Service Story #36: The Little Home Away from Home: A Live Action Novel.2

Service Story #36: The Little Home Away from Home: A Live Action Novel.2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SERVICE STORY (Reviewed on Home Advisor) – “We had a great experience and highly recommend Jake. He is responsive, effective and thoughtful.”

WELCOME TO ONE OF STORYSOLD’S FIRST EVER LIVE ACTION NOVELS – A BOOK WORTH OF PEST CONTROL SOLD BY THE CHAPTER! – ABOUT A LITTLE HOME AWAY FROM HOME NESTLED IN THE MT. HOOD WILDERNESS PRODUCED FOR EDDIE B. AND HIS FELLOW CABIN OWNERS.

Chapter 1 (Nov 14th): Entry Hole Disorder

I am Wilderness Security Guide, the Environmental Control Operator in charge of rodent services for Storysold: Pest Control, and this is the story of my service –

Not far from a mountain named Hood, an old forest service cabin waits empty, cold, and alone for its humans to arrive with skis, coolers, and kids in hand. It doesn’t mind that it’s not a normal home warm and full year round. It doesn’t mind waiting, because it knows the time it shares with its human owners is special. There’s something awesome about providing that moment when it feels all the stress, work drama, and troubles melt away, like ice on boots, when they open the front door.

Life for the Little Home Away from Home would be great, except one rather embarrassing problem. It’s old, and it has a condition known in The Environmental Control Sciences as “entry holes.”

Entry Hole Disorder is a common territorial condition suffered by many homes, young and old! In addition to the generally hideous look of having holes on its exterior, Entry Hole Disorder encourages the wild creatures living around it to “act out” and “misbehave.”

The scientific term for this misbehavior is “voluntary domestication,” which is good for humans (who enjoy the benefits of voluntary domestication rituals like school, boot camp, and marriage), but it’s not so good for wild creatures like mice who have a very important job to do. They need to crack nuts, burrow under trees, feed the owls, and keep The Wilderness running right, and the rest of the planet along with it.

The last thing mice need to be doing is poking their little heads in entry holes and finding duty free shelter from predators in the Little Home Away from Home. But that’s exactly what they’ve been doing…

I suppose that’s why Eddie called Storysold: Pest Control. He didn’t know it until now, but our host Jake assigned all three of our customer service characters to cure his Little Home Away from Home from its disorder. I’m in charge of finding and excluding all the entry holes, and trapping all my rodent friends who don’t “get it” and absolve themselves of their acts of voluntary domestication. Pest Predator has been given the challenge of keeping the ants out, and Bookmaker Jake will do what he does best: track and write The Action down, so we can all be on The Same Page.

I like that Bookmaker writes it down, because, as we know, any pest control service that doesn’t track The Action is doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again, year after year, without end.

With that said, our adventure began on a cold, quiet Sunday with a cup of coffee and a long walk in and outside the cabin.

“Crap,” I said when she saw the crawlspace. “Our human is too fat to fit through that hatch. I’m going to have to build the Homefront the hard way…from the outside.”

“So you have a Plan B?” Bookmaker asked, secretly hoping his teammate would fail to find a way to exclude the cabin, so he could laugh at his rival’s failure and feel more right about his life.

“Argh! I hate mystery crawlspaces!”

As I fumed, I put my 3rd person/bird’s eye perspective into action, exploring for another way to exclude the cabin.

“You know I’m not the one who’s going to have to call Eddie and say I can’t exclude your cozy cabin because our human’s too fat,” Bookmaker sneered. “You will…rodent’s are your department.”

I ignored her teammate’s jeers.

Moments later she said, “Got it! I’m going to use cement, wire, and foam to build the Homefront around the stone foundation, and then build custom-made vents for the entry holes under the accessible part of the crawl!”

“What other choice do you have…?” Bookmaker laughed.

I didn’t reply. I let my work do the talking:

First I inspected the roof for squirrel and rat sized entry holes. Finding none, I trimmed as many branches as I could reach. My grand plan was to trim all the branches within squirrel reach of the roof, so the humans inside wouldn’t have to listen to the obnoxious scampering and scratching of rodents on the roof in the early morning and night. But some of those branches were pretty darned high.

For safety sake, I left a few of the high for next week…and a better plan for reaching them other than the ladder.

The gap at the base of that eve didn’t have any signs of activity, but it was hanging in the wind, so I decided to repair it as a warm up. Then I broke out her gear: tin snips, cement, screen, and screws…and begin to build the territorial borderland around the cabin we at Storysold call the Homefront. Patching entry holes in homes is always a superior, more cost effective way, to tell the wilderness “No.” Killing chemicals and poisons don’t send the right signal. Even mice know, the death of kinfolk doesn’t deter the actions of wild creatures. Nature loves revenge plots like most humans. Death of a family member is prelude to revenge, escalation, power struggle, The Central Conflict of a never-ending, mouse-centered hero quest to become the cabin’s latest up-and-coming House Mice.

“Thanks Fat Jake!” Bookmaker heckled. “That would have looked a lot better if Guide had done it inside the crawlspace.”

“It will look…and work…a lot better than nailing on wire mesh big enough for a small mouse to fit through, then pinning it to the foundation with rocks.” I replied. “In time it will look like all the other rocks.”

I did three screens, then I used cement to patch the entry holes I found in the foundation.

Next I used professional exclusion foam to get the entry holes on the side of the front door, around the chimney, the 2 holes that were found under the sink, and the mouse sized gap on the side of a bedroom closet.

Inside I also installed a commercial door sweep on the side door…

By the end of the service, I fixed one roof panel and excluded 4 entry points with screens, one with a door sweep, and about ten small gaps between rocks with cement and foam.

And I set roughly thirty traps in crawlspace, under sink, kitchen, stove area, bathroom, and utility area.

Not a bad beginning to what we hope will be a successful service story.

Chapter 2 (Dec 3rd): More Holes than Swiss Cheese

It’s aways good to begin the day with a failure. It’s great motivation to make everything that follows perfect.

I taped a pruning saw to her bee pole in hopes of reaching the high limbs overhanging the cabin, but alas…

That was a horrible idea.

What did work, however, was the two hours or so I spent (jumpsuit and headlamp on, hip-hop playing) in the accessible crawlspace excluding the many holes we found there. In total, I counted 12 entry points I excluded with hardware cloth and foam:

I didn’t find any signs of activity from my traps and bait in the mystery crawl, but I wasn’t fooled by my wilderness creature friends. She tracked The Action and discovered old piles of seed and snail shells in the crawl as well as a fresh burrow near the foundation.

“It’s possible that, unlike an urban home, your cabin has a sold supply of food outside for the rodent population to feed on, leaving heat and shelter as the primary attractants which draw them inside.”

“Wishful thinking as always, Guide,” her coworker Bookmaker laughed. “It is also possible they know the routine…wait for the humans to arrive, then belly up for the feast!”

The good news is, the cabin is definitely not infested. It’s more like a hot vacation spot for the mice in the cabin’s most immediate wilderness to travel to during peak season, when the scene is happening, heat is high, and offerings of exotic human are bountiful. Even after many years of working wilderness security, I still find it amazing when I’m able to track The Action enough to watch it like TV. Not too unlike the relationship parents have with their children, my wild creature friends watch, learn, and take their cues from us.

That was the good news. The bad news is, it will take some time for me to react to the rodent’s reactions to my exclusion efforts. Exclusion (especially in the wild) can be like a game of chess. The rodents win if they can enter the cabin through a hole I can’t exclude, track, or discover, and we win if I can find and exclude their every effort to enter in…

Speaking of which, I tracked down a real highway behind the chimney to the right of the front door.

“I’d say that explains all the mouse droppings around the fireplace…” I said, dusting my jumpsuit off. “I hope that leads directly into the house, not directly into the space our human host is too fat to fit into…”

“But!” Jake the Human Host stammered, defending himself. “I’m almost as thin now, at age 41, as I was when I graduated boot camp.”

I laughed. “Excuses are like Entry Hole Disorder…every human home has at least one!”

“Whatever you say, Guide,” Jake laughed politely at her witty twist. “And you should leave the comedy to Bookmaker. That was horrible.”

If that hole goes directly into the house, then my exclusion work shown here will work splendidly. If not, they will tunnel under this, and we’ll have to come up with a Plan B.

We didn’t get to the inside exclusions this chapter, but I did come up with what our team of customer services characters all thought was a good idea…a real super cool “weapon” in our fight for a better home away from home for you and your fellow owners. I installed a one-way vent in the accessible crawlspace, because (a) if by some miracle the squirrel was present when we sealed the mystery crawl it will have an escape route (b) if by chance any rodents discover entry into the crawlspace I can use attractant (dog food, peanut butter, etc) to encourage them to leave…and leave me a clear sign that they’ve been there. As I read it, quality information about the goings on under your cabin is more valuable than simply killing the voluntary domesticates. Just killing doesn’t work. They need to learn to respect your home territory, and the only way to do that is showing them where The Magic Line between The Wilderness and your civilization is with concrete, wire, and action…

I left some dog food to bait the trap. I’ll be sure to report if it was moved by some critter when we write the next live action adventure in The Little Home Away from Home.

Chapter 3 (Dec 15th): One Dead Little Shrew

My first full 3 service treatment of your Entry Hole Disorder ended with the exclusion of the large gaps behind the refrigerator.

The gap leading under the stairs was not small. I still wish I was skinny enough to make it through the hatch to see if there are any entry holes leading from the mystery crawlspace into the cabin.

When I was done excluding all the gaps I could access inside, I walked around the cabin and inspected for holes I might have missed. The new hole in front of the cemented screen in front still had the rubber glove I stuffed in it (as a marker), no tunneling activity was found under the exclusion behind chimney, and I didn’t find any other new signs of tunneling anywhere around your new Homefront.

The dog food I put in the vent was still there, uneaten.

And amazingly, after 3 chapters worth of service, I managed to catch some poor creature in the crawlspace.

