Our industry has come a long way over the years. During this time professionals have been called a number of things, some of which we just can’t repeat. Seriously though, we have come from being referred to as the “Exterminator” and “Bug Man” to “Pest Control Operator” and “Pest Management Professional” to name a few. So when we saw this article in Pest Management Professional we really had to share. Enjoy!

A PMP by any Other Name …

by: Gerry Wegner

A number of years ago, like-minded, progressive pest control operators (PCOs) decided that the term pest management professional (PMP) was a more fitting title to describe today’s more knowledgeable and sophisticated practitioners of structural pest control. It caught on to the point that this very magazine changed its title from Pest Control to Pest Management Professional.

Yet despite our frequent use of PMP to describe ourselves within the structural pest management industry, it seems that precious few outside the industry got the memo. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our state regulators and most university faculty still call us PCOs or commercial applicators, especially for purposes of pest category licensing and recertification. Mainstream media and the public prefer to use an even older term: exterminators.I suppose there is nothing wrong with being called an exterminator. It just doesn’t do much for our selfesteem. When I hear the word “exterminator,” I picture scenes featuring stereotypical spray jockeys from films like Naked Lunch, Arachnophobia and Men In Black.Of course, when it comes to being called names, there certainly are worse things one can be called than exterminator. Who among us have not been called “bug guy,” “bug man” or “bug lady” by customers? Sometimes the alternative terms can be amusing. I recall ringing the doorbell at an account and the youngster who opened the door yelled out, “Mom, the extinguisher is here!” Immediately, images of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Eraser and the Terminator came to mind when I heard that boy’s announcement.(It is true that, like James Bond, we have a License to Kill — but sometimes I have to remind clients and acquaintances that I control only animals with four or more legs when they ask me to get rid of an annoying friend, family member or political figure.)

My all-time, least favorite job-related name was experienced while I was treating for cockroaches in apartments rented to unemployed single mothers and abused women. I was accompanied by a maintenance man who had the keys for the apartments. While servicing one particular apartment, a key unlocked the door from outside. There stood the startled renter — a rather large woman who apparently had not read her advance notice of treatment. Before I could say anything, she exclaimed, “Get the hell out of my house, [expletive deleted]!”

Immediately I thought, “Did she really call me ‘[expletive deleted]’?” Well, to make a long story short, I didn’t finish servicing that apartment — and, by comparison, I would much rather have been called “bug man.”

You can reach Gerry Wegner at gerry.wegner@varmentguard.com.

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