J.F. Oakes recently announced its new Pro-Pest UV LED Flashlight, which is rechargeable, more powerful and features a new lower price. The firm says the Pro-Pest UV LED Flashlight is a 3-watt, high-power UV flashlight with a 3-volt battery and on/off switch. LEDs are energy saving and contain no filament to burn out or break. The Pro-Pest UV LED Flashlight can be used to fluoresce rodent urine and to locate rodent habitats. The Pro-Pest UV LED Flashlight comes individually boxed with an AC adapter and a holster.
Convectex’s heaters are designed to eradicate bed bugs in hotels, apartments and single-family homes. The company’s equipment does not require a generator to power it, nor does it need a special vehicle or trailer to transport. Convectex’s heaters allow pest control professionals to perform isolated heat treatments as well as full structure treatments.
The firm also owns and operates the North American Bed Bug Training Center, where PMPs from the United States and Canada are taught to effectively use heat to eradicate bed bugs. Classes are held monthly.
Aprilaire’s new Model 1820 Crawlspace Dehumidifier helps protect against structural damage to the home from mold, pests and rot caused by excess humidity. With a moisture removal capacity of 70 pints per day, a streamline design and a weight of just 56 pounds, it’s an ideal solution for humidity management following pest remediation, the firm says.
In addition to dehumidification, the 1820 also can be programmed to circulate air in the crawlspace, evening out temperature and humidity levels. Energy efficient, effective and easy to install, the Model 1820 is a dehumidifier designed specifically for pest management professionals and the challenging conditions they work in, Aprilaire says.
The Ontario Pesticides Advisory Committee (“OPAC”) announced the official scheduling of OvoControl P. In addition to the federal registration by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (“PMRA”) in Health Canada, Ontario requires an additional regulatory process called “Scheduling” prior to any sale in the province. OvoControl P is now approved under the PMRA Registration #32670 and Class 4 in Ontario and available through distributors. OvoControl P is a ready-to-use bait, dispensed on flat rooftops with an automatic wildlife feeder. This effective and humane technology is especially useful for managing pigeon flocks in larger areas without having to use avicides or trapping programs, the firm says.
Perspexi Labs created Outreach to make it easy for PMPs to gather real-time feedback from customers. Using automated text message conversations, Perspexi Labs says it helps get positive reviews from the happiest customers, and get in touch with the angry ones to turn their experience around.
Outreach automatically sends texts after customer interactions. The customer responds via simple text messages and Outreach collects and analyzes the results. Real-time dashboards show the PMP feedback as it arrives and scores are instantly updated and available. The firm says customers are 7.5 times more likely to respond to a text than an email. When sent within a few hours of your service, response rates of transactional texts average 45 percent, much higher than both email and phone, the company says, and are more convenient and less intrusive for customers.
ReachOut Suite is a field service solution that improves operational efficiency by eliminating paperwork and streamlining processes with mobile-based forms and workflow, manufacturer Fingent says. The company says if your company is using paper forms or spreadsheets, switching to ReachOut can lower costs up to 25 percent. In addition, ReachOut will help PMPs maximize the productivity of their team and increase the billable hours of field service personnel by more than 5 percent.
With GPS-integrated scheduling of incidences, work orders, audits and inspections, PMPs will have full visibility of resource utilization and service delivery effectiveness. Users will be much better able to organize, schedule, track, execute and analyze field services, which will eliminate the need for-large “service windows,” the company says. ReachOut also is particularly well suited for service situations involving sophisticated data collection or checklist-driven procedures, the firm adds.
Field personnel can run ReachOut on their own tablets or smartphones. Once they download their assignment, they don’t have to be online to collect information, add photos, collect signatures or refer to service documents while onsite.
Inert Gas Injection (IGI)
In January, EPA approved IGI Pesticidal CO2 for the fumigation of burrowing rodents and other pests. The product is to be used as a pesticide, used in conjunction with IGI Delivery Systems, for the control and abatement of burrowing rodents and other pests that plague commodities, goods, crop production, and processing and handling.
IFI says the delivery of CO2 is safe, has no negative effect on the environment and has no residual effects. The company adds it is safe to use around children, pets, livestock and is a valuable solution to control damaging pests, particularly burrowing rodents.
