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July 27, 2011

Twitter Users Are ‘Tweeting’ About Your Business

Pew Research has carried out the first-ever survey that exclusively examines Twitter users, with some interesting results for pest management professionals. According to the survey, 8 percent of adults who are online said they use Twitter, with 2 percent doing so on an average day.

Not surprisingly, the Pew study revealed that young adults ages 18 to 29 are more likely to use Twitter than older adults, while African-Americans and Latinos are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white Internet users. Residents of urban areas are also twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers, along with women and college-educated people, who are slightly more likely than average to take advantage of this service.

When it comes to topics users choose to tweet about, 72 percent of users said they most often post updates about their personal life, activities or interests, with 19 percent saying they post such updates once a day or more. In other findings:

• 55 percent of users share links to news stories, while 54 percent say they post humorous or philosophical observations about life in general.

• 53 percent of users retweet material posted by others and 52 percent send direct messages to other users.

Worldwide, the message service, which was launched on July 15, 2006, claims tens of millions of users, making it one of the most popular online activities. It also is used to chat about products and services, which is why PMPs need to familiarize themselves with this technology if they haven’t done so already.

While not only providing interesting statistical information on the Twitter craze, the Pew study also proves that Twitter’s popularity makes it an increasingly useful tool for business promotion, information-sharing with larger audiences and efficient communication. – Hallie Moreland
 

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Customers Do the Things

If you’re involved in a service industry like structural pest control, customers never cease to amaze you with their do-it-yourself strategies for "controlling" pests in the home. Fortunately for us, more often than not their efforts – regardless of how creative or ingenious – often fail, prompting a frantic call to the professional.

George Williams, general manager and staff entomologist for Environmental Health Services, Inc., Norwood, Mass., recently shared one such story with PCT. It seems that one of the company’s service technicians recently visited a home with a mouse problem, only to find an elaborate array of devices designed to capture or kill the offending rodents.

"The picture [right] is what we call the ‘Trap Gauntlet’ and it was taken by our service specialist Tim Lynch," Williams wrote. "He went to a new customer who was freaking out about mice in her home. As you can tell, she put an insane amount of time and effort into creating what we think should be part of the TV show ‘Wipeout.’"

"10 snap traps + 3 other mechanical traps + hours of labor = zero mice caught. PRICELESS."

After years of servicing accounts and managing technicians, Williams said, "I could write a book on this bizarre industry!" We agree. If you’ve had an interesting or bizarre encounter with a customer, why not share your experiences with PCT? E-mail PCT Editor Jodi Dorsch with your tales of woe or pest control inspiration, writing "Customers do the Craziest Things" in the subject line of your email. We’ll share the most interesting stories in an upcoming issue of PCT.
 

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Cockroaches: Adept at Playing ‘Defense’

While behavior plays a big role in the survival of the cockroach, this pest also has an array of tried-and-true defense mechanisms at its disposal. Collectively these mechanisms make the battle against the cockroach that much more difficult for the pest control service technician. Consider the following:

Antennae and cerci are like radar detectors for the cockroach. Both hear or feel movements, and the antennae also have a sense of smell. If a presence is sensed by the cerci, the legs move out fast.

Palps help the cockroach determine the palatability of food or baits before they are eaten.

Eyes can perceive images and rapid changes in light intensity. They act as alarms, signaling for the roach to flee or take flight.

Reproductive potential contributes significantly to the cockroach’s survival and resistance. A male and female can produce hundreds of newborn in a few months.

Foot pads along with the claws aid in the cockroaches’ ability to move rapidly without running or climbing relatively smooth surfaces. (Source: Tech)