Mice were the least of his problems?

One fall day Bill’s social worker contacted us to schedule an appointment for treatment of a mouse infestation at his home.  I knew I was in for an interesting experience by the amount of bizarre items I noticed in Bills front yard as I walked towards the door. Bill looked like an average guy that you would meet at work or at the corner store.  He was very pleasant, and greeted me with a confident hand shake.  He thanked me, more then once, for coming by to help him out, and invited me in.  As soon as he opened the door, I was struck by the most pungent stench of mouse feces and urine.  I panicked, as I felt the urge to vomit.  Bill took a step to my side and reached for something at the door.  My eyes followed as I watched him lock three deadbolts; click, click, click.  As I glanced at my surroundings, my eyes fixated on a small hatchet and an axe resting against the corner in the foyer.  Trying to camouflage the uneasy feeling that quickly came over me, I glanced back at Bill with my eyebrows raised, as if to ask, “What is that about?”  He smiled and said, ” You know, it’s the neighbourhood.”  This did not sit well with me as he lived in one of the safer areas of Toronto.   Bill did not elaborate as to why he felt he needed the hardware on his door, but instead began to tell me about his mouse problem.  As I looked down on the floor I noticed something even more disturbing. The floor was completely covered with something crunchy.  Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  ”OMG… Mouse Droppings!!”  Black, brown and green, the entire floor surface was covered in it, and I was standing in the middle of it.  There was no carpet or hardwood floor to be seen, just mouse droppings covering every inch.   As I glanced around I noticed boxes, magazines and papers piled to just below the ceiling.    Beyond that was what I assumed to be the kitchen, although no appliances were visible. I noticed doors off  hinges, and some light fixtures that had bulbs and some that only had flies in them. GARBAGE WAS EVERYWHERE!!. The only way to get to other rooms of the house was through a maze of garbage. “I was in the home of a hoarder!”  Bill spoke as I stood in amazement, forgetting, for a brief moment, about the rancid odour that struck me when I first entered his home.  I was standing there speechless, just stuck in my boots.    Bill did not seem fazed by my reaction.  I was sure that he was accustom to it since he continued talking.

The surprises kept coming.  From the corner of my eye, I noticed a standard black and grey poodle limping out from the maze of papers in the living room.  As it came closer, I realized that it was wearing an adult diaper.  Shocked by my observation, I think I uttered “ What the @#%*?” out loud, all the while trying to wrap my head around the dog and diaper as well as all of my overstimulated senses.   It seemed as if I was bombarded with strange happenings simultaneously.  My heart racing, I was not sure which way to turn.   Everywhere I looked something strange was going on.  As I tried to calm myself, I heard a high shrill voice to my left, coming from the direction of the basement.  ”Hey, how ya doing?”   I looked down the basement stairway and saw… a small child?  No, a little person, leaning against the hand railing.  ”Could this scenario get any stranger?”  I thought.  My head was spinning.  I was short of breath and I started to have an anxiety attack.  I felt like I was watching an episode of the “Twilight Zone” staring…. ME.   That was about all I could take.  I immediately told Bill I would need to get a mask from my truck in order to continue with my inspection.  He calmly reached around me, undid the three deadbolts, click,click,click.  ”Take your time Brad, I am in no hurry,”  He said. But I was, I thought, and exited his home in record speed.

The rain was coming down hard,  but my cab door was up, keeping most of it off my head.  I pretended to get something from my truck, as I called the office.  ”Hey, It’s me. If you don’t hear from me within the next thirty minutes send the police to the mouse call address.”  Although all my instincts told me to get as far away from this madness as I possibly could, after explaining the situation to my partner, I found the courage to go back inside or at least not drive away without saying goodbye.

Bill opened the door, and unsurprisingly, my anxiety returned.  I stood on his front porch and started to explain why I could not bait his house at this time.  ”Where is your mask?” He asked.  ”What mask?”  I said, totally forgetting the excuse I used to get back to my truck.  Ignoring his question, I just kept on talking, all the while, rain trickling down the brim of my hat.  ”Bill, we have a problem regarding the clutter and the dog.  Where would you like me to put the bait?”  I asked.  He replied, “ just throw it anywhere”.  ”Bill, I can’t do that.  That wouldn’t be safe.”  As delicately as I could, I proceeded to explain that he would have to clean up so I can reach certain areas.   “Brad,  I’ve lost my wife, two children and recently my job, the house is certain to be next.  I did not clean up for them…”  I nodded like I understood.  “ Are you sure you won’t come in ….out of the rain? “No, I’m fine thanks.”  I apologized for taking up his time, as I knew from the I moment he opened the front door that I would not be able to help him with his mouse problem.  Bill had many other issues to deal with before any pest control company would be able to help with his mice.  Sadly, long after his dog passes and his roommate moves on, Bill will always have mice.

The Social worker spoke Bill shortly after our meeting and called to thank me for attempting to assist him with his infestation.  I apologized for not following through with the treatment and explained my concerns.  She did not seem surprised and told me she was just happy with his progress.  Apparently, aside from me and his roommate, Bill had not allowed visitors to his home in over 5 years.  The fact that he allowed me into his home was a major breakthrough.  I felt as though I may have help him after all.   Was it something I said? ….Maybe I should change careers?

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Tales from the Deltaman- Enter at your own risk!!

The following stories are based upon actual pest service calls and are only intended to bring awareness to the ever growing issues related to pest infestation.  They are not intended to be offensive nor injurious to any persons.  All names and addresses have been changed. Similarities to any clients of Delta Pest Control are coincidental.


