Boulder City - The Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City - The Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Spotlight on Business
by Everett Chase

Sterling Pest Control
"I can honestly say, when I wake up in the morning, I'm still excited about going to work." So says John Sterling, founder and owner of Sterling Pest Control.
It's hard to take a statement such as this seriously, or as believeable when one is talking about killing bugs, but John is both, serious and believable -- and likeable!

For John Sterling, it's not about bugs, it's about people.

"I like people and I enjoy people," says Sterling, who has been working "on his own" in the pest control business and in Boulder City for the past 20 years.

The pest control business is like many professions requiring schooling, apprenticeships or time in service.

"I started in Las Vegas," John says. "You have to have two years experience before you can be your own principal or own your own business."

John did his two years in Vegas, then in 1984 went on his own in Boulder City as Sterling Pest Control.

"I basically started the business because I didn't think the guy doing my home was doing a good job and I thought I could provide a better service. I believe I do and at a reasonable price."

John's service runs deeper than the pest control business. Living and working in Boulder City is something special according to John. While big companies are charging as much as $35, John has kept his rates lower. Some of his original and regular clientele are at a ridiculously low rate.

"I've got some elderly people I have done for 20 years that are paying 17 or 18 dollars. These days, when you live on Social Security, it's tough to make it," John says.

For a guy who kills for a living, John is an old softy.

"If they've got a leaky faucet, or this or that, I give them a hand. It's kind of fun. Some people wait for me so I can have coffee and a donut with them."

Somewhere between coffee, donuts, and spraying poison, John became an expert in hunting down and killing the fierce and deadly Africanized Killer Bees.

"Because they produce such rich honey, the African bee was imported into Brazil to breed with the local variety. During the experiment which began in about 1956, someone let some of these bees get loose," John says.

"They started moving on through the Panama Canal, up through Mexico, Arizona, and into Nevada."

The bees are in our neck of the woods, according to John. Not long ago he was called to a site near Searchlight, Nevada where a worker had moved some equipment in which the bees had colonized with their honeycomb inside the equipment.

"Fortunately, he had a radio and called Flight For Life. He was rushed to St. Rose De Lima Hospital where they told him, "If you don't carry a kit, the next time this happens you're gonna die."

The bees definitely have the capability of killing a human, according to John, but individuals differ in how much their system can stand.

"I imagine it all depends. I've read articles where a person my size could be stung a thousand times, but I really don't believe that. The last time I got stung in the neck a couple of times, it wasn't a problem because my mask was protecting me. But I could feel it in the muscles of my neck. If you're allergic to them, you've got a real problem."

I asked John what he does when he's not working, when he's not chasing bees and bugs. I waited for a moment while he thought about his answer.

"Ev, I never do, not work. On free time I work on my rentals or when I put an addition on my house, I pounded nails....Well I guess I got myself into a workman's rut."

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