Season 1 Honorable Mentions: Service Stories We Should Have Written But Didn’t Because We’re Lazy

Season 1 Honorable Mentions: Service Stories We Should Have Written But Didn’t Because We’re Lazy

 

 

A) Number One – THE STORYLINE: My first customer ever was David Hong, the owner of a longtime fast food restaurant on Division St in Portland. I did an ant service for him inside and out. David also hired Pest Predator to do his first Storysold: Restaurant Style Roach Hunt. He didn’t find any, but Predator was able to do the full hunt we always wanted to do (and couldn’t) when our human was working The Old Industry Script for Ecolab.

 

 

We did our hunt in the early morning hours on Thanksgiving Day

 

 

B) The Kludge 1 and The Kludge 2 – THE STORYLINE: Eric called me because a rat had chewed through a waterline behind his dishwasher. My exclusion adventure began right away, fixing hardware cloth to the wall behind the dishwasher (while the dishwasher repair guys worked on it) to keep the rats from getting in. While I worked Eric, a computer programming professor, shared a new word with me. He explained a “kludge” was a quick fix, patch, stopgap, hack, or makeshift solution to programming problems. I immediately picked up what he was putting down, asking if a kludge/hack was a good thing or bad. He said it depended if it worked. A few weeks later, I spend a day excluding his home. While I worked, creating hack solutions to prevent rats from entering a home that appeared to have been built like a quilt, one kludge at a time. I was proud of my efforts, especially the crawlspace door which I made from a piece of metal siding I found at the Restore. Two months later, Eric called to offer me another challenge. His father a delightful Norwegian named Thor lived in a house that was actually 2 houses kludged together. Through our discussions, Thor inspired me to develop an exclusion strategy I still use today. His basement wall had been broken intentionally to fit a heater in the crawlspace, which in turn was allowing rats and everything else in the wilderness into the crawl. Check out the photos below! The heavy mesh excluding the crawlspace can be removed easily by unscrewing a few screws and knobs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C) Pest Predator’s First Full Complex Bedbug Hunt – STORYLINE: Brenda became the defacto landlord of a property that had a lot of bedbugs. She hired Pest Predator, and we worked together to hunt bedbugs in a 6 unit building plus a neighboring townhouse. The highlight for Predator was hanging out with a fun-loving, drunk, mildly argumentative tenant who tried to kiss him. And learning about Samoa from Joe and his family living in the townhouse.

 

 

 

You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/14-2/

D) The Owl Project – THE STORYLINE: Summer hired Wilderness Guide to secure her home from mice. The best part of this service story was Summer. Good people for sure! It was also one of the first time Guide encountered a true exclusion challenge. She named it The Monster Gap. It took a few rounds of work to get right, but the mice and rats of SE Portland no longer can simply tunnel under her back patio and thrive in her crawlspace anytime they wish! Now they have to face the owls and other predators of The Urban Wilderness like real deal wild creatures!

 

It was also one of our first gravel projects. Go Ranger Jane!

 

 

You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/20-2/

 

E) The One Day Residential Record – THE STORYLINE: It’s a privilege to participate in the homemaking stories of my customers, and we felt especially lucky to play our parts in Grace and Joe’s heroic homemaking story. They had 2 properties side by side. One they lived in. The other they rented to tenants. Both were resting on concrete blocks. Both had rats, and an amazing number of entry holes. After Guide’s initial inspection, we had one of our classic moments where we promise to do something crazy…and then do it. In The End, we excluded 22 entry holes in one day. And then returned to exclude The Mystery Add On Crawlspace (and kill the rat that was living there) when we finally found a way to access it. We had many memorable moments here, but my favorite was when I told Joe that I’d just broke his One Day Record at a church in SE Portland. He didn’t miss a beat. “That doesn’t count,” Joe said emphatically. “It’s not residential!” So true! But he no longer holds The One Day Residential Record. July 2020, I excluded 24 entry holes in one day for our farm friends Brian and Mary of Wild Roots Farm. “Don’t feel bad Joe! It was a 100 year old farmhouse with a working root cellar! Super easy pickings compared to yours!”

This was also the last time we ever used orange foam. Sorry Grace!

 

 

 

You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/27/

 

F) Our First 2 Live Action Novels – THE STORYLINE: Have you ever wished you had the full story of your pest control services hanging in your crawlspace? Or, better yet, had someone to write the on-going story of your Homefront? Well we made this happen. Like for real. We have 2 live action novels now currently in production: The Unexcludible Homefront and The Little Home Away from Home. Take that Hunter S. Thompson! 100% pure Gonzo storytelling!

