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march april 2011

For MEMBERS ONLY of the National Pest Management Association

www.npmapestworld.org

cultivating Tips for hiring—and keeping—the best ALSO INSIDE:

» Effective Technician Training

» Hire for Attitude. Train for Skill.

» Measuring Quality

Service and Customer Retention

» Performance

Improvement


contents march april 2011

F e at u r e s

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Technician Training 4 Effective By Jim Fredericks How would you honestly rate the service your technicians and salespeople provide? How do you know that all of your customers consistently receive high-quality service? One of the most powerful ways to assure that quality service is provided by all of your associates is through effective training.

Insert

Library Update: Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs

for Attitude. 8 Hire Train for Skill. By Jean L. Seawright, CMC No matter how much energy or talent you possess, after a certain point in order to grow your business, you need people. The fact is, ultimately, the success or failure of a business hinges on management’s ability (or inability) to recruit, hire, and retain talent.

The resurgence of bed bugs has created significant concern in the pest management industry. Controlling, let alone eradicating, this pest is extremely difficult, as bed bug resistance to insecticidal control measures to date is significant, and customers’ cooperation is often required for successful control. Earlier this year, NPMA released Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs. These guidelines are intended to help pest management professionals control bed bugs effectively, responsibly, and safely by presenting the practices that are effective in controlling bed bugs (Cimex lectularius). The complete set of guidelines is available in this issue’s Library Update. For MEMBERS ONLY of the National Pest Management Association www.npmapestworld.org

Quality Service 12 Measuring and Customer Retention By Daniel S. Gordon, CPA An increase in sales is usually an economic vote on behalf of our customers that we are providing quality service. Conversely, a decrease in sales indicates poor service. But how do you determine where your company’s service stands?

Improvement 18 Performance By Jean L. Seawright, CMC With a new generation of workers who are skeptical, fun-seeking, and thirsty for praise, coaching and disciplining employees requires a much different approach: one that preserves respect, minimizes risk, and gets performance results, all while motivating the individual to excel.

d e pa r t m e n t s

2 Executive Vice President’s Message

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24 Ask the Expert

30 Operations Management

26 Marketing Corner

32 Calendar of Events


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executive vice president's message

L

ast year saw an unprecedented spike in the resurgence of bed bugs, with one in five Americans reporting they have had an infestation or know someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel, according to a survey that NPMA recently conducted. Because there are multiple products, methods and technologies that may be employed as part of a successful bed bug treatment plan, it is important that pest management professionals are aware of the myriad factors that should be considered when determining which products or methods are the best option to control a given bed bug infestation. As a part of our continuing effort to offer education and guidance as pest management professionals develop their response to the bed bug pandemic, NPMA recently released the Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs, offering guidelines to help PMPs control bed bugs effectively, responsibly, and safely. In what was one of the most transparent, stakeholder driven processes ever employed by NPMA, the Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs was created by the NPMA Blue Ribbon Bed Bug Task Force, a broad-based stakeholder group whose goal is the development of an industry-wide, multi-faceted response to the bed bug pandemic. Offering step-by-step practices for professionals in the areas of service agreements, recordkeeping, technician and sales staff training, client education, disposal of beds, furniture, possessions, bed bug detection, treatment methods, and health and safety concerns, the BMPs are tough, credible and practical and will provide PMPs, facility managers and consumers the tools they need to make informed decisions. These guidelines will provide professionals with the tools needed to most effectively service their customers and will offer consumers a much-needed resource in their education about proper management of bed bugs. Adherence to the BMPs will be an important step in enabling us to get an edge on this elusive pest. For your convenience, we've published the complete Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs in this issue as the Library Update. In addition to providing these best management practices to industry professionals, NPMA will encourage consumers to seek use of the BMPs in working with PMPs. NPMA members can direct their customers to learn more about the new guidance document at www.BedBugBMPs.org. Additionally, they are posted on www.pestworld.org. To download the NPMA Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs, please visit www.npmapestworld.org/publicpolicy/BedBugs.cfm, and click on “NPMA Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs.” We are pleased to answer any questions or provide any additional information you need and encourage you to distribute these to anybody you believe has an interest.

Executive Vice President Rob Lederer Editor Janay Rickwalder Graphic Design Blue House © 2011 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: www.npmapestworld.org Consumer Web site: www.pestworld.org For advertising information, call Janay Rickwalder at (571) 224-0384 or e-mail jrickwalder@pestworld.org.

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Less callbacks. More greenbacks. Pest prevention and business profitability with Zoëcon IGRs. ®

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program with the Zoëcon ® family of Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) can help: • reduce callbacks — decreased retreats with residuals of up to 210 days. • reduce reinfestations — IGRs help prevent future infestations. • reduce expenditures — less service time and mileage. These reductions mean Zoëcon® IGRs put more green back in your wallet.

Green is in our nature. It’s built into Zoëcon ® IGRs from the start. As the first to manufacture and produce IGRs ((S)-Hydroprene and (S)-Methoprene), their efficacy remains reliable and their low environmental impact makes them a consistent favorite. You can have confidence that they’re working while you’re growing your business elsewhere.

To learn more call 1.800.248.7763 or visit zoecon.com

There. Even when you’re not. Extinguish, Gentrol, Petcor, Precor, Precor 2000, Zoëcon and the Zoëcon logo are registered trademarks of Wellmark International. ©2009 Wellmark International. Always read and follow label directions.


effe

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by Jim fredericks

ective technician training Creating a Successful Learning Environment for Your Team As pest management professionals, the quality of service we offer our clients is often the difference between customer retention and cancellation, referral and complaint, growth and market loss, and success and failure. Service is a largely intangible offering, but your clients will make decisions regarding your company’s performance based largely on the quality of service your technicians provide.

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H

ow would you honestly rate the service your technicians provide? How do you know that all of your customers receive consistently high-quality service? One of the most powerful ways to assure that quality service is provided by all of your associates is through effective training. Training is an investment, not an expense. The quality of training your organization provides your employees should equal the quality of service you want to provide for your customers. When we analyze what a quality training program actually involves, we need to examine the way trainees and long-term employees learn and retain information. In most cases, employees are adult learners and, as such, require an adult learning format. Training Adults An adult learning format offers both interactive training and direct hands-on experience. To create an effective adult learning environment, you must be prepared, know your material, know the language, have effective public speaking skills, and understand how adults learn. Adult learners have different needs than child learners. Your training will be more interesting, effective, and better retained if you incorporate the unique learning needs of adults in your sessions. The most effective training sessions are adapted to promote active learning or an interactive learning environment with engaging and fun activities which convey the key concepts and allow immediate application. Adult learning occurs most effectively when participants are actively involved rather than passive or oneway recipients of information. Take the responsibility for effective learning. Engage emotional and intellectual based skills of learning. Utilize a variety of learning methods. Assure a positive, safe, and comfortable learning environment. The trainer should facilitate or guide training, and not dictate it. Creating a Positive Learning Environment To set the stage for your team’s learning experience, it is important to provide a well-lit, comfortable room with spacious seating and tables, and plenty of breaks and refreshments that allow attendees to interact. The trainer should have strong impression visual-aids and sound, a motivational and enthusiastic tone, and encourage feedback by asking voluntary questions. Adults learn through motivated and meaningful training content with clear messages and hands-on activities. 6 PESTWORLD

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Choosing Your Subject Training subjects for technicians are numerous and can involve an urgent, seasonal, or routine frequency. Subjects can include basic biology, using pesticides safely, plants, insects and insect orders, mammals, rodents, bats, birds, and reptiles. Integrated pest management (IPM), green techniques, and illusory parasitosis are excellent training subjects. In addition, training meetings can cover safety topics (especially PPE), service vehicles, and inspection forms. Your organization may choose to sponsor CPR, First-Aid, AED, and Universal Precautions certifications as well. Designing Your Training Session When designing a training session, consider your audience, determine the resources needed, get the word out by invitation as soon as possible, and plan for the unexpected. Use interactive training techniques that include PowerPoint, videos, illustrations, discussions, case studies, role-playing, and post-session surveys. Relate personal experiences as well as conduct educational games and hands-on learning activities. Be sure to engage your audience, assure that material is relevant, maintain focus, and make your point. When using PowerPoint, use a variety of media and have time for questions and discussion. Educational games can be computer-generated and involve a team concept with small prizes given to all teams for their participation. Hands-on learning can involve precertification training, lecture with props, or a hands-on field course. You can instruct by using case studies of actual events as either a “do this” or “do not do this” experience. You can use role playing techniques to allow participants to experience methods that are both effective and ineffective within a safe environment. Role playing also allows participants to learn from their peers, understand areas of best practice, and needs for improvement. Training does not have to be a somber experience. Allow it to be fun and encourage people to be comfortable. Provide colorful props to keep the hands busy while the brain is active. Provide treats to keep participants awake, focused, and engaged. Laughter is a good sign that everyone is enjoying the training experience. Training is an investment, not an expense. Welltrained employees assure the future success and growth of your business!

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atti

hire for

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titude* By Jean L. Seawright, CMC

Train for Skill Let’s face it—you can’t do it on your own. No matter how much energy or talent you possess, after a certain point in order to grow your business or your department, you need people. And, it’s impossible to manage people effectively without first hiring effectively. I know you’ve heard a lot about hiring lately, but read on. This one is worth it.

