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Reviews of exterminators

Jan 2005

MITTS pest control? Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with MITTS pest control? We are not selling our house but have encountered termites and are considering using MITTS for a full inspection and removal of the termites. If you have a strong positive recommendation about another company that would be great too. amy


My house was inspected by Mitts before I bought it. My uncle, Bob Randall with Prudential Realty (869-4242), said that Mitts is "the best." He's been in the business for *years* and recommended a roofer (Bill Wong, Interstate Roofing) who was *terrific*. Anyway, the pest report was positive and I haven't had any problems with my house. I hope this helps. Jennie Jan 2005

Burge Pest Control
I just wanted to write in because we recently used Burge Pest Control after reading the recommendations on this newsgroup. It was not the best experience. If you'd like more details, please feel free to e-mail me... autstein


Exterminator needed for ants

See also: Advice about Ants


Jan 2008

Does anyone know of an exterminator that is safe to have with a newborn infant in the house. We are having a problem with ants. Stacy


I used aantex when my son was 2 weeks old. They were very careful to not spray around our living areas and stay outside, under the house and the sinks. They use an amount that would only harm an ant. We still had a few ants snooping around for about 2 weeks after the spray but none since then. We have food everywhere since I'm too tired to do housework and I haven't seen any more ants. Their prices are very reasonable. Aantex Pest Control Company 2100 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 644-2440 Jenna
Dec 2007

We are having problems with ants around the perimeter of our house and it looks like they have nests under the house. I'd like a recommendation for a good ant extermination service that uses methods that aren't going to be too toxic to humans and deer, but will effectively wipe the ants out. Also a company that will disclose what they are spraying and has careful sprayers who don't just believe in saturation spraying the whole house. Aantex and Burge were recommended in the web- postings, but those recommendations were made in 2004. Thanks for any leads. Nancy


Check out Richard Fagerland who specializes in insects and has a column in The Chronicle. I think he recommends to identify the ant first and then set ant traps. He does not recommend pesticides for ant control. You can send the ants to him to identify them. You can also email him with your questions and he replies back right away. He has a web site too, I think. He tells you how to make the solution to put in the ant traps; it may be borax. Judy
Aantax has great service and reasonable prices. We used them twice in the past 5 years, so did our neighbors. They'll disclose whatever products they'll use. anon
I just used Employ Exterminators. I found him via the BPN. Richard really knows his stuff and he was really easy to work with. He's been in the business for 20+ years. He took the time to explain the chemicals he was using and the process of how the ants would be eliminated. I have two small children & a dog and I wanted to make sure they would be safe. He even made a return visit at no additional charge to check on the progress. I thought he did a very thorough job. vonnie
We would definitely recommend Burge in Alameda. Family business, uses as much non toxic products as poss, reasonable pricing, good people, etc etc Cheryl
We had a major problem with ants until we made an ant trap using a mix of 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and a tablespoon of borax (20 mule team borax - can be bought in the laundry detergent isle at super Long's @ 51st & Broadway in Oakland) - after creating the mixture we found approximately where the ants were coming in, filled a couple of plastic soda caps with the solution and placed them near the ant entrance. The ants swarmed the caps for a few days then disappeared almost completely - the way it is supposed to work is that the ants feed on the solution and also bring it back to the colony/queen - after a few days the whole colony and queen should have eaten the solution and die. If the solution proportions are incorrect it may not work - we did research online to find out the correct proportions, but forgot to write them down. The proportions I listed above might not be exactly right, so you might want to do some research. If there is too much borax, the ants will die before they get it back to the colony and it will not wipe out the whole colony - if there is not enough it won't kill them at all and they'll just enjoy your sugar water. The solution is toxic to children and pets if consumed as it contains borax. We didn't see a single ant anywhere in the house for weeks after doing this - when we started to see a few scouts again we did it again.......so much easier than vaccuuming ants on a daily basis and spraying chemicals around the house. good luck with the ants
Nov 2006

We have a place built on a concrete slab and have ongoing invasions by ants, especially during the rainy season. Have tried a multitude of ant bait, including Grants and Terro and other poisons that the ants are supposed to take back to the nest, ie get the queen ant! Nothing really working so far. Does anyone have a exterminator they can recommend? Thanks a lot! Anon.


