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New pest control firm seeks to fill market gap

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Eco Pest launched in October offering economical and environmentally friendlier pest control options (Photograph supplied)

Two years ago termites invaded Stephen Mayor’s apartment.He tried everything from special dusts to spraying and spot treatments. “Nothing worked,” he said. In the end he had no choice but to fumigate. Calling around he quickly learnt that there was only one company on the island that tented for termites, and they had a long waiting list. “I said to my friend, Will Lewis, this is a seriously underserved market in Bermuda,” Mr Mayor said.In October, he and Mr Lewis, and Mr Lewis’ father AJ Lewis, opened Eco Pest Bermuda on Zuill’s Park Road in Smiths, offering fumigation and general pest control. Bug-killing products include natural options such as concentrated natural oils and soaps. They go after everything from termites, roaches and ants, to cinch bugs and rodents.“Bermuda has a massive rat and mouse problem right now,” Mr Mayor said. “The most effective solution is bait. “While this is done in Bermuda today, the bait boxes are often poorly placed and are not monitored or replenished enough. We use an additional attractant on the inside of the tamper-proof bait boxes to lure the rodents in and feast on the bait. This makes baiting more effective.”Mr Mayor works full time in corporate banking and works for Eco Pest in his spare time. Will Lewis, who was formerly a full-time quantity surveyor and consultant in the construction industry, is now managing the business with his father. “A.J. has owned his own construction business for over 30 years and has been a huge help in getting everything together,” Mr Mayor said. “We all have different roles and the dynamic has been really strong for the two years we’ve been on this journey together.”They called themselves Eco Pest because they believe Bermuda deserves an economical option to its pest problems. The Eco Pest website states: “Our name reflects our commitment to providing competitive and fair pricing, giving you access to industry leading products for general pest control and fumigation.”But it’s also about ecology. Mr Lewis said their natural solutions kill bugs just as well as more mainstream means and are less harmful to the environment. The only downside is that some of the natural solutions don’t last as long. Mr Mayor said it has been a long road since they first started laying out the business almost two years ago. “The first challenge was getting fully immersed,” Mr Mayor said. “We were green in terms of knowing what the industry was and how it worked.”To educate themselves, they went to industry trade shows, and Mr Lewis, his father, and Eco Pest head technician, Chris Davies, attended a weeklong intensive course at the University of Florida School of Structural Fumigation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.“It is the only programme of its kind in the world,” Mr Lewis said. “It opened up our basic knowledge of the industry. It helped us understand what we were getting into.”The Department of Health also put them in touch with Florida pest control expert Pete Elbert, who has become their mentor. He worked in the industry for more than 45 years and is a consultant with the Health Department.Regulations stipulate that Eco Pest must do 20 supervised fumigations, before they can work on their own. Mr Elbert travels to Bermuda almost every other week to help train Eco Pest employees and supervise fumigations. So far, Eco Pest has done seven fumigations and have another 20 on the roster.But Mr Mayor said the weather could be a real stumbling block. People in the industry can not do fumigations when the wind is above 20 knots. But the business has taken off since they opened their doors. “Both fumigation and general pest control has really exceeded my expectations,” Mr Mayor said. “Every day we get more and more calls for quotes.”Next, they want to build up the commercial side of their business. “We are offering businesses, hotels and restaurants a fully integrated pest management programme,” Mr Mayor said. “This involves us meeting with facilities management of the commercial client and doing a full-scale proposal for how we would tackle their problems. “We know that pest control for commercial clients is an important thing for them to get right, which is why we usually set out a plan for both the client and the Eco Pest team to follow. We work early mornings for clients in the hospitality space 3am to 5am, and either early morning or late evening for businesses. “We’ve taken on some very large commercial clients so far and have received great feedback.” • For more information see www.ecopestbermuda.com, call 296-7378 or e-mail info@ecopestbermuda.com or check them out on Facebook @ecopestbermuda

Eco Pest’s Will Lewis monitoring gas being used in a house fumigation (Photograph supplied)