is a pest-control
company that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc.
- 1901: Otto Orkin, a Latvian immigrant to the United States, starts peddling rodenticides door-to-door.
- 1912: “Otto the Rat Man” opens his first office in Richmond, Virginia
- 1926: Orkin opens an Atlanta office and begins establishing operations in other major southeastern cities.
- 1941-45: The U.S. War Manpower Commission declares pest control a “needed service;” Orkin provides pest control and fumigation for 150 military establishments. Wartime innovations in pest control help position Orkin for strategic growth.
- 1948: Rollins, Inc. is established by O. Wayne Rollins as he and brother John become partners; John operating car dealerships and Wayne operating radio stations — each co-promoted the other’s business.
- 1954: First Orkin television ad
- 1964: Rollins purchases Orkin Exterminating Company for $62 million, a figure seven times larger than Rollins revenues at the time. Transaction is first documented leveraged buyout in U.S. business history.
- 1965: Orkin purchases Arwell Pest Control, a Midwest company with 80 offices in nine states. Dettlebach Pesticide is acquired to supply Orkin with chemicals for its operations.
- 1967: Orkin headquarters moves from Wilmington, Del., to Atlanta, Ga.; Gary Rollins joins the company as an Atlanta pest control/termite control sales inspector.
- 1968: Rollins, Inc (ROL) begins trading on the NYSE.
- 1969: Rollins Protective Services (electronic security) is formed; Rollins enters the cable TV industry
- 1973: Rollins enters the oil and gas field services business.
- 1975: R. Randall Rollins is named president and COO of Rollins Inc.
- 1977: Orkin Lawn Care is formed.
- 1979: Glen Rollins joins Orkin as a volunteer termite technician.
- 1984: Randall Rollins is promoted to senior vice chairman of Rollins; Gary W. Rollins is named president and COO.
- 1986: Wayne Rollins receives the Horatio Alger Award, which is given to Americans who exemplify the rags-to-riches American Dream.
- 1988: Forbes magazine recognizes Rollins Inc. as the “Nation’s Number One Service Company” based on its excellent return on equity.
- 1989: The Orkin Exterminator Robot makes its national advertising debut.
- 1990: Orkin Plantscaping is formed.
- 1991: Rollins founder O. Wayne Rollins dies. Randall Rollins is named chairman of the board and CEO of Rollins, Inc.
- 1993: Orkin announces the opening of the O. Orkin Insect Zoo at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History; the Orkin diamond becomes the first permanent logo inside the Smithsonian Institution
- 1997: Rollins sells Orkin’s LawnCare, PlantScaping and RPS to focus on pest control.
- 1998: The animated “Orkin Man” dethrones the Exterminator Robot as the Orkin marketing king.
- 1998: Orkin re-engineers and relaunches Orkin Commercial as Acurid. Dedicated commercial branches are opened across the country. Orkin’s advanced termite treatment training program, developed exclusively for Orkin by Texas A&M University, is introduced nationwide – 1,400 employees earn completion certificates in 1998 alone.
- 1999: Orkin purchases PRISM, Redd and PCO Services. The PCO purchase makes Orkin the largest pest management company in Canada.
- 2000: “Fake Out” ad campaign debuts; reports of broken TV sets smashed after confused viewers try to “kill” the cockroaches that appear to be on their TV screen.
- 2001: Orkin launches Smithsonian O. Orkin Insect Safari with Bayer
O. Orkin Insect Zoo
On September 9, 1993, the O. Orkin Insect Zoo (OOIZ) opened at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. This permanent exhibit, made possible through a contribution from Orkin Pest Control, was created to encourage interactive learning and a better understanding about insects from all over the world as well as those found in the average backyard.
The opening of the zoo marked the first time the Smithsonian enlisted a sponsor for a permanent exhibit in any of their museums. The Smithsonian's popular insect zoo, which annually draws more than one million visitors, is the museum's only exhibit where living creatures can be seen in their natural environments. The new insect zoo, located on the second floor of the museum, focuses not only on strange and beautiful insects, but also on the relationships insects have with plants, other animals and humans.
The exhibit features over 300 live insects and arthropods, including giant cockroaches, tarantulas, tailless whip scorpions and walking sticks. Each of the insects in the zoo live in their own natural habitats, which have been painstakingly reproduced under the direction of entomologists and museum professionals. Included in the habitat displays are mangrove swamps, a living bee tree, a desert diorama, and an incredibly lush tropical rain forest.
In addition, there are plenty of hands-on activities that encourage the OOIZ visitor--adult or child--to get better acquainted with insects and arthropods of all shapes and sizes. Of particular interest in the OOIZ is the "Our House, Their House" display which shows insects living in and around a giant 3-D home. By pushing buttons in front of the house, visitors illuminate the harborage areas for common household insects such as fleas, roaches, carpenter ants and silverfish.
Investigations and Lawsuits
Orkin has been the subject of many lawsuits around the country over recent years for alleged faulty service and slipshod practices - charges that plague a whole industry characterized by marginally educated, poorly paid technicians who are often alleged to be improperly trained and poorly monitored. Notably, Orkin was investigated in Florida for racketeering in 2004 for its termite contracting practices, with one source citing over 15,000 consumer complaints in the state in a four-year period. This investigation comes on top of multiple lawsuits around that state alleging fraud and poor performance, and similarly around the nation.
Recent revelations by a former high-level Orkin risk manager may serve to bolster those claims levelled against the company In 2001, NY Attorney General Spitzer instituted measures to reform Orkin advertising and arbitration for its termite services.
Other noteworthy lawsuits against Orkin in recent years can be found at these links, illustrating problems common around the country. Often these cases have gone beyond mere allegations of fraud, deception and poor service to accusations of injury and even death from chemical misuse.
"The Exterminators from Hell"
"Another House Destroyed - Another Family Ruined"
"Health and Home at Risk?"
"Toxic Home Costs Orkin Millions" -
Other interesting case histories are linked here, including examples of the numerous class action suits endured by Orkin over the recent past.
"Orkin Man is Super Con" -
"Class Action Granted in Orkin Case" -
"Orkin to reapply termite treatment to Missouri homes under terms of record consumer settlement with Nixon" -