Service Story #40: The Exclusion Bomb

Service Story #40: The Exclusion Bomb

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SERVICE STORY (REVIEWED ON THUMBTACK)

“Jake went above and beyond from when I first met him at the first evaluation. We had a rodent problem that I had got several other company’s to review and were left with the feeling that they couldn’t fully evaluate the problem because the low crawl space in our 1940s home. Then Jake showed up friendly and knowledgeable as ever and had no problem getting under our house and really giving us a full review(with photos) to where the rats were getting in and how to stop them. He was always professional and on time, and more than that really seemed like he liked his job and helping people that didn’t know how to handle pest invasions. He did a full enclosing and it’s has been 2 months and I haven’t seen a rodent. He is responsive and always asked for follow up…. and on top of that a great writer…. just check out his website? I fully recommend if you ever get any unexpected creatures to have him save the day. He will solve the problem and is reasonable priced. Thanks Jake!”

Produced for Stephanie and the Brockways on Dec 11, 12, and Jan 9 in Tualatin, OR

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

It was my third service mud diving into the crawlspace of a home set on a gravel, dead end road that looked more country than suburban. A high canopy of evergreens gave the road a cosy, watchful feel, which reminded me of one of my favorite wilderness homes in The Northern Cascades: dark, wet, green, and rich in active rot and earth. On the other side of the road, a creek ran parallel giving more life to the wild neighborhood, critters that that no doubt belled up to it everyday like Norm from Cheers.

As our readers know, I’m a female. Yet my human host Jake is a male. And I often try to empathize and understand his maleness, sort of like Data or Spock on Star Trek–struggling to understand humankind. Or maybe a better analogy is being like a female employee working in a corporate governing body who operates as a male character–like Orkin Man, Michelin Man, or Maytag Man–everyday.

I don’t often waste our customers’ time with musings like these, but there wasn’t any other headline flashing above this service story and it came to me naturally in a perfect all male moment: (a) I was alone with no one at home or on the road outside, which was very manly in the same way working on cars alone in the garage is, or watching sports on TV in silence in a one person recliner is. (b) I was cold, hungry, muddy, and my hands were bleeding from wangling hardware cloth in tight spaces, which was also very manly because its not “real work” unless I feel the sacrifice like a bloody boxer, calloused ditch digger, or Jesus on the cross. And the best part, I didn’t have anyone around to argue with me. It was just us (me, my host, and our small team of characters) and our thoughts. There was no know-it-all co-worker or nagging boss to tell me that my thoughts were dumb, or didn’t make sense. I could think of anything I wanted to think about, and then wrap it up, mummify it, and save my wisdom for all time like buried treasure.

My all male moment began with a flash question. I was inspecting my work from my initial exclusion service with the same sort of pride that comes from thinking great thoughts with no one around to burst my bubble.

This is my biggest exclusion space to date! It’s a crawlspace door opening that someone built a front porch over…for the raccoons and all God’s wilderness to enter.
A rat had burrowed under the jankie busted old wooden screen that was there >
The burrow. Must have been there before the screen was busted…

The question just popped in. “What was more manly?” I thought as I low crawled to my next entry hole. “Grinding steel with my shirt on, or nuking them until they glowed?”

Translated from Male-ese back to Wilderness Guide the 2 choices (because with human males its always wrong or right, or 2 choices): (a) making the effort to draw a clear territorial line (aka The Magic Line) and exclude the raccoons, possums, rats, and mice from their home, OR (b) killing every rat, raccoon, squirrel, and wild creature in the neighborhood like Captain Bug Killer with his lifetime of monthly “maintenance” contracts.

Why was this question important to our story here?

Well it’s sort of retrospective. There was a moment at the end of my first service when I had to recommend a course of action to Stephanie…

I was tired and rambled a little, but stood on her front porch and said something like, “You have 4 broken vents, an open wildlife-sized door under your porch, at least one active tunnel, large gaps and entry holes around all 4 closable crawl doors, a hill full of old/inactive burrows in the side crawl under the living room, at least 3 easy entry holes leading into house (like the one under sink where you caught the rats), a fat gap under back patio porch leading into crawl, a handful of possible entry holes, and signs of activity in the floorboards in the back crawl.”

For anyone reading who’s not a Brockway, their territory has two add-on crawlspaces for a total of three. Based on my tracking of signs, it seemed that the main crawl space was raccoon territory, the side crawl under the living room was mostly abandoned, and the back crawl space was the hangout of what I guessed was a single, savvy old loner/male rat. But I wasn’t sure about the gender of the rat. That tracking of the signs could easily be a classic projection on my part.

“So what do you recommend?” Stephanie asked very matter of factly.

Any classic, male pest control operator (and no joke, they’re all male) in my position wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the regular killing contract, place an arsenal of bait stations around the property, and then drive home in time for The Game and beers without thinking twice about it.

“If I were you,” I said without a thought to how. “I would spend my hard earned money on making an effort to exclude your home…instead of what I call ‘going to war with The Wilderness,’ trying to kill every creature in the neighborhood who creeps into your open crawlspace.”

After all, that’s what Snow White would do.

