Indulge my poetic side for a moment, won’t you? Ahem:
Ode to the Yellow jacket
September, for most, is the best month of the year.
Octoberfest looms close.
Smiles abound, as does good cheer.
The weather is gorgeous and the nights are clear,
Winter is still months away,
So there is nothing to fear.
Brats are grilling on the Labor Day fire;
Browning, bubbling, beckoning,
Feeding my tummy’s desire.
Lo and behold, who doth appear?
A half-drunk wasp/hornet/bee,
Ruining my beer!
Why, oh why must you partake?
Please stop buzzing around my yard,
Landing on Aunt Charlene’s Tres Leches cake.
Since the first caveman invented fire in which to cook his meat,
Yellowjackets have ruined many BBQs,
Buzzing in the summer heat.
You swish them away, but they get bold.
Two more show up,
It’s “pheromones,” I’m told.
They live for “my” feast, sucking out all the fun,
Four more show up, Buzzing and Buzzing
I name them Bart, Lynn, Brett and Aaron.*
Now it’s finally happened, little Lisha got stung,
She was taking a sip of her soda;
When she got her bell rung.
The yellowjacket attacked and nailed her lip,
But one sting isn’t enough.
It flew down and got her on the hip.
Grandma Schopen grabs an ice cube to ease some of the pain.
She never had a chance,
AS THE YELLOWJACKET STRIKES AGAIN.**
Now the party is spoiled as people head indoors.
Only a few brave souls remain,
To cook their chocolaty S’mores.
You might as well add marshmallows to your list,
As an agile yellow-coat swoops in.
Stinging you on the finger, now you’re pi###d!***
* Not-so-hidden Green Bay Packer reference.
** Please read that line in a British accent.
*** Rhymes with “list.”
Now that September is here, we are busy grabbing as many yellowjacket jobs as we can handle. It’s a special time of the year. The weather is starting to change in the northern states, and yellowjacket colonies are at full strength. Carpenter ants are mustering up one last charge; earwigs have pretty much run their course; mosquitoes are beginning to retreat; mouse jobs are lurking around the corner, but even they are still a couple of months off. No, my friends, this is yellowjacket season — and I love it!
I dig the adrenaline rush that I get walking up to a yellowjacket colony, timing out their patterns and then BAM — taking them down with my pesticide of choice. After my brief, but effective service, I then collect my money (between $130 and $175). If I could do yellowjacket jobs all day, I would. The work is easy, and there are rarely any callbacks.
When the techs have time to just hang out and talk in the office, what is the No. 1 topic? Who got nailed by yellowjackets, of course.
A close second would be where on their body they got stung. Three summers ago, I got nailed on the right butt cheek while inspecting rodent bait stations. It hurt so bad, I could barely drive to my next client. The venom hit my glands and I swelled up like a sausage.
One of my veteran techs had a yellowjacket get in behind his face shield. It bounced around like a pinball, stinging him repeatedly. No one likes to be stung, but I have to admit it can occasionally be hilarious when it happens to someone else.
So enjoy yellowjacket season just a few weeks more.
October brings us boxelder bugs and Asian lady beetles.
Fun? Nah, they’re a bore.
Schopen’s Open Book
Start-up: Schopen Pest Solutions Inc.
Headquarters: McHenry, Ill.
Founder: Peter F. Schopen Jr.
Start-Up Date: April 11, 2006
Number of employees: seven full-time/two part-time
2006 REVENUE: $97,235 (one employee)
2007 REVENUE: $172,495 (one employee)
2008 REVENUE: $203,732 (one employee)
2009 REVENUE: $243,427 (two employees)
2010 REVENUE: $325,960 (three employees)
2011 REVENUE: $425,847 (four employees)
2012 REVENUE: $489,887 (five employees)
2013 REVENUE: $572,772 (six employees)
2014 REVENUE: $710,000 (six full-time and one part-time employees)
JULY 2015: $84,502 (27% increase over 2014)
2015 YEAR-TO-DATE (JULY): $416,825 (31% increase over 2014)
2015 GOAL: $887,000
Schopen is owner and founder of Schopen Pest Solutions, McHenry, Ill. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him via Twitter: @schopenpest; Instagram: @peteschopen; or Facebook: Schopen Pest Solutions, Inc.