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Is Your Pest Control Company a ‘Full Service’ Company?

Believe it or not, all Pest Control companies are not the same. Unfortunately, for the Pest Control industry, the common misconception is that the services provided by “exterminators” requires little training, minimal skill and questionable levels of expertise. Often, consumers believe it’s ‘normal’ for their pest control company to come out a few times a year, spray around their house (with who knows what type of pesticide) and leave a bill in the door with little or no interaction with you, the homeowner, before moving on to their next stop. What’s sad about that perception is that in many cases, it’s reality.

The Pest Control industry, like many service industries, is plagued with unskilled, unlicensed, uninsured, fly-by-night operators that take advantage of unsuspecting consumer’s trust and give the rest of the industry a black eye. The reality is that legitimate Pest Control companies spend huge portions of their operating budget making sure that they comply with all rules and regulations in place at both the federal and state levels. Legitimate Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) like Augustine Exterminators, Inc., have the required operating licenses, the required amount of insurance and most importantly, they employ highly trained, fully licensed technicians that take pride in their industry and care about their customer’s wellbeing and satisfaction.

Even within the group of PMPs that operate within the law and the rules and regulations outlined by the applicable federal and state government agencies, not to mention having the appropriate business licenses required by the city within which they operate, there are dramatic differences in the quality and the types of services companies provide. A company may be licensed, insured and employ technicians with adequate training however, they may limit their scope of services to the most basic levels of pest control. Most consumers are completely unaware that there is a big difference between a registered technician and a certified applicator. A registered technician is legally allowed to apply pesticides, but it is with the understanding that the technician is working under the supervision of a licensed certified applicator (most likely the company’s owner or a manager). While a certified applicator has taken the initiative to undergo multiple hours of additional training and field work required to pass a state certification exam. In addition, a certified applicator has taken on the responsibility of accruing additional hours of ongoing education and training required to maintain their certification. Generally, companies that are not considered ‘full service pest control companies’ employ only registered technicians to perform rudimentary levels of pest control………

Augustine Services, Inc. is NOT one of those types of companies!

Augustine Services, Inc. is a full-service Pest Control Company that takes every aspect of the industry very seriously. Augustine provides complete pest control and termite services—‘complete’ meaning much more than spraying the exterior of your house, leaving a bill in the door and moving on to the next stop. ‘Complete’ meaning our technicians are highly trained, certified applicators. They take their profession seriously. They understand that being a pest management professional requires the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IMP) practices. Our technicians understand the importance of inspection and assessment of a situation. They know that identification of the pest is critical to remediating the issue. In addition, they are trained to take all variables into account in deciding on a course of action. Augustine’s certified applicators take pride in dealing with difficult situations that other companies shy away from—for example, Brown Recluse spider infestations, Yellow Jackets and other flying/stinging insects, Cicada Killers and Carpenter Bees, Carpenter Ants and, of course, Termite infestations. Augustine employees understand the importance of communication with our customers and making sure that the processes and methods we utilize to remedy a situation are clearly explained and, if applicable, our customers understand the role they need to play in ‘partnering’ with us in eliminating their pest problem and maintaining a pest-free environment.

With Augustine Services, Inc. you can feel confident that the technician that services your home or business is trained to not overlook, or worse yet, ignore, existing or possible problems. For example, many consumers don’t realize that some pest control companies do not do termite work. Can you imagine hiring a plumber that only unclogs toilets but doesn’t deal with leaking pipes, garbage disposals or hot water heaters? How about hiring an electrician that will change a light bulb but won’t replace an electrical outlet or install a ceiling fan? Hiring a pest control company that only does general pest control—companies that only spray around your house without paying any attention to possible termite issues or other wood destroying insects (carpenter ants, carpenter bees, powderpost beetles, etc.) is close to the equivalent to hiring the sub-standard plumber or electrician.

All pest control companies are not created equal! By hiring a full-service pest control company like Augustine Services, Inc. for your pest control needs, you can feel confident that your home and family will be protected from all pest related issues.

Beware of Seasonal Pests!

However, while ants, termites, mosquitoes, etc. are seasonal pests that no one wants to deal with, we are referring to a different type of pest...your typical seasonal door-to-door pest control salesmen.  Every year we are all bombarded, usually as we sit down for dinner with the family, by a knock on the door and a college-aged person hired by our competitors to solicit business.  They usually want to know who you are currently using to handle your pest control needs and then they are keenly interested in how much you pay for your service, etc.

If you are polite enough to provide them with this information they will proceed into their pitch on why the company that hired them will do a better job and will cost less.  Have you ever heard the phrase, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"?

This is the perfect example!  Don't fall into the trap of thinking that all pest control companies are the same-especially coming from a door-to-door salesperson who has absolutely no training and minimal familiarity in the industry. 

Some questions you might ask this door-to-door salesperson:

  • How long has company XYZ been in business?
  • Do I have to sign a long-term contract or any binding contract at all?
  • Can I get out of my contract or what penalties will I be assessed if I am unhappy with the service?
  • Will I have the same technician each visit?
  • Does XYZ company only use Kansas and Missouri certified technicians or does your company only have registered techs? There is a difference.
  • Does your company only use name-brand (no generic substitutes), quality chemicals that are safe for your home, family, pets, and the environment?

