2021 reader poll responses


February 17, 2022

Photo: fatido/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: fatido/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

For years, Pest Management Professional (PMP) magazine has conducted monthly online polls as a way to get interesting tidbits and tips from readers. Some have even turned into story ideas! One thing is for certain: Our staff is never disappointed when we open the response pages.

PMP received a wide variety of responses to our reader polls throughout 2021.

The same is posed to our columnists and PMP Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) members each month in print, to get their responses. The answers that don’t fit on the “Question of the Month” page for the print edition are always included in the online version. For example, what follow are some of our most recent polls, with a link to the contributor/EAB responses — and a few of our favorite reader responses, too:

April: What is the most challenging aspect of mosquito control, and how do you overcome it?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “The weather! You can’t control it. Set expectations very early.”
  • “Customers have unrealistic expectations. They want to sit outside at sunset and not see a mosquito. We’re honest about what spraying can accomplish in their yard during peak mosquito activity.”
  • “Outside circumstances getting in the way of customer satisfaction. Sometimes, the populations in an area just get too high, and our customers are driven inside at dawn and dusk.”
  • “Lack of foliage on properties (to treat). Use products that have a repellent mode of action, in conjunction with insect growth regulator (IGR) traps.”

May: How do you effectively promote disinfecting and sanitizing services?

June: Why should someone consider a career in the professional pest control industry?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “I decided on the pest control industry because of the ever-changing jobs and services. I get bored easily. In this career, nothing is ever the same. This is a perfect fit for me.”
  • “If you enjoy an ever-changing challenge while using some of the best technology, chemistry and professionals out there, then being a PMP is a great career.”
  • “After 45-plus years in the industry, I feel good because I get to solve peoples’ problems and help to supply the country with safe, clean food and pharmaceuticals.”
  • “Stability and the ability to provide for your family.”
  • “You are always employable. You can go as far as you want. With the right mentor, you can have your own business!”
  • “Having clients allow us to keep their families pest-free, which leads to lifetime bonds, never having a dull moment, and a personal gratification of serving others.”
  • “The professional pest control industry is really interesting and engaging! There is always something new to learn, something new to try, and comes with a little more freedom than your standard 9-to-5 office job.”
  • “In depth knowledge on insect entomology, insecticide chemistry, and public health awareness.”
  • “Sustainability.”

July: How do you set your company apart from competitors?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “We license every technician through the [State] Department of Agriculture. This, along with ongoing in-house and in-field training, has helped separate us from our competitors.”
  • “No ‘lock ins.’ Free follow ups for 14 days.”
  • “It is our team! We tend to set the bar a little higher in our area (vs. similar-sized businesses) with the incredible people we have and our processes. We strive, daily, to be the ‘gold standard’ of what professional pest management is.
  • “We’re nice to them. Ninety-nine percent of our business is from word of mouth, from customers who generally just like us as people.”
  • “Training.”
  • “With a designated service date and the same tech!”

August: What is an overlooked survey question pest control firms should ask customers?

September: Does your company offer pest control apprenticeships? Why or why not?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “No, because I am not aware enough of liability protections, how it would best fit into our structure, or any other obligations it would require of us.”
  • “No we don’t. In New York, the regulating agency demands notarized documentation for each individual service by both a certified applicator and the apprentice for at least 40 hours of total work. This means a company must record as many as 75 individually notarized documents for an apprentice.”
  • “Yes, we provide summer apprenticeships for both high school- and college-aged young folks. We need their work energy, and they get work learning in return. We pay them for this work, but they do not receive employee benefits.

October: What’s a critical piece of advice to give a commercial customer with cockroaches?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “Maintaining solid sanitary practices will go a long way in addressing some of the issues that cockroaches will present. Removing their harborage will benefit in more ways than one.”
  • “’Help me to help you. I need you to improve the sanitation situation, while I eliminate the cockroach problem.’  Either way, I will eliminate the problem.”
  • “Sanitation.”
  • “Clean the place.”
  • “Please stop throwing away glue traps. They monitor for the areas that need most treatment.”
  • “Regular servicing. Don’t treat once and forget about it till it becomes a problem again.”
  • “We provide them with intense training on the importance of sanitation and maintenance, and put a proactive and preventive program in place.”
  • “Inspect all incoming shipments.”
  • “Get started with the basics. Make sure all entries are in good working order and well sealed (thresholds, weatherstripping aren’t damaged). If there’s poor trash storage or other harborage sites, clean them up! That’s an immediate and easy fix to start getting things on the right track.”
  • “Improve sanitation practices, and reduce moisture on the floors.”
  • “Keep the kitchen, storage, dining and other areas super-clean, and check each shipment when it comes in, preferably outside. Hire a good pest management company that uses integrated pest management, common sense and new techniques and practices.”
  • “Inspect all products brought into the account. The infestations are coming into the account.”

November: What are the Top 3 qualities you look for in a new hire?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “Honesty, personality and work history.”
  • “Attitude, appearance, and a detailed resume.”
  • “Positive attitude, willingness to learn, inquisitive questions.”
  • “Stability, reliability and initiative.”
  • “Intelligence, attitude and appearance.” 

December: What will be one of the biggest pest control industry topics in 2022, and why?

  • PMP Contributor/EAB responses
  • “Stink bugs. They are everywhere.”
  • “Consolidation and acquisitions.”
  • “Talent recruitment to deliver services for our growing industry.”
  • “Data and interpretation of them.”
  • “Climate change and what the pest control industry can do to reduce its carbon footprint.”
  • “I believe environmentally friendly alternative baits and sustainability of pest control using more natural means will become a large topic of interest. The reason I say this is because of the abuse of insecticides and rodenticides from over-the-counter products by consumers makes it difficult for professionals to combat the pests, plus the inadvertent damage to the environment they cause through improper use.”

Don’t forget to vote in our February poll, going on now!


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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