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hroughout my consulting career I have continually challenged the popular notion that “a company’s greatest assets are its employees.” Whenever I see this slogan, I remind the owner that people, in general, are not a company’s greatest asset; however, the right people are. The fact is, ultimately, the success or failure of a business or department hinges on management’s ability (or inability) to recruit, hire, and retain talent. In the world of human resources, we have a motto that accurately sums up this reality. You’ve probably heard the phrase coined by nutritionalists, “You are what you eat.” Well, in HR we say, “You are who you hire.” True, isn’t it? It stands to reason then, if you hire employees from hell, you will soon have a workplace from hell. What a concept! It’s better to hire smart and avoid people in red suits with horns. Let me share a vital hiring secret. What we’ve found in dealing with tens of thousands of employment challenges around this country is: people are at their most productive when they’re in a position that lets them draw on their natural strengths and allows them to be themselves. When people feel the need to act unnaturally, they experience stress, which lowers productivity and leads to job dissatisfaction. Example: people who know me very quickly understand that I’m an inpatient driver who is analytical, assertive, and (unfortunately) low on the sensitivity scale. I’ve faced the fact that I don’t make a very good shrink, but my personality sure does suit consulting. Now, if you were to tell me that I had to become a CPA or a CFO of an organization, assuming I could learn the trade, I would be flat-out miserable. There are no two ways about it. I wasn’t made for that kind of work and simply would not enjoy it. I could do it, but it would cause a great deal of stress. You see, you don’t need to know a lot about people’s weaknesses, but you do need to know about their strengths. Why? Because building on strengths is much more productive than trying to correct weaknesses. One way to obtain information about people’s strengths is personality testing. Another is through in-depth questioning during the interview. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: define the attributes

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that are necessary for success in the position and then search for these using a structured interview process and good interview questions. Too many interviewers make the mistake of overlooking very basic traits that are essential for success in any position. These traits go beyond experience and previous work history, and have become increasingly important as the workforce makeup has changed. Take a look: ■■ Work ethic. Work ethic is not something that comes with a long employment history. What we’ve found is that work ethic is developed at a very early age and has more to do with feelings about work that formed in childhood. To gauge whether or not the candidate has a strong work ethic, ask what type of chores he or she was responsible for as a young adult. Did the candidate work for an allowance? Did he or she work through high school? Ask questions that provide clues to an early development of a strong work ethic. ■■ Loyalty. Does the candidate have any childhood friends? Is there evidence of long-term relationships that require loyalty? ■■ Sense of humor. This is not the ability to tell a joke, but the ability to go through life’s ups and downs and still keep a smile on your face. It’s the concept of seeing the glass “half-full” instead of “half-empty.” Talking with the candidate about his her life and the different challenges he or she faced will give you clues about this one. ■■ Respect. One of the best tests of respect is how the candidate treated the receptionist. Some companies have the receptionist complete a form after meeting the candidate that zeros in on things like how easily the candidate smiled and whether or not the candidate was polite and easy to talk with. ■■ Judgment. There’s no replacement for an employee who exercises good judgment in decision-making. This one relates to common sense. Ask the candidate to give you examples of using his or her independent judgment and thoughts in making important decisions. ■■ Flexibility. A person who opposes change can have difficulty growing with the company. Look for clues in the candidate’s life and

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People are at their most

productive*

when they’re in a position that lets them draw on their natural strengths and allows them to be themselves.

■■

■■

■■

■■

■■

■■

personal development—evidence that he or she has been open to change, both personally and professionally. Integrity. The credibility of your company is at stake with every new hire. Only hire people with complete integrity. Crosscheck information from the employment application, resume, reference checks, and the interview. Conduct background checks to verify integrity. Maturity. Contrary to popular belief, maturity does not necessarily come with age! Again, spending ample time with the candidate talking about his or her past will give insight into the maturity level. Also, it has been said that maturity is the ability to delay self-gratification. If this is true, look for signs that the candidate has not given into every whim and fancy in his or her life. Dependability. This can be verified through reference checking and talking with former employees about the individual’s dependability. Intelligence. It’s no secret that intellect does not necessarily come from a formal education. My former tennis coach has a college degree and can’t spell “lob.” You can test employees for a general idea of intellect and the ability to learn using formalized aptitude tests. Initiative. This one is very difficult to assess during the interview, but easy to pick up on shortly after hire. Ask reference sources about initiative and look for signs within the first 90 days of hire. If you don’t see initiative then, it’s not likely to develop. Enthusiasm. There’s a name for people at our firm who are not enthusiastic—unemployed! Only hire people who believe in your company mission and philosophy. One way to gauge

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genuine interest and enthusiasm (aside from conversation during the interview) is to give the candidate a tour. It’s one thing to say you’re interested in and excited about a job. It’s another thing to show it. The extent to which these traits exist can be identified through personality profiles, proper questioning and, yes, quality time with the candidate. There are no shortcuts. Proper interviewing and hiring take time. The more time you invest with the candidate, the more you will learn about him or her. The reality today is that success in a job depends on competencies that are intangible and rarely found on a resume. Previous experience, which was once the sacred cow in hiring, is almost meaningless. In any position, always choose the person with the right attitude and the qualities outlined above over the person with experience. Remember, you can teach and train someone who is mature, intelligent, respectful, and positive. Good luck with the experienced candidate who is immature, undependable, hostile, and inflexible. Bottom line: what people know is less important than who they are. If you hire for attitude and train for skill, you’ll be better off in the long run. Trust me on this one.

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Jean 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, she has provided human resource management and compliance advice to employers across the country. She can be contacted at 407-645-2433 or jseawright@seawright.com.

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asuring by Daniel S. Gordon, CPA

Quality Service & Customer Retention Business today has become a race to efficiency.

measurement of sales, cost of sales and or profit,

Those companies who can become more

our actual results can be extracted from our

efficient in managing their businesses will grow

profit and loss statement. Assuming that we have

their bottom line. In this race to efficiency,

an accurate accounting system in place, these

PCOs need to set bench marks in which to

numbers can be compared to those set out in our

measure improvement. When we consider the

budget or benchmarks and judged accordingly.

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hile increases in sales or profits can be easily measured, they are usually the result of how we are being judged by our customers. An increase in sales is usually an economic vote on behalf of our customers that we are providing quality service. Conversely, a fall in sales may be attributed to a fall in the quality of service. However, in order to measure the quality of our service, there is no readily available report card such as a P/L statement that allows us to draw quick conclusions unless we create one. The problem with measuring qualitative attributes such as quality of service is that it can be very subjective. So, we need a method to turn these qualitative attributes into numbers that we can measure against past, present and future results. We have to think about what really matters to the customer regarding our service. Having said that, let’s create a definition of Quality Service as it pertains to pest control services:

Definition: Quality Service Quality service can be defined as the customer’s perception that the pest management firm’s performance meets or exceeds his or her expectations in addition to solving his or her problem. Important elements of quality service include: ■■ Knowing what customer wants ■■ Understanding customer expectations ■■ Designing services to meet the customers’ needs ■■ Setting service standards ■■ Setting performance measurement indicators ■■ Measuring performance Indicators of Quality Service In the field include: ■■ The technician being on time ■■ The problem being taken care of with the appropriate treatment

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The technician being courteous Call backs are held to a minimum ■■ Customer retention So with respect to the important elements of quality service as well as the indicators in the field, the most practically measured would be rate of call backs as well as retention of customers. ■■ ■■

Measuring Your Rate of Call Backs There are a number of ways to measure call backs. A few I’ve described below: 1. Ratio of call backs to regular service calls under a contract (i.e. call back ratio is 25%—this means that for every 4 regular services, there is one call back) 2. Ratio of call back time taken to regular service time taken under a contract (i.e. The initial work takes two hours and over the next 6 months there were 2 call backs at ½ hour each—call back ratio is 50%) 3. By calculating dollars per hour received for work on a particular customer over a period of time. If the dollars received per hour is below your target, your call back rate is too high. Assumption: That our services are priced properly for profit. Call backs will drive this dollar per hour down. Measuring Your Rate of Retention For our purposes lets define customer retention as those customers who extend their contract beyond the initial period of service. They can extend by: ■■ Renewal ■■ Extension of route work service Important measurement elements include: First Year Retention—First year retention becomes extremely important as this demonstrates a customer’s willingness to employ a pest control service beyond solving his initial problem. Whenever looking at retention, measuring first year versus second year and beyond becomes extremely important. For this reason, first year retention is usually less than overall retention Second Year and Beyond Retention—Once first year retention is stripped out of the equation, we are left with customers who have the propensity to spend on pest control services. These folks: ■■ Know they need it ■■ Are willing to spend to get it ■■ Are willing to purchase those services from your company www.npmapestworld.org


Here again, there are several ways to measure customer retention: 1. Ratio of number of customers who stop using our service versus the number of customers we start with at the beginning of the period. (i.e. Retention rate is 85%—this means that for every 100 customers, 15 will leave during a given period). Using this method we focus on just the number of accounts. 2. Ratio of dollars of route work of those who stop using our service versus the total dollars of route work that we had routed at the beginning of the period (i.e. Retention rate is 90%—this means that for a $15,000 route we lost $1,500 dollars worth of recurring work during the period). Using this method we focus on the importance of the accounts lost in terms of dollars. Both techniques are important as we obviously want to know the number of customers who are leaving us but also if key accounts are getting away. Here is an interesting way of measuring retention that also considers effectiveness of advertising: Total Advertising Spend percentage. This measurement tool is not used often by too many PCOs, but is key to a pest control company’s success. Example: Year One ■■ A brand new company with no clients ■■ Spends $20,000 on advertising

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Benchmarking callbacks and customer retention while consistently raising the bar goes a long way in your firm’s ability to grow.

That $20,000 yields $100,000 of new service contract work ■■ Year One advertising is 20% of revenues Year Two ■■ At the end of year one either retention is 80% or there is $80,000 of business from prior year customers during year two ■■ The same $20,000 is spent on advertising ■■ Again, that $20,000 yields $100,000 of new service contract work ■■ Year two advertising is 11.11% of revenues Figured: $20,000 of advertising divided by $80,000 of prior year customer revenue plus $100,000 of current year customer revenue $20,000 = 11.11% $180,000 As long as advertising as a percentage of revenue is falling, we are experiencing positive customer retention. ■■

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This is why many smaller companies experience higher advertising percentages then larger companies. When the larger companies indicate on industry surveys that they spend 6% of revenues on advertising, that 6 % is on total revenues. This percentage includes retained customers where there is no advertising dollars spent to retain these repeat customers as well as money spent on bringing in new customers. Smaller companies spend a greater percentage on advertising because they don’t have as many retained customers to spread the cost of advertising. A better way to think about advertising is the total spend divided by the revenue of the actual new customers derived from that spend.

What happens when we increase or decrease the dollar amount spent on advertising in the year of measurement? In this case it skews our retention percentage. For the purpose of our example, we need to substitute the actual spend in year two with the same spend as in year one to perform a consistent calculation. Conclusion As business becomes more complicated and successful companies strive to become more efficient, there will always be room for those that provide quality service. Maintaining and improving the quality of service is key. Benchmarking callbacks and customer retention while consistently raising the bar goes a long way in your firm’s ability to grow.