 

If your door-to-door salesperson doesn't have the answers to these questions or you don't like the answers you are getting, wouldn't you ask yourself why you are even listening to their pitch?

Consider this, for over 51 years, the professionals at Augustine Services, Inc. have been proudly serving the Kansas City area.  Our technicians are all certified in Kansas and Missouri and complete ongoing training and refresher courses throughout the year.  Our technicians average over 15 years of experience in the industry.  Our technicians carry with them the materials and equipment to complete the service correctly the first time they are at a site.  Augustine Services, Inc. does not require our customers sign a long-term service contract.  Our customers are generally pleased with our service so we don't believe it is necessary to make them sign a binding contract.  We almost always send the same technician to your house so you can be assured that they will be familiar with any special circumstances that need to be addressed.  We are a local, family owned company that has been part of the community for over half a century and we have friendly employees that answer our phones-no 1-800 #s, no voice prompts to follow and no conversations with out of state (or out of the country) representatives that are unfamiliar with our community or our customer's needs.  We use only the best and safest pesticides available on the market from manufacturers like BASF and Bayer that have been thoroughly tested to be safe and effective.

With all this, why waste your time with door-to-door pests making outlandish promises and offering to-good-to-be-true pricing?  Avoid the impostors and continue to rely on a trusted name in the industry, Augustine Services, Inc.

Thank you for your loyalty over the years and thank you for your business!

Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Cicada Killers…Among Other Stinging Insects

The stinging season is upon us! While there are many bees, wasps, hornets and even some ants which can sting us and our pets, several of them command our attention by virtue of their numbers, size or aggressiveness. Two of them which immediately come to mind are the cicada killer and the yellow jacket. Both are wasps; the first is a solitary wasp and the other is a social wasp. Bear in mind that only the females of each species can sting. The males emerge first, mate with the females and often die shortly thereafter.

While cicada killers are not aggressive, they may sting if handled, trapped under foot or in clothing. Cicada Killers, because of their relatively large size (1 ½” to 2” in length), often cause an unwarranted amount of anxiety in people when they begin showing up in late June and throughout the rest of the summer.  Each female cicada killer drills several nests in the soil, wherein she deposits a single paralyzed cicada upon which a single egg has been placed and then covers the cell.  There may be many females operating in a given area and, due to their numbers and size, they may cause considerable concern and damage.

Yellow jackets, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. The females, being social wasps, will create large nests. The more common species in this area create underground nests which can house several hundred workers and brood.  One species creates above ground, or aerial nests. Regardless of the species, some nests may be as large as a basketball.  Regardless of the species, they will vigorously and aggressively defend them.

The best and safest control of any of the above wasps is conducted at night. During the day, carefully mark the location(s) and then perform the control at night. Do not, as one hapless technician attempted, stick a twig in an active hole during the day. You will be angrily greeted by a number of very aggressive wasps – faster than you can get away. Dusting in and around the hole, after dark, is the best and safest way to eliminate them.

Just remember, such work should not be considered a do-it yourself project!  It is best left to a carefully trained Augustine professional.  Contact Augustine Exterminators at 913 362-4399 today!

Oak Leaf Itch Mite

The oak leaf itch mite, which first made its appearance in the Kansas City area in 2014, has since commanded the attention of anyone who spends time out-of-doors engaging in gardening, sports or other leisurely activities.

Be aware of pest control operators, going door-to-door with claims that they have the cure for this problem. At this time, there is no sure-fire and safe method for controlling the mites and their prey. Spraying lawns and tree trunks will help reduce, but not eliminate the problem!  Efforts may be made to spray the tree, but when dealing with a stately 75 to 80 foot tall tree, spray drift often creates a greater hazard!

This mite infests oak trees, primarily pin oaks, but also red and black oaks, while searching for and feeding on larval midges (the true pest of the tree) which create galls on the leaves. It is unknown where they overwinter, but in late Spring and early Summer they begin making their appearance known through their incidental biting. Their complete life cycle is quite short – 7 days from egg to biting adult – and results in numbers estimated to be well over 300,000 per tree.

The problem unfolds as they fall or are blown from the trees on to you, lawns, gardens and structures where, due to their extremely small size (0.2mm. or 1/125th inch), they readily enter through screens. Unlike chiggers, which attack from the ground up, affecting areas of tight clothing such as belts, underwear and socks, the oak mite affects areas from above where clothing is loose, such as neck, shoulders, chest and back.  Sitting or lying on lawns beneath the trees will also cause an attack.

One solution may be to apply a soil drench around the trees to eliminate the gall-making midge, which is the root cause of the problem. This would best be applied at bud break or shortly thereafter to be effective. Obviously, it is too late this year for such an approach to be effective, but our entomologist is exploring this option for future use.  Augustine Exterminator’s can treat trees (to a safe height), lawns and foliage around your property with a backpack mister which is very effective in eliminating mosquitoes, fleas and chiggers however, as previously mentioned, the effectiveness of this type of service on the Oak Leak Itch Mite will be limited.

 

In the meantime, protect yourself by wearing hats and long-sleeved shirts treated with insect repellents. While there are many repellent products on the market, not all deliver the desired relief. Consumers Reports lists several which produce excellent results. They are: 1. Sawyer Picaridin (contains 20% picaridin}; 2. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (contains 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus); 3. Natrapel 8 Hour (contains 20% picaridin); 4. Off Deep Woods VIII (contains 25% DEET).