Three new species of colorful scarab beetles named after dragons in the television series “Game of Thrones” are featured in a recently published book-length monograph by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) researcher Dr. Brett Ratcliffe.
Gymnetis drogoni is from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay; Gymnetis rhaegali is from French Guiana; and Gymnetis viserioni is from Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.
Although Ratcliffe is a “Game Of Thrones” fan, the names were chosen to draw attention to biodiversity. “When you create names like these, you do it to gain a little bit of notoriety and bring public attention to it,” he told the Associated Press. “We’re still discovering life on Earth. One of every four living things on Earth is a beetle. We haven’t discovered them all. We’re not even close.”
The new monograph from Ratcliffe, who also is the curator of the Entomology Research Collections at the University of Nebraska State Museum, is the culmination of a decades-long research project on a group of chafers that live in Central and South America, according to a UNL press release.
In addition to the three new species named after “Game of Thrones” dragons, the text includes five other new species among the 56 in the book. It can be ordered at here.
Ratcliffe has conducted field research in the tropical forests of Central and South America virtually every year for more than 45 years. He has spent his career at Nebraska training graduate students and promoting increased communication, sharing specimens, techniques and data to colleagues and students around the world to better understand the megadiversity of beetles and their important role in natural ecosystems.
Ratcliffe’s lab at UNL is known as Team Scarab, and he was responsible for bringing to UNL the U.S. National Collection of Scarab Beetles from the Smithsonian Institution for a lengthy period of off-site enhancement. The scarab beetle collection at Nebraska is among the five largest in the world.
Control Solutions Inc. has introduced ProFlex, which is part of the firm’s encapsulated solutions family. Proflex is a microencapsulated concentrate containing lambda-cyhalothrin, novaluron and pyriproxyfen. These three active ingredients provide three modes of action that make ProFlex a fast-acting and long-lasting solution for several hard-to-control pests, including mosquitoes, cockroaches, fleas and ticks, the company says.
Bell Laboratories announced the registration and launch of Contrac Soft Bait for the Canadian market. Similar to Bell’s Contrac Bait Blox, Contrac Soft Bait is made using the firm’s bromadiolone formulas, which are known for their outstanding rodent acceptance and control, the company says. Contrac Soft Bait underwent comprehensive field testing in urban, rural, commercial and residential settings, Bell Labs reports.
In addition to its rodent acceptance and control, Bell’s Contrac Soft was specially formulated with an optimal blend of saturated and unsaturated fats. In addition, the manufacturing process further increases bait acceptance by ensuring maximum contact of the paper sachet to the soft bait, the company adds. Contrac Soft Bait’s preservative package is designed to withstand almost any climate, meaning the bait won’t freeze, mold or melt.
Contrac Soft Bait is available in a 16-pound pail size; this Soft Bait pail is differentiated from all other Bell Laboratories pails with an orange lid for easy identification. Contrac Soft Bait is available in 10g sachets with a minimum mouse placement of 10g and a minimum rat placement of 90g.
Central Life Scienceswww.centrallifesciences.com
Gentrol Complete Aerosol by Zoëcon combines an Insect Growth Regulator and an insecticide for quick knockdown and residual control of cockroaches, fruit flies, ants and 21 other listed pests. Offering the advantages of a tank mix in a convenient aerosol, this one-step solution saves on labor costs by breaking the pest life cycle — preventing reinfestations, Zoëcon says. Ideal for use in sensitive treatment areas, including food-handling establishments, Gentrol Complete can be applied as a general surface spray, spot treatment or crack-and-crevice spray.
Nisus says its imidacloprid-based iSTRIKE Insecticide Foam is a go-to product for WDOs: wood-boring beetles, carpenter bees, subterranean and drywood termites and listed ants. iSTRIKE kills on contact as the foam fills galleries, voids and holes, leaving a residual to continue protection. Specifically designed for residential structures, Nisus says the easy-to-use aerosol can comes with a flexible applicator hose and two tips: one for narrow cracks and crevices or small holes, and a wide tip for larger holes and wider area application.
