Spring is reluctantly creeping in this year with warmer days luring young and old alike to the outdoors. The pleasant elements of birds hustling to feed new babies and butterflies alighting on an open blossom are what is anticipated by the winter wearied, but there is another, less pleasant side to the season often forgotten until it becomes an issue.
Fortunately, there is Phil Treece of Phil's Pest Control who can be counted on to drive off any offending pest or rodent that might put a damper into your springtime fun. He has owned the business for 16 years and has become the go-to exterminator for many area business and governmental offices.
Question: You are capable of ridding a residence of anything ranging from roaches to squirrels. What seems to keep you the busiest?
Answer: "Mice seem to be the biggest complaint. One minute a person will have no problem with them, and the next they are being overrun with them. People think they are cute, but they carry diseases such as Lyme disease and salmonella. They chew up wiring, tear into boxes in your pantry, eat your food. And there can be mouse droppings everywhere, which can infect you with hantavirus that can make you really sick."
Question: It would seem a job as an exterminator might not be the most pleasant of ways to make a living. You go after the very things most of us strive to avoid. How do you overcome a natural aversion to all things creepy or venomous?
Answer: "It's interesting. You don't ever overcome the fear. You just think about your job. Claustrophobia is a bit of a problem for me in tight areas. I've been under houses that have been really tight. Most people are afraid of snakes when they are under a house. But they normally try to get away from you – they are scared of you. You just have to pay attention."
Question: What do you consider to be the most dangerous situation a person needs to be aware of as they work outside or send their kids out to play?
Answer: "It's bee swarming season, and people shouldn't mess with them. They need a professional. Hornet and wasp sprays will not work; a can will run out of spray before you run out of bees.
"A swarm happens very quickly. When a bee stings, it leaves a stinger in your skin. And that sets off a pheromone that's a bee's distress signal. That makes the others come to its aid.
"People just need to be sure to bring in an expert. Don't stay there and try to fight – they will just keep coming."