 

 

 

You can read these live action novels on our website: https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/38-2/ and https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/36/

 

G) The Long Ballad of Momma Roof Rat – THE STORYLINE: Roof rats in SE Portland are no joke. They are, by far, more intelligent than the sewer/Norway rats. Nita’s hunt was memorable for many reasons. One was the proximity of the rats nest to her bed. Amazingly (but very normal), Nita didn’t know she had rats until her neighbors saw a rat making what turned out to be a second nest under her solar panels. Then there was the also amazing (but very normal) part of her service story where we stuck it out, for at least a month or more, until we finally caught Momma Roof Rat in a Volehalla box. Most of the time, Momma Roof Rat escapes with a few youths in tow, moves on to the next attic, and the rat catchers claim victory when their traps go silent. The other, more meaningful part of this story, was the moment when Nita asked our human to sit with her in the kitchen…and we ate fruit together. This seems like a small thing, but that’s kicking The Old Industry Script for sure. Industry Techs don’t have time to fraternize with their customers. Not in any meaningful way. No fruit eating scenes for them! Not only did Nita hang on patiently for The End of her infestation, she inspired us to break The Fourth Wall and kick The Script!

 

 

 

You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/18-2/

 

H) Guide Gutter Talks the Fat Roof Rats of NE Portland – THE STORYLINE: At first read, we thought Carmen was yet another human cursed with a unyielding sense of perfection, and or what Indie Crystal Miner Bob called “ciphilization.” That was what we thought until Guide engaged the roof rats who were, seriously, trying to make their home in Carmen’s home.

 

 

You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storysoldpestcontrol.com/31/

I) Meeting The Neighbors – THE STORYLINE: We don’t know why, but we’ve been a part of many mother/daughter stories that feature rats. For example, one combo included a woman in Oregon City who had rats who then recommended us to her sister in Beaverton who also had rats, who then recommended us to her daughter who also had rats. The worst of that multi-generational drama was the daughter who had digging rats who followed a big backyard tree into her crawlspace. But that was Beaverton. Not to play favorites, but our favorite Mother/Daughter service story was Pauline and Victoria in Gresham. In both cases, they believed wholeheartedly in the importance of engaging The Action, or the longterm story of their home fronts. It was refreshing. Guide only had to kill a few rats. She spend most of her time excluding 12 vents with heavy mesh around Pauline’s home, and trenching and excluding a shed in the back of Victoria’s home. Pauline is a writer and Victoria is a banker, two roles that no doubt spark our imaginations. I know it’s wrong, but I loved the fact that I got a panicked call from Pauline (when I was face down in the dark of a crawlspace) when The Proud Boys and Antifa were invading Gresham. I laughed off the immediacy of The Conflict like I do, but (when I emerged from the darkness after a 8 hour crawlspace clean out) I felt a feeling I’m not at all used to feeling. Pauline called me, because she cared about me (and Farmer Emily) because we were neighbors. And that’s super cool. We definitely need more neighbors like Pauline and Victoria to help us (stupid isolationists) to break down our obsessively manicured neighborly walls and make the effort!

 

 

J) What to do with Baby Root Rats (With No Hope of Survival)? – THE STORYLINE: Imagine owning a beautiful home in SE Portland that satisfied all the Disney dreams of living in harmony with nature: loyal dogs, happy cats, and garden landscapes. But then, after a few months or so you realize that the lions don’t always chillax with the lambs, and you have to face the reality of dealing with oppositional defiant raccoons, clingy anxious mice, and megalomeniacal roof rats? In this service story, we were called to action because the homeowners smelled “ammonia” near their chimney/next to their bedroom. Guide tracked that smell to its source, and then emerged with a sack full of baby roof rats. Guide offered them to the chickens first. Then she offered them to the wilderness outside our humans’ home. In The End they died tragically of exposure. The only solace in this service story was the knowledge that rats and humans are similar. From our experience, we know rat parents would rather eat their babies (heads and all) than Take The Bait and try a potentially poisonous new food source. We get that. Like rat parents, human parents often sacrifice their children to support their food, drug, or ideological addictions. It’s just more horrifically obvious when Mommy or Danny Rat eats the brains of her kids to increase her own chances of survival.

 

I know it’s wrong, but I think about that every time I see a PROUD PARENT OF A US MARINE bumpersticker…

 

 

AND SO MUCH MORE!