If I read The Wilderness right, the rodents you found in your cabin weren’t nesting in the crawlspace. No insulation often means no nesting, or activity in places like your accessible and mystery crawlspaces. They had so many entry holes to access your cabin…the mice were simply scampering in from their burrows whenever they wanted a snack, or a dry place to eat their seeds. The poor little guy in the picture is a shrew.

Now that I feel pretty good about excluding raccoons, squirrels, rats, mice, and voles from the Little Home Away from Home, I’m going to continue to look for the very small, shrew holes.

In fact, now that the bulk of the exclusion work is done…I’m handing the next chapter to my teammate Pest Predator to deal with the ants. But, I do not consider my job complete. Each time Predator comes out, I will be present too–always on the lookout for Entry Hole Disorder.

As a grand total, If I count the gaps behind the fridge as 3 entry holes, I excluded about 30 holes in the cabin. That’s a lot of holes.

It feels good to get in early, get the exclusion work done, before the activity hits. Poor little shrew. There always has to be one.

And it won’t be the last.

Chapter 4 (Jan 20th): The Wilderness Strikes Back

Eddie did everything right. He hired a pest guy who did rodent exclusion work before the holidays and ski season hit, doing his part to produce the peace and quiet, rodent free environment he and his fellow owners expected from their Little Home Away from Home.

Instead, soon after I finished my 30 holes of exclusion work, signs of activity were found in the cabin. Here’s the emails:

EDDIE: Good Evening – I hope your holidays have been relaxing and enjoyable.  One of my co-owners sent me the following note – 

Just left the cabin. There was no mouse poop out in the open but we did see some under the kitchen sink and the small upper drawer to the left of the sink with the extra sponges. My girls also heard critter activity in the wall between the bathroom and the second bedroom. One of his two traps were trigged, but no mouse. I reset. Maybe you can pass this info on to our guy. 

GUIDE: I’m all over it. At minimum, I’ll clean all the droppings so we can track the activity better. Is Sunday AM or Monday late afternoon a good time to drop by? 

EDDIE: Thx and either day works!

No sooner had we finished reading Eddie’s message, Bookmaker doubled over laughing hysterically. “Ha!” he laughed. “You thought you had it all figured out…all set to pass the service story over to Predator!”

“No,” I replied defiantly. “I never said I cured their Entry Hole Disorder. It’s like a game of chess…that takes time.”

“You mean, it requires a steady supply of money and treatments like the disorders peddled by The Mental Health Industry.”

“Don’t go there,” I sighed. “Environmental disorders are not the same as psychological ones. Even if they were similar, I would never milk our producers by hooking them on The Neverending Service Story.”

“If you say so,” Bookmaker laughed again. “Speaking of producing The Neverending Service Story, what’s your next move?”

“I’m going to clean the cabin for them,” I sighed again. “Or at least all the old mouse droppings, so I can track the activity better.”

“Yeah,” Bookmaker grinned. “But you should also ask for help.”

“From who?”

“From me…and our paying producers…”

I paused, sensing that my teammate Bookmaker was hatching some kind of devious plot. “I don’t need help…especially from you.”

“You have no choice,” Bookmaker grinned like a villain tying his victim to the tracks. “Nobody lives at the cabin. It’s going to be very hard for you to track The Action without breaking The Fourth Wall.”

“Oh crap, don’t start all that Fourth Wall mumbo jumbo again.”

“We need a book…a live action book…that breaks The Fourth Wall and gives our producers an invitation to join The Action.”

“You need to respect the durability of things,” I said, feeling the combat rising in my chest. “We’re not living in The Living City. We’re still dealing with customers, not producers yet…Eddie paid us to not have to worry about mice in his cabin, not shine a huge got-damned light on it.”

“You’ve been calling them producers.”

“So,” I shot back. “I’m still not ready to break The Fourth Wall…not here at least. And I’m the lead customer service character here…so…”

“You asked me to make a book for Jennifer and Kevin in Lake Oswego. Why not make one for Eddie and his friends?”

“You got me there, teammate,” I sighed, resigned like a tired old man. “You can make them a book, but don’t expect us to pay for it. Eddie has a $300 dollar electric bill because we didn’t turn off the heater for them.”

“You mean,” Bookmaker sneered. “You didn’t…remember….you’re the lead customer service character here.”

“Don’t make this an issue,” I cried, wanting very much to punch him. “Lots of people leave their heaters on during winter. I simply decided to leave the cabin like I found it. Leave no trace. It’s not my fault. I don’t even know where the temperature control thingy is.”

“Some great doctor of environmental disorders you are…”

“God, I can’t wait to start working with Predator in the spring! He doesn’t jabber on and on about every little detail.”

“Oh don’t worry, I’m done talking…to you,” Bookmaker huffed. “Why don’t you go hug a tree or do whatever you do for fun.”

“Go ahead and do it,” I replied, knowing all too well what he was about to do. “Break The Wall. I’m going to stay right here and make sure you don’t say anything too weird or antagonizing…”

Bookmaker smiled and stretched his mind like a great big cat waking after a meal and a nap. Then he turned his attention to face a part of The Fourth Wall of civilization he calls, The Customer Service Counter. The Action here is way more complicated than this, but simply The Counter is a segment of The Fourth Wall that divides employees and or service providers on stage from their audience of customers. The Wall between those roles is one of the strongest in all of civilization, but not many humans are aware enough of it’s existence to know how to break it.

Bookmaker cleared his throat, and said, “Hello.”

There was no reply from the other side of The Wall.

“Yes,” Bookmaker said in a kind tone. “I’m talking to you…the human now reading the book I planted in the Little Home Away from Home.”

bookmaker jake character

“In minutes, I’m going to make the book that you’re reading now. Then my teammate Guide and I will prompt our human host Jake to drive to The Little Home Away from Home…where we’re going to clean the old mouse droppings for you, check for new entry holes, check the vent in the crawl, add new attractant to Guide’s traps, and leave the beginning of your live action novel on the table for you to find it.”

I hate to admit it, but he’s right. I do need your help! Please send us a line anytime you hear scratching in the walls, see a mouse scamper across the floor, find fresh mouse droppings, discover food missing, or come face to face with The Wilderness in the foothills of Mt. Hood.

Or break The Fourth Wall just for giggles. Introduce your character (or characters), write a line or two (or twenty three), and we’ll publish it for you in the next exciting chapter of The Little Home Away from Home

Many hours later, after a full day of work and running with Master Freddy, I send Eddie the following report:


GUIDE: I followed up on your report today. Thanks for the communication. It lead to the discovery of two new entry holes. I found them when I hung upside down in the crawlspace hatch and saw light along the foundation. Anyway, we’re up to 32 now! 


1) I vacuumed to the right and left of hatch and the back laundry area, so we can track new activity if it arrises. 

2) I replaced the snap traps with mechanical repeater traps, which are a classic choice for long standing commercial accounts like restaurants and factories. 

3) I foamed the gap and burrow I found to the left of the chimney. 

4) I checked the accessible crawl. It’s possible that the scratching sounds came from there (between bedroom and bathroom) if they came below. I imagine the wildlife that once had free reign there aren’t happy with my work. If the scratching was between bedroom and bathroom from above, I don’t have any working theories for that yet. 
5) I cleared 2 dead mice from crawl below sink, then reset traps and added a few. I don’t know how or if they were able to access the cabin yet. A tripped trap could be the ones I caught, or it could be a bad trap. So goes the hunt…we’ll see what happens next. 
6) I added a new book to your book shelf for your enjoyment.


7) I checked to make sure the heater was on correct setting. 
8) Oh and I decided that next time I come out, I’m going to dump some gravel behind the chimney to right of door. The inaccessible area there just gives me the Willies. 


And that’s that 🙂 Jake aka Wilderness Security Guide

Chapter 5 (April 10th): Pest Predator Joins The Action  

I am Pest Predator, the Chemical Control Operator in charge of bug hunting for Storysold: Pest Control, and this is the story of my service –

I waited outside the van like a fly on the wall, enjoying the sun while Wilderness Guide read her environment, checking traps, inspecting her exclusion work around the Homefront. The first thing I noticed was what wasn’t there. As a creature of the wild, I love noise. It makes me hungry; like the sounds of a wooden bat hitting a corked ball in a stadium full of cheering fans makes humans run naturally to the refreshment stand for beer and hot dogs.

A healthy forest is a noisy forest that’s full of snacks. I wasn’t sure exactly what the scene was at The Little Home, but it didn’t make me hungry. It sort of reminded me of a park, or a backyard, a good gathering spot for humans, but not so good for bugs. Or at least not yet…

“Where’s all the bugs?” I asked Guide when she returned to the van.

“Who cares?!” she smiled. “My Homefront looks awesome!”

“Nice job!” I said and gave my teammate an “air high five” so as to maintain our social distancing in lieu of the deadly super flu pandemic ravaging the land. “Did you track any activity?”

The critters were still accessing the mostly inexcludible back quarter of cabin, but this was the only new entry hole she found anywhere. She foamed it and put a rock over it.
Tried to access it’s old spot, but failed!
Whatever it was, it didn’t hang out long enough to leave droppings or eat Guide’s offerings

When Guide finished her report, I laughed and said, “So what you’re saying is, the Homefront you built for this home territory still isn’t baby shrew proof?”

“Yeah but…” Guide shot back seriously.

“Yeah but what?” I laughed. “Where’s that entry hole?”

“Give me a break! Baby shrews are so small it could have wiggled through a crack.”

“Good one Guide…I thought you were going to say it was trapped inside the crawl along with the larger shrew you caught in the last chapter. That would have been a better story.”

Guide just stood (quietly pissed) and stared through me for a moment or two, before she said, “I’m going to add a few buckets of gravel to my Homefront before you spray your chemicals.”

“Don’t say it that way,” I said as I watched Guide grab 2 buckets of gravel from the van. “You know how the humans think. Chemicals mean clean, and cleanliness is next to godliness. And god is good. Try to think of it like applying salt to meat…for preservation of the earth.”