ÂŤ

Daniel S. Gordon is a CPA in New Jersey and owns an accounting firm that caters to PCOs throughout the United States. Visit www.pcobookkeepers.com for information about his firm, PCO Bookkeepers. He can be reached at dan@pcobookkeepers.com

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N PM A l i b r a r y u p d a t e

Best Management Practices for

Bed Bugs mar/apr 2011

Table of Contents 1. Introduction and Purpose...................................................................II 2. Business Practices...............................................................................II 3. Service Agreements............................................................................II 4. Recordkeeping....................................................................................III 5. Technician and Sales Staff Training..................................................III 6. Client Education................................................................................ IV 7. Disposal of Beds, Furniture, Possessions......................................... V 8. Client Cooperation and Treatment Preparations............................ V 9. Bed Bug Detection............................................................................. VI 10. Bed Bug Scent Detection Canine Teams....................................... VIII 11. Integrated Pest Management and Methods of Control................. IX 12. Insecticides........................................................................................ XII 13. Surrounding Units........................................................................... XIII 14. Post-Treatment Evaluation............................................................. XIII 15. Health and Safety of Technicians................................................... XIII 16. Health and Safety of Customers....................................................XIV

I


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II

1. Introduction and Purpose The resurgence of bed bugs has created significant concern in the pest management industry and in society overall. Controlling, let alone eradicating, this pest is extremely difficult, as bed bug resistance to insecticidal control measures to date is significant, and customers’ cooperation is often required for successful control. Depending on the treatment strategy, it is often critical that the occupants of the infested site cooperate with pest management professionals by reducing clutter, washing clothes, and/or performing other activities. Multiple products, methods and technologies may be employed as part of a successful bed bug treatment plan. There are many factors that should be considered when determining which products or methods are the best option to control a given bed bug infestation. These guidelines are intended to help pest management professionals control bed bugs effectively, responsibly, and safely. This document has been prepared by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to present the practices that are effective in controlling bed bugs (Cimex lectularius). These guidelines are intended to reflect the best practices at the time of publication and it is acknowledged that novel research and innovations in pest management techniques may provide additional effective methods in the future which will be incorporated into the document upon revision. 2. Business Practices 2.1. When providing bed bug service, pest management firms must: 2.1.1. Practice fairness and honesty in all advertising and transactions with customers and the general public. 2.1.2. Maintain a high level of moral responsibility, character, and business integrity. 2.2. Pest management firms shall provide bed bug services safely and efficiently in keeping with NPMA’s best management practices. 2.3. Pest management firms shall strive to remain current on the rapidly evolving technology of managing bed bugs. 2.4. Pest management firms should only initiate treatment when evidence of bed bug infestation has been confirmed, unless in the opinion of a trained and qualified pest management professional, treatment is warranted due to circumstances such as proximity to an infested room, complaints about bites, or other customer requests. 2.5. Pest management firms should confirm the location and extent of the infestation and provide the following information to the client before beginning service: 2.5.1. The cost of service, including fees for additional services if necessary. The kind of service to expect (number of visits, length of time until successful control). 2.5.2. Details of the service, including information about tools, methods and tactics to be used. 2.5.3. 2.5.4. The preparation required by the client or tenant. Realistic expectations, including obstacles to success such as lack of client cooperation, the 2.5.5. potential for bed bug reintroduction following treatment, etc. 3. Service Agreements 3.1. A pest management firm should use a service agreement designed specifically for bed bugs, or attach an addendum to a standard service agreement that addresses specific bed bug issues. 3.2. In addition to the typical wording found in standard service agreements, the bed bug service agreement should include the following information: A proposed schedule for completion of services. 3.2.1. A description of the service that will be provided and the specific areas to be serviced. 3.2.2. A description of the customer’s responsibilities, including preparations for service 3.2.3. and obligations to keep the site in a condition that does not promote future bed bug infestations.


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3.2.4.

Limitations of liability (except for gross negligence) for damages from bed bug bites, disease, injuries, contamination, property damage, loss of income, etc. 3.2.5. Exclusions for damages for replacement of mattresses, furniture, bedding, clothing, and other infested items. 3.2.6. Exclusions for damages expenses for bed bug bites and other health-related issues. 3.3. Many service agreement issues are unique to bed bug service (difficult pest to control, probability of reinfestation, need for cooperation, etc.). All service agreement wording related to bed bugs should be prepared or reviewed by an 3.3.1. attorney familiar with the critical factors associated with bed bug service. 3.3.2. All documents should be consistent with best management practices and in compliance with any state and local laws and regulations specific to structural pest control and bed bugs. 4. Recordkeeping 4.1. A pest management firm providing bed bug service needs to maintain good records in order to: 4.1.1. Document actions taken by the pest management firm to control bed bugs at the site. 4.1.2. Document the location of bed bugs at the site. 4.1.3. Protect the pest management firm from liability and billing disputes. 4.1.4. Document other information that may contribute to successful control. Additional documentation may include: 4.1.4.1. The extent of infestations 4.1.4.2. The level of client cooperation 4.1.4.3. The environmental or living conditions that may contribute to lack of treatment success (clutter, structural deficiencies, etc). 4.2. Various types of records may be used for bed bug service, depending on the site, and may include, but are not limited to: Inspection reports 4.2.1. 4.2.1.1. Service reports, including product usage, methods and nonchemical technologies Pesticide application records 4.2.2. 4.2.3. Specialized treatment records 4.2.4. Some specialized treatment methods require additional documentation including but not limited to: 4.2.4.1. Fumigant concentration levels over time 4.2.4.2. Temperature readings and location of sensors for whole room heat treatments 4.2.5. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) recommendations for reduction of clutter, improved sanitation, and habitat modification (exclusion) Lack of customer cooperation (if any) 4.2.6. 4.2.7. Customer education records Staff training records 4.2.8. 5. Technician and Sales Staff Training 5.1. All pest management firm representatives who may encounter bed bugs or be asked about bed bugs need basic training in bed bug biology and habits, elements of control, signs of bed bug infestation, the detailed and labor intensive nature of bed bug work, and how to inspect for bed bugs. 5.2. Technicians and sales personnel regularly involved in bed bug control or sales need advanced training in all aspects of bed bug control. III


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5.2.1.

IV

Technicians need to be knowledgeable enough to address typical bed bug problems encountered within his or her scope of work, or know how to find additional resources to help solve the problem. 5.2.2. Sales personnel need enough training to accurately bid jobs, set reasonable expectations, accurately describe to the prospective client the service that will be provided, and communicate any client cooperation that is required. 5.3. At a minimum, advanced bed bug training should include the following: Biology and habits 5.3.1. 5.3.2. Methods of dispersal and spread Bites and other medical issues including: 5.3.3. 5.3.3.1. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. 5.3.3.2. Reaction to bed bug bites varies from person to person, including the fact that some people do not react to bites. 5.3.3.3. Bug bites are not a reliable way to identify infestations. 5.3.4. How to inspect for bed bugs and the limitations of visual inspections. 5.3.5. Specific terms included in the pest management firm’s bed bug service agreement. 5.3.6. Customer preparations and responsibilities, including what steps to take if a client is unwilling or unable to prepare for service. 5.3.7. Bed bug control methods used by the pest management firm. 5.3.8. How to determine the treatment options and best control strategy for each situation. 5.3.9. Safety precautions needed for bed bug service. 5.3.10. Strategies for bed bug prevention and minimizing spread (for communication to customers). 5.3.11. How to evaluate success and recognize failure. 5.3.12. Local, State, or Federal laws, ordinances, and regulations related to bed bugs that may impact the technician or the pest management firm. 6. Client Education 6.1. A pest management firm providing bed bug service should educate their clients and prospects to ensure that expectations are reasonable. 6.2. A pest management firm providing bed bug service should educate its customers and prospects on the following issues: 6.2.1. Basic identification, biology and habits of bed bugs. Why bed bug infestations are difficult to detect and to eliminate. 6.2.2. Techniques for bed bug prevention. 6.2.3. 6.2.4. Specific actions that might be required from the customer or resident such as: 6.2.4.1. Providing access and authorization for service. 6.2.4.2. Reducing clutter, laundering clothing, making repairs, etc. 6.3. Education should start during the initial contact with a customer about bed bugs, and should continue throughout the process using tools such as: 6.3.1. Verbal communications 6.3.2. Handouts, including videos 6.3.3. Website information 6.3.4. Meetings Staff training sessions 6.3.5. Status reports on services performed and next steps 6.3.6. 6.4. PMPs should recommend that property managers: 6.4.1. Inform occupants of the surrounding units that a neighboring unit has bed bugs.


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6.4.2. Educate the occupants about bed bugs, including recognition and prevention. 6.4.3. Install mattress and box spring encasements. 6.4.4. Allow follow-up inspections of surrounding units until bed bugs have been eliminated. 7. Disposal of Beds, Furniture, Possessions 7.1. Disposal of beds, furniture, clothing, and other items because they are infested with bed bugs should generally be discouraged in residential situations and should be evaluated on a case-bycase basis. Disposal of infested items does not guarantee bed bug control. 7.1.1. 7.1.2. Disposal of these items can result in a serious financial burden for residents, particularly in lower income areas. Replacement items may become infested if brought into a room prior to control of the 7.1.3. infestation. 7.1.4. Disposal may result in spread of bed bugs to new locations. 7.2. Mattress, box spring and furniture encasements can be a cost-effective alternative to disposal. 7.3. Some customers will prefer to dispose of infested items even after assurance that they can be successfully treated. 7.4. Hotels and other sensitive sites may prefer to dispose of all bed bug-infested furniture to avoid negative public relations. 7.5. When disposal of infested materials is necessary, steps should be taken to minimize the likelihood of spreading bed bugs in accordance with applicable laws or ordinances for discarding bed buginfested items. 7.5.1. Items that are badly damaged and deteriorated may not justify the effort and expense to treat them and should be discarded. Visible or readily accessible bed bugs should be eliminated by vacuuming, steaming, 7.5.2. freezing, insecticide treatment or other methods. Prior to removal from the infested area, mattresses, box springs, and furniture should 7.5.3. be sealed in plastic to trap bed bugs inside. If left for pick-up, furniture should be labeled as bed-bug infested, and then damaged to 7.5.4. render it unsalvageable. 7.5.5. Disposal should be coordinated with trash pick-up, or items should be taken directly to a disposal site. 8. Client Cooperation and Treatment Preparations 8.1. Cooperation from residents, their guests, staff, and management is critical for success when controlling bed bugs. 8.2. Typical failures of cooperation include lack of preparation or lack of access to infested and adjacent rooms, or failure to follow IPM recommendations to eliminate conditions conducive to infestation. 8.3. When agreeing to provide a bed bug service, a pest management firm should clearly delineate the preparations that the customer must make and the preparations that the pest management firm will perform. Preparation recommendations vary based on company protocol and treatment type or 8.3.1. methods. 8.3.1.1. Some pest management firms require the client or resident to prepare infested rooms by performing tasks such as: stripping the bed, emptying closets, dressers and nightstands, bagging and cleaning clothes and linens, vacuuming and reducing clutter. The client should be educated about how to avoid translocating bed bugs during the preparation process.

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8.3.1.2.

