ERIE, Pa. — Henry Fox has seen just about everything in a pest control career spanning 54 years (beginning at age 7), but the veteran pest management professional was taken aback by a recent discovery.
Fox was recently called to a home in Meadville, Pa., for “termites.” A homeowner had noted sawdust that had fallen on a lawn tractor being stored in a shed.
“Upon closer examination, I realized that the frass was not wood shavings, but appeared to be some sort of insulation,” Fox said.
Fox then examined a makeshift shelf in the shed’s rafters that was holding a variety of boxes. “The first box I opened contained a large number of worker carpenter ants (C. pennsylvanicus) and pupae. I found it very interesting to see the damage to the books and when I came to the realization that the hollow areas between the stored books provided an ideal location to establish a satellite nest. The main colony was in a tree just adjacent to the shed.”
This was a first, even for Fox. “You learn something every day — just like those ants trying to find a new nesting site.”
Fox and his family have a long history in pest control. His uncle, Lloyd Crosby, was founder of Commonwealth Exterminating, which sold to Chicago-based Diversey; that company was eventually sold to Rentokil. Fox sold his family business to J.C. Ehrlich in 2002. He now owns and operates a pest control business in an Erie, Pa., suburb. — Brad Harbison