An age-old business adage is “If you are not growing, you’re dying.” For pest control operators to keep growing they need to be innovative, and fortunately for them they have industry partners like BASF, who bring innovative solutions to market that help them stay one step ahead of the competition.
BASF has a long history of providing PCOs with products and support that not only help them solve existing challenges, but help them re-invent their business models. BASF’s product portfolio includes tried-and-true solutions like Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide, Fendona CS Controlled Release Insecticide, Alpine WSG Water Soluble Granule, Selontra Rodent Bait and Termidor HE High-Efficiency Termiticide.
GAMECHANGING TECHNOLOGY. One PCO who has benefited from BASF innovation throughout the years is Jimmy Blankenship, owner of Guarantee Pest Control, Bowling Green, Ky. Blankenship was one of the very first customers to use Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide when it was introduced to the pest control industry in 2000.
Like many other PCOs who performed termite control in the immediate post-chlordane days (during the 1990s), Blankenship was discouraged that products at the time were not providing satisfactory control and often resulting in callbacks.
He immediately saw the benefits of Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide, which features the active ingredient fipronil. Blankenship said the product was a gamechanger. Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide is a non-repellent termiticide and is undetectable, meaning termites don’t avoid its treatment zone, nor do they try to find another way around it.
Blankenship’s BASF representative, Nick Iverson, said his feedback was important, especially in those early years of the product. “He was one of the first people in the country to use Termidor and the feedback he was giving us was that since switching to Termidor his callback rates were pretty much reduced to nil.”
And Blankenship certainly isn’t alone. Since its launch, Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide has protected millions of homes throughout the U.S.
CONTINUAL INNOVATION. BASF’s legacy of innovation has been evident with products like Termidor. For example, in 2014 BASF introduced Termidor HE High-Efficiency Termiticide application system and different formulations.
When BASF brought this new technology to market, Blankenship was on board immediately. “The big thing that sold me on HE was labor savings. I thought they actually improved the product because it could be spread out once it hits the soil, and that gives you even better coverage. So immediately we decided to make the switch.”
Still, not every PCO was like Blankenship. Iverson said that, understandably, there was some initial reluctance from PCOs to switch to Termidor HE High-Efficiency Termiticide, because of the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mindset. In explaining why PCOs might benefit from making the switch, Iverson would draw a parallel to making a cell phone upgrade. “If you look at the phone you’re using today, back when it was introduced you probably said, ‘I’m not paying for that.’ But we’re not using that flip phone that we had six, seven years ago. Why? Because today’s phones are more efficient and easier to use.”
Another trademark of BASF innovation is the introduction of products that can be used together.
For example, Blankenship offers customers a guaranteed one-time ant service that involves the use of Termidor SC Termiticide/Insecticide around the perimeter and Alpine WSG Water Soluble Granule on the inside. Blankenship likes Alpine WSG because it kills ants at the source and its label allows for indoor use.
“We go in and treat a house with a one-time guarantee that within 30 days there’ll be no more ants or we’ll go back for free,” Blankenship said. “Rarely do we have to go back.”
Blankenship and his service technicians also have found BASF’s Fendona CS Controlled Release Insecticide to be an important tool in their arsenal because the product is labeled for brown recluse spiders, a problematic pest in their area.
WINNING THE RAT RACE. One of the biggest pest control challenges in the Pacific Northwest is rodents. The abundance of moisture and available food sources mean that non-target pests like snails and slugs can get into bait boxes and consuming rodenticide bait.
BASF’s Selontra Rodent Bait, featuring the active ingredient cholecalciferol, is coated with a polyolefin film in perforated wrapping, keeping the bait attractive to rodents, but also allowing it to “hold up in high-moisture areas that have pressure from snails and slugs,” according to BASF Sales Specialist Matthew Bloom.
Another challenge with rodent control in the Pacific Northwest is Norway rats and roof rats that have shown resistance to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. Selontra Rodent Bait is a non-anticoagulant and its active ingredient, cholecalciferol, has proven both attractive and lethal to anticoagulant-resistant rodents, Bloom said.
It’s for these reasons, Bloom recommended Selontra Rodent Bait to Michael Batten, quality support manager, PURCOR Pest Solutions, a Certus company located in the Seattle area.
“[Bloom] asked me to try it out, so we used it on one of our more infested commercial sites where we weren’t having success with the product we were using,” Batten said. “It took a couple of weeks for the rodents to accept the product. But once we got acceptance, we dominated and killed off that population really quick. It made me buy into the product, and I haven’t looked back since.”A TRUE PARTNERSHIP.
For BASF, innovation begins and ends with the end-user. BASF continually seeks feedback from PCOs and adapts its offerings accordingly.
For example, Alpine WSG Water Soluble Granule comes packaged in 200- and 500-gram containers featuring a little cap with measuring lines on it. With the original container/cap, PCOs were finding it difficult to measure product and to tip and pour the bottle/cap into a B&G sprayer and/or backpack sprayer.
As BASF’s Iverson recalled, “[PMPs] were saying, ‘This cap is not as user friendly as it could be.’ So, our marketing team found a better bottle and cap.”
Similarly, BASF listened to end users and made changes to Selontra Rodent Bait based on PMP feedback. For example, when Selontra first came out it was challenging to break it into smaller pieces. Pest management professionals essentially had to “stab” an indentation to break it up. Batten said he told his BASF rep, “You know, it would make the job a lot easier for our technicians if you could put a hole in it.” Sure enough, the product now comes with a hole in it for easier breakability/separation.
Whether it’s introducing new and innovative technology, or enhancing existing offerings, PCOs know that they have a partner in BASF that is there to provide them with what they need to be a progressive pest management company.