Polyguard can help homes and commercial properties keep the outside out and the inside in, including water, moisture and pests. Knowing how pests enter a structure helps PMPs design programs to keep them out and many PMPs have realized the value of preventive programs focused on keeping pests out and less on pesticide use, the firm says. Polyguard from TERM Barrier Systems is backed by 18 years of university research and ICC Evaluation Report #3632. PMPs can optimize building waterproofing by adding non-chemical termite barriers like Polyguard.
Fleetio launched an integration with national and independent automotive maintenance shops around the United States to allow its users to automatically record service data in Fleetio from a repair shop’s point of sale, electronically approve repair orders and get one bill including all maintenance vendors.
Through Fleetio’s Maintenance Provider Network, users can automatically pull data into Fleetio from more than 30,000 maintenance shops including national providers like Firestone, Pep Boys, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (including Dodge and Jeep), Sears Auto Center and Monro Auto Service and Tire Centers. The network includes more than 22,000 independent shops. Many national providers that are a part of the Maintenance Provider Network are offering Fleetio customers exclusive fleet discounts and regular special offers.
Fleetio says its Shop Integration gives users increased control over repair order approvals and improves efficiency, allowing fleets to get vehicles out of the shop and back on the road faster. Users can set up automatic approvals based on certain parameters like price, service type and vendor, or users can choose to receive instant notifications for repair work and approve or deny them with one click.
“We’re automating many of the outsourced maintenance processes that fleet management companies have been facilitating through large staffs and call centers for the past couple decades,” said Tony Summerville, founder and CEO of Fleetio. “With our shop integration, we’re bringing control and visibility back to the fleet customer at a much more cost-effective price point.”
SiteOne Landscape Supply launched a mobile-friendly e-commerce website that allows customers, including PMPs, to place orders from anywhere at any time. Customers can search product availability, get access to their specific pricing and place orders for pickup or delivery on the website 24/7.
“The new SiteOne.com is a major step forward in customer convenience,” said Doug Black, CEO. “We’ve completely redesigned the online capabilities for our customers to save them time and make ordering easier than ever before. In addition to finding product availability and pricing, they can also create custom lists to help organize their needs for particular jobs or seasonal purchasing during the year. Additionally, a local SiteOne associate will review orders when they are placed on the site to make sure customers get what they need, when they need it. We are very excited to deliver this new level of service to our customers.”
To take full advantage of the new site’s features, users must set up an online account. Once registered, customers will be able to place orders, manage their account and access many other new features. In addition to the site’s enhanced e-commerce abilities, SiteOne.com provides resources such as video tutorials, business tips, product category specific articles, industry event information and more.
As younger generations continue to join the workforce, there is increasing pressure to include digital learning within training programs. For years, the use of technology within corporate learning centered around a single platform: the learning management system (LMS). Now, as technology becomes more integrated into the workflow, additional digital learning strategies are starting to supplement the tried-and-true LMS platform.
Digital learning utilizes electronic technologies to access educational resources outside of a traditional classroom. This can range from a course or program that is delivered online through an LMS, to just-in-time training videos that are available to technicians the moment they need it in the field. It also may include software programs that help your learners interact with the material as you are presenting it, and games that test your learners’ mastery of the material. Most importantly, digital learning is not simply a PDF of text or a PowerPoint presentation.
Incorporating digital learning into a training program provides both short- and long-term benefits to learners and their employers. In the short-term, digital learning brings interactivity to training that was unheard of just a few years ago. It allows learners to practice with the material, which can lead to improved comprehension and retention levels.
Over the long term, digital learning provides trainers and learners with more diverse teaching methods, and typically gives learners more control over the material and the way in which they learn it. This more personalized learning strategy inspires self-exploration by learners and is likely to result in higher intrinsic motivation to learn compared to more structured learning. Finally, the inclusion of digital learning enables trainers to create and update content and provide learners with programming at a much faster rate. This also means that learners can access the content faster. This acceleration helps learners, and therefore enhances the company’s human capital and performance.
In my time as a training coordinator, I have had the opportunity to use several digital learning programs in my own training programs. My favorites are discussed below.
IN THE FIELD. A learning management system is a software application that administers, documents, tracks, reports and delivers educational courses, training programs or learning and development programs.
The main benefit to using an LMS is that all content (i.e., courses, worksheets, videos, etc.) is stored in one location. This means that learners can easily access all content through a website or app on any computer or mobile device, while in any location.
