The Passion Behind Ecola Termite & Pest
Sue Fries, The Termite Lady, shares the story of how her son’s illness inspired her to change the pest control industry. She explains how she became so passionate about alternative methods for pest control and how she started Ecola Termite & Pest.
Details About “The Passion Behind Ecola Termite & Pest”
Sue: He was a great baby, very happy, just wonderful baby. And then two years came around and at the two year mark, we were at a friend’s house in Lancaster, Palmdale somewhere and they had a cat and all of a sudden, my son could not breathe. And daddy didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what was going on but I certainly did. The reason I knew was because I was an asthmatic as a child up until the age of seven. I know this road and it’s not a good one. And so I bundled him up, I ripped off his clothes, I told dad to go get his other clothes out of the car outside. I put him in the shower washed him off really fast, put his clean clothes on and we hightailed it out of that house. There was a lot of emotions going on during that time. Living in a home of a horse community where there is nothing but dust everywhere, we had every February, every November was rushing him to the hospital.
Tyson: I do remember that they were long road trips as it was difficult to catch my breath. My memory was I thought a couple times I went unconscious but yeah it was a scary time. Good thing I was in good hands.
Sue: Now at that time I was working at a pest control company with my husband and I was around chemicals and products. I was learning about the triggers of asthma and what can cause it and whether it’s cleaning materials or just anything and everything. So what I learned was there were a lot of triggers and there was a lot of things that I could do as the mom to make the living environment that he was living in better. So I set out to do just that.
Tyson: I remember a couple big changes, were going from carpet to a hardwood to keep dust down. We lived around the horse area so trying to avoid dust was pretty difficult. We had two special vacuums that would throw the dust into water so it wouldn’t escape the bag of the vacuum.
Sue: I wasn’t just getting rid of bugs now I wasn’t a licensed killer killing bugs, I was now looking for a way of keeping indoor air quality better and being a healthier environment for my son first and foremost but then the information that I gleaned would help other people. So it was a journey. The general conversation around the dinner table was bugs which isn’t normal, welcome to our world, we used to say.
Tyson: I started in the industry working alongside my grandpa, probably 13 or 14 years old, crawling up on ladders and doing a lot of bird work.
Sue: I found a company and it took a long time but I found a company that was doing things differently that was using Mother Nature to take care of termite problems and there’s other methods, there’s other ways of taking care of pest control. So I found them and then I went to dinner with two men and asked him when he was going to retire and I was kind of joking. And this was 20 years of being in the business already and he says well why and I’m like well I don’t know and he called me up later and said were you serious, and I’m like I don’t know. And so we sat down and talked about it and it was a huge nut to crack, it was a huge endeavor for me financially and I decided that I would do it. I just ventured out and learned the termite business and learned alternative treatments and since then it’s been 18 years since I purchased a Ecola and in that time we have brought in new methods for pest control and I’m still learning new methods. Tyson’s role is evolving as we speak. Before he was learning birds and he was learning all these extra things with Grandpa. When he came to me, he was learning all the alternative treatment methods and all that and he got his license, his termite license, his pest license and now he’s going for his operators which is the same license that I carry.
Tyson: I feel like she did instill that in me, that hunger, that drive because I prefer using alternative methods for doing our type of work rather than the traditional. I love to surf so keeping the ocean safe is big thing for me. The more chemicals we use and the more rain there is, when there is rain or sprinklers washing. You know anything toxic down into our waterways ends up in the ocean and I don’t feel like swimming through a bunch of chemicals.
Sue: I am so thankful, Tyson is working alongside me, it’s just really special. My biggest goal or concern for Tyson is that, I believe that every single person on this earth was created for a purpose. And I want to make sure that my children and the people that I come in contact with are fulfilling their purpose here on this earth.
Tyson: Working with my mother is interesting, it’s high-impact. I feel like there’s always an opportunity to grow here, there’s always extra licenses and we’re always learning about new stuff.
Sue: And I never would have thought in a million years that I would be in the bug business but you know what, it’s been a good good business for me and I think my son has had a better life because of what I’ve learned.
Tyson: I do still have asthma, still taking inhalers, I try to avoid using them because they are a steroid. If I feel it start to come on, I try to fight it, try to take deep breaths and get my lungs to loosen up and yeah try to mentally fight it.
Sue: In the year 2011, I had an injury where I was thrown off my horse, a year before I had my back fractured by the same horse. Why I got on again I’ll never know. I ended up on the ground knowing that I didn’t have my right leg but I thought my knee had just dislocated. So they got me to the hospital and I kept telling him just click me back in so I can go to the radio show and they said honey you’re not going anywhere. I come to find out I had shattered my leg in a million pieces and the next day I was transported to the Kaiser in Woodland Hills which is the same Kaiser that I would rush my son to. Six months I was going to be not able to put weight on my leg and I was in a wheelchair and I had to keep my leg elevated and I had to take rat poison to keep my blood thin which I thought was ironic. I had a friend and he has been trying to get me to write a book. And so he came over and I said you know I don’t want to write but I’ve got plenty of time, I had nothing else to do but sit here. I wrote a book called Learning To Breathe, which is my journey for a period of time with my son fighting the battle to make life better for him. Being in the pest control business gave me a voice and I used it. I believe in blooming where you’re planted and so I wouldn’t have thought in high school that bugs and this would be my passion. But the passion is understanding now that, it’s not just about killing bugs. What Ecola does is we protect your most expensive investment, your home. We protect your children, we protect your pets and we protect the environment because we’re doing it in a greener way. And so for me that’s the passion is understanding that we’re doing so much more than just killing bugs.