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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Pest Control CATEGORY

Felipe Montanez is operations manager of Hydrex Pest Control of the North Bay, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2014. He can be reached at (877) 312-1293 or by email.

Felipe Montanez

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Felipe Montanez: Diligence and Dedication

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

PETALUMA — Years ago, Felipe Montanez was working in a tire shop and ready for a change of pace, so when he came across an advertisement for a career in pest management, he was immediately intrigued. “In particular, I was drawn by the increased independence and sense of ownership that came from taking care of people’s homes,” he says. Within just a few years of entering the field, Felipe progressed from the ground floor to upper management—a streamlined trajectory he attributes to due diligence. “At every step of the way, I just took the initiative to learn and do as much as I could, so when opportunities presented themselves, I was in a position to take advantage of them. I definitely feel like I’ve earned it.”

Today, as operations manager of Hydrex Pest Control of the North Bay, Inc., Felipe says his favorite part of his job is interacting with customers. “One thing I really enjoy is filling in when one of our technicians is out, because it gives me a chance to be in the field and talk face-to-face with our customers. When I ask how their service has been, they typically respond with glowing reviews, which makes me proud of our team.”

Originally from Washington, Felipe came to the Bay Area on a wine tasting excursion and liked it so much that he decided to permanently relocate. Today, as a resident of Rohnert Park, Felipe says he continues to enjoy all that the North Bay has to offer, including good wine, open spaces and scenic views.

Outside of work, Felipe spends much of his time with his wife, Linda, and their two-year-old son, Braydon. Additionally, he enjoys following his favorite Bay Area sports team, the Oakland Raiders. “As a Raiders season ticket holder, I’m very invested in the team, so it’s a big deal for me.”

In his life and career, Felipe espouses the importance of intense dedication. “When I was in the Air Force, my squadron had a saying: ‘Motivated, dedicated, can’t be stopped.’ That’s stuck with me ever since, and I’ve applied it in both life and work. Basically, in any task or goal that I undertake, I fully invest myself and strive to perform to the best of my ability.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Felipe says he’d head to an exotic destination. “I haven’t thought a lot about retirement, but if I were to retire tomorrow, I would probably surprise my wife with a trip somewhere. She’s a big fan of Thailand, so I’d take her there on vacation.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Gold Rush” on the Discovery Channel.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future—unlike the past, I can’t read about it.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Fire up my Xbox and play some video games.

Q: What was your favorite video game as a child?
A: “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!”

Q: What’s your favorite winery?
A: I have two favorites: Kunde Family Winery in Kenwood and Domaine Chandon in Yountville.

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A Simple Way to Prevent Pest Infestations

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PETALUMA — Two of the most common insects that pest control professionals deal with are cockroaches and ants. While there are various methods for eradicating these domestic intruders, the best policy is to prevent them from entering your home in… Read more

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Video: Preventing Ants and Cockroaches

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PETALUMA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you're concerned about pests, you'll first need to know the best way to keep them out of your home. Today we're… Read more

David Osborn is a 35-year veteran of the pest control industry and owner of Osborn Spray Service, a Diamond Certified company since 2007. He can be reached at (925) 405-6964 or by email.

David Osborn

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David Osborn: Full Circle

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

DANVILLE — Born the son of a pest control professional, David Osborn hadn’t planned on following in his father’s footsteps, but through a series of turns, his path eventually came full circle. “My father started his pest control business right after I was born, so I basically grew up in it,” he explains. “As I got older, I thought about becoming an accountant or a meteorologist, but I didn’t like the idea of being stuck behind a desk. When I went to college, I chose to major in Forestry. However, after meeting a few other Forestry majors who were unable to find work after graduating, I switched to plant science.”

During the course of his education, David increasingly found connections between his field of study and that of pest control, which enabled him to see his father’s profession through a new lens and later prompted his return to the family business. Today, as second-generation owner of Osborn Spray Service, David says his academic background continues to influence his approach to pest control. “I consider myself a forester because my company does a lot of work with trees. I also take a conservative approach to fumigation and avoid spraying unless there’s really a need for it.”

