Giant House Spider

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 12.04.12 AM 229x300 Giant House SpiderLike the hobo house spider, the giant house spider is a native of Europe that has found its way to the United States through human activity. It is active in the Pacific Northwest.

The spider is named as such because of its incredibly long legs. Females can have leg spans of approximately 45 millimeters in addition to its 18-millimeter body size. Males on the other hand can have longer legs of up to 75 millimeters, and body sizes of 12-15 millimeters.

The giant house spider also builds funnel-shaped webs most often in a corner or in between objects not frequented by large animals or humans. It squeezes itself into the narrow end of the funnel and waits for a victim to pass by before it pounces on it. Not many are known to escape, of course; the giant house spider previously carried the Guinness World Record for top spider speed at 9.73 feet per second until it was surpassed by sun spiders in 1987.

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Great & Not So Great Freebies In Pest Control

Screen Shot 2014 10 19 at 11.37.49 AM 300x228 Great & Not So Great Freebies In Pest ControlSomething about running a pest control route that happens to everybody, not just me. People give you stuff!

Now it doesn’t happen everyday and it’s not always a big ticket item, but there is definitely some sort of karma thing or serendipitous energy that follows your humble bug man and you just never know when its going to pop up.

Now I’m not a big believer in blind luck nor am I completely sold on the idea of Karma but I do agree you you reap what you sow and once in a great while, good things (and bad) just seem to show up whether you deserve them or not. The following is a list of some “freebies” that have come my way or that I’ve seen for others. Looking back, it’s just sort of fascinating to think about.
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Fat And Happy

Screen Shot 2014 10 14 at 11.34.34 PM 300x100 Fat And Happy

If you’re not growing you’re dying. Anthony Robbins

The minute you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t there anymore
Risk is essential. There is not growth of inspiration in staying within what is safe and comfortable. Once you find out what you do best, why not try something else?” – Alex Noble

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. – Benjamin Franklin

Strong words and I’m a pretty big believer in learning from others, especially those who have achieved such great heights as those I’ve quoted. However I often wonder, is it ever ok to just sit still? Would it be acceptable to not have a plan to grow. I mean, where do you stop? Is one million dollars that magic plateau? But once you hit that isn’t the next most logical step 2 million, 3 then 10, why not 100 million or even 1 Billion dollars? If you were to live by these axioms in the literal sense then the answer is most definitely yes. On the other hand- could your life be fulfilled if you stopped somewhere along the way and just said, “There, I’m where I want to be, I think I’ll stay here awhile.”
What do you think?….. are you fat and happy?
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The Niche In The Haystack-A Little Starting Help For Your Bug Blogs Traffic

Over the past few months I’ve gotten several questions about ‘how to blog.’ How to get started, where does your traffic come from, how do I compete? These are all great questions and the world of blogging has changed since I started and there are many theories and strategies. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be able to give you all the available information in one or even a whole slew of articles. The purpose of this writing is just to help aspiring writers a little hand in getting going…and getting going is the most important thing.

This article is a reprint of a guest article I wrote for www.howtomakemyblogblog by Marko Saric who I learn a lot from still. So with that in mind, it’s not pest specific but a general idea of what helped me climb the traffic ladder in the beginning days of my writing. It seemed to help a few folks back then & I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

Enjoy
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A War I Could Not Win Part II

Screen Shot 2014 10 02 at 10.08.45 PM 186x300 A War I Could Not Win Part IIAs my feet grudgingly take me to my last stair downward, an over powering feeling of helplessness comes over me like a cold wave. In front of me is just the first part of an all but impossible task that I cannot avoid, there is no way around it and there is no escaping the horror which is just mere moments away.

To the left of me seems like a mile of food stalls. All of them need to be combed over, scoured for any sign of the evil life that infests this place and treated. To the right, a long long isle of nothing less. Like a huge life sized chess board this deadly game challenges my every fiber, takes me to the limits and practically exhausts my every ounce of energy and I have not even unleashed the first drop of my wares. Unlike the game of chess, my enemy has no set of rules which to play by and has quickly learned how to exploit the limitations that I must adhere to. With limited time to get this weeks horror filled episode behind me, I remind myself of a French Proverb–

“You cannot play at Chess if you are kind-hearted”

and I press on. (see part 1 here)
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A War I Could Not Win Part 1

It’s Tuesday, 2:30 am: It is my first stop. A weekly account that is the crown jewel of my branch, indeed the envy of the region and one that rivals any in the entire company. The company, that is at this time, the largest pest control firm in the world.

