A bug’s worst nightmare

There’s always lots of buzz in the air when Arnold Fishon, 62, of Huntington, goes to work. But whatever’s buzzin usually stops by the time Fishon, chief operating officer (and chief bug zapper) of Abco Termite and Pest Contol, finishes the job.

Using “third generation” insecticides that target individual species, Fishon ranges Long Island on a hunt for hornets, wasps, carpenter bees – what-ever is bugging you. He gets an assist from Abco chief executive Joseph Fishon, 83, of Brooklyn (that’s his dad), and son Eric, president and weekend insecticide expert. Fishon, who holds a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Maine, is a bit of a bus bee himself. He sits on the board of directors of the Pest Control Association of New York City, writes bug-battling articles and holds termite seminars (for humans, not termites).

Fishon spoke with Jim Merritt about the latest buzz words, including termites, bees, hornets and wasps.

Do you hate insects?

In a way, I’m bug-phobic, which is unusual for a pest control guy, but I try to take a professional attitude toward it.

What are the major infestations on Long Island right now?

Termites and bedbugs are coming back. Bedbugs are tiny, almost like beetles, and they bite you and make red circles on you skin. A lot of people travel to Europe, where bedbugs are more prevalent, and they them back in their suitcases. The termite season starts when the forsythias bloom in March, April, and May. You know what the industry calls Long Island? The termite gold coast, because there’s so many termites here.

What’s the worst termite damage you’ve ever experienced?

I’ve seen cases where kitchens have fallen through to the basement because the cross beams were eaten out by termites. Termites cause more damage than fires, floods and earthquakes combined. That statistically true.

I’ve heard that the bee population has been decimated. Is it a good idea to exterminate them?

The kind of bees that cause damage are called carpenter bees. Those are the ones that hover like helicopters, and they drill holes into soffits and the underside of roofs. Only females bite. The problem is, I can’t tell the difference [between male and female].

What do you do with honeybees?

It’s actually against the law to kill honeybees. Usually, when honeybees come up, we call a beekeeper, and they will take care of them for us.

What’s the next insect season to worry about?

The stinging insects are generally in late summer: June, July, and August. You have hornets and two different kinds of wasps – paper wasps and European wasps. Some wasps actually go through cracks in the outside walls and start to build their nests in the wall. Wasps also build a paper nest, generally in the cracks in the outside where ceiling and risers meet. And sometimes, you have mud wasps, which build their nests in the ground. The hornets generally make their nests in trees, and I see the nests as big as basketballs. The best time to treat them is in the evening, when all the insects return to the net, so you get them all.

What do you do at your house when you see a big, ugly spider?

As you know, spiders generally kill other insects. I step on it, or I spray the hell out of them.