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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kim Kelley-Tunis

The authors is Rollins’ technical services director. She can be reached at


[Pest Perspectives] Preparation is the Key to Success

Pest Perspectives

April 22, 2014

Now that spring has sprung, it’s important that companies begin the process of reviewing and evaluating the different products that they will be relying on to have a successful and profitable pest season. The best way to start that process is through a thorough review of the labels and efficacy data, for the most common products that your company will be using. The information obtained from these sources can be useful in determining which products to use in your upcoming pest management programs. Reviewing these specific areas of information now can help to improve your pest program’s effectiveness and increase your revenue potential later, during the height of the pest season.

Directions for Use.

Over the past couple of years many of the most common products used within the industry have undergone significant changes to the label, greatly impacting how they are used. This year, the industry will see changes on the labels for those products containing a neonicotinoid as an active ingredient. Those changes include the addition of the new “Bee Advisory Box” and infographic. This new language will limit when, where and how products containing acetamiprid, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam are applied.

In addition, other products containing additional label language that limits the size of the treatment areas, the number of applications that can be made, or the locations of these treatments, further restrict the use of particular products. Companies utilizing these materials for exterior control programs may need to modify their existing programs in response to these use changes and label language.

Target Pests.

Most product labels have a list of target pests in which that product may be used for. Experience and studies has taught us, that while this list may be long, the effectiveness of a single product on all those listed pests may vary. This variation in efficacy may be due to a number of reasons, including application method, product concentration, time of application, etc. While the target pest is an important factor in selecting a product, it should never be used as the only factor in your decision making process.

For example, many pyrethroid-based products list ants as a target pest on their labels. In fact, studies have shown that, due to their repellent nature, these are great products to use if you are trying to keep ants from entering a structure or if you are treating a nest, directly. However, in situations where ants are already present in a structure or if the location of the nest is unknown, the use of a non-repellent liquid residual, where ants are also listed as the target pest, may provide a greater level of control.

Product Efficacy.

“Where’s the data?!” This is the first question that should always be asked when evaluating products for the upcoming pest season. Why is this important? The data provides an unbiased snapshot on whether or not a product works.

Now, let’s be clear. When making reference to data, I am not referring to testimonials from family, friends, co-workers or advertisements that a product works. I am referring to data generated from a scientifically-based study in both laboratory and “real world” situations. Oftentimes, purchases based on word-of-mouth testimonials or well-crafted advertisements can prove costly, resulting in an ineffective control program and an increase in customer callbacks.

Employee Training.

Lastly, even though the evaluation and review of your products plays an important role in the success of your organization, it is only effective if you provide that information to the rest of your team. Training, based on your product decisions, for your field personnel is an important step that is often forgotten. Ensuring that everyone within your organization is adhering to your company’s pest management plan is critical to your overall success.

Final Thoughts.

Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Taking the time now to prepare for the future will help you to create both a comprehensive and cost-effective plan of action for your organization’s continued success.


The author is Rollins’ technical services director. She can be reached via email at