 

Julie H produced Pest Predator’s First Full Bedbug Elimination!

 

Joseph A. and his wonderful family produced The House Mouse Mystery!

 

Obula Reddy produced Predator’s tragedy Why I Will NEVER AGAIN Cut Costs and Corners for a Demanding Customer!

 

Mercedes produced Guide’s amazing exclusion story, Where Did All The Rats Go?

 

Landlord Alex A. produced many challenging exclusion service stories for his tenants!

 

Amar K. produced Guide’s textbook roof rat exclusion, Do I Smell a Rat, or Is that a Big Mouse?

 

And Mellissa D. produced the epic exclusion Death to The Death Smell!

THE END?

Service Story #91: The Ant Show, Episode 1 – An Intro to Nasty Antsis

Service Story #91: The Ant Show, Episode 1 – An Intro to Nasty Antsis

by Bookmaker Jake

THIS SERVICE STORY IS DEDICATED TO ALL THE CLEAN PEOPLE OF PORTLAND WHO SUFFER FROM ANTSIS.

PRODUCED BY ANGELA AND JEFF OF MONTEVILLA

Angela and Jeff live in Montevilla, a humble shire set in the shadow of Mt. Tabor and the not so humble wilderness population it supports. They’re good people: honest, fun, upstanding members of The Garage Liberation Front, but Jeff and Angela don’t always feel good, because they’ve been afflicted by an accursed “mole” of nature they can’t control.

They have Nasty Antsis.

Antsis is a common, but heavily stigmatized disorder that effects 65.34% of all households in Portland. For most folks it takes many years of silent suffering, staying up late googling and watching Youtube videos on ants, before they decided to step forward and admit that they, too, have Antsis.

Please don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of Antsis. The rat catchers and bug destroyers of old have long understood the role of disorders like Entry Hole Disorder, Systemic Death Production Disorder, and Nasty Antsis. All these actions play their part in drawing our magic lines between wilderness and civilization, but our ancient pest control wisdoms have been lost in the modern greed of The Industry and its many generic treatments. Only now, with a resurgence of unincorporated errant pest control operators, are we coining new language like “Nasty Antsis” to describe these old and ancient actions. Our teammate Bookmaker Jake likes to make a big todo about which words, labels, metaphors, and other representative signs, signifiers, and signatures we use to describe actions, but the rest of us at Storysold: Pest Control know better. We know words are the shit of the human brain. They’re made for waste. No words are needed to describe The Action we all know. Since the dawn of time, humans have encountered that part in our stories where the rain rolls in and they come face to face with the earth creatures who trail in like savage conquistadors onto their food prep areas. We can call that encounter a feeling, action, affection, or a disorder. The label doesn’t matter for shit. We’ve simply decided to call it “Antsis” because it sounds cool.

In the spirit of exploring our new language, we asked our human host Jake to describe his feeling of Antsis for us. He didn’t even blink. Like the one trick pony he is, Jake went straight for the Star Wars metaphor. He likened his ant encounters to that hair-raising moment when Luke entered The Joseph Campbell Cave and faced Darth Vader in heroic, single combat, only to discover that he wasn’t fighting anyone but himself…

“Fucking ants!” Jake cries after his countertop encounter. “Never again!” Then out comes his [not recommended] weapon of choice: Raid, Tarro, or eco-friendly ant-killing essential oils. Spray, spray, spray, and the cathartic experience of treating Antis ends with a floor littered with dead little ant bodies. It’s only later, after a few gulps of beer, does our human truly digest what had happened. “My God,” he realizes (gulp). “I killed them…but it’s not their fault…if only I wasn’t so, so dirty!” It’s that feeling of dirty, stinking, nastiness that prompts humans with Antis disorder to clean, and clean, and clean again.

Statistically, folks who suffer from Antsis have the cleanest homes on their blocks.

They clean because they care. They care about producing an orderly ant-free home that never triggers that same feeling of panic, chaos, and disorder that Luke felt when he killed Darth Vader and saw his face reflected back to him. No hero who cares deeply about preserving The Righteous Order of The Universe wants to feel out of control.

