Robin Jade Conde

PODCAST: Stinging insect problems (with Scott Dorn)

In this engaging podcast episode, Reuben Saltzman and Tessa Murray welcome Scott Dorn, owner of BOGO Pest Control, for the second time around as their esteemed guest. Scott shares his invaluable insights into ethical pest control practices and underscores the significance of leadership and integrity in the industry. 

The discussion spans a multitude of topics, including the responsible use of rodenticide bait and its environmental implications. Scott’s expertise shines as he enlightens the audience on distinguishing between various stinging insects, like paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, and offers practical advice for dealing with them. The hosts also delve into personal experiences with wasp stings, emphasizing the importance of staying composed and seeking help for allergies. They explore overwintering pests such as stink bugs and mice, stressing the need for preventative measures, especially during seed-abundant years. Scott’s wisdom extends to practical tips on sealing homes against rodent infestations, leaving listeners equipped with valuable knowledge. 

The episode wraps up with Scott’s contact details and exciting plans for his return in the spring, making it an informative and engaging exploration of pest control and ethical business practices.

Here is the link to the first podcast episode featuring Scott Dorn to our show.



The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.


Rueben Saltzman: Welcome to my house. Welcome to the Structure Talk podcast, a production of Structure Talk Home inspections. My name is Reuben Saltzman. I’m your host alongside building science geek Tessa Murray. We help home inspectors up their game through education, and we help homeowners to be better stewards of their houses. We’ve been keeping it real on this podcast since 2019, and we are also the number one home inspection podcast in the world, according to my mom. Welcome to the show, Tessa. Fantastic to see you as always. And we’ve got a special guest on today. Super excited to have Yes. Returning guests. I don’t know how many times he is done the podcast. I think it’s been a couple, but.

Tessa Murray: I think just once we’ll ask what, let’s ask him.

RS: It’s not enough. Well, we’ve got Scott Dorn with BOGO Pest Control. Great. Greatest name in the world’s BOGO is buy one, get one. And they do it. Well, I’ll let him talk about it, but I have, I have emulated a lot of his business just based on his business name and what it means to them. But, uh, Scott, welcome to the show. Good to see you again, my friend.

Scott Dorn: It’s super good to see you both. And.

TM: Good to you too.

SD: I, I wanted to start off by not hijacking the program, but I wanna, I wanna say something about you Reuben. And I would say this, you know, I don’t like to get woo woo or weird, but I do believe in the Bible, I do believe in God, and in the Bible it says that we should give honor to where honors do. Okay. So that’s what I wanna, I wanna say that to something about you, Reuben, that, you know, I’ve, I’ve gotten to know you, I’ve even know exactly what year I met you, but it’s been several years that I’ve done business with people that you’ve done business with. I’ve done, services for customers that we both have shared as customers. I’ve seen how you have grown your business, how you’ve treated your employees.

SD: I have a really good friend that works for you, that has worked for you for years, Scott Maley, fantastic human being. Yeah. But, him and I were in a conversation the other day and we were talking about, you know, people with integrity running businesses, people that are in a position of leadership now in our country, whether you’re a CEO of a company or, you know, you’re leading whatever group you’re leading, if you’re in a leadership role, I just wanna implore anybody could go out and just follow Reuben’s steps because, no. And in all seriousness, you take what you do to the highest regard you care about every employee that works for you. You instill every bit of, information instruction into them. And that knowledge that they carry from your training and your ongoing training and your ongoing support systems that you put up around them, ensure that they are able to provide your customers a fantastic job. And this isn’t a commercial.

RS: Wow.

SD: It just, what I wanna say is it’s rare. There’s a lot of times where I get called out to customer’s homes where they had an inspection that wasn’t a part of your group, and the outcome is honestly, you know, I’m there because now they’ve got flies flying around the house. Right? And that’s because they’ve got dead mice in the walls that no one ever saw. And when I get there, the evidence is so obvious and clear, and if they would’ve just called us, we could’ve walked in there. Or your inspectors are so well trained to see this evidence ahead of time, which can really prevent a homeowner from going through the nightmares that I, on the back end, end up trying to help them get out of. So yeah, it’s, it means a lot to be able to be like, aligned with someone that has integrity.

SD: And then, uh, is you’re selfless too. That’s what I love about you, is that you’re not like greedy. It isn’t for you. It’s not about money and a bunch of, you know, like, oh, I have this many employees and this big of a business. It’s more about like, every single time you put your name behind something you really mean that you’re gonna stand behind it. You’re gonna do your best, and, and you put your best foot forward every time. It really means a lot. And I just thank you, [laughter], for being the guy wow that you’re, I’m gonna have to the radio. I’m not done. I hear you on the radio. I, you give advice freely. You give advice week after week after week after week. You give of yourself, you do these podcasts, you do, your.

TM: You blocked.

SD: Stuff for the Star Tribune. I mean, you really give of yourself. Like, that is the fabric of our country. That’s the fabric of a community. And I don’t wanna step over it because I’ve witnessed it for long enough where it’s truly who you are. And I respect you highly. And that’s why when you ask me if I wanted to come on this show today, I’m more than happy to come and join you today.

