Page 1

november december 2010

For MEMBERS ONLY of the National Pest Management Association

Business Fundamentals ALSO INSIDE:

» Passing the Torch » Re-Engaging Burned-Out Employees » B edbug Litigation on the Rise


Terad3Ag provides a real baiting solution for pest control operators trying to address the needs of today’s rapidly growing organic production market. It is the first and only rodenticide registered by the EPA ‘for organic production’. Its active ingredient, Vitamin D3 is listed on the USDA’s National Organic Program list.


IMPORTANT PRODUCT ATTRIBUTES  Low Risk of Secondary Poisoning

 Extremely High Melt Point

 Low Toxicity To Birds

 Improved Block Durability

- Stable up to 200°F

 Stop-Feed Action  Kills Anticoagulant Resistant Rats and Mice

- No whole seeds - Tighter, denser block - Reduces bait translocation


FOR STRUCTURAL CONTROL Developed using the same formula as Terad3Ag, Terad3 carries a broader label that

Available from your Bell distributor

includes structural applications. Terad3 can be used in multiple applications, which

More Than Meets The Eye

allow for placement including in and around homes, industrial buildings and agricultural buildings.


wrap u p

See pag

e 16

november december 2010

F e at u r e s


the Torch: 4 Passing One Company’s Succession Plan Ensures Its


Library Update: Accidents Happen: First Priority, First Aid!

Success for Generations to Come By Paula L. Yoho According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 90 percent of the nation’s 21 million small businesses are family-owned, but only 30 percent of family-run companies succeed into the second generation. What can you do to plan for your company's future?

Pest management professionals are busy people with full schedules and the logistical challenges that go along with it. A constant challenge is to conduct our day to day tasks with a “safety first” awareness. As good as we are at this, accidents do happen, and when they do, the first priority is first aid!

Burned-Out 8 Re-Engaging Employees By Jean L. Seawright, CMC As the economy rebounds, regardless of the size of your company, the best formula for successfully retaining talent combines trustworthy leaders with a motivating work environment and a culture that recognizes and engages employees.

Bedbug Litigation on the Rise 22 By Gary Shapiro, Weisburger Insurance Brokerage As the bedbug epidemic continues to worsen, business owners must follow strict guidelines to prevent exuberant financial loss that can result from bedbug lawsuits.

d e pa r t m e n t s

For MEMBERS ONLY of the National Pest Management Association

2 Executive Vice President’s Message

20 Ask the Expert

24 Your Business Health 25 Marketing Corner 28 Operations Management

30 Pest Management Foundation

40 Calendar of Events



executive vice president's message


n December I will celebrate my fifteenth year with NPMA as your Executive Vice President. This milestone gives me a few minutes to sit back and review the many accomplishes the association has experienced during this period of time. Staff, in cooperation with the Board and committee leadership, have built a strong and effective association that is poised to lead the industry forward as we collectively meet the challenges that will face the industry during the coming years. We kicked off the opening general sessions at Pestworld 2010 this year with a video entitled “Stand By Me”. This video captured in a few short minutes the value of NPMA as an organization designed to “Stand By” our members. Every day, our staff located in Fairfax, Virginia is there to stand by each and every member regardless of the array of issues and need for help or services. Every day, our team of government affairs staff stand by your business whether walking through halls of congress or state capitals, walking the halls of EPA or supporting an individual state or Country meet their regulatory challenges. Every day, our technical staff stands by our members on the phone or in the field, answering the questions that are important to the successful operation of a pest management business. Regardless of who you are, what size company you have or where around the world you are located, you can rest assured that you have a strong industry association supported by a dedicated staff and leadership team with literally over 7,000 member companies located around the globe ready to stand by you. This year, NPMA is continuing our commitment to your company’s growth and success by offering you an exciting array of new member benefits. Pest Guide App—The brand new smart phone Pest Guide app provides users access to a comprehensive electronic pest database that allows users to search over 200 detailed descriptions of pests. NPMA on Demand Webinar Series—The NPMA weekly webinar series, NPMA on Demand, is designed to provide you with expert advice and information on the industry and management issues you encounter daily. Enhanced Member Web Site—Late last year, NPMA introduced our redesigned Web site to the industry. We’ve enhanced the architecture of the site, allowing for a clearer structure, simplified navigation and improved search functions— making finding information easier than before.

Executive Vice President Rob Lederer Editor Janay Rickwalder Graphic Design Blue House © 2010 National Pest Management Association PestWorld is the bi-monthly publication of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Editorial Offices: 10460 North Street, Fairfax, VA 22030 Phone: (703) 352-6762 or (800) 678-6722 Fax: (703) 352-3031 Professional and Member Web site: Consumer Web site: For advertising information, call Janay Rickwalder at (571) 224-0384 or e-mail

Bed Bug Response Plan—Last fall, NPMA announced its Bed Bug Pandemic Response Plan that will lead the industry’s actions toward addressing the growing global bed bug crisis. Initiatives in this plan include: ■■ Appointment of an industry Blue Ribbon Bed Bug Task Force to guide training, coordinate research, and encourage public policy initiatives ■■ Sponsorship of the National Bed Bug Forum: A Solutions Conference, to be held January 5–7 in Denver, Colorado, ■■ Hosting of a Global Bed Bug Summit that will offer opportunities for sharing best practices We encourage you to visit to learn more about these programs.




november/december 2010









No ant is safe. Even those that are hard to identify. When it comes to ants, you don’t always know which offenders you’re up against. That’s why DuPont™ Advion® ant gel lists more species on its label than any other ant gel. The active ingredient in DuPont™ Advion® ant gel offers a mode of action for insect control that presents a benefit to pest management professionals—reliance on the target insect pest’s metabolic activation process. This process is significant because metabolic activation allows the active ingredient in Advion® to effectively differentiate between target insect pests and non-target organisms, like mammals. For more information, call 1-888-6DuPont (1-888-638-7668) or visit us at DuPont™ Advion.® Unbeatable results. u Lay

down the law against these offenders and more. Play our ant annihilation game

online at DuPont Professional Products

Always read and follow all label directions and precautions for use. Advion® ant gel is not available in all states. See your local DuPont representative for details and availability. The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont,™ The miracles of science™ and Advion® are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates. Copyright © 2010 E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. All rights reserved.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 90% of the nation’s 21 million small businesses are family-owned, but only 30% of family-run companies succeed into the second generation. What’s more, a mere 15% make it to the third. In many cases, the lack of a solid succession plan is to blame.

By Paula L. Yoho

One Company’s Succession Plan Ensures its Success for Generations to Come



november/december 2010

november/december 2010



uccession planning means different things to different companies, depending on their structure and size. For a small, family-owned organization—such as most of the nearly 20,000 structural pest management companies in the U.S.—the plan would likely focus on what happens to the business when dad (or mom) retires. All in the Family Above all, a carefully planned strategy for a company’s future provides peace of mind for the current leadership team. By outlining how and when the transition will occur, a solid succession plan ensures continuity of the organization’s performance and, often, its very survival. NPMA member Ryan Bradbury, vice president of Viking Pest Control, knows first-hand the importance of succession planning. “I guess you could say we’re in the middle of it right now,” said Bradbury who, along with his brother Dan, is coordinating with their father, Ed Bradbury, to hand over the family’s 30-year-old business to the next generation. “We’re transitioning the company from dad down to us. My brother handles the marketing, and I try to do more of the day-to-day operation.” “My brother and I grew up in the family business, but we opted to go out into the real world and do our own thing for a few years,” said Bradbury. “We both had successes before coming back to Viking, but we also realized the great opportunity for us by going out there and finding out for ourselves what the real world was like.”

good communication and a common vision for the future of the business have helped to mitigate some of the common obstacles faced by other small companies during the transition process. Both returned to the family business, he said, with the long-term goal of taking over the company at some point.



november/december 2010

Grooming the Next Generation Through the years, Bradbury’s father went to great lengths to ensure his sons would have a clear understanding of the entire scope of the company’s operations by encouraging them to work for a while in every position. “Dan and I both started at the lower ranks,” he said. “We’d both been technicians early on when we were in high school and college, and we got involved with the technical department when we came back. We’ve both been involved in the sales and management, too.” It’s that willingness to get “down into the thick of things” and to learn the business from the bottom up that has earned both Ryan and Dan the respect of the people within the company. “That was our transition of growth personally for my brother Dan and I,” said Bradbury. “In the last few years, though, we’ve started working out of our corporate offices and overseeing the ten branches.” Communication is Key In terms of the nuts-and-bolts of their strategy for transferring ownership, Bradbury admits their succession plan is “loosely structured,” but has found that good communication and a common vision for the future of the business have helped to mitigate some of the common obstacles faced by other small companies during the transition process. “We try to meet at least once a month and have a formal meeting between the three of us just to be sure we’re on the same track as far as where we see things going,” he explained. “Overall, what we’ve tried to do is work together to set certain responsibilities for each of us individually, and then allow each of us the freedom to run with it.” During those meetings, the Bradbury’s focus less on an official succession plan document, and more on sharing their respective visions for the company’s future. As torchbearers of the family’s legacy, Ryan and Dan know they’re fortunate, too, because they’re not involved in a struggle for control. Unlike other companies they’ve read about and talked to, their father hasn’t been reluctant to loosen the reins. “I would say we’re going in the same direction my dad took the business, but just trying to pick up and continue with where he left off,” Bradbury explained.

Overall, what we’ve tried to do is work together to set certain responsibilities for each of us individually, and then allow each of us the freedom to run with it.” —Ryan Bradbury, Vice President of Viking Pest Control

“We’re lucky because he’s very aggressive and always looking to grow organically through our own customer base and marketing towards new customers.” The elder Bradbury’s approach to growth has worked, elevating the once-small company from one that rents out a single space in a small New Jersey town to one that now services clients in five states. This track record of success underscores his sons’ confidence in the future of the organization. “The fact that we all share that vision allows us to continue to grow, to take risks and to invest within our company and in the people in our company,” Bradbury said. “At times, that limits what some of us might take home, but we think it’s worth it for the long-run.” Ask the Experts Of course, they don’t shy away from the advice of their peers, and all of the Bradburys acknowledge the value of looking to other, similar companies for examples of what to do—or not do—when it comes to passing the business on to the next generation. Reading books, attending seminars and consulting with attorneys can be informative for any company in the throes of transitioning business operations. Bradbury also emphasizes the importance of trade organizations such as NPMA as a source of expertise in this area. That’s not his only advice for pest management companies just getting started in the transition process.