David says interacting with customers is his favorite part of his job. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and educate them about our industry. I figure if my customers are more informed, they’re more likely to appreciate what I’m doing.” David says he also enjoys working alongside his son, Kyle, who represents the third generation of family involvement in the business.

A native resident of Danville (where he lives with his wife, Sherry), David likes to take advantage of the diverse Bay Area landscape. “Some of my favorite pastimes are riding my Harley Davidson and backpacking in the Sierras with friends,” he says. “My wife and I also like to travel, both within the United States and to places like Mexico.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, David says he’d relocate to a new setting. “Our daughters, Kate and Kari, both live in Salt Lake City, Utah with our grandkids, so we’d probably move somewhere closer to them. I’d also ride my motorcycle and travel more.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?
A: Australia or New Zealand. I find that whole area fascinating, and I’d love to see the Great Barrier Reef.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: I have two: “Jeremiah Johnson” and “The Hunt for the Red October.”

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: Over easy.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: I don’t recall my favorite, but there’s one I’ll never forget: When I was in the fifth grade, my mother dressed me up in a bunch of tin cans and said I was a “cannibal.”

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2 Tips for Keeping Rats Out of Your Home

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DANVILLE — Any pest infestation is a problem, but a rat infestation can be particularly unsettling. That’s why it’s wise to take preventative measures to keep rats out of your home. Here are two simple steps: Keep your roofline clear of vegetation.… Read more

How to Keep Spiders Out of Your Home

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DANVILLE — The warmer temperatures of spring and summer lead to an increase in insect, spider, and rodent activity, which is why homeowners need to be proactive about keeping these pests at bay. One common concern people have is how… Read more

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Video: Keeping Rats Out of Your Home

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DANVILLE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Few things are as unsettling as a rat infestation in your home. To learn some preventative tips, we’re in Danville with David Kyle… Read more

Janet Thrasher is a 38-year veteran of the pest control industry and president of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (408) 212-0412 or by email.

Janet Thrasher

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Janet Thrasher: From Adversity to Achievement

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LOS GATOS — When Janet Thrasher started a termite control business with her husband, Duff, in 1979, she didn’t know what the future would hold. More than 30 years later, following both unexpected success and unforeseeable tragedy, she looks back on what can ultimately be called a triumph in the face of adversity. “After Duff and I got married, we moved from Southern California to Santa Clara, where he started working for a local termite company,” she recounts. “At the young age of 23, we decided to take the plunge and start our own business. We started out small, but the business grew, and in 1987, we moved from Santa Clara to Los Gatos.”

In 2000, just when life seemed to have fallen into a rhythm of relative predictability, the unimaginable struck: Duff died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving Janet with a household and a business to maintain. “At that point, I had three teenagers and 15 employees, and I wasn’t sure what to do next,” she says. “Overnight, I went from sharing the business workload to being the sole owner. Suddenly, I had to make all the decisions and learn more about termites, ants, bees, and fleas than I ever thought I would. When I was at my lowest, my family, my staff and even other pest control operators stepped in to help.”

After that initial boost of support, Janet threw herself into becoming a full-fledged pest control operator, incorporating the business and obtaining her operator’s license with the Structural Pest Control Board. Fifteen years later, she has established herself as a leading figure in the industry. In addition to being the chairperson and district director of Santa Clara Valley Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), she serves on the Board of Directors for Peacock Insurance and is a member of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). She also led Thrasher Termite & Pest Control to earn the QualityPro designation for excellence in pest management, as well as the distinction of being named the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS Affiliate of the Year in 2011.

Looking back, Janet expresses her gratitude for both her immediate and business families and the roles they played in her company’s success. “Since 2000, we’ve tripled in size and opened a second branch in San Diego, which is managed by my son, Garrett,” she says. “I continue to be inspired by the collective support of my family, employees and colleagues. There are a lot of people here whom I care about very much, and I’m proud of our business and our ability to stay successful.”