RS: Oh man. I’m done. You’re such a sweetheart.

SD: I’m sorry, I just had to say that today to you.

RS: Well, I’m gonna, I’m gonna have to come back and replay this for myself anytime I’m feeling down. That was, that’s quite ovation. Thank you. Appreciate it, Scott.

SD: Yeah, for sure. But you deserve it, man. For sure.

TM: It’s true. So it’s true, Reuben. Yeah. Well, and Scott, I think we feel the same way about you too. I mean, I don’t wanna speak for Reuben, but Scott, you have such a unique business model with your, your, with your press control services. And I remember if anyone’s tuning in and has not listened to the previous episode, you should go back and listen to that. It blew my mind. And I think it was one of my favorite podcasts of all time, [laughter], actually. It was exciting. It was interesting, and I learned a ton. But even, greater than that, I think Scott it was revealed just kind of how much integrity you have as a person and how that’s reflected in your business and what services you offer your clients and why. So before we even start to dig into the nitty gritty stuff, I just wanted to ask you, what sets your company apart from other, like, typical pest control companies? 

SD: Well, okay, so that’s, uh, I have to rephrase the question because I love the way you put the question, but [laughter], I’ve had so much time to think about since the last time I did a podcast with you guys. A lot has, and I don’t wanna get too philosophical or deep, but the laws has changed in the world. And, and the way I, this is kind of a bigger picture way of looking at it, is I think, you know, I’ve been able to witness so many people struggle in the last three years, especially, in 2020, how many tens of thousands of businesses went out of business, right? And just, I mean, we as human beings have gone through the washing machine of life and getting tossed and turned what we thought was a foundation in the past is, you know, in a lot of ways being ripped out from underneath us.

SD: And we’re being forced to reevaluate the we, the way we view a lot of the way we live and have lived and been taught to live. And, you know, so yeah. So when I look at companies, I look at technicians. I, for me, the leadership matters that really matters. And I think that you can’t really have a great outcome with your services unless you start with a good leader. But that being said, it does boil down to the technician. So in the state of Minnesota, I’ve met a number of really good technicians that don’t work for me. They don’t work for me. They’re probably never gonna work for me, you know, unless I grow big enough to acquire them. But there are fantastic people in this industry that do care. And unfortunately they’re in a system where in order for them to just make a decent living, I think I talked about this on the last time, but if in order to make it even just a living, they have to bust it from house to house to house to house, you know? 

SD: ’cause they’re on a little tiny commission to make on each one. Okay. So that’s a, depending on how the leader structures it, it’s gonna depend on how the employee’s motivated to serve. But you still have people that even in those systems, they’ll go out and get their own products on their own time. They’re doing their own research, you know, so they care. And so I can’t say like, as a whole pest control companies, you know. I have to say, individually, there’s a ton of good ones. But you, you know, the best advice I’d give for somebody searching for a company is pay attention to the outcomes. Hmm. If you wanna know about the outcomes, go on and really, truly read the reviews that companies have for their company. And then also be a little smart about the reviews too.

SD: There’s ones that are obviously bot reviews. They’re totally hand reviews. I can hire a company called Podium right now, or there’s a number of companies that I can hire and they can hound my customers for reviews, and I could have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of reviews. Right. And you could read them though, and you can see the substance isn’t really, it’s like five stars, you know, great job. They showed up on time, you know, but if you go and you read the reviews that we have, we don’t hound our customers for them. They’re actual novels. Some of them, they’re a whole story about what happened, you know, and you can tell it’s real, right? So be a wise consumer, look at the outcomes that other people have had, pay attention to those reviews that matters. Yeah. Yeah. I know you have tremendous reviews on your company, and that’s because you care and you can’t fake it.

SD: And you know what? You can’t produce consistent outcomes if you don’t have systems set up to do it. So, yeah. Yeah. And I could preach about that all day, so, but I, I’m in a really good mood. I’m thankful today. I’m thankful for, you know, that we, I’m thankful I live in America. I’m so thankful that we live in a free country. I’m so thankful that I have the opportunity to run a company, you know? I should just tell you this, I grew up on the east side of St. Paul, and I mean, I, my personal upbringing, my dad raised me, my mom left us when we were one and a half. I was one and a half years old. My, my mom, wow, God rest your soul. She’s since passed. She was a wonderful mom. But during that time, when I was a little kid, she struggled.

SD: She left the family, and my dad raised us on the state, gave her custody, and he raised us on a $13 an hour salary. It was me, my sister, and him, you know, so, wow. I grew up poor. I couldn’t afford lunch at school. I mean I knew struggle. I, I’m skinny for a reason, [laughter], you know, but, but I grew up super poor and I, so my heart really goes out to the people that are in need, people that are hungry, especially that’s why our company promotes, um, feed My Starving Children, you know? I mean, what do the kids in the world have to do with the problems that us adults have created? Nothing. You know, I mean, they’re the victims of it all, you know? Yeah. And if we can feed them, at least they can hopefully have a mind that can obtain knowledge enough to help overcome these systems that are oppressing us, you know? So. Yeah.

TM: I’m glad you brought that up, Scott. So that explains your, your company name, right? Be BOGO. I.