“I would say, ‘Continue to network within NPMA to find companies of a similar size as you and talk to them about their plans on an individual level,’” Bradbury said. “Also, spend a lot of time with your tax consultant on the best way to be able to transition it off, whether it be through purchase or gifting of a combination of the two.” Ultimately, though, the level of detail and overall scope of a succession plan depends almost entirely on the circumstances of the individual company, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. For that reason, Bradbury cautions companies to get informed and solicit plenty of feedback from reliable experts but, at the end of the day, to be sure they “follow their gut” when charting a course for their own company’s future. “As far as a formal transition, the more that we want to take on and prove that we’re capable of doing it, the more we get,” he said. “But we’re happy to have dad here working with us, and he’s still involved very much in the day-to-day.”


Paula Yoho is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist with more than 15 years of experience writing for international trade association publications, newspapers, trade magazines and professional journals. Her work has been recognized by the InHouse Design Industry and the American Society of Association Executives. Learn more at

november/december 2010



As a result of the worst economic crisis in recent history, workers across the country have, undoubtedly, been shaken. When layoffs, pay and benefit reductions, salary freezes and restructuring first began to


nfortunately, these newfound feelings of job appreciation have now given way to feelings of burn-out, recession fatigue, and self-preserva-

tion. This, in turn, has led to declining levels of motivation, pride, and trust in many workplaces. For this reason, employees are beginning to take a close

occur, employees everywhere seemed to

hard look at their work life and they’re asking themselves

understand the magnitude of the crisis

if they really want to stay with their current employer.

and were happy to just have a job. Indeed, the phrase “job security” took on an

Although you may be blameless in the economic crisis and although you may have made wise moves to maintain the health of your organization, your employees may still want

entirely new meaning for many—both the

to jump ship. Why? Because it’s human nature for people

employed and the unemployed alike.

to want to disassociate themselves with bad memories.


By Jean L. Seawright, CMC



november/december 2010


Unfortunately, if you found it necessary to deploy tradition-

al belt-tightening labor practices to cope with your busi-

Employees have had to work double-time to make up for a slimmer workforce

ness challenges, your company may be that bad memory.

Wages were cut and cannot be or are not restored

Several recent surveys conducted by reputable firms

Permanent organizational changes were made, limiting future growth potential

suggest that anywhere between 40- 60% of Americans plan to look for a job once the economy rebounds. The

Employees perceive that they were treated poorly

younger generations—the Gen Xers and Yers—are report-

Employees lost trust in the organization as a result of how it handled cost cuts

edly the most likely to abscond. How do you know if your employees are among the percentage wanting to bolt? Well, the risk increases if one or more of these occurred at your company during the recession: ■

Employees are stressed out about money So what can you do NOW to re-engage your employees

and to minimize the temptation for talented employees to

Leaders failed to communicate what was going

find a new job as conditions improve? The answer lies in

on strategically

first understanding what factors make work gratifying today.


november/december 2010



A recent nationwide SHRM job satisfaction survey listed among top factors the following very important aspects of job satisfaction: ■■ Job Security ■■ Benefits ■■ Compensation/pay ■■ Opportunities to use skills and abilities ■■ Relationship with immediate supervisor ■■ Management recognition of employee job performance ■■ Communication between employees and senior management Two things stand out on this list: First, job security rules. Of course, it’s not surprising that during an economic downturn employees selected job security as a very important aspect of job satisfaction. This is actually good news for small businesses since the perception among workers (and, frankly, the reality) is that mass layoffs occur more readily at large companies. Secondly, three of the job satisfaction factors are directly related to management. This tells us that in the current climate, leaders play a vital role in the job satisfaction of employees. Indeed, to your employees, the boss IS the company and the ability of your leadership team to encourage the development of your people through trusting relationships WILL impact retention. No doubt about it, as the market improves it will become even more important for managers and leaders to hone performance development skills and to enhance trust. With this in mind, here are ten tips to help you retain critical talent now and into the recovery: Ten Tips for Retaining Talent 1. Look for Small Victories and Celebrate Them. As a leader, you set the tone for the organization. No doubt, you have had to make tough and difficult decisions and this has worn on you. Remember, fair or not, your employees are taking their cues from you. If you are optimistic and excited about the future of your company, they will be too! Attitudes are contagious, especially when they emanate from the top. Each week, make it a point to find some positive news, signs, successes, opportunities, or happenings that affect your business or industry and share them! Whether it’s the anniversary of


november/december 2010

your founder or a new product, service, customer, or trend, communicate and celebrate the news! 2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! Leaders who take the time to regularly communicate with employees make them feel connected to the organization. Do your leaders regularly acknowledge employees’ good performance? Do they communicate the company’s vision and explain how employees’ jobs fit in with the overall mission and purpose? Do they know how to talk, listen, write, and establish rapport with others? Do your leaders know how to express appreciation for a job well done? Face-to-face interaction—the human connection—is a key driver of motivation. Make certain you have managers who know how to effectively communicate and who over-communicate with workers! 3. Provide a Roadmap to Success. Clearly define the path to professional growth and development. Initiate all new hires immediately by means of a unique, interesting, and state-ofthe-art orientation program. Create programs for internal certifications or promotions. Implement a process for providing regular feedback (annual performance evaluations, for example) that is specific and job-related. The most important question in an employee’s mind is “How am I doing?” Make certain your managers are answering this question for their employees. 4. Bring Back Training and Education. Employees see continuing education as a way to boost their skills, abilities and personal value. Especially to the younger generations, professional development tells employees you’re committed to improving their game. If you had to cut developmental programs, bring them back as soon as possible. And when you do, think in terms of educating employees—that is, giving them knowledge for a lifetime—versus training them, which typically amounts to teaching them skills for a narrow function. You train dogs . . . but you educate people. Keep employees involved in industry trends and changes. The more immersed they are in the business; the more likely they are to commit. (Contact us for management training programs that build strong leaders!)

5. Consider Small, But Meaningful Rewards. The smallest of gestures can go a long way towards gaining long-term loyalty from your employees. Consider simple, but thoughtful ideas such as sending birthday cards or remembering employment anniversaries and other significant events in their lives. You can also implement lower cost ideas to keep people motivated; programs such as a morning coffee/doughnut/bagel day where the entire management team greets employees and serves coffee; a once-a-month drawing for “Dinner for Two on ABC Company” with gift certificates for dinner at a nice local restaurant; a quarterly themed pot-luck lunch or barbecue at work; or adopting a company mascot dog for the office (don’t laugh—it’s a big hit in many workplaces! English Bulldogs are currently the most popular breeds!). Have some fun and get creative! One of our clients recently set a company goal and announced that the management team would wash all employees’ cars if the goal was met. The employees met the goal and all executives spent two days washing and cleaning employees’ cars. The employees loved it and the company is still talking about what a boost it was to morale! Here’s the point: Money, alone, rarely keeps employees deeply committed to an organization. Look for opportunities to promote fellowship among your workers. 6. Evaluate and (If Possible/Necessary) Adjust Pay. Pay is perceived as being fair when it is competitive with the local market and industry practices. When was the last time you measured your pay and benefits against market rates and trends? Obtain industry surveys or conduct a local market survey (ask us for details!) to ensure your rates are competitive. If you’ve had to reduce or freeze pay, reinstate or increase it as soon as possible. Even if it’s only by a fraction, this gesture will go a long way. 7. Fine-Tune Fringe Benefits. Time is the new currency! Ensure your fringe benefits provide a competitive amount of paid time off. Forty percent of employers now offer Paid Time Off (PTO) policies in lieu of traditional vacation and sick policies. PTO policies combine sick and vacation time together, giving employees more flexibility

with their time off and helping employers minimize unscheduled absences. The average number of PTO days across industry lines and company sizes is 19. Holiday policies remain separate from PTO in most companies. The average number of paid holidays across industry lines and company size is nine. 8. Get Rid of Any Jerks. Good employees leave bad bosses, not good companies. You can create the greatest company in the world but, today, if one of your employees ends up working for a jerk, that employee will be more likely to leave when the opportunity arises. Managers who can’t respect or properly interact with their direct reports should be shown the door! In addition, if you, as a leader, fail to deal swiftly and surely with a misbehaving manager, your credibility is at stake. Don’t allow misdirected compassion or avoidance of conflict to impact talent retention. 9. Have Career Conversations. Engage your employees in meaningful and pro-active conversations about their career goals and aspirations. Find out what they would like to learn and how they would like to grow in the position. These conversations will not only lead to greater productivity, but could provide you with valuable insight into what will ultimately result in talented but un-motivated employees becoming motivated and committed for the long haul. 10. Conduct an Employee Opinion Survey. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t know so ask your employees how they

november/december 2010


feel about working for your company! Some of the best ideas and biggest concerns are trapped in the hearts and minds of employees. Employee opinion surveys provide an opportunity for employees to confidentially communicate their ideas and concerns to management. A good survey can identify departmental problems related to morale, the culture, ethics, potential union threats, overall job satisfaction, leadership, trust, quality, confidence in the company, safety and more! There are many ways to conduct a survey; however, the most valuable surveys are conducted confidentially and are designed to address the specific business needs. Using a professional third-party can enhance the credibility of the results, too. Before conducting a survey, be sure you have the full support of the management team and never conduct a survey without a commitment to addressing the results! (Note: Seawright & Associates conducts Employee Opinion Surveys for clients. Call us for details!) Most Important Ingredient As the economy rebounds, the most important ingredient in retention will be the strength of your leadership team. Don’t wait to find out if your talented employees are among the 40–60% who leave. Now is the time to assess the interpersonal skills of your management team and to make necessary adjustments!


november/december 2010

Employees want and need leaders who can connect with them emotionally; leaders who are highly visible, who care about the well being of others, who encourage the development of talent in the organization and, most importantly, who are trustworthy. According to a research study conducted by Linda Stroh, a professor at Loyola University Chicago Graduate School of Business, these are the qualities of a trustworthy person: ■■ Is likely to respond in a healthy way when things go wrong. ■■ Admits and learns from mistakes. ■■ Is aware of how his or her behavior affects others. ■■ Admits when he or she doesn’t know something. ■■ Tells me when I do something wrong. ■■ Helps me be a better person. ■■ Sticks by others in tough times. ■■ Speaks the same of everyone whether in their presence or not. And I would add one more trait: Keeps commitments. This includes the small ones! For example, if you promise an employee that you will call him or her back before the end of the day, do it! Failure to keep even the smallest of commitments can erode trust. Here’s the bottom line: Retaining talent in the future is going to depend in large part on the skills and abilities of your leadership team today. You must ensure that your management team can build relationships with your people on more than just money. As the economy rebounds, regardless of your industry or the size of your company, the best formula for successfully retaining talent combines trustworthy leaders with a motivating work environment and a culture that recognizes and engages employees.


