During my pest technician training, I shadowed my supervisor multiple times to an account he really didn’t want to go to. He would sigh heavily and lower his head whenever he received a work order for that account. He looked as if he’d been asked to work on his day off.
My supervisor usually smoked a cigarette before heading off, but this time, I saw him extra edgy. Finally, after smoking an additional cigarette on the way there, we arrived to a heavily wooded house with lots of wild life, chipmunks and squirrels. This Garden of Eden even had a bird feeder and a water fountain where a string of birds would perch along the rim coming and going for a quick drink. It looked really pretty, except bird feeders attract rats and other pests. A good technician will tell you to get rid of them. Inside, near the kitchen,the customer had a bowl of cat food and water on the floor, which I identified right away as a pest magnet. Insects have evolved to be opportunistic, making ground floors giant food pantries. Their only job is to come into people’s homes for food, water and shelter. As technicians, we were there to eliminate or discourage them from coming in, a task proven difficult when customers don’t follow recommendations.
The work order was to re-treat a chronic ant problem. That day, a mob of ants were feasting on the spilled food and water left by the cats. What more can an ant ask for? Her kitchen was a dream come true, food and water all in one place. While we both worked, she stood in front of the sink looking through the window facing the bird feeder. She had the demeanor of a child who’d eaten the last cookie.
After a half an hour of treatment, my supervisor took a long breath and recommended she cover and wipe spilled food and water. I’m pretty sure she had memorized it all at that point. Before we headed out to this account, my supervisor told me she requested the company to send him only. She wanted his attention. He was probably right; although I was present, she would only speak to him. Having the stud attending to her pest needs made her day.
It was funny to me, but if you’re the client, actions like these could have long-term affects since among the pavement ants, she also had carpenter ants. Those bad boys cause as much structural damage on your house as termites. Recommendations come from a place of care and are preventive tips that could save you thousands of dollars’ worth of damage on your life’s biggest investment: your home. From that day on, I found out that treating pests was easy. The hardest part was convincing people to change the behavior that sometimes causes the pest problem.
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