The IGI CO2 pesticide, combined with one of the IGI delivery systems, presents a complete solution for pest abatement and management, the firm says. IGI’s delivery systems include the Eliminator and Eliminator II, used mainly for burrowing rodent control. They also can be used in certain fumigation situations. Eliminator products deliver the CO2 into the soil, displacing oxygen, thereby suffocating and killing the pests. Another benefit of CO2 is that when injected into the soil, it also can act as a fertilizer for plant root systems. IGI Fumigations System(s) are ideal for large and small fumigation projects for all commodities that require fumigation for shipping or storage, the company says.
Editor’s Note: This article was excerpted from a single-topic PCT E-newsletter titled “Targeting Cockroaches,” which was sponsored by Rockwell Labs.
Because of their close association with humans, cockroaches have enjoyed a prominent place in human evolution, culture, science and mythology. Legends abound about the strength, prowess and survivability of the cockroach. So what is fact and what is not? We’re here to set you straight! Read the the following statements to find out if they’re true or false...1. Cockroaches can run faster than humans.
Not really. Cockroaches can run about 3 miles per hour, which is about walking pace for humans. If speed were factored by size, the cockroach would certainly have the advantage, but then you’d also have to consider the fact that they have six legs while humans have only two. All that said, however, cockroaches are among the fastest insects in the world.
2. A cockroach can live without its head. This is, in fact, a truth — at least for a week or so. The circulatory system of the cockroach is different than that of humans, so a clot is formed at the site of a wound (or completely severed head), so it would not bleed out as a human would. Additionally, because it has multiple “brains” along the ventral nerve cord that process sensory input or controls motor functions, and it can breathe through holes in its body segments, the cockroach can continue to live until it needs food or water. But without a mouth, it has no way to get this sustenance.3. Cockroaches can swim. Yes, the American cockroach can swim almost 4 inches a second and “hold its breath” for 40 minutes. So, because this cockroach is known to inhabit sewers, it is, indeed, an unfortunate fact that they can come into a home from the sewer system, making their way through plumbing traps and swimming up into toilets.
4. A cockroach bite can hurt – a lot! Yes, this is true too. A study by Cambridge University researchers found that the force of a bite by an American cockroach is five times greater than that of a human, and 50 times its body weight. Thankfully, though, while cockroaches have been known to bite humans, this is not a common occurrence.5. Cockroach milk is a new super food (and one of the most nutritious substances known). True! Researchers in India who analyzed cockroach milk found it to be a complete food, rich in proteins, fats and sugars, and it contains peptides that can impart significant health advantages. In fact, they found cockroach milk to be three times as nutritionally rich as buffalo milk, and four times as concentrated as cow’s milk.
6 . If you have a cockroach problem, it most likely came in with potatoes, so getting rid of the potatoes will get rid of the cockroaches. Uh, no. Although cockroaches certainly could be brought in with any food or item from an infested store or supplier, they are no more likely to be present in potatoes than anything else. Collins Pest Management President Dan Collins said he often hears customers blame a cockroach problem on a potato purchase. Perhaps it is because they’ve heard that cockroaches are attracted to starches or because potatoes are often shipped in net bags. “I don’t know why,” Collins said. “I’ve never really seen them with potatoes, but potatoes seem to have become the default ‘blame game.’”
7. The ultimate factoid: Cockroaches could survive a nuclear explosion. The answer: Maybe. Factoids about cockroaches and nuclear weapons are so common that Discovery Channel’s MythBusters took on the challenge to test its validity. Their finding: “Plausible.” Here’s why: Using German cockroaches as their subjects, the MythBusters exposed three groups of cockroaches to three different levels of radioactive metal cobalt 60 for a month: 1,000 (which would kill a human in 10 minutes), 10,000 and 100,000 rads.
The results: After 30 days: 50 percent of the group exposed to 1,000 rads and 10 percent of those to 10,000 rads were still alive, but all those exposed to 100,000 rads died. Thus, the “plausible” verdict — cockroaches could survive an atomic bomb depending on its intensity. Additionally, since only the German cockroach was tested, which is one of the smallest species, there is plausibility that other species could survive at even greater levels.
A similar verdict was reached by Purdue University Professor of Urban Pest Management Gary Bennett: Will cockroaches be the last surviving creature on this earth? “Who knows — could be true, considering their adaptability,” he said.
