The history of Sterling International
Pest control options have changed dramatically since Washington State University graduate Rod Schneidmiller founded Sterling International in 1982. Today, consumers are more aware of the dangers of hazardous pesticides, and store shelves are stocked with products that are better for the environment.
Sterling was a pioneer in this "green" pest control category. Schneidmiller grew up working on a farm in Eastern Washington and saw firsthand that haphazard spraying of harmful chemicals was unsafe and only marginally effective. In addition, the pesticides usually wiped out valuable beneficial insects like honeybees. He anticipated that consumers would eventually become concerned about these drawbacks of chemical warfare against the insects.
After receiving his degree in agronomy and economics, the young entrepreneur sought to create a pest control product that trapped the bugs with a lure intended only for the targeted insect. He spent hours in the garage of his small Millwood house fine-tuning a mixture of natural ingredients that, when broken down, would lure flies.
A reusable fly trap was the first product Schneidmiller developed. The plastic jar contained a powder attractant that dissolved in water and lured flies through holes in the lid.
At that time, being "green" went against the grain. In his early sales calls to regional retailers, the lawn & garden buyers brushed young Schneidmiller off with the question, "Why would anyone trap an insect when they can spray it?"
Some small hardware and garden stores in Spokane gave Schneidmiller a chance and began to stock the fly trap on their shelves. As the product caught on, he continued to make innovations that resulted in a disposable trap -- also for flies -- and a reusable trap for yellowjackets. Ace Hardware was the first account to buy Sterling's product line on a national level in the mid-1980s, which resulted in a huge breakthrough in awareness and acceptance of the insect trap category.
Twenty-seven years since the company's humble start, Sterling sells its line of fly traps, along with yellowjacket and Japanese beetle traps, throughout the U.S. and beyond as a popular pesticide alternative. The brand name RESCUE!® was adopted in the late 1980s to counter some of the pest control monikers on store shelves that had negative connotations or implied death.
RESCUE!® products are good for the environment, but they're also good for consumers who care about an effective method of pest control. Years of field testing and enhancement by Sterling's team of scientists go into every product to ensure that it consistently lures the targeted insect in different geographic locations and varied weather conditions. Consumers can find RESCUE!® products nationwide at Ace Hardware, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe's, True Value Hardware and Wal-Mart.