LMSs can be utilized to house initial training videos, Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) courses and related content such as worksheets. They also can be used for ongoing training intended for experienced technicians, and may be used to assign and access client-specific certification courses and requirements.
There are many learning management systems available for purchase. An LMS should be chosen based on your company’s needs and desired features and functionality.
Videos often can be an effective training tool as well, especially in an industry that emphasizes hands-on learning. While formal, structured videos are useful in a classroom setting, just-in-time videos can be a great tool for technicians in the field.
Just-in-time videos should be short, one-to-two-minute videos that provide information on just one pest, treatment, technique or policy change. Because they are short in length, just-in-time videos give technicians the information they need without having to wade through other, more lengthy material. These short videos should become part of a larger, searchable library of resources that is accessible through an LMS or other shared access folder such as Dropbox or OneDrive.
STRUCTURED LEARNING SETTINGS. Since classroom learning should never be overlooked, there are many digital learning programs that can be used within a classroom setting to enhance learning. K-12 teachers have integrated digital learning into their classrooms for years, and a lot of the software they use is adaptable to our industry’s classrooms as well. Four programs I’ve had success using are Pear Deck, Quizlet, FlipGrid and Kahoot!.
Pear Deck allows trainers to plan and build interactive PowerPoint presentations through Google Slides. Adding interactive elements to a presentation, especially PowerPoint presentations, increases retention and interest.
When participating in a Pear Deck presentation, students are able to interact with each slide via any mobile device or computer. Examples of interactions include drawing on the slide, typing in a short response, matching and more. Trainers also can share student answers with the rest of the room to stimulate discussion or highlight correct responses.
In my own training programs, Pear Deck has been used to play Pest ID Pictionary and present more traditional topics like bed bug control and IPM in schools and daycare centers. Pear Deck provides template slides that can be manipulated to fit whatever the trainer desires.
Pear Deck requires a paid subscription, but offers free, 30-day trials to those interested in testing out the program.
Quizlet assists trainers in creating flashcards, tests, quizzes and study games that are accessible online and via a mobile device. This allows learners to access study materials whenever and wherever they are without having to keep track of paper reference or study materials. Quizlet offers both free and paid versions, depending on the desired features.
FlipGrid is an active, social learning platform that engages learners through video-based discussion. FlipGrid may be accessed via any computer or mobile device and creates opportunities for reflection, discussion, demonstration and collaboration.
Within FlipGrid, trainers can create grids of short, discussion-style topics to share. Then, learners are expected to add their own video responses related to the proposed grid topic. This helps to expand collective knowledge and enhance community, especially in companies that cover a large service area in which technicians may not interact frequently. FlipGrid is free for anyone to use.
Kahoot!, a popular game-based learning platform, allows trainers to create multiple choice quizzes that can be accessed via a web browser on any computer or mobile device.
While playing via Kahoot!, learners are rewarded for the speed and accuracy at which they answer questions. Players may play individually or in teams.
Games have been shown to encourage learning and offer a way for students to assess their own comprehension in a low-stakes environment. Games can add a fun element to your learning program while also testing mastery. Kahoot! offers both free and paid versions to trainers.
ADDING DIGITAL LEARNING. When deciding on which digital learning program to use, it is important to consider the following:
- What is the purpose of this tool? Each digital tool selection should be made with a clear purpose in mind (i.e., what can the learner do with that digital tool?).
- How accessible is this tool? Nothing will discourage use more than difficulty in accessing the material.
- Is this tool meant to give your learner a sense of community or is it meant for individual work? If your company has a wide geographical footprint, digital learning can foster a sense of community and allow learners to interact with each other. It also can be used to test individual knowledge within smaller settings.
- Does this program provide practice and feedback opportunities? Digital tools can provide learners with the chance to practice and interact with the material. They also can provide useful feedback for trainers.
- In what context will this tool be used? Depending on your pest management training program, tools may be better suited for classroom use or field use.
- What is the cost? Some digital learning programs are free of charge and some are of significant cost.
Regardless of the digital learning program you choose, your learners will benefit both in the field and in the classroom.
