About Jim

Ultra-high chickaree exclusion job in Bear Valley

Chickarees (aka Douglas squirrels) had no trouble gaining entrance through a gap at the peak of this very tall home in Bear Valley.

After our manager. Josh Esposito, found the entry point, plans were made on how to exclude the chickarees.

The ground was sloped too severely to allow the use of a boom truck. So our crew, Beto Gonzalez, Juan Gonzalez, and Tito Rodriquez-Tinoco built a platform to hold a forty foot ladder, allowing Juan to climb all the way up and seal the entry point.

Great work, men!!

9 July 2020



Pine tree ants, liometopum luctuosum, attacking oven insulation

We came across a very unusual pine tree ant infestation. The resident of a house in Sonora, on Villas Lane, had been gone a week, and when he came back, found his kitchen floor covered with a fluffy, dusty material.

Examination revealed an infestation by pine tree ants, and oddly, these ants were attacking the insulation around a couple of kitchen appliances, an oven and a dishwasher. Typically these ants excavate in soft wood, such as rotted parts of pine trees, and Celotex ceiling insulation. I’d not seen them try to nest in appliance insulation.

The ants had a handy food source, about 20 feet from the appliances: a hummingbird feeder on the front porch.

23 June 2020




Drugstore beetles in a bathroom

Jason Price brought in samples of drugstore beetles infesting a bathroom in a house in Valley Springs, Calaveras County, California. This is unusual, indicating a food source in that area. The problem started, to my knowledge, at least in May of 2020.

It turns out that this house had a bad mouse infestation in the rent past (prior to the new owners), and we are now going to search for rodent bait or a rodent cache in this area, beneath or within the wall there.

22 June 2020.


Thrips attracted to white surfaces

We received a call from a customer about thousands of tiny bugs all over the white house trim. When I arrived to get samples, most were gone, but the homeowner did collect a few. See images below.

Thrips are minute, flower-feeding insects. When their flowers start to die off, the trips are forced to fly and find more white flowers (if that is the flower color that species prefers). In this case, there were no more flowers, and the thrips were attracted to the whit trim.

30 May 2019, Groveland California.


Tiny Termite Swarmers from Groveland

Specimens collected by Ryles Richards, 26 May 2020, on Breckenridge ion PML, Groveland, in the house. The customer said the termites appeared to be coming up from between the carpet and the flooring.

Swarmers, who have dropped their wings.

We are still trying to get an ID on these.


is an article suggesting a new species is out there. We are on the lookout for a colony.

Tiny Subterranean Termite Swarmers

From Toyon Ct, Tuolumne City. Early May, 2020.

These specimens are about 3 mm long.

Thanks to Dr. Vernard Lewis for the ID. Dr. Lewis points out that these might represent specimens of an undescribed species, as proposed by Haverty and Nelson in 1997.


We contacted Dr. Lori Nelsom, one of the authors of the 1997 paper, Cuticular Hydrocarbons of Reticulitermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) from Northern California Indicate Undescribed Species.

She said it is possible that these tiny termites are indeed one of undescribed species. I called the customer and asked for more details.  He said the termites had come from a beam near the roof and that there were winged termites on the roof. So maybe these are drywood termites?