SD: Ha, it’s deep in my heart. [laughter]

TM: My one my one… How many time…

SD: Time, one, I can’t tell you how many times, I mean, I could almost cry about it, but, uh, yeah. I can’t tell you how many times I went to school hungry. Yeah. I mean, truly hungry, like, you know, I see all the other kids get a breakfast, like a donut, the chocolate donut and the milk. I just wanted that, you know, and there’s so and so, you know, I thank God that our state passed this thing about free lunch, and I don’t care what the politics are behind it at all, honestly, just the thought that all these kids that are star, there’s kids right here in our state that are starving. What is wrong with us? Seriously, what’s wrong with us? Yeah You know? But thank God they did something about that. And we’re feeding them now through our taxes, and I’ll happily pay it. Yeah. If you use those tax dollars for good things, I’ll happily pay them.

TM: Yeah. There’s nothing more.

SD: I still pay them, but not happily [laughter] Yeah.

TM: Yeah. Yeah. Wow, Scott, thanks for sharing. That’s, You know, it takes a lot to be vulnerable like that. And, um, it just makes me respect you even more with what you’ve done and how far you’ve come and the company that you’ve built and the employees that you have that you take care of, that you and the clients that you have, that you genuine, genuinely care about the outcome. And circling back, I just wanted to highlight one thing that you do differently. I know, which is I think you offer like warranties, don’t you, on your work? 

SD: Oh we do. Yeah.

TM: Is that something that other pest control companies do? 

SD: They do. I mean, and it’s kind of across the board. It depends on what the pest issues that you’re talking about. If it’s mice, for example that is one way that we really separate ourself for a mouse warranty. When we can, we give a two year unlimited warranty on the service. And what I mean by that is, first we’ll come out, we’ll do an inspection, we’ll look at the property, and we’re gonna see if there’s anything about that structure that would limit us from being able to get to the whole thing and seal it up properly. Sometimes we’re working with rotten siding, you know Right. And, and I can only patch the rotten siding to a certain point right. Before it has to be literally replaced. Yeah. So we have our limitations, like.

TM: Decks too, maybe like decks that are low to the ground.

SD: Decks, decks are a big deal. Decks, you know, they could be high low on the ground, they could be attached to house a little bit away from the house doesn’t, but if it’s in the way and mice are getting under it and getting in the house and I can’t get to that spot, then yeah, we do an inspection and we’re really good at being able to identify on the front end if we think we can solve it or not. If we can’t solve it because of a limitation, we of course try to surpass that limitation. Like we have a couple handymen that we’ll refer a customer to that can remove the deck boards to give us access to that window that’s under there that the mice are calling in through a rotten wooden frame. You know, so, but in every situation we try to give a two year warranty with a no limit.

SD: And then I’d say how that differs from the, the, our competition is really, if the whole motivation, it seems like the way companies are structured in my industry is that whatever pest issue you have, that’s gonna be the introduction for them to get you into a year-round plan. Yeah. Some homes benefit from a year-round plan, and it depends on what the plan is too. I mean.

TM: And a type of pest.

SD: Yeah. So what I mean by some homes benefit, I’m kind of jumping around here, but on a plan, like for an insect, if you have a home that’s in an environment where you’re gonna consistently get spiders, right, because you’re next to a lake or in the woods well now, and you hate spiders, you call me to do a spider service, I’m gonna do the spider service for you, but I’m gonna give you the expectations that are proper.

SD: I’m gonna let you know that the chemical that I put on your house, it’s gonna break down. It’s meant to break down so that it doesn’t pose a threat to the environment or our health. It’ll consistently last for two months, but if you’re next to the lake, the pressure of spiders are gonna keep coming. Right. So we should have a plan where when this is breaking down, we come back, reapply it right before it breaks down and then reapply it again right before it breaks down. And we keep you on that pattern through the summer, we can control the insects we’re actually trying to control. Yeah. And.

TM: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah.

SD: Yeah. And then the other thing I would, if I was gonna like pat myself on the back about anything that I love about our company the most, one of them besides our mouse control is that we don’t have contracts. So that means if you’re on an insect prevention plan with our company, you’re not locked into some contract. The contract is really valuable to a company that wants to sell it. [laughter] If I wanna, if I wanna bring value to my company, make my, make my company super attractive to a buyer, then I lock you down on a contract and all your friends and your neighbors, and then, and then guess what? I can bundle it all up and hand it over to Orkin or Terminix or whomever the buyer would be. It can be any number of whomever. There’s, I have so many offers that have come to me in the last year to buy my company. Last year it was three different offers from the same company to buy my company. And it’s not just companies, it’s, it’s it’s investment companies that are coming in, you know, so, but that’s the key though. They lock you on a contract, and if you wonder why it’s so that you can’t leave if they sell it [laughter] Huh. It’s that simple, you know? 

TM: Well and I remember you saying too, I think in the last podcast that a lot of like pest control companies, how they’re, like, how they deal with mice is that they set traps or they, you know, they, they deal with like the mice once they get into the house. Yeah. But then they set themselves up so that they’re coming out to your house on a regular basis to kind of reset things. Whereas you guys like try to prevent the mice from getting in in the first place, right. So that people don’t have a mouse problem down the road.

