I am going to offer my services to various organizations around the country because of a lot of unnecessary spraying of toxic pesticides in public buildings. If you know of any government agency or commercial companies that might welcome this, please let me know and I will send them the letter below. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
“I am available to help your organization start practicing safe and effective pest management and get away from the generic spraying of pesticides. I have over 40 years of experience in this industry and know the hazards of pesticides and the safe alternatives you can use to control any pests. I will be available online and by phone. Not only will I help your facility, I will help all of your associates with any pest problems they have at home, either online or by phone and there will be no charge for that. You will not have to hire a pest control company to come out and spray pesticides on a regular basis. That isn’t pest control, it is pesticide pollution. How much do I charge for this service? That is up to you. You can pay me whatever the service is worth to you. I wouldn’t want anyone to say I overcharged them. My resume is below. If you are interested, you can contact me at email@example.com or by phone at 505-385-2820.”
My Personal Resume
The first company I worked for was King Pest Control in Hollywood, Florida. I went to work for them in 1972. We did monthly pest control by spraying baseboards in people’s homes. There were no rules or regulations dealing with applying pesticides in those days. I asked my supervisor why we sprayed baseboards and he said it was only to kill time in a customer’s house. To make them think they are getting their money’s worth. That was the reason to spray baseboards then and it is the reason some companies spray baseboards now. Here is how we did a typical cockroach clean-out in those days.
Pest control was $5 a month at that time. We charged $15 for the initial clean-out. When we did a clean-out, the customer was required to empty their kitchen cabinets. Then we went in and sprayed all the cabinets where the food and dishes were kept with chlordane. After that we sprayed all of the baseboards in the house with malathion because it stunk and we wanted the customer to know we weren’t using water. Then we fogged the kitchen with an oil-based pyrethrum using a electric fogging machine. The roaches would come out of the cabinets and get stuck in the oil on the counters. After that we dusted the attic with DDT dust and then put heptachlor granules around the perimeter of the house. We told the people the stuff was safe and they could put their food back in the cabinets when they dried. I have no idea how many people we made sick in those days but I do know a lot of people who were in the industry that got cancer at an early age. We didn’t use any safety equipment back then and we drove cars with all the chemicals in the back seat. And in those days I smoked cigarettes. It is a wonder I am still alive!
Eventually I got promoted to spraying lawns. We used to spray the lawns with Dursban, an organophosphate pesticide. We wore shorts and went barefoot. We were told the pesticides were harmless.
I got promoted again to the termite section. On one occasion, I had to go into a crawl space to do a termite inspection. The house was near a canal. After I made several turns in the crawl space, my flashlight died and I couldn’t see the opening or daylight anywhere. I started crawling toward where I thought the opening was when I heard a low growl. I never heard a noise like that and thought there was a dog under the house with me. I fished out my cigarette lighter (good thing I smoked in those days) and lit it and discovered I almost crawled over six-foot alligator sleeping under the house. Needless to say I dropped my lighter and crawled in the opposite direction as fast as I could. It only took a few minutes to see the daylight coming through the crawl space opening. I told the lady I couldn’t find any termites, but she had an alligator under the house. Actually I don’t know if she had termites as I never finished the inspection. She said the alligator lived under her house when it wasn’t in the canal. She just forgot to tell me about it.
In 1975 I moved to Houston, Texas and went to work for Truly Nolen as a salesman. In about two months I was promoted to branch manager. Truly Nolen changed the district areas and Houston became part of the Florida district. I didn’t want to go to Florida for meetings so I left Truly Nolen in June of 1977 and we moved to San Antonio where I started working for Orkin as route-man in the hill country of Texas. That was very good work, driving all over a large part of the state, servicing homes and ranches throughout.
In December my wife and I decided to move to New Mexico where she came from. I worked for several small companies in Albuquerque including Pied Piper, Craig’s Pest Control, Kill-a-Bug and Pest-B-Gone. None of them worked out as there was no chance for promotion. The owners were all very nice and I liked them, but I wanted to expand myself. I worked for Terminix on two occasions but on both jobs, the management was terrible. I went to work for Orkin in sales and that was very good.