As I enter the acre and a half sized room the bright lights accost my eyes with an unrelenting glare. The huge expanse is eerily quiet as I survey my account from the top of the marbled stairs. The reflected shine from the walls, tiled floors and counter tops gives the illusion of a city on a hill, a respectable establishment beyond all reproach. For a moment I’m lost in the spectacle, briefly taken in with the mirage.

Then, right on time, from a remote corner of the market I hear the faint squeaking wheels of the janitors mop bucket from what seems like a mile away. The dark figure moves slowly as the sound grows clearer. Deliberately his measured strides take the same path in the farthest isle along a seemingly endless row of food stalls. Until finally I watch as he reaches the huge bank of switches on a far corner wall. A sight I’ve come to dread.
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Winning the Anecdotal Fight Is Just A Myth

Screen Shot 2014 09 15 at 9.50.35 PM 300x194 Winning the Anecdotal Fight Is Just A Myth

anecdotal |ˌanikˈdōtl|
adjective (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research: while there was much anecdotal evidence there was little hard fact | these claims were purely anecdotal.

Not to long ago I wrote an article titled Chasing The Exceptions; The Route Killer. It’s an article where I explain the pitfalls of a small company owner or route tech who exhausts far too much energy and resources trying to solve that one dilemma that “doesn’t fit the mold” A problem that just creates more problems or that get’s stickier with every layer of evidence you think you’ve uncovered. In other words, a waste of time….And you know what?,, since writing that I’ve STILL caught myself doing exactly what I said I /you/we/ shouldn’t do!!! What’s up with that?!!!
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The Four Seasons Of Truck # 2

Screen Shot 2014 08 24 at 3.50.29 PM 150x150 The Four Seasons Of Truck # 2 The days grow shorter, it’s only 5:30 and the darkness is all but settled on the driveway. A crisp chill is in the air & it reminds our determined entrepreneur that another harsh period of time is upon him and his precariously perched business. Unable to see through his own shadow he fumbles in the pocket door of his truck for the socket wrench he keeps stashed for just this occasion, which unfortunately comes all too often. He knows every square inch of his truck by heart and easily finds his tool without aid of his trusty mini mag lite. He sees his wife’s silhouette in the light of the garage door and knows dinner awaits him but he has to fix the pull rope on his rig or tomorrows promise of a decent payday will be all but a bust. With little room to work it’s all he can do not to cuss out loud and throw his wrench across the yard as he smacks his knuckles for the 3rd time against the cold aluminum frame of his rig. ….

“ Daddy” comes a small voice from somewhere around his bumper, “you need to come in and eat so you’ll be strong enough to kill all those big bugs.” An uncontrollable smile cracks across his face and as he straightens up his stiff back he says with a disguised groan……“Oooooh…k little buddy, let’s go in and eat, besides, I gotta tell you about this HUGE rat I saw today—OH, OH, there he is”……the boy screams with excitement and runs away laughing uncontrollably as proud papa gives chase.

Our aspiring tycoon swoops up his boy and the two chuckle and giggle all the way inside. In passing, the dim garage light illuminates fully across his wife’s face, he can’t help but notice the worried look on the rock of the household. It is the 30th of the month, the mortgage and a slew of other bills are due in two days and there is no way (at least on paper) that they all can be paid.

The garage door closes & darkness swallows up the feeble light across his modest home. It’s going to be another long cold winter.
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Meet Me At The Cemetery

Pest Cem logo Meet Me At The CemeteryIt’s hard to believe that www.pestcemetery.com is 7 years old. First off I can’t believe I haven’t even come close to running out of things to write about but what’s more incredible is, that I actually have people who read what I write. That’s pretty humbling.

The site started as an idea from my son who had convinced me blogging was a great way to make money. He’s doing that very well btw with his aviation blog, m0a.com. Me? eh, I better keep actually killing the bugs ;). My younger son gets credit for the name- it just popped out in a brain storming session we had while setting things up- Sooo, $6 bucks and a couple clicks later, pestcemetery was born.

