If you’ve never seen the TV show “MacGyver,” you don’t know what you’re missing. For the record, I’m focusing on Angus MacGyver as portrayed by Richard Dean Anderson from 1985-1992, not the reboot with Lucas Till that started in 2016.
If you did watch, I bet part of the reason you tuned in each week was to see what new “tool” he would use to get himself out of a jam. Paper clips to short out a missile. Duct tape to hold an airplane wing together. The barrel of a ballpoint pen to fix a brake line — while driving, of course.
This show inspired an entire way of out-of-the-box thinking, and it also spawned a verb. When faced with a problem, we would ask ourselves what MacGyver would do. Then we would “just MacGyver it.”
Those of us in the pest control industry have a lot of MacGyver in us. Pest management professionals (PMPs) who don’t let problems stand in their way are quite creative in finding, fashioning and creating tools to help them in their work.
I have used everything from a spear to spray glue to try and solve issues, and not always successfully. But that didn’t stop me. At times, I’ve almost given up on a few accounts where nothing seemed to work, only to put a dab of caulk in the right place or to fashion a makeshift repel line to safely get to the bottom of a huge void and voila, problem solved. On the latter, I didn’t truly plan the getting back out very well, but I digress.
What I love about the pest control industry is the never-ending efforts we make to explore any and all tools that might provide the leverage we need. Sometimes specialty products, such as those that allow a tech to reach deep into the construction maze of a structure, are now general-use — and are far more efficient than in the past. Sleek, streamlined and professional-looking traps, application tools and exclusion products make anyone look like an accomplished carpenter. And the list goes on. It’s obvious this effort is strong in our industry, with new and improved products being introduced constantly.
Yet there is another equally strong push for PMPs on the front lines to create their own tools or ingeniously repurpose gadgets in an inventive way to help them in their jobs. Let’s face it, we don’t all get the decked-out trucks stocked to the roof with every implement we could ever need on a day-to-day basis.
It’s obvious, when reading the Pest Cemetery Crew comments at the end of this article and the Question of the Month answers here, that many PMPs are problem solvers. They care enough about their work that they constantly endeavor to make it better.
Whether buying that factory-made, must-have implement or MacGyvering a trusty paper clip, the overall spirit of our industry and the tools we use have never been in better hands.
Tips from the Pest Cemetery crew
“My shovel is my most prized tool. Without it, I don’t have a business. From pest to survival, the shovel is one of the most under-appreciated devices a human ever created.”
—Larry Ewing, Owner, Gopher Stop, Riverside, Calif.
“A dinner fork, which I bend and then zip tie to an expandable pole to remove wasp nests. It’s great for reaching above the nest and grabbing it at the stem that attaches to the structure.”
—Mathew Moffat, Technician, Eagle Pest Eliminators, Everett, Wash.
“I have three: Table salt for combating slugs and snails; a large snake hook to get items out of my truck that are beyond my reach; and a very comprehensive first aid and meds kit.”
—Debbie Pearson, Technician, Dugas Pest Control, Baton Rouge, La.
“An extendable metal pole with a magnet at the end. I use it every day to grab traps behind refrigerators and under tables and sinks.”
—Darren Dennison, Technician, Bell Environmental, Troy Hills, N.J.
SCHAPPERT is owner of The Bug Doctor, Ocala, Fla., and administrator for Facebook industry discussion group Pest Cemetery. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.