Archive for April, 2012

PCOs are looking for ways to grow their businesses with fresh ideas that will increase their top and bottom lines. Lately, we have seen a greater demand for wildlife management, even in urban areas like New York City. In many respects, wildlife control is an ideal add-on to existing pest control operations, and it’s for this reason that we decided to offer this training program.
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For over 30 years now, April has been National Pest Management Month. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) chose this month to recognize the industry for its role in “protecting public health and property from significant pest threats”.

We all appreciate the hard work each and every Pest Management Professional (PMP) and partner contributes to our industry. How do you imagine a message would look like on a Hallmark Greeting card? What would the perfect gift be for the PMP in your life?”

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A photograph of Scalopus aquaticus. The easter...

A photograph of Scalopus aquaticus. The eastern American mole (Scalopus aquaticus linnacus) showing the large forelimbs used to excavate tunnels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In preparation for Bug Off Pest Control CentersCall of the Wild” on April 12, Alan A. Huot, President
Wildlife Control Supplies has provided us with some Mole FAQ’s.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Alan or visit our Facebook page and post your questions there. See you soon!
1. How long do moles live ? Moles may live for up to 7 years, however, more than 85% die in the first 3 years.
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This article from PCT Magazine offers some great tips and ideas to help PCO’s go green. If you find you have any questions, come see us or email us at Bug Off Pest Control Center!

If you decide to offer green pest control to your customers, beware of these common myths and misconceptions.

Nick Petti

In today’s society, “green” is a label that is preferred by consumers in many settings, from food and personal care products to cleaning supplies. The same is true for the pest management industry. Those companies looking to become a “greener” company do not have to execute immediate and radical transformations, but these changes should be carefully considered, strategically implemented and ongoing. When it comes to pest management, there are massive amounts of misinformation regarding eco-friendly products and techniques.

At Enviro-Tech Pest Services, our Integrated Pest Management program takes into account these two basic areas: the most effective product with the lowest risk to non-targets through application. Following are a few dispelled myths for your pest management company to consider.
Product Selection. Regarding product selection, there are two main myths/questions our company has encountered:


MYTH: Organic products are safer than synthetic products.

The first question that most customers ask our service specialists is, “Are your products organic?” The perception of the label “organic” is overwhelmingly positive in America. However, organic products are not always the safest choice. They may have an odor that can trigger asthma attacks, and since they are usually plant based, they also can aggravate allergies.

The flipside of this misperception is the idea that synthetic products are more effective than their natural counterparts. Synthetic pesticides were formulated specifically to manage particular pests and pathogens, but their labeling is often restrictive and carries stringent limitations on where and how they may be applied.

Pest control may best be achieved with a combination of both types of pesticides. The dilemma lies in how an IPM program should be marketed to consumers. The more complex the service is, the more difficult it is to classify and advertise it. However, if you are marketing your company as implementing IPM programs, then by limiting the types of products available, you will ultimately prevent the company from carrying out a truly integrated program.


MYTH: Pesticides are either green or “ungreen.”

In my experience, the most common concern voiced by PMPs is how to classify a product as environmentally friendly. At Enviro-Tech, we have developed a rating system that consists of a list of simple and direct questions that correlate with the product label and MSDS. For each answer, a score is assigned and the lower the final score, the more appropriate the product is for incorporating into our pest management strategy. For instance, two main questions include:

  • What is the signal word? (Caution = 1; Warning = 2; Danger = 3)
  • What are the acute effects? (None = 0; Minimal = 1; Flush with/drink water = 2; Seek medical attention = 3)

We also rate storage requirements, shelf life and whether the product requires specialized PPE or application equipment. Since we regularly rotate the products we use, our service manager regularly secures feedback from the field specialists. If a product receives unfavorable reviews, we work diligently to identify the root of the problem. If the application rate or technique was the issue, we know that we need to provide additional training for our service specialists; if the product truly is not performing well under current pest pressures, then we will simply discontinue use.
Application Techniques. Insecticide application techniques play a major role in how a treatment protocol will work.
MYTH: Classic application techniques will always work.

