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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

It's Not MY Fault (AKA: Not my job)

I posted this yesterday and can not get it out of my head. This piece illustrates so well what a challenge pest control can be, and that it is not unusual to have these issues.

I worked with a hospital that was struggling with small flies and they asked me “is this the first time you have dealt with this?” I admit I probably answered too fast and enthusiastically: of course not, this isn’t out of the ordinary! I hope they didn’t get the impression I was telling them they weren’t special. The point is, lots of different sites have issues that are difficult to pinpoint and solve.

Roaches have all but taken over her rowhouse ... They’re in her microwave oven. They’re in her refrigerator. They’re in her red toaster. They’re in the knobs on her stove. They’re even in her bed.

This is a problem, no question. I often get called into infestation situations where the problem is widespread and in huge numbers. One of the first questions I get is “how long will it take you to fix this.” Let’s be clear: this problem did not start yesterday and I’m not going to solve it tonight. This infestation at this location has been ongoing and isn’t localized to this one apartment (presumedly). It is a food safety issue (food-borne pathogens), a health issue (allergies), and a sanitation issue (cockroach droppings).

Imagine walking into a restaurant and you see cockroaches running along the floor. The owner says that it’s coming from the site next door. I’m guessing that wouldn’t matter to you – you are not going to eat there unless the situation is rectified.

Her landlord pays for regular extermination services.
But we sprayed!

Ever heard the quote: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? This apparently isn’t working! If you have an ongoing problem with any type of pest, it’s good to evaluate what has been done. If the same type of treatment keeps getting applied with less than desired results, it’s probably time to change. It would be interesting to know exactly what this pest control company is doing – what they are applying, where they are applying it, how often they are treating, what conducive conditions they are finding, and what their documentation is. Then, see what can be changed up for better results.

I worked for a warehouse that was storing very high-end items and was having an issue with small flies. The pest control company had been cleaning the drains for over a year and the problem was getting worse. Turns out, the flies were coming from a water leak (that the site knew about) that was keeping a whole section of drywall wet and molding. Regular service doesn’t help if it is not the right service.

Jones … is convinced that the roaches are coming from an adjoining empty house that is boarded up.

In many of the situations I deal with, the underlying conditions that are causing the pest problem are coming from the “neighbors”. It’s the large fly problem that is originating from the nearby feedlot. It’s the cockroach issue coming from the neighboring restaurant in the same strip mall. It’s the rodent problem coming from the recycling plant across the street. Just because the feedlot/restaurant/recycling plant can’t be addressed doesn’t mean that “your” site can’t put measures in place to mitigate the pests. To be honest – it won’t be easy. It is entirely possible though. It takes extra work on exclusion, sanitation, landscaping work, and constant monitoring to find when pest issues start to increase. This way, it can immediately be inspected and preventative and reactionary actions put in place.

We all know one of these "neighbors"...

I helped a friend who was having a rodent problem because their neighbors had a messy, overgrown, food-filled yard right next to them. We couldn’t do anything about the neighbors, but we cleaned my friend’s yard, trimmed back all the vegetation (to make it less hospitable for rodents), installed more bait stations (that would be the only food on their side), and made sure all the doors on the house were sealed really well to prevent intrusion. Three years later, they still haven’t had any evidence of rodents in their home.

a week later the city had dispatched an inspector who determined the roach infestation was not from the house next door

We always want to find the source of an infestation so we can deal with it at that source. This means getting to the root of the problem and solving it instead of chasing it around. That isn’t always possible. I was called into a case to determine the “cause” of an infestation. It had been going on for over a year, spanning not just multiple states but other countries, and many different transportation methods. After a problem has been ongoing for a long time and is widespread, it can be nearly impossible to find what the starting point was. The problem can still be treated and preventative programs put in place to stop it from happening in the future. In the case of this article, the problem may have started next door and spread but now the issue isn’t there anymore. Maybe it didn't start next door. At this point it’s irrelevant. The problem, as it stands right now, has to be dealt with. Then preventative measures can be put in place.

You may have encountered some of these challenges at your site and it was likely a lengthy process to deal with the issues. Or maybe the issues are still ongoing! It’s not your fault…but you have to take responsibility. And you can. If you are still going through a pest issue or want to prevent a pest issue from occurring in the future, we can help.

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