One of the other reasons why you may have never heard of Nasty Antsis is:

It’s a No Man’s Land between the pseudo sciences of psychology and pest control: Is the “antsy feeling” a nervous disorder? Or is it a disease like alcoholism that can be blamed completely on the individual and their genetics? Or do all those ants crossing The Line like villains really make humans feel Antsis? Naturally tempers flare in debates between pest control operators and therapists when they try to source the disorder. Psychologists can never accept the operators’ views, because it opens the door (sets a precedent) to challenge a long list of other disorders. Just imagine a world where a therapist trying to treat an alcoholic was forced to admit that, yes, it’s possible that the human host of Alcoholism had experienced enough systemic, workaday environmental disorder to “make them drink.” No profitable psychologist will ever admit that some feelings are maybe, just, simply thrust upon us like Antsis in springtime. They wouldn’t be able to call them “disorders” if they did that. Blaming The World for their troubles is almost the defining characteristic of all humans with “disorders” and “criminals” too. The Mental Health Industry would crumble and blow away like dust in the wind if they were forced to admit that real, trackable, killable house ants were responsible for making humans feel Antsis.

Some of us would happily file the action of psychology in the same overflowing drawer with witchcraft, sorcery, self help books, religiosity, and other such makers of prison hoochery; but we’re practical. We realize that doing so would harm the economy like pirating DVDs. If we bankrupted the generic swath of The Psychology Industry, who would we hire to round up the live action characters who aren’t able to host THE ONE normal, healthy, chemically balanced, ruggedly independent National Character humans were all trained to host? No doubt, The Pest Control Industry would simply kill any creepy crawly lifeform that ever made humans feel vulnerable, out of control, or Antsis…and we’d do it without any wishy washy sentimentality for the abject health of our planet.

And that’s why pest control operators and therapist will never, ever agree that ants make their customers feel Antis. We’re competitors, both in the business of controlling nature, hunting the same prey. At best the therapists will admit that ants “trigger” Antis, and we might admit that, in the long term, the best treatment for ants is beer.

Luckily, humans hosting characters in the control industries (and their customers) can all agree on one thing. It’s a common enemy that bonds them like The Lord of The Rings. They all hate long, philosophic rants by Wanna Be/Future Famous Authors like Bookmaker Jake. Nobody likes reading crap like this, because nobody likes reading service stories that seek to dissect, destroy, and offer no comforting/familiar narrative to compensate them for the time they invested reading it. For most humans reading philosophic rants is a lot worse than having ants. Engaging in philosophic conflict makes humans feel lost, out of control, in a world view built by the familiar industrylines they’ve been enacting since day one.

In fact, if we were a profitable psychologist we would brand the philosophic rants everyone hates as “Rantsis,” because it sounds cool. And cool sounding disorders are good for attracting clients and government grants. No doubt, the diagnostic manual for the new cool sounding disorder–“Rantsis“–will be filled with other cool sounding words, lines, and other marketable hooks like “Drink Up…It’s Not Your Fault After All.”

Yeah OK. We get it. Enough already. Sorry about all that. Feel free to unread the last ten paragraphs. Our service story here really begins with a text from Angela:

ANGELA: Hey Jake! Happy weekend. We have those large ants on our porch and fence. We tried some bait bait, but they still remain. Can you help?

STORYSOLD: You bet, but we’re about to lose our good ant hunting weather.

ANGELA: Needs to be cool, not hot?

STORYSOLD: Sun is good. I suggest doing a hunt when we get a few sunny days in a row. It’s a lot easier that way. Want I should text when weather is better?

ANGELA: Ok. Sure. We are around often!

A week later, the sun was up and the ants were popping all around the city. Angela and Jeff were out of town, but they gave us permission to cross The Line when they weren’t at home. Our workday previous to their ant hunt had been an effort: 3 exclusions in a tight rat infested crawlspace, 1 rodent set up, and 1 burrow dig/retrenching effort at Kim’s service story The Chicken Loving Neighbor. All that was to say, triggering Pest Predator to hunt carpenter and house ants in Angela and Jeff’s yard was a very welcome change of pace.

The first act of our service story was applying a non-repellant around the foundation of their home. That served two purposes: a) ants naturally have to cross the foundation to enter home (or porch), so the chemical spray Predator sprays in their path will kills them coming and going; and b) even though most operators will tell you that The Industry staple for foundation sprays (a product called Termador) is a “non-repellant,” Predator knows from experience that it has repellant properties..and that’s useful in the finding of carpenter ants. Predator knows that if he sprays an edge or corner of a house that’s an entry point for a colony or satellite colony, the ants will appear almost immediately.