“Good one, Predator!” Guide chuckled, trying to laugh at my geeky joke. “Salt was one of the original pesticides, but it tastes a lot better on potatoes than fipronil does.”

“Why don’t you ask our human Jake what fipronil tastes like?”

I followed Guide to the chimney where she added a layer of gravel over the exclusion work she did in the last chapter. Just because she’s obsessive.

“What are you talking about?” Guide asked. “Jake doesn’t know much of anything.”

“The same chemical I’m about to apply to the foundation of The Little Home is the same chemical Farmer Emily puts on Pip the Evergreen Jungle Cat to kill its fleas. The EPA is worried enough about the toxicity of fipronil to restrict its use to 2 applications per site per year. Never mind the fact I had to pass an official US government test to earn the right to spray chemicals on the land body of Oregon.”

“So what does that have to do with Jake?”

“That’s why he’s so dumb,” I laughed as I imagined the scene. “As soon as we let him punch out for the day, the first thing he does is grab a bag of potato chips, face The Fourth Wall of his TV screen, and pet Pip the Evergreen Jungle Cat. Oh he knows how fipronil tastes, for sure…”

“A drop or two of fipronil is much different than a quarter of a gallon.”

I heard her, but I wasn’t listening. “I bet fipronil is the umami of pesticides…that taste you can’t quite place, but can’t do without.”

“Wasn’t tobacco, at one point, used as a pesticide too?”

“For sure,” I replied. “And our human smoked for over a decade before he finally quit. He must have been using it to treat some kind of a character-based infestation.”

“Heck if I know,” Guide said as she stretched out, like a cat, across the picnic table and faced the sun dancing through the evergreens. “Ask Bookmaker. I’m clocking out.”

With that, Guide propped her owl mask on her nose like a cowboy and drifted off to dreamland as fast as if some wizard had walked by and cast a sleeping spell on her.

Left alone to do my work, I didn’t waste any time. After I spent a good half an hour hunting Eddie’s territory for ants (and finding nothing but a few winged reproductives and unimpressive trails) I decided to mark The Little Home with chemicals.

For those of you who know nothing about The Action of ants, you might be tempted to believe in the chemical industry’s interpretation of what they call “barrier treatments.” They think of the spraying of chemicals around a foundation like its a rat trap, or something, that can be left behind to kill the ants each time they journey in or out, or “breath” (as I call it), from the pores of the home. The math on that idea is strange, because (although its true, ants do breath in and out of homes along the foundation) its also true that they don’t do that all the time. Weather depending, ants may not travel inside to forage for weeks, or months, at a time. So how effective is that trap really?

Besides, in spite of what the chemical industry says, the best non-repellant every company uses for ants (Termidor/fipronil) is not really a full non-repellant. It has repellant qualities, which makes it great for marking territories. Basically, the message I send to the ants when I apply a barrier treatment is “Whoa! Like stop foraging dude…and have a drink with me. Don’t worry, you can go back to work foraging (like Captain Bug Killer wants) after a few drinks. The boss will never know.”

As any drinker knows, “a few drinks” is rarely a few. And most of the time, it’s enough to shut down the work day completely. So it goes with ants and foundation treatments.

The best way to hunt ant infestations is always, in every case, directly. That’s why, after I marked the foundation with my chemical control and baited the exterior and crawlspace with a weather resistant granular bait called Niban, I put together a box of emergency pest control goodies.

The idea is, “strike when the iron is hot.” No different from treating a rash, it does no good to put ointment on a rash before you get it. When you find ants trailing outside, all you need to do is break out the PEST EMERGENCY BOX and place either sugar or granular bait on their trail.

Then again, I don’t treat ants. They’re not a rash, disease, or disorder. I hunt them, and hopefully the good humans who love The Little Home will now be able to hunt them too.

Chapter 6 (Summer 2020): The Home from The Little Home Away from Home

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ty9KKkAx8ZLh0dfH8N01HNonlCkBeiuMv63_otT971M/edit?usp=sharing

Service Story #35: “7 and 7 in 3,” The Craigslist Miracle

Service Story #35: “7 and 7 in 3,” The Craigslist Miracle

“Oh my god!” Rick said when he saw the two large rats dead on his front porch. “Get those things out of my house!”

Produced on Oct. 17, 25, and Nov. 8th 2019 for Rick and Trina of Vancouver, Washington

I am Wilderness Security Guide, the Environmental Control Operator for Storysold: Pest Control, and this is the story of my service –

The Action that follows was recorded in part on our human’s cell phone:

Friday, Oct 18th

TRINA: Hello! This is Trina, Ricks wife. You set up traps for us yesterday. All the black traps behind the fridge went off except for one, but caught nothing. I think we need to set more traps in the garage because they were very active this morning around 4-5am. Please call or txt so we can set up a time. Thank you!!

JAKE: We can move our date up, but those traps weren’t my A game. I put bait and lots of traps in crawl

TRINA: Oh ok

JAKE: Don’t worry…we’ll get him

TRINA: Thanks!

Sat, Oct 19th

TRINA: Hey Jake, we got one in the garage! Neighbor took care of it for us. Can we reuse the trap again? I hear more of them

JAKE: Hoorah! Feel free to reset it 🙂

TRINA: Perfect! Thanks man. Hopefully we get more

JAKE: I have just begun to fight 🙂

Sun, Oct 20th

JAKE: Hell yes! Any bets on how many total?

TRINA: We need to kill their whole community lol

JAKE: Yes, for sure 🙂 I was just wondering if you have a guess how many in that community

TRINA: I’m guessing 5-10 [insert puking emoji] We got 3 so far. I’m guessing 5 more. What do you think Jake?

JAKE: Lol! I’m guessing 6

TRINA: When do you think we should check the ones in the crawl space?

JAKE: I space my services out weekly, because too much activity in their space is bad. If there’s a few dead ones down there they shouldn’t start to smell before Friday. But if they do, I can come out earlier

TRINA: Ok, yea we definitely don’t want any smells but we also don’t even know for sure if we have any down there right

JAKE: True, I’d like to know too…but good rat catching is a waiting game. Got to make them feel like they’re winning, even when they aren’t

Tuesday, Oct 22nd

JAKE: Well that set up worked! Are we still on for Friday at 10?

TRINA: Yes, you can come 9:30

JAKE: Cool, is earlier than 9:30 better?

TRINA: I just have to drop my daughter to school by 9:15

JAKE: No problem. I’ll be there at 9:30

TRINA: Great, thank you

[ The Action of 2nd service featured Jake fixing 3 of the broken vents with wire and cement, and the removal of three more rats from crawl. Jake asked Rick if he wanted to see them. At first he hesitated, and then he said yes. Not unlike a cat, Jake set the two large adults on the front porch for his customer to view. “Oh my god!” Rick exclaimed after he saw the two squirrel sized rats who’d been living with him for at least a year. “Get those things out of my house!” Before Jake left, he reset the traps, added fresh attractant, and made plans with Trina to return in 2 weeks. ]

Tuesday, November 5th

JAKE: Hey guys, I was wondering if you want me to come out on Friday for the next trapping/exclusion service?

[ No reply from Trina or Rick. The next day, Jake called Rick. Rick explained that money was tight. Jake agreed to do the service on Friday and let them pay in a week via invoice on PayPal. The original plan of excluding the house in 3 trapping/exclusion services wasn’t likely to happen.

Friday, Oct. 8th

When Jake arrived, he didn’t expect to find it clear enough of activity to seal up the home. Killing all the rats in their home in 2 services, then excluding the home in 3 services (all for $400) would be a true Craigslist miracle.

Yet there it was…no tripped traps. No missing bait. No eaten dog food. No markers moved. No reports of activity from Rick or Trina. Jake finished excluding all the entry points, except the inner most one behind heater in garage. When he was finished with the service, he showed Trina that he left the main entry point open at the bottom…just in case. All they would have to do is move the bricks and let the super sneaky rat out, or seal it up with a ten dollar bucket of cement when they were ready to make it permanent.]

New Screen on Vent #1
Patched Hole Beside Vent #2
Concret Patch on Vent #3
New Screen on Vent #4
New Screen on Vent #5
Foamed Main Entry Point into Garage #6
Semi-Permanent New Screen on Main Entry Point #7

Monday, Nov. 11th

And here’s the final text:

JAKE: Hello again guys. I finished your complementary service story. My website is still under construction, but you should be able to read it at: https://storysoldpestcontrol.com/35/ I sent your invoice for the final service to your email as well. Pay when you can.

And please don’t tell anyone I killed off seven rats and excluded seven entry points in three services for $400. That’s a super crazy deal. Wink, wink.

TRINA AND RICK: Ok you got it! Thanks Jake!

And my faith in humanity was renewed when they paid for the final service and, in the process, helped me sign up for The Venmo.

EPOLOGUE

Eight months later, our human got a call from Trina. She said the rats were back and Rick was worried they were in the crawlspace.

We drove out to Vancouver the next day. Trina show us where their landscapers had scared up a big momma rat and her nest of baby rats under a stack of fence posts. She explained that the neighbor wasn’t keeping their garbage secure, and then she showed me the droppings they’d found in their work shed.

The only possible new entry hole Guide found was an old fence post hole near the foundation.

Trina said it best when she said, “I think they [the rats] would have gone in if they could…”

When I realized that their Homefront was still holding strong after 8 months in an urban wilderness still plagued with a lot of rats, I smiled to myself. It was a big, happy smile, because I knew the work I’d done was still taking at least one predator free shelter off the list and keeping the environmental pressure on my rat friends on! As it should be.

THE END

Service Story #14: Predator’s First Full Complex Bedbug Hunt

Service Story #14: Predator’s First Full Complex Bedbug Hunt

Produced on August 16, 26; Sept 5, 9, 21, 24; Oct 8; Nov 7, 2019  

by Brenda and special guest stars Joe, Kathy, James, Doug, and “T.”