SD: That’s correct. Yeah. And if I could make this podcast about anything, and shout from the rooftop about the things I see in the industry that bother me the most is the overuse of rodenticide bait. And it’s my opinion, but I, I’ve seen so much effect of it. I walk through Minneapolis and I see dead squirrels, and they’re just laying there dead. Now, they could have died from a number of whatever, but there are so many exterior bait stations around every commercial building, that you walk by, you’ll see the stations, the black stations, or they’re different colors too. Some are attached to stones underneath them to keep ’em there. But inside of there is a rodenticide bait. And, for the service tech, that is the value that they bring is the time they take to walk around and replace that bait.

SD: Now they get in the truck and they say, oh, I did something here. I really provided a service. And that’s what they were taught to do. But all that is, you know, any rodent comes in there, they’re eating the poison, whether they’re a problem to the structure or not, it is just, whatever gets in the station’s gonna die from it. So if that’s the case, here’s my soapbox, why not make those stations so that only mice can get into ’em? And you absolutely. Design them so that, and you can’t even manufacture stations that can kill squirrels And chipmunks and other things that shouldn’t be targeted. So that’s one thing. And then poison…

TM: So Can I interrupt you real quick. Is that… I mean, the ethical problem with that, and I’m glad that you’re bringing this up, Scott, ’cause I don’t ever hear anyone talk about this, is the fact that this mouse poisons out there, the mice eats it, they die, and then whatever comes by. Well, or a squirrel can get in there like what you’re saying, or other rodents, and eat it and die. But if you’ve got cats that are wandering around neighborhoods and they eat a mouse that’s gotten the poison, you could be killing other animals.

SD: Yeah. Well, the truth is, I ran another paste control company before the one I’m running now. And, we did use a lot of poison. And over the years we had accidental poisoning cases with cats or a dog, and then they had to go to the vet. That’s a super traumatic event for the homeowner. It, it’s beyond like, what I just said there, someone could hear that and skip over that. Like, oh yeah, it’s traumatic. We hear about, PTSD, like, it’s just another word, right? Yeah. Until you are the person that goes through that trauma. I think about the six year old customer of mine that walk by a retaining wall got stung multiple times by Yellowjackets. So many that they had to take her to the ER and give her four different EpiPens to save her life.

TM: Oh gosh.

SD: So, In front of her mom. And her mom would, that’s be like, it, it’s un… It. So that’s why it is those instances like that. Right. You come across people that it’s not just a job. I mean, and we all do work that there’s certain points of our job where it’s really important that we’re paying attention. It’s really important that we care. Because if you don’t, the cost of that you not caring is things that can happen is I don’t want to be, I like laying at night and sleeping really good and knowing that I did the best I can every day [laughter] And not worrying about that. But yeah, poisoning over poisoning a house is the worst in my opinion. And I just wanna quick tell you why.

SD: Every house that that’s done in, which is tens of thousands of houses in the Twin Cities, every one of those houses have dead mice in ’em. And every one of ’em get beetles and flies and mouse and secondary pests that get up in there. And if you wonder, well, oh, why do I have flies in my house every now and again? I just, you know, a 50 flies, well, it’s ’cause you have a dead mouse in the wall that you didn’t smell, but it’s in the wall. So, To me, that’s just like you’re band-aiding problems when you’re that guy out just putting bait out, thinking you’re doing a job. And I didn’t come to preach about that. I just wish that we could be more responsible with that. As our industry. As my industry. So.

RS: Yeah. And for anyone who hasn’t listened to Scott’s first podcast with us, we will put a link to that in the show notes. ‘Cause we… We kind of do a deep dive into all those different things That Scott does to get rid of mice. But You know, Scott, you brought up one thing. You talked about, this little six year old getting stung by these yellow jackets. And that was one Tessa and I had talked about when we were saying we gotta get ’em on the show again, is bees hornets, yellow jackets? I don’t even know the difference between all of them, but I’d love it if you could talk about these stinging insects.

SD: Yeah. That’s so really…

RS: What you do to take care of them.

SD: Okay. So all day, I mean, the last, since the middle of July, I’ll put it that way. I have been dealing with yellow jackets like crazy this summer. They really thrive in summers where it’s hot, especially if it’s 80 plus. And that condition of 80 plus is a perfect scenario for a wasp. Usually they have to go to sunny surfaces, like if it’s in the 60s or 70s, they’ll have to rely on finding sunny surfaces in the afternoon. They absorb the heat from the wall and that gives them the energy to be able to fly fully at their full speed. So imagine since the beginning of June we’ve had 90 plus weather, it’s been, in my opinion, I don’t know. ‘Cause I haven’t checked the records against other years, but it seems it’s the hottest summer we’ve ever had. It’s been insanely hot.