VI

Some pest management firms have determined that their technicians should do some or all of the preparation to minimize the risk of translocating bed bugs or disturbing populations prior to treatment. 8.3.1.3. Whole-room heat and fumigation treatments require all belongings and furnishings to be left in place, however additional treatment-specific preparation is required. 8.4. Any treatment preparations should be appropriate to the type of site being treated (single family home, multi-family housing, hotel/motel, office, etc.). 8.5. Treatment preparation instructions should be communicated before the technician arrives to perform the service. 8.6. Involvement from property owners, hotel managers, office managers, and other responsible parties is essential and includes: 8.6.1. Communicating with tenants, clients, employees, etc. 8.6.2. Allowing inspection and treatment (as needed) of adjoining sites. 8.6.3. Permitting adequate follow-up services. 8.6.4. Correcting structural deficiencies that may contribute to bed bug problems such as loose molding, peeling wallpaper, etc. 8.6.5. Instituting housekeeping practices to prevent or reduce the spread of bed bugs. 8.6.6. Educating staff on prevention and control of bed bugs. 9. Bed Bug Detection 9.1. Before providing bed bug control service, a pest management firm should determine whether treatment is necessary based on a careful inspection and the needs and concerns of the client. 9.2. Live bed bugs are evidence of an infestation, but sometimes are difficult to observe in low-level infestations. 9.3. Intact, unhatched, or viable bed bug eggs are evidence of an active bed bug infestation. 9.4. Bed bug cast skins, bed bug fecal staining on sheets, and fecal staining near typical harborage sites may be considered evidence of an active infestation if the area has not been previously treated. When a live bed bug or viable eggs cannot be located during an inspection, the technician should 9.5. make further effort to confirm the infestation through a more aggressive inspection or other methods that have proven effective for bed bug detection. 9.6. Some clients may elect to have an area treated based on reports of bites or the proximity of other infested areas, even if visual evidence of infestation cannot be confirmed. 9.7. The presence of bites or assurances by residents that bed bugs are present should be considered carefully. It is not possible to tell from an apparent bite if it was caused by a bed bug because bite 9.7.1. reactions vary, and bites from other insects may have similar appearance to those of bed bugs. Skin infections and conditions can also look like insect bites. 9.7.2. 9.7.3. Confirm that the pest is the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and not any of the closely related bugs that infest bats and birds, which require different control tactics. 9.8. In addition to visual inspection, supplemental information may be useful including: 9.8.1. Reviewing pest control records for a building to track previous bed bug complaints, confirmed infestations and prior bed bug treatments or services. Speaking with building owners, occupants, and staff about the history of bed bug 9.8.2. problems at the site. 9.8.3. In residential accounts, determining where people sleep and rest outside of the bedrooms.


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9.8.4.

9.9.

9.10.

9.11.

9.12.

9.13.

9.14.

In large buildings, mapping infested rooms to identify trends and determine the extent of the infestation. A powerful flashlight is an important inspection tool. Other inspection tools may be useful to allow the pest management professional to access hidden or partially inaccessible critical areas. Optional tools may include: Screwdrivers, pliers, pry bar, multi-tool, crescent wrench, staple gun 9.9.1. Hand lens or other magnifier 9.9.2. An inspection (mechanic’s) mirror 9.9.3. 9.9.4. Gloves and knee pads Forceps, 70% alcohol and containers or vials for specimen collection 9.9.5. Bed bug inspections will vary in complexity depending on: 9.10.1. The site (private home, apartment unit, hotel, office, etc.) 9.10.2. The purpose of the inspection: 9.10.2.1. Confirming an infestation 9.10.2.2. Identifying all infested areas to determine treatment tactics 9.10.2.3. Verifying that an infestation has been eliminated 9.10.3. The extent of the infestation (low-level infestations are typically more difficult and time consuming to inspect than are widespread, heavy infestations). An initial bed bug inspection should include at a minimum: 9.11.1. Carefully inspecting sheets, pillowcases, and other bed linens, mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards by checking all seams, piping, straps, and other hiding places for live bed bugs, cast skins, fecal staining, and eggs. 9.11.2. Looking for evidence of bed bugs in cracks, crevices, and other typical bed bug hiding places near the beds, and areas where people have reported seeing bed bugs or being bitten. In addition to the tasks above, inspections may include, depending on the site, and if necessary, such things as: 9.12.1. Inspecting inside and underneath furniture, including the removal of drawers from dressers and other items. 9.12.2. Inspecting behind pictures, wall hangings, and drapes. 9.12.3. Lifting the edge of carpeting and inspecting behind baseboards in suspected areas. 9.12.4. Inspecting for bed bugs on, under, and inside upholstered furniture. 9.12.5. Further investigation of any site where bed bug fecal material is observed. Bed bug inspection should include areas outside of bedrooms where people spend time resting. 9.13.1. In commercial settings, depending on the extent of the infestation, inspections may be expanded to other areas which may include: 9.13.1.1. Laundry carts, laundry rooms, janitorial closets, and storage areas. 9.13.1.2. Common areas such as recreation rooms, break rooms, social centers, lounges, and waiting rooms where people congregate. 9.13.2. Obtain authorization to inspect rooms or apartment units next door, above, and below, the infested room(s). 9.13.3. In residential settings: 9.13.3.1. Inspect hallways, closets, storage boxes, pet beds/cages, desks, and other areas that may harbor bed bugs. 9.13.3.2. Inspect the living room, family room, and other non-sleeping areas. The goals of a comprehensive bed bug inspection should be: 9.14.1. To determine if treatment is necessary or warranted.

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9.14.2.

VIII

To identify special considerations such as the presence of ill residents, pets, or young children. 9.14.3. To determine the best methods of control and estimate the amount of labor that will be needed. 9.15. The use of bed bug monitoring devices may not be practical in all situations. 9.15.0.1. Monitoring tools detect bed bug activity over time (days or weeks). 9.15.0.2. Monitoring tools may be useful for confirming that a site has bed bugs, but the failure to trap a bed bug does not mean that there is not an infestation. 9.15.0.3. The type of site, room or configuration of bed frames and other furniture may limit the usefulness of monitoring devices 9.16. Monitoring devices may include passive, active or moat style traps: 9.16.1. Moat-style traps intercept bed bugs between their harborage areas and their host. Moatstyle traps are typically placed under the legs of beds and other furniture to capture bed bugs moving up or down the legs and can also be placed adjacent to furniture where infestations are suspected. 9.16.1.1. Because moat traps only capture bed bugs traveling in their immediate area; a lack of bed bugs in these devices should not be construed to mean that there is not an infestation. 9.16.1.2. Effectiveness of moat-style traps may be limited by the architecture of the furniture or other factors. 9.16.2. Active monitoring devices typically use heat, carbon dioxide, or chemical attractants to lure and capture bed bugs. 9.16.2.1. Use of most of these devices is limited by their cost and service requirements, and is typically restricted to high-risk sites. 9.16.3. Passive traps catch insects that accidentally encounter the trap and include traditional sticky traps as well as other traps specifically designed for bed bug monitoring. 9.16.3.1. Sticky traps have a low level of effectiveness but may catch bed bugs if placed in enough locations. 9.16.3.2. Because of their low efficiency, a lack of bed bugs in sticky traps should not be construed to mean that there is not an infestation. 9.17. Monitoring devices should be inspected periodically to evaluate bed bug populations. 10. Bed Bug Scent Detection Canine Teams 10.1. Bed bug infestations can be detected by specially trained bed bug scent detection canine teams. Because of their abilities, bed bug detection canine teams can be particularly useful in the following circumstances: 10.1.1. When bed bugs are suspected but no live bugs or viable eggs can be found through visual inspection. 10.1.2. For building-wide comprehensive inspections to locate all infested rooms. 10.1.3. In non-bedroom sites such as offices, theaters, schools, public transportation and other unconventional areas. 10.1.4. As an additional method to confirm that bed bugs have been successfully controlled or are not present. 10.2. At a minimum, bed bug detection canine teams must be able to detect live bed bugs and viable eggs. 10.3. Canine detection teams should be certified. 10.3.1. Certification demonstrates the canine team’s competence by an independent, third-party. 10.3.2. Certification confirms the ability of the team to locate live bed bugs and viable eggs in real world environments.


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10.3.3.

Certification confirms the canine team’s ability to differentiate live bed bugs and eggs from other odors in structures. 10.4. Canine handlers should inform the client of the canine team’s certification status. 10.5. Canine handlers should be trained in bed bug biology, behavior, inspection methods and identification. 10.6. Effective bed bug detection canine teams must be well trained and their training must be kept upto-date. 10.7. Distractors should be employed as part of the canine teams’ ongoing training program. 10.8. Prior to making a treatment, the canine handler or a pest management professional should attempt to confirm the canine alert by: 10.8.1. Visually inspecting the area to confirm the presence of an active infestation, or 10.8.2. Utilizing a second canine team, or, 10.8.3. In some situations, the client may elect to have the room(s) treated without secondary confirmation. 10.9. When a scent detection canine team is used for bed bug detection, it shall be performed by a canine team that holds a current, independent, third party certification in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Minimum Standards for Canine Bed Bug Detection Team Certification. The Minimum Standards for Canine Bed Bug Detection Team Certification is contained in Appendix A of these best practices. 11. Integrated Pest Management and Methods of Control 11.1. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as it relates to bed bugs includes all or most of the following: 11.1.1. Educating and communicating with all affected parties on the biology and habits of bed bugs, their prevention and control. 11.1.2. Making recommendations to residents about reducing clutter, laundering of clothing and bed linens, and other tasks. 11.1.3. Making recommendations to property managers about sealing cracks and crevices, correcting structural deficiencies, making mechanical alterations or modifying architecture to prevent or reduce the likelihood of infestation. 11.1.4. Emphasizing inspection as part of the management program,. 11.1.4.1. The use of nonchemical tools, strategies and technologies as well as insecticides to kill bed bugs where they hide and travel. 11.2. A bed bug management program should— 11.2.1. Physically remove or kill visible and accessible bed bugs and their eggs, either immediately or though residual effects. 11.2.2. Continue the service plan until the infestation is controlled. 11.3. Multiple methods of control are available to the pest management professional, multiple methods may be combined to achieve control including: 11.3.1. Vacuuming 11.3.1.1. Physical removal of a large numbers of bed bugs can quickly reduce population in heavy infestations. 11.3.1.2. Vacuuming will cause the area to appear less infested when bed bug debris has been removed and it will be easier to identify new activity. 11.3.1.3. Vacuum recommendations: 11.3.1.3.1. Consider using a high-powered vacuum designed for pest control, outfitted with a HEPA filter. 11.3.1.3.2. Use a crevice tool for corners, edges, seams, cracks, and crevices. 11.3.1.3.3. Scrape the tool along the surface to dislodge bed bugs and eggs.

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11.3.1.3.4.

11.3.2.

11.3.3.

