From Arizona to Pennsylvania, pest management professionals (PMPs) from all over the country made the journey to Lawrenceville, N.J., to attend BedBug University’s Boot Camp Feb. 16-19, 2016. Only held three times a year, the event is an intensive four-day, hands-on training session that covers all aspects of bed bugs, including biology, history, treatment and monitoring, focusing on BedBug Central’s exclusive “NO PREP” approach. Additionally, the class covers all the business, legal and administrative challenges that are unique to bed bug treatment.
“We wanted to go to boot camp in order to expand our bed bug knowledge,” says attendee Jeremy Scott Goins, Pesky Critters, Troy, Mo. “We had a very limited knowledge in our company, so we needed to sit down for a four-day immersion to basically understand the protocols needed to be put in place and to understand the pricing structures.”
Masters Pest Control, Port Jervis, N.Y., sent Tyler Fetherman and Mike Smith to experience the boot camp.
“Bed bugs are growing so rapidly in our area,” Fetherman says. “We wanted to see what was working for other people compared to what was working for us, and create a hybrid that would ultimately better our services.”
Also in attendance was Carl Boykins of Rest Easy Pest Control in Glen Cove, N.Y. He already has several years of experience with bed bugs, but was looking to expand his education and training on steam treatment protocols.
“We are looking to incorporate steam treatments into our protocol, and we wanted to be able to learn more about it since we haven’t done it yet,” Boykins says. “It was a really great experience, and we learned a lot about how they used the steamers in treatments.”
On the first day, attendees went through classroom training with BedBug Central Technical Director Jeff White. The following day, participants were split into small groups and received hands-on training at a local hotel. Cooper Pest Solutions’ trained technicians demonstrated how to execute initial bed bug procedures and follow-up treatments. Following the hotel training, attendees were transported to actual bed bug infestations, where they performed the initial and follow-up treatments with supervision from technicians.
On the third day, Phil Cooper, CEO of BedBug Central, provided attendees with information on all the business, legal and administrative challenges associated with bed bug treatment programs. Dr. Amanda Eiden, a postdoctoral research associate at Rutgers University, says the boot camp has expanded her perspective on how her research can better suit pest management businesses.
“I also think the business perspective really helps, because if you don’t understand how the business is running, then you’ll never understand what can be done that’s useful,” Dr. Eiden says. “You can produce all you want in a lab, but if you don’t know what the problems are with the clients and the clients aren’t going to use it, then it’s just a waste.”
Pesky Critters’ Goins notes that all of his training and education he received from the boot camp will be brought back to his company, where he plans to restructure his current bed bug protocols.
“It was awesome. It’s very informative and it covered everything we had hoped to learn when we came here,” he adds. “We will be taking all of it back home with us to be able to develop our strategy and attack our markets with what we have learned.”
Additional benefits of BedBug University’s boot camp is the expedited approval process in becoming a bedbugFREE member. Upon completion of boot camp, Pesky Critters, Masters Pest Control and Thur-O Pest Management of Exton, Pa., all received their bedbugFREE membership. Rest Easy and Preventive Pest Control of Houston also participated in the boot camp, but had received their bedbugFREE membership at a prior boot camp attendance.
BedBug University’s next boot camp will take place Aug. 9-12, 2016, at BedBug Central’s headquarters in Lawrenceville. Applicants interested in attending can register on BedBug Central’s website.