Lawn and garden care has long included the use of spreader-stickers, a.k.a. adjuvants or surfactants, to improve the coverage and absorption of fungicides, herbicides, nutrients and insecticides. But until recently, surfactant usage was limited to outdoor applications. Then came Wick adjuvant, a product specially designed to be mixed with labeled insecticides for indoor use.
Wick is the brainchild of industry innovator WinField, a Land O’Lakes company that develops, manufactures and distributes products for pest management, agriculture, lawn care, golf and a variety of other specialty markets.
WinField’s 2010 entrée into urban pest management was spurred by its acquisition of Estes, a regional distributor with an established presence in pest management in the South Central states, as well as the realization that many of the technologies used in WinField’s established segments could be leveraged and adapted with significant success in pest management applications. Today WinField is one of a handful of distributors that develops its own proprietary pest management products and collaborates with university and extension agencies in testing and training efforts.
The 2013 launch of Wick adjuvant illustrates WinField’s capacity to tap into its R&D synergies and deliver state-of-the-art solutions. While still relatively new to the industry, PMPs are experiencing the benefits of the indoor adjuvant, which is designed to improve the efficacy of insecticides targeting bed bugs, fleas, German cockroaches and other hard-to-control pests by optimizing coverage, penetration and spreading. Even more significant, it does so without staining carpets or compromising stain guards.
“We started using Wick primarily for roach cleanouts and bed bug treatments,” shares Bill Patterson, technical director and staff entomologist of Worldwide Pest Control, which services San Antonio and Austin. “The results have been remarkable. For example, before we started using Wick for bed bug treatments, we would typically go back two or three times to re-service; now when we go for our first follow-up call, we rarely see any activity. Callbacks have dropped from 20 percent of customers to maybe 2 percent.”
|Key Features of Wick Adjuvant for Indoor/Outdoor Use
Wick adjuvant is a textile spreader and penetrant that helps improve the efficacy of pesticides labeled for indoor and outdoor use. Key features, according to WinField Solutions, include:
How Does it Work?
Wick improves the spreading and penetration of insecticide applications on carpets, rugs, mattress ticking and other fabrics through technology that enlarges the size of the droplets sprayed and minimizes gaps in coverage. It also can be used to aid indoor crack and crevice treatments. (Wick should not be used on hard surfaces and walkways because it might make them slippery.) Martyn Hafley, national sales director at WinField, explains, “When you spray a surface with an insecticide alone, it tends to bead up like rain on the hood of a car. That leaves gaps in protection. Wick breaks the surface tension to even out product coverage. In other words, wherever the product goes, it stays.”
Wick also improves the absorption capacity of insecticides, enabling better penetration. Says Patterson, “When we use Wick in treating fleas, it helps the pesticide penetrate deeply into the naps of the carpet, where larvae and eggs are embedded. It makes our treatments much more effective.”
WinField: Developer, Manufacturer, Distributor, Industry Partner
Very few distributors develop and manufacture their own proprietary pest management product lines. WinField does, however, working toward innovative new solutions to specific market and customer challenges as well as providing products from other leading manufacturers. Yet in keeping true to the philosophy of parent organization Land O’Lakes, WinField prefers to be known first and foremost as a service organization. The company works closely with customers ranging in scope from one-person operations to global corporations to understand their needs and develop precise recommendations.
“With Land O’Lakes behind us, we have a lot of resources to support the pest management market,” says WinField National Sales Director Martyn Hafley. “Our top goal as we move forward is to support the industry and our customers at the highest level, providing expertise and solutions as well as accurate, on-time distribution. We plan to develop and distribute a variety of new, unique products in the years ahead.”
WinField is in the process of expanding in the pest management market in the Midwest, West and Southeast.
Mike Stephens, pest control supervisor at Adams Exterminating in Lewisville, Texas, says his teams have achieved outstanding results with Wick, too. “It’s a great tool because it helps you spray in a more even pattern and facilitates adherence to surfaces,” he explains. “It has given us quicker control of bed bugs in both residential and commercial settings. I’ve also used it to treat odorous ant trails. After tracking an ant infestation to several trails coming into a customer’s house, I mixed Wick with Phantom and treated spots around the exterior of the house — in the mulch areas and along the trails. I’ve called the customer back several times, and she continues to be very happy, reporting that the ants have not come back. Wick has been extremely effective for us.”
Hafley points out that, although Wick does work in outdoor settings (it is labeled as an indoor/outdoor adjuvant), it was designed primarily for indoor use. “WinField offers other surfactants, including AirCover adjuvant, specifically designed for use in backpack mist blowers and other outdoor sprayers,” he says. In fact, it was in large part the outdoor adjuvants that uncovered the market need for an indoor product, Hafley shares. “Years ago, in spite of our pleas for them to refrain from doing this, several PMPs tried our outdoor adjuvants on indoor treatments,” he says. “They had achieved such a high level of efficacy in lawn and garden settings that they wondered if they could emulate their success indoors. They saw dramatic improvements in flea control and approached us about developing a product for indoor use. We field tested, reformulated and arrived at a solution that was labeled for indoor use: Wick.”
Whether they’re using surfactants indoors, outdoors or both, Hafley assures, “Once PMPs try them they won’t give them up.”
Worth the Price?
Of course, the question on the minds of any pest management professional who hasn’t tried an adjuvant yet is “Why spend extra money for an add-on product?” Hafley answers that question in two words: fewer callbacks. “When you add Wick to the mix, whether for fleas, roaches or bed bugs, you will eliminate many of the callbacks you would have gotten using your insecticide alone.”
Patterson provides the math: “We rarely get callbacks when we’re using Wick, and every callback we save adds $30 or $40 to our bottom line. Wick has been a great addition for us.”
“Customer satisfaction is our No. 1 concern,” echoes Stephens. “The faster we eliminate the customer’s bug problems, the happier the customer. Wick helps us get quick control; to our customers, that peace of mind is priceless.”
The author is a frequent contributor to PCT. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.