Pest management professionals (PMPs) can expect widespread changes by 2033, including:
- More regulations will sprout. There was a time when U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) labels read something like: For cockroaches, use a 2% spray. Treat areas where cockroaches are found. Labels have become much more restrictive and comprehensive. Now you need to read labels carefully, from top to bottom, to ensure you comply with the law. There are restrictions on personal protective equipment (PPE), re-entry times and facility types. And labels change. The industry will need more interpretations from regulators to remain legal when using pesticides. That’s too bad because labels should simply and clearly tell us what to do and what not to do.
- More green pesticides will be developed and some existing pesticides will be phased out. These changes could leave PMPs without effective tools for certain pests. For example, we have difficulty controlling springtails because organophosphates (OPs) are gone and the newer chemistries aren’t effective. The industry should hope future green pesticides will provide better pest control and reduce odor and oiliness. (People still complain about odor, even if the pesticides smell like oranges.)
- There will be fewer new pesticides because active ingredient development and registration costs continue to climb. This will require the industry to develop control strategies with more limited use of pesticides. Clients will be required to do more, such as provide better sanitation and pest proof buildings. Progressive companies will offer these services for a fee.
- Consumers will increasingly surf the Internet to “educate” themselves. They’ll find misleading information online, which can fluster technicians who are trying to explain the correct information to customers. Technicians who aren’t well trained will know less than the customer and be at a significant disadvantage. Professionals will be prepared for this shift in information flow. Training will continue to improve and Webinars will make worthwhile training available to all technicians.
- Technicians will have better informational tools at their disposal. They will be able to more quickly identify structural pests via their smart phones by looking at pictures and identification (biology and behavior) information online. They’ll be able to look up references for controlling and excluding that particular pest. Technicians also will use bar-code readers for most accounts. This will enable offices to confirm all sites were inspected and share related service information in real time with clients. While a few companies already are using this technology, it will be commonplace in 20 years. Regulators also want access to this information, so be prepared to embrace Big Brother Bar Code.
What won’t change
- Even the best technically trained pest management professional (PMP) will fail if he/she is unable to relate to customers. Clients want to deal with people to whom they can relate. Technicians with people skills will retain these customers and reap referrals. Technicians without such skills will lose customers.
- Companies will continue to complain about competitors cutting costs and corners in service. I heard these types of complaints when I joined the industry in 1965. It persists and probably will continue. The companies focusing on providing the best service possible at reasonable prices will continue to grow and prosper. Successful companies that pay attention to their own service and pricing will leave competitors in the dust. They won’t waste time complaining about a competitor’s practices or prices. — D.M. pmp
You can reach Dr. Mampe, an industry consultant, at email@example.com