We asked Pest Management Professional‘s columnists and editorial advisory board members to share what advice they would give a commercial customer with cockroaches. Here are some of the experts’ responses from our October 2021 print edition.
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PMP’s Editorial Advisory Board and Regular Contributors
Dan Baldwin, BCE: “The best thing you can do with a client with any sort of problem is to be patient and explain why their circumstances support a pest infestation. They don’t want the science and technical mumbo-jumbo; they want to understand why they have a problem. Once you provide them with the why, then any requests you make of them — such as the need to clean up underneath the stove — will make more sense to them. You will establish a foundation for a partnership: ‘Here’s what we can do together,’ as opposed to ‘You need to clean up your restaurant.’ It isn’t so much about what you have to say, as how you say it.”
Greg Baumann: “Keep all drains clean by removing all food sources. While it might take a tool to lift covers, do it and you’ll find the source many times.”
Judy Black, BCE: “If you have an ongoing German cockroach infestation, your customer needs to make the facility available to your pest management company after hours so you can work with some ‘elbow room,’ so to speak, and have more choices of products and techniques at your disposal.”
Pete Schopen: “Buy a caulk gun. Seal up around the pipes, any cracks in the wall, where the floor tiles meet the wall and where the wall panels meet. Reducing the harborage areas reduces the cockroach populations.”
Dr. Hamilton Allen, BCE: “Facility contacts must train their employees on the importance of reporting and logbook utilization. For many pest control companies, logbooks serve as their eyes and service playbook. Proper documentation leads to successful management. Cockroaches aren’t magicians and don’t materialize out of thin air. Pest management teams have the expertise and tools to solve cockroach problems, but to achieve long-term control, the facility must improve their daily practices as well.”
Michael Broder: “With the heavy rains putting such strains on our sewers, screening over floor drains can help prevent American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) from entering a facility.”
Foster Brusca: “Customers need to understand that these pests can take some time to control and that the customer needs to be in a partnership with the PMP. Cockroach control in a commercial facility is never a one-sided service because usually there is something the customer needs to do to help in the control.”
Doug Foster: “The No. 1 piece of advice we give is please don’t self-treat. We don’t want customers spraying over our bait placements or glue monitors because that will contaminate and affect our efforts.”
Paul Hardy: “Cockroach control is a partnership with your customers.”
Kurt Scherzinger, ACE: “Remind customers that it is a partnership. If they do not clean regularly and do their part, no amount of pesticide will resolve the problem long-term.”
Desiree Straubinger, BCE: “When dealing with a German cockroach issue, it is extremely important for the customer to document sightings accurately and completely. Frequently, the customer calls and when we arrive, no one working that day knows where the sighting was, which means we are looking for a needle in a haystack for a minor infestation. We want to tackle the problem early, before the population spreads to other areas. But when you have a large commercial kitchen, it can be extremely difficult to find small numbers of pests.”