What are you leaving behind?


February 20, 2024


Burt’s Termite & Pest Control’s in-house “stain board” helps technicians understand materials residue. PHOTO: DOUG FOSTER

You just left your last pest control account. Besides dead bugs and your service invoice, what did you leave behind? All too often, because of the product choice, we’ve left an unsightly visible residue or stain in our client’s home or business. Manufacturers have made huge improvements in products over the years, yet challenges still exist.

Just as your doctor should know the products he prescribes, we as pest management professionals (PMPs) should also know our products and how to use them most effectively. That’s how we gain respect and positive attention. If any trade lends itself to being a craftsman, pest control is it!

Solution for the solutions

Does it have an odor? Will it leave a strain or a streak, or mar the surface of the furniture? We came up with a test plot we creatively call the “stain board.” We use it to check products and what (if any) visible residue they leave on a dark surface such as furniture, exterior siding and yes, dare I say it, baseboards. It has helped us make better purchasing decisions and better choices when on-site.

The Impact of Water Quality on Pesticide Performance

The Impact of Water Quality on Pesticide Performance

The stain board, like most ideas, was born out of a problem. At least once or twice a year, we would get “the call” about a residue or spotting at someone’s house, business or rental property. The question is always the same: Is it safe and can we wash it off? We review our board each year during our Spring Training meeting, and several times throughout the year, especially when we introduce a new product into our arsenal. We want to give our technicians as much information as possible to make good product choices in the field. Remember, “a mistake repeated more than once is a decision.”

At the same time, the quality of water that you mix with your concentrate can also affect your control results. Research by Dr. Fred Whitford at Purdue University reveals how water chemistry impacts pesticide performance. His extension bulletin, “The Impact of Water Quality on Pesticide Performance (PPP-86)” should be read by every PMP and lawn care operator (LCO). It can be downloaded as a PDF at Extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ppp/ppp-86.pdf.

Other ‘leave-behinds’

While we’re on the topic of leave-behinds that don’t include marketing materials: Do you start your day with fresh product in your compressed air and backpack sprayer, or is it left over from yesterday or the weekend? How would you feel being served a salad from your favorite restaurant that has been sitting in the refrigerator for two days?

It’s imperative to know what you are leaving behind. Your professionalism and reputation depend on it.


About the Author

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Doug Foster is president of Burt’s Termite & Pest Control, Columbus, Ind. Reach him at pmpeditor@northcoastmedia.net.

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