Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's it like to be a woman in pest control?

I get asked that question a lot. After all, pest control is traditionally a male dominated industry, especially when it comes to field technicians and service managers. So of course, there are a lot of questions. How did you get into this? How can you do this job? Does any of it bother you? What made you want to do this? People are naturally curious when they see something out of the norm.

Most people are pleasantly surprised to see a female technician come to their door. Occasionally, we run into people who question our ability to do the job. They follow us around during the service and offer "helpful suggestions". It can be challenging at times, but it’s also gratifying and very rewarding. It’s great to be able to show people that, yes; a woman can solve their pest problems. I enjoy problem-solving and this job gives me plenty of opportunities. The key is to project confidence, smile, and take the time to answer all of their questions. You win them over every time.

And, I like working in an industry that’s mostly recession-proof with lots of opportunity for me to advance my career. I’m also proud of the example I’m setting for my two daughters.

So bring on the tiny, dark crawl spaces that force me to crawl on my belly through all the dirt and cobwebs. Bring on the bed bug infestations, the rats and the roaches. I can solve your pest issue. No problem.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Icicles are usually the first sign of ice buildup on your roof

But, why should anyone care? Because ice buildups on roofs are costly. Ice buildup or “dams” usually occurs at the edge of your roof by gutters or soffits. They are caused by accumulating snow on roofs and improper or inadequate venting of the attic space. Heat rises in your attic, warming the top-most parts of your roof. The snow on these parts of your roof turns to water. The water runs down the roof slope and contacts the colder portions of the roofline, usually at the edge and refreezes.

Once the ice buildup occurs, the ice acts like a real dam at the edge of your roof, preventing water behind the dam from making it off your roof. The water behind the dam creeps under shingles, spreads them apart, and finds its way to your attic, walls, and ceilings. The leaking water also compacts the insulation already in your attic. Once the moisture has found it’s way in, you have problems ranging from insulation and drywall damage to perfect breeding conditions for mold.

While it is critical that you address ice buildup on your roof immediately, we do not recommend anyone attempt to remove an ice dam on their own. This is really a job for roofing professionals. Inexperienced homeowners can cause significant damage by turning this into a Do-It-Yourself project.

Let Griffin Insulation Services help you prevent ice buildup in the future by ensuring proper ventilation and insulation for your roof. Call our experts today at 888-547-4334.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why do I need pest control in the winter?

Pest control in the winter? Isn’t that a waste of money? It’s actually the opposite: winter pest services can be the most valuable visit from your pest control professional all year long. For most pest management firms, winter is the time we focus our inspections and treatments on the inside of our customers’ homes. In fact, we can often identify and address issues that homeowners are completely unaware of, and prevent other pest problems before they start.

Among our biggest concerns are pests that can damage homes. Termites and carpenter ants are at the top of this list, and unfortunately their activity in a home often can’t be seen from outside. A thorough, interior inspection once a year is crucial to identify evidence of these problems, and stop them as soon as possible. If these pests are already inside, winter means nothing, and the damage will continue – it’s always spring in your home!

Other less damaging pests are also a concern during the winter. Spiders and rodents can be a problem inside year round where it’s nice and warm. We use winter as a chance to physically remove spider webs and egg cases and treat those areas where they are most likely to try and reinfest. We also carefully inspect all areas of homes for evidence of rodents. We commonly find mouse activity in basements, crawl spaces, and attics long before homeowners see the signs in more high profile areas.

Another very important pest control measure that takes place in the winter is a full attic treatment. Attics are a great place for all sorts of insects: ladybugs, cluster flies, box elder bugs, carpenter ants, and others. Many bugs will even use attics as a place to escape dropping temperatures in the late fall. They stay dormant until it warms back up, and then make their way into your living areas (remember, it’s always spring in there!). Attics should be treated once a year with dusts that will stop these insects in their tracks before you have to deal with them in your home.

Last but not least, winter is our chance to get your house ready for spring. We identify and seal pest entry points, and use pesticides to create a barrier around your home. In fact, the three things that cause pesticides to break down – light, heat, and moisture – are less of a factor in winter than any other time of year, which means our products will last longer and be right where you need them when it warms back up. Any good, year round pest control program will include a comprehensive winter service performed by a well-trained technician. It is a crucial part of protecting your home, and keeping it pest free all year long.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why are bed bugs such a big deal?

We've all seen the hype about bed bugs. Rarely a day goes by without another news article about the little bloodsuckers. But why is there so much attention? What's the big deal anyway? That's what many people are thinking.

To be sure, bed bugs are a big deal. They are a very big deal, socially, economically, and personally. First off, we have 3 generations in the US that had virtually no knowledge of bed bugs before this time. And, these generations have enjoyed an unprecedented control and management of pests in general. Secondly, we did not see this resurgence coming. When the first sightings began, about 7 years ago, they were dismissed as isolated and controllable. Nothing to worry about. But, the infestations continued, the bed bugs just kept coming. They spread, they became more frequent, and they traveled. That's when the realization hit.

We are witnessing the rebirth of a pest problem that can alter all our daily lives. For people who have already experienced this miserable insect, it is clear that this is no ordinary pest.

  • For many, the allergic reactions to their bites are miserable and as painful as poison ivy.
  • This pest can affect our health, not only from the allergic bite reactions, but hospitals and doctors are now treating patients for anemia from bed bugs.
  • This pest can dictate where we live now, no one is going to live next to neighbors who tolerate the bed bugs in their home or apartment.
  • Bed bugs will now be a consideration for how we care for and monitor our elderly family and friends. More frequent monitoring and visits need to take place in these institutions. Just because you put grandma in a care unit that didn't have bed bugs last month, doesn't guarantee she's safe this month.
  • This isn't a couple of mosquito bites, this is being fed on up to 500 times per night while you sleep. It's a truly unsettling thought.
  • Then, there's the cost of treatment. It's not cheap and you can expect landlords, universities, and hospitals to pass the cost along to their customers.

In short, it's not time to panic, but it's not time to be dismissive either. If you suspect you have bed bugs, contact a local professional to come out and inspect. Most companies offer free inspection services and free estimates. This is not a problem that goes away if left untreated.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Didn't think the pest management industry was green?

We know, it sounds counter-intuitive, a green pest control company in a green pest control industry? How's that even possible?

For starters, pest management has contributed greatly to the quality of life for just about everyone on earth. Insects and insect-borne diseases that were so common and so devastating to people in the past, have been greatly reduced, in some cases eliminated, by the pest management industry.

Certainly, our food supply would not be what it is today, without the actions taken by the agricultural industry to reduce crop loss due to insects and blights.

Now, we're faced with a new challenge; the recognition that we in the pest management industry have a commitment to not only improve the quality of life for our communities and customers, but a commitment to the sustainability of our communities and the environment.

It's complex, no doubt about it. Definitions for green, eco-friendly, and sustainable change based on who's talking, who's listening, who's buying, and who's selling. But that's not a reason to wait and see what happens, it's an invitation to become part of the dialog and ensure that our voice is heard.