So, who started this cockroach survivability rumor anyway? And why? According to the MythBusters episode summary from Discovery, shortly after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, reports came out that cockroaches were among the Japanese cities’ only survivors. Then, the summary states, “during the Cold War, anti-nuclear activists and scientists spread the myth far and wide as a cautionary tale of the atom bomb’s destructive potential.”
Professional pest control plays a crucial role in protecting the public’s health, food and property. But, are homeowners in agreement? And, do their thoughts about our industry vary by generation? To learn more about generational differences when it comes to purchasing professional pest control services, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) conducted in-depth research to better understand similarities and differences across millennials (born 1981-1996), Gen Xers (1965-1980) and baby boomers (1946-1964).
The following is a snapshot of key findings and recommendations of how companies can apply them to future marketing endeavors.WORKING WITH A PMP. Delving into what consumers look for in a pest control professional, many attributes came to mind, but there were three characteristics that rose to the top. All three generations noted that they look for experienced and trustworthy companies, and those that provide a work guarantee. Price was also of key importance to the millennial generation as this group may have less disposable income and is more cost conscious. The groups typically look for evidence of these qualities by reading through positive online reviews.
Looking at the pests that are most concerning, ants, mosquitoes and spiders top the list among all audiences, but what makes the phone ring? Pest control professionals are typically immediately called in for termites and bed bugs. More than 70 percent of respondents are also concerned about rodents, including mice and rats.
While all generations recognize the necessity of pest control, more millennial respondents (57 percent on average across pest categories) noted that they are most likely to initially call a pest control professional for help before trying to implement a do-it-yourself (DIY) method. They believe calling in a pro first will help save time and ensure it’s done right the first time. Gen Xers (55 percent on average across pest categories) also rely more on professionals than DIY measures, with some mentioning that they try to pursue natural remedies first, while 58 percent of baby boomers (on average) indicated the greatest likelihood to attempt DIY treatments initially, unless the problem is considered severe or from a pest of top concern (i.e., termites, cockroaches and bed bugs).
INFORMATION SOURCES. Online reviews are critical to the decision-making process across generations (millennials: 90 percent, Gen Xers: 89 percent, baby boomers: 83 percent) and oftentimes the first stop when researching a company. Word of mouth also holds weight. Perhaps not surprising, social media is more influential to younger consumers, specifically when it comes to asking for recommendations and looking at a company’s page on Facebook. Yelp, Google and Angie’s List are the top three most influential review sites for each generation — so keep an eye on your company’s reviews and work to cultivate positive ones.
PPMA pursued a line of questions related to how key audiences search for pest control companies online. Most respondents use general terms such as “pest control” or “exterminator” and often use locations of where they live to find a local company. When results appear on the page, more than half of respondents quickly scrolled past the top, paid position links and acknowledged that those are paid ads. They may circle back, but initially these are dismissed as consumers first seek out the top organic listings. Across the board, consumers are looking for professional websites with contact information that is clearly labeled and easy to find.
COMMUNICATION and TECHNOLOGY. Consumers do not feel an unmet need when it comes to technology in the pest control industry, but are open to new developments on the horizon. Think about how content consumers felt about technology as it related to mobile phones 15 or even 10 years ago. Mobile phones were used as entertainment and for keeping in touch while away from the home or office, but now they are our lifelines. Many people can’t imagine life without a smartphone now, where they work, play and communicate digitally. The findings from this particular discussion point shows that we have an audience across all three generation groups who may be content now, but will also be open and receptive to technological advancements and innovation in our field in the future.
When it comes to communication preferences, all generations still value a good old-fashioned telephone call and may find text reminders helpful — but exercise with caution. This outreach method (along with email) is only preferred by millennials and Gen Xers. Only six percent of baby boomers report that they are more receptive to email and text contact over other forms of communication.
Millennials find the convenience of booking appointments online and making payments online appealing. According to one millennial respondent, “Using technology gives me the confidence that a company is up-to-date, which means that their technology of extermination is also modern, so I know that they’re plugged in, so to speak.”PUBLIC HEALTH. Protecting properties and homeowners from public health threats posed by pests is a top priority of the industry, but are homeowners making the correlation between pest control and public health? Across generations, there was a low affiliation between pest control and the words “public health”; however, once prompted, each generation easily made the connection. Mosquitoes and Zika virus are a top concern for millennials, while diseases posed by cockroaches and mice resonated most with Gen Xers and baby boomers. Mosquitoes were also a concern for boomers.