Outside of work, Janet spends the bulk of her time with family. “I enjoy playing golf and exercising, but my biggest hobby these days is spending time with my grandchildren,” she says. “Of course, I also have my kids, my parents, my two older brothers and their families, and my husband’s family, whom I’ve managed to stay close with over the years.” Additionally, Janet enjoys traveling and spending time with friends. “I like taking road trips to Lake Tahoe and Monterey Bay, and I try to get to Hawaii a couple of times a year. I also attend an annual get-together in Palm Springs with 10 of my high school girlfriends, which is always fun.”

In addition to her more leisurely pastimes, Janet maintains an active involvement in her local community. “After Duff passed away, our family founded the Duff Thrasher Memorial Youth Fund,” she explains. “We hold an annual golf tournament fundraiser that brings in about $10,000, all of which is earmarked for things that benefit the youth in our community.”

When asked what she’d do if she could retire tomorrow, Janet says she’d continue to stay active. “I would exercise every day and golf more often…maybe take some golf vacations. I’d also help my kids a bit more with their little ones. As much as I want to be available for them, sometimes I’m just too busy, so I’d like to have more flexibility for that.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Jose Sharks.

Q: What are your favorite TV shows?
A: I always get a chuckle out of “Friends” and “Modern Family.”

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Viva in Los Gatos.

Q: If somebody was making a movie about your life, what actress would you choose to play yourself?
A: Meryl Streep.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: My three children.

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How to Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling

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LOS GATOS — One of the most common ways bed bugs enter a home is hitching a ride with unsuspecting travelers, particularly while they’re staying at a hotel. You can reduce the likelihood of bringing bed bugs home from your vacation by… Read more

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Video: Travel Tip to Avoid Bed Bugs

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LOS GATOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: A common way that bed bugs get around is by hitching a ride with unsuspecting travelers, particularly while they’re staying at a… Read more

John Gingrich is a veteran of the horticulture industry and owner of Gingrich Horticulture Service, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 979-5913 or by email.

John Gingrich

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John Gingrich: Plant Doctor

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CONCORD — From an early age, John Gingrich knew he wanted to be in a profession that would allow him to spend his days outside, working with plants and nature. While he assumed this would mean a career in landscaping, he eventually discovered a niche that held an even greater appeal. “After working as a landscaper for several years, I decided I wanted to stand out a little more in the field, so I enrolled at Cal Poly as an ornamental horticulture major,” he explains. “That’s when I really began to cultivate my interest in landscape health care.”

Following his college stint, John moved to the Concord area, where he applied his education by working for a local company. Fifteen years later, he struck out on his own and founded Gingrich Horticulture Service in 1999. Today, John continues to use his expert knowledge of horticultural health to assist Contra Costa County residents. “Our aim is to keep plants healthy, vigorous and growing to their full potential,” he says. “A lot of people install plants in their yards but don’t really understand what those plants need. That’s where we come in.”

A longtime resident of Concord (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Diane), John says the Bay Area’s temperate weather makes it an ideal environment for someone in his line of work. “An area’s climate dictates what kinds of plants can be grown there, so we’re very fortunate to be in an area that allows for such versatility. From plants that require winter chilling to subtropicals like citruses and guavas, it’s fun having such a vast horticultural pallet to choose from.”

Outside of work, John extends his love of the outdoors to a variety of pursuits, from hiking and camping to water- and snow-skiing. “I enjoy just about any activity that I can do outdoors, especially water sports like diving for abalones and spearfishing.” In addition to these active pastimes, John enjoys avocational hobbies like raising honeybees and making wine. “My wife tells me I have too many hobbies,” he laughs. However, as busy as his work and hobbies keep him, he also makes sure to keep up with his and Diane’s two children, Ian and Ashley, who are pursuing their respective vocational goals in college.

