Archive for August, 2010

Orkin Bugged By Lawsuits

Termite Company Facing Four Class Action Suits For Shabby Work

Elizabeth Allen shows Mark Strassmann.Elizabeth Allen has a name for her Florida home.
“The termite buffet,” she says. “They’ve been in my front entry way. They’ve been in my dining room. They’ve come up in swarms.”

Mark Strassmann talks to a woman who says the shoddy service she got from pest control giant Orkin to control a termite problem turned out to be more annoying than the bugs.

But what really eats at Allen, CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, is her termite company. She hired the “Orkin Man.” For six years, she says, Orkin improperly treated her home, botched repairs and hid superhighways of termite damage. She now estimates that sixty percent of her house had had some kid of termite damage.

“I think you hire Orkin to protect your home and all of a sudden one day you realize you have to protect yourself from Orkin,” said Allen.

Even Orkin’s internal audit — in documents obtained by CBS News – showed a company wide failure rate of 45 percent for all initial termite treatments; and a 54 percent failure rate in the Southeast, the so-called “termite belt.”

The company is now fighting four class action suits from the likes of Elizabeth Allen.

“They are engaged on an ongoing basis of defrauding homeowners who stand to lose the most important investment of their life,” said Allen’s attorney, Chris Searcy.

But if complaining customers often get nowhere, Wayne Cowart says he knows why. He’s a plaintiff’s termite consultant, and a former Orkin executive who oversaw all the company’s damage claims. He says Orkin used its financial and legal might to discourage those complainers.

“It’s like the bulldog fighting the skunk,” Cowart says. “You may win, but it’s just not worth it. And pest control companies know that. … It’s an epidemic within the industry. It’s absolutely epidemic.”

Mythical Bed Bug2 287x300 Bed Bug Treatment: Not a Do It Yourself ProjectOrkin has another side to the story.

“The heart of our business is to protect people’s homes,” the company said in a statement, adding that termite claims make up less than one percent of its customers each year, and 98 percent of those claims are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

But for their damage, Collier and Peggie Black were awarded $3 million from Orkin in arbitration.

“We don’t feel like we beat Orkin. We survived Okin,” said Collier Black.

Now Elizabeth Allen’s bedroom may not survive. Wood taken from the walls crumbles from the tunnels made by termites.

Watch the video!;photovideo


FL ag commissioner urges protection against mosquito-borne diseases

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson says two cases of West Nile Virus have now been detected in horses in the state and the number of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases continues to rise. Bronson is reminding horse owners to get the animals vaccinated. He is also urging the public to follow Florida Department of Health guidelines to help prevent mosquito borne illnesses in people. DOH is reporting that two people in Florida have died after contracting EEE this summer. Mosquitoes carry the viruses and can transmit it to horses and humans, however, horses do not transmit the viruses to people.

The West Nile cases affected horses in Jefferson and Osceola counties. There are also now 60 reported cases of EEE in horses in several dozen counties in Florida this year, including southern counties such as Miami-Dade, Okeechobee and Collier where EEE cases are much less frequent.

EEE and West Nile are viral diseases that affect the central nervous system and are transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes. Signs of the viruses include fever, listlessness, stumbling, circling, coma and usually death. EEE is fatal in horses in 90 percent of the cases. West Nile virus has a mortality rate in horses of about 30 percent. Studies show that in horses that do recover, anywhere from 20-40 percent show residual effects even after six months.

Bronson says there are vaccinations for both diseases but horse owners need to be diligent in not only getting their animals vaccinated, but also ensuring the vaccinations are kept up to date each year and booster shots are given.

“In the vast majority of cases we have seen this year, the horses either had no vaccinations at all or they were not current,” Bronson said. “We are seeing increases in mosquito populations and since mosquitoes are the carriers of both these diseases, it’s likely the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. I can’t stress enough the need for people to get these readily available vaccinations for their horses.”

While the incidence of EEE and West Nile is down in horses from what the state experienced earlier this decade, the cases continue to rise in 2010.

Call Us for  Mosquito Protection – 727-388-6759


What’s under your house?

We were called to perform a termite inspection for a realestate deal. Everything looked ok inside and in the attic. Yes the house was old and yes the house was in dis-repair but all in all it was in good shape and with some good old fashioned elbow grease, it would shape up well.

The last place to look was underneath in the crawl area. As we approached the crawl space opening (no door) we noticed that it appeared the water had been freely running underneath due to the moist soil and the river bed appearance. Excessive water is never very good under a home, it will bring all kinds of problems for the home owner.

Just as soon as we were under the home we were greated by subterranean mudtubes hanging from the floor supports.

Subterranean termites use mudtubes as their super highway into your home, it protects them and them cool. Brandon Beucher took pictures of the subterranean termite evidence with our TMO HTC-HD2 cell phone.

In this case, the subteranean termite are trying to build their mudtubes downard  to reach the soil.

We checked the discovered that the home WAS treated prior at some time for subterranean termites by locating drill holes in the foundation wall (in the crawl area), but whomever treated this house (there was no treatment sticker) did NOT treat the supports. That created a great oppurtunity for the sub termites to regain entry.

HOG Hunting Florida Style



The trick is teaching your retriever to let go of the Hog

once they’ve caught it !