Chapter 1: An Intro to The Bedbug Hunt

Predator calls his method for eliminating bedbugs a hunt, or sometimes simply “the method.” His big coming-to-Jesus moment for hunting bedbugs (versus the traditional chemical heavy/prep intensive model) happened before I was his human host, when he was only a generic pest control character working for a local Mom and Pop Pest Control Company in NE Portland. The Mom and Pop sold cheap no guarantee, single shot bedbug treatments. They sold a lot of these treatments to property management corporations and other kinds of landlords who managed massive low income, high turnover housing complexes. I never understood why the landlords didn’t spend the money to do it right, but I get it. They were the ones paying the high cost of these treatments, and I’m sure it felt good to report to The Boss they were getting a deal.

The coming-to-Jesus moment didn’t happen like pop! (epiphany), it was a realization that rose to a boil slowly over time. Predator had already been working on techniques for hunting them directly when he quit his “sports applicator” job at the Mom and Pop, and then I went to work for the best bedbug hunters in town. The Best Company learned their method from an organization that calls itself, “Bed Bug University” or www.bedbugcentral.com.  

The University’s method taught that bed bugs should be treated in their natural habitat without “pushing them” with needless prep work, excessive cleaning, self-treatments, or non-targeted use of our own professional chemicals. Predator took to this philosophy immediately, because he had seen the effects of pushed bugs first hand.

“I have bedbugs falling from my ceiling!” customers would often say. At first he thought they were nuts. Then he realized that they were so afraid of the bugs, they’d been Raiding their homes with cans of over-the-counter “bedbug products,” which are all repellants.

Predator was already sold, but it didn’t hurt to discover that pest control companies who adopted this new no prep method—that uses inspection, steam, and targeted use of chemicals—reported that treatments that normally took 5 to 8 services were reduced to 2 or 3. 

While working for The Best Company, Predator (still in generic form) was averaging 3 treatments (and one final inspection) per elimination with average activity, and that was what I expected our team to achieve at Brenda’s complex. Especially since my teammate read and reported the overall activity in the complex as “light to medium.”

During the first treatment service at the building with 7 units, Pest Predator spent most of his time zeroing in and finding exactly where the bugs were hiding: 

He found no signs of activity in the downstairs. Both bedrooms + living room were all clear >  

The main floor was clear and so was the back right upstairs room >

As expected, both vacant rooms checked out: 

Predator did, however, find activity in the other two upstairs rooms > 

Specifically the dresser and nightstand in that room >

I supervised while Predator steamed the nightstand and dresser, treated it with a non-repellant, and then propped it up on climb ups > 

In the other room he discovered a “starter set” on the edge of the mattress and a few eggs along the tag, which he hunted with steam as well > 

[Warning: the next photo may not be suitable for dinnertime]

All in all, the first serve in the 7 unit building went well. The reason why our team has decided to wait 2 weeks between bedbug services is (a) it’s good to let any eggs that we happened to miss a chance to hatch and show themselves (b) it gives any bugs that might have been pushed into cracks by bad over-the-counter chemicals, excessive cleaning, or the removal/change in sleeping or resting areas more opportunity to feel comfortable enough to emerge from the cracks and begin to feed again (b) on the flip side, waiting any more than two weeks is not good, because it gives the population time to bounce back and grow, especially in fully infested homes. 

We drove off that night feeling good about our first service. That feeling faded when I got a call from Brenda the next day. She’d found a tenant moving bed bug infested furniture out of his apartment. 

We scheduled a time for an inspection that Saturday morning. And sure enough, it didn’t take Predator long to zero in and find the activity. The large family who lived there had the bugs that bite at night too. 

Chapter 2: The Townhouse Unit – August 26th

One of the many tenants who lived there, Joe, was there to meet me when I arrived. After I checked the Townhouse, I thanked him for being ready and we talked about the furniture. I told him that I couldn’t “declare control” (and move on to the 30 day waiting period before The Final Inspection) if any untreated/infested furniture was still on the property. He assured me he was planning to take it to the dump that week. 

He also said he wanted to keep the love seat upstairs, and Predator always makes a point to never miss an opportunity to hunt. He won’t tell our customers to throw something out, unless it’s 100% hopeless.

So the service began. The first thing Predator did was stalk every corner of Joe’s home–flashlight in hand, headlamp on–searching for his prey. The thing he noticed was spotting along the baseboard. That means that (a) the unit was infested before he moved in (at some point), or (b) the bugs had been there for a lot longer than a “few weeks.”

As it goes with hunting bedbugs, Predator took the signs to heart and hit his his prey in three ways: (a) we steamed (b) we dusted the wall void, and (c) we treated all the baseboards in the unit with a non-repellant.

Upstairs, to my surprise, Predator found no activity in the master bedroom. But he reminded me (from experience), “We should treat the inactive rooms in the building like they were active,” so we steamed, dusted underside of the chair, treated the bed, and sprayed the baseboards. 

Then Predator spent about 45 minutes in the back room steaming the love seat and plucking live bugs with duct tape. When the love seat stopped moving, we treated it and asked Joe not to move it until next service. That way, any bugs Predator might have missed would feel safe, come out of their hiding holes, and cross our chemical traps.  

Overall, the townhouse had more signs of activity and live activity than the 7 Room Building as a whole, but I’d still classify it somewhere between light and medium activity. That means there’s a good chance that we will return in two weeks, find a few stragglers, and need to treat again without declaring control. It’s hard to say. We’ll see in a few weeks. 

Chapter 3: Round Two in The 7 Building – Sept. 4th

Soon after you left that day, Kathy arrived and locked the front door. We had a long conversation while I inspected and prepped for treatment. 

In spite of Predator’s grumblings, I asked Kathy if she wanted to join me when I inspected her bed. Predator is all about The Hunt. The only way he believes its possible to calm our customers’ fears is killing the bedbugs as quickly as possible. I don’t agree. I’ve met way too many bedbug phobic humans. I believe people can’t fully recover from their experiences with bedbug infestations until they understand enough about the creatures to feel empowered and in control when they face them.

So really, I’m saying it’s more important to help the tenants and landlords control their irrational fear of bedbugs, than the bugs themselves.

So I talked while I worked with Kathy. She was surprised when I told her I found a harborage of eggs and a gathering of adults on her bed during the last treatment. After our inspection, I was glad that Pest Predator didn’t find any new signs of activity: no nymphs! But he did find a few adults hanging around, right under the lip of the mattress. Usually, that means they were hanging out somewhere strange and then they gravitated to the bed when they finally felt the coast was clear. 

As before, the only other room with activity was James’s. I was pleased when we found that my treatment of the nightstand worked. No new activity there, or the dresser. I was pleased, but Predator was not. He smelled bugs, but wasn’t sure where. Then he “got nosy” and started to search through James’s belongings. I was surprised when I looked in his shoebox…and we found signs of a larger infestation. 

I say larger, because you don’t find spotting like that in weird places like shoeboxes unless the box had been in a large infestation. You’d think it’d be easy to find a large infestation, or the history of a large infestation, but that isn’t always the case. Especially if someone has removed furniture, or tried to self treat, or removed the bed completely. It’s possible that James had (a) bought the shoebox from a person who lived in an infested home, or (b) he lived in an infested home at some point, or (c) the bedbugs really liked his shoebox after he removed the bed and they all scattered around his room: to the nightstand, to the dresser, etc…

Predator reminded me of James’s comment about how “they live in the carpet.” The more likely situation is, they now have to crawl through the carpet to feed on him now that he’s sleeping on the floor. 

Bedbugs services are funny. There’s the stories I get from the tenants and then there’s the evidence I uncover as I treat…

And it’s not James’s fault. He was only trying to help, do something in the face of infestation. Tragically, often all the things people do to “treat” often make the infestation a lot harder to eliminate. So if we want to go looking for someone to blame, it’s The Chemical Industry (the same hustlers who push pills and pharmaceuticals in healthcare) who feed magic potions and chemical witchdoctory to folks who want to sleep at night. That, and professionals who charge too much for their treatments, which is also another problem we share with the healthcare industry.

In any case, that treatment is going well. No activity was found anywhere else but those two rooms. The apartment, now vacant, can be cut out of the plan as long as no one new moves in before I’m done. 

Chapter 4: Round Two in Joe’s Townhouse – Sept. 10

It was clear from the moment I knocked on the door and I saw the sleepy eyes of the younger guy “T” who lived there, they weren’t ready. 

It was 2:30 pm. Maybe they all worked the night shift? 

I didn’t know, but I was thankful to Joe for his willingness to wake up and move the family out while I treated his home. 

While he was getting ready, Predator noticed he was bagging things up again. I did my best to explain, like before, that bagging wasn’t necessary. I even tried to understand where that idea came from, asking if he’d ever prepped for a classic bug treatment (which is what he was doing). I’m not sure why he has been bagging things with plastic, but it didn’t take long to find two new mattresses this time with a number of nymphs under their covers. I made excuses for Joe, while Predator fumed.

The loveseat was active again as well. After talking with Joe I realized that he’d been sleeping in it. That explained why I found the bugs just hanging around, seemingly frustrated, unwilling to cross the chemical Pest Predator put on it last time. It’s not normal bedbug behavior to hang outside of a crack or crevice, especially when no host is present.

“Fish in a barrel!” Predator smiled at the bugs just waiting around for him to pluck off. In other words, our plan worked: the adults that were hiding during the last treatment were now herded in one place in the hope of feeding on Joe at night. 

Treatments always go more smoothly when I can count on the sleeping and resting areas not changing locations… 

I know it’s hard to see, but that one is flatter than normal. It’s because it’s sick, slow moving, and dying from exposure to my chemical. I found a few of those dying guys in the crack of couch as well. 

If that loveseat is a measure of the level of activity found in the furniture Joe took to the dump, I think we can safely rule out Aaron’s (the furniture store) as a possible source. Like the shoebox, that loveseat had been in an infested home with other things that had the same level of activity. 

Finding a lone loaded piece of furniture in a home that’s generally free of bugs is like finding a dinosaur bone. It’s a sign of an older infestation with an older story I/we will likely never know. 