After we finished our foundation application we were able to mostly rule out the bottom half of their home, and then turn our attention to the clear trail Angela had already identified…running to (or from?) the porch from (or to?) the fence. Predator spent a while tracking both ends of the trail, which both fizzled out with wandering/scouting ants. At first read, Predator was tempted to say the trail originated on the porch, but the fact that he identified the ants as Camponotus vicinus and the trail was climbing from the fence line to the top of the porch, that led him to believe that an ant beachhead was developing under the siding, higher on the house. Vicinus are known for their climbing skills.

Predator knew the rain was, once again, on its way, so he did a light spray around the columns and set a ton of bait on his chemical to encourage the ants to track across it. As usual, a few of carpenter ants stopped to feed, but most of them continued their dogmatic pursuit of whatever they’d found before we entered the scene. Unlike house ants who get hooked on the sugar baits almost robotically, carpenter ants are more fickle about their foraging tasks. In hopes of making a more attractive offer, Predator placed some granular bait along the trail. To his surprise, the sugar bait still seemed to be the winner.

“Yum! Nature never feed us sugars like this!”

While Predator waited to see if the carpenter ants were going to take the bait, he went on a house ant hunt around the property. There were so, so many trails, and Predator snickered at his own cleverness ever time he sprayed mass globs of sugar bait on his prey with his new spray bottle loaded with Tarro.

https://storysoldpestcontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/IMG_3181.mov

That video was taken on the front steps. Predator found active trails along sidewalk, along walkway in front, next to steps down to back patio, corner of porch to right of gate, cool grape vine tree thing in back, to right of garage, and a few next to bbq near side door. Here’s a few more proof of work photos:

[ heavy trail next to back patio ]
[ front steps opposite trail from video ]

[ next to garage ]

[ carpenter ants taking the bait high on patio ]

When the day’s ant hunt reached an end, our human drove us home feeling good. No doubt Angela and Jeff would get some relief from Predator’s treatment of Nasty Antsis. That good feeling lasted 1.34 hours before Predator did the math and realized that we’d be very lucky if we’d knocked out the whole carpenter ant colony all in one hunt…

He was sure the old antsy feeling would return like withdrawal.

“Is killing them all the only way to treat for Nasty Antsis?” Guide asked her teammates.

“No,” Predator replied straight-faced. “We could continue to let them feed on Angela and Jeff’s home.”

“That doesn’t sound that bad,” Guide said, suddenly feeling a little antsy. “Maybe they could share their home with their wild creature friends?”

When Bookmaker heard that he laughed and mocked his teammate. “Yeah! It’s those crazy humans’ fault for building a house in The Tabor Wilderness. Their disorder should be treated with therapy and legal drugs, until they learn to accept responsibility for The World and all its ants. Ha! Clearly the humans are the source of this infestation.”

There was a long silence. Then Predator said, “I don’t think that’s a good business model.”

“No shit Sherlock!” Bookmaker laughed. “But just think of all the money we’ll make the therapists!”

Predator ignored his Asshole teammate and turned to Guide. “I think we should treat this infestation of Antsis like classic pest control operators…and kill them all. That’s the only way we can give Jeff and Angela relief.”

Guide thought about that for a minute. Then she nodded her head and said, “I agree. Let’s make sure we kill em’ all.”

Our treatment of Angela and Jeff’s Carpenter Antsis will continue in another exciting episode of The Ant Show. Probably on another good ant hunting day in July.

EPOLOGUE

Before we knew it, it was August. The rats outside Angela’s garage had continued to return like the final scare of a horror film, the moles were still carving up her yard, but Predator’s hunt had cured The Nasty Antsis.

ANGELA: And also–the ants died with one application.

STORYSOLD: I was wondering about the ants. That’s good news!

Service Story #50: Doing It Right

Service Story #50: Doing It Right

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SERVICE STORY (Reviewed on Thumbtack) –

Produced for Kristin Army of NE Portland, Oregon on Jan 29th 2019 –

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

Often when the flurry of rat killing subsides and all the dragons and bad bugs have been slain, life once returns to normal. Without any villains to trigger The Conflict, our thoughts naturally drift to the important things of life: Who’s turn is it to take out the garbage? What show do we watch next now that we binge watched GLOW? Does the Paid sandwich I bought and ate while I was working count as a tax deductible? Is it illegal to drive and eat at the same time? And other matters of importance… 

Once The Action dies, it’s perfectly normal to forget about cleaning the rat nests and or excluding the entry holes so life can return to normal for a lot longer. People do it all the time. 

Even people who are in process of selling their homes forget to shore up their territorial lines. That’s normal too. Most people usually wait for a home inspector to poke around their crawl or attic spaces for half a hot minute (and not a minute more), and then emerge from his or her brief encounter with the dark corners of your home itching to launch the word “infestation” from his lips like an overpriced government missile. 

