Wednesday, May 3, 2017
The "A Truly Nice Pest ... Control Man" Story
It was an ordinary day. Technician Chris has just left the premises. But not until he solved our problem. Now, getting back to the problem that caused us to call Chris in the first place. A month or so ago Carol looked at me, alarmed, one evening while we were watching TV. "Turn that down!" she said as she looked at me with a puzzled look. "What's the matter!" I replied. She said, "Did you hear that noise. It sounded like something is chewing through the wall behind you." I stood, walked to the wall and listened. Yep, something was trying to chew through the wall. Walked to the wall, banged my fist on the wall half a dozen times, sat down, and that was the end of it. A few nights later she was sitting in her same recliner when she looked at me and said, "Did you hear that!" "You didn't hear the noise again?" She listened intently and stood, walked behind her chair and pointed to the return vent in the floor and said, "Something's trying to get in here." Yep, something was trying to get through the vent in the floor. I banged my fist on the vent half a dozen times, pulled the metal cover from the vent and looked down into the vent. There was a hole about six inches around that I could look through into the crawl space below our family room. Sure enough, something was trying to chew into our family room. But what? "I can't believe a mouse could do that much damage. Must be something larger." Our house was built on a stone quarry and due to stone structures, only half our house has a basement with the other half having about three feet of crawl space. We have had mice before, but I have taken care of most of them with traps. This was a BIG hole. "We're gonna need help with this," Carol said. I agreed so I called Tomlinson Bomberger, a lawn care, landscape and pest control company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Today Chris arrived to save the day. And, save the day he did! I greeted him at the front door and ushered him into the house. We talked for quite some time about him being a student at the high school where I taught. I had retired before Chris was in the high school, but I happened to have his sister in my photography class. "Boy, can she take great photos," he told me. Chris was a very personable guy who I instantly felt at ease with. Just knew he was going to solve our problems. Wasn't long before he was looking down the vent at the hole that had been chewed by something. "Wasn't a mouse," he said. "I've never seen a mouse that could chew a hole that big. Had to be a rat ... or possibly a squirrel." We talked some more and I showed him to the basement where I pulled a ceiling tile out and showed him where I catch the mice. Then he pulled open the door to the crawl space. "Kinda scary, isn't it?" I said to him. He entered the three foot square opening about shoulder height and with the use of a light, crawled toward the space beneath our family room. He told me to go upstairs and stick something down through the hole so he could see where the event occurred. Stuck a broom handle down and before long he yelled for me to come back down into the basement once again. "Easy to tell what it was," he said as he held up a handful of peanut shells. I said, "So that's where they take the peanuts we put out for them." He replied, "And, here's a large pile of ... looks like walnut shells." I said, "We have half a dozen walnut trees in the yard next to the house." He looked around and then said, "They are coming in the wall vent where your three sump pumps exit the side of the house. I can see the path they take to the space under your floor vent. Here's a squirrel's tail and a few other body parts laying on the ground." We formulated a plan to place some bait in the area, but also immediately plug the exterior holes so the squirrels couldn't get in to eat the bait. Within a half hour the holes were filled with insulation foam and the exterior of our house was sprayed to stop rodents, and hopefully squirrel-proof. Only time will tell how well it worked, but it seemed like Chris has corrected the problem. Chris, Carol and I spent thirty minutes or so talking about a variety of topics from health concerns to Chris' favorite sport, football. Chris is a special person who, even though he is five years or more younger than our youngest child, didn't mind spending time with us. We not only managed to have our alleged rodent problem solved, but got to learn more about the life of the guy who solved our problem. Now that's real service ... and we loved the guy! His boss struck it rich when he hired Chris. He's a real keeper. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.