How important is continuing education in pest management?


February 18, 2016

Do you ever get stumped by a pest? (It kinda’ looks like this one, but it also kinda’ looks like that one?) What about the rest of techs in your company? How much do they know about pest identification and how important is it to you an your company? Many, but not all, people in the pest management industry pursue entomology in a continuing education capacity. This would seem to give them an edge when they’re in the field trying to help clients ID the pests their dealing with while, at the same time, cultivate knowledge about the behaviors of an individual species – because as you know, there’s a heck of a lot more types of ants out there than the type most customers are accustomed to seeing building gritty hills on their driveway.

But continuing education doesn’t necessarily have to imply learning in a formal sense. There’s a lot that a tech can learn by keeping a bookshelf full of entomology field guides and reference materials. (I can think of one particular magazine whose spines look great jutting out from a pest pro’s bookshelf.) The Truman’s Guide is a perfect example of the type of book that can become invaluable to whomever trains your techs, while also being valuable as something to keep handy in the back of your trucks. From what I’ve observed — as an outsider looking in on the industry — the longer someone works in this field, the more they fall in love with it. When that’s the case, continuing education might not feel like education at all, and what used to look like textbooks now look like entertaining reading.

It’s a difficult thing to balance – keeping a business running (or in a tech’s case, working a long, hard day in the field) and continuing one’s education in the off hours to broaden your knowledge. Some people are able to swing it, some aren’t sure they can afford it, some simply can’t find the time — and to some, it’s not an essential part of being a pest professional. I don’t think the latter stance is necessarily invalid, when you consider it’s most important to be able to identify the pests in your business’s region. I’m not a pest professional, but it would seem to me that having a strong understanding of the pests in your area – while not necessarily knowing everything about every pest might be good enough. It’s up to you if good enough is … well, good enough. I’d love to hear our readers’ take on the topic. Do YOU encourage continuing education among your staff and if so, in what capacity? Leave your comments below and let me know.

[Incidentally, if you’re interested in learning more about or ordering your own copy of the Truman’s Guide, you can do so from the bookstore. The book is also available in Spanish. Check it out.]

Leave A Comment

  1. Johnny Bugs says:

    As a former human resources professional that now owns and operates a Sarasota Pest Control company, I could list a variety of positive reasons to offer your staff continuing education aside of simple compliance. Investing in personal growth, team safety, or just a great tax deduction to name a few. As important as these things are, what I have found the most personally rewarding is the seemingly limitless variety of topics to explore and knowing I will always find new and exciting things to learn.