Predator’s guess was (a) either Joe’s family brought the infestation with them, or the apartment was already infested when they moved in. The classic storyline for that one goes, the previous pest control company who treated did not wait long enough to ensure complete elimination–so they missed the bugs they pushed under the carpet and baseboards in a seemingly vacant, bug free apartment.

The good news is, the downstairs (with the spotting) and the master bed are both looking good. I asked Joe twice to dry the stuff I bagged for him. At first he thought I wanted him to throw it out…but I explained, again, all he had to do was put it on dry for 60 minutes to kill the bugs. 

Chapter 5: Round Three in The Six Building– Sept 21st

The downstairs tenants were now gone, which meant that it was no longer The Seven Building. It was The Six

James and Kathy were the two tenants who have been experiencing the most activity, and (par for the course) they both had a lot to say about the bugs that bite at night. And we listened. James’s comment from the last service–“They’re in the carpet”–was still ringing in our ears.

Predator has now convinced that we were experiencing the “scatter bomb effect,” which happens in homes when an infested sleeping/resting area is suddenly taken from the usually lazy, slow moving creatures. Last service, I found signs in the shoebox. This time, I spied two live bugs through the slits of his radios. Hunting bedbugs in groups is so much easier…

I’m a music lover, and I don’t want to be the guy who sprayed insecticide on the radio The Day the Music Died. I also could let the bugs live in the radios, so I evoked an old trick. I covered the radios with bags and dusted them with the silica gel Cymexia. With the dust in there, it won’t take the radio lovers long to die. As soon as they start moving, looking for a host in the dark, they will cross the dust and meet their ends. 

The other big move (outside of the routine) Predator made in James’s unit was take all the belongings out of the dresser drawers, put them in the bathroom, treat the drawers, and put his dresser back together.

“I think getting these drawers up off the floor will eliminate harborage near his sleeping area,” Predator said, explaining his plan.

Kathy’s room was looking good. Predator didn’t find any live bugs or eggs. As was our protocol, I spent a half hour steaming her box spring and nearby baseboards like they were infested anyway. 

The rest of the service was routine. Predator inspected and treated the baseboards in the vacant rooms, Doug’s room, and the downstairs common areas. Doug’s room was a mess as usual, but cleanliness has nothing to do with it. We still found no activity there. 

Predator never feels optimistic, but I felt like were getting close. Hopefully, one more service will allow us to move to The Next Stage.  

Chapter 6: Round Three in Townhouse– Sept 24

I was sad to hear that Joe left Portland yesterday. In his place, the younger guy “T” stayed throughout my prep-time to help. 

I was glad he stayed. We had a nice long chat while I unbagged everything they bagged, and had him stage and start loading the linens, blankets, and clothing in the dryer. I feel that he understood the importance of doing that and I’m 50% sure they followed through after I left. 

I asked “T” where they futon and love seat had gone. He informed me that they put it in their family members red truck, which they promised to take to the dump (off property) tomorrow. 

Like I told Joe, Predator won’t tell anyone to throw something out…but if they choose to toss it…it has to be gone, off property, before I call all clear. Or it has to be treated with everything else in the unit. 

As “T” ate Oreos and ramen, Predator inspected and steamed the baseboards and bed. I found a lot of dead bugs along the baseboard in the most active room upstairs. But they were dead! and I didn’t spend too long entertaining conspiracy theories about The Origin of The Bugs.

After I was done with the service, I was happy to inform your tenants that we would be back in a month for The Final Inspection

No new signs. No live bugs. No reported bites. I say we’re ready to move the townhouse forward to The Final Stage.  

Chapter 7: Round Four in The Six Building – Oct 8th

Pest Predator isn’t a hippie. He doesn’t have any wishy washy beliefs about saving the planet from humans. In fact, he’s looking forward to that long awaited day when living characters (make of pure light and energy) will have the earth to theirselves again.

His distaste of chemicals is more elemental. He can taste the chemicals in his food, even after it’s been processed from soil, to plant, to animal, and then to hamburger–and it doesn’t like the way chemicals taste. The other big one is, he’s a hunter who hates becoming dependent on “sneaky chemical traps.” Liquid non-repellant residuals and dusts work great, so long as Predator’s prey creep and crawl across it. If they don’t cross it (and pause at the edge of the treatment because they detect something foreign), then Predator’s chemical trap will fail.

And the answer is yes, bugs are smart enough to avoid supposedly non-repellant chemicals and dusts. Predator has spent countless hours just watching them, and it happens…Bedbugs avoid his chemicals if they can find a path of less resistance. I mean, wouldn’t you pause for thought if the moisture of your exoskeleton began to suddenly dry out? Would you take the long way home to your next juicy blood meal if your mind suddenly went cloudy–imbalanced due to neurotoxin exposure–and you became confused every time you went your usual route around the body?

Bugs can’t read, but all creatures sensed danger. And the ability to sense danger and adapt is why we creatures have the ability to sense danger in the first place. What good would it be to sense danger–and feel panic and fear when we saw a poisonous snake–if we couldn’t overcome it? Same goes for bugs. We’re not living in The Dark Ages. We can spray chemicals like pixie dust and hope to kill dumb, spell bound bugs like magic.

But damn Cymexa dust works well when the bugs are trapped inside a plastic bag with nowhere to go!

After Predator inspected James’s room and only found one half dead bug in his dresser, he treated it thoroughly again. And then set James’s radio back in place for him.

Before he was able to inspect the other rooms and do his treatment, Kathy made an unexpected entrance on the set.

She said she was sick and needed to sleep, but she smelled of booze. And she suddenly became more alert when Jake (not Predator mind you) told her it was OK if she slept on the downstairs sofa while he worked upstairs. The chemical–Alpine WSG–was the same chemical he used many times before (in accordance with the label) when he treated restaurants during business hours with employees and customers present.

“That was a bad move, human,” Predator said as I felt his character began to entrench itself in my mind.

“What do you want me to do?” I fought back. “Kick her out?”

“Have Wilderness Security Guide do it, or that Passive Aggressive Asshole/ Social Worker character you played for years…”

“One of the reasons I started Storysold: Pest Control was so I wouldn’t have to be an Asshole Social Worker any more!”

“Too bad champ,” Predator stated firmly. “Go down there…talk it out with her…I can’t hunt properly with another human in here.”

So I went downstairs and inspected the inactive furniture for the fourth time. Kathy had crashed on the couch, until she saw I was there.

Five minutes of conversation later, I looked up and saw Kathy approaching with her hand held up for a high five. I hadn’t been paying all that much attention to what we were talking about, but she looked excited about a big high five, so I gave her a big high five.

Then she wrapped her hand around mine, took a step closer, smiled big (wide eyed), and I knew Predator was right. Kathy had to go.

“Listen,” I said as I tapped my Asshole Social Worker character. “I like talking with you, but I have a job to do. And I don’t want to tell Brenda that I was unable to complete the service, because you weren’t able to vacate the building as instructed. You could have called Brenda in advance, and we could have cancelled before I arrived today, but now I would have to charge her a rescheduling fee.”

I had learned from my year of “teaching” at Timberlake Job Corps that it’s best not to wait around for a reply after delivering lines like that, so I continued to inspect the furniture to emphasize my point.

I felt Kathy’s upbeat mood drop.

“I’m sorry. I don’t want to be in your way,” she said genuinely. “Do you want me to wait outside?”

We locked eyes, and I said, “Yes, that would be best.”

Then she walked outside and sat on the front porch, hood over her face, and waited as we completed the service.

I can’t lie. Predator was a little nervous about the half dead bug I found in James’s dresser, but he was convinced enough it was time to move to The Next Stage. It was supposed to be our great moment of victory, but it sure didn’t feel that way. Combat tends to be like that. Once The Conflict at the heart of all service stories takes hold of your mind and body, it’s not easily forgotten, or forgiven. The strong feeling that “The bad guys are still out there, somewhere in the world, lurking in their lairs” dies much, much slower than real bad guys…and bedbugs.

“Even if we missed one or two,” Pest Predator stated coldly. “If there’s still an active female alive, we’ll know if for sure by the time The Final Inspection rolls around in a month.”

“For sure,” I said, shaking my head as Brenda rolled into the driveway. “But that doesn’t satisfy my need to know they’ve been totally eliminated.”

“You mean your civilized need for order and perfection…”

“Can it, Predator. I’m wild…I’m working with you, aren’t I?.”

“You also work with that Asshole Bookmaker…”

I was still arguing with myself when Brenda arrived with the keys. It felt a little like a lie–only because I suspected the bugs weren’t all gone–but I also knew it was the right thing to do. In The End, if I don’t achieve total elimination of Brenda’s bedbugs, then it’s on me. I will have to eat the cost of eliminating any bugs James, Kathy, Doug, or T find after your Complex passes their final inspections.

“I found one half dead bug, but I’m calling it,” I said when you entered the scene. “I’ll text to schedule The Final Inspection in about a month.”

And that was that. Hunting bugs is always a waiting game.

Chapter Broken Mirror: The Final Inspection – Nov 7th

Brenda and I met for The Final Inspection at 5:30. It was already dark, a reminder that the short, cold days of winter were on their way.

We started with the Townhouse. It was clean, ready for the inspection, and eerily quiet. Ever since Joe left, all the stuff in the unit (and the stuff in the plastic bags) had vanished Somewhere. And so did the many people who had poured from the rooms when I arrived for the service.

I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. I inspected the unit to my satisfaction.

I walked down the stairs to face the eager eyes of my audience. “I found something,” I said dramatically.

Then I smiled, pulled something from my pocket, and said, “I found this granola bar tucked back in the recliner!”

The unit was clear. Even the bedbugs I found in the cracks of the closet had gone away. From there we moved onto The Six Unit Complex.

Doug and James were watching The Nightly News in the common area. I greeted James with a warm handshake. Doug launched into his usual parade of defenses. He told us about the work he did, and gave very understandable excuses about the work he didn’t do.

“My room is kind of messy…”

“Yeah,” I smiled. “I know that about you.”

