jedediah thacker proactive pest control

Uncommon Pests: It IS My Business

With the right training, job experience, and a careful selection of products, effectively addressing pest and weed issues is often routine work. However, we occasionally address really unique and challenging issues—it’s part of the turf when running a pest control business that specializes in custom treatment plans.

Bugs Don’t Always Follow the Label

This may surprise you, but pests (and weeds) don’t always read the labels and obediently behave. Pests sometimes get off the beaten path by

  • Moving under the foundation, hiding in ornamentals & landscaping, and frequenting hard to reach places
  • Presenting a difficult to address treatment profile (many varieties of ants are in this category).
  • Cropping up in much higher concentrations than is typical or completely new varieties moving in

Over the years we’ve found that accurately diagnosing the problem is an essential step in resolving pest and weed issues. Given the diversity of life, that’s not always a simple proposition—we sometimes see some very unusual things.

An Early Start in Pest Control

As a [three] year old, I received first-hand training on the importance of accurately diagnosing unusual pest issues. I had been taken to my room for a nap but couldn’t sleep due to the buzzing sound I could hear by my window. I assumed it was a bee and came out to tell my mother, interrupting a piano lesson she was teaching.

I was told to go back to my room and take a nap (mom thought I was just trying to get out of naps). Of course I was still scared of the bee so I fell asleep outside my bedroom door. Upon finding me outside my bedroom, mom checked the window and again pronounced that there were no bees. At about the same time, I felt something crawling up my leg (inside my jeans) so I started swatting at my leg which caused me to get stung precipitating a melt down as I pounded at my leg.

Mom calmed me down enough to pull up my pant leg and sure enough, the pummeled remains of a bumblebee could be seen. I think she felt pretty bad about not taking my bee claim seriously and I was vindicated which may be why I remember it so well.

An Unusual Job

Mom accurately diagnosing the bumblebee situation in my room would have saved me some pain as a kid, but I’ve only had to deal with them once in five years in business here in Albuquerque. Bumblebees are relatively docile and they’re also important pollinators so addressing a bumblebee nest is uncommon.

However, our customer had purchased a house here in Rio Rancho that had stood vacant for over a year. During the yard cleanup, their landscapers discovered a bumblebee nest in the underground roots of a dead tree they needed to remove.

Bumblebees are the largest species of Bee that we have in the U.S., they can get to be almost 2 inches in length from head to tail. Bumblebees are generally not aggressive, but if you stir up a nest, that’s another story. They also have barbless stingers (which means they can sting multiple times) so invading a nest is not a trivial matter.

Our treatment approach

After diagnosing the issue, our treatment approach was to:

  • Address the underground nest with a combination residual and kill-on-contact product via our power sprayer
  • Run interference on the returning foraging drones using a quick knock-down kill-on-contact spray

My tech and I went out to the nest equipped with several cans of knock down wasp spray (wasp freeze) and each wielding our big power sprayers.

Things heated up as soon as we started spraying the underground nest. Bees immediately started crawling out of the nest and tried to get their wings dry enough to fly at us while the returning foragers were dive-bombing us from behind.

Fortunately I’m not a bad shot (I credit my paintball hobby for that) so I kept off the fliers with the wasp spray while my tech filled the underground nest with residual.

Neither my tech nor myself got stung, and the landscaper was able to come back and pull the tree out without any drama. We had a happy customer who otherwise would have had a big problem with her backyard being a safe haven. Because she was a regular customer, it didn’t cost a penny as we always offer free touch-up treatments, if needed, in between regular visits. Nothing short of a focused treatment application would have been able to resolve their issue and given the location and nature of the bumblebee nest, most other pest control companies would not have addressed the issue (licensing, experience, accurate diagnosis, sticking with the job in the face of danger, etc.). 

Making it Routine

If you have a challenging (or routine) pest or weed issue we’d love to work with you. Our training, experience, and evolving product arsenal will allow us to handle your issues. We’ll create a custom treatment plan that will ensure accurate diagnosis and application of the optimal control methods.

Posted in Pest Control and tagged , , .