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Jul 31 2015

Getting bugged about bugs?

Mosquito vacation rentalOne of the most common complaints from vacationers is about bugs: live bugs, dead bugs, bugs that look exactly like cockroaches (but they’re really just wood roaches), how their rental home is “infested” with bugs. I’m always curious to know where these folks live that is completely devoid of insects in the summertime. And what kind of bubble they must live in that does not allow for a single spider or ant to intrude.

Well, being in the office to hear these complaints and the resulting frustration from our homeowners, I got pretty paranoid about possibly being faced with the same complaints from my guests. In addition to being fastidious about cleaning (I often work alongside my professional cleaner), I used to “bug bomb” the house prior to the arrival of our first tenants every summer. And the fogging seemed to work, with the gratifying results of dead bugs around for a few days afterwards.

But despite my efforts, I once had a tenant who was so fanatical about mosquitoes that she went around the house and slapped scotch tape over every perceived hole in my screens. Another tenant complained, I mean to the point of asking for his money back, because there was a dead mosquito smooshed high up on a wall somewhere – evidently escaping the eagle eyes of my cleaners and me.

But then last year I got really serious and hired a professional exterminator. Although it costs more money, it was more reasonable than I expected (around $250, and I’m on the Vineyard), and the benefits make it totally worthwhile. Naturally, it gives me the greatest confidence that a bug problem will not occur in my house the entire summer/fall. But my bug guy also promised to return immediately if a tenant should ever have an issue. I love having this guarantee in case an odd bug or two somehow slips through and is found by a nitpicky tenant.

And my concerns about having to vacate the house during treatment were allayed when he told me I could sit tight right in the house – and my dog was fine, too. So, if there were a problem while my tenants were there, they wouldn’t be inconvenienced much at all, and their kids and/or pets would also be fine.

If hiring a professional exterminator is not an option for you, do consider using the foggers. A 3-pack costs less than $15, and they are pretty effective.

Do you have any bug stories to share? Any recommendations for other homeowners?

Getting bugged about bugs?
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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth

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  1. Camille

    What do you say to tenants complaining about no-see-ums? Our house is relatively new with new screens etc and no standing water but we do live on the salt marsh! I told them to close the windows at night and use the AC-but they complained they came for the fresh sea air!

    1. Elizabeth Weedon

      Did they say the no-see-ums were inside the house? Usually, I’ve only noticed them outside. At any rate, I’d just respond that the cost of enjoying that lovely “fresh sea air” is that they experience the wildlife that comes with it! I guess suggesting bug spray isn’t an option for fresh air enthusiasts either 🙂 Sometimes, you just can’t make everyone happy. The trick is to react in an incredibly responsive, sensitive way so that your guests feel “heard” and sympathized with, regardless of whether you can actually fix the problem.

  2. Nancy Baker

    I also use professional Exterminator A – 1, excellent results. We use the bug bombs in May, so far great!!!

  3. Vicki Dempsey

    I am not so accustomed to bugs and mosquitoes… a CA girl who eats dinner outdoors all summer.
    Not only do we use a professional exterminator (A-1) on the Cape, this year I started using The Mosquito Squad! They come out every other week and put up a protective barrier around my yard. They appear to be very environmentally sensitive and are great to work with. I plan to tout their service as an added advantage to renting my house.

  4. jackie

    Whom did you use on the Vineyard? I have a called people and they never show up?

    1. Elizabeth Weedon

      Hi, Jackie, I use Kevin Pigott with Pigott Pest Control, 508-693-6595. I believe his assistant is Trish, very nice. He’s always been very prompt and dependable. I would also recommend any of our Cape and Island Homeowners to take a look at our Home Services Directory, where you can find all sorts of service providers who are right in your area. The Directory can be accessed in the drop down menu under the Homeowner Center tab on our website header.
      Good luck!

  5. Jerry

    I DeCon my foundation inside and out each spring with a battery operated spray bottle. Works great. ~$16.00.
    .
    There is always a fly, ant or mosquito found in the house, just like any other home. People open windows without screens, kids in and out of the house and whatever. Certainly not an infestation. I’ve never had a complaint. (so far). Some people are just too complaining.

    Jerry
    Dennis Port

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