Rats, Weeds, Bugs and Fungus. They’re all in this together.

Now that our firm has moved into the structural pest control sector, there has emerged a holistic view of the role we play as service providers. Where there used to be fairly clear boundaries between what we did in the landscape setting and what other companies did in and around structures, there is now an important overlap and interplay of how one pest or treatment is influenced by another.
Our techs now try to wear the eyes of a vegetation manager, an insect and disease technician and a pest control operator as they do inspections and perform treatment services.
A vegetation control technician may be treating weeds next to a structure that have an aphid infestation which is providing honeydew (Aphid fecal matter) as food for carpenter ants or odorous house ants. In this case, the vegetation technician has accomplished a structural pest control function by eliminating the food source for the aphids and ultimately, the carpenter and odorous house ants which are a nuisance and structural threat.
In another scenario, an insect and disease technician, in the course of performing a systemic injection to control aphids in a yellow poplar tree, is removing a food source (the aphids) for yellow jackets, which can be a serious pest issue, especially for those who are fatally allergic to hornet stings.
And to complete this triangular thinking, where we have elm trees threatened by Dutch Elm Disease, which is a fungus carried by the Elm bark beetle, the control of the beetle is a means to limiting the spread of a devastating fungus disease.
While most of the direct health impacts of pests on humans in our area have been limited to the work of vectors like mosquitos, ticks, stinging insects and the rare Hanta virus infection from rodents, It is well known in the medical community that some of the most deadly bacteria that affect those in compromised health or in hospital care often originate in soil, water and plants out in the natural world.
One of those organisms, a bacterial pathogen of which there are many strains, Pseudomonas syringae, is responsible for all kinds of plant disease and mortality in our area. First identified on Lilac in the 1800’s, it is responsible for the tip blight you may have seen on your Lilacs early in the season. Other host plant problems include “fire blight” on pear and maple, “gummosis” and cankers on cherry, plum, and peach as well as dieback on grasses and other woody plants. While it is highly unlikely that you will ever pick up a deadly infection just walking through your yard, it is interesting to note how well adapted and diversified these organisms have become. Now get out there and give your immune system a little workout!
As always, we’d be happy to discuss any concerns you may have or answer questions regarding your landscape or pest control needs. Service quotes are free as are smiles and warm handshakes.
Evan Ogden
Senior Tech
Wolberts, Inc