Kirby has a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in wildlife ecology — natural resources from the University of Wisconsin. She is the training coordinator at Plunkett’s Pest Control.
Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.
Editor’s note: Suppliers and PMPs, if you have a technology-related news item or product you’d like to see highlighted in an upcoming issue, please send a press release and a high-resolution photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collabetive Services, makers of Blu Star Field Service Management System, on Dec. 26, 2018, acquired GPSlogix, which makes a web-based tracking software. GPSlogix is known for providing a GPS tracking solution at an affordable price, the company says.
Gregg Saunders, president of GPSlogix, said, “Collabetive is one of our larger customers and one whom we’ve worked with to improve our software over the past couple of years. We are happy we found the right home for GPSlogix and that they will continue to improve this product.”
“Blu Star already integrates with GPSlogix and we plan on making that integration tighter to better serve our Blu Star clients,” said Collabetive President Todd Leyse. Leyse, who has a B.A. in computer science from the University of Minnesota, added, “We will also offer our Blu Star Fleet to the GPSlogix customers, should they want to record oil changes, annual inspections and other services to their fleet, and to be alerted when services are coming due or overdue.”
GPSlogix also can alert on speeding, excessive idling, off-hours use, entering or leaving a geofence, engine diagnostic codes, and create stop reports with miles, engine run time, show trips on a map and more, the company says.
GPS Insight says that when PMPs are sick of high fleet operating costs, worried about safety on the roads and have inefficiencies that waste time and money, they call GPS Insight. The company says every business is unique and shouldn’t be given a cookie-cutter product that may only partially help them. GPS Insight says it partners with customers to provide solutions to those challenges with results-focused customer service. The company says it strives to make PMPs’ jobs easier and delivers an exceptional customer experience through awesome products, awesome people and awesome results. GPS Insight says PMPs can expect:
- Increased fleet visibility from anywhere, anytime using the desktop or mobile app
- Reduction of fuel, labor and maintenance costs
- Increased number of customers serviced per day
- The ability to monitor all maintenance for maximum uptime
- Reduction of administrative paperwork
- Enhanced customer service
- Enhanced driver safety and insurance discounts
Insects Limited says PMPs should “know before you go.” The company offers SightTrap powered by ForesightIPM, which monitors traps and tracks infestations from a computer or smartphone. Pheromone monitoring just got easier with SightTrap, which puts a camera in PMPs’ traps and gives them access to essential information and data on a computer and smartphone, Insects Limited reports. PMPs can obtain accurate counts and see trends develop without inspections, which means better results and happier customers in less time and with fewer steps, Insects Limited says. ForesightIPM is the brain behind the SightTrap, providing automated monitoring with at-a-glance analysis and trends that help PMPs head off problems before they develop.
InSight Mobile Data
Since 1998, InSight Mobile Data has been focused on delivering 100 percent visibility into all activities taking place in the field through the StreetEagle software platform. InSight’s Complete Fleet Safety Program gives pest control companies safety expertise that reduces and prevents the crashes that put employees and the organization at risk, the firm says. InSight Mobile Data reports most busy fleet managers and owners lack the expertise, time and resources, to properly analyze any driver behavior data they may collect. They also don’t have time to apply insights gained to improve the overall safety and efficiency of their operation, the firm adds.
The Complete Fleet Safety Program helps organizations handle all aspects of creating, implementing and managing fleet safety policies and practices. InSight Mobile Data does so through a diverse offering of both one-time (setup) and ongoing managed services that can be configured to meet the specific needs of a PMP’s fleet operation. When properly applied and managed, these services will help encourage high-level driving performance that delivers quantifiable results, enhances a PMP’s reputation and boosts employee morale.
Program from Plunkett’s Can Keep Technicians ‘Lycensed’
Tracking the licenses, expirations, testing and renewals of every service category for every technician in your company; knowing the specific requirements and expirations for each; and filling out the many and varied forms to keep your staff validly licensed can be a labor-intensive (and monotonous) challenge. And that challenge is significantly increased if you operate a multi-state business and are dealing with various rules, requirements and reciprocities.
Such challenges inspired the Plunkett’s Pest Control technical team to develop Lycensed, a software program that takes over tracking and notification to ensure PMPs are always currently licensed.