In the first few months I wrote quite a few articles but was very discouraged when I saw that maybe, on a good day, 3 people clicked in. So, I thought I might attract some people using animated gifs and the like. I then loaded my articles with, digging termites, jumping fleas, flying bugs or just anything animated I could find, still, nobody came. Pretty depressing. Not knowing much about how to generate traffic or anything really I languished for about 10 months and was almost ready to give up. Well, I guess I did attract at least one visitor one day who was interested in my work- interested in destroying it! I remember logging in and instead of seeing my articles there was a large banner with foreign words on a flag and at the bottom in bold block letters- You’ve Been Hacked! That was extremely troubling that someone would go to such effort over an insignificant little bug blog.

The real problem was, not knowing enough about cyber space we had no way of fixing my site nor retrieving any of my work. For all intents and purposes, pestcemetery was dead.
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Top Ten List When Considering Referrals

Screen Shot 2014 08 12 at 11.58.06 PM 199x300 Top Ten List When Considering ReferralsEveryone says that “word of mouth is the greatest advertising.” Yet so few people take it much further than this. If indeed it truly is the greatest–why don’t we at least take the time to consider more about it? Why don’t we take the time to learn how to maximize this “greatest” asset to our business. The answer?….I don’t know, and, perhaps you don’t either. BUT,,, let’s not let that stop us from starting to at least explore just a little bit about referrals.

Now this is in no way a complete or exhaustive list nor is it a certified guru tested top ten. It is however a my top ten and I figured I’d share it with you. So with that said, PLEASE, if you have more insight or a tip you can add to it. I whole heartily invite you to do so. I think we could all use the help.

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How To Read An Anti Pesticide Article If You Absolutely Must

Screen Shot 2014 08 02 at 2.06.04 PM 300x184 How To Read An Anti Pesticide Article If You Absolutely MustI have stated for years that there are 3 things that have contributed greatly to the great advancement of mankind. #1- Advances in the medical field, #2, Plumbing and #3, Pest Control. Yes that’s right! I said ‘pest control.”

Now in case your saying that’s just little ol Jerry spouting off to prove a point.. Please consider that this list is presented as FACT by none other than the CDC as well as other sources, but this one by far being the most powerful. Did you know that the CDC’s original mission was to eradicate malaria and to do so they sprayed over 6.5 million homes for mosquitos?

Man has virtually never been without pest control. Since 2500 BC it’s documented that sulfur was used to control pests and some references go back as far as 8000 BC when agriculture first began.

For centuries pest control has been applauded and encouraged throughout the civilized world and has literally saved 10’s of millions, perhaps 100’s of millions of lives. It has also been longed for and desperately needed in 3rd world countries that still need relief from pest borne diseases and plagues. (it’s 2014 for Pete’s sake-REALLY?)

However, in just the most recent of years pest control has come under major assault. There are many who’d like to ban pesticide use altogether and indeed have accomplished many of their stated goals along these lines. Whole towns are being pushed to this degree and not just public but private use has also been outlawed.

So What Has Happened?

Most say that the work of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was the launching point back in 1962. Her work spurred an entire anti pesticide movement even though her conclusions have largely been debunked. Follow that link & it’ll amaze you. You’ll find many learned opinions like;

In the words of Professor Robert H. White-Stevens, an agriculturist and biology professor at Rutgers University, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”

But facts seem to just be a pesky little matter for the fast growing movement. Fear still predominates their presentation of their ideology. Fear is very powerful to those who don’t arm themselves with truth and to arm yourself– it takes just a bit of work and perhaps even a lesser amount of common sense.

With that, let’s take a look at their presentation and then you decide for yourself. I have simply chosen a few random words to google and then followed some links. Words like pesticide, poisoning, death, you get the idea. Your search may take you to different sites but all in all that hardly matters. The techniques are the same. Simply by reading with open eyes, you’ll no doubt come to the same conclusions with each.
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A Tiger By The Tail

Screen Shot 2014 07 23 at 12.02.53 AM 300x230 A Tiger By The TailLong before I donned a suit and tie and hit the road as a wildly successful, –eh hem – cough cough,—-Commercial Salesman later to become a National Accounts rep, I was a simple and happy residential pest control salesman. (money doesn’t buy you happiness right?)