It took him a few moments to realize I meant always messy, not just the mess he left for that day. I liked that he laughed when he got my joke.

With the greetings out of the way, I inspected Doug’s room, and then moved onto Kathy’s and James’s rooms.

After a half an hour of searching everything I could think to search (and a lot of live scares from dead bugs) I turned to Brenda and winced like I’d just been punched in the eye.

“Yeah, ok,” I said with my usual measure of doubt. “We’re good.”

Then, as I walked to the door, I accidentally kicked one of James’s mirrors. It broke in two, and I saw a vision of The Future.

I was doomed to return for sure. There was nothing I could do. I’d broke a mirror in the room with the most activity. It’s not superstition. It’s just the way it is. Good poker players have skills too.

“I have a very important question to ask you…” I said, facing James in the common area. “What’s the retail value of your mirror?”

We settled on all the cash in my truck: $22.

Billy B.

Service Story #34: The Garage Liberation Front

Service Story #34: The Garage Liberation Front

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SERVICE STORY

“We had an awesome experience with Story Sold! Jake was just amazing to work with. He is knowledgeable, professional, kind and quite funny! We had a challenging project and he found creative solutions to seal up our garage. It’s been about a month and our garage has clear of rodents thus far! I would highly recommend him.”

Produced on Oct. 17, 24, 29, 31, and Nov 1, 7 2019

by the Flynn family: Brendan, Megan, Kieran, and Riley

Chapter 1: The Ratonauts of Flynn

Somewhere in Portland a rat made its home in a pile of branches. After a few months of suffering its leaky roofs and uninvited house guests—“Darn those Antsis!”—the rat began to dream of a better life. 

It stared at the openings in the quiet, uninhabited space beside the human home for months before it worked up the nerve to scamper across the open grass and explore the new territory.  

It’s burrow buddies laughed and said, “Timmy Rat was an explorer too. He lit off for new territory last week…and you know what? We haven’t seen Timmy around the pile since!” 

“I don’t care,” the rat shot back. “I’m going to find a better home!” 

“You can go to the moon for all we care…but don’t say we didn’t warn you!” 

And so goes the plight of all astronauts, missionaries, and explorers. If no one is laughing at you, then you’re not on the right track. 

A month later that rat was dead—bagged and rotting with Timmy in the bottom of the humans’ green garbage can. Its burrow buddies were right to issue the warning. The natives living in the new territory were not friendly natives. They were hostile, very hostile. In fact, they formed The Garage Liberation Front to deal with the Ratonauts and explorers, any rodent who would seek to make pink insular love nests in their territory.   

My name is Jake. I joined The Garage Liberation Front today. It’s led by a fierce homemaker named Brendan. He hired me to be his sidekick.  

No, I’m not the explosives expert, nerdy tech guy, or the bumbling comic relief (at least I hope not): I’m the Rat Exclusion Specialist. 

And I have a five-step plan of action to liberate Brendan’s garage from the ratonauts and their dreams of insular domesticity:  

(1) clear out the attic space, make a pile in front of garage, vacuum and sweep it out, and prep it for disinfection.

(2) exclude the door: gap under sill, gap on top, and give it a proper sweep. 

(3) fix L-shaped metal flashing around the interior to exclude and prevent future rat entries. The flashing will be screwed to studs. This includes the sides of the garage door as well. 

(4) unearth the foundation along side with a hoe, slide a large piece of metal flashing under siding (without fixing it to concrete or siding with screws or nails), and then cover it back up again with soil. This will prevent them from making holes like this…

(5) exclude all gaps and holes along roofline using metal flashing, foam, and or hardware cloth, especially the one next to the tree in front. 

(6) exclude any gaps or holes under siding in back along patio with metal flashing, foam, and or hardware cloth. 

(7) replace seal along bottom of garage door, or find something stronger to replace only the ends ** this is a systemic problem with garage doors, and I want to find some way to replace ends with something stronger. We’ll see if inspiration hits before my exclusion day.

(8) use hardware cloth to block interior entry points and possible entry points along top of wall. 

(9) Get them. Trap inside garage until we’re satisfied that no rats are left inside. Trap outside for purposes of determining where they live, or where they’re running on their nightly feeding routes. 

(10) exclude entry points as needed. My mission is complete exclusion!

(11) Oh yeah, and put everything back in the garage in an orderly manor. 

And I must say, it will be a pleasure to serve as your sidekick. I will work hard to make The Flynn Family Garage Liberation Front proud! 

Chapter 2: Building The Front

Before I arrived that day I stood in my driveway like a warrior dawning his armor for battle. Hardware cloth, check. Foam and foam gun, check. Metal flashing (2 sizes), check. Leftover squash pizza, check.

Then I set my GPS coordinates to the Flynn family garage and hit the gas, wheeling with the long metal flashing on my roof rack piercing the road before me like a mighty javelin. No matter how great my fear of failure felt inside, there was no turning back now. I was on my way.

After a briefing with Brandon (and a few kind words of encouragement from my leader), I checked my traps not expecting much. It had only been a week, and The Liberation Front had already caught 3 Ratonauts.

No action from the bait I hung in the void. No action from the Volehalla box in the wood pile. No action from the traps on the sides of the door, but the traps in the attic caught 2, and the Volehalla box along the side of the garage caught one. All of them were juveniles, and one was eaten.

I decided to make my next move the attic, because pest control wouldn’t be pest control without a tip of the hat to cleanliness. After The Roman Empire fell, the church ruled Europe–and it took The Plague to convince the church that no, pestilence isn’t always sent by God as a loyalty test. Sometimes it’s just something that happens when we don’t wash our hands with soap.

My original plan was to declutter the attic and vacuum the droppings I found, but (like writing) the story sometimes takes on a life of its own. After I pulled everything down and piled it in the driveway, I looked at the layers of history in the attic and they said, “Clean me.”

So I fit my respirator to my face, hit play on my Oldies mix, and became one with The Attic. Two hours later I emerged feeling satisfied.

I should have took a before shot, but who cares what it looked like before I began? It’s ready for action now!

Next, I decided to tackle the most challenging of the exclusion points: The Wild Side of The Garage where the rats had dug under the half buried dry rotted siding up into the walls to nest in the insulation. I had a plan for it before I began, but (as usual) the well-made plan flew from my brain the moment The Action hit…

As I dug like the rats do, almost immediately I made a discovery that my storyline about the Ratonauts exploring from their home in the woodpile may be more fiction than theory. The dark spot shown in the photo below is a burrow that was leading directly up into the wall.

My solution to the burrowing-from-below problem was a subterranean wall built with hardware cloth and rocks. Lots of rocks.

The next step was to make sure the rocks and hardware cloth stayed firm in place, and then find some way of keeping insulation crazed Ratonauts from exploiting broken pieces of siding and chewing straight into the wall.

I love and hate foam like people love and hate nuclear power. It’s amazing and efficient, but also toxic to produce. Captain Planet wouldn’t approve. He would probably use the self-sustaining gum of the native Gum-Gum Tree or something like that. If only that made cents$.

“We had the first casualty of our conflict, sir,” I said to Brendan when he came out to check how The Front was progressing. “The rats sold all the old red bricks you had piled back here!”

By the time I liberated the side of the garage, I was experiencing what I like to call The Action. Long ago, in another world (back when I was writing and sustaining myself as a professional suds buster/dish master), I used to call it The Dish Zone. What that means is, while I’m in The Action my mind and body have become One Force of Nature 100% dedicated to The Mission. Not too unlike any super power, it comes with a price. My price is, while I’m fighting Ratonauts deep in The Action, I lose my social powers. If I stay too long in The Action, I reply to conversation with grunts.

“Huh?” I’ll grunt. “Can you say that again?”

The photo below shows the notorious corner where most of the rats are engaging their version of The Action. Pest control operators call this place a rat “runway,” but I sometimes like to call it The Rat’s Feng Shui.

There’s a big piece of metal behind that shingle, which I wedged in there because it looks a little better than the brown metal.

I didn’t intentionally set out to make your side door look like the bottom of a walk in restaurant cooler. Who knows, maybe that could be the next mission in The Garage Liberation Front? We could turn your garage into a fortified meat cooler to “put the rats on ice.”

I’ve been writing for a long time now. I used to describe writing to people that way, saying something like, “My memory is in my hands. I don’t think about what I’m going to write, not really. My mind just previews The Story for me after my hands do all the work.” That’s how being in The Dish Zone or The Action feels too. It’s like writing for real.

Then again, building by stream of consciousness (hammer swinging like a Beatnik) isn’t always the best construction model to follow. I often put the breaks on The Action. For example, I stopped to ask Brendan if it was ok to use metal flashing to exclude the gaps between the shingles and the foundation, because I knew it wasn’t a perfect plan. The length between the foundation and the edge of the shingles varied all the way across the back, so I had to cut the flashing…and do my best to keep it flush along the foundation. The way I was trained by my former employers to do this was roll and pack hardware cloth under the siding, and then let the foam fly. I was never was a big fan of that plan. It’s not pretty, especially with orange foam. And black isn’t much better.

After all that talk about social skills tanking in The Action, I must say I enjoyed my conversations with Kieran the Flynn family youth. He checked in every so often to watch the action on The Front.

“My dad said you’re the Rat Man,” he offered like a question.

I thought it was an excellent beginning, so I rolled with it. “You better he’s right about that,” I smiled as I messed with my drill. “I am the Rat Man. It’s what I do for a living.”

“But what’s your real name?”

In that moment I had to restrain myself from a long winded existential commentary about truth in fiction and the “supereconomic powers” that are triggered when we transform into our working characters.

“My name’s Jake,” I said instead.

He seemed satisfied with that answer, because he moved to the next topic of conversation, which I found equality as engaging.

“I’ve never been up in the attic.”

“Well it’s clean now,” I replied proudly. Then I tried to reposition the ladder in its place, so he could venture up there. The old ladder contraption was not as easy to operate as I thought, which turned out to be a good thing. It gave me a chance to think about what I was about to do.