Jean L. Seawright is NPMA’s Human Resources Consultant. She is president of Seawright & Associates, an HR management consulting firm located in Winter Park, Florida. Since 1987, Jean has provided human resource management and compliance advice to employers across the country. She can be contacted at 407-645-2433 or

10 Steps to a Successful Hire By Jean L. Seawright, CMC

So . . . your business has grown,

istics, attributes, experiences, and re-

you’ve added employees, services, and

quirements necessary for success in the

new equipment . . . and now you find

position. Then use this list to develop

yourself spending all of your time man-

targeted interview questions.

aging people. You need help! But wait,

Step Two: If you elect to place a

don’t just go out there and hire the first person who applies with experience. You need good help! Your culture, team, and hard-earned image and reputation are at stake. How do you go about hiring a new employee? What questions should you ask in the interview? These are, by no means, the only questions that must be answered prior to hiring, but they are the ones that I will address in this article. These two questions, in fact, are the primary ones that must be answered before you even begin your search. Why? Because they help define the type of candidate your business needs and, if you don’t know the type of person you are looking for, you are not likely to

classified advertisement, develop one that is creative and attractive! If you place a “two-liner” ad, you will attract a “two-liner-type” candidate. Ensure that your ad sounds and looks better than the rest. When selecting your advertising venue—cast a wide net! Post your ad on multiple Internet sites, job boards, local papers, and others. Step Three: Collect resumes and read them carefully! Remember, a resume is a balance sheet without any liabilities. Read between the lines. Look for gaps in employment, longevity, type of experience, proper grammar and spelling, a professionally worded cover letter, and complete employment

recognize the winning traits when you


see them! You see, not all employees are

Step Four: Have select candidates

created equal . . .

complete a comprehensive applica-

To help you attract, identify, and hire

tion form—it’s required by law, even if

the best candidate, here are ten steps to

the individual submits a resume. Make


certain that the candidate completes the

Step One: Profile the position.

application form in its entirety. Do not

Determine the precise traits you seek in a candidate. Consider your culture, the position, the organizational needs, and your own strengths and weaknesses. Develop a list of personal character-

accept “blanks.” Get a complete work history and don’t allow the candidate to write, “See resume” on the application. Resumes do not contain reasons for leaving, rates of pay, and other impor-

tant information required on the application. Compare the application to resume, and identify and address any discrepancies. Step Five: Arrange and prepare for interviews with select candidates. Remember, it takes at least one hour for a good interview—and usually more for a management interview. Don’t cut corners! Get to know the person you are about to trust with your business. Develop and ask pertinent and probing interview questions like these:

1. What achievement are you most proud of and why? 2. What career aspirations do you have? How do you plan to achieve them? 3. Which of your positions did you enjoy the most? Why? Which of your positions did you enjoy the least? Why? Which of your positions was the most difficult? Why? 4. Give me examples of how you organize your personal life. Do you keep a personal calendar? What type? 5. Tell me about tasks that you have performed that required follow-up skills. Do you have a system for following-up on your work? If so, describe it to me. If not, how do you remember when to do things and what to do? 6. What 3 adjectives best describe you? Which of your traits and characteristics do you find most frustrating? 7. What do you least enjoy in your current position? What do you most enjoy? 8. If you had to cite a single skill or attribute that has most contributed to your career success, what would it be and why?

november/december 2010


9. Have you ever been involved in or witnessed a situation at work that related to a compromise in your values or integrity? If so, tell me about it. How did you handle it? What was the outcome? 10. How important is trust in the workplace? How do you build trust? 11. Tell me about a time when you exercised poor judgment on the job. What did you do about it? What did you learn from it? 12. What is your philosophy of customer relations? Where did you learn this philosophy—from a company? A mentor? Is the customer always right? Why or why not? 13. Describe the ideal position and work environment for yourself. 14. What values did you learn as a child that still apply to your life today? 15. How many hours are you accustomed to working each day? What is your philosophy of break time? 16. What is your philosophy toward work? Where did this come from? 17. From what you know about our industry, what thoughts do you have about any unique future challenges we may face? 18. What steps have you taken in recent years to improve your overall performance? 19. Have you ever assessed your personal strengths and weaknesses? Tell me about them. 20. What especially interests you about this opportunity?


november/december 2010

Of course, there are many other good

Step Eight: Conduct reference

questions, and, based on the application

checks and document your results. DO

and resume, you will want to develop

NOT overlook this most important step

questions that specifically suit the candi-

in hiring a candidate. Remember, the

date you are interviewing.

best predictor of future performance is

Step Six: In the interview, don’t

past performance. Even if you can’t get

tolerate bogus responses. If a candidate writes “personal” on the application as a reason for leaving a former job, can you ask him or her about the situation? YES! And you should. Too bad if it’s “personal” to them—it’s not personal to

any information from a former employer—document your attempt. Being able to establish that you did, indeed, try to get reference information will go a long way toward reducing any liability for negligent hiring.

you. If a candidate does not answer the

Step Nine: Conduct background

question related to criminal convictions,

checks. If your employees are perform-

should you ask him or her about this?

ing services on customer property (espe-

YES! Most definitely! You have the right

cially inside homes!), it is imperative that

to inquire about prior criminal convic-

you obtain background information on

tions and should get the details. If a can-

prospective candidates. Employers have

didate tells you that he or she does not

the right, and should absolutely exercise

want you to contact a previous employer

their right, to obtain criminal background

from several years ago, how should you

records, motor vehicle records, credit

respond? TOO BAD! RED FLAG! You can

reports, and other background checks

and should contact all previous employ-

that may be applicable (social security

ers. (The only exception would be a cur-

check, educational reference check, or

rent employer, whom you should contact


after the candidate gives notice.)

Step Ten: Evaluate all documenta-

Step Seven: Conduct pre-employ-

tion, background check results, pre-

ment personality or other profiles. An

employment profile results, and refer-

effective personality profile will help you

ence check information. If all results are

avoid placing a square peg in a round

acceptable, make a conditional job offer

hold. I am a huge advocate of personal-

and top it off with a pre-employment

ity profiles—when an employer uses the

drug test.

right one and uses it properly, that is.

There you have it! Ten important steps

While personality profiles are not the “end

to help you hire your next employee.

all, be all,” they are a crucial and useful

Remember, in the great game of hiring,

piece of the hiring puzzle. (Note: I also

there will always be risk—your job is to

recommend aptitude tests to determine

reduce the risk to the extent possible.

the candidate’s intellectual aptitude.)

These steps can help you do just that.


PestWorld proved itself

once again as

the premier platform to conduct domestic and international business in the pest management industry.

Pestworld The Pest Management Industry’s


november/december 2010

d 2010: Gathering Place

november/december 2010



eld October 20–23 in Honolulu, Hawaii, nearly 2,700 attendees from around the globe visited hundreds of exhibitors in over 100,000 net square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitors and attendees alike reported PestWorld 2010 to be

“PestWorld offers an unmatched opportunity to meet

“the most cost-effective and efficient way to do business, shop for new products and

in person with thousands of

services, and stay on the cutting edge of industry technology.”

prospective qualified buyers,”

This year’s event offered an unrivaled slate of industry-specific educational programs as

said Lederer, “and this year,

well, with expert-led sessions focusing on technical and business management topics fea-

that’s exactly what our

turing interactive forums, hands-on workshops and seminars, and recertification credits.

exhibitors did.”

Exhibitor feedback was overwhelmingly positive.


november/december 2010

“The packed educational sessions and keynote addresses and the well-attended special events demonstrate the industry’s desire for an event with an emphasis on learning and networking,” said NPMA Executive Vice President Rob Lederer. “This year’s event provided sales leads and nurtured existing client relationships for companies operating within the pest management industry.

