I took the young mom aside and gave her an impromptu pest control lesson right on the spot. I had a few pest identification books on hand and let her browse through them to see if she recognized any of the bugs that were traumatizing her living space. She pointed out several. Looking at her girl's two-year-old legs riddled with bumps, my mommy genes took over. I took her and her crew inside the store to buy some anti-itch cream, several plastic storage bins, and a plastic encasement cover for her mattress, as well as large Ziploc bags—the retail line of the EcoSmart products I use in my business every day.
She left armed with a plan, safe chemicals, and a peace of mind. I must say no one had ever camped out at my truck to try to get pest control problems solved before, but my conversation the next day with the shelter manager where she was living was typical. “We are under contract and we’re trying to deal with it,” she said defensively. I was not asking about a contract; I was asking management: were they being proactive by educating the residents about steps to keep pests at a minimum? Using a pest control company is one step in addressing pests in the homeless community. Engaging members of the community is another key component to controlling the problems.
The young mom and I stayed in contact for several weeks while she continued to look for bug-free housing for her family. The mom did not want anything other than a safe place to lay her head without bugs until she could find a permanent place to live.
Last month, she called to share with me that she found an apartment near her workplace. I could not miss the joy in her voice and told her I would stop by to see her new place. I bought her the best housewarming present I could give her: a year of pest control service.