“It is a shared problem that everyone in the industry faces,” said Plunkett’s Project Manager Dylan O’Donnell at an off-site demo of the product at the 2018 PestWorld conference. And the problem can become disastrous if a license inadvertently expires. Say, for example, a technician who is doing a termite job gets audited; if his or her license isn’t current, you could be facing a significant fine – not to mention the loss of that technician until all the hoops have been jumped to get that license back in effect.
“To address the problem, we wanted a single platform that would manage all state licenses and be intelligent about certification types, categories, etc.,” said Software Developer Andy Selvig. “We wanted to create a single repository for all the information.”
Lycensed is a spin-off of Plunkett’s Pest Control’s proprietary enterprise system software, Clypboard, which controls the client, technician and office technology experiences across all facets of the company’s business. The company chose to spin off Lycensed into an industry-available endeavor because, O’Donnell said, “it provides a comprehensive solution from which the entire industry can benefit.”
The program currently supports 26 states and 46 certification types, but is continuously expanding with a target of supporting all 50 states. The system’s application program interface (API) enables third-party interface, so data from a pest control company’s current system or spreadsheet can be imported.
Once migration is complete, data loaded for each technician’s current license and certification status, and any company specifications configured, the system takes over. When a license/certificate is coming up for renewal, the technician is automatically notified through email with the steps needed for renewal detailed (e.g., “Register for pre- license training course.”). As steps are completed, the system moves down the chain, updating and providing further management or administrative notifications. (If steps are not completed in a timely fashion, further notification also is automated.)
Not only does this enable a single administrative person to keep an eye on all licensing, “it gives access to all the information at their fingertips,” Selvig said. Through secure log-in, authorized persons can view a chronological timeline of all certifications, grouped by missing, pending, completed, etc.; see images of the actual certificates/licenses; annotate form fields to automatically fill; look up technicians’ licenses; or search the database for other information.
Taking the program a step beyond licenses and certificates, Lycensed also can track labels and SDSs, automatically combing manufacturer websites to pull in the most current versions for each. “We wanted to address licensing, but a similar problem was label management,” said Software Developer Sean O’Donnell. Currently the system includes 6,500 chemicals and 15,000 documents, he said. The system also includes a “tokenized” mobile-friendly page, enabling technicians to access their certificates, labels, etc., without having to log-in. Both the license and label/SDS features also have customer-facing web pages that can be added to the pest control company website to give clients easy access to these documents.
The primary goal of Lycensed is to handle ongoing, recurring tasks that are hard to manage, Dylan O’Donnell said. “Lycensed is the one source of truth – continuously checking all the sites.” The cost is $3 per technician per month, with a minimum of 10 technicians. For more information, email email@example.com or visit https://lycensed.com. – Lisa Lupo
Key 7 Software
Key 7 Software says there are seven key principles for running a successful business: efficiency, teamwork, communication, performance tracking, defined processes, accountability and excellent service. 7 Software was developed with those in mind. The Key 7 team says it helps PMPs define processes to create efficiencies in daily operations. Teamwork, accountability and internal communication are reinforced in the ticketing system and with the ability to easily share customer information internally. Key 7 offers various methods of customer communication including, mail, email and text. Companies are able to make smart business decisions based on trends found in various sales, production and revenue reporting, the firm says. All of these features and more allow companies to provide excellent customer service and a better overall customer experience, Key 7 Software reports.
PestRoutes, a provider of business management software for pest control companies, announced a strategic partnership with Lobster Marketing Group to incorporate marketing and lead generation solutions into the existing PestRoutes platform. Lobster Marketing Group is an Ellsworth, Maine-based agency focused exclusively on providing marketing software and services to pest control firms.
“Finding ways to add software solutions that create long-term value for our customers and their families is our No. 1 priority,” says Jared Green, the founder of PestRoutes. “The partnership with the Lobster Marketing Group delivers on that promise. The addition of integrated marketing services gives our customers the tools they need to grow, retain and remain profitable so they can spend more time with their families.”
With the partnership, pest control companies using PestRoutes business software and mobile applications will have access to integration between their websites and business management software, enabling customers to buy pest control online, offer online customer portals and proactively manage and promote customer reviews. Additionally, Lobster Marketing will help PestRoutes customers efficiently manage and measure all lead generation and marketing activities, including digital design, content development and search engine marketing.
