4/26/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
As we were cutting down a the tree in the back in the yard last week, we encountered Carpenter ants. For the uninitiated, carpenter ants seem to thrive on moisture and wood. Hence, Oregon, and more precisely, the Mint’s backyard, is paradise for this winged menace.
Our first reaction was that of indifference. It was just another one of a zillion bugs which appear as the temperature begins to warm up here.
For those of you live have never had the pleasure of living in Oregon, we should clarify that living here is like living in two entirely different places depending upon the season. Under the cover of rain, humans and animals alike go hibernation, taking with them lattes, iphones, ipads, kindles, androids, and the occasional paperback to while away the rainy months.
When the sun comes out, however, Scotty beams the entire Northwest to another planet. One full of rich colors and light. So many people and animals appear as if from nowhere that you hardly recognize supposedly familiar surroundings and landscapes. It may be a hallucination owed to a temporary overload of vitamin D, but it sure feels real.
For a primer on spring in Oregon, take a quick gander at Kurosawa’s dream sequence:
As we pondered life as we know it during the intoxicating dream that is a warm, sunny, early spring day here, a faint memory came to us, like Obi Wan Kenobi’s hologram appearing to call on Luke Skywalker.
Ours was one of the home inspector mentioning something about prior carpenter ant activity in the house.
As we came to, we performed a quick internet search which confirmed our fears, the winged beasts we had encountered were indeed carpenter ants, and they had their sights on the Mint’s humble abode as a summer home.
From the looks of things, they were inviting the entire clan to join them.
It was clear that swift and decisive action must be taken to eradicate these guests. Beside termites, there is no greater enemy of a wooden house than the carpenter ant.
We considered doing it ourselves. However, after narrowly winning a pitched battle with mice over the winter, we decided that DIY pest control is more trouble than it’s worth. The only question was, on whom shall I call?
As a sales prospect, we were ripe. We wanted the whole nine yards, nuke the carpenter ants, take out the sugar ants as collateral damage, seal off the entrances and exits and take no prisoners.
And while we are at it, let’s teach the mice a lesson. We had illusions of our house being a sterile environment, free from the forced cohabitation practiced by insects.
After contacting a number of local pest control agencies, it became clear that we were in for more than we bargained for. The exterminator was to be our companion for life, making a courtesy visit every three months to spray the perimeter and send a bill.
It seemed a high price to pay, yet worth the piece of mind. We were gathering bids and checking reviews. We had three companies coming out to bid and two more in the wings when we came across Pete’s Pest Control.
As you can see here, the guy has a ton of rave reviews and not one negative comment. This is extremely rare in the exterminator business, for obvious reasons. While a number of comments got our attention, we knew that Pete would be the one to get us out of this jamb when we saw this five word phrase in one of them:
“Pete is the ant whisperer.”
We picked up the phone immediately.
Pete: “Pete’s Pest Control, this is Pete…”
The Mint: “Hi, we have some carpenter ants which I need taken out. While we are at it, I need an ongoing service to take care of some sugar ants, mice, etc…”
Pete: “You don’t need a contract, you need to get rid of the carpenter ants. We can do that.”
The Mint: “Yeah, but we were thinking of having a year round protection…”
Pete: “We will get rid of the carpenters ants and come back until they are gone if it is necessary, and it will not be. We have a one year warranty.”
The Mint: “But what about the ongoing service contract…”
Pete: “If you really do not want to see another bug around your house or garden, ever, we can talk about that, for now, we just need to annihilate the carpenter ants.”
The Mint: “OK, when can you be here?”
We set the appointment and hung up, thoroughly impressed. The rest of the companies had tied a service contract to the initial service or strongly recommended one.
Our first impression of Pete was that he is extremely efficient and that he knows what he is doing. Impressed by the phone conversation, we promptly cancelled the appointments for estimates. Comfortable that we had the #1 pest mercenary on the case.
When Pete arrived, he went straight to work and gave us the assignment to clear access to the interior where he would be working and inspecting. We cleared the access points as he roamed and sprayed the perimeter.
“Aha!” we heard outside. We went out and Pete had identified the ant’s access point into the house. Like a General who had arrived at the field of battle a day before the opposing army, Pete sprayed the access points on the house as well as the base of the tree and phone line.
He then accurately predicted that it would rain in five minutes, and that the terminex that he had sprayed would be dry before it came.
He was correct on both counts, and we had to smile as he reported “this is a good scenario.”
Once the carpenter ant threat had been neutralized, he went after the sugar ants. Then things got really impressive.
We had opened some small access points upstairs into the attic. They were small and Pete is tall, so we said, “are you sure you can get in there?”
Pete fired back: “I can detect 17% humidity by smell”
He then reported that we did not have the conditions upstairs to sustain insect life and that it was not a concern.
We then showed him the crawlspace, the scene of the battle with the mice. He could smell the activity and recommended that we stock up on the decon before they took it off the shelf. It seems that soon only licensed pest control professionals will be able to purchase it. A great tip.
He then proceeded to the garage to show us the only place, under a side door, where the mice could enter.
“You seal that, you solve your mice problem once and for all.”
The entire experience restored any faith that we may have lost in humanity. Pete is the most efficient and competent professional that we have met in the Northwest, in any profession.
Even if you do not have a pest problem we recommend that you schedule a service with Pete anyway. Being the competent professional that he is, he will try to talk you out of it. However, if you want a lesson in world class customer service, insist that he come and watch him work. You will be amazed.
As for us, we said goodbye to Pete by letting him know that we would call if we saw anything.
“You won’t,” said Pete, decisively “we got ’em.”
We were sad to see him go.
Thanks Pete! The Mint tips its hat and raises a glass to you. May we all strive to achieve the excellence which you have shown us today.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for April 26, 2012
FED Target Rate: 0.15% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25% AWAY WE GO!