Make plans now to be in New Orleans, October 19–22, 2011 for next year’s PestWorld. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact

november/december 2010



ask the expert

Comprehensive Global Bed Bug Study: A Joint Venture between NPMA and the University of Kentucky’s Dr. Michael Potter


n a recent collaborative and comprehensive survey study between NPMA and the University of Kentucky’s Dr. Michael Potter, almost one thousand U.S. and international pest management professionals offered responses regarding their experiences with the strong global resurgence of bed bugs. *A review of some of the key information learned from the survey follows. 1. According to survey respondents, bed bugs have been predominantly found as follows: 80%+ in apartments and single family homes, 60% in hotels, 30%+ in dorm rooms, nearly 30% in shelters, 20%+ in nursing homes, and 15% in office buildings. 2. Symptoms suffered by structural occupants include; repetitive bites (cimicosis), pain, suffering, trauma, anger, frustration, emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, depression, PTSD, humiliation, embarrassment, insomnia, and nightmares. 3. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents stated that PCO employees are concerned about importing bed bugs from the workplace to home (15% stated they already have). 4. The average number of treatments to gain any sort of control of bed bug infestations is 2.25. 5. The primary methods of detection include; 90% visual inspection, 40% glue traps, 20%+ pit fall traps, and around 15% for both canines and CO2/heat-lure trap systems. 6. Methods of treatment include; 80%+ insecticides, 70%+ laundering, about 70% encasing the bed and box springs, about 60% disposals, 50% vacuuming, 30%+ steam, 30% glue boards, about 20% heat, about 10% fumigation, and less than 5% by freezing.


november/december 2010

7. The survey take home message is bed bugs are a global pandemic, infestations are everywhere, there will be escalating impacts emotionally and financially, there are insufficient inspection and treatment options, and bed bugs are more manageable where older insecticide formulations are allowed to be used. As indicated in this survey, bed bugs have reemerged on a grand and very successful scale. In opposition to this resurgence, the pest management industry and its thousands of professionals are meeting and exceeding the challenge of bed bug infestations through training, experience, professionalism, and scientifically based integrated pest management (IPM) programs. Looking toward the future of bed bug control, our best case scenario includes many cultural control practices. Elimination will be with minimum time and money. Structural occupants will report an infestation early. Property managers act promptly. There will be programmatic procedures established. There will be a zero tolerance policy. All structural occupants understand bed bug control policies. Structural occupants that cannot do their part or will not do their part will require the involvement of legal and/or social services authorities. As the pest management industry progresses pursuant to bed bug control programs (for example; preventative versus curative services), pest management professionals must understand that as a function of tolerance levels, “control” will be replaced by “elimination.” The presence of one bed bug will be far too many to our clients. *Reflects survey information for U.S. responses only.


N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e


Accidents Happen:

First Priority, First Aid! nov/dec 2010


est management professionals are busy people with full schedules and the logistical challenges that go along with it. A constant challenge is to conduct our day to day tasks with a “safety first” awareness. As good as we are at this, accidents do happen, and when they do, the first priority is first aid! First aid training helps save lives! Whether in your home, on the job, or within the community, knowing first aid skills enables you to help a person who is injured or suddenly ill until help arrives or they are able to see a health care provider. Annually, in the United States, two million people are hospitalized because of injuries. 140,000 people die from their injuries and 162,000 people die from strokes. The goals of first aid are to: ■■ Keep the victim alive. ■■ Prevent the victim’s condition from worsening. ■■ Help promote recovery from an injury or illness. ■■ Ensure the victim receives medical care. As a trained person, you must know what to do at the right time. You must be ready to act because a first aid situation can occur anytime and anywhere. You must think of yourself as a first aider who is ready to assist anytime and anywhere. Bystanders quite often feel helpless or freeze-up in the situation. Untrained persons want to help, but do not know what to do.

Annually, in the United States, two million people are hospitalized because of injuries. 140,000 people die from their injuries and 162,000 people die from strokes.

N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

As a trained person, you should always have a personal first aid kit, and be aware of the location of kits in your workplace. Be certain they are appropriately stocked. Emergency phone numbers should be displayed and include Emergency Medical Services (usually 911), Poison Control Center (800.222.1222), and other related agencies. Many injuries and even some sudden illnesses can be prevented. In your workplace, know and adhere to safety procedures required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you have received safety training, put it into practice. One lapse from a safety procedure can result in serious injury or even lose a life! In your home, take necessary steps to prevent fires, accidental poisonings, and other injuries. Inspect for, and correct hazards. For a first aid kit, keep one well-stocked in your home, vehicle, and in your workplace. Take a kit with you for activities such as camping and boating. Having a cell phone is very helpful in emergencies. Be certain each first aid kit contains all required items. One may not use all items in a kit just because they are contained. As an example, first aiders do not give medications such as analgesics like aspirin or acetaminophen. However, some adult victims may choose to give themselves these medications. A properly stocked first aid kit should include at a minimum (below for four people or a small office or service vehicle): ■■ 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches) ■■ 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes) ■■ 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch) ■■ 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram) ■■ 5 antiseptic wipe packets ■■ 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each) ■■ 1 blanket (space blanket) ■■ 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)

N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

Most states have no legal requirement to obligate you to give first aid at the scene of an emergency...If you do begin giving first aid, you are obligated to continue giving care, and to remain with the victim until responders can take over.

1 instant cold compress 2 pair of non-latex gloves (large) ■■ 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each) ■■ Scissors ■■ 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide) ■■ 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide) ■■ 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) ■■ 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches) ■■ Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass) ■■ 2 triangular bandages ■■ Tweezers ■■ First aid instruction booklet If a victim is unconscious, it is assumed that they would want to be helped. In addition, if a victim is conscious, you must ask permission before any first aid assistance is given. Most states have “Good Samaritan Laws.” These laws are designed to encourage trained people to help others in an emergency without worry of a law suit. Such laws protect you legally when you give first aid. It is very unlikely you would be found liable or financially responsible for a victim’s injury as long as you are trained. Most states have no legal requirement to obligate you to give first aid at the scene of an emergency. Specific obligations may vary, so during training, ask your first aid instructor about the laws in your area. If you do begin giving first aid, you are obligated to continue giving care, and to remain with the victim until responders can take over. Your job may require giving first aid. In that situation, you are legally obligated. This obligation is called a “duty to act.” Off the job, dependent upon your state’s laws, you are generally not legally required to give first aid. An exception would be a parent or guardian caring for a child. From a legal standpoint, you may be liable for the results of your actions if you do not follow accepted standards of first aid care. “Standards of care” refers to what others with your same training would do in a comparative situation. It is important you perform only as you are trained. Any other actions could result in the injury or illness becoming worse. ■■ ■■

N P M A l i b r a ry u p d at e

To cope with the effects of a traumatic event talk to others like family members, friends, co-workers, or local emergency responders. Do not breach the privacy of the victim. Remind yourself your reaction is normal.

You may be qualified as negligent if: 1. You have a duty to act. 2. You breach that duty (by not acting or acting incorrectly). 3. Your action or inaction causes injury or damages (including physical injury or pain). Negligent actions might include moving a victim unnecessarily, or failing to give first aid as you have been trained. Upon giving first aid, do not stop until other trained personnel take over. If you leave a victim resulting in injury or illness worsening, then you are guilty of “abandonment.� Abandonment is different from justified instances of stopping care, which include exhaustion and inability to continue, or you are in imminent danger due to hazards at the scene. Emergencies are very stressful, especially if the victim does not survive. After an emergency, a strong reaction may result or problems coping may emerge. To cope with the effects of a traumatic event talk to others like family members, friends, co-workers, or local emergency responders. Do not breach the privacy of the victim. Remind yourself your reaction is normal. Do not be afraid to ask for professional help. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and Member Assistance Programs (MAP) often can provide such considerable help. Remember, accidents happen, but trained first aiders can assist with injury or even some life-threatening situations. Make your priority your to get trained. You can go to the Red Cross at or the National Safety Council at to enroll in first aid, CPR, and AED training classes. You may save a life!


Bedbug Litigation on the Rise By Gary Shapiro, Senior Vice President of Weisburger Insurance Brokerage

I was searching the Internet the other day and came across several lists of the worst cities for bedbugs. No matter which list included New York City, my hometown, it ranked near the top.


ore alarming is that the occasional stories about the infected mattress are escalating to dramatic newsworthy items, to an epidemic that has reached hotels, retail stores, movie theaters, and other frequently visited public places. Many businesses are discovering that they are not immune to bedbugs. Who would have thought that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office could be infected with bedbugs? According to the Associated Press, the Bloomberg administration fielded 537 complaints about these pests in fiscal 2004. In fiscal 2009, that number rose to


november/december 2010

nearly 11,000! These tiny blood sucking critters that crawl around at night and leave welts are playing on the fears of the public and are making it into the local and national news. While attending the New Jersey Pest Control Association’s 61st trade show and clam bake, the buzz was that all three major news channels in the metro area were there to do a piece on bedbugs. As the bedbug epidemic continues to worsen, and public awareness increases, business owners must follow strict guidelines to prevent exuberant financial loss that can result from bedbug lawsuits. Pest manage-


by those that seek recovery for alleged injuries caused by the ingestion of the chemicals used to eradicate the bedbugs. In the case of Ellis v. Orkin Exterminating Company, the parents of a 7 year old boy sought recovery, albeit unsuccessfully, from a PMP for their son’s death caused by asphyxiation from hydrocyanic gas that was released by the PMP into the house for the purpose of exterminating bedbugs and other vermin. One of the first calls made on the discovery of a bedbug infestation is to a PMP. Often commercial businesses have one year contracts with pest control companies, not necessarily covering the extermination of bedbugs. It is important for PMPs to educate their clients, so that each customer knows their rights and responsibilities. Pest control companies must make sure that each contract represents exactly what services they are offering, including whether bedbugs are covered explicitly or accidentally. Along the same lines, PMPs should speak with their insurance professional to make sure that they understand the ins and outs of their current program and specifically, that it covers their different bedbug extermination techniques. Besides special machines that use cold, heat, steam and vacuuming to kill bedbugs, a relatively new method of sniffing out these pesky critters are trained dogs. A competitive insurance professional should be well versed in Canine Mortality Coverage for those PMPs that earn their living with dog inspection fees. A proper insurance policy should cover accident, injury, illness and/or disease of dogs that are specially trained to detect vermin or insect infestations. For more information on the best kind of coverage that protects your pest control business, please contact Weisburger Insurance Brokerage at 800-4312794,, or visit our site at www. . Weisburger is the nationally endorsed insurance broker of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). With over 75 years of experience, our experts are able to review your current coverage and identify ways to best protect your Pest Control business in today’s economically challenging times.



