Zika threat increases business for local pest control companies

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Three years ago, Robert Rummells bought a pest control company called Mosquito Joe. Since Zika virus has become a threat, his business has picked up significantly, he told 8News Friday.

He responded to 8News’s questions asking just how much the business has increased.

“40 percent … right off the bat. So in 2013, 2014 and 2015 those were solid numbers,” he told 8News reporter, Jonathan Costen. “This March we saw a 60 percent increase [in calls over previous years].”

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Rummells said many of his calls come from expectant mothers.

“As of last week we had between 62 and 65 expectant mothers who came on time for the first time ever since we started in 2013,” he explained. “They came on schedule this year … because they’re concerned about the Zika virus.”

Dee Dee Weidman is not an expectant mother, but she does fear for the safety of her child, so she gets her yard treated every 21 days.

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“Yes, I am [worried] because I have a daughter and she has an auto-immune disease and she is like me and [mosquitos] love us,” Weidman said. “We really do attract mosquitoes, and with her having an auto-immune disease and being so ill, we can’t afford not to have the service. It’s critical for anyone with an illness.”

Meanwhile, Rummells said people should not live in fear, but should consider having their yards sprayed for another reason: “Quality of life issues.”

“When you’re sitting on your back deck enjoying a meal, enjoying an ice cold drink, you don’t want to be slapping and chasing mosquitoes,” he said. “We like to make outside fun again and who wants to put up with the nuisance of mosquitoes, ticks and fleas?”

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