omnivorous.  They will feed on almost anything: insects, fruits, vegetables, pet food, dead animals and anything they can find in a garbage can.

Raccoons can be very aggressive and dangerous if cornered.  They have been known to severally hurt or even kill a household pet if they feel threatened.  Raccoons are also a major carrier of Rabies, fleas and ticks.  In some cases, people who do not own a pet complain that they have fleas in their home.  If you have any type of wildlife in your yard, they can easily leave fleas behind and be picked up by anyone who walks by.   The same is true if an animal burrows under a front or back porch.  Animals that nest in chimneys can also have fleas fall off the host animal and fall through the fireplace and infest a home.

Raccoons living in your attic can go unnoticed if you are a household of heavy sleepers.  Raccoons are very strong and can easily tear a hole into your roof or rip open one of the roof vents for entry.  In some cases, the homeowner doesn’t know they have an animal living in the attic until they begin notice a strange odor or find staining on the ceiling from the raccoon urinating or defecating in the attic.

Contaminated insulation and drywall will need to be removed and repaired after the animals have been removed and exclusionary repairs have been completed.  If you plan on taking on this job yourself, make sure that you wear proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), such as long rubber gloves, Tyvek body suit and a respirator,  as raccoon feces commonly have roundworm eggs inside the feces and can be accidentally transferred to humans if not handled properly.

At, Blue Chip Pest Services, our certified animal specialists are trained for any type of animal removal possible.  We offer animal removal (live, trapped or dead), exclusion work and animal waste removal.  For the D.I.Y.’ers, visit one of our 3 stores for safe and secure live traps, we’ll even throw in the advice for free.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.

How to Exterminate German Cockroaches

Ah, the German cockroach. The most prolific roach that infests homes and businesses all around the world.  This insect is very hard to eliminate for various reasons.  The German cockroach is able to adapt to any situation given.  Of all the cockroaches that we deal with in the United States, the German cockroach reproduces the quickest, have the most offspring per egg capsule, are able to find more harborage (nesting) sites due to their relatively small size and require very little amounts of food and water to survive.  Everyone has heard the expression “if you have one, then you have hundreds,” and in the case of the German cockroach, this may be true.  Because they are secretive in nature, some infestations go unnoticed until there are literally hundreds of roaches.  St. Louis Pest Control operators deal with situation like this all the time.  Now, not all cases are as extreme as the picture depicted here, but some are.

At, Blue Chip Pest Services, we use a variety of insecticides to control a cockroach infestation but we most commonly use cockroach baits as our main weapon of choice.  Cockroach gel baits are very effective in controlling German cockroaches because they work  in more than one way.  Yes, they kill any roach that consume the bait but it will also kill the immature stages (nymphs) that will consume the fecal matter that has passed through the initial roach that consumes the gel bait. I guess you can call it a double whammy effect.

Using a gel bait sounds simple, right?  Well, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Where most people go wrong when using gel baits is the placement of the bait and the placement size.  In order for gel baits to be effective you have locate (or get very close) the harborage site and the placements need to be small (about the size of a BB pellet) and numerous.  In most cases, people are not willing to take the time necessary to treat properly.  At Blue Chip Pest Services, we find mis-applications of bait all the time.  The proper way to apply a gel bait is to make small placement in areas that are not visible or that can be touched by someones finger under normal circumstances.  In an average infested kitchen we will generally place between 50 – 100 bait placements around to give you an idea.  Needless to say, controlling cockroaches can be very hard work and one must have plenty of time to pull things out to find the harborage site.  Empty the cabinets and drawers, pull the drawers out of the cabinet, and do a thorough cleaning preferably with a vacuum before starting.  Also, if you find any roaches you can vacuum them up too as it is a great way to kill them and prevent eggs from hatching.   If you are up to the challenge, be patient and take your time.  The results can be great.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.

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