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Let’s Get Educated!

The Pest Posse
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“You write a blog? Aaawww… that’s so cute. What do you talk about? Make-up, hair, and fingernails?”

This is a common response when I tell folks that I write a blog. I suppose I should let them know up front that I talk about pest control, in all its glory. (I just heard a church choir sing)

HAVE YOU MET ME?

REALLY? Make-up, hair, and fingernails? I am one of the biggest tom-boys on the planet. I have only worn make-up one time, when my sister got married, and only because she made me. I chew my fingernails…a lot. On a good day, I might comb my hair. I get down and dirty in my pest control work. I go into sub-par crawl spaces to find the brown recluse infestations. I clean out rodent bait stations that have “something” dead in them. I flip mattresses and furniture upside down to do a bed bug cleanout. I regularly flick random insects off my arm.

My daily makeup consists of lotion and sunscreen, and by day’s end, the occasional smear of insect sludge. In my opinion, my lack of frilly fingernails is a blessing in the pest control profession. It is SO much easier to clean my hands without worrying about cleaning underneath them or chipping a nail. (Keep that hand washing to 20 seconds or more.) My daily head covering is either a hard hat or a company logoed ball cap. Do I really need to comb my hair?

PEST CONTROL STORIES

All of us pest control junkies have customer stories, and some are real doozies. I decided to use them to do some education…for the customer and for others I have never met. Hence, the blog was born. We, as pest management professionals, have a responsibility to advocate for our OWN industry. It starts with getting an education for ourselves. We can use our customer interactions to relay that knowledge, at every service – without judgment. Even the general homeowner consumer needs some guidance about using pesticides purchased from the home supply store.

Our customers called us because they already have a pest issue. Common courtesy, understanding, and compassion for the situation can go a long way in calming that customer…and keeping that customer for many years. When listening to a customer, actually hearing about the concerns of a pest issue is crucial. Customers do not want to be blamed for the pests on their property. They want solutions. SO – GIVE THEM SOLUTIONS. Then, use their story, without names, to educate the next customer. This is our professional way to PAY IT FORWARD.

HERE IS SOME EDUCATION

I keep hearing pest control professionals and general consumers say, “this pesticide or that pesticide is the one to use”. I will not judge you for your choice of chemical, except when you say that is ALL you use. Don’t you think it’s about time to switch it up? My intent is not to pick on any manufacturer or any specific products. I am going to use examples in IRAC Chart Class 3.

The active ingredients bifenthrin, deltamethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin are commonly used in this group. They all have the same mode of action, meaning that each of these decimates insects in the same way. DDT is also in the IRAC Group 3. Well…Well…. Now, you may understand why it is necessary to switch it up. Pyrethrin’s and pyrethroids have been around a long time. They have their place. Choose wisely.

Pest Professionals, I am “calling you out”.

Just a hunch, but I would say you are starting to struggle with control of certain insect pests because you have not changed to a different chemical class of insecticide. There are many chemical classes, all with different modes of action. Grab a copy of the IRAC chart and learn from it. It just might change the way you address your customer’s pest issue.

Are you unsure about when to use a bait insecticide, an adulticide, or a residual insecticide? Well, that depends on the pest and situation. Read labels – ALWAYS. Did you know…gel-type insect baits have a different mode of action compared to some liquids and granules? Some dust formulations are different from gels, granules, and liquid concentrates. That knowledge could help make your treatment plan more effective.

KEEP ON LEARNING

I got into the pest control industry, not so much by accident, but because I didn’t want to work in the afternoons. Each day, I make sure that I learn something new about my chosen profession. I encourage all of you to do the same. As the saying goes, Knowledge IS Power, and it truly is. We, as a professional pest management group, can make a significant impact on helping people live happier, safer, healthier, more satisfying lives. Our customers don’t want to have to call us. They do so because those DIY products failed. This is our opportunity to be the teacher and the student at the same time. It’s high time our beloved pest control industry really learned something from customers. Be the student at each, and every, service call. Use the IRAC chart for guidance. The results will be amazing!

Melisa Arnold is a regular guest blogger for The Pest Posse.

She has a great pest control blog called Pest Control Chatter.

Make sure to check out her blog today.

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