ment professionals (PMPs) are not exempt from these lawsuits - they are now also becoming the victims of lawsuits given their involvement in the treatment of these critters. It’s important to make sure the proper precautions are taken by PMPs to protect their business if they find themselves in litigation. When PMPs are called in to evaluate a possible infestation, an important value added service is preventative advice. For example, hotels should be advised to practice state-of-the-art sanitation and to follow strict standards of laundering, drying and vacuuming, including the use of bedbug proof mattress covers. As effective as a regularly administered pest control program is a trained and knowledgeable housekeeping staff equipped with a first-response action plan. It is the job of the PMP to properly educate their clients about future maintenance of this issue, as well as ways to prevent it from happening, if it has not yet happened. Although the cost of extermination can be estimated, the overall financial loss from a bedbug infestation can result in immeasurable damage to a business. As noted by the court in Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc. while upholding a six-figure judgment in favor of two hotel guests, “Bedbug bites are painful and unsightly.” PMPs must be prepared that if a lawsuit ensues, they have the proper insurance coverage to combat claims made against them by a commercial business stating their services were not performed properly. Business owners can be held liable to their tenants, guests and visitors for all bodily injuries, personal property damages and any related losses (i.e. relocation expenses, etc.) resulting from a bedbug infestation on their premises. Consequently, property owners often attempt to shift liability for their bedbug claims to their PMPs on the theory that the PMP was negligent in failing to prevent the infestation in the first place (when regular inspection/maintenance services exist) and/or failing to completely eradicate the infestation after being called upon to do so. PMPs are also frequently targeted by those that occupy neighboring areas of the original infestation site on the theory that the PMP failed to act timely or to otherwise prevent the infestation from spreading into surrounding areas. Finally, PMPs can be targeted



Complaints about bedbugs in fiscal 2004 versus fiscal 2009 According to the Associated Press, fielded by the Bloomberg administration = 500 complaints november/december 2010



y o u r b u s i n e s s h e a lt h

Holiday Hazards by Stuart Mitchell, DO, PhD, MPH, BCE


ith the holidays approaching, we find our busy schedules becoming even busier with numerous additional activities. Avoiding the holiday hazards will ensure you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. Let’s take a look at a few of these hazards you may not consider. Hypothermia In many parts of the country the temperature will be dropping and the holidays will be cold. Children are especially vulnerable to cold, playing out in the cold wind and snow for hours. Adults have varying degrees of tolerance. Be aware of the cold and dress accordingly to prevent hypothermia or frost-bite. Ears and Colds Cold weather can make our sensitive ears hurt. Ear pain is not the same as an ear infection. One is caused by not wearing appropriate outerwear; the other is caused by micros. Many of us are inside more during the winter months. So, we have a seasonal increase in the number of colds (upper respiratory illnesses). In children, colds are the most common predisposing factor to middle ear infections (otitis media). Influenza Get your flu shot annually! The holiday travel season promotes the spread of this annual disease. Flu kills tens of thousands of people every year, especially the elderly, immune-compromised, or very young. Flu shots are not just to protect you; they help protect everyone! Herpes, Mono, Respiratory Viruses A peck on the cheek is not going to put you at risk, but watch those mouths. Direct mouth-to-mouth contact can spread micros. These include cold and flu viruses, herpes simplex, mononucleosis, and hepatitis.


november/december 2010

Food-borne Illnesses The winter season can be a time for diarrhea and vomiting. Some are food-borne, like Salmonella from a poorly cooked turkey, slicing vegetables on the same cutting surface as raw poultry, or using a contaminated sponge or cloth on surfaces. We can freely pass Rotaviruses to each other. Wash your hands, and be careful with food preparation! Sleep Deprivation Hectic schedules and ensuing stress can sometimes impede a good night’s sleep. To sleep better, limit caffeine at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime, do not drink alcohol late, avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, and do not go to bed thirsty. Go to bed at a regular time and wake up at the same time, get regular exercise, and get plenty of outdoor sunlight. Reserve the bed for sleep. Do not watch TV in bed. Be sure your bed is big enough to stretch out comfortably. Use earplugs or sleep in a different room if your partner’s snoring keeps you awake. Keep the room cool and dark. Do not watch the clock. Make your bed offlimits to your children and pets. Falls Icy or snowy surfaces are incompatible to human movement. We can fall on our backsides and wreck cars when we under-estimate conditions. Be sure to be cautious in such environments and have a survival kit in the trunk of your car. Overeating & Overdrinking One of our favorite vices is overeating, especially good food that others have prepared. Be sure to limit your portions no matter how good the food looks and smells. Regrettably, many will overindulge in alcohol consumption this holiday season. Not even stiff fines deter poor judgment. Be a designated driver, and do not allow friends or relatives to drive while impaired. Get Trained With all these potential hazards, and not just during the holidays, consider getting trained in first-aid, CPR, and AED. Classes are always available. You can refer the National Safety Council at or the American Red Cross at for classes near you. You can literally be a life saver!



Marketing corner

Top Five Marketing Goals

You Can Set and Achieve in the New Year New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business by Missy Henriksen Executive Director, PPMA


hat do I want my business to look like?” This is a thought-provoking and key question that every business owner should ask themselves, especially as companies get set to begin a new year full of new business challenges, objectives and possibilities. Have you asked yourself this question lately? The answers you arrive at can serve as the basis for your 2011 marketing goals. In our industry, there are many varying factors including the revenue and employee size of a company, the geographic regions it serves, customer satisfaction and retention, etc., that play a role in determining an effective marketing plan. By setting realistic marketing goals, you can develop a comprehensive plan, which in turn can help you grow your business. Set Marketing Goals Marketing goals are crucial to the success of any business. If you do not set goals, then you cannot measure if and how well your marketing plan is working or determine if your marketing dollars are being spent wisely. Marketing budgets tend to be tight in a down economy and businesses cannot afford to use those precious dollars on strategies that don’t work. To that point, start with what is manageable. Setting several realistic goals that build on one another are much easier to achieve than one big goal. Imagine if you never exercised a day in your life and one day you embark on a marathon. Most likely, you would not make it very far or your body would be much worse for the wear because of it. Sure, following a slow and steady training program may not result in a first place finish at the Boston Marathon, but such a strategy will allow you to compete and improve. Marketing goals in business work very much the same way.

Establish Objectives Are you trying to increase website traffic, increase your customer base or drive sales? Of course, these are common goals that apply to most businesses, but it is the approach to these goals that can mean the difference between success and failure. For example, targeting a five percent increase in sales or setting a specific number of new customers for the year makes it easier for you and your employees to work towards those goals. Additionally, such definite goals are more measurable than simply saying you want increased sales or more customers. Once the goals have been outlined, decide on what is a reasonable amount of time in which to reach these mile markers. Setting an aggressive timeline can quickly become an obstacle, leading to missed deadlines, decreased team motivation and failed objectives. Sometimes, the slow and steady really do win the race. Determine the Appropriate Budget Determining the appropriate budget is crucial. While marketing plans are important no matter the economic situation, maximizing your spend to receive the greatest return for your business is a top priority. There are several approaches that companies usually take when trying to determine their marketing budgets and those approaches vary based on the company, their goals and their strategies. The four typical approaches for determining marketing budgets are: ■■ The percentage of sales approach: Marketing dollars are determined by revenue. If revenues increase so does the marketing budget. If revenues decrease, the marketing budget follows. ■■ The affordability approach: Spend only what you can afford. november/december 2010



Marketing corner

The Top Five Goals and How You Can Achieve Them Granted, there are many factors that determine the marketing goals for a business, but likely they center on increasing awareness of your business; increasing awareness of your special services; increasing awareness on social networks; customer retention and customer acquisition.

the reporters who typically cover pest-related stories. Then, reach out to them via email, phone or by writing a press release on a timely topic, such as termite swarms in the spring and sending such materials to them on a regular basis. The media likes to vary their sources, so just because you may see your competition quoted in the newspaper, it does not mean that you would not be a welcome addition to a reporter’s resource contact list. Also, think about getting involved in your community, if you are not already. Whether it is by sponsoring events or youth athletic leagues, having a booth at appropriate local shows or partnering with other businesses, this type of involvement can be a great way to get your name in front of your target audience. You may also think about forming partnerships with groups like the local real estate community for their professional endorsement and client referrals.

Increasing awareness of your business Advertising your business does not have to mean buying ad space in your local newspaper or a billboard along a highway. Advertising through other means can be just as effective and far less costly. For example, after your technicians have completed a call, instruct them to provide leave-behinds for the customer to give to friends and neighbors or perhaps spend time leaving door hangers around the neighborhood. Let customers be your ambassadors and they will. According to the 2010 Pest Control Attitudes and Usage Survey conducted by PPMA, nearly 50 percent of respondents pointed to a friend’s recommendation as a resource when looking for a professional pest control company. Word of mouth marketing is powerful because people rely and place more merit on recommendations from people they know. These referrals are invaluable to your reputation and better yet—do not cost a dime in advertising. Another way to get in front of potential customers, at no cost, is to establish and build relationships with local media, specifically the home, news and feature reporters, who can turn to you for expert advice when reporting a pest-related story. This strategy can be attacked in a few different ways. Depending on the size of your company and your marketing budget, a public relations professional can assist you in cultivating relationships with the local media and positioning you as the local pest expert. If your budget has no room for public relations personnel, spend some time familiarizing yourself with

Increasing your presence on social networks For many people, social media is still a foreign concept or something people do for fun. However, more and more companies are helping themselves to a piece of the social media pie to engage with their key audiences. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide companies with a way to connect directly with their customer base and interact with them in real time. Another added bonus is that unlike traditional advertising, social media websites tend to be free. When establishing your presence on social networks, keep in mind that users will be turned off if they perceive you are trying to sell them your services. Instead, use the forums to share interesting pest facts, pest photographs, stories and other industry-related information. Once in a while, feel free to offer a service special or a referral program, but keep such activities to a minimum. You may also want to look into sites such as Angie’s List and ServiceMagic which allow homeowners and businesses to rate service companies and post reviews for others to see. In some cases, companies may also be permitted to advertise on such sites. Success from social media may not come right away, but if you keep at it, constantly engaging with your audience and keeping your content fresh, you will see results. Keep in mind that both NPMA and PPMA have developed “Social Media 101” webinars and tutorials that can help. For more information on these programs, visit