We used AANTAX (510-644-2440 or 510-832-8329) over 2 years ago, and the ants never came back after that. They were very friendly and nice people and they came on time. They were also reasonably priced. (we paid about $130. money well worth it.) No ants
I cannot recommend Burge Pest Control highly enough. I never thought I would be gushing about an exterminator but they were SO nice, professional, knowledgeable, efficient and didn't try to sell me on extra services. I also tried everything to no avail- our ant problem was insane. I was concerned about having a toddler and a dog but Burge said that an outside perimeter treatment would likely do the trick - and it did! Phone number is 510/523-6100 No longer ant crazy in EC
We used Burge Exterminator for our ant problem. They were great. We have not had an ant problem in over a year. We were fortunate that the exterminator did not have to come back for a follow-up visit to spray. But they are available to do it. He sprayed our entire exterior/perimeter of our house. He didn't even need to come inside. He uses safe products and there is no odor. Here is their number 523-6100 good luck ant free and happy
I missed the original post but just wanted to mention that Terro ant killing products are non-toxic and extremely effective. The ants eat the goo in the traps, take it back to the ant hole and it kills the whole ant hole. We have been having regular ''antbreaks'' since moving into our Montclair house, and have been able to quell each one within 1-3 days using only Terro products, which can be purchased at any hardware store and are pretty inexpensive. In addition, the customer service people at www.terro.com are actually quite helpful in advising where to place the traps, when to remove them, and which types to use. There are indoor and outdoor products. With kids and animals around our home, we have felt better about going this route (although we feel kinda bad about killing ants in general -- can't they just stay outside?!?!?) Montclair Mommy
Oct 2004

We have a terrible ant problem. We have tried many methods to fend them off including grants stakes and spraying raid around the outside of the house where they come in. I don't like to have a lot of poison in the house since I have a young child. Hence, Chinese ant chalk not an option. My mother in law recommended calling an exterminator. Has anyone done this? Can you recommend someone? Did it work? Thanks Sara


We had an ant problem so bad that they were running along the molding of our walls. Our landlord found aantx. This is a company that does extermination for doctor's offices and hospitals. It worked. 1 year later and we have only seen a few ants. I don't know the phone number but it is in the 925 area code. My landlord said he didn't think it was too expensive. Rochelle
I can highly recommend Burge Exterminators, based in Alameda for ant extermination. We have 2 dogs and an 8- month old and were very concerned about toxcitiy--Burge took the time to explain their product to us and how it works & were very reassuring. They are a family run business and extremely friendly and helpful. We had ants everywhere, and since Burge sprayed, none. What a relief! Karina
For the two posts that wrote regarding finding an ant exterminator. I have posted my ant problems on this newsletter over the years (and we've had MANY, including an ant invasion of our freezer!) and I have tried every non- exterminator solution possible (ant stakes, boric acid bait- - which I still highly recommend for maintenance), but finally our ant problem became unmanageable and I too called an exterminator. We have a dog and two kids so indiscriminate spraying was a concern of mine too. I settled on Aantex (510-832-8329) and would recommend them if you are looking to call an exterminator. I called quite a few companies. I found the Aantex guys and gals to be the most knowledgeable of what they were spraying, and they were willing to only spray in the parts of the house where I knew the ant nest was and where their ''highways'' were-- many companies insisted on spraying the whole house ''to be effective''. Good luck. Luisa
We've had a bad ant problem for years, and noticed that our little black ants just were ignoring the Grant's stakes. We were even considering an exterminator, but I read up on the ants online and found they liked grease and sweet baits. So, we found new baits called the Enforcer which the ants really swarmed in and seemingly ate. We left them alone to eat the stuff, and now we only see a few a day. It is a poison, but it's in a plastic container. Found at ACE hardware. Hope this helps! Almost Ant Free
July 2004