SD: So hot. And that’s a perfect recipe really for all insects to thrive. I’ve never seen spiders at the numbers that I’m seeing this year in 23 years of me doing this. Spiders are off the hook this year, but yeah, wasp. Okay. Back to wasp. Here’s how you tell if there’s a or is it a paper wasp or a Bald-faced hornet or the yellow or a Bumpy honeybee. Here’s how you tell. So it depends on the nest and the behavior. So if it’s got big, long, gangly legs and it’s kind of a bigger wasp, that’s a paper wasp. They’re super common. It’s the most common one. They are the ones that will build their paper nest upside down, where the cones are facing down. You can look up and you see the perfect little, what are they, octagon, anyway, they’re are six… What is the six? 

RS: Hexagon.

TM: Hexagon.

SD: Hexagon. All the little hexagons you can see ’em, that’s a paper wasp. And there’ll be usually two to three dozen in one of those nests. And they will always build them in an area where water can’t get to it. So underneath the peaks of soffits, under vents, hooded vents, they, there’s so many different entry points to a soffit system for a wasp. And they will exploit all of them. So another one that I get called out to a lot for paper wasps are the customer will say, I’m getting a wasp in my bathroom. Or all of a sudden I just get a random wasp that comes over to this one window. So if it’s, if they’re going over to a window, the next question I ask is, I say, does your bathroom have a window in it? 

SD: And they’ll say no. But it does have a bathroom fan. And so what’s happening is there’s a black hooded vent on the roof, and it’s a perfect little shielded place where they’ll go in, they’ll go right through the screen, go to the back of it, they’ll build a nest, hang it right there, And the problem is, is when it’s 90 degrees outside on a roof that’s so hot right there that they’ll go down the vent tube into the bathroom. There’s we-ef poles that go through that vent that allow them to bypass it to come into the bathroom, and they won’t hang out in the bathroom. They’ll venture out of there and the first thing they’re doing is looking, oh my God, how do I get outta here? So they’re looking for the sunlight and the next window they see, they head to that window and they’re out of there.

SD: They, well, they’ll go to the window and they usually hang out there and they’ll end up dying by trying to fly through the glass until they can’t. So I’ll have to get up on the roof and spray that vent, or fog it from inside the bathroom. That’s techniques that we use to kill them. If a homeowner’s gonna take care of wasps, this is super important. If you see the nest and it’s a little, like I described paper nest, for paper wasp, go get the over-the-counter product, spray it, it’s best to spray it at night. ‘Cause then all the wasps are back at the nest. If you can do it without getting the product all over you, then do it and you feel safe to do it, do it. But what you don’t wanna do is if you see a hole in your house and you see bee after bee going through that hole, some coming out, some coming in.

SD: Those are yellow jackets. And there’s, in a normal year, there’s two to 3000 in that nest side. This year there’ll be up to 5,000 in every one of ’em. Right now there’s over two to 3000 in each of ’em. And so I went to one, yesterday. The homeowner tried to foam it shut, and then that drove them into the house. So yellow jackets have a mandible on their face like an ant, and they can chew right through three-quarter inch sheet rock. And they’ll do that when it gets too hot in their nest side, and they need to vent it and get air in it. They’ll literally create vent holes and then start coming into the house. So you never wanna try to seal that hole up. That’s the biggest mistake you can make.

TM: How do you get ’em out of the walls then? 

SD: So then we just have to drill out the hole, get ’em to start flying in and out again. And then I use a chemical, that they get on their bodies that doesn’t kill ’em right away. They carry it in, they touch each other, and within a few hours they’re all dead. But it’s, it takes till after dark when they’re all present back in the nest. And they’re sketchy. I did one that was under a deck today before we talked, so [laughter] Oh, I had my heart beating. Yeah. So…

TM: What happened? 

SD: I mean, it was, the hole was located where I couldn’t get to it, and I had to get close to where they were just flowing in and out. And I am, I don’t know, I’m, I guess I’ll just say it. I should use protection and I don’t put on a bee suit.

TM: Are you allergic? 

SD: I like adrenaline rush. I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush. So I get from doing yellow jackets, And I’ll thing too, and I’m, I know I’m blabbing a lot, but I don’t like to kill things. I really don’t. I oh, I bum when it’s, so many times that my heart just goes out to these animals that I gotta control. But when it comes to yellow jackets and ticks, I mean, I look forward to it. I can’t wait to kill ’em because of what they can do to us. So.

TM: Yeah.

RS: Now what about the ground wasps? What about those guys? 

SD: Well. So in the beginning of the spring, we get a ton of calls about ground wasps. So the term ground wasp is applied to a ton of things. So the first part of this spring, a gardener will notice that in the ground you’ll get all these little, wasps that’ll, it’s a single solitary wasp female that will dig a hole in the ground. She’ll lay her egg. She actually goes and gets an insect, puts it, she anesthetizes it, puts it in the hole, caps it off with dirt, and then abandons it. And it’s a behavior that they do another wasp that does it as a huge wasp called a pseudo wasp or a cicada killer. These things scare you because they’re huge. They’re like a hummingbird. Um.

TM: I saw lot of those this summer.

SD: Yes. They’re big time. And they love boulder walls. They love sidewalks with sand under ’em. And the female will dig it all out. You’ll see this pile of dirt. I mean, these wasps are incredible, but they’re very focused on what they’re doing, and they’re not protective of their nest at all. So they’re not a threat to us. They won’t sting you. They won’t, I mean, I show customers, I’ll go do a yoga pose with ’em and squat at ’em, and go look. They’re not, a threat to you. So, yeah, a lot of the ground wasp aren’t a threat. The ones that are, are yellow jackets. They’re also, they’re a wasp that goes into a, they exploit a hole that leads to a voided area. And then that voided area, it could be in a tree, it could be in a boulder wall, it could be in your house wall.