[ The Pied Piper also used music to control the wildlife ]

I was impressed with our producers. They didn’t immediately take my word for it. You know, just nod and take my professional recommendation like I was a benevolent white haired doctor or something. They asked for an action plan and proposal, and I wrote them one. Then they made their decision, and hired me to exclude the rats from their home.

Two services later, I was standing in their front yard covered head to toe in mud, still trying to catch my breath from 5 hours of work. No doubt if any neighbors saw me, they would have turned to their son, daughter, or anthropomorphized pet and say, “Oh my…” they’d say like they were riding the zoo train. “Now that’s a real man.”

I wasn’t grinding steel with my shirt on. That scene happened in the first exclusion scene, when I dragged my grinder down into the darkness with a sheet of expanded steel and cut it to size in a shower of sparks. But I was muddy, inspecting my work in the hands-on-hips warrior stance; and I knew from watching action movies that passed, nearly everyday, as manly.

Not that it mattered what the neighbors thought they saw. Characters aren’t made of flesh, blood, and bone anyway. You can’t really see, or put concrete words, to creatures made of The Action.

And believe you me, we’re chalk full of words that end with “ing.” Nouns are only good for fooling readers into believing this strange code–painted in black and white–is somehow saying something worthwhile.

Speaking of which, I feel like I just crossed a line there. As anyone who’s ever sat next to that guy on the plane knows, righteous monologuing is a classic form of pestilence. But a very manly one at that.

As the neighborhood began to stir with kids returning from school and parents coming home from work, I set my traps, placed my bait, and set a handful of free pet food in all three of the crawlspaces. The time for testing the newly excluded territorial line of Stephanie’s Homefront had come. A few moments after I closed the crawl doors, threw my tools and materials in the back of my van, turned the key, cranked with wheel, and headed down the road with “Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond blasting through my speakers, the answer sounded loud like a trumpet call.

The answer wasn’t (a) grinding steel with my shirt on, building a wall to keep the critters at bay, or (b) nuking The Wilderness with poisons and pesticides until it glowed. It was (c) something new.

And I was doing something new. I wasn’t naive enough to believe a wall would be enough to teach the wild creatures to respect our producers’s home. For this to work, I’d have to change the core characters of the rats, mice, and raccoons who had, for years, believed this home was open for business. Because the heart of pest control is the power struggle/central conflict, the good old fashioned trying to tell any earth creature, “No, you can’t have that thing you think you really need anymore.”

And the only way to make that kind of radical change in a wild creature’s character is a making a radical change in their environment. Can you imagine a future war, not so long from now, where our heroes hit the ground running, gunfire all around, with hammers in their hand? And a squadron of bombers flying above them, all dropping expanded steel, hardware cloth, foam, concrete, and DYI Youtube videos for a city now controlled by villains who’ve long lost control of their own stories to easy money, free food, and a predator free home they didn’t build?

With lightning speed and efficiency, our heroes change everything about the villains environment overnight. And force them to change:

Bust through the old rat burrows to make way to the gap under the back porch.
Cover the gap with hardware cloth, so they can’t sneak in and out under the porch.
Patch the holes in the crawl door with concrete.
On the other side too!
Rats can rip through foam, but they only have so much energy to spend looking for new territories. As it goes with us, no action happens without a cost benefit analysis.
As promised, I reenforced the foam I used to exclude the holes under the sink on the first service. It’s hard to see, but one of the wires had been chewed.
Exclusion complements of wire, foam, and rock. That one was hard to reach…
I could see the backyard through that peep hole.
That’s a “vent” opening between the front and back crawlspaces. The only reason why I excluded it (and the next one) is a strong desire to make your territory as uninhabitable as possible for wild creatures. This limits their range of motion greatly.
Here’s what the only active tunnel I found looked like when I unearthed it. The concrete was clearly not as deep in that spot, so I added more.
This door is, by far, the worse of them. I filled the entry hole on upper left side with concrete as well as reenforced the old foam along the sides.
And even more concrete…

Random thought: I think The Math on that one active tunnel to the right of the door shown above is: shallow foundation + nearby tree roots + old abandoned house next door + water = rat tunnel. This spot is high on my list for future weakness in your Homefront. I’m curious to see how my plan works when I return for the 4th service to check in.

I don’t think I told you about this one. This rot/entry hole(s) are in the back crawl and they seem to give access to spaces inside, or at least floorboards.
Here’s the view looking up…
Another creative exclusion fix brought to you by Wilderness Guide
Here’s the other side of the back crawl where I had some activity since my second service. One bait pack was eaten, two traps tripped, but no dead rat. Was it Professor Plum in the study, or Miss. Scarlet? It daintily ate enough bait to die.
I used every material in my truck. I used light metal flashing here because I had wood to fix it to. I buried it down to the hard soil.
Fun with my rotary hammer drill…

So folks, what do you think? Will my radical change in the environment be enough to make a radical change in The Action of the wild creatures in the neighborhood? Does “dropping The Exclusion Bomb” feel like real pest control if all that time and money was spent to kill one stubborn rat?

Because that’s what happened. A month after my last exclusion service, I returned and finally caught the sneaky guy I knew was nesting in the back corner.

Was it manly as grinding steel with my shirt on, or nuking them until they glow? The world may never know.

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.

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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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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