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Keeping Pests Out of Your Home for Good: An Interview with Bob Ellis of Bob Ellis Termite & Pest Control

By Bob Ellis

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Bob Ellis Termite & Pest Control is a small family business. Bob has been in the pest control industry since 1972, and he took ownership of the business in 2005. His daughter, Caylon Ellis, is the CEO, and his other technician, a family friend of over 40 years, services the Orange County area. Bob commutes to Orange County daily, and also services North County San Diego. We provide monthly and one-time pest treatments for residential and commercial properties and HOAs, and we perform termite inspections and treatments for real estate transactions and also homes that are not for sale.

In general, what are some simple ways for homeowners to prevent the presence of pests?

One way to prevent the presence of rats is to avoid clutter and piles of things in the yard that give them somewhere to live. A great way to prevent ants is to keep trash areas clean, rinse recyclables that sit in bins indoors and outside, and wipe down BBQ areas after use. For pet owners, don't leave food sitting in dishes outside. Spiders are often a big complaint, but they are a pest you actually want around. Garden spiders won't hurt you, and they eat mosquitoes and other bugs you don't want around. Only black and brown widows are poisonous in this area, and they aren't aggressive. If a spider is somewhere you don't want it, take a stick and relocate the web with the spider to a bush or area with plants.

What are the most common pests in the Southern California area?

Argentine ants are very common in the area. They are brownish in color and their natural habitat is under rocks. (A concrete slab is a rock to them). They tend to like nicely irrigated properties because they have a water source and the soil is most.

Oriental roaches are dark and almost black in color and they don't fly. Smoky brown roaches are large and can fly. They both are the most common roaches here. They come inside when it warms up because they like a cool and damp environment.

Drywood and subterranean termites are extremely common. Subterranean termites swarm in late Winter into early Spring, commonly on a warm day after rain. They can swarm in December if we have warm days. Subterranean swarmers have to find wood that has earth contact to start an infestation. Drywood termites swarm from August to November, and they generally swarm around noon. If you just see a few inside, they could have gotten in from outside, but many means you likely have an infestation in the structure.

Are there any household products people can use to get rid of pests?

Windex will kill ants and remove their scent trail. To be most effective, kill scouts (the first sign of ants before the invasion) and wipe the area they were walking around on with windex. This will kill them but it won't get rid of the infestation. You must get to the source to rid the pests, which is usually outside.

Is there anything that people do (unknowingly) that increases the amount of insects in or near their house?

Not rinsing soda cans or other recyclables before storing them is a common way people draw pests in or near their house. Not wiping up spills (especially in cupboards) is another one. Even the cleanest of homes have problems sometimes, just depending on the neighborhood/area where the home is located. Certain areas are more prone to ants and other pests. Monthly pest control maintenance is the best way to control ants in these areas.

What home exterior treatment can people use to prevent the presence of termites and pests?

Nothing keeps termites away other than not having wood around to attract them. Bait that is advertised actually draws termites to the area. Since most houses are built with wood frames, chances are you will have a termite infestation at some point in time. To lessen the chance of a subterranean termite infestation, you can eliminate earth to wood contacts around the exterior of the house. Limiting the use of wood for fences and patio covers will minimize exposed wood that drywood termites are attracted to.

For general pests, the best prevention is to keep clutter to a minimum. Homeowners do not have access to the same chemicals a licensed pest control company does, so if home treatments aren't working, call in the professionals!

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

The fastest way to get a response is to email us directly at bob@bobellispest.com or by filling out a contact form on the "contact us" page of our website. The best number to call is 714-898-5117 even if you are located in San Diego because it is an answering service that gets checked throughout the day.

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