The competitive parity approach: Match your budget to your competitions’ budgets. ■■ The objectives and tasks approach: Allocate marketing dollars based on specific objectives and the tasks needed to achieve those objectives. Marketing dollars are precious, but when channeled correctly can result in a significant boost for your company and help you achieve your goals. ■■


november/december 2010

Increasing awareness of your special services Pest control companies have seen up to 20 percent of revenue come from services beyond general pest control (GPC). Such services include, but are not limited to: mold remediation, lawn care, handyman services and wildlife control. Note that mosquito abatement topped the list of expanded services homeowners would find valuable in PPMA’s 2010 Pest Control Attitudes and Usage Survey. Mold remediation and wildlife management were second and third respectively. These findings speak volumes about which of your special services you can and perhaps should market the most. But think carefully about how you advertise these services. Homeowners are by and large turning to the Internet to find goods and services to suit their needs in lieu of thumbing through the telephone book. The Internet provides consumers with company reviews from satisfied and dissatisfied customers, specials, service offerings other in-depth information on the company’s website, instant comparison shopping and much more. It is important to target your advertising and marketing based on the type of services you are offering, your geographical reach and any other factors that may play into your target audience for these services. Bundling, for example, is a great way to convince your current GPC customers to sign on for additional services. By providing discounted services as part of a package deal or “bundle” agreement you let the customer know about the service and if they are satisfied, they may recommend you to friends and neighbors. Customer retention PPMA’s 2010 Pest Control Attitudes and Usage Survey found that more pest control users are seeing the value of professional pest control than five years ago and are staying loyal to their companies, with 77 percent of current and past users never switching companies. That is good news because the majority of your customers could very well be your customers for life, if you treat them well. It is important to make your current customers feel appreciated by showing them they are valued through your services and by offering them rewards for being loyal customers. For example, you could borrow an idea from the insurance companies, where you reward the longevity of the relationship with your customer with a correlating discount. People by nature like to feel valued, so by going above and beyond

in your service calls and agreements, you will likely retain a loyal customer base that will recommend your company to friends and neighbors. Customer Acquisition However, a 77 percent retention rate also makes it more difficult to woo prospects away from competitors. That is why acquiring customers from the population that has not used pest control either recently or ever is key to increasing your customer roster. For example, 43 percent of respondents in PPMA’s survey said they never used pest control—that is a significant segment of the population that is up for grabs. The majority of respondents cited cost as the main reason for not using professional pest control, while 32 percent said they don’t have a pest problem, 30 percent said they could deal with the problem themselves and 21 percent believe the chemicals are harmful. These findings offer good insight into the mindset of your prospective customers; insight which can be turned into opportunities to dispel the myths about our industry. Offer discounts to counter the claim that professional pest control is too expensive; make potential customers aware that you offer free pest inspections; once in their home, make them aware of current and potential pest problems; and offer educational mate-

Let customers be your ambassadors and they will... nearly 50 percent of respondents pointed to a friend’s recommendation as a resource when looking for a professional pest control company.

rials about the products you are using in and around the home. Many times, people just need that “aha” moment to realize that professional pest control is affordable, necessary and safe. Make sure you put your marketing to good use to help your prospects get their “aha” moment before your competition does. The Last Word Marketing is a crucial part of building a successful business. Setting goals and creating a plan is just as important for small companies as it is for large ones. By creating specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based goals you can ensure success for your business in 2011 and beyond.


november/december 2010



o p e r at i o n s M a n a g e m e n t

Improving Listening Skills (Yours, Not Theirs) By Linda Finkle Incedo Group



ecause I work mostly with executives and business owners, almost every day I hear the same lament, “If only these people would listen.” Somehow we have come to believe that it’s about others improving their listening skills rather than us improving ours. Why is it that we always think it’s about them not listening, while we are so certain we are ‘excellent’ listeners? I don’t think it’s about us forgoing responsibility and blaming others; I think it’s that we do not understand what listening means. We assume that listening and hearing are the same. After all, if someone is speaking we hear them, and isn’t that listening? Yet listening is more than just an auditory function. Listening requires us to care enough about the other person to suspend our thinking, our judgments, whatever we are currently doing, and pay attention. Listening is not an auditory skill; it’s a mental skill. True listening necessitates our hearing beneath the words to what the person is telling us. We have to listen for the words someone uses (why those and not another one), the inflection in their voice, their speech patterns (long pauses, speaking rapidly, etc.), what’s not being said, the feelings … and that’s just to start. If we are thinking about something else when the person is talking, if we are assuming this is just the ‘same old story’ or we truly don’t care about what they have to say, we may hear them but we won’t be listening. And trust me, they will know we aren’t. When others think we aren’t listening, they don’t believe we care about them, and the consequence of this belief is they quit trusting us. Talk about communication barriers!

november/december 2010

Is building trust why we should consider improving listening skills? It’s certainly one reason. Let me give you one of my favorite quotes: “Between what I think I want to say, what I believe I’m saying, what I say, what you want to hear, what you believe you understood, and what you actually understood, there are at least nine possibilities for misunderstanding.” Improving listening skills gives us a chance at improving communication and reducing misunderstandings. Think about it. What if you could reduce conflict and increase productivity and morale through improved communication? What if problems got resolved and did not reappear because everyone was ‘listening’? What if you never again had to ask yourself, “Are they speaking some foreign language?” or “Why don’t they listen?” Nothing is more important to human beings than being heard, which happens when we listen. Listening is the first skill in a set of building blocks that impacts the success of communication. If we get it wrong at this step then the likelihood is that we will have a problem: Something will be misunderstood; messages won’t be clear; feelings will come into play; trust will become an issue. Any number of challenges will occur. The first step toward advancing communication is improving listening skills, and that starts with you. You’ll be surprised at what you learn when you truly listen to others.


Linda Finkle, CEO of Incedo Group, works closely with leaders, entrepreneurs and partnerships to create sustainable productivity, organizational strength and most importantly for these companies and leaders to have more fun. She holds a Master Certified Coach designation through the International Coaching Federation. Visit the website at to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, learn more about our workshops or purchase one of our impressive array of products.



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p e s t m a n a g e m e n t f o u n d at i o n

Cobweb Management and Low-risk Sprays as IPM Strategies to Control the

Marbled Cellar Spider Holocnemus pluchei (Araneae: Pholcidae) by Michael K. Rust, Richard S. Vetter and Donald A. Reierson Department of Entomology, University of California


Introduction any species of spiders produce webs for the function of catching prey. Some synanthropic spiders become nuisance pests around the home when their webs accumulate or gather dust and debris after the spider has vacated the site. Cellar spiders are common around homes. Cellar spider cobwebs are typical nuisance indicators of the spider’s occupancy, even being present long after the spider is gone. Because cellar spiders do not remove or recycle their webs as some species do, their webbing tends to accumulate over time in unsightly entanglements, especially under the eaves of houses (Fig. 1). Their webs are sticky, may become matted, and are difficult to remove. Many PMPs recommend web removal to control cellar spiders, but there is no data indicating that web


removal reduces the number of spiders present. Unless the spider is killed or removed, they quickly reconstruct their web. Cellar spiders belong to the family Pholcidae. Several pholcid species are established throughout the U.S., but the biology of each is similar. For this trial, we studied IPM strategies to control one pholcid in particular, Holocnemus pluchei (Scopoli), the most common pest species in the California (Fig. 2). It is native to the Mediterranean region and the timing of its establishment in North America is not well documented (Porter and Jakob 1990, Jakob 1991). From consensus of arachnological colleagues, it is thought to have been introduced into the San Francisco Bay area in the 1950s and has spread throughout California into Arizona and New Mexico. Perhaps because it is more prolific than other spiders, has few

Figure 1. Underside of eaves and wall around a security light before treatment showing a large number of cellar spider cobwebs. Some webs were old and abandoned but many were occupied.

Figure 2. Photo by Marina Parha and George J. Reclos

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effective predators, resides in refugia not preferred by other species, and because it protects its website aggressively, H. pluchei is one of the most common species encountered both inside and outside homes in southern California. In this study we conducted laboratory and field experiments to examine strategies to control cellar spiders on buildings. The most common current strategy used to control H. pluchei involves directly spraying the spiders and their webs with insecticide. Besides determining whether web removal per se reduces the prevalence of this spider, we evaluated the activity of some representative insecticides as contact sprays. A priority of our study was to determine whether there may be IPM methods that provide significant cellar spider control for 8 to 12 weeks, the general southern California PMP model. Several insecticides are labeled for spider control, but their activity and effectiveness against H. pluchei has not been documented. One of our objectives was to determine the extent to which H. pluchei was susceptible to low-impact spray strategies. Such strategies minimize risk by using lowest effective percentage and volume rates. Preliminary tests revealed that some were not active against H. pluchei at maximum label rate, while others were active at much lower than maximum rate, suggesting that some insecticides may control this species at lower than label percentage or volume. Direct contact sprays in the laboratory were made to mimic the field situation where the spiders are directly sprayed in their refugia. Materials and Methods Field study Test Sites and Pre-treatment Census. Treatment sites were designated on multiple outbuildings on the University of California Riverside (UCR) campus in June 2009. There still exist on the campus many neglected buildings which served as storage sheds decades ago. These unkempt wood-sided buildings have conventional overhanging eaves and are situated in remote areas of the campus. We inspected these buildings and found many of them to harbor large numbers of H. pluchei and their webs. Because of their isolation, cobweb experiments could be performed on these buildings without interference.