“For years, we’ve recognized the important role digital marketing plays in driving growth for pest control companies. The biggest challenge for these companies was the ability to effectively manage and measure those services with one platform,” says Ross Mawhinney, chief executive officer of Lobster Marketing Group. “We are delighted to partner with PestRoutes. The integration of our two solutions provides pest control companies with a singular solution to deliver their unique brand message and convert leads. Supporting their success is our No. 1 focus.”
ServSensor is a remote monitoring solution that provides users with 24/7 virtual access to service locations and their activity. ServSensor utilizes advanced wireless technologies for monitoring and providing real-time information; it allows the user to know what is going on at a site without physically being there. Sensor technology is shaping how the pest management industry is developing, as it greatly reduces unnecessary inspections and facilitates optimal time management, ServicePro says.
ServSensor can be attached to a desired pest control device for monitoring. When the sensor is triggered, user(s) will receive a real-time text or email notification with the exact location of where the activity occurred. With ServSensor monitoring service locations, users have the unique opportunity to respond at the exact moment when activity has taken place. In addition, with ServSensor’s robust software for remote monitoring, a user will gain an effective tool for collecting the information that is most important to them and easily manage their service locations, the company adds.
Since 2014, Slingshot has been helping pest control providers across the United States adapt to the on-demand economy. Slingshot services help clients elevate their brands, expand their customer bases, and instantly engage with current and potential customers — on any device, 24 hours a day, the company says. Slingshot is a complete customer engagement platform, providing 24/7 multi-channel sales, automated emergency notifications and in-depth analytics — all for less than the cost of a single full-time employee, the company says. Slingshot can integrate with PMPs’ CRM, streamlining workflow and instantly delivering new customers. Slingshot says it can help decrease hold times, increase contact rates and boost annual business by up to 40 percent. Slingshot says it believes in a world where conversations matter, where technology enhances human interaction instead of replacing it and where people can effortlessly connect with service providers that help home feel like home.
VLINK from Woodstream offers no false triggers and features unprecedented efficacy, durability and consistent performance, the company says. Coupled with long-range connectivity and an intuitive app, VLINK will change the way PMPs do business, Woodstream adds. The quick, high-voltage shock offers a clean and humane alternative to rodenticides. Until serviced, the rodent remains secure and out of sight. Offering an IP67-rated rat and mouse trap option, this complete coverage solution can be used indoors and outdoors. VLINK has long-range connectivity that can cover more than 200,000 square feet and with the app, users can manage sites and activity from anywhere at any time.
WorkWave, a leading provider of software solutions for the field service and last-mile delivery industries, announced a suite of new and updated features to empower its WorkWave PestPac customers to service commercial businesses.
WorkWave says it has been able to collect an abundance of data and insight into what its customers need in order to grow and service their own customers. This enabled WorkWave to understand the need to redefine Commercial 4.0 — the next wave of commercial pest control. When servicing commercial customers, whether it be an office building or an apartment complex, pest control companies need to manage the robust nature of business processes and services that come along with it, while still providing the highest-level service.
“WorkWave PestPac prides itself on being the only field service management platform that can provide this level of commercial functionality to its customers, which ultimately results in stronger customer satisfaction, increased ROI, and room to transform and grow as a pest control business,” said Marne Martin, CEO of WorkWave.
With WorkWave PestPac’s new and updated features, commercial pest control companies can get the total package and integration they need to succeed, the firm says. New features include:
- CustomerConnect+ LogBook: This allows for documentation storage and tracking, with a redesigned auditor mode. Within LogBook there is a commercial view to manage all conditions and pests captured, as well as view device summaries and trends reports.
- Diagrams: The redesigned diagrams enable users to more efficiently manage their site and facility, easily locate traps and bait stations and allow for faster and easier device management.
- Conditions Threshold: Traditional WorkWave PestPac thresholds allow for tracking and alerts based on pest activity levels, and the new conditions threshold alerts for aging conditions that need to be addressed.
- Multi-Unit Mobile Capability: Pest control technicians now can effectively service individual units by collecting signatures and printing reports by unit directly from the mobile app.