When asked about a personal philosophy, John quotes a verse of Biblical scripture: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” “As a consumer, when I hire somebody, I look to see if they’re going to deliver what they’ve promised,” he explains. “That’s something I really try to live by—not only to do what I say I’m going to, but to do it to the best of my abilities.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, John says he’d take a trip down under. “I’d probably go visit my son, who’s currently attending a university in Australia. Also, my wife is from Australia, so it would be a chance for us to spend some time with her family as well.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Naan ‘n’ Curry in Concord.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Swimming in my family’s Doughboy pool while Jeffrey, our German Shepherd, ran around and barked at us.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird. I like being up in the quiet of the morning.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Eggs Benedict with lox.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Boats. I have two sailboats and a fishing boat, not to mention four kayaks.

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A Consideration for Plant Selection

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CONCORD — Consumers have a tendency to think bigger is better, and this is no exception when it comes to shopping for plants at a nursery. That’s why, when selecting among plants of a similar species, most people are likely to assume… Read more

Identifying and Treating Fire Blight in Trees

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CONCORD — Fire blight is a growing concern among Bay Area property owners. It’s a bacterial disease that affects both ornamental and fruiting varieties of pear and apple trees (along with several other closely-related plants), and it’s so named because… Read more

3 Aspects of Lawn Care

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CONCORD – If you have a lawn, you’ll want to keep it as lush and healthy-looking as possible. To do this, you’ll need to address three critical aspects of lawn care: mowing, watering and fertilizing. 1. Mowing Anyone with a lawn knows… Read more

How to Plant a Tree

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CONCORD − Planting a tree on your property may seem like a simple task: dig a hole, put in the tree and refill the hole. However, to ensure a healthy transplant, it’s important to know some of the nuances involved in the… Read more

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Video: Dealing with Lawn Grubs

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CONCORD — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re having a problem with raccoons tearing up your lawn, you may not realize the true root of the issue. To learn… Read more

Richard Estrada is 19-year veteran of the pest control industry and owner of ATCO Pest Control, a Diamond Certified company since 2009. He can be reached at (415) 669-4994 or by email.

Richard Estrada

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Richard Estrada: Getting the Bugs Out

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NOVATO – When Richard Estrada first started working in the pest control industry, he was at a crossroads: burned out, overtired and looking for change. “I was delivering produce for a company based in San Francisco, which meant a lot of very early mornings,” he recalls. “I had just become a father a couple years earlier, and I found I wasn’t able to spend as much time with my son as I wanted because I was always trying to catch up on sleep.”

Richard knew he wanted to transition to a job with regular daytime hours, but he wasn’t sure where to start looking, so when he got an invitation from a friend to try his hand in a totally new industry, he didn’t hesitate to accept. “A good friend of mine owned a pest control company, and he invited me to work with him for a day to see if it was something I’d like to do,” he explains. “As it turned out, I found it very interesting and decided to keep working for him. Sixteen years later, I’m president of ATCO Pest Control.”

Born in East Los Angeles and raised in Iowa, Richard moved to the Bay Area in 1989, where he still lives with his wife, Stella, and their two sons, Nathan and Marcus. After nearly 25 years, he says he still appreciates the natural beauty of the indigenous landscape. “We have the bay, the mountains and so much more. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else at this point.” Richard and his family like to take advantage of all the area has to offer, engaging in a variety of outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and skiing. One pastime that Richard especially enjoys is golfing with his sons. “My boys and I go golfing quite often. It’s a great way for us to enjoy the beauty of creation and spend some time together.”

In his professional career, Richard says a crucial ingredient for success has been his personal associations. “When I went into business for myself, I knew it would be important to surround myself with people who were smarter than me when it came to business matters. Today, whether it’s industry colleagues or company employees, I continue to partner with people whom I can collaborate with and learn from.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Richard says it wouldn’t be a likely scenario. “Quite honestly, I can’t see myself retiring. I enjoy what I do and love working alongside my team members. I might travel and play golf a little more often, but I could never see myself fully retired.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: My smile.

Q: Which super power would you choose, flight or invisibility?
A: Invisibility.

Q: If you were an insect, what would you be?
A: I think I would be an ant—they’re hard workers and they don’t need to be told what to do.

