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Comments: 220 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

PyroklasticFlo59 karma

Who determines what is wildlife and what constitutes a pest? Assume you have a standard list of critters that show up?

Has anyone snuck in something not on the list? What happened?

HotInTheShadeMM57 karma

Some of this is protected by Pixie Dust but...

Florida is a tropical climate. We have lots of native animals, insects, and invasive species that live all throughout Florida. Anything that isn't a animatronic or statue would fall into this category aside from Service Animals.

Sneaking something in to the parks? That would be more of a security issue.

R-3-D54 karma

What other essential works are on property (aside from security)? Is general maintenance being done on rides, restaurants, etc. to make sure they are in somewhat of a decent condition come reopening?

HotInTheShadeMM95 karma

They are still maintaining everything to the best of their abilities to a "show" level while trying to balance the amount of workers to maintain safe conditions for work ( social distancing, no congregating, and various other sanitizing and cleaning procedures). If they were to open tomorrow, you wouldn't know they were closed.

JuicedInIt21 karma

Do employees get to ride the rides right now?

HotInTheShadeMM15 karma

Not really, it wouldn't fall into social distancing guidelines.

code13dontask38 karma

I understand that there are cats that take care of the small rodents. Do they run free or are they allowed just to roam at night ?

HotInTheShadeMM82 karma

“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” - Edgar Allen Poe

Sym0n21 karma

How's Mickey coping?

HotInTheShadeMM83 karma

Last I saw him he was enjoying quarantine with Minnie.

KvotheOfTheHill20 karma

Hi, I’m just curious as to why details about your job are confidential?
Is it because it is a trade secret, or because Disney is trying to avoid criticism?

I’m genuinely surprised that pest control would be confidential, anywhere basically. Everyone hates pests.

HotInTheShadeMM44 karma

Disney in general doesn't like people talking about the "inner-workings" of the parks and I am just trying not to over step so I am being careful with my responses. I wouldn't believe it is criticism as we operate way above industry standards. It helps "keep the magic" alive for the guests.

UpperWestSidetips20 karma

Have to repost because of a bot mistake

Thanks for doing this IamA. Really wanted someone to do this right now. What does your job look like with the animals and how did management deal with getting guests out? I heard they did a whole human barricade thing for 9/11. Can you comment on how you deal with the infamous abandoned island....

HotInTheShadeMM28 karma

You have asked some hard to answer questions without getting into trouble or fired so I will do my best.

I am not sure how the final day went. I work early mornings and overnight but I would assume it was similar to how they close out the parks every night, it is a tried and practiced method and is very effective. My job can be very interesting at times which is why I enjoy it. You never know what you are going to see or find throughout the day. It truly is a unique place to work especially with our department. I can't really comment much further than that though, sorry.

bearable_lightness17 karma

What’s the most interesting critter you’ve dealt with at Disney World? Were there any you encountered that you wouldn’t have expected based on your previous pest management experience?

HotInTheShadeMM18 karma

The most interesting critter was a just kidding I cannot say However, doing this line of work at Disney is completely different than doing it in the "real world". In addition to state and federal regulations we must also comply with Disney's even stricter policies to ensure cast and guest safety above all.

Makearunforit17 karma

When I was there recently I was astonished by the lack of insects but more noticeably the lack of bees flying around trash cans or other random debris. Is that more a consequence of keeping the litter cans empty or of something that you are doing behind the scenes? Thanks for your work. It really does make the visit more enjoyable.

HotInTheShadeMM27 karma

Thank you I am glad it helped improve your vacation and experience visiting us! Wildlife and Pest Management operates with many moving parts including cleanliness, exclusion methods and many more. When all the cogs of the machine are working together it helps keep everything at an enjoyable level.

mobydog14 karma

Are you a member of a union?

HotInTheShadeMM29 karma

Every cast member that has a union attached to their job is protected by the union contract but doesn't have to join. I decided not to join as of now.

JTGuitarnerd13 karma

Are the “magical” and insect measures still working or are there actually bugs flying around the parks right now?

