When I was just a wee pup starting out in pest control, I learned about the values associated with Integrated Pest Management. The IPM Triangle (which I feel should be named Pest Solution Triangle) is a wealth of information, outlined in vibrant colors.
The first and most important idea behind this structured pest control practice is identifying your target pest correctly. I agree that this step is crucial to effectively controlling insects, rodents, or any other pests. From the bottom to the top of this triangle, there is an element missing: The HUMAN element.
All the steps used in the current IPM strategies (now called Assessment Based Pest Management by professionals) lack a human element of responsibility. Prevention is currently the largest part of The Triangle. It is the foundation for all things relating to managing pest populations but doesn’t specify who will be the responsible party. Cultural controls and sanitation come next. This step cannot and should not be missed, although it frequently gets bypassed by the consumer and the pest control operator. Physical and mechanical controls are where the inexperienced pest control operator may start the pest control process. This may provide a give a quick solution, but not a FINAL solution.
Therefore, I feel that we should put the Human Element category as the foundation for the Pest Solution Triangle.
HERE's MY WHY
The people who will eventually become our customers have no desire to spend money on professional pest control services. Home supply stores and the world wide web have made it too easy for consumers to grab the “DYI” products. We get phone calls when these consumer applications have failed. Those store-bought products have the same active ingredients, usually at a lesser concentration, as do our professional-grade products, however, there is so much misuse occurring with the public using those products.
For example, The most common Product A, Product B, or Product C is sold in the home stores are all part of the same IRAC Class 3. No wonder resistance is a real thing. I am all for using sodium channel modulators to give insects a heart attack, but eventually, it will be just like giving a toddler a glass of strong iced tea. They may experience a temporary elevated heart rate with some sort of crash or rapid decrease in the heart rate however they will just spring back to life as though nothing happened.
If there is anything I have learned when talking to customers, it is this: Treat the situation as an emergency. You are the one who has pest control industry training, and you will be doing the chest compressions (using the Pest Solution Triangle) and they are the stranger you tell to call 911 (give them one task so they will be included in the pest control process).
So…where does the Human Element go in the Pest Triangle? I think it should be the initial building block. We must educate the customer on the processes that will be used to identify, prevent, control, and treat for their pests. The customer needs to be, should be, and MUST be involved in the prevention, remediation, and control of their pest issues. Customers can be the biggest part of the prevention, but they need some guidance from our pest control industry. When it comes to the treatment process, customers need to be informed about how the use of retail pest control products can affect our professional-grade applications.
When considering all the Pest Management Triangle information, I have come to this conclusion…. MAKE THE CUSTOMER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HUMAN ELEMENT. After all, pest management is a partnership.