“My dad says we’re going to check it out later.”

“Oh,” I said, setting the ladder down behind my proverbial back. “That will be a good adventure. I hope it passes inspection…I mean it’s clean, but it’s not kitchen clean. Know what I mean?”

We talked about the attic for a little while longer, then Kieran went inside and I moved my operation outside to work on the eve gap. It was there, just inside the eve gap, where I set my traps and caught the two teenage Ratonauts. My choice for building materials to exclude that gap was inspired by the many castle sieges I’d seen in The Movies.

“No way they’re going to breach that wall,” I thought…

Minutes later, when I realized I wasn’t going to have time to tackle the door seal, I met another leader of The Flynn Family Front. She had just finished a long day of work no doubt, so I tried to keep my conversation short. As my wife–Emily my Editor and Chief–often says about my writing, “Long is wrong.” So naturally, I skipped the pleasantries and got right to the heart of the matter. I was tired, dead brain, zombie eyed, and I had dirt smudged evenly across my face like some kind of theatrical version of a homeless man. All I was missing was the shopping cart and missing belt.

“The flashing in back is going to work,” I said as I showed her what I’d done that day. “But there’s still a slight gap between the foundation and the metal flashing along here, about three feet, which I filled with excluder cloth instead of foam because I didn’t want to goober all over your patio.”

Next I showed her the back. Instead of showcasing the great subterranean wall I’d built, I pointed to my blocking of the eve gap, and said, “It’s going to keep the rats out, but it’s ugly. I can fix it if it bothers you.”

Needless to say, I need to work on my showmanship. There’s no good reason to show my customers all the ugly things first. But, then again, that may be the fundamental difference between Ratonauts and humans. Only Ratonauts dream of perfect homes.

I like to think there’s nothing wrong with a little character.

Chapter 3: The Rat Harborage Removal Service

Recently, we helped our friends Arron and Aubrie throw a yard sale party to liberate their garage from some old things they’d had since college. For reasons I won’t go into now, I have a special place in my heart for the process of removing “junk” from my life.

It’s a complex subject. They say, “God don’t make no junk.”

They also say you should hug your belongings and wait to see if the thing brings you joy. That’s how you know you should keep it.

I say, rats will burrow and nest under anything that sits anywhere on earth that’s quiet and free of human activity: like a garage. I think it’s essential to our struggle on The Garage Liberation Front to remove rat harborage, at least pick up your belongings once or twice a year to see that Ratonauts haven’t turn it into the home base of their new utopian moon colony.

With that said, I was honored when the Flynn family leaders accepted my offer to remove the unwanted rat harborage from their garage.

I had planned to make the harborage go away and exclude the seal on the garage door on the same day, but believe it or not! The last rat (who had somehow escaped my wrath) snuck into the Flynn family house in the middle of the night and hid the garage keys in Megan’s purse!

It was a bold, but ultimately evil plan. When I arrived on Tuesday morning I was fired up and ready to work. I can’t lie, I was bummed when Brendan discovered that the garage keys were with Megan (and Megan was at work), but I didn’t let it bother me long. I knew the rats were trying to ruin our moral, and I wasn’t about to let them win!

“Nice try rats,” I thought. “You can’t stop The Garage Liberation Front!”

The good news was, I had time to follow Captain Planet’s advice to reduce, reuse, and recycle. I moved two pickup loads of harborage from the Flynn family garage, and I was able to recycle roughly 3/4 of that. The trick of it was, Goodwill always says “no” to somethings, but they always say “yes” as well. Therefore, if you arrive with a load from one Goodwill full of “No” items, then the next Goodwill will say “yes” to some of them.

All in all, it was a successful day. Thanks to our leader’s inspiration, The Rat Harborage Removal Service was officially born. Hoorah 🙂

Chapter 4: Plan C Super Fortress

I arrived on Halloween expecting to christen the Flynn family’s new Front for keeping the rats out. Instead, I found another dead teenage rat caught just inside the garage door.

It was a great reminder. All my work would be pointless if I wasn’t able to find some way to exclude the gaps on either side of the garage door.

My Plan A was to install a new door seal with excluder cloth inserted on the ends to give the seal some form. So I did that:

That was a fun exercise, but it didn’t pass The Light Test. When I closed the door and turned off the light, I could still see a gap. Plan B was already on deck. I bought a rubber threshold made for garage doors. So I fit it under the door, and gave it The Light Test.

“Rats!” I cried and shook my fist at heaven. “I thought for sure that would do the trick…”

Then I did the thing I do when I’m stuck. I paced back and forth between my truck and the door–staring at The Monster Gap–waiting to find something to inspire Plan C.

“Use the flashing,” my Optimist said. “It will work fine.”

“No way!” my Pessimist replied. “You’re going to turn that door into one of your crazy art projects. Call someone for advice.”

“Like who?” the Optimist laughed. “Hello, my name is Jake…do you know how to exclude a garage door with gaps the size of The Grand Canyon properly? Do they have a universal fitting for that, or something?”

“Ha, ha…laugh it up chuckles.”

Before I knew it, I was cutting my supply of L-shaped metal–and fitting it on the bottom of the door. “Hum,” I thought as I continued to cut and shape the pieces. “This might work after all…I could use door sweeps to give it some form and keep it from looking too ugly.”

A half an hour later, I ran out of time and door sweeps. A nice man named Victor in Hillsboro needed “Jake the Rat Man,” or at least that’s what he said his co-workers were calling me. Weird coincidence, I know. I’m pretty sure there’s another Jake the Rat Man in town I don’t know…

Anyhow, I returned the next day with more door sweeps from Home Depot ready to put the final touch on my super fortress. An hour or so later, I took a step back and inspected my work…

“Oh wow,” I exclaimed, a little surprised. “That really worked!”

The End was growing nearer. All that was needed to officially slam the door on the Ratonauts and open The Garage Liberation Front was The Final Inspection from the Flynns. That, and at least a month of no activity in the traps I set inside to show that they’re really gone. I have to say, I was holding my breath. I was proud of this exclusion and I wanted it to work.

A month later, we found starter holes right over the hardware cloth and a few more dead Ratonauts near our Volehalla box, but The Garage Liberation Front was still holding strong. “Viva la revolucion!”

Read Our Reviews

Story Sold Pest Control is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 83 review(s).

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- Jake is great! He was referred to me by a friend and he was thorough, very knowledgeable and put my mind at ease! Thanks for all the help!

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- I contacted Storysold Pest control for mice/rat problems for a rental property. I was very impressed with their website about the process they use to keep out rodents not just catching them and calling it good. They are very professional, explained the process in detail and showed up on time for our appointment. It’s been a week or so since he came out and my tenant hasn’t heard or seen any mice/rats. Jake, the owner is passionate about helping people and very knowledgeable in all aspects of pest control! Don’t waste your time on any other company call him first. Teri C

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- Keith B

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- Abby and Dave

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- Paige and Kris

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- Kammie James

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- Ed Robertson

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Refreshing to work with Jake. He is collaborative and communicative. Great improvement since his visit.

- Seth W

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He's friendly, professional, punctual & extremely affordable. Would hire again & recommend to my friends.

- Max K

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We had a great experience and highly recommend Jake. He is responsive, effective and thoughtful.

-  Eddie B

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Jake at Storysold Pest Control is knowledgeable and professional. He is quick to respond and reasonably priced. I find him to be trustworthy and ethical, he does not sell unnecessary services and he works with customers that are willing to do some of the work themselves as well as with customers who just want the whole service done without being involved themselves. While other companies told me I needed to replace all my insulation and do massive crawl space renovations, he offered several affordable options. With his help we no longer have a mouse problem and it was done at a fraction of what other companies quoted us. I appreciate his flexibility and fun, friendly personality. If I ever have another pest control issue, he will be my first call.

- Darian C.

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- Joyce R

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Jake has been helping me trap rodents at my farm with his Volehalla rodent boxes. He's friendly, knowledgeable, and effective: we've trapped a lot of rodents!

-  Emily C

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Jake was fantastic! Fast response. Reliable and honest. Great rates. Hope not to have any more rodent problems, but if I do I will be calling Jake again. I would recommend him to anybody that needs help with Pest Control.

- Janet D.

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Truly, I can t say enough about this team! They are so professional, trustworthy, and for the very first time in a long time I feel that they aren t here for 1/2 hour only to run off to the next job site! Jake (I believe the owner) told me that their company prefers to have 2 home visits per day over 10!!! I can t say enough them!!!!

- Lori T.

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Working with Storysold was a dream. We had a huge undertaking with almost 40,000 sq ft between two properties! With both buildings being over 100 years old keeping critters out is difficult and the previous tenants of the building allowed a huge infestation to occur. Jake was able to not only eradicate the unwanted pests he also filled holes and cracks and has stopped them from having easy access. Communication was great and the pricing was fair and manageable for our small nonprofit! I will continue to work with Storysold and recommend them for any pest control needs, big or small!

-  Jamie C

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Mouse in the house!!!! I texted Sunday morning after having chased a mouse through the house Saturday all day and Sunday at 3am... they came out to the house by 12:30 that Sunday. Jake got in the crawl space and checked the outside of the house for entry points. While there was no evidence of a major problem, I opt ed for the full attack. He came in with an Arsenal of traps that he placed in the kitchen and crawl space. He didn t hard sell and his prices were very affordable! He was also very honest with potential outcomes which I appreciate. He literally just left and I haven t heard any traps go off but just based on his customer service, I would totes recommend him! He s coming back in a week to check traps. I ve read some horror stories about other companies but I feel very confident that I m working with an upstanding professional. And he s dog friendly!

-  Taaj A.

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Great company.

- Ed S

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A pro. Showed on time. Knew what to do

-  Mike B.

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Jake of StorySold is proficient, affordable, and punctual. He took his time with carefully evaluating my problem, fixed my issue, and did extras like helping me fix my mattress which he treated for bed bugs. Can't recommend him enough and will use him and his company in the future. Got two other quotes which were much higher each quoting at least $1,000 without a guarantee.