SD: But wherever that void is where it’s rain protected, ideally that’s where they’ll build their big paper bald nest, like the Winnie the Pooh Nest. But it’s enclosed and that species loves to do it. Enclosed. Some paper wasp will only build that paper wasp nest inside of a soffit. And that particular species looks, if you look at ’em and they’re sitting like on your railing or your deck, they at rest. They look like a fighter jet, like an F-16. Their wings are just perfectly like this. That’s a very particular type of paper wasp, But paper wasp are docile, you know, a lot of paper wasp. You could go up and just grab the nest and pull it down. And they not even…

RS: I’ll let you do that. Yeah.

TM: I was gonna say, I was gonna ask you about that, Scott. ‘Cause um, one very traumatic inspection. I was on [laughter] Years ago in training. I was on a roof on a porch, a front porch of this house. And we were… I was with George, actually, no. Was this, no, this was Melin. I was with Melin and we were looking at something, and out of nowhere this wasp came up and stung me right on the eyelid. And I mean, I was just like, I was shocked because I haven’t been stung since I was a kid. It’s been…

RS: That’s a self thought too killed.

TM: A long time. Yeah. And I didn’t even see, like, I didn’t even see any bees. I didn’t see the nest, I didn’t see anything. And then all of a sudden there were more bees that started to get come into the air, and we realized it was a paper wasp nest underneath the, the soffit of this porch that was probably like 15 feet away. But it came over and it stung me outta nowhere. And I, it just, it blew up this, opinion I had that if you leave bees alone, they’ll leave you alone. I was like, what did I do to you? And then after we got off the roof, we were walking to the garage and there was another nest inside this exterior light fixture. Apparently we didn’t know that yet. And a bee flew right past Melin and hit me right in the neck, and it stung me in the neck. And then I was like, oh my God. I was freaking out. I’m like, I have to get outta here. Are there pheromones or something that bees cut off? 

SD: Yeah. As you’re, I didn’t wanna interrupt you, but Yeah. That you nailed it actually at the end. So what could have happened there is it could have been as simple as what deodorant you put on in the morning. If you did, or if, it could have been, like what, whatever scents you put on your body.

TM: That’s crazy. I don’t like wear any scents. I mean, there’s deodorant, but I’m not spraying on fume before.

SD: Yeah. And it may not have been even what you put on it, just the combination of your smell might’ve been what attracted or threatened it at originally. But what will happen, the first one that stings you, they, if you’re near the nest, they’ll put an alert pheromone on you. It’s a very specific pheromone that it alarms the nest. Once they detect the other ones detect that pheromone, they know it’s time to kill. So they all attack. So you got stung, you had the pheromone, or it was on your eyelid. You had the pheromone on you. Now you’re walking by another nest and they detect that.

TM: Oh my gosh.

SD: And it, it’ll alarm. That’s why you, when you get stung, you need to get out of the area. It’s super important.

TM: That is a really good tip, Scott, for anyone that’s listening, if you get stung by a bee once… You need to…

SD: It’s super important. Yeah. It’s really important because look, you may not be allergic today, but if your system becomes overwhelmed by the toxins that come out of those wasps, Too much. If too many of them get you. You could become allergic at any point. You could have been fine yesterday and tomorrow you’re allergic. It’s literally like that. We don’t know when we’re gonna react to it.

TM: Right. Well, and luckily, I mean I went and I got some, antihistamines from a Walgreens or something. And I, my eye started swelling immediately and it got to the point where [laughter] I showed up at my second inspection and I couldn’t even see, and [laughter], I remember George said, you need to go take a little Benadryl nap, go home, get outta here, take care of yourself. And my eye was swollen shut for a week, Scott. I ended up finding out that I do have an allergy. And so I had to go to the doctor and get some steroids before I could go back.

SD: You can have a topical allergy and there’s different levels of allergy. And I’m not a professional with this. I’m giving you the follow-ups from all these different experiences with people that have shared their experiences with me. I had a lady, recently, and I would never give a customer’s name away or anything, but, she was like, she shared with, and I’m just gonna be graphic, she said, I got stung in the boob and that would, you know, and I got stung in my, as a kid and my inner thigh, upper inner thigh, like you, there’s sensitive parts of our body that you can get stung on. And I think it’s worse, especially if it’s near an artery, and your reaction to it too, can affect like, you get really hyper and that can kick in the poison. So it is really important if you can, to stay calm. If you’re, allergic, you definitely go seek help immediately. And the swelling is the big deal. But where it’s really crucial is when it starts to swell around your throat. That’s when you have to, man, you gotta seek help now if that happens. It’s one thing to have a topical, swelling. A number of customers recently, oh, I got stung in the leg.

