What makes a pest difficult to control?


February 1, 2013

austin_frishmanThere are many reasons why control of pest infestations can be difficult. If you review the variables and determine which one relates to your specific case, you’ll have a better understanding of how to correct the situation. With that in mind, let’s review some possibilities:

1. Your pest doesn’t fit into the “cookie cutter” pest management program you do regularly. If your technicians cannot recognize this, you’ll have more frequent callbacks, extra expenses, and eventually lost customers and revenue.

2. The pest was misidentified. For example, you are trying to control house flies, and you have cluster flies. Bring a specimen back to the office to identify it properly.

3. There is no pest. The client has insect phobia or delusory parasitosis. Do not treat until you find a pest.

4. It’s a new invading species, and natural predators and parasites aren’t yet present. In this situation, populations explode because no one has developed a control program. Be careful what your contracts cover at no additional cost. Consider excluding invasive pests.

5. Legitimate behavior and/or chemical resistance exist for the products you’re using. Ask for help from your distributor and the manufacturer of the product in question.

6. The situation is short term and involves an extreme change of weather. Storms, droughts, temperature extremes, etc. are just temporary situations, but you must make your customers aware of how weather events can cause a pest influx — and what you’ll do to minimize the impact.

7. Clutter and lack of cooperation favor the pest. Document this in your paperwork and communicate the need for change to the client. In many cases, nothing will change. If you point out the need to charge for additional service, that might motivate the customer to act.

8. More service is needed, but you miscalculated. The quicker you correct the situation, the better off you’ll be. Otherwise, you’ll suffer by increasing your chances of developing a bad reputation.

9. You need a night shift. The pest might be active only at night, even though you work 9 to 5. Alternatively, it might be that you’re servicing the account at night, but some areas are accessible only during the day.

10. There are no monitors in place for early detection. If you’re waiting until the pest is well entrenched, you’ve waited too long.

11. Your technicians are suffering mental fatigue. They’re burned out and might even feel like the customer deserves the pests (see No. 7).
Once you identify the reason for your problem account, take the appropriate action to correct the situation.

Contact Frishman, an industry consultant since 1967 and president of AMF Pest Management Services, at mypmp@northcoastmedia.net.

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