Not to be a pest, but keeping home rodent, insect free is a specialty

David Marshall, owner of Arizona Pest Squad, has some tips on taking care of pests in your home. — Photo by Noah Kutz

A sensation of needles being thrust into his skin caused the boy to leap out of bed, exclaiming, “There’re nails in my blankets.”

His oldest sister rushed to her brother’s aid from the room next door, attempting to pick out logical phrases from the uncontrolled shrieks of pain and confusion.

Soon after, the boy’s father arrived on scene in the dark upstairs bedroom and began to inspect the bed sheets amid the screaming that pierced the early- morning atmosphere. He shook the comforter a few times before the source of his son’s pain dropped to the floor, along with everyone else’s jaws: A creeping, crawling, 8-legged intruder, its movement frozen on the carpet, its stinger poised to strike the next victim.

The scorpion stung multiple times in the boy’s own bed that night.

Thankfully, the pest from this particular scenario was far from infanthood, which meant its sting was less potent. (It seems that Indiana Jones was speaking truthfully when he told his apprentice, “When it comes to scorpions, the bigger the better.”)

As such creepy crawlies and unwanted rodents begin to awake from their winter hibernation, Valley residents are bound to catch a few pests wandering between the cracks and crevices of their homes.

As little as Tempe or West Chandler folks want to share their bed with a scorpion, or their pantry with a few hungry mice, the inevitability of such an encounter looms large here.

However, David Marshall, a long-time exterminator and Tempe resident who has “been around the block” pest-wise, has some suggestions to share.

Not that he lacks his own first-hand experience: Marshall has seen practically every kind of infestation that the Phoenix-metro area has to offer. Due to warmer temperatures here in the Valley, Marshall says, insects and rodents come out of their winter hiding places much sooner than anywhere.

Therefore, homeowners may begin to see an increased number of scorpions and vermin in their attics or on their porches before the usual springtime awakening.

According to Marshall, what bugs him the most is when homeowners attempt to eradicate pest problems on their own.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is the DIY method,” says Marshall. “The DIY method means going to Home Depot and asking the guy there, ‘Hey, I have cockroaches, what do I do?’ And of course that guy doesn’t know any better than you do. That’s why pest control companies are in existence.”

As the owner of Arizona Pest Squad, Marshall has dealt with everything from the smallest mouse in the back of a restaurant (yes, restaurants run into the same rodent problems as you) to the largest termite infestations in residential communities.

Because he holds licensure as pest-control expert, Marshall can utilize methods of extermination that cannot be purchased by the average homeowner.

Marshall uses a different method of pest elimination for each job, depending on the circumstances. Some require intense and immediate action, while others respond to slower and more methodical methods to de-rodent a home or business.

“Every time you do a pest control treatment you want to do two things,” says Marshall. “First, you want to do a ‘knockdown;’ that is, anything existing, you want to kill it. Second, you want to apply a residual, so that if something comes up you’ll at least have some type of long-lasting effect.”

One of the biggest problems that homeowners face, according to those in Marshall and others in his field of endeavor, is breeding among insects and rodents. Scorpion mothers can have up to 100 babies in a single batch (or brood), and carry those on their backs for up to 20 days.

Attempting to kill the mother while she is carrying these tiny invaders will result in them scattering throughout the area unnoticed, creating a false confidence that you have fixed the problem, having only made it worse.

Similarly, cockroaches and other unwanted guests will lay their eggs throughout the place, leaving the impression that they’ve eradicated the insects via such DIY methods. They don’t realize, however, that they’ve only rid the house of the adult cockroaches, and that, soon enough, the babies will hatch in other areas of the place.

Mosquitos, another unwelcome guest, are one of the most dangerous pests, Marshall says. “They carry diseases.” He recommends fogging to rid an area of the tiny pests.

As to why bugs, rodents and other home invaders may pay you a visit, the number one attractions are crumbs and sticky messes.

When was the last time you cleaned the area behind your fridge or your oven? Do you pull
out your couch cushions and say, “Oh, I’ve been looking for that,” or similarly, being surprised after discovering several months of trash accumulation in your favorite TV-viewing spot?

Nothing can be more unwelcome than creepy- crawly house guests. If you’d prefer to share your bed with someone (or something) that doesn’t have pincers, you may want to rethink your living habits.

And before you watch a YouTube video to learn how to rid your wife’s closet of cockroaches, call the experts first, they’ll be glad to help.

Marshall is a member of the National Pest Management Association and studied at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey Small Business Leadership Academy.

Information: 480-544-1115 or


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