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Bug Busters aims to keep homes free of creepy crawlies

November 9th, 2011

Bug Busters aims to keep homes free of creepy crawlies

David Laprad

Each time someone loads the main page of the Bug Busters Web site, a randomly selected pest pops up along with an urgent warning to be on the guard against it. “This fall, look out for … rats!” Or, “This fall, look out for … roaches!” Or, “This fall, look out for … boxelder bugs!” Boxelder bugs?

The average homeowner might not know what a boxelder is, but that doesn’t matter to the bugs. They’ll happily slip beneath the siding of any house by the tens of thousands in the hopes of finding a warm place to winter. Most people never know they’re there. Bug Busters manager Billy Jackson knows they’re there, and makes it his job to inform others. “A boxelder is a black and red bug that lives in boxelder trees. They’ll try to winter in your attic or under the siding of your house. They don’t do any damage, but they’re a tremendous nuisance,” Jackson says.

Even homeowners that aren’t experiencing a boxelder bug invasion have something living in the cracks and crevices of their abode. “Every home has bugs. But only 20 percent of homeowners have pest control. People who move down here from up north aren’t used to needing pest control because they’ve never had any issues, even with termites. When they see their first bug, though, they go into panic mode,” he says. Jackson says many people try to handle infestations on their own because they believe doing so will be cheaper than hiring an exterminator. But many would-be critter killers soon realize the error of their thinking and end up calling Bug Busters or another similar company, Jackson says. “When they realize how expensive buying their own product is, and that it would have been cheaper in the long run to call us, they come around.” This is especially true with regard to another rascal that likes wrestle its way indoors as winter approaches: rodents.

“They’re looking for food, water and a warm place to spend the winter, so if they find an entry point, they’ll slip through it. If you can see daylight under your door swipe from a few feet back, then rodents have an entry point,” Jackson says. Jackson gets especially annoyed when he thinks about the big holes some service personnel drill for air conditioning units, cable lines and phone lines. “They always drill a bigger hole than they’ll need, and then leave the homeowner to deal with the creatures going through it,” he says.

As with bugs, many homeowners attempt to deal with rats and mice on their own terms. Jackson says this can be a costly proposition. “A new law went into effect this year that requires (rodent bait) to be in a protective case so kids and pets can’t get into it. And you have to buy it in bulk, which is expensive,” Jackson says. Jackson is in the business of killing creepy-crawlies, not encouraging other people to handle their pests problems on their own, so his criticism of the do-it-yourself industry is hardly a surprise. But that doesn’t mean he and his crew chew their way through a customer’s wallet in exchange for their services. Rather, they do as little as possible to get the job done.

“Our integrated pest management begins with an inspection. We look at what we can do without going inside or doing any chemical treatments. Then we’ll suggest some things, such as plugging up the entry points. If we can keep the creatures outside, then we won’t need to go inside,” he says. When Bug Busters does have to go inside a residence, pesticides are a last resort. Instead, the company’s technicians deploy traps, sticky boards and other non-chemical solutions first. Jackson recommends quarterly visits instead of monthly visits, as “it’s the most effective and the least expensive” treatment plan. Bug Busters is a family-owned business with locations in Atlanta, Chattanooga and Gastonia, N.C. Former Orkin employee Neil Parker started the company in 1984 in Woodstock, Ga., when he decided to strike out on his own. Initially, the company only pre-treated new construction for termites, but over the years, has evolved to offer a comprehensive suite of pest control services.

Jackson says the company’s quality customer service representatives, experienced pest control technicians, and yellow shirts and vehicles make them stand out among their competitors in Chattanooga. It also helps that everyone enjoys his or her work. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and I love it. We get excited when we help someone solve his problem. We become his best buddy, and he recommends us to his family members and friends. It feels good.”

Read more about Bug Busters, and count the number of random pests that pop up, at www.BugBustersUSA.com.

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