We have a major ant problem in our house. We've tried some less invasive solutions like Buhatch powder, ant traps etc.. but it's out of control and we need get pest control in here. We have two young children, 1 and 3 years old and we're concerned about our childens health and chemicals used by most commercial companies. Any recommendations of companies that use less toxic jacqueline


Hi, I know all too well the feeling of losing the battle with ants in the house, and wanting to maintain using non- toxic methods of control. However, I succumbed. After months of battling and seeing some fluctuations in population by using boric acid baits, the ants always seemed to rebound and we were never ant-free. We could not leave ANYTHING out EVER, and the pressure to be on top of a perfectly clean kitchen EVERY DAY was too much (we have two kids and a dog), and I called pest control companies. I called around and asked a lot of questions and finally settled on Aantex, whom I'd recommend (got the number from yellow pages). They seemed the most informed in what they were spraying (what they spray inside and outside are different chemicals) and very sensitive to preventing exposure to humans and pets. One thing that I was pleased at was they were willing to only spray certain areas in my house where I knew the ants were coming in-- they didn't insist on spraying the whole house to guarantee the ants wouldn't come back. I knew there was an ant nest under the house in our crawl space, and the man who came to apply knew to look for it and sprayed there. We have been ant free for a month, and I still revel in leaving dirty dishes in the sink. We'll see how long it lasts, and if using bait now will control them so I won't need to spray again. Good luck with your decision! Luisa
We had a horrendous ant problem and used Ant Stakes from the hardware store, placed every 6-8 inches outside around our house and wherever we found them inside and they were gone within a week. The bug man (in the Saturday home/garden Chronicle section) recommended them I think. He generally recommends the least toxic method. I think he has a website that is something like thebugman.com or maybe google the bug man (he lives in New Mexico). Hope that helps. ants no more
March 2004

We are having quite an ant problem. I think it has gone beyond the ''the ants are coming inside to get out of the rain'' to ''the ants live in the walls and sometimes come out for a snack''. I spray Orange Guard; they go away for a day and then find a new route in. I thought it was the rainy season but now I'm convinced it's a large-scale infestation. I've seen the many recommendations posted on the Web site (baby powder has not worked for me, incidentally) and have not yet investigated ant stakes but will give that a try. I'd just like to know what I'm dealing with first, so I thought an exterminator might at least be able to tell me. My questions are: (1) does anyone have a recommendation of a good exterminator who will understand my perhaps conflicting wants to poison the ants but not my child, cat or the groundwater, and who might honestly give me an assessment of the extent of the problem and (2) has anyone had a major ants-in-the-woodwork problem such as this and fixed it via ant stakes or some other home remedy (besides baby powder)? Thanks! Jennifer


I found Employ Exterminators very easy to work with. We had a huge ant infestation under the house and they had to come back for 3 visits within 2 months(all covered under the one-time fee of $120). Richard knows about the habits of ants and is considerate about the hazards of spraying where there are small children. He will be able to answer all your questions.

I might be able to control the ant situation with home remedies now, but I'm relieved to have had professional help first. Each nest has many thousands of ants, as you know if they are invading your home! Suzanne


re the ant invasion, I went and got books in the library about this and found out that sprinkling BoricAcid powder in the pathways where they come in works great,; it's a stomach irritant if eaen by humans. It really works so much better less smelly and toxic, and it works, rather then the sprays, traps, etc. Leia
during the rainy season 2 years ago, i had an ant infestation in which the ants just kept coming and coming and coming. i tried various solutions, but found the most useful was to put multiple (5 or 6) grant ant stakes out near the spot of ingress (if I could find it, or the place I saw the ants on their endless march. so, for example, in the kitchen, i put four each on the window sill, by the faucets, one my dish shelf and on the counter adjacent to the sink. In my bedroom, where i could not see where the ants came from, I put 4 each near the wall bordering the garden, in my closet and under my bed where I had seen them, and where the stakes were not visible or easily accessible to little ones. (i was going to put them outside each wall, but could not because of the architecture. It took a few days to discourage the colony, but i've not seen them since. Nselk
Oct 2003