- James J. 

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Jake is prompt, skilled, authentic and friendly! I couldn't be happier. I'm so glad that I talked to all three bidders before choosing. Even before he got here, I knew he was the best choice!

-  Linda B. 

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Great!!! Next day service, very knowledgeable and trustworthy, affordable. Didn t try to sell me any extra services I didn t need. Would gladly hire again.Great!!! Next day service, very knowledgeable and trustworthy, affordable. Didn t try to sell me any extra services I didn t need. Would gladly hire again.

-  Shelly A.

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Very good

- Larry A

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Jake actually arrived early. He did a good job of removing a large hornet's nest of very aggressive hornets. He will definitely be our first choice on any future pest removal we might need.

- Barbara B.

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Jake went above and beyond of what was asked of him! Will not use anyone else!

-  Ted M

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Jake was extremely respectful and responsive. Came promptly and did a thorough inspection. He gave us options and his honest opinion about what we needed to do. He was very helpful in solving the problem simply and cost effectively! Will definitely call again.

- Michelle C. 

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Came to our home right away and set live traps in our chimneys and made screens for the tops. Returned the next day to find a squirrel in one of the traps. We were very pleased with our results and appreciated the great customer service

- Kathleen

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Friendly, fast and efficient. Very pleased with the service Jake provided

- Joli P.

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- We’ve struggled with mice in our home for years. Stoysold came out in February of 2020, found the access spots, blocked them, and we haven’t had a single mouse inside in over a year. I highly recommend their service. KH in Sandy, OR

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- Jake was professional, friendly, educational on the process. I would recommend his services to anyone needing a exterminator for insects or rodents.

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- Boann

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- We are so happy with the work Storysold did to fortify our house against unwelcome creatures! They were courteous, efficient, and communicative throughout the process.

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- Jake took care of our unwanted guest (roof rat!) and identified and took care of entry points to prevent future problems. We have been paying for a pest control service for years that we are going to be able to cancel thanks to Jake’s work. He’s very professional and responsive and we highly recommend him! – Mary

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- Dustin

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- Dani Rathke

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- Thorough, effective and reliable. I’ve used other exterminator services that seem more concerned with signing you up for annual contracts than actually solving the rodent issue. This company is the opposite. They care the most about solving the problem, billing customers comes second. I’d highly recommend.

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- Paul

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- Kristy L

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- Darlene Warren

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- Erika Glancy

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Jake at Storysold Pest Control is knowledgeable and professional. He is quick to respond and reasonably priced. I find him to be trustworthy and ethical, he does not sell unnecessary services and he works with customers that are willing to do some of the work themselves as well as with customers who just want the whole service done without being involved themselves. While other companies told me I needed to replace all my insulation and do massive crawl space renovations, he offered several affordable options. With his help we no longer have a mouse problem and it was done at a fraction of what other companies quoted us. I appreciate his flexibility and fun, friendly personality. If I ever have another pest control issue, he will be my first call.

- Darian C.

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Jake has been helping me trap rodents at my farm with his Volehalla rodent boxes. He's friendly, knowledgeable, and effective: we've trapped a lot of rodents!

- Emily C.

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Truly, I can t say enough about this team! They are so professional, trustworthy, and for the very first time in a long time I feel that they aren t here for 1/2 hour only to run off to the next job site! Jake (I believe the owner) told me that their company prefers to have 2 home visits per day over 10!!! I can t say enough them!!!!

- Lori T.

---

Great!!! Next day service, very knowledgeable and trustworthy, affordable. Didn t try to sell me any extra services I didn t need. Would gladly hire again.

- Shelly A.

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Jake actually arrived early. He did a good job of removing a large hornet's nest of very aggressive hornets. He will definitely be our first choice on any future pest removal we might need.

- Barbara B.

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Jake went above and beyond of what was asked of him! Will not use anyone else!

- Ted M.

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Jake was extremely respectful and responsive. Came promptly and did a thorough inspection. He gave us options and his honest opinion about what we needed to do. He was very helpful in solving the problem simply and cost effectively! Will definitely call again.

- Michelle C.

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Friendly, fast and efficient. Very pleased with the service Jake provided

- Joli P.

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He's friendly, professional, punctual & extremely affordable. Would hire again & recommend to my friends.

- Max K.

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Jake is really a 10/10 person and it shows in his work. Thankfully we did not have an infestation but his thoroughness, promptness, and overall attitude towards his profession was something that stuck out to me. I will be recommending him to everyone for pest control. I know who I'm calling when I need one!

- Samantha A.

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Amazing! Jake is amazing! He came out because I had a squirrel in my attic. He has a vent he can put in so they can get out but not back in! Theres no trauma to the animal by trapping it and you will save yourself hearing it scream and cry in a trap! He walked around my entire house and attic looking for all entry points. He is very knowledgable and kind and looking to help you exist w wildlife w the option of not euthanizing. Years of experience. I was so pleased q his company I would highly highly recommend him for any of your critter/pest? needs! Thank you Jake!

- Suzan K.

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Went above and beyond my expectations! Would recommend to anyone, knowledgeable and experienced. Thanks again!!

- Jaimie D.

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Jake will give you friendly, personalized, and timely service, and you get the story of the service at the end!

- Emily C.

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Very honest, friendly and informative. Excellent work.

- Terry B.

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Refreshing to work with Jake. He is collaborative and communicative. Great improvement since his visit.

- Seth W

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- Zack C.

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We had a great experience and highly recommend Jake. He is responsive, effective and thoughtful.

- Eddie B.

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Very honest, identified the problem in a remote corner of the property, operated quickly, provided photos of the work done and is coming back to verify the problem has been solved.

- Matteo V.

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Jake was fantastic! Fast response. Reliable and honest. Great rates. Hope not to have any more rodent problems, but if I do I will be calling Jake again. I would recommend him to anybody that needs help with Pest Control.

- Janet D.

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- Taney R.

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Working with Storysold was a dream. We had a huge undertaking with almost 40,000 sq ft between two properties! With both buildings being over 100 years old keeping critters out is difficult and the previous tenants of the building allowed a huge infestation to occur. Jake was able to not only eradicate the unwanted pests he also filled holes and cracks and has stopped them from having easy access. Communication was great and the pricing was fair and manageable for our small nonprofit! I will continue to work with Storysold and recommend them for any pest control needs, big or small!

- Jamie C.

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Came out next day and took care of our wasp nest! Easy to schedule and very responsive. Thank you!

- Jacoba G.

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Mouse in the house!!!! I texted Sunday morning after having chased a mouse through the house Saturday all day and Sunday at 3am... they came out to the house by 12:30 that Sunday. Jake got in the crawl space and checked the outside of the house for entry points. While there was no evidence of a major problem, I opt ed for the full attack. He came in with an Arsenal of traps that he placed in the kitchen and crawl space. He didn t hard sell and his prices were very affordable! He was also very honest with potential outcomes which I appreciate. He literally just left and I haven t heard any traps go off but just based on his customer service, I would totes recommend him! He s coming back in a week to check traps. I ve read some horror stories about other companies but I feel very confident that I m working with an upstanding professional. And he s dog friendly!

- Taaj A.

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Jake was straight forward and was happy to answer all questions. Thank you!

- April B.

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A pro. Showed on time. Knew what to do

- Mike B.

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Did an amazing job fixing some visitors to my crawl space. Sanitized, cleaned, and locked down from future uninvited guests!

- Stephen I.

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Jake of StorySold is proficient, affordable, and punctual. He took his time with carefully evaluating my problem, fixed my issue, and did extras like helping me fix my mattress which he treated for bed bugs. Can't recommend him enough and will use him and his company in the future. Got two other quotes which were much higher each quoting at least $1,000 without a guarantee.

- James J.

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He arrived on time, knew precisely what to do to resolve my problem and completed the job.

- Jeff J.

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Jake is prompt, skilled, authentic and friendly! I couldn't be happier. I'm so glad that I talked to all three bidders before choosing. Even before he got here, I knew he was the best choice!

- Linda B.

---

Amazing! Jake is amazing! He came out because I had a squirrel in my attic. He has a vent he can put in so they can get out but not back in! Theres no trauma to the animal by trapping it and you will save yourself hearing it scream and cry in a trap! He walked around my entire house and attic looking for all entry points. He is very knowledgable and kind and looking to help you exist w wildlife w the option of not euthanizing. Years of experience. I was so pleased q his company I would highly highly recommend him for any of your critter/pest? needs! Thank you Jake!

- Susan K.

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- Loa H.

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We knew we had several openings to our crawl space where rodents were coming in. To come out and give us a quote, Jake was flexible with making an appointment at our convenience. He is personable and professional. We accepted his quote on the spot and he did the work at that time. He was thorough and gave us an excellent report with pictures after he was done. I highly recommend him and will use him again should the need arise.

- Larry a.

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- Paige L.

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Jake was a huge help with our recent rodent adventure. He was a great communicator and his work and knowledge were superb. He was thorough with his assessment of our property and honest with his recommendations. There was no attempt to unnecessarily sell us on any packages, in fact Jake gave us resources to get our situation under control and to maintain that going forward. Will absolutely be calling Jake in the future if the situation arises.

- Graham H.

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Great service and very affordable pricing.

- Humberto Z.

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- Deanna M.

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- Michelle H.

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Jake was very quick, informative. He not only took care of the rodent, but spent time helping to prevent it happening again.

- Em W.

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Excellent job! Jake was wonderful to work with.

- Kathy M.

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Jake went above and beyond. I had tiny ants in my cupboards and on my kitchen floor. He went outside the property and went underneath my condo. Not only did he take care of the ants but took care of a small rodent issue. Charged me exactly what he quoted me. All the extra work he did I thought for sure it would cost more but he stuck to his quote and was very polite, kind and quick.

- Brenda H.

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Jake was great to work with. He responded quickly to my request. He was able to do the job by being creative. He sent a follow up email to let me know when he would check back. His rate was very reasonable.

- Kelly A.

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- Jake is amazing

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- Stacie Benefield