Thursday PestWorld Sessions — From Wildlife to the World ‘Wild' Web

From the basics of wildlife control to controlling the wild world of the web, the speakers at Thursday afternoon's PestWorld sessions provided numerous hints and tips.

October 24, 2013
Lisa Lupo

PHOENIX. Ariz. — From the basics of wildlife control to controlling the wild world of the web, the speakers at Thursday afternoon's PestWorld sessions provided numerous hints and tips. Following are some tips from "Squirrels, Raccoons and Opossums: Back to the Basic," by Scott Steckel of Varment Guard Environmental Services, and "Build and Online Marketing Machine by Bob Stefano, SVM Marketing Solutions.

One area discussed in the wildlife session, was that of trapping. While some of the recommendations were the same for the various wildlife species, others varied. For example, for control of wildlife that have gotten into attics, funnel-type traps should be placed outside on the roof as close to the main entry point as possible, so the only way for the animal to get out of the is through the trap. A trap should also be secured at the main runway by which the animals are gaining access to the roof, such as near tree branches or power lines. "You can see paw prints on these, so you will know where to secure it," he said.

And traps should be checked daily – including weekends and holidays to ensure the wildlife is not caught and left sitting in the traps.

Steckel also recommended that trap covers be used on any exterior trap placements for three primary reasons:
•    This shelters the animal from weather.
•    It helps to keep the bait fresh.
•    It protects the trapped animals from the view of "prying eyes" of neighbors and passers by, for whom the perception may be that of an inhumane treatment of the animal.

With these similarities, there are also some key differences in trapping for different nuisance wildlife. For example, it can be much easier but riskier to trap for raccoons than for squirrels. Raccoons are easy to catch because they are so curious, but because they are so strong, they can force their way out of weak traps. Raccoons also will become aggressive if cornered or with pups, he said, and because it is common to have multiple adults in a single location, you cannot necessarily expect pups to be alone and easy to capture just because you have captured a lactating female.

Regardless of the animal being trapped, Steckel noted that importance of knowing and following your state regulations whenever conducting a wildlife control program. In discussing live trap and release or euthanize, he said, "State law dictates what you have to do." And not following these or national regulations, such as that of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service act prohibiting the transporting of wildlife across state lines bring about a fine or jail time.
No matter what pest services your company provides – from wildlife to cockroaches or stored product pests, "if Google can't find you, no one can," Stefano said in the online marketing session. (Read more about this concept in PCT's October article on web marketing "The Secrets of Virtual Life.")

Stefano provided six basic strategies to implement build your online presence. Following are a few tips from each of the six areas:
1.    Content Marketing – "You're not only in the business of pest management, you're in the business of knowledge," Stefano said. Your website should be a resource for web visitors who are seeking knowledge and information with a goal to service your customers and generate leads.
2.    Your Website – Your home page should be a "welcome mat" that clearly presents your service offering and provides links through which visitors can gain easy access to the information they seek. Know who your customers are and what they want, then focus on their problems and the solutions you offer.
3.    Search Engine Marketing – One area on which Google focuses today is the number of links that come into your site.  This is because you have to "earn" these, Stefano said, so  Google sees it the more incoming links you have the more popular you are
4.    Web 2.0 and Social Media – Today's web is interactive, with blogs, video, and the "peer-to-peer public relations" as key to building your visibility. Stefano discussed the basics of the relationship networking of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google + and the content sharing of YouTube, SlideShare, Pinterest and Scribd, noting that both types are important with each having specific purposes.
5.    Email Marketing – Email marketing can become spam if it is not done correctly. The key, Stefano said, is recognizing that it is not a prospecting tool, it is a nurturing tool, and emails should be sent only to those who have requested them.
6.    ROI Measurement. Stefano's "favorite" of the six, it is the measurement that proves your success and provides ideas for improvement, and the simplest way to measure all of the previous five, he said is through the free tool, Google Analytics ( Even if you're not going to do anything else on your website, put in Google Analytics so you have history and can measure when you are ready to start.