The active and inert ingredients of a chosen product are the first considerations, but almost as important is considering how application techniques impact the effectiveness and relative risks of a particular pesticide. We often find that “classically trained” technicians may rely solely on their compressed air sprayer, which may result in inappropriate placement, over application or lack of control. The first thing that must be done to challenge their bad habits is ongoing education about application methods:

  • Liquid applications are effective and often offer a great solution for immediate results and short-term protection.
  • Dust has many advantages, but most degrade in water and are easy to misapply. Make sure to inquire about moisture issues or upcoming renovations (when the dust may be inadvertently accessed).
  • Granulars are perfect for areas with dense shrubbery but if applied too heavily or on solid surfaces like a patio, they may become available to curious children, pets or wildlife.
  • Baits are often the perfect choice for dealing with cockroaches, ants and rodents, but our service specialist may need to be authorized, willing and able to move obstructions for the best placement.
  • Traps are nontoxic with few opportunities for misuse but need to be reset or replaced frequently.

Pest control solutions that have been applied by customers themselves also may impact professional applications. For example, after visiting with the toddlers and patting the dogs at an account recently, one of our service specialists inspected the garage where rodent activity was reported and found dog food, an obviously actively used sandbox with toys, and…hardware store brand mouse traps set in the corners. After the homeowner declined a recommendation to remove them and replace with traps in tamper-resistant stations, our specialist wisely made sure to note on the service ticket that those were NOT our traps.

The lesson to be learned is that technicians need to thoroughly educate customers on the meaning behind a truly healthy IPM program: the most effective product with the lowest risk to non-targets (this includes puppy noses and little fingers, too). Education is key, and because the homeowner declined our recommendation to remove the traps, the “technique” portion of our IPM formula was compromised.
MYTH: IPM is the only green solution.

Those employed in the pest management industry should be aware of the advantages of Integrated Pest Management. By making IPM techniques a standard part of Enviro-Tech services, we have advanced the welfare of our customers, their families, pets and properties and addressed the issues of pest resistance and environmental contamination that sometimes challenged the positive image of professional pest management. However, the education of our clients must be ongoing. Control of their pest infestation may only require sanitation, harborage elimination, exclusion and monitoring, but many customers still expect some degree of product application.

The primary objection to full implementation of IPM is often cited as cost. The most expensive part of a service is the service specialist’s wage. Only slightly behind is the cost of transportation. As IPM relies heavily on inspection, it is more time consuming and most successful with frequent follow-ups. Yet over time, the value of harborage control and pest proofing is seen, and follow-up treatments are needed less often.
Making it happen. It takes more than product and technique to make a company green. Simply offering an organic service does not make your company environmentally friendly. However, radical changes to corporate practices are not necessarily the way to go either. The first step is to review your choice of products. Next, consider your corporate mindset and honestly evaluate how you are currently doing business.

Some helpful questions to ask are:

  1. Do your employees trust and utilize IPM?
  2. What application techniques do you employ and why?
  3. Is there management or employee resistance to product changes?
  4. Does your office environment encourage responsibility? Do you encourage the use of recycling baskets or use coffee mugs instead of Styrofoam?

Be careful not to overlook the major source of pollution for most pest management companies: your service fleet. Proper maintenance not only prolongs the useful life and resale value of your vehicles, it also lowers your corporate carbon footprint and presents a more professional image. Secondly, practice smart routing. Not only will it save you fuel costs, it will provide for more efficient and timely service to your customers and get your employees home faster at the end of the day.

And finally, consider the actual vehicles that comprise your fleet. Enviro-Tech Pest Services’ fleet is half hybrid. It’s not for everyone, but we considered the debate over the impact of hybrid batteries on the environment and decided that supporting innovation of energy-efficient vehicles outweighed the negative aspects.

The bottom line is if you are truly trying to create a green company, you need to employ a green culture. Don’t let the idea of being environmentally friendly only pertain to your customers. Show employees how to care about the workplace, create interest in what they drive and encourage them to educate customers. Changes should be gradual and carefully executed, but don’t forget that the simplest of changes, recycling and energy consumption, can be easily applied — and are a great start toward greening your company.
Nick Petti is founder and CEO of Enviro-Tech Pest Services, an environmentally conscious pest management franchise specializing in commercial and residential properties. Visit www.envirotechpestservices.com to learn more.