SD: And it just swell up like crazy. I got stung I the arm and swell up like crazy. That it just depends. That can happen, and I heard that one type of wasp doesn’t deliver the same injection that another species of wasp will give you. So you could be allergic supposedly to one and not the other. I wouldn’t to try to test that theory, but.

TM: No.

RS: No.

SD: Yeah, it’s a big deal though. It’s a big deal. I feel for anybody that’s allergic.

TM: I used to laugh at Reuben when he would warn me in training like, you have this whole bee precaution list that you follow Reuben when we’re inspecting a house like stay away from this, so don’t stick your hand in this, look under this purse.

RS: It’s super true.

TM: Yeah. And I was always like, “Ah, it’s fine.” And then no, and then after that inspection, I was freaked out.

SD: Okay. So couple of weeks ago.

RS: I remember the new respect for him after that.

TM: Definitely.

SD: Totally yeah. A couple of weeks ago, and I’m a seasoned tech, right. With the mindset of these Yellowjackets could be anywhere, but I forgot, I wasn’t thinking I went and I was servicing the extra… This house, and I knelt down next to the foundation, all of a sudden kind of out of the corner of my eye, I heard a buzzing and I saw this action going and in a split second, I realized that I was in real trouble. I knelt right next to a Yellowjackets nest and they just started getting upset when I realized that and they chased me. I ran all the way down the block.

RS: Oh my goodness.

SD: And then I circle back and got my stuff and went and killed them. So but yeah…

TM: You weren’t Yellowjackets originally were you? You were there for something else? 

SD: Yeah it was probably unrelated was mice, but I’m right next to the foundation, but they were in the house right next to the foundation, and I didn’t realize it, I just kind of space to that for a minute, I’m so hyper-focused on what I’m doing. And this is a tip for everybody, it’s kind of interesting, I think it’s fascinating, the first half of the summer, the Yellowjackets, they’ll establish an out site, they’ll get all the resources, they’re building the nest, they’re getting their members built up, and once they reach this certain threshold and it’s usually in a normal… Whether you’re at the middle of July. Now this year, it was so hot early that that threshold got pushed up and happened a little earlier, and what happens is the wasp will literally switch their food source, and now they’re starting to focus high energy food like sugar-based foods, they’re looking for insects that have protein and their high energy, and they’re now protecting the nest the first half of the summer, they won’t protect the nest. Second half, they are hyper-focused on protecting that nest. So you can set your clock to it. We start getting calls, people getting stung on a certain day, and then it’s that day forward, we get calls on wasps.

RS: Wow.

SD: And it just escalates. They’ll get to a certain point. Like right now, there are so many of them that they can exponentially build it. So they’ll go from 3,000 to 5,000 in the next eight weeks.

TM: Oh my gosh.

SD: Yeah, they literally just explode in numbers. So yeah anyway.

TM: I’m sure you have a lot of bee stories you could tell us with the remaining 10 minutes.

SD: I’ll just share one. You got on a roof, right? It’s really dangerous to step off onto a roof. It’s really dangerous, especially this time of year because you have nowhere to go. You’re trapped. If you have an encounter with a hive, it can be life-threatening, great away just from you falling or becoming so startled, you’re not thinking. There was a technician at a previous company I used to work at, he had a backpack sprayer on, he walked up a ladder, step off onto a wood shake, roof fully onto the roof, now he stepped on to another shake and a nest was under that shake and he got stung 22 times before he could get down the ladder Yeah. And had to go to the hospital, the whole thing, and I’ve had other attacks at another company that became allergic from getting stung too many times, like I discussed earlier, that happens.

RS: And something I will share for any home inspectors out there more bee safety tips, as any time you’re taking your ladder and you’re putting it up against the soffit or against a gutter or whatever, to bang it a little.

SD: That’s a great idea. Yeah.

RS: Do two bangs when you’re actually still on the ground, and sometimes you’ll just see a big cloud appear where you’re putting your ladder there and you go, Oh, well, that’s not a good spot to access the roof, let’s try the other side of the house.

TM: And another thing you said to Scott real quick, I was just gonna add, as you said, it was a wood shake roof, and I noticed when I was doing out-of inspections, not so much these days, but it seemed like always Wood shake roofs, there were always wasp nests in the attic of those houses.

SD: That’s true.

TM: Would you say that to be careful…

SD: 100% at the time. And that’s one of the… There’s certain wood shake roofs, we can’t give a warranty on the house, because one of the most overlooked ways mice enter a house is through the roof line and would shake roofs sometimes offer so many different variables that even like if it’s got a bat problem, a bat person won’t take it on because there’s too many nooks and areas that they can bypass it. And it’s like a haven for wasps to nest in. Yeah so.

TM: They love it. Yeah.

SD: That’s a very common thing.

TM: Yeah. Is it true when bees get really hot, they get more aggravated, angry, aggressive? 

SD: I don’t know about that if the temperature is related to their aggressiveness. I don’t know about that at all. I’m not sure. I just know that if it’s too hot, like this is Summer I saw a lot of the summer is wasps sitting on outside the soffits the right kind of near where the entry hole that they would normally be going in and out of they would just be resting on the outside surface because the inside temperature was too hot. And the same goes with bats. Large brown bats and small brown bats are hanging on the outside of soffits because it’s simply too hot in the attic or the soffit system.

