Today was a typical day for me as a bug man, it started out as they all do with an early morning stop. I drove 38 miles to take care of some imaginary spiders and I had a great debate in my head whether or not to show the lady the small spider I found in her doggies pet bowl. In the end I decided not to because I didn’t want to wreck her already fragile confidence in my treatment while at the same time adding fuel to her already burning arachnid phobia. From there it was another 15 miles to inspect a bank repo in the middle of the National Forest for termites and besides the wood rot from the leaky roof I stopped to marvel at a huge tree that was only being held from crashing into the home by a wire. I sometimes wonder how people live and maybe this blog thing I do has a never ending source of subjects because each day comes with a lot of problem solving but probably twice as many unanswered questions.
(click on pictures to enlarge and see a portion of my typical day)
On the way back into town I stopped by a house with noises from the floor and it turned out to be a rat living in the stove. He had stored a years worth of acorns in the bottom drawer and brought up quite a bit of insulation from the sub flooring but what upset the housewife the most was that he had eaten some of her artwork in the next room. Now I don’t mind crawling under homes and buildings but the thought of having a rat jump out at me isn’t thrilling. Today was a good day however and my furry little friend was nowhere to be found. With Picasso safe for the time being I was off to another animal in the wall call.
We knew this one was dead already and it was my pleasant task to find it. As with smells so often you can only narrow it down to a section of a wall and unless the customer is willing to have some drywall removed to get to the carcass there’s not a lot you can do. She wasn’t. After an hour of checking both attics in this million dollar home I had narrowed it down to exactly the spot I told her in the first 30 seconds of my visit. Still unwilling for the drywall to be cut I was able to convince her to at least allow me to drill a small hole in the closet wall and spray about a 1/2 a can of lysol into the void. I’m not sure this will work for long so instead of patching the drill hole I used a wadded up ‘dryer sheet’ for added smell masking to plug the hole so she could remove it and spray more Lysol later if she doesn’t change her mind about the extraction. Since she was a regular customer I walked away without a check and now my day was going to be a little later than I had planned.
My next stop was another repo and this empty home definitely had a story it was desperately trying to tell the world. I can only imagine that these people (and so many others I see) were sitting at the table when the knock on the door came and it was the sheriff with an immediate eviction notice. With no time to gather belongings it’s not unusual for me to see the table set and food on the plates, toys, computers and personal items everywhere as if the people just disappeared in the middle of a week nights dinner. While I feel saddened for most there are some where it is obvious that they invited this situation on themselves. For these people bugs were something I’m sure they battled for quite some time. 1/2 empty cans of Raid were everywhere and chemically burned bugs lie in every corner of the home. I’m sure I’ll be back once I deliver my report and the estimate for the pest control service needed but by then the cleaners will have been out to eliminate every trace of the sad history.
My last stop of the day is a termite job and I dawn my already dirty crawl suit and head under the home where I will spend the next hour or so. The job was done probably 25 years ago as evidenced by the drill marks in the block foundation. Holes back then were made with a chisel and hammer & for a minute I felt bad for the tech who did the work but it just meant I could keep my hammer drill in the truck so my sympathy was quickly replaced with relief. While this job was unremarkable for the most part I did find a can of pepper deep inside the dark abyss and I can only imagine the story of how this happened. The can is probably as old as the original termite work and could it be that the tech back then brought his lunch up under the house with him? It gets a bit lonely under a house and I tend to let my imagination run but still I would love to know about this one.
I had decided to write a post about my day and capture as much as I could with pictures since getting my new Blackberry phone. I normally have a camera anyway but the phone is so much easier to carry and the pictures are actually very good. Besides I can upload my days occurrences on Facebook and Twitter in real time and have fun pestering my friends from around the world. I could have picked yesterday, Monday or 2 weeks ago and although the events would be different it would still just be a typical day for me or anyone who has chosen to be a pest control professional. Our job allows us to see so many interesting things and puts us constantly in the middle of a puzzle that people depend on us to solve. We go from million dollar mansions to shacks out in the sticks yet the expectations never change. To our customers, their stop is the most important one and they want nothing more than 100% of effort and results. It’s the same for the great techs of the industry as well but in reality it’s just all part of another ordinary and typical day.