HotInTheShadeMM37 karma

We are still working so everything is getting taken care of as usual. If anything this closure has helped us because we are able to work continously. Between federal and Disney procedures for treatment when the park and resorts are open it can cause some hurdles to get things done for safety reasons.

danimal600011 karma

Have you ever seen a ghost?

HotInTheShadeMM32 karma

No but sometimes I scare myself when it's dark and quiet at night.

CinderLupinWatson5 karma

I understand that. I work at a museum and have spooked myself GOOD at times when its dark and slient!

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

ALl you can do it laugh at how your brain tricks you.

GambyThe4th11 karma

How often do you interact with park visitors? If not often, did you still have to go through Disney's customer service training?

Happy birthday!

HotInTheShadeMM25 karma

If you are referring to "Traditions" which is something everyone has to go through, then yes I did. I don't really get to interact with too many guests per the nature of my job. Somedays I wish I could interact more but it is what it is. Also usually when they see my costume and realize what I do it causes questions which we are limited in responses aside from very generalized answers.

EDIT: Thanks for the birthday wish!

dykeag8 karma

What's is your costume? I assumed you would be there only when guests weren't.

HotInTheShadeMM15 karma

It resembles an engineering costume. We get confused with them a lot even with cast members. I think it was on purpose =P

mamabiffer10 karma

Do they have to run the rides occasionally to keep them tuned up? If so, can you ride them while they do this?

HotInTheShadeMM28 karma

Everything is still being maintained. My job does sometimes require me to ride an attraction to help solve certain problems. I usually ride in a separate vehicle if possible.

YinzrVox9 karma

What is the natural range of palmetto bugs (those awful armored flying cockroaches) in the southern states? My wife wants to move from PA to someplace warmer, but... Bugs.

HotInTheShadeMM33 karma

If you don't like bugs, do not live somewhere warm. But honestly it isn't bad for homes as long as you maintain a cleaner home and don't have stagnant water and debris around your home. Older homes because of construction will be more prone to insects. An effective pest management plan will reduce the bugs you see to almost zero. No home in Florida will be bug free always. If you can manage seeing one here or there, come on down the waters fine.

jaxpaboo8 karma

How do you keep all the mosquito at bay?

HotInTheShadeMM8 karma

This requires many different things but to sum it up, hard work and magic.

VolkspanzerIsME7 karma

As a fellow Floridaman how worried are you about the upcoming hurricane season with the pandemic in full swing?

HotInTheShadeMM28 karma

I am very worried in terms of supplies. People are already going nuts in the stores for basic essentials. I am sure you know how people are when a hurricane is coming. I don't want to think about the absolute nightmare that would come upon us if they said a cat 3 or above hurricane was coming for us.

shag3777 karma

How is the benefits and retirement?

HotInTheShadeMM32 karma

Benefits and retirement differ based on how long you have worked there because it has changed over time. For me, I get 401k match. Benefits include tickets to the parks for friends and family, discounts on merchandise, tickets, dining, resorts, and pretty much anything with Disney attached to it.We get discounts at many businesses in the area.

brpajense6 karma

What’s the scope of your mosquito abetment program? Disney World is surrounded by a lot of wet and swamp terrain, and I wonder how much it takes to keep mosquitos away from the park.

HotInTheShadeMM7 karma

I cannot really go into much detail but someone did a pretty decent video on youtube about it many moons ago. It is something we work on continuously to keep the numbers minimal.

jediprime5 karma

Apologies if any of these are questions you cant answer. Happy Birthday, and thank you for your work. Ive always been super impressed with the pest control at Disney.

What was the most "magical" or positive surprise you had when you first started with Disney?

Are there any critters Disney likes to have roaming their parks? For example, ladybugs are generally well received, does Disney like them or do they try to maintain a blanket "bug free" zone?

If Disney execs came to you and asked you to propose a new ride, what movie/show/property would you base it off of?

What's your favorite spot to eat in the parks?