But not the Almys. They decided to do it right without any professional advice-giver there to prompt them into action. 

Here’s the message we read and replied to on Thumbtack:  

KRISTEN: We had roof rats in two areas of our attic space a few years ago, and while they are no longer present, we are FINALLY wanting to remove the gross stuff we are assuming they left behind prior to putting our house on the market this spring.

The company who’d done their rat killing for them quoted them a lot of money to remove all the old insulation, and then clean, disinfect, and replace it with new insulation. 

When the job was done, Kristen said, “I would have bought a hazmat suit and clean it myself for that price…” 

And I’m no saint. I was rubbing my hands together and eyeing the couple like a money tree when I pitched my quote. Turns out, I’m not much of a hustler. It was still $200 less than the other owner/operator from Thumbtackwho bid the job. 

That was the most exciting part of this story. The rest of this service story is just me, doing my best to follow the Almy’s lead and Do It Right

I arrived as arranged on the 29that 10am. After a brief greeting, I staged all my gear on the porch. 

An hour later, I was covered from head to toe in the super old, funky blown insulation someone had stapled behind three walls full of cardboard. 

It wasn’t rocket science, but discovered that the removal process had a trick to it. Don’t rip away the cardboard when you’re under it.

The cardboard was only torn in two places, which made me curious about the nesting situation reported by the other company. Unfortunately, unlike regular insulation, I couldn’t inspect the space behind the cardboard without ripping it down. Here’s a few shots of the old insulation.

Once all the old was bagged and staged on the porch, I did the first wave of cleaning and disinfection. Then I drove to Home Depot for more insulation while I contemplated the legality of deducting a lunch I ate while go-getting a load of clearly, legally deductible supplies. 

Hum? I thought while I waited on I-5 with the rest of the herd. What am I going to do if Plaid Pantry stops selling Portland Subs

In the next scene, I cut and strung the unfaced (cheaper) insulation along the sides of the walls to match the preexisting style: 

I had extra insulation in one of the 2 smaller sized rolls I used, and that prompted me to insulate the open floor spaces as well. 

It’s always so much fun cutting open those big bags of faced (not as cheap) insulation. The pink insulation pops over the plastic like a muffin top. 

When I finished stapling the faced insulation to the roof, I stood back and made sure I hadn’t missed any sections: 

And that’s that. I vacuumed up all the old crap and disinfected the space again, all before midnight. 

After a short, sweet parting conversation with the Almys, I was driving away in my wife’s Full Cellar Farmcargo delivery van fully loaded with old insulation and cardboard and broken boards. The soundtrack of the night had been mostly classic indie: Wilco, Radiohead, Luna, and Portland favorites like the Dandys and Decemberists.   

“When we arrive Sons and Daughters,” the van speakers danced with the Decemberists. “We’ll make our homes on the water. We’ll build our walls with aluminum and fill our mouths with cinnamon…


Here all the bombs fade away…” 

It wasn’t the first time I had the thought, but I’d been too busy doing my best like a good Boy Scout—trying to Do It Right


Where again did that other company say the rats were nesting? Because I don’t remember uncovering any runways behind the cardboard, or bagging any droppings, shelled nuts, or urine soaked insulation…

Maybe I missed it in the day’s flurry of action?I wondered as I showered, grabbed a bag of chips, plopped down in front of the TV, and finally let my body clock out for the day. Or maybe “clean outs” like this service have become so profitable to Generic Pest Control they hand their clean out proposals to every customer with rats?

No matter. The attic sure looks better now. Thanks Pioneer Pest Management! 

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 #13: A Bug Hunter is Born

Service Story #13: A Bug Hunter is Born

Produced on August 23, 2019

by Cynthia L.

Long before the time of humans, the cities of earth were built and ruled by tiny creatures now commonly known as “bugs.”    

Like the bugs of today, the old bugs thrived wherever they found heat, water, earth, and decay. But there was a difference. The old bugs were at the top of the food chain. They had no fear of extermination, because they were a lot bigger than their amoebic neighbors.  

Then something very bad happened. The bugs became hooked on sports like “bugsaball,” which fooled the bugs into believing that their mass city swarms were alive; like the city itself had an identity.  

As it goes, “They faked it, until they made it…” and after millions of years the fiction of these living cities finally sprang to life like Pinocchio. 

And multi-cellular organisms were born. 