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Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite…

As the holiday season comes to a close many of us have wonderful memories, either from a fabulous vacation spot we’ve recently returned from, or simply having spent time with loved ones that had travelled from afar. Unfortunately, due to the recent resurgence of Bedbugs, for some unsuspecting victims, these wonderful memories can quickly turn into the biggest nightmare.

Bedbugs are one of the oldest insects known to man. They once lived in the caves of our prehistoric ancestors. Since they feed exclusively on blood, they tend to nest in very close proximity to their host, humans. The use of DDT in the 40’s and 50’s eliminated Bedbugs in the western world. This is why most people living today have never experienced or know of anyone who has had a Bedbug infestation. Many of us associate Bedbugs with that famous comforting quote “DON’T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE”. The words a mother whispered in her child’s ear as she tucked them into bed and kissed them goodnight.

Many factors have contributed to the reappearance of Bedbugs in the last few years. The two most significant are the worldwide ban of DDT in the 1970’s, and the frequency of which people travel. Rich or poor, clean or dirty, Bedbugs do not discriminate. Since they do not live outdoors, they have to be brought into a home. They are great hitchhikers, and can easily squeeze themselves into your suitcase, the cracks of your shoes or any of your other belongings.

Preventative Measures:

There are a few precautions one can take to prevent having to deal with a Bedbug nightmare. The most important is to stay away from, what we call, ‘high risk’ activity. This may include: bringing home furniture that others have discarded, having family and friends sleep over often, and most commonly, traveling.

Some ‘high risk’ activity however, is sometimes unavoidable. A health care worker or Social worker that is required to frequent many homes, or spend the night in a risky environment such as a group-home, as well as those that travel often for business and/or pleasure, must take extra precautions.

The following are some general rules to abide by when faced with the above-mentioned circumstances. Most importantly, before travelling, read the reviews on the hotel you’ll be staying at. You are particularly looking for comments past guests have posted relating to Bedbugs. You may find that the most prestigious hotels have had a Bedbug encounter. Don’t be alarmed! The critical issue is how these situations were/are dealt with, as well as the precautions the hotel has established to prevent their spread. Educating their housekeeping staff as to what to look out for, as well as prompt and thorough action when an infestation is identified, are just a few examples.

When arriving at your destination…

Once you feel comfortable with your choice of hotel, it doesn’t hurt to do some checking yourself. When arriving at your destination, leave your luggage by the door. Pull the covers and sheets back by the head of the bed to check for Bedbug stains. Inspect the headboard, as well as the edges of the box spring. You are looking for Bedbug excrement (feces) that appears as charcoal grey or reddish black dots clustered together by the seams of the mattress and/or box spring. You can also look between the mattress and box spring for signs. When an infestation is new, you may not necessarily see an actual Bedbug. This is why it is important to look for this ‘primary’ sign, stains. Supposing you do not find any evidence of Bedbugs but are still feeling anxious, place your belongings (toiletry/cosmetic bags, laptops, suitcases etc.), in the bathtub overnight. This will protect your things, as Bedbugs cannot climb up a porcelain bathtub. If you discover anything suspicious, of course, report your findings to the hotel management immediately!

Better Safe than Sorry…

Whether or not you encountered Bedbugs in your travels it is best to do the following when getting home. Leave some garbage/plastic bags by your front door or in your garage. When arriving home, immediately separate and place all the clothing from your trip into the bags, and then directly into your washing machine. Items that will ruin if washed should be kept in sealed bags and taken to be dry-cleaned. Inspect and vacuum personal items that cannot be washed. Most importantly, suitcases should be vacuumed thoroughly and placed in large garbage bags for storage in your garage or on your balcony. NEVER BRING SUITCASES UP TO YOUR BEDROOM!

I hope the above-mentioned recommendations will be helpful in preventing future Bedbug Infestations. For my next blog, I will focus on Bedbug habitat and treatment.

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Mice, Mice and More Mice?

Fall is fast approaching and so is mouse season.  As temperatures drop and food becomes scarce, the House/Field Mouse will be looking for a warm place to nest for winter.  Homeowners should be on the look out for these uninvited guests.  Although there are preventative measures one can take to keep these critters out, sometimes no matter how diligent you are, they manage to find their way in.

Preventative measures:

Many preventative measures can be taken in order to eliminate entry points.  Outside the home, make sure debris such as tree/grass-clippings, firewood etc. is removed from the perimeter.  This will allow entry holes to be more visible and also reduce exterior nesting areas close to the home. Carefully inspect all hoses/pipes leading outside and/or inside the home.   The caulking around gas pipes, furnace pipes, AC hose lines, pipes under sinks etc. can come away from the wall over time.  Remember, Mice only need an entry way no larger than a dime.  These gaps, if found, should be filled with steel wool and spray foam.  IMPORTANT:  DO NOT FILL ANY HOLES IF ANY MICE ACTIVITY IS FOUND.  If you seal holes prematurely you may be trapping mice in your home.  Barbecues should also be thoroughly cleaned, particularly if not used over the winter months, as food debris will attract mice. Finally, Grass and Bird Seed should be stored in sealed containers, particularly if stored in sheds or garage.  Food inside home also needs to be stored properly.

Where and what to look for:

For the first signs of mice, look for droppings in your garage, furnace room, and of course, under your kitchen sink.  Mice droppings are usually about the size and shape of an uncooked grain of rice.  Mice are usually very skittish, so it is rare to see an actual mouse when an infestation first begins.

They usually nest in your wall voids (between your drywall and brick) and are terrific climbers.  They can climb from the basement up to the attic and back down and wherever they find a small hole they enter looking for food and water.

Once you have identified mice in your home, call Delta Pest Control immediately.  Don’t waist your money on store bought items.  They are either too messy, don’t work fast enough or don’t work at all.  Meanwhile your infestation is growing, making it more difficult to get rid of.

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