Grand Forks pest control owner talks about the worst infestations he's seen, preps for busy summer season

All of its employees are firemen working on their days off. While the company will help with any pests its customers may find, it mostly gets calls about cockroaches, bed bugs, spiders and ants.

Robert Derrick - Complete Pest Control.jpg
Complete Pest Control owner Robert Derrick demonstrates how to use a B&G Sprayer.
Jacob Holley
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GRAND FORKS — In nearly 20 years of owning Complete Pest Control in East Grand Forks, Robert Derrick has faced just about every varmint and vermin the region has to offer.

Derrick started Complete Pest Control in 2004 as a family-run business. All of its employees are firemen working on their days off. While the company will help with any pests its customers may find, it mostly gets calls about cockroaches, bed bugs, spiders and ants.

“As an exterminator, I've seen it all,” Derrick said.

When it comes to keeping homes pest-free in the summer months, Derrick said exclusion is the key. Finding openings around a home’s foundation around the ground to the sill plate and checking utility openings around air conditioners for pests is the best way to check.

“The number one (draw) for mice is the condensation by going into the hole that's open,” Derrick said. “Either your plumber doesn't seal it, or it falls apart and then it's open. But most of the time it's foundation problems, but exclusion is the key to solving your problems. We do surfaces like spider control where we spray exterior perimeters to prevent them from coming in, and if they are inside your home, we treat inside your home to kill off the unwanted.”


And if problem areas are left to fester too long, it can get out of hand quickly. One of the worst infestations Derrick has seen was what he described as anywhere from 500 to 1,000 cockroaches crawling all over a kitchen.

“If you leave a cockroach, a female will lay an egg, and there's 20 to 40 Cockroaches per egg capsule,” Derrick said. “And if you let those go and then they become adults, you can definitely have a problem in two to three months where it's a complete infestation.”

Another encounter at a residence included a larder beetle infestation. They are about one-third of an inch in length and eat animal products, such as dried meats and fish, pet food, skins and anything with high protein value.

“One unit we walked into you could not open the door,” Derrick said. “It smelled so horrific. You had to use a respirator. Garbage was at least waist-high, and (the beetles) were all over the apartment, from pizza boxes to pop bottles. It was not livable. And people are living in those units.”

Hagen, who has owned her dog day care business for 18 years this year, said she has had a waitlist for people trying to board their dogs since Memorial Day weekend. During the week there are scattered openings, but weekends are going fast. Her next weekend openings are just after the end of July.

With the summer months just around the corner, people in the Grand Forks region will once again reach for their cell phones and dial up extermination services to eliminate insects and other pests making unwanted returns to their homes.

Sitting at the dining room table in his home, one of Derrick’s phones began ringing.

“That phone does not stop ringing as soon as summer hits,” Derrick said. "That thing is constant. Once it warms up, our phones are ringing.”

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESS
Jacob Holley joined the Grand Forks Herald as its business reporter in June 2021.

Holley's beat at the Grand Forks Herald is broad and includes a variety of topics, including small business, national trends and more.

Readers can reach Holley at him on Twitter @JakeHolleyMedia.
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