X

Vacuum upholstered furniture, the floor under and around the bed and furniture, along the baseboards, and anywhere fecal material is observed. 11.3.1.4. Be careful not to accidentally spread bugs to other sites or locations via the vacuum. 11.3.1.4.1. Discard vacuum bags inside a sealed plastic bag. 11.3.1.4.2. Check brushes and filters for live bugs or eggs. 11.3.1.5. Vacuums alone will not eliminate every bed bug. 11.3.1.5.1. Bed bugs will be located in inaccessible sites. 11.3.1.5.2. Bed bugs can hold tight to rough surfaces and resist vacuuming. 11.3.1.5.3. Vacuuming provides no residual effect. Steam treatment 11.3.2.1. Steam can kill all stages of bed bugs when temperatures reach critical levels as outlined in Appendix B 11.3.2.2. The use of a commercial-grade “dry steam� unit can be a useful tool for bed bug control. 11.3.2.3. When steaming, follow these procedures: 11.3.2.3.1. Place the steamer head in direct contact with the surface. 11.3.2.3.2. Move the head slowly across the surface (about 1 foot every 1015 seconds). 11.3.2.3.3. Apply steam treatments to areas where live bed bugs or eggs have been observed and critical areas where bed bugs are suspected. 11.3.2.3.4. Pull out furniture drawers and steam inside, then turn over and steam underneath. 11.3.2.3.5. Steam potential harborage sites where you see bed bug fecal material. 11.3.2.4. When in doubt about the risk of heat or moisture damage, first steam an inconspicuous area and then check for damage. Avoid steaming heat-sensitive items such as: 11.3.2.4.1. Leather, acrylic, vinyl, linen 11.3.2.4.2. Painted surfaces 11.3.2.4.3. Finished wood, laminated wood, or simulated wood veneers 11.3.2.4.4. Plastic 11.3.2.4.5. Wallpaper and other glued surfaces 11.3.2.4.6. Electronics 11.3.2.5. Instruct the customer to allow mattresses and furniture to completely dry before covering with linens or encasements. Heat Treatments 11.3.3.1. Heat treatment can be used to treat and control bed bugs in: 11.3.3.1.1. A whole structure. 11.3.3.1.2. An apartment unit, a room, or a portion of a room. 11.3.3.1.3. A compartment containing furniture and possessions. 11.3.3.2. Heat treatments typically have a higher tolerance for cluttered environments than traditional pesticide applications 11.3.3.3. When conducting whole-room heat treatment ensure that the equipment has the capacity to raise and hold the temperature in the treated area to a bed bug lethal level.


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11.3.3.3.1.

11.3.4.

Ensure, through the use of heat sensors, that bed bug harborage areas are raised to a lethal temperature and held for a sufficient period of time to kill all bed bugs and eggs. 11.3.3.3.2. Because some areas are insulated, or slower to heat, sensors should be placed in areas that ensure that the core temperature of the treated item reaches lethal levels for a sufficient period of time. 11.3.3.3.3. Recommended temperature and exposure periods are provided in Appendix B. 11.3.3.4. Heat treatment can be limited by these factors: 11.3.3.4.1. Insulated areas where it is difficult to raise the temperature to levels sufficient to achieve complete kill. 11.3.3.4.2. Poor air flow in a room or container resulting in cool spots. 11.3.3.4.3. Poorly insulated rooms or containers during cold weather 11.3.3.4.4. Construction features that may contribute to heat loss or insulated cold spots. 11.3.3.4.5. The possible ability of bed bugs to move out of heated areas in whole-room treatments. 11.3.3.4.6. Potential heat damage to certain materials, including the risk of activating automatic fire suppression systems (sprinklers). Care should be taken to safeguard these materials and systems. 11.3.3.5. For whole-room heat treatment, the preventive use of insecticide in walls and under carpet edges, prior to treatment, may complement treatment by killing bugs attempting to move away from the heat. 11.3.3.6. Containerized heat treatment can be used to supplement traditional bed bug service by killing bed bugs and eggs in items that are difficult to treat using other methods. 11.3.3.6.1. Typical items to be heat treated include beds, furniture, personal possessions, clothing, shoes, appliances, and equipment. 11.3.3.6.2. Various enclosures can be used including trucks, trailers, shipping containers, storage pods, specially designed selfcontained heating units, or tarps. Mattress and Box Spring Encasements 11.3.4.1. Mattress and box spring encasements can be a useful tool for bed bug control. 11.3.4.2. Encasements create a barrier to bed bug movement in and out of the mattress, box spring, and pillows, by trapping and starving bed bugs inside. 11.3.4.3. Encasements make subsequent inspection easier because bed bugs are more visible on the encasement by eliminating harborage areas in the box spring and mattress. 11.3.4.4. Not all encasements protect against bed bugs; only use those demonstrated as being “bed bug-proof,” “bite-proof,” and “escape-proof.” 11.3.4.5. Encasements allow residents to salvage an infested bed rather than dispose of it. 11.3.4.6. Before encasements are installed, a pest control professional should vacuum, steam or treat the mattress and box spring to remove and kill as many bugs as possible.

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11.3.5.

XII

Cold “Freeze� Treatments 11.3.5.1. Freeze treatments use extreme low temperatures to kill bed bugs and eggs on contact. 11.3.5.2. Freeze treatments can be applied to most surfaces and may be beneficial in treating bed bug-infested items that otherwise are difficult to treat including toys, plastics, books, and other items. 11.3.5.3. This technology leaves no residual and is used primarily for killing bed bugs and eggs on contact. 11.3.6. Fumigation 11.3.6.1. Both whole structure and chamber fumigation are effective methods of controlling all bed bug life stages. 11.3.6.2. Fumigation is a specialized treatment method, not all pest management firms perform fumigation services. 12. Insecticides 12.1. Always read and follow all label instructions when applying insecticides and follow all instructions on the label including: 12.1.1. Special instructions related to bed bugs, including whether and how the product can be applied to beds and furniture and in living areas. 12.1.2. Specific instructions as to how much time must pass before reapplication, keeping in mind that alternative products may be used, if necessary, in the interim. 12.2. Choose products that have been shown to be effective in published research, as discussed in pest control meetings, from your own experiences, and that of other pest management professionals. 12.3. Choose products labeled for the target site. 12.4. If acceptable results are not obtained, consider using alternative products, formulations or nonchemical methods. 12.5. Apply insecticides to places where bed bugs hide, travel and deposit eggs, carefully adhering to all label instructions. 12.6. Typical treatment sites are places where bed bugs hide, or are suspected including, but not limited to the following: 12.6.1. Bed frames, particularly cracks, crevices, holes, and wherever two surfaces join together. 12.6.2. Mattresses and box springs. 12.6.2.1. Some pest management firms have policies that prohibit the treatment of mattresses and/or box springs 12.6.3. Other furniture 12.6.3.1. Treat cracks, crevices, voids, drawer slides, and the undersides of horizontal surfaces. 12.6.3.2. Treat under cushions, behind skirting, in seams, underneath and inside voids in upholstered furniture. 12.6.4. Cracks and crevices near infested areas along baseboards, crown moldings, window and door frames, as well as nail holes, damaged walls, chipped paint, etc. 12.6.5. Under carpet edges, tack strips of wall-to-wall carpeting, cracks and seams in hardwood floors, etc. near infested areas. 12.6.6. Inside receptacles and switch plates, light fixtures, wire runs and pipe runs near infested areas. 12.6.7. In severe infestations, treatment sites may include inside wall voids of infested rooms, drapes, ceiling/wall intersections, drop ceilings over beds, and many sites too numerous to list. 12.6.8. In hotels, treatment sites often include service carts, laundry carts, and luggage racks.


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12.7. Access to treatment sites may require removing carpets, molding, baseboards, wallpaper, and other major actions. 13. Surrounding Units 13.1. Bed bugs commonly spread from infested areas into new locations by moving from room to room, through pipe runs and wall voids, along electrical wires, and through other connections between rooms. 13.2. In apartments, condominiums, hotels, and other multi-unit buildings, when a unit is discovered to have bed bugs, the surrounding units should be included in the service or inspection area. 13.2.1. One or more of these surrounding units— 13.2.1.1. May have been infested by bed bugs that have traveled from the unit with a confirmed bed bug infestation. 13.2.1.2. May be the originating source of the bed bugs. 13.2.2. Surrounding units include adjacent units beside and directly above and below. 13.2.3. Failure to inspect surrounding units, and to service any surrounding units found to have bed bugs, increases the risk of— 13.2.3.1. Reinfestation of the original unit. 13.2.3.2. The bed bug infestation spreading further through the building. 14. Post-Treatment Evaluation 14.1. Multiple service visits may be required to eliminate bed bug infestations. The reasons include, but are not limited to: 14.1.1. Some bed bug harborage areas may be missed during initial service. 14.1.2. Any eggs not destroyed may hatch and subsequent nymphs may not be controlled by residual material. 14.1.3. Bed bugs may escape treatment inside protected harborages. 14.1.4. Insecticide resistance. 14.1.5. Insecticides with poor residual effects. 14.2. Success in bed bug service is generally declared when no new evidence of bed bugs can be found and verified. 14.3. Because of the cryptic nature of bed bugs, it is difficult to be 100% sure that all bed bugs and eggs have been eliminated. 14.4. PMPs should base their schedule of follow-up inspections on the treatment process they use. Follow-up services may include: 14.4.1. Interviewing occupants and staff to see if there has been any recent activity (bites, new bed bug fecal stains on sheets, visual sightings, etc.). 14.4.2. Inspection of treated rooms and adjacent areas 14.5. The appearance of new evidence of bed bugs after a series of service visits does not necessarily indicate a service failure: the new bed bugs might be re-introductions from other infested locations. 14.6. Document all actions to demonstrate that the pest management firm has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the bed bugs have been eliminated, and highlight any problems encountered (lack of cooperation, structural problems, conducive conditions that have not been corrected). 15. Health and Safety of Technicians 15.1. Technicians should be trained in recognizing the health and safety concerns associated with inspecting and treating for bed bugs. 15.2. When working in bed bug-infested sites, technicians run the risk of carrying bed bugs in their clothes and equipment to their homes, office, vehicles, or to other sites. To prevent this they should be trained to: 15.2.1. Assume beds and other items are infested and act accordingly.

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15.2.2.

Avoid leaning across or sitting on infested beds or furniture; minimize contact between their clothes and equipment and infested items. 15.2.3. Bring a minimum of equipment into an infested room and place it in an open area. 15.2.4. Perform an inspection of their clothes and equipment before leaving an infested site. 15.2.5. Launder all clothing immediately upon returning home from work. Footwear can often be heated in a dryer to kill all bed bug stages. 15.2.6. Consider carrying an extra set of clothes to change into after working in a badly infested location. 15.3. Strains and back injuries are a risk in bed bug work because technicians must move mattresses, box springs, furniture, etc. 15.3.1. Technicians should be trained in proper lifting techniques for beds and furniture. 15.4. Bed bug work in residential settings involves handling other people’s bed linens, dirty clothes, shoes, and other most personal possessions, which exposes technicians to human pathogens, particularly blood-borne pathogens. Special precautions may need to be taken including, but not limited to: 15.4.1. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. 15.4.2. Using caution when reaching into or behind furniture to avoid injury. 16. Health and Safety of Customers 16.1. Bed bug service often involves the use of insecticides. Before any insecticide application, speak to the occupants to determine if anyone might have health concerns that would be cause for concern if pesticides were used. 16.1.1. If the client has specific health concerns with regard to insecticide treatment, recommend that they consult with a physician prior to treatment. In these cases, it is advised that treatments be made in accordance with a physician’s recommendation. 16.2. Reduce all occupants’ risk of insecticide exposure by advising them which areas have been treated and by informing them when they can re-enter the treated room and what special precautions should be followed. 16.3. Technicians should reduce the risk of insecticide exposure to pets by advising occupants to keep pets out of treatment areas as directed by pesticide label directions.

