Exterminators often turn out to be heroes
by Marguerite Cline
Columnist
March 08, 2013 12:00 AM | 997 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many are considered community heroes because of the jobs they do. Firefighters, medics and law enforcement personnel are rightfully at the top of that list.

Somewhere down the list should be the pest control people. Sometimes, they find themselves endangered on the job, too, especially in crawlspaces and attics.

Steve Adcock and I talked about some of the unwanted surprises exterminators get. He and his wife, Gina, are the owners of Adcock Pest Services Inc. in Holly Springs. With multiple employees, their service trucks are all over the area.

He began in the business in Florida working for Sears and became regional manager. After Sears discontinued pest control, he and Gina came to Cherokee County.

Their daughter, Megan, a student at Kennesaw State, works part time with her parents while their son, Bradley, is a high school student and plays JV baseball.

As to be expected going into homes and businesses, pest exterminators meet interesting people.

While living in Florida, Steve went on a call that he remembers as spooky. The lady at the house was dressed in a style of many years ago.

She had palmetto bugs in her house. The lady explained that she liked the bugs and did not want them hurt. She had even given each of them a name. Steve got out of there as fast as he could.

Jennifer McClure has worked in the office at Adcock for years. One of the saddest things Jennifer remembers is a child with bites all over. At first, she thought the child had scabies. But that was not the case. The child had been bitten by bedbugs.

Treating for pests like roaches, ants, termites, beetles, ticks, spiders and fleas is old hat for pest exterminators. For catching larger pests like squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons and opossums, the Adcocks sell traps in their next door Do-it-Yourself Store. They also sell the same chemicals professionals use.

Then there are snakes. Snakes can be the main ingredient of your worst nightmare.

Jack Free said more than once that he was afraid of live snakes, dead snakes and sticks that look like snakes. That sums it up for me, too. Imagine being on your back or stomach in an area too small for you to turn around and finding yourself face to face with a snake.

Steve says there are sometimes signs of a snake’s territory. One is a snake skin. The snake that left it behind might be nearby.

Sometimes snakes underground are unearthed when a trench is dug. There may even be a bed of them.

Once Steve was in a crawl space and saw two eyes. “Holy shenanigans, I got out of there in a hurry,” he said.

A frantic caller Jennifer remembers was a lady who said, “A snake is looking at me.” Getting the details, Jennifer learned the snake was hanging over a door. It was sluggish, probably because it had a rat in its belly.

She assured the lady someone would be there as soon as possible. Like many of us would have done, the lady kept calling every few minutes wanting to know when the tech would be there.

So what does an exterminator do when he or she gets a snake?

Sometimes, people want king snakes to be put in their barns. Most non-venomous snakes are released in the wild. Venomous snakes are killed.

Gina and I have both had up close and personal encounters with snakes. Gina discovered one swimming in their backyard pool. It was going back and forth like it was swimming laps. She frantically called her favorite pest exterminator, Steve, for help.

My husband, Joe Cline, always had a garden. Sometimes he put vegetables in the refrigerator before they were washed.

One day I opened the crisper drawer to get out some green beans. Believe it or not, there was a little green snake. I slammed the drawer and then the door of the refrigerator shut in short order.

Then, to be sure I did not forget and open the door, I put a chair in front of it.

Since then, I look closely when eating green beans.

In one of my favorite children’s books, “The Crows of Pearblossom,” Ms. Crow discovers a snake in her nest eating her eggs. She demands that Mr. Crow go down the hole where the snake lived and kill it. He does not think that is a good idea.

Now like Mr. Crow, I do not think it is wise for me to attempt to catch a snake. It is best if I call a community hero — a pest exterminator.

Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.
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