HotInTheShadeMM15 karma

When I first started everything was pretty interesting, just seeing the operation unfold. I don't think anything in particular surprised me it was more like "Oh that's how that works" or "That's how they do that" type of scenario.

Disney advertises their beneficial insect program pretty heavily as a form of natural elimination for nuisance pests.

I have a great idea for a Moana themed land. An island land with a volcano in the center that could do a light show and transform itself like in the movie (Tafiti). Incorporating an omnimover ride through the mountain in a similar but more advanced way like the Little Mermaid. And a roller coaster that goes through some of the mountain as well where you "battle" the crab, I cant think of his name. The island would offer sights, sounds, and feelings of the island. I think it would challenge Disney to build a volcano/mountain that could transform itself and would delight guests at the same time.

I rarely eat in the parks honestly but my wife and I enjoy date night at Jiko's.

Victor-Romeo5 karma

Got any jobs going? ;) Happy Birthday! What makes you happy in the park, and what’s the least appreciated / most underrated attraction in your opinion?

HotInTheShadeMM16 karma

Before the closure we did have job openings I believe and maybe one more after this...lol. I enjoy the fireworks show the most, nobody does fireworks like Disney especially on a consistent basis. The most underappreciated attractions in my opinion are the ones that require live actors and effects. The theme park industry in general has been moving away from these but are personally my favorite, it really immerses you into the events happening.

Ajfd5 karma

[deleted]

HotInTheShadeMM6 karma

Sure you could include them as well but I was specifically referencing things like The Great Movie Ride, Frozen a Sing Along, The Little Mermaid Show, The Stunt Show, Indiana Jones.

Victor-Romeo3 karma

I hope you folk are safe, and thanks for all you and your colleagues do. The magic is all the more real because of folk such as yourself.

HotInTheShadeMM5 karma

Thank you =)

Solid-Tumbleweed5 karma

What do you recommend/use to keep ticks away?

HotInTheShadeMM4 karma

Depending on where you are seeing them or on what would help consider a treatment. But making sure your pets have the proper medication is key. Also treatment of your yard and immediate exterior would help. Depending on your property size it may be difficult to tackle this yourself. I would recommend a bifenthrin based product with an insect growth regulator mixed in. If you give so more info about your situation I may be able to be more specific.

Solid-Tumbleweed2 karma

Wow! Thanks for the response! I’m located right on the New England coast. A few acres of woods that I’m clearing/thinning and about 1 acre of grass. Fairly rural. No pets but we see the occasional deer, raccoon, fox, feral cat etc... As you may know the Northeast is being hit hard with Lyme disease in our ticks. I’ve always said I wish we could do whatever they are doing at Disney! (Ha)! Mosquitoes would be the other major nuisance. But my primary concern is something safe around my kids. So I’ve been avoiding chemicals at the big box stores! Thanks for the reply!!

HotInTheShadeMM4 karma

Also don't use big box stores. If you are able to because some states don't allow it use professional products from domyownpestcontrol.com or any similar site. They have training videos and guides to help you along.

Solid-Tumbleweed2 karma

Awesome! You do seem to understand my dilemma perfectly. And I am way more concerned with the Lyme! Seems like a lot of “chemicals” now a days are more plant based anyway. I like the idea of a barrier. Was considering a stone/mulch barrier or even fencing to help keep “hosts” from walking around the yard. Do you wear anything in particular when you’re out and about? Deet, permethrin, etc...? Thanks again for the replies!!!

HotInTheShadeMM4 karma

I don't wear anything honestly. I'd rather get bit than cover myself in pesticides and be all "oily" the fence is a great idea and you could always treat the other side of the fence as long as its on your property.

You may have to do a treat everywhere at first to control the issue and then do just the exterior of the fence for maintenance. Don't believe the chemicals are safer because they are plant based. Always read the label and follow safety guidelines. The mulch could host other pests so becareful.

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

If you are trying to avoid chemical it may be difficult and with wildlife in the area it does pose more of a difficulty.

