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Pest Control in the trenches in WWI

My little Terrier “Max” here he is kissing his brother our cat TK.

ANZAC Day (Australian War Memorial Day) was yesterday and it got me thinking about the issues that our soldiers faced during World War I. One of those problems was RATS! I hate rats! I’m blaming Stephen King and his book which was turned into a movie that I unfortunately saw as a teenager..many a nightmare was had due to that!

During WWI the problem of Rats in the trenches was a big problem. The rats were drawn to the battlefield due to the scraps of food that littered the trenches, the sewage and the many bodies that were buried almost where they fell.. often in quite shallow graves.

The rats feasted on the dead bodies, which there was a plethora of.. and not surprisingly they grew in size and numbers! The rats carried lice which was another issue the humans had to deal with. There were also reports of these rats biting the soldiers.

By 1918 Doctors identified lice as the cause of trench fever, which plagued the troops with headaches, fevers and muscle pain. This plague had reached considerable proportions before a concerted effort was organised to deal with it.

We slept in our clothes and cut our hair short so that it would tuck inside our caps. Dressing simply meant putting on our boots. There were times when we had to scrape the lice off with the blunt edge of a knife and our underclothes stuck to us.” (Elizabeth de T’Serclaes – a nurse on the front line)

The water in the trenches through which we waded was alive with a multitude of swimming frogs. Red slugs crawled up the side of the trenches and strange beetles with dangerous looking horns wriggled along dry ledges and invaded the dugouts, in search of the lice that infested them.” (unknown journalist)

So how did they deal with this problem? Well Terriers! So my little dog Max (above photo) might have been confisgated to aid in the war effort! Trains full of dogs were despatched to the front! The dogs along with poisons and the instigation of a competition. A reward was offered for every dead rat bought in by men in the trenches. In a single fortnight one army corps captured/killed around eight thousand rats. The men were rewarded with a halfpenny a rat compensation. You can see photos online of men with their haul of dead rats they were presenting to get paid for.

I’m extremely grateful that isn’t an issue we need to deal with anymore… First sign of a rodent at my place and I call for one of our operators quick smart!

An interview with Melinda

As a new employee of the company I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Melinda and talk to her about the beginnings of Stevie Redback Termite and Pest Control and find out how we got to where we are now.

It’s actually a great story of small business success. The company started in 1998 with Steve and Melinda running the business from home. Over the years that staff of two has grown with Allan (our operations manager) joining the company in 2001 and Gayleen (our office manager) joining the company in 2003, and now we are a staff of 18. My name is Kyra and I’m one of the newest recruits here in the office. I look after all of the social media for the business and I’m looking forward to showing you our great team and the work we do so if you aren’t following us on facebook and linkedin yet please do so!

Steve has always had a passion for growing the business so he could help as many people as possible. One of the things he prides himself on is the great service and reliability of his operators. “It’s the care we show and guarantee of work that is important for our customers and why they refer their friends to us” Melinda said during my conversation with her recently. “We really do get alot of friend referrals and that’s awesome! It means everyone is looking after our customers… from the office staff right through to the operator in the field”

When I started I was impressed with the team environment and friendliness of everyone and when I mentioned that to Melinda she went on to say; “I think our staff retention says alot about the team we have here and the culture of the business. Alot of our staff are long term team members and tend to stay a long time! We strive to find people who are not only good at what they do but focused on customer service and that shows through to each other in a great camaraderie”

Here at Stevie Redback we are still a family owned and operated business with pest control specialists that cover the greater Brisbane region from Ipswich to Beenleigh and north to the Sunshine Coast. We specialise in all areas of pest and termite eradication and control.

We are specialists in termite control and treatment in every stage of building… in pre construction we have a dedicated team of boys who are specialists in this area.. so if you are doing any renovations or building a new home you should give the office a call to find out what we do in this respect.

Steve and Melinda Hughes of Stevie Redback Pest & Termite Control