Historically, chemical solutions were the foundation of the service provided by pest management firms. As environmental concerns arose and pesticide resistance became an issue, chemical reliance diminished. Chemically based service protocols have been replaced by multifaceted approaches using both non-chemical and chemical tools or integrated pest management (IPM). The good news is that these programs tend to be more effective and provide long term pest solutions when designed and performed correctly. In order to function properly, a partnership must be developed between the pest management professional (PMP) and the client. Selecting the right pest management firm to collaborate with is the first step.
The PMP Resume
All pest management firms must have the appropriate licensing to perform pest management services in their state. Other qualification should include:
- Proven experience in servicing similar facilities
- Trained and certified technicians in urban entomology and pest management techniques
- A well-trained work force in safe policies and procedures with a “safety first” attitude
- The ability to provide a wide variety of pest management services that may be required at your site like bird management, fumigation, weed control and even bed bug control
- Field personnel and support staff who communicate well and have the right tools to provide written documentation and reports. Electronic data collection systems are preferred
The program offerings should include a well-structured written program to serve as a road map for the services performed. Monitoring and inspection should form the foundation of the program. All monitoring devices should be numbered and mapped, and monitoring results should be recorded and tracked. Interior rodent traps fall into the monitoring device category. The service professional should use all monitoring devices as a foundation for further action, which includes additional inspection to find root causes and extent of the infestation. Additional control procedures should then be initiated as needed. Results and findings should be analyzed and utilized in pest prevention and response. If a problem does occur, look for a firm with a track record of quick response in resolving problems.
The service specialist visiting your facility should discuss his or her findings, actions and what you or your staff can do to help prevent pest problems at the end of each service. Electronic data collection will help support the verbal communication in providing detailed service records and trending reports. If possible, find a firm that can offer electronic alerts if certain pest population levels are exceeded. This is particularly useful when one individual oversees multiple facilities. An automatic alerting system can help facilitate monitoring multiple facilities for critical issues.
The PMP/Client Partnership
What is the client’s role in the program? You must respond by taking action on the service specialist’s recommendations. The goal will be to exclude pests and reduce those conditions which foster pest development. These recommendations will require:
- Strong sanitation programs to remove food sources for pests
- Solid building maintenance programs to reduce pest harborage and help prevent pest entry
- First in, first out (FIFO) system of stock rotation to help discourage the development of pests like stored product beetles and moths
- Employee programs that hold staff accountable for their roles in pest prevention
A multi-tooled approach with the right partnership can provide more effective, long-term control of pests. Partner with those firms that can provide a superior level of professionalism, safety and technology. Be prepared to assist in the program to ensure effectiveness.
Patricia Hottel is Technical Director at McCloud Services, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill. McCloud Services serves the largest food-related brands in the U.S. For more information, please visit www.mccloudservices.com.