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"A Proven Track Record of Success" - Not Just a Resume Entry

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Added on January 8, 2024

A Proven Record of Success

"A Proven Record of Success" - many companies tout this as their most important ability when it comes to differentiating themselves from the competition. We even see it as one of the more common catch-cries on resumes.  But what does it mean?  Can they really prove their track record?  Or is it just a trendy word to get clicks and win the sales game?  In our case, it's something we're good at, something we can back up with countless examples and facts, and something we can prove with photos, videos and customer testimonials.

One Tricky Rat

Recently, we came across what has most likely been our toughest opponent in almost 30 years in the industry.  We were contacted by an apartment complex we partner with almost six months ago about a rat inside the living space of a tenants home.  This was a tricky project from the beginning, as the rat was being seen in the kitchen, where it had found a source of food, the customer had time constraints regarding when we could be there and a dog that freely roamed the house during the day.  We quickly identified the problem source as the area below a utility closet, where the rats were nesting and able to access the kitchen at night.  After about a month, we'd caught 4 rats, but the problem persisted resulting in our management team becoming increasingly involved.

It became more and more apparent that our ability to catch this one rat that was left behind was being hampered by factors outside our control, namely:

  • The rat had an established food source, and was not interested in any bait we could place in our traps;
  • The tenant would only allow us access at specific times of day that didn't always fit into our schedule;
  • The tenant's dog was able to roam the house 24/7 which removed our ability to put traps where we needed them; and
  • The tenant's dog having access to the kitchen limited the type of traps we were able to use

Essentially these limitations meant we were attempting to catch an animal that didn't want the bait we could use in our traps, we couldn't use the traps we needed to catch the animal, and we couldn't put the traps where we needed to put them.

 After another month of fruitless efforts, it was time to make serious changes, however the tenant refused to help us.  She wouldn't remove the dog, or limit it's access to the kitchen which was our largest limitation.  Usually in situations like this, the use of glue traps in strategic locations can overcome the animals hesitance to eat a particular bait, but it would create problems with the dog.  Eventually we reached a point where we had no choice other than to build an enclosure for the glue boards.  Again, the tenant was thwarting our efforts by moving these glue boards, and our access to put them where needed wasn't ideal.  Another month went by and we still hadn't had any luck.  

Modern Technology to the Rescue

Our next step was to use modern technology to help.  Motion cameras are a tool we commonly use in attic spaces, but due to privacy concerns they aren't ideal within the living space of a home.  We were at the point where we needed to take more extreme measures here and fortunately this was something we could convince the tenant to help us with.  After setting a number of cameras in the area surrounding the kitchen, we felt we had a good idea of the rats movement patterns, but were still limited in our ability to put the traps where they were needed.  We had multiple sightings on our cameras and generally understood where we wanted to place our traps, but the dog was still an issue.  Fortunately, as were getting close to the Christmas period, the tenant had plans to go out of town and she was taking her dog with her.  This gave us three days to access the home when we wanted, and to put the traps we needed in the places where we needed them.  Still, the rat wasn't showing up on camera in the same places on a consistent basis, so there was no guarantee three days would be enough.  

Building a Better Rat Trap

We needed to get creative.  After almost six months on this project, we were frustrated, the property owner was frustrated and the tenant was frustrated.  We needed to catch this rat, and there may not be an opportunity like this again where we essentially had free access to the apartment.  What followed was the most intricate and most expensive rat trapping layout we had ever created.  We built a serious of fences and gates to funnel the rat to where we wanted it which involved a significant expenditure in time, effort and finances.  Our team of wildlife technicians put their custom carpentry skills to the test and the end result was a trap like no other.  More than 20 glue boards, and more than 20 snap traps were littered across the first floor of the apartment.  Cameras were being monitored 24/7 while our team was meant to be enjoying their Christmas break, but for the first time in the last month there was no activity on our camera in days.  Had the rat moved upstairs?  Were our changes to its environment causing a change in its behavior?  Had it finally been caught?  Four days later, after the tenant returned home from her Christmas vacation, we got some good news - the rat was caught in one of our snap traps.

Final Takeaways

As we've no doubt made clear, this was a frustrating project for everyone involved.  If you're reading this blog, and are in a similar situation, we have some advice to offer.  Firstly, let your wildlife company do what they need to do.  Landlord/Tenant situations are tricky, because the person most directly impacted is the tenant, and they have the lowest level of motivation of any of us to ensure a speedy resolution.  They don't have a direct financial stake in the game, and, as in this case, their only motivation is that their life return to normal.  If your wildlife technician is telling you to put your dogs in a different area of the home, limit their access, or remove them entirely, there is a very good reason for this.  

Secondly, find a company to partner with that is experienced in these situations.  Traditional Pest Control companies practice rodent removal, however their approach is very different to ours.  They aren't necessarily motivated by resolving problems, and their business model revolves around annual contracts.  When your problem is solved there is no further need for their services.  Traditional Pest Control companies usually operate by training their staff to approach each situation the same way to achieve the highest rate of success.  This approach wouldn't have worked in this circumstance (indeed, the first month of the project saw us attempting the same) - sometimes, particularly in these tricky cases, we need to get creative.  With years of experience in the industry, we can't overstate the times we've been called to these problem jobs after the competition has come up short.  

Finally, look for the company that has experience.  A smaller, one-man operation might not have the resources to get the project completed, especially when it calls for thousands of dollars in traps, building supplies and hardware.  Google is littered with reviews from companies that abandon jobs when it gets too tricky - look for the company that has the reviews, experience and background to complete any job.

These jobs aren't easy, but do you want to partner with the company that will do the same thing every time and hope for the best, or the company that is not only experienced in these difficult circumstances, but has a Proven Track Record of Success?

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