BED BUG DETECTION BY A DOG
In November 2014, Ray’s Termite & Pest Control welcomed our new bed bug detection dog. She was professionally trained by IronHeart High Performance Dogs – Kansas City. She is available for commercial use in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. She can work hotels, apartments, movie theaters and anywhere bedbugs can hide. She also assists us during residential detection. She finds bed bugs where a technician may not (like behind a baseboard or in a lamp).
Jenny Lou Merrell, Owner with Liberty
Read all about Jenny Lou & Liberty – from the NEWS-GAZETTE
One certified veteran-owned business in area
Sun, 11/09/2014 – 7:00am | Don Dodson
Photo by: Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette
Jenny Lou Merrell of Ray’s Termite & Pest Control with her bedbug-detecting dog Liberty at the business in Bismarck Thursday Nov. 7, 2014.
Of 95 Illinois companies certified as a Veteran-Owned Small Business, only one is in East Central Illinois.
The honor goes to Ray’s Termite and Pest Control, in the Vermilion County community of Bismarck.
Ray’s, owned by Jenny Lou Merrell, is also designated as a Female Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise.
Merrell served as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy from 1986 to 1990. During her Navy days, she was a pharmacy technician at Balboa Hospital, the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
Following her stint in the Navy, she attended college in Idaho and returned to the Danville area in 1999.
Her dad, Ray Gash, started Ray’s Termite and Pest Control in 1986, and shortly after Merrell came back to the area, she became manager of the business. She acquired the company in April 2010 and has expanded operations to serve Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
Merrell said it took about two years to get various business certifications from the government. She received her federal Women’s Business Enterprise certificate first, then got various state and national veteran-owned business certifications.
“It’s a time-consuming process,” but well worth it, Merrell said. “That certification gets you in touch with people who can get contracts for you.”
One thing Merrell does is provide termite soil poisoning for major contractors before they begin construction at a site. Having the veteran-owned business certification puts her in touch not only with contractors, but also with government agencies that need pest control, she said.
Being a veteran-owned business should give her a better chance of landing a five-year contract with the Veterans Affairs medical center in Danville, she added.
Merrell said getting the designation is no small thing.
“The state verifies that you are a veteran-owned business and that you are actually involved in the operations of the business,” she said. “They’ll come out and watch you, look at your checking account and make sure you’re at the job site. They want to know it’s actually a vet out there doing the work and not just holding title to the business.”
Merrell said she is a member of the American Legion post in Oakwood and the Disabled American Veterans in Champaign.
“I’m really proud to be a veteran,” she said.
Her dad is retired from Ray’s now, but Merrell’s son, Timothy, is now manager of the business, just as she was for her dad. Today, Ray’s has six full-time employees, including Jenny Lou Merrell.
The newest addition to Ray’s is Liberty, a bedbug-detection dog.
She’s an 8-month-old beagle mix that was trained by Kansas-based IronHeart High Performance Working Dogs.
“I’ve taken her out a couple times,” Merrell said. “She’s amazing at detecting bedbugs where I couldn’t see them.”