Strategy for Rat Extermination & Benefit of Termite Inspection – BUGCO Podcast #2
Join John Onofrey and Chris Millward as they talk about developing a strategy for rat extermination from a Houston area home. As part of the home inspection, John and Chris also found evidence of a subterranean termite infestation. They also discuss the BUGCO Termite Pledge, which can save you money and protect your home from termites. Call BUGCO at 281-240-2157 today!
Summary of the Rat Extermination and Termite Inspection Podcast – Episode 2
John Onofrey: Hello, and welcome. This is John Onofrey with BUGCO Pest Control. BUGCO, we make the bugs go. I’m on the phone today with Chris Millward, our General Manager and Vice President of Operations. How’re you doing today, Chris?
Chris Millward: I’m pretty good, sir. How are you?
John Onofrey: Good, good. Hey, you and I spent some time together on a call. We got a Facebook referral, actually, for a lady that had a rat extermination problem. Tell me a little bit about what we did today.
Chris Millward: The referral came from Facebook, from a friend of mine’s mother. She had another company out there that she’s been using for pest control, and she suddenly started seeing rats in the house consistently. This other company failed to do anything, besides put out bait stations and come out monthly to refill. I guess she just got frustrated after three to four months of no resolution, and reached out. We got the opportunity to take a look and offer a rat extermination solution.
John Onofrey: Right. I was out there with you today, and that’s exactly as you described it. I love these opportunities when our competitors have had a shot, and they don’t quite cut the mustard. We get to go out there, and come up with a solution, and take care of people’s problems, because that’s what we like to do. That’s what we do at BUGCO. We make pest control problems go away.
What’s interesting about this one, there were rodent bait stations inside the house. I was shocked to see that. Weren’t you?
Chris Millward: Yes, that’s a huge no-no.
John Onofrey: Right, right. That’s not a good thing to do, and she had a couple of Dachshunds that were running around the house. Dachshunds are lovable little dogs, but they’re not very good at hunting down rats, right?
Chris Millward: Yeah.
John Onofrey: There were so many rats in this house that the lady told us her Dachshunds were a little bit nervous. They were getting afraid, afraid of the rats.
Chris Millward: They were peeing all over the place.
John Onofrey: Anyway, we were able to go out there, Chris, and take a look at what the issues were. We looked under her kitchen sink after we took a look around the house. Why don’t you describe what you saw underneath the kitchen sink.
Chris Millward: Yeah, the kitchen sink was the last thing we looked at at the house, but when we opened up under the kitchen sink, and sure enough, there’s a bait station there, and three snap traps, and a rat actually in the snap trap, dead.
John Onofrey: Right. One of the rat extermination solutions worked. It actually got a rat. There were glue traps under there. It was literally … She didn’t have anything under there. Usually you go into someone’s kitchen, and they have cleaning supplies, whatever, underneath the kitchen sink. There was none of that. It was all just grody, nasty, rat stuff under there.
Chris, describe our solution. What was our approach to rat extermination? What did we do when we were out there?
Chris Millward: Funny enough, even before we knocked on the door, we were already inspecting the house when we were walking up. The first thing that came to sight was, there’s a palm tree right up against the house. We’re walking up to the door, and you look up, and the palm tree branch is touching. Sure enough, there’s a hole right there at the eave where the branch goes in. Right there, we have a rat exclusion issue. That’s a rat entry point.
We’re going to go introduce ourselves, walk around the outside of the house first, because that’s where the rodents come from. They come from outside. They just don’t show up magically inside the home. Obviously, the garage has some issues, but you can never really exclude garage doors, because of the way they seal. We identified how they’re getting from the garage into the home. There was some baseboard issues behind the washer and dryer, which allowed access into the actual master bathroom. There’s another exclusion issue, which we can patch up.
Walked on the outside, and we looked at the eaves, and you can actually see the rats. They’re so comfortable at this home that they started eating through the corner, right below the shingles, to gain access to the entry from the roof. Once again, another exclusion issue. Easy to fix, very cost effective, doesn’t take a lot of time.
Keep walking by, and then you have your gas line, which goes straight into the wall void, not foamed, not sealed. You have your electrical outlet, not foamed, not sealed. Then the one that most people miss, the dryer vent, that releases all the, I guess, lint and stuff from the dryer. Dryer hasn’t been cleaned in a while, so it was forced open. These rats can literally come up through the dryer vent, and gain access into the house, and just get out of the dryer. It happens more often than not, so you got to keep up with cleaning that stuff.
It’s just a lot of minor, minor exclusion issues, but if you don’t have a trained eye, or you don’t do this for a living, it’s easy to overlook.
John Onofrey: Our first rat extermination approach with this particular home is rat exclusion. You got to keep the rats from getting inside the house.
Chris Millward: Absolutely.
John Onofrey: That might mean that there’s some rats that are left inside the house that we’re going to have to deal with. You have actually created a multi-pronged rat extermination proposal, multiple proposals, for this particular customer, the number one being, let’s seal up every entry point on the exterior of this home, so rodents cannot get in our out of this house. Right?
Chris Millward: Yes, sir. It’s a three-phase approach to rat extermination. Exclusion is the first phase. The second phase, once we get all the rat exclusion done, we go in for setting up exterior rodent stations to help control the rat population on the outside, as well as setting up snap traps, and other glue boards, or Tin Cats on the interior. In this case, we have to do it in a place where it’s safe, to stay away from the pets. We have to elevate it or make little barriers to keep the dogs away from it. Then we’ll follow up on that every few days to replace the traps that have snapped and to also remove the dead rodents.
