When I was in high school, summers were filled with sun and fun. Many hours were spent in and around the pool. When I was in college, I worked for a pest control company during the summer for three years. I traded the poolside for the cab of a pickup truck and the crawlspace of many houses around West Tennessee. Three years at any job will yield many stories. This is one of them.
The owner of the company sent me on a job one day that he said would be a tough one. He said there would be a lot of bugs and I wouldn’t be able to get them all but not to be discouraged. It didn’t bother me because I would be doing a pest control service which at that time meant I would be going inside instead of a termite service which was always outside and beneath houses. This job would be cleaner and cooler than most of the jobs I went on.
I arrived at the house which was a small older home in the country. In my mind I thought this would be a relatively quick and easy job. There were several adults sitting in the living room of this house. This was not usual for most of the jobs. They still wanted me to spray and I proceeded through the house. I entered through the front door which took me to the living room. I don’t remember everything about the layout of house except that the kitchen was to the left side as you entered the front door. It was our standard pattern to go into all of the rooms, including the bedrooms. It was a rare occasion to see any evidence of bugs in any rooms except the kitchen and maybe the bathrooms. The way my boss described this house, I sort of expected to see bugs everywhere. I saw nothing like that in any of the bedrooms. There were a couple of bugs that were already dead in the bathroom. It was still nothing to be alarmed by. My last stop was in the kitchen.
It might help to understand the layout of the kitchen. I entered the kitchen at a door toward the back of the room. Directly across from that door was a door that went outside. A counter started next to the outside door. That counter ran the entire length of the wall with a sink in the middle and cabinets both under the counter and above except at the window at the sink. A stove and refrigerator were on the front wall of the house and a table was on the wall between the kitchen and the living room.
I sprayed along the baseboard of the wall between the two doors. When I got to the outside door, I saw a crack in the paneling around the door facing. This was a typical place that I would usually spray. I stuck the nozzle of the sprayer in the hole and started spraying. My attention was focused on the hole but out of the corner of my left eye, I noticed what can best be described as a herd of bugs crawling out of a similar crack on the cabinet side of the door. It looked like something from a horror movie. Specifically, I looked like the scene in the 1982 film “Creepshow” where a man who is a clean freak has an infestation of bugs. I moved my sprayer to the side of the door next to the cabinet and continued spraying. Soon, I moved to the cabinets where I continued to see what seemed to be an endless stream of bugs. The chemicals that I sprayed did not kill the bugs on contact. And I sprayed much more than normal. At one point, I needed to go back to the truck to reload my sprayer. On my way out, one of the ladies who had checked on me when the bugs started moving met me at the doorway of the living room and slapped a bug off of my shoulder. The horror show continued in the kitchen when I returned. When I got around to the wall between the kitchen and the living room, I expected the activity to drop considerably because I was away from the sink and the food in the cabinets. The wall between the kitchen and the living room was paneling nailed to two by fours and there was a crack between the ceiling and the wall. I decided to spray in this crack. As I did, I started hearing the sound of the people in the living room smacking the wall with newspapers. There were bugs in the wall that I drove out with the chemical into the living room.
I did this job toward the end of the summer. I talked to the owner a few months later and he told me that he had to go back to this house twice.
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