Q: Do you have any memorable job stories?
A: One time, I got a call about an ant problem at a client’s house. As we were in the kitchen looking at the infestation, the client brought my attention to an ant farm that was sitting on the countertop. We both had to laugh at the irony.

Q: What’s one movie that people would be surprised you’ve never seen?
A: “Arachnophobia.”

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How to Prevent and Remove Rodents

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NOVATO — When it comes to keeping your home free of pests, rodents are a primary concern. Here are a few tips on how to both prevent rodents from entering your home and remove them after the fact. Prevention The most… Read more

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Video: Keeping Rodents Out Of Your Home

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NOVATO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If there are rodents disrupting your neighborhood, there are some ways you can keep rodents out of your home. Today, we’re in Novato… Read more

Mario Martinez is a 16-year veteran of the pest control industry and owner of All N One Pest Eliminators, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (888) 344-0552 or by email.

Mario Martinez

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Mario Martinez: A Friendly Connection

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — After 15 years in the pest control business, Mario Martinez traces his industry roots back to a friendly connection. “In 2000, a friend of mine got promoted to branch manager for a local pest control company, at which point he offered me a job,” he explains. “Prior to that, I had been working for a company that manufactured chemical landscaping products like liquid fertilizer and weed killer, so it sort of overlapped with pest control. My friend brought me on board and helped me get licensed. After about 10 years working with him, I started my own company, but we continue to be good friends today.”

Today, as owner of All N One Pest Eliminators, Mario says he appreciates the many opportunities his job affords him to help others. “Few pest control companies offer all the services a customer might need, so I like being able to provide a broad range of solutions. Also, as the company has grown, I’ve been able to provide employment for many people, including members of my family, which feels really good.”

A longtime East Bay resident (where he lives with his wife, Kristy, and their two children), Mario expresses his appreciation for the temperate local climate. “Great weather—that’s what I love about working in the Bay Area,” he says. “My job requires me to work outside most of the time, so the nice weather really makes it a pleasure.”

Outside of work, Mario’s favorite pastime is exploring the diverse Bay Area landscape. “My job keeps me pretty busy, but when I get a chance, I like to get away with my family,” he says. “One of our favorite activities is going camping, fishing and jet skiing at local lakes like East Park Reservoir. We just like seeing different places and enjoying everything the Bay Area has to offer.” However, as much as he loves being out and about, Mario also enjoys relaxing at home and watching TV, movies, and sports.

In his life and career, Mario espouses the centrality of honesty. “Honesty is the most important thing,” he affirms. “For example, if we find ourselves in a situation where we aren’t able to help a customer, it’s on us to be upfront and let them know rather than just save face. Even in such instances, which are pretty rare, customers appreciate being told the truth and being treated in a respectful way.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Mario says he’d take a trip. “My wife and I really enjoy traveling, so I’d probably plan a vacation. There are plenty of places we’d like to see and experience, so that would give us an opportunity to do so.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Definitely a dog person. We have two dogs: a miniature chihuahua and a pit bull.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Stay home, order a pizza and watch a movie.

Q: What do you like on your pizza?
A: Pesto, white garlic sauce, artichokes, bacon and chicken.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: It’s a tie between Thanksgiving and Christmas—everybody gets together and it’s a great family time.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My WWF action figures. I used to have a bunch of them, including Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper, and always had a blast playing with them.

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Keeping Rodents Out of the Home

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ANTIOCH — Do you have a rodent problem in your home? Have traps and similar appliances failed to provide a permanent solution? It may be because you haven’t done anything to stop rodents from accessing your home in the first place. You… Read more

How to Combat a Rodent Infestation

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ANTIOCH — There are a couple of ways to combat a rodent infestation, but in order to ensure both safety and effectiveness, it’s necessary to have an understanding of correct application techniques. One popular option for combating a rodent infestation is… Read more

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Video: Combating a Rodent Infestation

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ANTIOCH — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you have a rodent problem in your home, you’ll want to combat it in a way that’s both safe and… Read more

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