XIV

Appendix A—Minimum Standards for Canine Bed Bug Scent Detection Team Certification 1. Definitions 1.1. Alert—A characteristic change in canine behavior in response to an odor, as interpreted by the handler. 1.2. Canine Team—A human and working canine that train and work together as an operational unit. 1.3. Distractor—Non-target odor sources placed within a search area. 1.4. Extract—odor extracted from an actual insect. 1.5. Handler—The trained person who works with the canine. 1.6. Hide—A container that allows free movement of air containing no more than five (5) live bed bugs or viable eggs. 1.7. Pseudo-scent—Man-made compound that mimics the target odor. 2. Purpose of Certification 2.1. To demonstrate the canine team’s ability to perform an accurate search for live bed bugs and viable eggs. 2.2. To demonstrate the handler’s ability to accurately interpret the canine’s changes in behavior and final response associated with bed bug odor. 3. General Guidelines 3.1. Only canine teams are certified under these guidelines, canines or handlers alone do not qualify for certification.


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3.2. 3.3.

Canine team certifications are valid for one year, at which time certification is required again. Certification does not relieve the canine team from the obligation to perform and document regular maintenance training and conduct periodic assessments to maintain high levels of operational proficiency. 3.4. Handler is responsible for describing to the evaluator the specific kind of passive or active alert that is expected from the canine. 3.5. Pseudo-scents and extracts are prohibited for certification purposes. 4. Testing Guidelines 4.1. Certification tests should be designed to accurately evaluate the ability of a canine team to perform as trained. 4.2. Testing must take place under field conditions where bed bugs may be found. 4.3. Tests should consist of a minimum of four (4) areas designed to restrict odors from moving between areas. 4.4. Each area described in 4.3 should contain at least one distractor or hide. 4.4.1. Evaluator must place hides in the testing rooms at least thirty (30) minutes before testing begins. 4.4.2. Distractors should represent of the typical odors encountered (under field conditions) by canine teams in the region(s) the team operates. 4.4.3. When dead bedbugs are used as a distractor, the bugs must have been dead for at least forty-eight (48) hours. 4.5. Time Limit 4.5.1. Time limit for completion of test (all rooms) is twenty (20) minutes of total search time. 4.5.2. Time spent between rooms is not counted toward total time. 4.6. Evaluation Certification tests will result in a grade of pass or fail. 4.6.1. 4.6.1.1. Handler will interpret the canine’s response by identifying the specific location of the hide. 4.6.1.2. There are multiple combinations of outcomes that may result from the certification test. These are described in Section 4.6.2 4.6.2. Odor

Canine Response

Handler Response

Test Result

Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs

Alert

Interprets Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs

PASS

Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs

Alert

Does Not Confirm Presence of Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs

FAIL

Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs

No Alert

Interprets Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs

FAIL

Live Bed Bug or Viable Eggs

No Alert

Does Not Confirm Presence of Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs

FAIL

Other Odor

Alert

Interprets Odor as Other Odor

PASS

Other Odor

Alert

Incorrectly Identifies Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs

FAIL

Other Odor

No Alert

Incorrectly Identifies Live Bed Bugs or Viable Eggs

FAIL

Other Odor

No Alert

Interprets Odor as Other Odor

PASS

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4.6.3.

To achieve a passing grade for certification: 4.6.3.1. Test outcome must result in pass (as described in Section 4.6.2) in all rooms. Mistreatment of canines during the testing process will result in failing score.

4.6.4. 5. Evaluators 5.1. A minimum of two (2) people must conduct each certification test, one of whom shall meet the credentials outlined in Section 5.2. 5.2. Each evaluator will have a minimum of five (5) years experience (total) in scent canine handling and evaluation in one or more of the following fields: 5.2.1. Law enforcement Government agency 5.2.2. 5.2.3. Military 5.2.4. Other comparable and verifiable experience in canine scent detection training or evaluation. 5.3. Evaluators may not be the canine’s current or former trainer. 5.4. Evaluators may not have any conflict of interest with regard to the canine, handler or handler’s business. 6. Certification Organizations 6.0.1. Pest management firms should avoid conflict of interest when choosing a certification organization. 6.0.2. Certification organizations may have requirements that are stricter than those outlined in these standards. Appendix B—Recommended Temperature and Exposure Periods for Bed Bug Control Temperature/ Exposure Time Required to Kill All Bed Bug Stages Temperature

Exposure Time

113 F (45 C)

7 hours

118 F (48 C)

90 minutes

122 F (50 C)

< 1 minute

For steam treatments surface temperatures should reach 160 – 180 F (71 – 82 C) to ensure that surface temperatures rapidly exceed 122 F (50 C).

«

Reference: 2010. Kells, S.A. Control of Bed Bugs in Residences: Information for Pest Control Companies. University of Minnesota Fact Sheet, St. Paul, MN. www.bedbugs.umn.edu

XVI


improveme Over the years I’ve learned that every business problem stems from a human resource problem. It takes the right people to be successful in business today, which is quite a challenge considering that the workplace has become the stage for acting out much of life’s drama. Oftentimes, managers are faced with having to play the role of a counselor rather than a coach. Show me any business today and I’ll guarantee that managers at every level have dealt with the interconnected challenges of low trust, negativity, poor performance, and lack of accountability. Leaders, of course, are right in the middle of this. And, to a large extent, the success of a given organization is based on management’s ability or inability to deal with performance challenges.

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By Jean L. Seawright, CMC

nt W

ith a new generation of workers who are skeptical, fun-seeking, and thirsty for praise, coaching and disciplining employees requires a much different approach: one that preserves respect, minimizes risk, and gets performance results, all while motivating the individual to excel. Gone are the days of “I’m going to write you up” threats. In many organizations, rather than focusing on performance improvement, employee development has centered on building a trail of documentation to justify a termination. In fact, in many cultures, it is commonly known that once you receive a verbal warning, you are on the path to termination. There

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is no escaping the wrath of “progressive discipline!” Sadly, the entire process has not lived up to its original purpose and intent to develop productive, effective employees. What’s needed today to address employee performance problems is a whole new approach that includes an “art” and a “science.” Consider the following five strategies (The “Art”) and four tips (The “Science”) for effectively enhancing performance . . .

The Art Strategy #1: Focus on the ultimate goal of any coaching session. Sounds simple, but first you have to know what the goal is. Assuming you

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truly want to develop the employee, the goal is NOT to alienate or demotivate the employee. Rather, the goal of any coaching session is to solve the problem AND maintain the relationship. Always keep this in mind. Strategy #2: Before coaching the employee, frame the situation using the willing and able matrix. Ask yourself, “Is the employee willing

but UNABLE?” If so, this is really a training issue (that is, YOUR problem, vs. the employee’s). If, on the other hand, the employee is UNWILLING but able, you should coach the employee. Of course, if the employee is UNWILLING and UNABLE, he or she should be UN-EMPLOYED in my book. The ultimate goal is for all of your employees to be both WILLING and ABLE. Strategy #3: Consider the personality of the person you’re coaching and prepare your discussion accordingly. Personality can

impact behavior. Resolving performance problems starts with understanding the employee who has the problem. This doesn’t mean you need to be a degreed psychologist; but, if you can begin to learn and understand some fundamental personality traits of the people you manage, you’ll be in a better position to meet them where they’re at in their understanding and enhance their learning and development. Why? Because in some cases, performance problems stem from a misfit between the person and the position—a square peg in a round hole. When people feel the need to act unnaturally, they experience stress, which lowers productivity and, in turn, leads to job dissatisfaction and performance problems. You don’t need to know a lot about people’s weaknesses; but, you do need to know about their strengths. Building on strengths is more productive than trying to correct weaknesses. (Hint: You can and should obtain this type of information during the interview process by in-depth questioning or personality profiling. This way, you reduce the risk of a mishire and performance problems down the road.) Strategy #4: Coach vs. Punish. Over the years I’ve watched traditional forms of punishment (progressive discipline) in the workplace fail. The reason for this is that managers have not yet learned how to effectively coach employees. Managers must learn how to turn the disciplinary process into a behavior-

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changing event. What’s needed is positive coaching— a two-way conversation that is mutual and that communicates respect—one that is problem-focused, change-oriented, and disciplined. Remember, you don’t have to make a person feel bad in order to get him or her to act good. It doesn’t work with the younger generation. Today, if the boss is viewed as a jerk, employees simply walk. Punitive punishment is no longer an effective strategy for disciplining employees. Strategy #5: Obtain agreement and a commitment to change. This is perhaps the

most overlooked, yet critical ingredient in developing performance. When a manager confronts an employee about a problem, it’s imperative that the employee actually agrees to solve the problem and takes responsibility for it. This can only occur when the manager is prepared to provide detailed examples of the problem and the tangible outcomes of the behavior. A “broad brush” approach will not lead to an agreement and commitment. Before you can gain agreement and get a commitment to improve, the employee must believe and accept that there is a problem to correct. What’s also good about the commitment piece is, if the problem persists, the next time you can focus on the employee’s failure to live up to the agreement; that is, their ownership of the problem and their personal choice not to improve. The Science Now for the “science” . . . In the world of government regulations, the burden of proof rests with the employer. Think of it as being “guilty until proven innocent.” Because government agencies operate under this principle, employers must take very definite measures to ensure their policies, procedures and work practices are consistent and compliant. Here are a few tips to manage this important aspect of coaching . . . Tip #1: Define Expectations. When you define the specific expectations, you eliminate the opportunity for employees to make excuses for their performance problems—that blame-game thing. You can define expectations by means of a properly written and compliant hand-book, comprehensive training programs, and job descriptions that specify the accountabilities.