As someone with kids myself I understand your hesitation but you sound like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I would be concerned with the Lyme disease more than the pesticide. To do that properly it would require a sprayer with high volume. It may be difficult to tackle that yourself unless you have the equipment already.

You could try and treat farther away from your house to kind of create a barrier ( they do have to travel) and that may work. I would try this if the chemical is a big concern for you,

outerheaven774 karma

Is it weird for you that there are no guests in the park?

Also, who is your favorite character?

HotInTheShadeMM23 karma

I work overnights and early morning so I am used to seeing the park with little or no people. However the other day I did get this "surreal feeling" when the sun was shining.

I mean if Star Wars is considered Disney now, I am going with Darth Vader/Boba Fett

If not, I am going to say ... undecided.

bathtubfullofhotdogs3 karma

What would you recommend to get rid of sugar ants? Home is new construction (finished last June) and we randomly have sugar ants in our bedroom. There is no food in the room, and I moved everything but large furniture off the the floor and vacuumed multiple times, but the ants are still coming in. We have a crawl space access point in our bedroom closet, we figured that's where they were getting in, so we sprayed the outside foundation with pesticide, and put an ant trap next to the access hatch, but they are still coming. There is a second ant trap in another corner of the room, where I found a dozen of them under my shoes this morning. We keep a clean house, no food outside the kitchen (where there are zero ants), the biggest issue is tracking in sand.
Thanks for doing this AMA as well, I know your responses are limited, but it's still really cool to hear behind the scenes tidbits from people that don't work with the general public.

HotInTheShadeMM4 karma

If they are bringing in sand I doubt they are sugar ants. My guess would be big headed ants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pheidole_megacephala) and these guys have been the bane of my professional career. They are found in new construction homes because of the loose sandy soil that results from the construction around the home. What did you treat them with and have you treated the crawl space?

film_composer2 karma

Any tips on getting rid of springtails from our bathroom?

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

Are you looking for a chemical treatment or something more natural? Also are you sure you identified the pest correctly. I don't mean to sound condescending but proper identification is important to the eradication.

film_composer2 karma

No worries, it's definitely important. Chemical is fine. We've had pest control come out many times, and at best, they've slowed them down. And we're reasonably certain that they're springtails.

HotInTheShadeMM6 karma

Have you tried a bifenthrin based chemical? Is there foliage by the restroom from the exterior? I am not very familiar with springtails, not something I have dealt with professionally and I did some brief research. It seems they are attracted to moist enviroments ( bathroom duh!) have you checked for any leaks, mold buildup, or warped wood? Also if there is leaflitter or decaying material on the exterior of your home they could be making their way in from a window or crack. Have you inspected the exterior of your home for an infestation in your soil or mulch beds?

My research suggests that it may be a problem that could be solved but simply eliminating moisture build up within your bathroom or immediate surrounding areas.

Not_Steve2 karma

With the park closing, have your hours shifted from night to daytime?

How are the animals dealing with the lack of guests? Are they just chilling?

If you could "be friends with" any Disney character, who would it be? (gender and body requirements aside)

Do you miss the dole whip and churros like the rest of us?

Thanks for doing this!

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

My hours have stayed the same.

I think the genie would be really great at parties.

I like the dole whips but I don't understand the churro hype honestly.

perfectlycrispy2 karma

How has working for Disney compared with the other 13 years of wildlife/pest management? Is it more difficult or more enjoyable working for Disney? I'm assuming your previous work was basically animal control?

HotInTheShadeMM5 karma

I have enjoyed working for Disney. Pest control is a very fast paced, sales, and production based industry. But its not like that at Disney because we are an expense and we don't generate sales for the company in a direct manner. Its a more of a strict production department. I wouldn't say it is more difficult but offers different challenges because disney has very complex buildings, landscaping, and hardscapes which can offer challenges. I prefer it over the privatized sector though.

Digital_loop2 karma

I was at Disney this past February... I noticed some trash on the ground and two different people went to clean it up...

Any chance they were plain clothed janitors?