RS: Well Scott…

SD: And you probably see that Ruben.

RS: Oh, yeah I absolutely.

SD: Are you guys when you inspect? 

RS: Yeah. Yeah. And we know there’s a nest in the soffit ’cause sometimes you’ll see like a whole gang load of them. Some even Right outside the soffit.

SD: Nesting there waiting.

RS: Scott, we’re nearing our time for the podcast. I want to be respectful of your time. But before we get to the end, I want to ask what big stuff is going on in the fall? What are things that homeowners ought to be aware of? And what stuff where you’d say, look, if you had called me in September or October, I could have taken care of this. Now it’s winter, we’re gonna have to wait it out. What should people know right now? 

SD: I love that question. Okay, two things quick. The insects are going to come in over winter and another thing I want to talk about, I’ll come back to, but remind me, I want to talk about it being a mast year. Okay. M-A-S-T, mast year. Okay. But the insects are coming, as soon as the temperatures start dropping, the trigger is 40 degrees. Soon as you see, it’s going to be 40 degrees or colder. Everything in the insect world is going to want to come to your house to overwinter. Right now we’re having a major issue in the West Metro, especially Wayzata Minnetonka.

SD: Really from Eden Prairie to Maple Grove, but particularly, Wayzata Minnetonka? A massive increase in stink bugs. The brown marmorated stink bug. It’s an invasive species from Asia. They have no predator. They can reproduce at will. The only thing that controls them are chemicals and the weather. That’s it. Nothing eats them. And they feed on soybeans crops like soybeans, corn, and apples farmers are afraid of them, but they’re invading homes. And they actually, the key to them is they invade from the attic down. So how we treat is according to that. And right now is the time to get on the list to get a treatment to, if you have an issue with box seller bugs, Asian lady beetles or stink bugs, those are three main overwintering pests that wanna get in behind the siding so they can huddled together and basically make it through the winter in a hibernated state. And then they wake up and they reproduce and then they leave the house. Some of them linger way too long. So we put a treatment though on the exterior that lasts from now into winter and anything that comes and touches with dies in a half hour. That’s putting it really quickly in, you know, in later terms. And that’s about $200 is the cost for that treatment. Plus or minus, it depends on the structure. The best thing to do is call our office, or you can go on our website, You can leave your information and somebody will contact you.

SD: And we have a fall prevention list where we do thousands of customers and it starts at the beginning of September and it runs right through the end of October. But the sweet spot is right now. I mean, right now, if you have those issues and you get treated, you can prevent from having those issues. Now, the other one is we’re in a mast year. What that means is the trees, when they go through a stress, a drought, a couple years in a row, it puts them at a point where they stop using their energy for growth and they reallocate all their energy to seed production. Why that matters is mice will live in your attic. And their operation is to nest in the house, get their food outside, they’ll come and go from the house. They love crab apple trees, acorn trees, helicopter seed trees, that’s what they thrive on. They’ll supplement their diet with insects, but those are their main food. So they’re coming and going for that. In a normal year, they’ll have five litters, a litter of an average of four. This year, they’re gonna have 10 because the food production from the trees, if you’ve noticed in your inspections, acorn trees have exploded. I mean, they’re dropping on roofs like crazy, right? 

TM: Yeah, acorns are crazy this year.

SD: Yes, and that’s the main food source for mice. So they have no limit to their food. That means they have no limit in their reproductive ability.

RS: Wow, wonderful.

SD: So now this year and next, our numbers will go from an average of catching six which is like a family of mice, to 30 to 50. And I’m not exaggerating, I’m not joking. I had a whole two years in a row where we caught 30 to 50 in every single home that we did.

RS: Wow.

SD: So I’m not trying to scare anybody, but if you have a rodent issue, you need your house sealed. That’s what I’d have to recommend.

TM: And do it now before it gets cold. Yeah, the sooner you do it, the better, you know the less mice we’re dealing with on the front end.

TM: Oh, my gosh.

SD: So, anyway.

RS: Very good advice.

SD: Oh, sure yeah. That are happening right now.

RS: Well, Scott, we’ll be sure to put your contact info in our show notes so people can find you. But again, just throw out that website.

SD: Oh, it is a BOGO, B-O-G-O pest

RS: Excellent.

SD: Yep.

TM: Thank you so much Scott.

SD: And the number is 952-404-BOGO. 952-404-BOGO. And hey, you know what? Last but not least, I refer structure tech all the time, all the time. And I am.

RS: Thank you.

SD: It’s so nice to have someone competent that you can refer to. So thank you for every time that’s worked out for our customers.

RS: Well, we feel the same way about you guys.

TM: Back at you. Yeah. Back at you.

SD: Good to see you both.

RS: Good to see you, Scott. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

TM: Thank you so much Scott. Yeah.

SD: Any time. You, any time. Love to do it.

RS: Well, we can’t let it go this long next time. We’ll have you on maybe again in the spring. That might be a good time to get you back on.

TM: Yeah.

SD: Sounds good.

RS: Alright. Well say hi to the team for me.

SD: Alright, take care.

RS: Bye bye. Take care.

SD: See you guys.