Each treatment replicate consisted of a specific 15–24' section of a building, from the sheathing above the rafter eaves to the ground. The eaves were 24" apart and had a 24" overhang. Each building had an asphalt tile roof. For this study, a replicate section encompassed the length between 8 to 10 rafter eaves. A section was included in the study only if at least 2 live H. pluchei spiders were found there. Some buildings had multiple infested sections. For example, one 60' by 23' building was assigned three 20' long sections on the front, three on the rear, and one 23' section on each end. We considered the sections to

H. pluchei is one of the most common species encountered both inside and outside homes in southern California. be independent from one another. Each section was considered a mimic of an infested home. The exposed evenly-spaced rafters made it easy to designate one treatment section from another. A total of 40 sections was selected for study. Each section was given a distinctive label so that we could observe the effect treating that particular section. The exact location and approximate size of each spider and its webbing was noted and the total number of spiders per section tallied. Each of the sections to be treated was assigned to one of randomly assigned treatments so that the distribution of the number of spiders was similar among the treatments. The designated sections were sorted by a decreasing number of spiders in them. The first five sections were randomly assigned to treatments 1–5. Sections 6–10 were then also randomly assigned to treatments 1–5 and so forth until all the sections were assigned. The result was that each treatment group contained similar numbers of spiders. This kind of sorting is used extensively in cockroach control field experiments where there is often a wide range of pre-count numbers per treatment group. Treatment. Besides leaving some sections untreated, treatments consisted of 1.) thoroughly brushing the entire under section of overhanging eaves with a

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p e s t m a n a g e m e n t f o u n d at i o n

Figure 3. Cobweb removal. Left, Webster cobweb brush at end of telescoping extension handle being used to remove cobwebs under an eave; right, cobwebs being removed with Omega Vac Supreme.

Webster cobweb brush equipped with a telescoping extension handle that could reach to about 10' (Ettore Products Co., Alameda CA) to remove cobwebs and crush exposed spiders, 2.) removing webs and spiders by vacuuming the entire section with a powerful industrial vacuum (Omega Vac Supreme, Atrix International Inc., Burnsville, MN), 4) spraying with EcoPCO EC-X (maximum label concentration, 1 gal/750 ft2) as a diluted botanical + 3% pyrethrins concentrate (EcoSMART Technologies, Alpharetta, GA), and 5.) spraying with 0.5% Tengard SFR (maximum label concentration, 1 gal/750ft2) from diluted 36.8% Tengard concentrate (United Phosphorus, King of Prussia, PA). Fig. 3 shows the Webster brush and vacuum in use to remove cobwebs. The sprays were applied with at low pressure with a Birchmeier Iris + 15-liter backpack sprayer equipped with a fan nozzle (Stetten, Germany). To assure the label application volume of 1 gal/750 ft2, the area to be sprayed was measured for each section and the corresponding duration of application needed was timed with a stopwatch. On average, it took 58 sec to spray each EcoPCO EC-X section and 64 seconds for each Tengard section. This was remarkably similar. The difference was attributable to the wall area below the eaves of some Tengard sections being taller, therefore requiring slightly more spray. The brushings, vacuuming, and spraying were made 17–18 June 2009, within 2 days of the pre-treatment census.


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Effect of Treatment. Each of the sections was carefully visually examined 2 weeks and at 1, 2, 3 and 4 months after treatment in order to determine if an effect of treatment occurred quickly and if the effect persisted. The location and size live spiders was recorded at each census. A dramatic change of location suggests the spiders moved in response to treatment. Similarly, because spiders grow slowly, a dramatic change in the size of the spiders present indicates a new cohort of spider residents. Such a new cohort may result from an infusion of immigrant spiders taking up residence as the original spiders were eliminated. Effectiveness at each census period was calculated from the average number of spiders present compared to the average number present at the pre-treatment census. The size of spiders present in the pre-treatment census and those present 4 weeks post-treatment were statistically compared with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test (Statistix 9). A significant difference in size within 4 weeks indicates they are likely different spiders. Effectiveness of treatment was statistically analyzed with the Kruskal-Wallis Test, a one-way analysis of variance by ranks. Laboratory Study Spiders and treatment. We evaluated the activity of selected low-impact sprays against H. pluchei to determine whether less than maximum label rates (LRmax) would be effective against them. More than 70 H. pluchei to be sprayed directly with insecticide were collected from buildings on the U.C. Riverside


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campus. Individual spiders were kept for up to 4 weeks in 4-oz transparent styrene cups capped with paper toweling. Each spider was fed a stunned German cockroach, Blattella germanica, approximately weekly. Well-fed captured H. pluchei remain healthy for several months. Spray activity was determined after treating a replicated number (n = 5) of individual spiders with 3 pumps of aqueous fan spray from a 0.5-L hand-held pump trigger sprayer held about 15" away. The spiders were sprayed in the cups in which they were maintained. The spiders were thoroughly

LRmax permethrin (Tengard) spray eliminated cellar spiders rapidly and inhibited reinvasion. At 2 weeks there were no spiders in any of the sections sprayed with Tengard and one section remained free of spiders for the entire study. treated, spray droplets being obvious on their body and legs. Different concentrations of spray were tested but the volume applied was constant at 1 gal/750 ft2. Immediately after treatment excess spray was drained from the cup and the spider was transferred to a clean cup provisioned with a 1 3/4" by 3" piece of stiff paper. Direct spray rather than surface tests were done because H. pluchei remains suspended in its web and rarely contacts surrounding surfaces. Allowing for delayed effect, mortality or irreversible paralysis of each sprayed spider was determined daily for 5 days. The minimum effective dose (MED) was calculated for each percentage concentration of spray as the concentration below which <100% of the spiders succumbed within 5 days. In the case of EcoPCO EC-X and permethrin, a correlation was made between the contact activity observed in the laboratory and the results observed in the field control trial. Insecticide sprays. The minimum lethal concentration (MLC) of each of the sprays we used in the field portion of the study was determined and compared to the MLC of some other sprays thought to have the potential for controlling cellar spiders. A formulation containing essential oils + 3.0% pyrethrins (EcoPCO EC-X) for the study was provided by EcoSMART Technologies, Alpharetta, GA. Eco WP-X is another essential oil low-impact wettable


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powder formulation reportedly used by some PMPs to control spiders, but because of widely inconsistent results we obtained against spiders in preliminary laboratory trials, it was not included in this study. We used the LRmax permethrin (Tengard SFR) as a spray treatment in the field portion of this study, but we evaluated much lower rates in the laboratory study. Permethrin and pyrethrins have similar acute effects on insects and spiders. Permethrin has good contact activity and residuality while EcoPCO EC-X has good contact activity by way of its pyrethrins content, but is short-lived. We evaluated the acute activity of pyrethrins as the active portion of Eco PCO EC-X. For comparison Optigard Flex SC, (thiamethoxam, 21.6%) provided by Syngenta, Greensboro, NC was included in the study, as was Temprid SC (imidacloprid, 21.0% - beta-cyfluthrin, 10.5%) purchased from Target Specialty Products, Santa Fe Springs, CA. Aqueous dilutions of the contact sprays were prepared with distilled water. Results Field Trials. The number of spiders in the untreated sections increased from June through August and decreased naturally by mid-October when the experiment was terminated. The single permethrin spray had the most dramatic effect, significantly (P < 0.05) reducing the number of spiders >90% within 2 weeks. Compared to the untreated controls, brushing and vacuuming had an effect, but the effect was minimal and not statistically significant. There were about the same number of spiders before brushing or vacuuming as before treatment, indicating that either many spiders survived treatment (perhaps in cracks or other hiding places) or that immigrant spiders moved into the sections from surrounding untreated areas. Regardless of treatment, during the time of the trial there was no significant difference (P < 0.05) between the average size of spider in each section before treatment compared to after. LRmax permethrin (Tengard) spray eliminated cellar spiders rapidly and inhibited reinvasion. At 2 weeks there were no spiders in any of the sections sprayed with Tengard and one section remained free of spiders for the entire study. Four other Tengard-treated sections had a maximum of only one spider at any census.

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Table 1. Mortality of marbled cellar spiders, Holocnemus pluchei, after being sprayed directly with aqueous dilutions of pyrethrins + rosemary (EcoPCO EC-X)a. % Spiders dead at indicated time after being sprayedb Py rate (%)

Label rate



30 min

1 hr

4 hr



24 hr

48 hr

72 hr

96 hr

















Concentrate contains 3% pyrethrins (Py); maximum label rate for spiders = 8 oz concentrate per gallon. For each % Py rate, individual intermediate-size spiders (n = 4) were sprayed with a hand-held trigger sprayer at rate of 1 gal per 750 ft2 (1.3 gal per 1000 ft2); Temp 78ºF; RH 37–41%. Tested October 2008. c Lowest rate tested was 0.006% pyrethrins, above minimum effective rate (the % below which 100% kill is not attained within 72 hrs). a


Although the spiders were killed, most webbing remained intact or as a matted mass. In commercial practice, such unsightly webbing may need to be removed. The IPM strategy of a single thorough brushing with the Webster brush, complete vacuuming, or spraying with the EcoPCO EC-X essential oil botanical formulation each reduced the number of spiders to levels approximately intermediate between a single permethrin spray treatment and the untreated controls. The three IPM strategies had similar effects, each significantly reducing the number of spiders but not eliminating them for about a month, but the pattern of reduction immediately after treatment was slightly different among the three strategies. Although we found live spiders in every brushed or vacuumed section at 2 weeks and at every census afterwards, at 2 weeks there were no spiders in 4 of the 8 sections treated with the Eco PCO EC-X spray. This suggests that the Eco PCO EC-X spray had a limited effect on the spiders. The effect of the Eco PCO EC-X essential oil spray was temporary, spiders reinvading all 8 sprayed sections by week 4. By 2 months (15 August) there were about the same number of spiders present after brushing, vacuuming, or an essential oil spray as there had been in June when the treatments were made.