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Tip #2: Properly document coaching sessions. Include only conduct that is observable,

measurable, and tangible. Document the “who, what, where, and when” details. And don’t use the word “attitude!” What in the world is a “bad attitude?” Instead, describe the tangible outcome: the behavior that you actually see, hear, or measure. Don’t get hung up on the type of form to use; if it’s properly worded, it can be equally effective if you use a memo format or a common “warning” form. Also, remember, the employee’s signature only verifies that he or she received the document—it does not and will not bring about a change in performance or a commitment to improve. You should always gain agreement and get a commitment BEFORE the employee signs. An employee who disagrees with the coaching notice or who refuses to sign it is not an employee who agrees or commits to changes. (Note: Monthly service clients can use our firm for assistance drafting documentation!) Tip #3: Utilize an effective performance appraisal program. An effective performance appraisal

program includes position-specific performance review forms administered by managers who are willing and able to confront performance realistically. Review forms should state only the facts and should not sugar coat problems, use discriminatory language, promise promotions, or guarantee increases. Tip #4: Ensure consistency in your coaching. Watch out for favoritism. When managers allow

bad behavior by one employee (perhaps because he or she is the star sales person), credibility is lost and morale is affected. When All Else Fails With all this talk about coaching, gaining agreements, and getting commitments—don’t misunderstand. You should never hang on to a poor performer who cannot or will not improve. In fact, the number one problem with terminations is—you guessed it—they don’t happen often enough. Leaders who avoid conflict because they feel sorry for poor performers, hate confrontations or have overstepped the boundaries of a work relationship will ultimately suffer a loss of credibility. Why? Because the good performers are watching and when they see the leader FAIL to take action, they lose faith and trust in the leader’s ability to solve problems.

www.npmapestworld.org

How Do Attitudes Change? There are only

ways:

Deep psychotherapy A religious conversion A lobotomy Point: Live with who the person is and change what the person does through proper coaching.

Leaders who find themselves in this position have, what we call, “misdirected compassion.” They fail to miss the point that they cannot always provide what a person needs to grow. Plus, people who aren’t performing well know it. The longer they are allowed to under-perform, the worse they feel about themselves. Misdirected compassion can do more harm than good. So, sometimes the best choice is the tough one—to let the employee go. If you coach and document effectively and you give an employee the opportunity to improve, if the employee chooses not to change, it’s time to part ways. There=s no reason to hang on to (or transfer) a problem. Remember . . . it’s not “employment for life,” it’s “employment at will.” You don’t adopt employees, you hire them. At the end of the day, the number one responsibility of any leader is to develop people . . . and this, of course, begins with attracting talent. Once you have talent lined up at the door, you can hire smart and coach employees who are willing and able to grow with your organization. Easier said than done . . .

«

Jean Seawright is NPMA’s HR Consultant. She is president of Seawright & Associates, an HR management consulting firm located in Winter Park, Florida. Since 1987, she has provided human resource management and compliance advice to employers across the country. She can be contacted at 407-645-2433 or jseawright@seawright.com. march/april 2011

PESTWORLD 21


»

ask the expert

by jim fredericks

Q A

I’ve read that pavement ants have a stinger, but I’ve never been stung by one. Can they sting and should my customer’s be concerned about it? It’s true, pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) have a stinger, but they rarely use it. Found throughout most of the United States, the pavement ant is one of the most common nuisance ant species in the Northeast and Midwest. Winged reproductive ants are often seen during their mating flights in the spring and are sometimes confused with termites by consumers. Pavement ants often nest under slabs, patios or landscaping features. Pavement ant stingers are so small that they generally cannot penetrate human skin and are not considered a threat to human health, so your customers don’t need to worry about getting stung by these pests.

Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

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Q

I have a ground floor apartment unit that has an infestation of small flies, they seemed to be concentrated around the diaper pail, but even after the customer removed it, the problem persisted. The flies look similar to fruit flies, but they don’t have red eyes. What can I do to control this pest?

A

The fly you are encountering is probably a phorid fly, also known as a scuttle, or humpbacked fly; both are common names for flies in the family Phoridae. These flies are sometimes confused with fruit flies because of their size and coloration, but there are a few simple identifying characteristics that can be easily recognized in the field to help you determine the difference. First, eye color can be tricky. Most people commonly associate red eyes with fruit flies, also called vinegar or pomace flies (family Drosophilidae), but not all fruit flies have red eyes, so using eye color is not as helpful as many people think. There are two easier ways to determine the difference. One approach is to observe the general shape of the insect. Phorid flies have a more humpbacked look, hence their other common name. Next, take a look at the fly’s rear legs. The section of the leg closest to the thorax is called the femur (analogous to the large leg bone connecting the hip to the knee in humans). Phorid flies have an expanded and flattened femur. As for the infestation that you are observing in the apartment unit, it makes sense that the flies were hovering around the diaper pail. Phorid fly larvae live in and eat decaying organic matter and are often associated with contaminated soil adjacent to broken sewer lines. A diaper pail full of soiled diapers will probably provide a suitable secondary food source, but the chances are the problem is more complicated than that. Have building maintenance contact a plumber that is capable of identifying cracks or breaks in sewage pipes running beneath the slab. Often, phorid flies will breed in the contaminated soil and find their way into the living space through cracks, expansion joints or bath trap openings in the slab. If a broken pipe is found it, should be repaired and the contaminated soil should be removed and backfilled before replacing the slab.

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Q

I have been battling a mouse infestation inside a pet food store for months and I don’t seem to be getting control. I think it’s because they are feeding on dog food that has been fortified with vitamin K and it’s counteracting the rodenticide bait I have been applying. What do you think?

A

You are correct; vitamin K1 is a treatment for anticoagulant poisoning. Vitamin K1 is the preferred method of treatment for poisoning with anticoagulant baits, since vitamin K3 is not as effective at reversing the acute effects of anticoagulants. However, the levels of vitamin K in processed pet foods are typically not high enough to counteract the effects of anticoagulant baits. At best, increased levels may slow the onset of lethal symptoms, but the end result will be the same. I do suspect however that the rodent’s diet may have something to do with the challenges you are encountering with your control efforts. The abundance of competing food sources may be limiting the effectiveness of your baiting program. If you haven’t done so already, make recommendations to your client about promptly cleaning up spilled food. If they don’t already have a deep cleaning schedule, suggest that they develop a plan to periodically disassemble shelving and clean food debris that may have become hidden inside or underneath. Additionally, you should consider a trapping program to “knock down” the population quickly. Traditional snap traps are one of the most effective ways to remove large numbers of mice in a short period of time. Consider placing multiple snap traps in all of the areas that droppings or mouse activity has been observed. In public areas of the store, you may need to wait until after hours to place the trap then remove them early the next morning. Remember to use plenty of traps. If there are 100 mice in the account and you only place 50 traps, the best you can do is catch 50% the first night. You might also consider baiting the traps with non-food items that might be attractive as nesting material like a small bit of yarn or a cotton ball. As for food baits, try using their normal food (dog chow) and some novel baits, like chocolate, peanut butter or anything else that the mice may not have encountered recently.

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Q

Ever since I explained to my client that rodenticide baits do not cause mice to leave the structure to seek water, she won’t let me use bait in her home for fear of a mouse dying inside a wall void and causing an odor. What can I do to convince her that rodenticides are ok to use?

A

I applaud your efforts to dispel a timehonored myth about rodenticide baits. You are right, anticoagulant baits do not cause a rodent to get thirsty, go outside seeking water, and consequently die outdoors. Instead, rodents, including rats and mice, will typically return to their nests to die. If the nest is inside a wall void or underneath a cabinet, the rodent will die in the house. If the rodent is entering the home for food, then returning to its burrow or nest outside, it will most likely die outdoors. As you know, in pest management, there are always exceptions to the rules. I once received a phone call from a customer who observed a mouse stagger to the middle of the dining room floor before expiring, in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. The bottom line is this: you never know where the rodent’s final resting place will be. Having said that, the risk of a dead mouse odor is real, but it’s a minimal risk. Consider that typical pest management firm controls hundreds, if not thousands of mice during the course of a year. How many of those result in an odor complaint? Only a small percentage, right? However, the probability of a dead mouse causing an odor in a home increases as the rodent population in the structure increases. This is caused not only from mice consuming baits, but also because over time mice will expire from natural causes too. Let your customer know that the probability of a bad odor is low if a problem is dealt with early, ignoring the problem will only increase the likelihood of bad odors in the future.

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M a r k e t i n g Co r n e r

Are Promotional Items a Worthwhile Spend? How Little Gifts Can Mean Big Business by Missy Henriksen

T

he late comedian, Mitch Hedburg once made the observational joke, “When someone hands you a flier, it’s like they’re saying ‘Here, you throw this out.’” Of course he is referring to the fliers that are handed out on busy street corners or papered on parked cars, as opposed to strategic direct mailing. However, the end result is still the same. Whether it’s one second or one week, fliers have limited staying power with the average consumer. However, there are other things you can give to clients that are much less likely to see the bottom of a garbage can. Branded promotional items can be an extremely effective tool for keeping your company on the minds of clients and potential clients. The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) conducted a study in 2009 to gather information regarding Americans’ views on promotional items and other forms of advertising. According to this study, of the 1,000 people surveyed: ■■ 94 percent could successfully recall a promotional product they had received in the past two years

89 percent could recall the advertiser of the promotional product. ■■ 83 percent reported that they liked receiving promotional products ■■ 48 percent would like to receive promotional products more often ■■ 69 percent typically keep the promotional product ■■ Compared to TV, print and online advertising, promotional products delivered higher recall rates of the company/brand, and/or the product/service With this in mind, it is easy to see why so many companies use these items as a key part of their marketing plan. Promotional items serve a different purpose than TV, radio or print advertising, which can be effective as an immediate call to action or to deliver very specific messages. Promotional items help your company to stay “top of mind” throughout the year for a lasting affect. They are also a nice way to say “thank you” to existing customers and make a good impression on potential customers. ■■

What to Get We’ve established that, when done well, promotional items can be a worthwhile marketing tool; but what are these items? How do you choose what is best for your purposes? One of the most important things to remember when choosing these items is to think like a consumer. Imagine your home or office for example. What do you hold onto and what do you throw away? What is useful and what is just clutter? The more practical and useful (or really cool) an item is, the more likely it is that it’s going to stick around. There are several categories of items and almost innumerable choices within those categories. Some of the most popular are as follows: ■■ Office/Workspace:

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Pens: These are the most common item, so while they may not stand out, they are practical and very likely to be kept and used. ■■ Notepads: Very inexpensive to produce and can feature a significant amount of information on their covers. You could have them made with a watermark of your logo on each sheet for extra branding. The drawback is a limited lifespan. ■■ USB Memory Sticks: These are small and can come very much in handy if you work in a business setting or are in school. There are also many options for type, size, etc. so you can be flexible with how they are branded. Household: ■■ Refrigerator Magnets/Magnetic Notepads: Everyone knows what to do with these when they receive them. Magnets make for an easy reference when a potential client needs to make a call fast and they can be easily customized to your design specifications. Notepads can get a lot of use for grocery lists and notes to the family. ■■ Calendars: Something people will keep handy and refer to often. There is ample space for branding and you can even customize with what pest issue to be on the lookout for each month. Obviously this is definitely limited to a one-year shelf life, though you could make the calendar an annual program for your business. ■■ Travel Mugs/Key Chains/Flashlights: These are some of the “you never know when you’ll need it” items that people are likely to keep around the house for a long time and have great space for branding. Personal/Woman-Focused: ■■ Tins of Mints: These are another item that people are unlikely to throw away, as they can always come in handy. Women especially are likely to carry these in a purse. There are potentially two sides of the tin that can be branded or imprinted with messaging. The drawback is that the tin will likely be thrown away when the mints are gone. ■■ ChapStick/Lip Balm: This is a more unique item with fun design opportunities and something people would keep handy year round. The negative is that these have the same shelf life issue as mints. ■■

