All Creatures Great and Small

Pest control qualifications

I posted this last year and want to repost it because it is very important you check the qualifications of any exterminator you hire for any purpose.  This fellow kills prairie dogs because he stupidly believes they are dangerous.  I got an email from someone about an article I wrote about prairie dogs. It looks like he is in the business of destroying them because he is not knowledgeable. This is his email, and my response is below.

His email

I just read your article and I’m pretty amazed you tell people prairie dogs don’t carry disease? It’s obvious you have an agenda and just aren’t a serious person.  We have known for decades their fleas carry the plague and have recently shut down how many sites trying to prevent their spread.

Come on dude.

Seth H.

My response

Mr. H.

You are very misinformed about prairie dogs and the plague. We have about 107 species of fleas in NM and about a third of them are known vectors of the plague. They will get on almost all animals. The species that carry the plague will get mostly on squirrels, rodents, rabbits and occasionally prairie dogs.  Almost all the animals carrying fleas are immune to the disease. There is one exception and that is prairie dogs. If prairie dogs are bitten by fleas with the plague, the prairie dogs will die. If there is as prairie dog colony that is active, they do not have any fleas that carry the plague. If a colony is mostly dead, then they were infested with plague carrying fleas. Killing colonies of prairie dogs because they are a health hazard is nonsense and the people that do that have no idea what they are doing.  

Where did I get this information? From a peer reviewed scientific document entitled, “Fleas and Lice of Mammals in New Mexico”, which was published in 2004 by the United States Department of Agriculture. Who wrote this scientific paper? I DID. There is another paper with information in it as well, entitled “New Records for Fleas (Siphonaptera) from New Mexico with notes on plague-carrying species”. It is a scientific paper published in the Southwestern Naturalist in 2001. Who wrote this paper? I DID.


About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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