Departments - Business Strategy

November 16, 2009

A Pest Control War Story

Chris Lansaw, a Terminix service manager deployed in Afghanistan this summer, sent PCT this photo of a "grasshopper." Lansaw said he was not able to identify the pest, but he says it was about the size of the palm of his hand. Lansaw encountered this pest while eating breakfast. YUM!


California's Top Pesticide Blunders

In Butte County, Calif., a man used a salt shaker to apply insecticidal dust on his dog for flea control. Later, he thought the salt shaker contained garlic salt and sprinkled the insecticidal dust on a bowl of chili.

The man realized his mistake because the chili tasted strange and the beans were a gray color. He experienced some stomach discomfort and went to a hospital for treatment.

This incident is one of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) "Top Pesticide Blunders," which reminds the public to avoid illness and injury by following label instructions and using household cleaning and gardening products that pose the least risk to their health and the environment.

What follows are two Butte County incidents and blunders that were drawn from 2007 illnesses and injuries reported to DPR. State privacy law protects the individuals’ identities.

• In Sacramento County, a teenage girl saw a mouse in her home and used gopher bait to control the problem because she had seen her parents use it effectively against gophers in the yard. She read the label, but did not understand it. She poured a handful of pellets into a corner of two bedrooms and waited in another room. Within two hours, she experienced a sharp pain behind her eyes, and tightness in her chest when she breathed in. She was taken to an emergency room for evaluation.

• In Los Angeles County, an elderly woman spilled insecticidal powder on herself as she tried to open the container to use for roach control in her house. She apparently held the container over her head. She experienced "burning" and was taken to her doctor.


Cock-A-Doodle Doo Doo

Patriot Termite & Pest Control, Manassas, Va., earlier this year performed a service at a property that resulted in a Kodak moment. Patriot’s Michael Sfreddo sent PCT the above photo of roach frass that had been hidden behind a wall hanging in a kitchen. The frass had amassed so heavily that when the hanging was removed, the shape of the object in question (a rooster) could still clearly be seen. "We see roach frass in the shape of picture frames all the time, but found it comical to see a ‘rooster painted on the wall in roach poo,’" Sfreddo wrote. "We enjoy your magazine, so feel free to use the image if and as you like." We like, Michael!


Who Knew They Were So Religious?

Apparently, insects have stronger religious convictions than once thought. In 2008, hundreds of Cambodians traveled to the home of 56-year-old Kuong Keo Ry to view five termite nests that had taken the shape of the seated figure of Buddha.

After jasmine ornaments were placed around the shapes, they supposedly grew even higher, reaching almost 19 inches, according to one individual. Some devotees even came to visit the nests regularly to pray.

It can be assumed that the termites remained incredibly calm and composed while constructing their Buddhas, never once being deterred by the evil outside forces hell bent on preventing them from reaching Enlightenment.
— Hallie Moreland, Contributor