Over the last five posts as The People's Entomologist, I have made it a special point to blog on topics that I think you, the public, would take interest in like bed bugs, interior pest harborage, and reduced impact methods of controlling pests. Wasps, flies, bed bugs, boxelder bugs, ants, mice; seasonal invaders of all types. I work with them, I understand them, I can control them, and I can educate you about them. But, truth be told, I don't love them. Or at least, they were not my first entomological love. It's time that I share with you readers the unvarnished truth about the The Peoples Entomologist. Recently dubbed 'the Garrison Keelor of urban entomolgy', he speaks about himself in the third person, and he loves subterranean termites!
I know this probably comes as a shock to you because I have done such a convincing job of suppressing that side of myself in this blog. I did it because I thought that people had heard enough about termites in the media, in our advertising, and in conversations with easily entertained pest controllers like myself. I jumped on the bed bug bandwagon like so many other attention grabbers and hoped for all the optimal search engine results I could get. But the time has arrived to end my silence. The time is now to talk about subterranean termites and all of their hijinks here in Nebraska and Wyoming.
This revelation came to me on a day while I was doing inspections in Torrington, Wyoming, some of them for purchasers in real estate deals, some for concerned private parties. In the course of a day I inspected four houses, three of which had evidence of termite infestation. That's right Torrington, you're odds of avoiding termite infestation are not so good. On that same day I got a call from +Terron Soto who had found termite swarmers in a home in Glendo, Wyoming. Now, some of you who are not involved in pest control industry might not know how exciting this short sequence of events is for someone like me, but let me tell you that I was thoroughly stoked. Termite swarmers are the winged reproductive members of a termite colony, bred and groomed to enable that colony(usually a healthy, thriving, and expanding colony with resources to expend) to export their progeny to the far flung corners of their usual foraging territory to begin procreation. What exactly does that mean? Termite swarmers fly away from the colony and start new termite colonies. If and when this takes place, it usually happens in the Springtime. However, for the last 8-10 + years, it seems like hasn't happened at all. The reason why is a long and complicated list of theories that we won't get into here. The point is, subterranean termites are alive and well here in Nebraska and Wyoming, always have been, and will, apparently, become all the more so in the future. With those facts in mind, I thought that it might be a good time to mine the memory banks of the area's most seasoned termite experts to inform and entertain you readers with our adventures in termite control.
To start, let me take you back to 1993 when your's truly was about to begin middle school. I had one very simple desire, to arrive at the first day of school sporting a $90 pair of Nikes. The desire was simple enough, but it was the execution that was not as clear. $90 happened to be roughly three times the budget allotted me by my parents and it was probably twice what my Dad was spending on his work boots at the time. Not one to be easily swayed from my determination, I didn't see these as insurmountable problems, just problems. Fortunately, there was a solution. You see, obviously I wasn't born into money, but being born into a family operated pest control business, I was born into a job. Come to think of it, in post-2008 America, that is the same as being born into money, I just didn't know it at the time. But, I digress. At the time, my Dad was two years into sole ownership of the business and selling termite treatments in Scottsbluff, Gering, Torrington, Sidney, Alliance, and Chadron. He was selling them at an average of two a day it seemed, which was a good amount of work in itself just to sell them, but then they needed to be done as well. He had a small crew working with him to complete the work, which at the time amounted to some dirty routine labor like drilling holes in concrete, vacuuming concrete dust, digging trenches in soil, and hauling scrap lumber out of crawlspaces. At the age of 12 I was nearly foreman material for this type of work, so I joined in 2-3 days a week. In a day's work I could pull down $25. With Summer vacation being about 3 months long, it didn't take too long to reach my goal of rocking some fresh kicks. In fact, compared to my friends who had paper delivery routes that netted them about $90 a month, I became a well bankrolled young man. It was then that I realized that I loved termites. Many years later, I became as fascinated with the insects themselves as I was with their capital potential!
"But what about Termites in Cheyenne, Wyoming?" you're asking yourself. I won't completely answer that right now, that is for next time. I will just leave you with this; I have seen termites do some amazing things, including a number of things that they are said to do infrequently or not at all. I have worked alongside some other seasoned termite pros and we have marveled at the seeming determination and will of the subterranean termite to thrive and forage at all costs. So tune in next time to learn about some of these amazing feats of the social insect known as the subterranean termite. Until then, you have been reading 'The People's Entomologist', who is where the pests are, which happens to be where you are.