Among Gen Xers, mosquitoes and ticks are considered public health risks given heightened news coverage of the pests. According to one Gen X respondent, “Mosquitoes may cause the biggest concern, but it’s still sporadic in terms of people contracting these types of diseases, closer than you’d like to hear about them. You never know what they could contract and pass on to others.” While a baby boomer respondent stated, “Roaches can carry a lot of different kinds of bacteria. You really don’t want them running around on your countertops or on your floors.”
When looking at a list of pests, respondents were asked to indicate how much of a public health concern they felt toward each one. Notably, mosquitoes, ticks, bed bugs, mice and rats were considered a strong to severe threat, while flies, occasional invaders and ants were considered little to no threat. Side note: it’s interesting that ants fall to the bottom of the list here, but were a top concern across all generations when it came to pests within the home. When discussing concern around specific infectious diseases, Zika virus and West Nile virus create the greatest concern across all generations, while worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms due to pests generates the least amount of concern.
KEY TAKEAWAYS. So, what does this all mean for pest control companies when it comes to fine-tuning marketing efforts? Based on these findings and a stronger understanding of each target audience, here are five marketing tips for engaging with all three generations.
Focus Online. All generations are consuming and sharing information online — actively perusing company websites, searching for online reviews and engaging on social media. Update your website regularly and embrace social media. Keep content fresh, promote and share company news, post visuals and other engaging content, and share insights and advice that consumers will find valuable. With Facebook ranking as the top social media site for searching for company reviews, your company should most definitely be active on Facebook. If you already have a Company Page, ensure it’s regularly updated to keep content fresh and fans engaged.
Show Off Your Assets. Consumers all agreed that pest control professionals save them time, energy and money and they typically call for unfamiliar pest issues. Showcase that! In all marketing messaging, hone in on the convenience and time saving of hiring a professional with an emphasis on pests that respondents do not always think to call a pro for like ants, cockroaches, wasps and hornets.
Check-in with Customers. Millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers look for experienced, trustworthy professionals who provide a work guarantee, which is commonly communicated through positive online reviews or personal recommendations. Stay up-to-speed on your company’s online review rating on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List to make note of strengths and areas of improvement. Encourage customers to leave a review once services are being wrapped up, as quantity of reviews can be just as important as the content.
Be Timely. Strategically time out marketing efforts around specific pests that are most concerning (ants, mosquitoes and spiders) during the time of year when they are most prevalent in your region. This year, consider investing in PPMA for a marketing push during Termite Awareness Week (March 11-17), National Pest Management Month (April), Bed Bug Awareness Week (June 3-9) and Rodent Awareness Week (Oct. 21-27).
Spread the Public Health Message. The average consumer does not make the connection between pest control and public health on their own; however, when prompted, consumers are able to make the connection quickly. As we well know, the threats posed by pests can lead to serious health implications. Focus marketing efforts on educating customers about infectious diseases and health concerns triggered by pests. Share information on social media and with local media outlets, and upload fresh website content focused on these topics.
FINAL THOUGHTS. PPMA’s consumer research provides a great opportunity for companies to reflect on how their target audiences view pest control and how they’re communicating with each generation, along with new strategies and tips to integrate into marketing plans and everyday service calls.
By Brad Harbison
As members of the pest control industry make plans to head to this year’s National Pest Management Association Legislative Day — scheduled for March 18-20 in Washington, D.C. — they do so with very real prospects of impacting change. Factors in the pest control industry’s favor right now include an industry-friendly White House and Congress and a need-to-be-renewed Farm Bill.
For these reasons, Andrew Bray, vice president of public policy, NPMA, said attendees “will be on the offensive” at Legislative Day this year.
“Republicans have control of the trifecta — both houses of Congress and the Executive office — so you have to strike while the iron is hot.”
By most accounts, the general public is concerned about the way government is functioning, a sentiment shared by many pest management professionals, according to new research from PCT. Forty-four percent of those who responded to a recent PCT survey said the “ability of politicians to get things done” is the greatest problem facing the nation” (see chart).
