Kindly exterminator

Gene Ahrend

Photo By Marisol Salgado

Gene Ahrend walks the streets of Paradise and Chico knocking on doors to let people know about his new business: Greenleaf Pest Service. He opened his natural pest-control firm about a month ago after working for another exterminator. Instead of standard chemicals, Ahrend uses pest-control agents that come from botanical sources such as peppermint and wintergreen plants. He is licensed in Butte County as well as Plumas County, and he is looking to expand.

How did you come up with the idea to establish a completely natural pest service?

I’ve been in the industry for 11 years, and I’ve sprayed a lot of different products. I kept hearing a lot of people tell me, “Oh, I don’t want that stuff around my house, it’s too toxic, and the smell is terrible,” and I just decided to use something a little safer. I looked into products from a company called EcoSMART. So, that’s where I get my products from.

Why natural pest-control products?

At my age, I look back on what we’ve done to the world and the environment and I just thought this was a little safer and a nicer way to do the work I’ve been doing for a long time. The products are made with plant oils. It’s 100 percent safe. Made from the earth for the earth.

So is this method more expensive?

The products are a little more expensive. It’s just now starting to come into the mainstream. The products have been around a long time, but a lot of people are just now taking it up. I’m one of the first ones in Northern California to go 100 percent organic. As far as pricing goes, an average house runs about $50 a month, and I recommend treatment once a month.

What are some of the advantages of having your house treated with natural products?

Well, the smell for one; it’s a minty, pleasant odor. The fact that it’s not hurting the environment is important. If it washes down into water, it doesn’t hurt any animals, whether it’s a cat, dog or fish. People who have allergic reactions to chemicals really benefit from this. I have asthma caused by allergies since I have moved to lovely Northern California, and I use these products at my house and it doesn’t bother me as much as the other products would.

What do you say to people who are a bit skeptical about 100 percent natural pest-control products?

I tell them it does work. I did a lot of research on these products, and if it’s done right it works. Just about all insects are affected: ants, spiders, earwigs and silverfish. The key is you have to spray it in the right places.