The summer months are synonymous with stinging insects. Often, the impetus to call a professional to help with stinging insects on a property is after someone gets stung. The sting might come as a surprise while weeding the garden and disturbing a subterranean yellowjacket nest, or during a failed do-it-yourself attempt to control bald-faced hornets. By the time clients call you, they clearly understand what is at stake and the risks associated with the service.
One mistake pest management professionals often make when controlling stinging insects is to forgo protective clothing. Some experienced technicians will explain they rarely get stung because they understand stinging insect behavior. But despite a perceived value of their bravery, when clients watching from a kitchen window see a technician sneak up from behind a nest, then sprint away after treatment, the impact is less than professional — not to mention dangerous.
On the other hand, when a client witnesses a technician performing a careful evaluation of the nesting site, observing the flight patterns of the pest, evaluating the surrounding environment for trip hazards, asking the client to step indoors, and donning a bee suit and veil, he or she sees a true professional that respects the role of protector of public health.
Save the war stories — like the failed attempt to capture an angry, active hornet’s nest inside a plastic garbage bag — for your pest control peers at the next association meeting. When it comes to your actions in front of a client, take a conservative approach, and play the part of a pro. Set expectations about whether your company will return to remove the nest after it has been controlled, and follow up with the client to ensure complete satisfaction with your service.
By looking and acting the part, you just might parlay a one-time stinging insect service into a long-term role as your client’s trusted pest control adviser.
Editor’s Note: For more on the National Pest Management Association’s take on pollinators and pest control, please read our June 2019 cover story “Protecting people and pollinators.”