While President Donald Trump has had a somewhat tumultuous 14 months in office (with an average approval rating of 38.4 percent for 2017, according to the Gallup Poll), one group that has largely approved of the current administration’s performance — particularly when it comes to economic and regulatory issues — is pest management professionals.
“With the stock market up over 26,000 for the first time and a new tax plan that is going to remove some burdensome restrictions, there is good news there,” Bray said. “And we’ve seen an EPA that seems much more willing to work and listen to industry. I believe that our members are generally pretty happy with what they’ve seen from this administration.”
PCT research supports Bray’s observations. More than half of those surveyed by PCT said they approve of the Trump administration’s handling of (1) the economy; (2) government regulations; (3) tax reform; and (4) foreign affairs (see chart).
The relatively robust economy has, however, made employee recruitment more challenging. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said the ability to recruit quality employees is the “greatest problem currently facing their company.” However, issues more directly related to politics were less of a concern; 20 percent answered that the economy was the “greatest problem currently facing their company” followed by health care policy (15%); government regulations (11%); Washington, D.C. gridlock (5%); and foreign affairs (1%).
In addition to a favorable political climate, the Farm Bill is up for re-authorization in 2018. This is important because it presents the pest control industry with a vehicle to insert needed legislation to protect and promote the structural pest management industry.
With these factors in the pest control industry’s favor, Legislative Day attendees will seek to have their voices heard on the following issues.
COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said on several occasions he plans to use the EPA to regulate through “cooperative federalism.” This presents the pest control industry and other stakeholders with opportunities regarding the regulation of pesticides. NPMA has partnered with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) on a joint proposal to ensure the relationship between EPA and state lead agencies regarding pesticide regulation. When EPA promulgates a rule, before it goes public the agency is required to submit that rule to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA then has an opportunity to work with EPA on the rule before it goes public; once the rule goes public it comes under greater scrutiny. Bray said, “So what NASDA is saying is, ‘We think that you also should provide all of the state agencies that regulate the sale and use of pesticides the opportunity to see these rules. We want to fix the problem before it’s out there in the public.’” In that same vein, NPMA and NASDA want to ensure that only the state lead agency can regulate the sale and use of pesticides. “We rely on our state lead agencies as co-regulators and partners. When you usurp a state lead agency through a locality, it’s generally done for a political reason — not a real science-based reason,” Bray said. “We think any decision on how and when and where to use a pesticide needs to be based on sound science research pursuant to FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act).”
NPDES PERMITS. Despite the fact that pesticides applied in accordance with FIFRA have already undergone a thorough review during the EPA registration and reregistration processes, National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) permits are required under the Clean Water Act any time chemical pesticides are used in, over or near Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The pest control industry has long been of the belief that these permits place an unnecessary and costly burden on them. Additionally, under the Obama administration a rule was added that expanded the definition of a waterway to include everything from a simple drainage ditch to streams and rivers (that rule has been held up in court and not yet enacted). There are two pieces of legislation in Congress to address this duplicative regulation. In the Senate, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2017 (S. 340) which has been assigned to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and is awaiting further action. In the House of Representatives, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017 (H. 953) has passed the Committee on Agriculture with bipartisan support and is now in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT. NPMA and others believe the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as currently drafted, is broken. The Department of Interior, specifically the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively the Services), are tasked with implementing the ESA. This group can slow down the registration (or reregistration) review of products they determine may affect a listed endangered species by engaging in a slow-moving consultative process — involving scientific assessments with different standards and expertise — with EPA. NPMA believes this collaborative consultation process is broken and unnecessarily bureaucratic. “Right now, the system isn’t working, and we want to be part of a solution for fixing it. We want to be able to maintain the ability to use pesticides in a smart, responsible manner to protect public health.” Currently there is no pending legislation in Congress to address the ESA; the goal at Legislative Day is for attendees to raise awareness should legislation be introduced, perhaps in the Farm Bill.
In addition to Capitol Hill visits, Legislative Day attendees will be treated to sessions on important technical and business-related topics. On March 19, PCT Publisher Dan Moreland will review findings from the recent PCT/NPMA Industry Recruitment Survey that was sponsored by BASF. This session will provide insights on how your company stacks up on hiring, retention, turnover rates and more. Learn more about this year’s program at http://ow.ly/uKUK30i1wRL or call NPMA at 800/678-6722.
The author is internet editor and managing editor of PCT magazine. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.