■■

■■

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Compact Mirror: A mirror always comes in handy and if it is good quality, women are likely to hold onto if for a long time. If these are branded in a simple, classy way, this could be something that is a purse staple for years. ■■ Fun/Kid-Focused: ■■ Yo-Yos: These are something kids and adults enjoy playing with and could hang around in a playroom or on a desk. ■■ Rubik’s Cube: You can have fun with the branding and design on these, just make sure they don’t have to solve it perfectly in order to see your information ■■ Plush Toys/Beach Balls/Bouncy Balls: These all appeal to your client indirectly by providing items their children will want to keep around that the parents are likely to interact with as well when cleaning up and putting them away. ■■ Desk Toys: ■■ Magnetic Sculptures: Kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy toys and games pull-apart magnets are great to play with while deep in thought or on a call, so many adults keep them handy on their desk. These often have a base that can be branded along with the magnetic pieces. ■■ Stress Balls: Everyone deals with stress, especially at work, so if someone received a stress ball, they’re likely to hold onto it and use it. ■■ Brainteasers/Puzzles: Little puzzles with sliding pieces that can’t get lost provide a great branding surface and don’t take up too much space on a desk, so they are easy to keep around. These are some suggestions based on popularity and practicality, but be sure to think outside the box. This is an area where you can really use your creativity to determine the best fit your company and your customers. The possibilities are endless and sites like Branders.com and EPromos.com have thousands of options. ■■

Tips for Creating/Distributing Promotional Items ■■ Be aware that, while your services are necessary, people don’t always want a visual reminder of pests and may be turned off by real images or depictions

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»

marketing corner

■■

■■

■■

28 PESTWORLD

of pests. Consider cartoon-like images or messages with text rather than graphics. For example, on a calendar, rather than showing a photo of a mouse in December, feature a snowy landscape scene with text stating that mice may try to get in out of the cold in the winter. In most cases, promotional items will be cheaper if you get more of them, since the bulk of the cost is the one-time cost of setting up the imprint. If you can decide on something you like and will want to use long term, it will be highly cost effective to order a very large quantity at one time. Whatever item and design you choose should be consistent with the look and feel of your company’s existing brand. For example, if your logo is angular with bold coloring, it wouldn’t make sense to put it on a calendar with a pastel background and flowing, script-like font. Ask vendors to send a sample of an item before you decide to order it so you can get a real sense of where

march/april 2011

■■

■■

logos and text will appear, as well as an idea of the item’s true size and quality. Be sure to ask for “mock-ups” and proofs of your item before signing off on production and paying the invoice. Many vendors offer the same or similar products, so be sure to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal and best quality for your money.

The Bottom Line Promotional items can pay for themselves long after they’ve gone from your hand to a homeowner’s. You know your business and you know your clients—use this knowledge when deciding what product would best serve you both. If you wouldn’t keep something on your desk or in your kitchen, your clients probably wouldn’t either. If you provide them with something they can use, they are that much more likely to turn to you when the occasion to call a pest professional arises.

«

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Now the best software in the industry just got better. The NEW Enterprise Edition of PestPac Online - more features, new price. * Increase revenue, productivity and profitability through PestPac’s advanced reporting features. View your technician productivity, revenue, marketing performance, and salesteam statistics for any date range. * Improve cash flow by using the Advanced Collections module features to organize your collections procedures to more efficiently and more effectively collect outstanding balances. * Generate more revenue from existing customers and cut customer communication costs by using the Customer Account access module. Now your customers can access key account and service history, request a service, and pay bills. You can even market new services to each customer with PestPac’s new cross-sell tool. * Integrate with QuickBooks or any other general ledger accounting software using the General Ledger Link. Seamlessly sync accounts receivable data to ensure that you have an accurate, up-to-date financial picture for your company. * Optimize your routes using the Visual Route Manager by simply highlighting appointments on a map and assigning them to a particular day or technician. * Close more sales and better understand the ROI of your marketing efforts using PestPac’s Lead Import tool. Link your web site lead submission pages or other online lead sources directly to your PestPac Software. You can even upload sales leads from Sales Genie or other list providers to track performance on all your programs. * Save the hassle and cost of having hardware in your office. Use one centralized database for all of your branch offices and ensure that your data is safe through the backups and redundancy of Marathon’s online hosting environment. Each branch needs only a high-speed Internet connection and a PC.

Successful companies invest in proven technology that can make their businesses stronger. Call 800-762-0301 today to find out more about the Enterprise Edition of PestPac Online Software.

www.pestpac.com


»

O p e r at io n s M a n a g e m e n t

LIMiTED BENEFIT MEDICAL PLANS:

A Win/Win Solution for Pest Control Operators and Their Employees By Gary Shapiro Senior Vice President, Weisburger Insurance Brokerage

L

imited Benefit Medical plans have become a fast growing alternative to traditional medical plans because they provide a cost effective way to enhance an employee benefits program by packaging only the most desired and well-utilized medical benefits into one affordable plan. Due to the high cost of offering traditional medical insurance, Limited Benefit Medical plans have become increasingly popular in recent months among employers seeking an alternate means of delivering broad and affordable coverage for those who may not have access to customary benefits and for those who want to supplement other insurance coverages.

Limited Benefit Medical plans give employers the ability to provide their employees with cost-efficient access to a wide array of first dollar accident and sickness coverages Limited Benefit Medical plans give employers the ability to provide their employees with cost-efficient access to a wide array of first dollar accident and sickness coverages, including specified benefits for emergency room visits, health screenings, in-hospital indemnity benefits, doctors office visits, ambulance and other hospital related care. These benefits are paid to the insured or provider, independent of actual medical costs and regardless of other insurance. In addition, some Limited Benefit plans include a fully insured vision benefit and lump sum critical illness benefits.

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Who Can Benefit from Limited Benefit Medical Plans? Limited Benefit Medical plans offer companies, such as restaurants, hotels, staffing agencies, nursing homes and hourly workers from many other industries an affordable means to help cover contractors, sole proprietors, or groups with employees of any size: ■■ who may not have access to comprehensive medical insurance. ■■ who may not be able to afford comprehensive medical insurance. ■■ who elect comprehensive medical plans with high plan deductibles, thus requiring significant out of pocket payments that may be supplemented by these plans . ■■ who cannot afford to add dependents to a company sponsored plan. Pest Control firms could greatly benefit from these plans, while providing some of their staff members with new benefits that were never present before. Some companies have even gone so far as to drop their major medical coverage altogether leaving only a voluntary Limited Medical Program for their employees to utilize. Comparison of Limited Medical Plans Comparing Limited Medical Plans is like comparing “apples to oranges.” The commonality amongst all plans is that they provide for services at the physician level and then put low dollar caps on services like hospitalization and surgery. Where the plans differ is in how the benefits plans are designed. The overwhelming majority of the plans in this marketplace try to

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mimic the basic look of a commercial major medical plan that is being offered to full time employees. These plans typically offer co-pays, deductibles and PPO Networks which are what Human Resources and other insurance purchasers are accustomed to buying. Advantages for Employers Limited Benefit Medical Plans can increase a company’s ability to attract and retain the best people. Whether the program chosen is mandatory or voluntary, a Limited Benefit Medical plan offers the following advantages: Enhances Flexibility—The program’s flexible benefit levels allow for customization to suit each employer’s preferences—from maximum coverage to maximum affordability. Employers can select a standard program or custom design a program, choosing from a variety of benefit options and coverage amounts. Controls Costs—As a voluntary program payable through convenient payroll deductions or individual bank draft, this entails minimal cost and virtually no administration. Streamlines Administration—Cutting edge technology reduces costs and simplifies administration at every level. Delivers a Competitive Edge—These programs offer innovative ways to improve a company’s benefits package and extend coverage to all personnel in a competitive hiring market. Provides an alternative to COBRA—Employers are able to offer an alternative to COBRA for those employees whom face stop gaps or waiting periods while transferring from one job to another. Furthermore, Limited Benefit Medical plans give employers the freedom to choose whether they will participate in the sharing of the employee’s medical expenses and to what extent. Advantages for Employees Limited Benefit Medical Plans offer the U.S. workforce an affordable means to help cover their health care costs. Depending on the plan design chosen by the employer, a Limited Benefit Medical plan may also include the following benefits:

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Payment for doctor office visits, maternity checkups, accidents, surgical diagnostic, x-ray and lab ■■ In-hospital benefit payment and hospital admission benefit payment ■■ Limited or no restrictions on physician networks ■■ Prescription benefit (Rx)—no annual maximums ■■ Guaranteed issue coverage for immediate family with no health underwriting ■■ No pre-existing condition limitations ■■ No deductibles, no co-pays ■■ Pre-tax deduction under IRS Sec. 125 ■■ No carrier mandated benefit periods In addition, a few plans will allow “Portable Coverage,” which allows the covered insured to keep their coverage via continuance provisions even if they leave their company. If this is the case, extensive benefits depending on needs, and cash benefits may sometimes be paid directly to cover insured [if requested] and benefits can also be assigned to the doctor of healthcare facility. Another option that may be included under the Limited Benefit Medical plan is a set amount of cash from the employer to use for medical expenses or to spend as an employee chooses. Specific cash benefits are paid directly to the insured without deductible or co-payments, in addition to any other insurance they may have. An employee can use the money for nonreimbursed medical expenses, alternative treatments, travel, home help or any other purpose. Some plans may even include network and prescription drug discount programs offering additional savings on Medical, Dental, Vision, Rx and other services which help maximize plan benefits. Optional benefits available on some plans may include increased levels of insurance for Dental/Vision, Life and AD&D, Short Term Disability, EAP, and a 24-hour Nurse Line. For these reasons, Limited Medical Plans have become an increasingly popular option for employers in the U.S. Whether a company is as large as Starbucks or as small as a local grocery store, employers have come to the realization that they must offer something more to their hourly workers if they are to attract and retain the best employees. ■■

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C a l e n d a r of e v e n t s

April 7–9

CPMA Pest Management Canada March 13–15

Legislative Day 2011

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Halifax, Nova Scotia For reservations call 800-943-6760

July 28–30

Carolinas/ Mid-Atlantic Summer Conference Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach Wrightsville Beach, NC For reservations call 877-330-5050

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel Washington, DC For reservations, call 202-347-3000

July 21–23

Academy 2011 Westin Kierland Resort and Spa Scottsdale, AZ For reservations call 800-354-5892

32 PESTWORLD

march/april 2011

For detailed information on these events, visit npmapestworld.org.

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PestWorld Magazine -- March/April 2011