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

It could of been a number of things: Just a couple of guests helping, a manager, some off the clock cast members, or a combination of. If they were working they would of been in costume.

production-values2 karma

your ID really doesn't have your last name on it? I imagine there would be scores of Matthew H employed by Disney at Disney World

HotInTheShadeMM4 karma

It does have it, it is just covered by consequence because I wanted to hide my ID number.

makeshiftrigger2 karma

Not Disney related, but what is the critter or pest you hate to deal with the most? I wouldn’t be able to do snakes, they just weird me out, so I was curious if there are any critters you’d hope your partner at work (if not working alone) was good with so they took the lead with you as a supporting act? Also, in your opinion, what’s the hardest pest/critter to deal with?

HotInTheShadeMM4 karma

I don't really mind anything that I come in contact with. My family used to own an exotic pet store so I am use to dealing with snakes, large reptilian animals, tarantulas and many other weird exotic animals. Nothing at Disney has really broken my comfort zone. I am usually the one people call when they don't want to deal with something lol.

aaathomas2 karma

Happy Birthday! Thank you for the AMA. This doesn't really pertain to your department, but what about attractions? I've been curious as to what that essential members of that department is doing in terms of operation/upkeep. A fun question: what's your favorite part of working at WDW?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

Thank you for the Birthday wish. Everything is still being maintained as needed. My favorite part of working there is the diverse challenge of solving issues while still maintaining the company's standard of magic for the guests and meeting the diverse group of guests we get throughout the parks and resorts,

ImTheGodOfAdvice1 karma

I was gonna joke and say bold of you to think you can escape Disney on reddit, but after seeing your answers, this shows me they look everywhere and Disney workers are never safe xD will there be a limited amount of people at a time when reopening?

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

Noone knows how they are going to do the reopening. There are many rumors and theories but I haven't heard anything concrete yet.

AnitaRide1 karma

I have seen several times about "feral" cats at the disney parks to keep out the mice and rats. Is it true or an internet myth?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” - Edgar Allen Poe

I knew several people would ask me this and I quoted my last response to this. Plus that originates out of Disneyland.

DrKliever1 karma

Any advice for ants? In the home?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

This is a very broad question, types of ant, where you are seeing them, and some more info would help. I will gladly offer some advice if you can offer some more details.

jisa3 karma

Not the one who asked the question, but I have the same question. I live in the mid-Atlantic, and we get tiny ants in the Spring and Summer at times. I want to find a way to deal with them in a way that doesn't put my two cats at risk...

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

You could try professional baits, targeted at sugar ants. This will allow you to put the product in an area not accessible to your cats. If the problem isn't too bad it should get rid of the issue.

DrKliever1 karma

I believe sugar ants. Little ones. In the kitchen. I am in the pacific nw.

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

Keep your kitchen as free of moisture and food debris as possible and utilize baits to treat crack and crevices around your kitchen. This should solve the issue. If the issue continues you can try treating outlets, wall voids like where plumping is coming out of the walls and don't forget behind stoves, fridges, etc.

-cabin1 karma

Here to Answer Any Questions You Have That Are Bugging You

Did You Format That Portion Of Your Title As Such Just To Bug People?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

I was more going for a pun on pests and bugs and that they bug you.

Aturom1 karma

What's the best way to get rid of/repell mosquitoes?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

If you live in a neighborhood with houses that are close to each other it could be an issue as well as if you live close to a lake or other body of water. Make sure you don't have any standing water or debris around your home, they don't need much to breed, talking a tablespoon.

My first step would be contacting your city or country and seeing if they offer any treatments or if they are already treating your area. Florida state has a great city,county, and state mosquito program that offers treatments.

If they don't offer anything you are pretty limited to fogging and treating your own property on top of removing water and debris. If you live near a lake that an HOA or community is responsible to maintain see if they are treating the lakes with larvacide.

There are some natural deterrents that work but marginally as far as repellents go.

