Take a walk down any garden isle at your local hardware or big box store. The shelves are filled to the rafters with weed killers, fertilizers pest sprays and everything you can imagine to kill fungus, plant disease and bugs of all kinds. I know this would never happen but what if the powers that be decided not to restock those shelves? How long do you think it would be before they were totally empty? One day, a week maybe? America is obsessed with ‘do it yourself pest control’ and they buy any and all products if they think it’ll solve their pest problems. I really don’t know how long it would take but I’m willing guess it wouldn’t be but a week or so.
Almost without fail these pest control products end up in either one of two houses. There is a third option but it’s pretty rare. 99 % of the homes I service fall into one of the first two categories, so I ask you.
Which one are you?
#1 In the first house you would find unopened containers with the seals still intact by the dozens. You name it they’ll have it. Sure a few containers have been used but very little and each bottle is set neat in a row by category. You got your bug killers, termite sprays, White flies and garden pest and an occasional bag of cutworm powder that was opened but is now securely taped shut. Somewhere between reaching for that professional looking spray bottle with the menacing picture of an Aphid devouring a rose and getting it home, putting it on a shelf with the dozens of spray paint, car wash and other pesticide cans you forget why you needed it so much. You are impressed with your inventory and you like the fact that you are ready for any pest infestation that comes your way but you hold off spraying when the time comes. You really aren’t sure of what you’re doing so later you’ll read the box to figure it out. Besides the roses are looking better now so why not wait till you have a real emergency. Those spray bottles will sit there for years and years only to be pushed to the side annually to make room for the new cans the homeowner bought for the spring. I’ll say one thing for this type of homeowner; they are fairly neat about their stock pile.
#2 At our next house you’ll find just about the same amount of once nicely packaged products with all but 1/2 ounce left inside them. These containers are usually a mess with chemical that has dripped all down the sides and dried a nice shade of brown or blue. Most of this product went to the destruction of one small colony of ants near the sidewalk or some weeds on the fence. The 8 ounce ‘wasp freeze’ that shoots 20 feet was good to whack a small paper wasp nest but there’s still a little left so you hate to throw it away. A lot of the aerosols are missing the little red spray tips and most all of the labels are unreadable. Your gray metal shelving unit is bubbling up with rust and flaking paint as chemical has dripped and oozed over the years. There are some half used bags of fertilizer in the corner of the garage, they smell funny now and are brown in color and the top layer is crusted; still the package say’s a bag will cover 12,0000 square feet and your yard is only 4000 so you should save that. Bags of Sevin dust are precariously balanced on top of an old plastic pump sprayer and a box of Miracle Gro. An old milk jug houses some vegetation killer or insecticide of some sort, I think? Of course the Thompsons water seal gallon can is nice and square so it is good to anchor the bottom of your stack. Small lacquers and pvc glue fill in the tiny spots in between cans and your new chemicals go straight to the top shelf so you can use them first.
The 3rd option is the home that has no such inventory of pest control goods except maybe a can of raid under the kitchen sink. Like I said that is rare but one thing all 3 of these have in common is, me.
With all the ‘rid a bug’ gallons I see in sheds or garages or the big bags of granules for lawns and landscaping, you’d think I’d be out of a job. Thankfully that isn’t true. It may not be rocket science to treat for pests but sometimes it can be a real bear. Still I wonder why folks buy all these products and still have me come out? It amazes me that some people have as much chemical and varieties of them that I carry on my truck. Maybe it’s a feeling of security or perhaps they are just impulse buyers that can’t resist the shiny white bottle that pictures all the different bugs it will kill. Either way I continue to service their home and I even make sure to treat around their stock pile of pest control weapons. I’d hate to have a bug to unsuspectedly wander into it and die. That’s my job!
So to get back to my original question and hopefully you won’t fire your bug guy. Which one are you?