Our house is overrun with ants, and we can't take it any more! We would like to hire a professional exterminator, but have a toddler and an infant. Can anyone recommend an exterminator sensitive to the young-children issue, or offer insights into just how dangerous using an exterminator might be under the circumstances? (The alternative seems to be to spray Raid periodically, as we can't put out ant stakes, etc., where they might be ingested -- and this has its own poisonous disadvantages.) If you've had either a good or a bad experience with ant extermination, we'd like to hear about it! (I have read the website postings, but they relate primarily to non-professional home remedies.) Thanks!! Gretchen


We had great success with having our house sprayed by a company called Burge Pest Control, 510-523-6100. We have a small child also, and were really worried about the toxicity of the spray. We had a long talk with the guys who came out to do the job (also parents of small children) and they assured us that the spray is harmless after the initial waiting period (they said a few hours, we stayed out all day). It kills the ants, then degrades. In fact they said it was better to spray once and kill them all, including nests around the perimeter of the house, than spraying Raid or similar inside which is actually more toxic. We didn't spray in the baby's room at all, just for peace of mind, but did in kitchen and bathroom, and outside. We've had them out twice in two years, and it's been great. No ants for many many months, then a few if it's really hot or raining. Perhaps we need to do it once a year? It was well worth it since nothing else was working. Costs about $150, though not positive about that price. Jocelyn

Exterminator for spiders

See also: Advice about Spiders

November 2002

Both my son and my husband have been bitten by spiders in our north Berkeley hills home. My husband's doctor feels the bites may have come from a ''cousin'' of the brown recluse spider. My son's OK, but my husband has had a very bad reaction to the bites (he's had 2 now) necessitating numerous trips to the doctor, antibiotics, etc. Does anyone have experience with a reliable exterminator in the area that may be able to rid us of these spiders? Has anyone had a similar experience and found another way to handle the situation? (We're not thrilled about the idea of chemicals and the harm done to more friendly insects & spiders.) Thanks! Kim


I full heartedly recommend ''Employ Exterminators.'' Richard has come to my home three times already regarding a mice problem and has also consulted with me about ants and spiders. He is very knowledgeable and honest. You can't do better. Good luck.
Once again I would like to recommend the book, ''Common Sense Pest Control'' by William Olkowski. It is a treasure trove of information. In regards to bites, the book says that brown recluse spiders are commonly suspect, but rarely the actual culprit. If you actually think you have brown recluse spiders, keep shoes, clothing and bedding off the floor. Brown recluse spiders like to hide in boxes and papers, so those could be frozen before dealing with them. If you use a short-acting chemical, the critters will move back in after the chemical no longer works. If you use a long-acting chemical, the humans will be in a toxic environment for years to come. I hate to think of using a chemical when you don't know what you are dealing with. A welt on the skin can be due to assassin bugs, ticks, mites, fleas, mosquitoes, lacewings, etc. It can also be caused by bacteria or viruses. sunsol

Wasp Nest

April 2002

Hello. I've discovered a wasp nest in an awning right outside my balcony windows. I'd like to have the nest removed, as members of our family are allergic to bee and wasp stings -- can an exterminator take care of this, and could/would someone recommend any service that would remove the wasp nest? Thank you.


If you're in Contra Costa county, the ''Vector Control'' folks will remove the wasp for you for free. Check in the government pages. Also have humane skunk traps that you set, they pick up. Ann
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