After searching the State of Delaware’s web site for the proper agency to submit inquiries to regarding pest inspection companies, I sent the following on December 6, 1999, via e-mail letter to “firstname.lastname@example.org”:
I am currently researching the number of complaints filed with each state’s licensing/regulating agency against Terminix, one of the nation’s largest pest inspection and pest control companies. My records indicate there are currently two Terminix aka Terminix International aka Terminix Termite & Pest Control branches in the state of Delaware.
Please let me know the total number of complaints filed against Terminix with the regulatory agency in Connecticut (sic) and during what time period or whom to contact for the information.
The following was received in an e-mail letter December 8, 1998, from H. Grier Stayton:
Your message is unclear. You have requested complaints filed against Terminix with the Connecticut regulatory agency.
Gee, I would think anyone would realize Delaware is the state that alphabetically follows Connecticut; and that since I stated I was researching every state, he would realize I made a stupid mistake of not replacing the word “Connecticut” with the word “Delaware.” Furthermore, why would I mention the branches in Delaware, but request information about Connecticut of someone in Delaware? Mr. Stayton went on to say:
If you are asking for information about complaints filed in Delaware against Terminix, you will need to send a letter to my attention requesting under the Freedom of Information Act. The request should come by regular mail.
Well, I would have -- if he had provided his mailing address! Since he didn’t, I sent a regular letter to the Department of Agriculture on February 21, 1999, asking the following questions, the answers to which were provided by David H. Pyne, Pesticide Compliance Specialist, State of Delaware, Department of Agriculture in a letter dated March 11:
- What is the name and address of Delaware’s pest inspection/pest control licensing and regulating agency?
Delaware Department of Agriculture
2320 South DuPont Hwy.
Dover, DE 19901
- How many years does Delaware’s licensing and regulating agency maintain records of complaints against pest control/pest inspection companies?
Records are available back to 1985
- How many Terminix branches are currently operating in Delaware? (My records, taken from the yellow pages on the Internet, indicate there are 2 listings as separate names -- Terminix International and Terminix Termite & Pest Control -- at the same address. Is that considered one branch or two?)
Terminix International branches currently operating in Delaware:
The Terminix International Company, L.P.
802 First State Boulevard
Wilmington, DE 19804
The Terminix International Company L.P.
8919 Bi-State Boulevard
Delmar, MD 21875
Terminix closed a branch in Newark, DE in 1997, which was a satellite of the Wilmington branch.
- How many complaints, if any, have been filed in Delaware against Terminix International (and its aka’s); including the nature of the complaints, name and location of Terminix branch involved; and disposition of complaints (dismissed, settled, fine, suspended, or revoked license, probation, etc.)?
- Branch could not control the termites in a house, residence complained to DDA section. Branch retreated structure, no violations were noted.
- Branch treated a structure for fungus problem, treatment resulted in strong odors in the house, the home owner complained to DDA, resulting investigation determined the applicator did not clean out the spray tanks from a previous treatment resulting in strong odors. The branch was issued a letter of warning.
- Branch treated a structure for termites, the homeowner had requested to be present during the treatment, applicator treated the house when the homeowner was not present. The homeowner contacted the DDA for a investigation. Investigation determined a full termite treatment was not performed. Branch signed a consent order (civil penalty) and returned the customer his money.
- Technician misapplied a pesticide on a customer’s property. Branch was issued a letter of warning.
- Termite treatment recall, customer complained to DDA, investigation found record keeping violations, the branch was issued a letter of warning.
- Termite treatment recall, customer complained to DDA, investigation found no violations, case placed into permanent abeyance.
- Technician improperly disposed of spilled termiticide. Branch was issued a letter of warning.
- Termite treatment recall, customer complained to DDA, no violations noted. Permanent abeyance.
- Termite treatment recall, customer complained to DDA, investigation determined record keeping and safety equipment violations. Branch was issued a letter of warning.
- Termite treatment recall, customer complained to DDA, investigation found no violations. Case placed into permanent abeyance.
- Termite treatment recall, customer complained to DDA, investigation determined record keeping violations. Branch was issued a letter of warning.
- Termite technician did not complete full treatment of the structure. The customer noticed that drill holes did not go all the way through the concrete. Investigation determined record keeping violations and incomplete treatment of the structure. The branch retreated the structure. The company was fined as a result of an administrative hearing.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) investigated two separate complaints concerning failure to control termites infesting houses. Termite baiting systems were being used around both houses and a partial termiticide treatment had been performed around both houses. During the investigation, the Department found unregistered employees applying pesticides, failure to install auxiliary baiting stations and provide proper installation and disposal according to label directions, failure to provide customer with written disclosure within fourteen days after a partial termiticide treatment, and failure to keep and maintain pesticide application records as required by the Delaware Pesticide Rules and Regulations, Section 14.
Penalty: The respondent signed a consent order agreeing to pay civil penalty of $7,200 and to abide by 3 DEL C., Chapter, Delaware Pesticide Law. The respondent further agreed to....