I’m new to the pest management industry and am in sales. I know my company’s policy for bed bug treatment is to have tenants and animals out of the house for a minimum of three hours prior to returning. Are there other industry pest treatments that require dogs, cats or other pet animals to not be present?
—PERPLEXED OVER PETS
Welcome to the pest management industry! I think you’ll find that you fall in love with it; I know I did. You are starting on the right track by trying to learn as much as you can. The first part of my answer is going to sound a little vague, but I will be as specific as I can be in the second part of my answer:
1. READ THE LABELS
I know you are selling and not servicing, but if you are wondering whether the application you are planning puts pets at risk, read the labels of the products your company commonly uses in homes to make sure there are (or are not) specific instructions related to pets. Get with your service team members or manager to find out what those products are. I’m confident they would be happy to help.
I’ll add that as a consumer, I always feel more comfortable with salespeople when they are able to speak confidently and articulately about their products and services. The effort you put into learning the service side of the industry will only help you on the sales side.
2. LEARN THE NUANCES OF DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS
You mentioned a three-hour re-entry period for bed bug treatment. In general, the following are statements that would be true, but always verify on the label:
- If you are using liquid pesticides, they should be dry before a pet is reintroduced to the area.
- If you are using a bait insecticide, do not place them where a pet could get access to them.
- Always place rodenticide in tamper-resistant bait stations where pets are present.
CASE IN POINT
Let’s take a look at an example of a product that is commonly used on fleas. I’m making an assumption that if fleas are present, there would likely be a pet present. The label says: “Vacate areas to be treated and DO NOT reoccupy or contact treated surfaces until dry.”
Many companies give customers an estimate, like you stated in your question, of a three-hour re-entry time. These types of estimates typically are based on experience. However, I recommend adding to the company policy (if it isn’t already there) a statement such as the one from the label, just in case the product isn’t dry in three hours.
Your question is a significant one we should all take very seriously. In an initial interview with the potential customer, always ask whether pets are present. Even if they say no, follow up by asking whether pets are occasionally present. Personally, I don’t have a dog, but I have dog visitors on occasion — and that is just as important to keep in mind.
Email your questions about insect identification and pest management technologies to email@example.com. Your questions most likely will be printed and answered in one of Pest Management Professional’s upcoming columns.