Aturom1 karma

Have you heard of any success using larvae from insects that eat mosquito larvae? And thanks for taking the time to answer the aforementioned question, I appreciate it!

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

Beneficial insects are great but without a large enough population or within a controlled space it can provide many challenges. Not to mention they can be expensive.

JustHach1 karma

What is your preferred bait/treatment for roaches? Are you a gel guy? A dust dude? A boric buddy? A steam & vac mac? A spray & pray faithful?

Also: how proactive is Disney in their approach with bedbugs? I can't imagine that with the amount of visitors they get that they're immune to what most other hotels are facing.

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

When able to I am a spray & pray guy. I have the most confidence in this treatment, followed closely by baits.

NedThomas1 karma

Given all the big new construction projects done on the parks recently (Fantasyland expansion, the makeover of Studios, new restaurants and rides, etc), does your department have to take any special measures to keep the sights clear?

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

With the expansion of the property are department just expands like the rest of the company. If that is what you meant?

Digital_loop1 karma

What is the craziest thing a manager had you take care of? Do you ever do other duties that aren't technically related to your job but you are already there and capable of the task?

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

Cast members in general try and help each other out. There is a lot going on at all times so any time I can safely accomplish something within my abilities I take it upon myself to help and so do many cast members.

Norgeroff1 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

It changes but I usually stay with green and blue.

KeithofNazareth1 karma

Best product to keep spiders out of the home?

I know the absolute best would be to seal up every hole they can come though, but I live in a shittily built 70's house, we are trying but it's slow going.

I've also read that you have to eliminate their source of food and they will eventually go away, but we don't really have bugs in the Midwest so not sure what their food source inside would be.

I've tried Ortho Home Defense and it seems to work decently, I just dont want to spray it inside with the dogs.

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

Big box store chemicals are the worst, they are very diluted. If you don't want to use chemicals peppermint soap concentrate works well but it is contact meaning you have to spray the spider and offers no residual.

There must be some source of food whether flying or not or some moisture.

If you mixed a commercially available pesticide like Suspend with an ounce per gallon of dawn soap it will offer you great protection. Treat your entire home and it should solved the issue.

madethel1 karma

I’m in Tampa and I’m a clean freak. No Knick knacks, no dirty dishes in the sink, sweep every day, etc. We have ghost ants. WTF???? Ant bait hasn’t been successful. I don’t know what they are looking for. Any tips?

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

They are probably going after moisture and tiny food particles within your kitchen sink. Have you tried commercial baits instead of big box store baits? Tell me what you have tried and I can offer alternatives.

madethel1 karma

Hot Shot liquid Ant bait is the only thing I’ve tried so far. It’s all so overwhelming.

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

Maxforce makes an ant bait that has fripronil in it, its a wonderful product and allows you to put in places not accessible to animals or children.

loudlady521 karma

Any thoughts on when you might re open?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

No, I don't know more than anyone else, "until further notice"

neildmaster1 karma

Is it weird being in the huge parks all alone, in daytime hours?

HotInTheShadeMM2 karma

I work overnights and early mornings so I am used to the scenery but during the day has been a little surreal.

LikeWolvesDo1 karma

The Terro isn't killing the sugar ants anymore. Have I bred a colony of borax-immune super ants that will now take over the world?

HotInTheShadeMM1 karma

They are probably ghost ants and Terro won't really do much for them in my experience. Malformed makes an ant bait with fripronil which is pretty effective.

cakecupfor11 karma

Two parter here, I have indoor / outdoor house plants. My indoor plants are mostly healthy but now I have gnats in my house and it appears they’re eating up a varietal of succulents. How do I get rid of them. Also, there’s some tiny ant like bugs eating a small cactus and I’ve tried neem oil and bug spray to no avail. Any tips?

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

Also make sure there isn't standing water, debris, and leaflitter under the pots and saucer.

HotInTheShadeMM3 karma

Sounds like fungus gnats. Have you refreshed and cleaned the soil from the pots recently? Usually these are caused by fungus and mildew within the soil and plants themselves.