It’s that time of the year when the locals are saying “mucho calor”, or “muy caliente”. Translation, it’s very warm or hot. That’s when I say, “No, hot is 115° plus”. In Lake Havasu City, Phoenix, or Yuma, hot is when you leave something on your dashboard, and your hand gets burned trying to remove it, or your steering wheel is way too hot to touch (when we lived there we had covers for all our steering wheels), or your bare feet will burn on the pavement or even the beach sand. Sometimes the concrete is so hot that you can literally fry an egg on it. We used to say, when we lived in Lake Havasu City, “When it gets to 120°, that its OK because it’s a dry heat and there is no humidity”. Right now, as I write this Editorial, all around the USA, most of the big cities are experiencing high heat and humidity. Here in Rocky Point, we do get humidity and temperatures that rock around the 100° mark, but at least, unlike southern Arizona, we cool down in the evenings. And most of the time there is a nice breeze coming off our large swimming pool, the Sea of Cortez, Arizona’s nearest beach.

When we built the house at the Ranchito, A.K.A. Club Lomas Campestres, we built it the same way as most houses are built in the U.S., framed with wood, insulation and stucco. In one room we put an electric receptacle in the ceiling to be used for a wall mounted television. The receptacle never got used because the TV was too big for that wall. In fact I never got around to putting a cover on the receptable. It was just in the ceiling in a plastic box. As things turned out, I am very glad that I had never crossed putting on that cover off my honey-do list. Almost directly beneath the receptacle we have a leather swivel rocking chair which sits about 18” away from the wall. (By now you are all probably thinking, ” It must be a slow news day in Rocky Point, where is he going with this editorial”?). Well one day when we returned to the ‘Ranchito’ after being out of town for about ten days, Sandy saw what looked, at first glance, like a fairly good sized pile of sawdust on the floor. When she showed it to me, I thought, “Oh no, termites”! The pile was a reddish brown color, had no aroma and looked like redwood sawdust. I put a phone call in to our local pest control company, Contra Plagas. They sent a man out that day. He inspected the pile on the floor and said, “It’s not termites, but I don’t know what it is”. He thought perhaps it was caused by field mice or weavils.

He took a sample, said he would have it checked out, and for me to call him in about a week. After cleaning up the pile, I started visualizing what a job it would be to cure the problem, removing all the drywall and four inches of insulation etc, etc, because there is no air space for spraying as it is a flat roof. About a week later, I had another pile in the same spot. I called Antonio, one of the owners of Contra Plagas, and he came to the house. After checking the pile, he said, “Ants”. He cut about an eight inch square hole in the ceiling and, sure enough, there was a stream of tiny ants. He said, “Carpenter ants”. Antonio said that they are very rare for this part of the country and that he wasn’t sure if a regular bait trap would solve the problem. (A trap of this kind is where the ants, hopefully, take the bait from the trap and carry it back to the nest where it kills the queen.) Antonio placed a bait trap in the hole, but said he wasn’t sure if it would work with this species of ants and that he would check and see if there are other traps better suited for this type of ants. If this didn’t work, we would have to remove the entire ceiling and spray everything. With my fingers crossed, I watched him set the bait traps. It has now been four weeks and there are no sign of ants.

In a conversation with Antonio, I asked him how he got started in the pest control business. He said that his dad worked for Truly Nolen Pest Control in Hermosillo for 18 years and that is how he and his two brothers got started. They took courses and, in 2004 they were certified and licensed by the health department. They then opened Contra Plagas Pest Control. Antonio says that besides ants, spiders, roaches, scorpions and termites are very common for Rocky Point and when building with wood he advises that the wood should be treated with a preventative material. He also recommends that your property be treated at last 3 times per year, spring, mid summer and the fall. If you live in an area where there are snakes, they have a repellent they put down which does not harm them, but they will not cross it. Another problem for some areas is birds, for this they use a bait that when the birds eat it and lay their eggs, the eggs are sterilized. They also use a type of fishing like, constructed in a way that the birds won’t fly or land around a swimming pool for example. The costs of the different treatments range from $35dlls to $55dlls, depending on the property size.

To keep abreast of the newest pest control methods and products, the brothers frequently attend seminars sponsored by their vendors down in Puebla, and also California, in Riverside and San Diego. The Contra Plagas office is open Monday thru Friday from 9AM-5PM and on Saturday 9AM-3PM, and they are located on the main Blvd Benito Juarez, just south of Burger King. Tel. (011-52-638) 383-8787. Give them a call.