My job was to traverse the city streets and find homeowners who needed our service. The bulk of my appointments came by phone. (Leads) Housewives who had had enough of a mouse or roach problem would call and, dutifully I would speed across town and pitch my solution. Now I did sell quite a few jobs and helped a lot of people over the years but I was hardly ever very close to any of the other sales guys in our branch when it came to monthly numbers. Much to the chagrin of the Branch Mgr. I wasn’t always dead last mind you but let’s just say- in 30 years in this biz I’ve only gotten 3 plaques for outstanding sales and only one in the company I’m referring to now.

But… The one thing all 3 plaques had in common and the one avenue I seemed to excel at was…commercial sales. This is the story about one such sale I pursued, one that could have changed my career. This one was known throughout our region as Jerry’s ‘Tiger By The Tail’.
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Lest You Forget

Screen Shot 2014 07 16 at 4.40.52 PM 300x228 Lest You ForgetYour pest control business, your baby. You started this thing from just an idea. And through all the hard times and the great break throughs– it was you who saw it through. You nurtured it through the infant stages, chased fleeting leads across one end of town to the other. Ignored the nay sayers even when all the evidence said “they were right and you are wrong, you were just spinning your wheels.” Oh and the dark times, ah yes the dark times. There were so many of those you at times almost believed that the sun had set on your dream never to rise again. Like a final black curtain on an act cut short before it could ever really shine.

So tempted, so close were you to calling it quits and relinquishing your aspirations of having something great, something to be proud of and a legacy that would say long after you were gone. “Here is a company! A success that I BUILT and that stands and works like a well oiled machine.” The end was ever so close, but you just wouldn’t let it die.

Do you remember those days? They weren’t so long ago. Sometimes it’s just good to just think back and relive hard times and struggles. Not just a passive “do you remember when” conversation and a chuckle about how your 300 foot hose had more duct tape repairs than a MacGuyver rerun marathon. But a real soul searching of sorts. Of where you are, and maybe more importantly, where you were and the times in between. It can keep you grounded in reality- and perhaps if you’re like me, it is one of my greatest motivators to keep pressing on.

Compare Then & Now
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I Hate Collections

pay me steve e1404680569491 300x225 I Hate CollectionsOne thing I hate to see on my daily route sheet is a large collections bill that isn’t accompanied by a service receipt. What this full page bill complete with red and/or yellow colors tells me is that somewhere along my day– I’m going to come face to face with a delinquent account.

It’s one thing to service an account who is a payment or two behind. That’s usually no big deal for me plus no big obnoxious bill for them. That client is normally still on pretty good terms and most likely they’ll have some sort of payment at the end of my visit. Sometimes 1/2, sometimes full and even quite a few who are on a limited payment plan. Now maybe that’s only $10 or 20 extra bucks a trip but hey! They’re still happy to see us, they still want our service and most importantly–they still want to pay! (we have quite a few arrangements like this–we’re easy to work with;)

But if all I see is one over sized past due notice I always cringe. This means that my office has tried EVERYTHING to try and collect on what’s owed us and now as a last resort…. I’m suddenly thrown in as the grim reaper and nobody likes that! Including me.! It’s a long process to get to this point and having ME run collections usually means we’ve taken off the kid gloves….this is the usual process.
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The Mysterious Mouse Of St. Agnes

Screen Shot 2014 06 27 at 10.50.28 AM 150x150 The Mysterious Mouse Of St. AgnesIt’s 4:15 am on Wednesday and just like last week and the week before, I’m running late. With my defrost blasting and my windshield wipers doing what an ice scraper should have done, I careen down Reisterstown road heading for the beltway. “I can’t be late again” I blurt out to myself as I blast through a long yellow light. Old lady Robinson isn’t a woman I want to test. When I finally make the beltway I know I have 15 minutes no matter how fast I go till I get to my destination. While Baltimore is quasi known as a city that doesn’t sleep-there’s nobody else on the 6 lanes of hell that circles the city and my little trucks speedometer is tapped out.

It’s not that I dreaded this account- it was fairly easy but it did come with it’s challenges. Having to be there at 4:30 am on a weekly basis wasn’t ideal. Being locked in a continual battle with intelligent roaches at times was also frustrating. For the most part I had the upper hand but I just couldn’t knock down the last of them and each weeks new nest location was always surprising. But there was also this mysterious mouse I didn’t even know existed and when I finally did- that thing baffled me at every turn. However, none were as daunting as facing the woman behind the glass…
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