Finally, in 1995, I gave up working for pest control companies and went to work for the University of New Mexico as their pest control specialist. I worked for UNM for 11 years before I finally retired and it was interesting to say the least. I started using least-toxic products and the campus community loved it.
I started my career of writing columns when I was with UNM. I wrote frequent bug articles for the UNM Daily Lobo and then started writing for the Albuquerque Tribune in 1996. Soon I was in all of the Scripps-Howard papers, which owned the Tribune. I quit the Tribune in 2001 and went to the Albuquerque Journal. Lost most of Scripps papers since they owned the Tribune except the San Francisco Chronicle which I continued writing columns for. I also wrote for the Santa Fe New Mexican. I currently write for the Alibi, the Socorro El Defense Chieftain, the Valencia County New-Bulletin, Rio Rancho Observer, the Beacon in Grants, and PrimeTime.
I wrote two books while working for UNM and they were both published by UNM Press. The first was “Ask the Bugman”, which was based on my columns and was published in 2002. My co-author and illustrator was Johnna Dewberry. My second book, “The Bugman on Bugs”, was published in 2004. My co-author and illustrator on this book was also Johnna. Former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson wrote the Forward to this book. He wrote:
“Richard and Johnna have once again delivered a book that is equally entertaining and informative. In this book, Mr. Fagerlund discusses the various types of common pests and the ways they are most typically exterminated. However, the problem, according to the “Bugman,” is not the pest itself, but the pesticides used to exterminate them. Common pesticides have been proven extremely harmful, if not fatal, to animals and also humans. There must be a stop to the unnecessary use of these dangerous chemicals.
Alternatives must also be given for what we use pesticides on. Cotton, for example, attracts nine different kinds of pests; as a result, twenty-nine different pesticides are sprayed. Cotton’s alternative, hemp, only attracts two pests, whose removal does not require a pesticide. Hemp, if decriminalized, can help reduce the amount of pesticides deposited into the air, providing a safer environment for both humans and animals.
The ‘Bugman on Bugs’ is more than just an encyclopedia on bugs and chemicals; it is a guide. By eliminating frequent misconceptions and replacing them with facts, Richard and lead the way to a better, healthier planet, where pollution from pesticides is limited.”
I also wrote a few scientific papers on campus. Here are three papers I wrote, two with co-authors on campus and one with Bill MacKay, an entomologist from the University of Texas, El Paso. The last one about fleas and lice has me as the second author, but I actually conceived the paper and wrote most of it. Since it was published by a government agency and one of their folks, Paulette Ford, was a co-author, they put her as the senior author.
Mackay, W. P., and R. Fagerlund. 1997.
“Range expansion of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), into New Mexico and extreme West Texas.” Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 99:758-759.
Fagerlund, R.; Ford, P. L.; Brown, T.; Polechla, P. J., Jr. 2001.
New records for fleas (Siphonaptera) from New Mexico with notes on plague-carrying species. Southwestern Naturalist. 46: 94-95.
Ford, Paulette L.; Fagerlund, Richard A.; Duszynski, Donald W.; Polechla, Paul J. 2004.
Fleas and lice of mammals in New Mexico. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-123. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 57 p.
I also had the opportunity to teach a couple of classes in entomology in the biology department. They asked me to teach them even though I never attended college myself. I was a Board Certified Entomologist, designated by the Entomological Society of America (ESA). The classes were a success. I asked the students to write critiques of the class and they were all positive.
I retired from UNM in 2006 and became a consultant to help people manage their pests without using toxic pesticides. I came out of retirement for close to a year as I accepted the job as IPM Manager for the City of Santa Fe. When I worked for the City of Santa Fe, I personally took care of about 80 city buildings and never used a drop of pesticide. I left that job because of the traveling every day between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
I was certified by the New Mexico Dept. of Agriculture to conduct pesticide training classes for the pest control industry.
Also, I have over 13,000 friends, followers and connections on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) so I am not unknown. You can Google me for more information.