The final phase of BUGCO’s rat extermination strategy is maintenance. Prevention is key. We need to come out every three months, maintain these bait stations, so we can eliminate this population from ever finding its way back into this house one day.
John Onofrey: Yeah, in any given neighborhood, if you’ve got rats coming into your house, these rats are going along the fence line at night. That’s why you see cats hanging around out there. They’re just nailing some of these rats on the fence lines. You can get 50 to 100 rats in one particular area that might be coming in and out of your house for different things.
Chris Millward: One thing you really got to remember with rodents, too, is whenever they’re walking a path, they usually walk along the wall or some kind of structure for safety, so they only have to watch one side. But they’re peeing and pooping consistently. It’s leaving a scent behind, pheromone, that other rodents will actually follow. If you see one in your house, expect to start seeing more, because they follow each other.
John Onofrey: Good tip. You’ve got the exterior handled. It’s excluded. You’ve got base stations on the outside to reduce the rodent population and the chances of anybody trying to attempt to get back in. On the interior then, you’re looking at sealing off the garage. Garages actually should be sealed off from the interior of the home, and that’s per building code. A lot of these older homes, they have holes that go from the garage into the home. This is a tip for homeowners that most pest control companies cannot keep rodents from going into the garage. That’s just a fact, because of the way the garage doors work.
But you can seal off the interior of the garages to the interior of the home, so that rodents can’t get from the garage into the home, and that’s exactly what we were looking at. We saw all kinds of entry points from the garage. There was quite a bit of stored items in the garage where these rodents could hang out, and play, and then decide when they want to go into the home.
Your exclusion proposal actually included sealing off areas in the garage, as well. Then with your rat extermination proposal you started talking about snap traps, glue traps, and no bait stations inside, but baiting the traps to catch whatever rodents are left in the home, so that those could be eliminated. Correct?
Chris Millward: Exactly.
John Onofrey: Okay, you found something interesting in the bathroom while we were looking at this house from every angle. What’d you find in there?
Chris Millward: Evidence of subterranean termites. I was sitting there looking for holes in the attic, and sure enough, I see a dirt tube going down the side of one of the support beams. Obviously, we needed to start looking for termites, too.
John Onofrey: The lady had lived there for a long time, and she said she had a termite treatment done on the house, but that was 25 years ago. There’s no chemicals on the market today that will last 25 years. I think Termidor’s probably the longest lasting that we know of right now, and that is said to last 10 years. She wanted a preventative termite treatment, as well.
Then this turned into a trifecta, because we picked up her general pest control. We had proposed a termite treatment, and a termite pledge, which is our warranty in lieu of doing a treatment. If customers don’t want to pay to do a treatment, because they can cost, in this particular case, about $900 … if they don’t want to pay that amount of money, which, understandably so, then they can pay us a little extra every quarter with their general pest control to ensure that they don’t have any termite problems arising. If a termite problem does arise, we’re going to go ahead and treat that problem and knock those termites out with our Termite Pledge. Right, Chris?
Chris Millward: Yeah, and with the Termite Pledge, this house actually qualifies for the Termite Pledge, because the foundation does sit high enough from the ground to make visible inspections easy. There weren’t really any conducive conditions which would increase her chances of getting termites. In this case, she actually has the blessing of just doing an additional fee whenever we do a quarterly pest control, which really saves her the hassle of coming out-of-pocket up front really heavy.
John Onofrey: That usually runs about $25 extra. If she, the customer’s, paying around $100 every quarter for their general pest control, they would now pay $125, and that would also cover them for subterranean termites. We find that to be a pretty good deal, and most of our customers jump on that, so just another easy sell when we’re out there. That helps us as a company, and that helps our clients to have some peace of mind with regards to termites.
Chris, I’d say it was a nice visit for us. I always have fun when I go out in the field with you. We actually enjoy what we do, and we like coming up with solutions for customers. Don’t be surprised if one day you see John and Chris coming up to your house trying to help you out with some of the pest control problems that you have, even though we have a team of great professionals out there that like their jobs, too.
Chris, listen, I know you’ve got things to do, and it’s been great talking to you today and hanging out with you. I want to thank you for your expertise in dealing with the particular rodent problem for this lady. Just let our listeners know that BUGCO Pest Control can be found at bugco.org, and our phone number is 281-240-2157. Thanks for joining me today, Chris.
Chris Millward: Yeah, thank you, and don’t forget to check us out online. We have great reviews, because we take pride in what we do.
John Onofrey: Absolutely. Adios, my friend.
Chris Millward: All right, bye.
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New Tactics in Our Termite Elimination Strategies
BUGCO uses the most advanced and effective treatment for termite infestation available — the termiticide Termidor (Termidor Brochure).
We can also use the Trelona® ATBS® Advance® Termite Bait System to kill any termite colonies moving close to your home. Termite baiting stations are installed around your home, often in landscape beds adjacent to your home. The bait stations are placed approximately 10 to 20 feet apart. Once in place, the Trelona® Bait System works through the year to protect your home. BUGCO returns to your home once a year to inspect the stations and provide service. (Please check the Trelona Termite Bait System brochure for more information — New Homeowner 2018).