The old bugs were OK with controllable city creatures like lizards, fish, and chickens, but they were horrified their cities began to form humans. 

Humans labeled as “pests,” because they were too big and too smart to be controlled. In an act of desperation, the old bugs developed a warrior class dedicated to the hunting and killing of humans. 

We now call those blood-sucking warriors “bedbugs.” 

For thousands of years (before humans gained the power of memory) these blood-sucking warriors exterminated humans by the millions. Our bodies still remember the carnage the bedbugs inflicted on us. That fear is now embodied in the character of the vampire.  

In spite of their size, the bedbugs of old were able to hunt and kill humans for one reason. They had a special weapon. They used a magic spell, which translates roughly as “EEOeueTUtu8” when spoken aloud. When the spell was cast, the bedbug warriors were made “invisible” to humans. There is no better word to describe it really. The spell cloaked the bedbugs from the perception of humans. 

Of course, we now this spell simply as “sleeping,” but that was a long time ago and “sleeping” was more mysterious then.  

Bedbugs would have ruled the earth forever if it weren’t for a brave woman warrior (with a strange love for the bugs) who discovered how to track and hunt the bugs that were made to hunt her. 

Her name was unpronounceable in English. The sound translates roughly as “4.9.” And she was a badass. 

She tracked the old human hunters by: 

(1) checking her bedding for spotting, little black dots in a cluster

(2) looking for moltings, or the skins the bugs shed five times (one after every full meal) as they moved in life from egg to adulthood. 

(3) using her stupid brother’s fire stick to check her bedding. 

And most importantly, Badass 4.9 learned to harness her imagination to see beyond the spell. She could feel them when they were close, and she learned to overturn the rocks and dig behind the roots near her bed. 

Once the humans realized that the bedbugs didn’t vanish into some other dimension and become invisible when they hid, crawling out of sight and mind during the active daytime hours, the bugs didn’t have a chance. 

The humans began to hunt and destroy the bugs that hunted them, and the byproduct of the hunt was the strange, reflective experience we know call “consciousness.” 

And that’s how it happened. If it weren’t for the first exterminator, Badass 4.9, the bugs would still be sucking us dry. 

My name is Jake. I’m a bedbug destroyer, and I’m telling this story today for a specific reason. A woman called me to inspect her home for the Old Human Hunters the other day. As I inspected, I discovered that she was an artist and a real deal “unicorn” local. She knew a lot about the city and had interesting stories to share, but the conversation I enjoyed the most was our nice, long chat about bedbugs. 


She really knew her stuff. She had a bed with almost no cracks, and the cracks that her bed did have were either taped or sealed. Her box spring and mattress had covers and she was using the same brand of climb ups I use in the field. And she’d done her homework. She knew our old enemy the bedbug well. Overall I felt like I was talking shop with a pro. 

I didn’t find any signs of bedbug activity that day, but I did find something very special. I found a new talent, a fellow human with the potential to be a great Bug Hunter and Destroyer someday. 

I could be wrong…but I don’t think I am. Someday, when humans finally emerge from the dark age of shame and fear based pest control, we will celebrate the efforts of hunters like Cynthia. 

After all, the only thing the blood suckers need to rise to power again is for good people to fall asleep…and pretend the threat isn’t real. There are tiny monsters that bite under our bed, and humans need to remain vigilant and fight them. The fate of the world depends on it.  

THE END


Service Story #27: The One Day Residential Record

Service Story #27: The One Day Residential Record

“You know I excluded 62 entry holes at a hundred year old church last week,” I said with a smile.

“That’s not residential,” Joe said without skipping a beat.

“Well, uh, yeah…”

“We still hold the one day residential record.”

Produced on September 5, 13 2019 in Gladstone, OR    

by Joe and Grace and their family

I am Wilderness Security Guide, the customer service character in charge of rodent services for Storysold: Pest Control. And this is the story about a record and making it right.

After I inspected Joe and Grace’s crawlspace and the crawlspace of his adjacent rental property, I found a number of active entry holes and a lot of possible ones:

When my initial inspection concluded, Joe and I talked in his backyard.

JOE: So what do you think we should do?

STORYSOLD: I don’t know…on one hand, I like to think we could work together. You’ve already been trapping the rats…the hard part will be to keep your home and rental from being an open highway to any wild creature looking for a warm place to hole up.

JOE: Do you do that kind of work?

STORYSOLD: Yes, but you have a lot of entry holes…I’m not sure if I can 100% “rat proof” it.

