CHICAGO - Day two of the North American Bed Bug Summit, held last week in Chicago, included a presentation from Cooper Pest Solutions Research Entomologist Jeff White titled “How Do I Put a Program Together.” White discussed essential elements of a comprehensive program, noting that there are several models that will work for a bed bug program. For example, some companies have created separate bed bug “teams” while others use route technicians. White said there are pros and cons to both strategies.
Advantages of teams:
• Experience – service professionals who know the ins and outs of inspections and treatments from having done many bed bug jobs
• Comfort working together – teams can work efficiently when everyone has defined roles
• Skilled at problem solving – technicians exposed to a variety of bed bug accounts understand the challenges inherent with different circumstances.
• PCOs can offer a higher quality service – this can help them market their bed bug services
• Better for accommodating equipment and products – bed bug work requires a lot of equipment/products that can be difficult for route technicians to accommodate in their service vehicles (because their vehicles are already equipped with equipment/products for GPC).
Advantages of route technicians
• Flexibility with schedules
• Reduces stress on technicians – bed bug work is physically (and mentally) taxing. Technicians can burn out doing nothing but bed bug work.
• Increase efficiencies and thus profitability
Another important choice PCOs need to make involves client involvement. WIth a traditional bed bug program, PCOs provide their client with a checklist of tasks to be accomplished prior to a visit:
• Strip beds
• Empty dresser
• Empty closets
• Launder all clothes
• Stand up bed
• Empty all furniture
• Pull furniture away from wall
White said Cooper Pest Solutions uses what he calls a “Progressive Preparation,” which involves:
• Doing an adequate cleaning job to remove clutter so that Cooper Pest Solutions technicians can move around
• Leave the bed as is
• After the initial inspection/treatment, Cooper Pest technicians will let customers know what needs to be laundered or thrown out prior to the next visit.
White said there are several reasons Cooper prefers the progressive approach, including: 1) property managers/resident might not contract with a pest control company that provides a long client “to do” list because it might seem overwhelming; 2) Having clients tear apart the bed and clean up/discard items might do more harm than good as bed bugs can get distributed throughout a room/house.