An inside look: Three generations of women exterminating Ohio's pesky bugs

Don't let the bed bugs bite

CINCINNATI -- You planned a luxurious week-long vacation in the tropics with your family; sleeping on linen sheets, sipping mojitos and spending that hard-earned money on souvenirs.

But what happens when you bring back the wrong type of souvenir?

It's almost a ghostly feeling: tiny legs crawl across you so lightly that you can barley feel them and creatures burrow in the lining of your mattress, nearly undetectable for months. The four millimetre oval-shaped bug most likely snuck into your home through your luggage. As time goes on, their colony grows and it's time for them to feed. These blood-sucking creatures hunt you down by the CO2 you're exhaling. 

They're bed bugs and they've been a persistent problem in Cincinnati for years. A problem that Tami Burkel says isn't prejudice to the rich or poor.

Lucille, Tami and Jamie spend their days in a seemingly normal way; answering phone calls, logging information into a computer and... gassing homes across the Tri-State.

They are the exterminating trio; three generations of women taking care of business.

"We do a lot of things that other people don't do," Burkel said. Fumigation is a hazardous practice that deals with mixtures of chemicals that are toxic to most living creatures, including humans. Burkel and her crew of 12 employees at Valley Termite and Pest Control not only risking their own well-being, but they're doing a job most of us never would.

WCPO Insiders can read about the sometimes dirty conditions exterminators work in and how owner, Tami Burkel, views being a woman in a male-dominated field.












This is part of an on-going series that aims to showcase remarkable professions across Greater Cincinnati. These unsung workers make a living in some peculiar ways. We’ll give you an inside, eye-opening look to the often grimy and under-appreciated, but necessary, professions in the Tri-State. 






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