Best Pest control keeps the rats at bay
By Andrew Firestone
Rod Kreimeyer may not seem like an institution, but as one of the longest serving and skilled pest control experts in the state, he’s put together a legacy of battling the creepy-crawlers that infest the tiny nooks of Somerville.
Active in National and Regional Pest Control Associations, Kreimeyer has been clearing out rats, roaches and bedbugs from every corner of Somerville since 1972.
Kreimeyer says that while the business has changed, the goal has not. In the ‘70s, if pests were the problem, pesticides were the solution. However in the twenty-first century, new problems and social norms call for new solutions.
“Our clients are becoming more green and conscious of what’s going on in their environment,” he says, adding that the old tactic of “broadcasting pesticides” has gone out of favor. “It’s going in and first figuring out how, why and what are you going to do and doing it in a safe manner for your client’s environment.”
Always one to take satisfaction in his job, Kreimeyer describes the thrill he feels when he is on the job. “Sometimes you can sense it as you pull into the driveway. You walk in and you see it and it’s kind of a rush. It’s like a fisherman seeing a school of fish, or a hunter seeing a 10-point buck,” he said. “It’s hard to explain.”
One problem Kreimeyer has had to deal with more often is the bedbug epidemic. “Almost extinct in this county until six or seven years ago, and within a short period of time, it’s the talk of the town,” he said.
The ills reflect the times, he noted. “Our world is more mobile,” says Kreimeyer, “we’re traveling more faster, and we’ve got a more diverse culture of people coming into our world. We’ve got ethnic groups being brought in here as refugees, and with them are bringing new strains of bedbugs that we haven’t seen before.”
“I’ve seen it all,” he says, reflecting back on his long career. “I’m a lot of fun at a party, you know. When people say, ‘what’s the worst you’ve ever seen,’ and I throw a couple of stories at them, and everyone is itching the back of their neck.”
One example was when an associate called Kreimeyer in to help him with a particularly bad rat problem in an affluent area that he described as being a “white picket fence, kind of Leave-it-to-Beaver neighborhood.” When Kreimeyer entered the house he was shocked by the conditions the two elderly ladies lived in.
“They were feeding the rats as pets. There must have been hundreds of rats in the house, they had come in through a broken waste line,” he says. Finding them living under the carpets and nesting in the couches, Kreimeyer was able to trap the rats live and relocate them.
Kreimeyer notes that pests have shown up in just about every setting imaginable, from temples to hospitals, college dorms to office buildings. “We are all susceptible to it,” he said.
Roaches are of particular interest, as some people will let an infestation go on without taking proper measures. “I have clients, I go to their house to treat it for mice and there’s cockroaches everywhere,” he says. “And you say, ‘did you know there were cockroaches’, and they say ‘oh, they’ve got to live somewhere.’” Kreimeyer remembers a particular infestation where the roaches had literally eaten the eyebrows off of a woman’s face as she slept.
“It depends on the person’s tolerance,” he said. “I mean how many bed bugs would you like in your bed?”
Entering their twentieth year at their Elm Street location, his office is decorated with cartoon-esque statues and woodcarvings of his bugs, with a huge iron ant looking over the Cambridge and Somerville borders. Kreimeyer says he is proud of his community, despite its infestations, and hopes to continue business with his son, who also works with him.
“We’re a family owned business,” he says. “Even my four-year-old grandson, when his father comes home from work, just like his dad used to, he says, ‘Daddy, tell me some bug stories today.’”