Don’t let customers tamper with evidence


May 22, 2023

Getty Images: D-Keine/E+; Suesse, zager/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Getty Images: D-Keine/E+; Suesse, zager/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Proper identification is the cornerstone of any pest control program, and nothing beats having a physical sample in hand to give you total confidence in your identification. But how many times have you shown up at a client’s house to troubleshoot an issue, only to be left empty-handed when you ask to see the pest or pest evidence?

All too often, your client’s first response to seeing pest activity is to clean and sanitize the area before you arrive. Most people associate pest issues with unsanitary conditions, so it’s entirely understandable that your clients may turn to cleaning as a coping mechanism while they wait for you to arrive. Unfortunately, this could mean discarding insects, droppings and other evidence essential to diagnosing the problem, and it could make it more difficult to diagnose the pest issue if other evidence is hard to come by.

Ask customers for help

Advising clients to save pest evidence often is an afterthought; it may only occur to you to share after you’ve arrived at a recently cleaned home. To avoid this problem, consider adding this suggestion to your service ticket notes, or even to your new service checklist when on-boarding your new clients. Include:

  • Tips on how to properly collect and save samples so your clients don’t unknowingly damage the evidence when collecting.
  • Guidance on taking pictures or video of evidence, in case your client is uncomfortable with the idea of handling pest evidence.

Identifying and diagnosing your client’s pest problem in fewer visits not only saves you time on callbacks, but also provides your client with faster service. Plus, it leaves you with more time in your day to serve more clients.

About the Author

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Dr. Bentley is director of training and education for the National Pest Management Association. You can reach him at

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