While we talked, Joe often stopped to talk with his kids who were playing in the yard. They seemed like a real wonderful family, and I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to help them. And I didn’t mean, simply placing some stations or traps to freshen up every month. I wanted to make a real effort to hang the CLOSED TO RATS sign on their home. Gladstone was expanding like the rest of the Metro, and that meant new construction, and new construction meant the demolition of the old, and that meant the ratonauts of the neighborhood would be out, looking for new territory.

Our conversation ended with our promise to email Joe an action plan and quote for an epic day of exclusion, spanning both properties. A few days after I sent it, Joe agreed to deal us in.

Chapter 2 – The Epic Exclusion Day  

After I arrived and set up shop in the driveway, I took a hard look at the entry holes I was there to seal up, wall off, and block to keep rodents from entering the home.

Deep in the crawlspace—mask, respirator, and jumpsuit on—I looked through the swath of space the rats were running through between the main crawlspace, add on crawlspace, and the mudroom. It felt like standing on the three corners of Nevada, Oregon, and California, I could reach out and put a finger in all three rooms. 

“Well team,” I laughed. “Today may be that day when my mouth wrote a check we can’t cash. I don’t know how I’m going to block all that space…They haven’t invented force fields yet.” 

After a long hard look at The Three Corners belly down in the dirt, I decided to start on the other side of the crawlspace. It wasn’t sure what it was, maybe at one time it was crawlspace for two people to use at once? I didn’t know, but I engaged my creative engine and found a way to wall it off.

I used a mixture of screen and plywood because the exterior foundation was too rough to simply cover it with plywood. I added gravel, mostly for looks. The hardware cloth and foam should easily do the job. 

Next, I tackled The Three Corners. “Proper planning is overrated,” my teammate Pest Predator observed as I studied the wall from the mudroom. “Turn off your inner computer and use the force Luke.” 

I know from experience “use the force” or “follow your heart” or “go with your gut” isn’t always the best advice. But it was this time! Once I cut a couple of long pieces of plywood to fit the swath of space, a plan began to fall together like a natural force of action.

Before foam, and after foam…

I’m pretty sure foam technology was invented by NASA or stole from an alien civilization only NASA knows about (same, same).    

I left the add-on corner open in case a rat or two was still hanging out, watching my show. I didn’t want to wall them in like something out of a Poe poem. 

Here’s a good shot of my plywood wall that now runs along back > 

The Great Foam adventure continued in the mudroom. I have to thank Joe for his comment about the color. “Oops. Sorry.” The orange is a little too SE Portland. From that moment on, I’ve only used the professional grade Black Purr foam they sell at the pest store.

After I finished The Three Corners, I enjoyed a break from the sweat and dirt in the crawlspace and I built two new, custom crawlspace doors:

And that’s why they call it a “skill saw.” I was pleased how well these doors came together. It was dumb luck that I decided to buy three latches instead of two. The top one there couldn’t be made to swing outward and be fitted tightly too.

Next up were the many broken vents in your home and the rental. I fixed all the ones I documented in the first service story, plus some. Here’s shots of a few of them:  

Rat Catcher vs. Cable Guy: “I win.” 

Sealing the gap around vent and duct >  

The two most interesting surprises that day were: (a) this old “door” wasn’t secure, so I secured it with nails and a screw from outside, and foamed it inside > 

(b) when I first inspected this, all I saw was a crack. It wasn’t until I pushed on the concrete block—and it moved—did I realize there was a highway running from the backyard, under the siding, and over that space between the joists. My solution was a little wonky, but it will keep the rodents out > 

By the time I went to work on the mudroom door, Joe was home from work. I hope my conversation wasn’t too jangled. Our human hadn’t eaten much, and he was starting to lose brain function. The good news was, thanks to Joe’s recommendation to reuse the old door sweep over the metal flashing the mudroom was now 93.2% more secure! 

The last thing I did was count all the entry holes I’d excluded that day. Without a doubt, it was my one-day record: 22 entry holes (give or take a few)!

The last thing I told Joe that day was, “Give me a call if any of my exclusions fail. I’ll be happy to return and make it right.”

I drove away believing all the rat holes were now CLOSED for business. I imagined Joe would set his traps in the crawlspaces and maybe catch one, or two, but I didn’t think I’d be back.

So goes the best laid plans of rats and rat catchers.

Chapter 3 – The Mystery Crawlspace 

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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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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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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- 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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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 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.

---

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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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 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.

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- Jake is amazing

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- Stacie Benefield