Presto-X

Presto–X is a mostly commercial pest control company based in Omaha, Nebraska. Today, Presto–X is a division of Rentokil US along with Watch–All and J. C. Ehrlich.

Presto–X has a long history of commercial, primarily in the food industry where they conducted food safety and sanitation audits specific to pest management and provided pest management service to the food industry. Having a fumigation division, Presto–X also fumigated flour mills and food plants as the need arose.

Today, Presto–X also services residential accounts for general pest control as well as termite control. For termite control, Presto–X uses liquid soil treatments and termite baits. Presto–X covers the states of Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

Presto–X was started by Ward Combs when as a teenager, he was put in a position of supporting his parents and family when his father was suddenly stricken with a debilitating disease which prohibited him from working. Ward sold a red squill product, Presto–Pax which was an emetic, or a substance to make one vomit (in case of necessity due to poisoning, etc.). Red squill was also a natural rodent control material and this evolved into Presto–X and the performance of service work when Mr. Combs sold service work to a hotel in Iowa. This was the start of the large regional pest control company, Presto–X.

In 1990, Ward Combs retired and left the business in the hands of long time employee, Jerry Keown and Ward’s son, Ward II. Jerry and Ward ran the business until the business was sold to Rentokil. Ward II is a past president of the National Pest Management Association and Jerry was active in the association as well as industry affairs as well.