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We recorded the approximate size of every spider we could find in each section at each census. A dramatic change in the average size of a treatment cohort within 2 to 4 weeks suggests reinvasion or differential sensitivity of one stage of spider compared to another. Although we observed what appeared to be subtle differences in the size of the spiders in the treated cohorts, especially after using the Webster or the vacuum, the differences were not statistically significant (P < 0.05). The pretreatment mix of spider sizes did not statistically change 2 or 4 weeks after any of the treatments, indicating that the treatments had about equal effects on large spiders and small ones. Laboratory Direct Sprays. Cellar spiders are extremely sensitive to pyrethrins and permethrin sprayed directly onto them. As shown in Table 1, as little as 0.012% pyrethrins (1/16 LRmax) in the Eco PCO EC-X essential oil formulation killed 100% of sprayed H. pluchei in 30 minutes or less. That some spiders survived 4 hours at the 0.006% rate suggests the 0.006% rate is probably near its lower limit of effectiveness. We did not evaluate the possible additive value of the rosemary. Table 2 shows that permethrin (Tengard) at 1/20 LRmax (0.025% permethrin) killed all sprayed H. pluchei within 4 hrs. This rate was also its minimum effective dose, 0.012% permethrin (1/40 LRmax) killing

» Table 2. Mortality of marbled cellar spiders, Holocnemus pluchei, after being

sprayed directly with dilutions of permethrin emulsified concentrate (Tengard SFR). % Spiders dead at indicated time after being sprayeda Rate (%) 0.5

Label rate

30 min

1 hr

4 hr

24 hr

48 hr

72 hr

96 hr




















































For each % rate, individual intermediate-size spiders (n = 5) were sprayed with a hand-held trigger sprayer at rate of 1 gal per 750 ft2 (1.3 gal per 1000 ft2). Temp 78ºF; RH 41% b Minimum effective rate, lower % rates not providing 100% kill within 72 hrs. a

only 60% of sprayed spiders within 4 days. We also had good results with reduced rates of Temprid spray, a 1:2 combination of imidacloprid: beta-cyfluthrin. As little as 1/20 of the Temprid LRmax killed 100% of sprayed H. pluchei within 1 day. Since imidacloprid provided only mediocre kill of H. pluchei in preliminary trials, the good activity of 1/20 LRmax Temprid against cellar spiders was almost certainly attributable to as little as 0.005% beta-cyfluthrin, a pyrethroid insecticide. It is likely that lower than LRmax of beta-cyfluthrin (such as Tempo® SC Ultra) alone would be effective as a contact spray against cellar spiders. By comparison, the LRmax of Optigard Flex (thiamethoxam, 0.1%) killed only 20% of sprayed H. pluchei within 5 days and we did not test it at lower rates. Discussion Of the spider management methods we evaluated in the field against cellar spiders, only the LRmax Tengard permethrin spray eliminated all the spiders in every test section. In addition, it apparently provided a residual effect vis-à-vis its kill and repellency for at least 4 months. The effect of each treatment is shown in Fig. 4. Brushing with a Webster, vacuuming, or spraying a LRmax essential oil containing a low rate of pyrethrins significantly reduced the number of spiders but did not completely

Figure 4. The effect of one-time removal of cobwebs and cellar spiders, Holocnemus pluchei, with a Webster brush or vacuum vs. spraying 0.5% permethrin at maximum label rate. The pretreat spider census was made on 15 June 2009 and brushing, vacuuming and spraying were done 17–18 June 2009.

eliminate them, even temporarily. Nonetheless, brushing or vacuuming cellar spiders and their cobwebs may be a wise management strategy because brushing and vacuuming removes cobwebs, which spray alone does not. If cellar spider webs are not removed first, spraying leaves a scraggly, matted, unsightly remnant silk mass that may be objectionable to homeowners. Spiders such november/december 2010


as H. pluchei are semi-communal, tolerating nearby cellar spiders. They rearrange their webs frequently (Skow and Jacob, 2003) and generally take up residence under eaves of a building if a suitable website is available. If dislodged, they merely wander about until they find an abandoned web or within days they build a new web in a site suitable to them. Cellar spiders disperse by adults immigrating from a website or by young spiders merely walking away a few days after they hatch from an egg sac carried and cared for by their mother spider. Since they do not disperse by aerial ballooning on wind currents as do some of the more advanced spiders, it is unlikely that cellar spiders will reinvade over distance from surrounding areas following a thorough effective treatment. There was no increase in the number of spiders in sections we brushed or vacuumed. We expected a possible invasion after we removed abandoned cobwebs. We were concerned that incoming spiders may fill the

The number of live spiders per section after treatment depended on the effectiveness of the treatment, but their average size did not... That there was about the same proportion of small and large spiders throughout the study suggests that about equal numbers of adults or immatures were affected by any particular treatment. cleaned niches where spiders had previously built webs, resulting in more live spiders than before. That did not happen. This indicated that brushing or vacuuming, per se, does not provide a cleaned area into which spiders move and take up residence. We did not determine the effect of multiple brushings, but it is likely that a few brushings or vacuuming spaced throughout the summer season would destroy reinvading adults and spiderlings and ultimately have more of an effect than just a single brushing or vacuuming. Brushing to destroy spiders and remove webbing followed by thorough spraying with a low rate of an effective lowimpact spray is probably the best management practice for cellar spiders.


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The number of live spiders per section after treatment depended on the effectiveness of the treatment, but their average size did not. A higher proportion of older (i.e. larger) spiders indicates that the treatment was more effective against the smaller immatures. Conversely, a higher proportion of small spiders indicates that the larger spiders have been killed or removed. That there was about the same proportion of small and large spiders throughout the study suggests that about equal numbers of adults or immatures were affected by any particular treatment. The sprays apparently affected both adults and immatures, and brushing and vacuuming were about as effective against the large spiders as the small ones. Our laboratory spray trials showed that significantly lower rates of the sprays we used in this study as well as some other active ingredients in sprays may be effective against cellar spiders, especially if used in conjunction with cobweb removal and spider destruction. Label volume rates (1 gallon per 750 ft2) containing much lower than LRmax % of some low-impact toxicants are potentially highly effective against cellar spiders. For example, direct sprays of 0.025% permethrin (1/20 LRmax) or 0.012% pyrethrins (1/4 LRmax) killed 100% of H. pluchei within hours. Temprid was effective at the low rate of 0.005% (1/20 LRmax Temprid), low rates of it should be considered as an effective alternative. Similarly, we had good results in previous direct spray studies with low % rates of Cy-Kick CS (microencapsulated cyfluthrin) and Termidor SC (fipronil). A single brushing or vacuuming reduced the number of spiders and cleaned out webbing. It is likely that brushing followed by spraying with a low rate of permethrin or pyrethrins would provide good IPM control of cellar spiders. Two or more brushings and low-rate sprays may be even more effective. From a practical standpoint, the Webster brush was a more effective tool than was the vacuum. The collection canister of the Omega Vac Supreme is too small and the vacuum repeatedly clogged from a few leaves and debris. It is better suited for use indoors. A large-capacity, high-velocity dry shop vac may be a better for removing cellar spider cobwebs.

The Webster, on the other hand, was easy to use, requires no electrical power, and has a flexible brush head that reaches into corners. The Webster brush head, however, looses its integrity within 1 to 2 hrs use, and needs to be replaced on a regular basis. Summary The cellar spider, Holocnemus pluchei (Scopoli) is a non-native species found in abundance in the southwestern United States. It is often the dominant species under the eaves and on the walls of homes. Requests for control of cellar spiders and are common for pest management professionals, sometimes representing >50% of summer service calls. We tested four IPM strategies, sweeping and vacuuming, and two low-impact water-based sprays as control methods. The sprays included a botanical + pyrethrins and a permethrin emulsion. Treatments were made one time in June when there were large numbers of spiders present. Fifteen-foot sections of eaves on 13 separate buildings on the U.C. Riverside campus infested with H. pluchei were treated or left as untreated controls. Spiders per section were counted before treatment and at 2 weeks and 1, 2, 3 and 4 months after treatment. As expected, the number of spiders in the untreated sections gradually increased throughout the summer. They declined in fall. Permethrin, 0.5% (maximum label rate) nearly eliminated the spiders from every section for the duration of the study. Compared to the number of spiders in the untreated sections, the botanical spray, a single sweeping, or vacuuming had a measurable but marginal effect, reducing the number of spiders to a level approximately intermediate between the untreated sections and the permethrin spray treatment. Laboratory contact spray tests showed that <1/10 maximum label rates of pyrethrins, permethrin and other pyrethroids kill 100% of H. pluchei within a day. However, this high level of activity was only partially substantiated in the field. Webbing may shelter some spiders from direct spray and summer heat may reduce the effectiveness of low rates of spray. This study suggests that H. pluchei on homes may be controlled with single permethrin

Requests for control of cellar spiders are common for pest management professionals, sometimes representing >50% of summer service calls.

spray. Sweeping or vacuuming cobwebs coupled with treatment with a low rate of low-impact spray may also be effective. A single sweeping or vacuuming was not highly effective, but multiple sweepings that reduce webs and crush spiders may be. Acknowledgments We thank the National Pest Management Association for its financial support of this project (UCR grant no. – 09080813). We acknowledge EcoSMART Technologies, Inc., Alpharetta, GA and Target Specialty Products, Santa Fe Springs, CA for providing the insecticides used in the study, and Western Exterminator Company, Irvine, CA for providing Webster brushes and the vacuum. We acknowledge Ms. Cassie Sudol, UCR Student Helper, for her assistance in collecting field data.


References Cited Beatty, J. 1970. The spider genus Ariadna in the Americas (Araneae: Dysderidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 139: 433–517. Jakob, E. M. 1991. Cost and benefits of group living for pholcid spiderlings: losing food, saving silk. Anim. Behav. 41: 711–722. Jakob, E. M. and H. Dingle. 1990. Food level and life history characteristics in a pholcid spider (Holocnemus pluchei). Psyche 97: 95–110. Porter, A. H., and E. M. Jakob. 1990. Allozyme variation in the introduced spider, Holocnemus pluchei (Araneae, Pholcidae) in California. J. Arachnol. 18: 313–319. Skow, C. D. and E. M. Jakob. 2003. Effects of maternal body size on clutch size and egg weight in a pholcid spider (Holocnemus pluchei). J. Arachnol. 31: 305–308. Statistix 9. Analytical Software. Tallahassee, FL.

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