Bulwark: The Pest Control Stewardship

It has been a while since my last blog entry.  These past few months have been extremely hectic for me.  My wife and I have had a new baby (#5), I am furthering my education, and I am fortunate to have a job which is continually offering interesting challenges.  At Bulwark Exterminating our culture is in a constant state of flux–operating tirelessly to achieve the big objective: The Most Productive Highest Quality Service Company In The World.

I have been reflecting upon 2008 and I can hardly believe that we are about to enter a new year.  It is amazing how time flys when you are having fun!  The current economic and foreign policy predicaments that the US are currently facing has negatively affected many Americans attitudes about the future; yet fortunately I have seen many who are willing to remain optimistic, while patiently anticipating an eventual economic upswing, and ultimately a more tolerant world.

It especially easy to be grateful for something during a time of its respective scarcity.  I have personally been extremely grateful for my employment, my spouse’s health, the health of my children, -their safety, and the stewardship of great leaders.  The United States of America is facing many critical challenges that are inherently deduced when the survival of American Values are to be pitted against stoic and mundane American economic policy.  To put things in perspective I will highlight the fact that although Americans have been facing a sluggish economy; Americans continue to find a way to give to charity.

Although at Bulwark Exterminating we have always appreciated our customers, there is, at least in my mind, a heightened awareness towards customer satisfaction.  No marketing is better than positive word of mouth.  There should be no greater advocate of a service; than he/she who is offering the service.  As one who was in need of employment–I am grateful for a small business with a big heart whose willingness to hire a “green” technician with a red fire desire to learn a trade has ultimately allowed me to provide for a young upstart family.

Then again, as a medium-sized business behind a philosophy of “promote on performance,” Bulwark extended a “stewardship” to me which encompassed managing those who would follow in my footsteps…to ensure excellent customer service while offering the latest pest control technologies within a proprietary service.  As a service manager I wanted our customer’s to be happy: With empathy each customer was given the best I have to offer; and I trained our technicians to offer the best.  I took a keen interest in pest control; I took it upon myself to try and master the pest control trade; while absorbing the wisdom offered from Bulwark’s great leaders.  My studies led me to this conclusion:  Before Bulwark Exterminating was in the Pest Control Business, it was in the “People Business.”

This is my blog and these are my thoughts.  I am personally grateful for “Bulwark.”  I am professionally grateful to all Bulwark Exterminating customers who have allowed us the privilege of attending to their pest control needs. To the greatest Pest Control Technicians in the business…Thank you…

Ed Sakugawa…”Thank you for your continuous efforts in the Las Vegas East Area.”


Integrated Pest Management-Revisited (IPM)

IPM: Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is sometimes referred to as a total science that encompasses the basic principles that guides the perception of the right way to approach pest control and pesticide application. The ultimate goal of Integrated Pest Management should be to identify conditions that are conducive to unwanted pest presence, the measurement of tolerable pest thresholds, and the best way to control pests in a manner that is the least destructive to the environment.

We can better identify conditions that are conducive to an unwanted pest presence by recognizing the three aspects that make up Integrated Pest Management.

The three parts of Integrated Pest Management are:

  • Environment
  • Insect/Pest
  • Food Source

The goal is to see how our homes play out relative to these three components of Integrated Pest Management. Integrated Pest Management is a science that focuses itself on these three factors and how they specifically can be applied to any specific property. For example I will give you my IPM perspective towards controlling scorpions. First and foremost I look for environmental factors that are conducive to scorpions and/or scorpion activity. I look for construction nearby which may have removed the scorpions previous habitat, or perhaps may have disturbed the current habitat and encouraged migration. Secondly, I would look for the introduction of new landscaping, and particularly types of agriculture used as a natural habitat for the scorpion. Furthermore, does the customer have various water sources, pool, poor drainage, etc?

Does the customer have a lot of make shift harborages for scorpions; firewood, old washer and dryer, kids toys, un-maintained brick walls/fencing? What type of (gravel/rock) landscaping are they utilizing? There are many different things that although artificially created produce an environment that scorpions are naturally attracted to.

In addition to environmental conditions, (and probably after recommending that nothing sit up against the house for at least 2 feet) I would focus on food sources. Although controlling the scorpion�s food source may be a good idea, I am always cautioned by my respect for their antiquity. The fact is that scorpions have been around for millions of years and have over the ages developed the ability to survive under the direst circumstances. Scorpions eat various insects; ensuring that you eliminate the scorpion�s prey of choice can help control an unwanted scorpion population. Divulging from my scorpion perspective to help add emphasis to the “food source” aspect of Integrated Pest Management I would like to quickly point to fruit flies. I would often run into customers who would complain about fruit flies and come to find out they have a huge pomegranate tree in their backyard with fully ripened fruit dotted throughout the problem area. The IPM way would be to remove the fruit (food source) and in turn, remove the pest.

The final aspect would be to look at the insect/pest or in this case the scorpion. The nature of this pest may justify more drastic measures because of the type of danger a scorpion bite poses to humans. Secondly, the threshold of scorpion tolerance is very low (as opposed to a fruit fly, where tolerance can be significantly higher). I have not met a person who could tolerate sharing their home/yard with scorpions. I would always recommend that every precautionary measure be taken when it comes to scorpion control.

The general theme surrounding Integrated Pest Management is that overall there may be a progressive approach that you can take to pest control that in some cases may not utilize pesticides or is more environmentally friendly. Sometimes changing environmental factors within your control can eliminate/control various pests. Desert Landscaping as opposed to Green Grass is conducive to different insects/pests. Sometimes controlling the availability of food sources; dog food, dog poop, fruit trees, wood, etc. will help prevent the unwanted pest who prey on your unsuspecting food sources. Finally, look at the insect and identify a threshold of tolerance. Insects/Pest all have its own implications on our environment. Nature’s equilibrium rests upon a delicate balance that requires the participation of all natural living beings and their life processes.

Moisture = Termites

From the monsoons of Arizona to Gustav in Louisiana there is rain a pouring in the southern portion of the United States.  Subterranean termites love moisture and often times become more active because of it.  You can either perform an investigation utilizing the tips I am going to give you about identifying termite infestations or you can contact Bulwark Exterminating for a free termite inspection. (1-800-445-9313)

How to identify Termites

  • A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around
    your home.  The opening in the mound is generally very large.  They will often times be crawling very fast along the grounds too.  The insects are preparing to mate.  Termites tend to swarm in the Spring.
  • Any cracked or bubbling paint or termite droppings.
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls.  These are utilized by subterranean termites to get from their underground abode to the softwood they are dining on.
  • Discarded wings from swarmers.  Look at the wings they will be identical in opposed to carpenter ants who will have different sized wings.  Termite will have four wings that are generally twice their body size.
  • Termites have straight bodies with no petiole. (waist)

USDA Signs Memorandum Of Understanding With The National Pest Management Association

– Monday, August 04, 2008

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2008 — On July 25, Wildlife Services (WS), a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to strengthen its cooperation and coordination on wildlife damage involving nuisance birds.

“The National Pest Management Association always has been an important partner for Wildlife Services,” said Bruce Knight, under secretary for USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs. “This agreement will ensure an even stronger relationship between our organizations by working together to address problems caused by nuisance birds, such as European starlings, house sparrows and pigeons.”

The agreement culminates more than a year of discussions between WS and NPMA and establishes regular meetings and communication between the two organizations while recognizing WS responsibility for the control of invasive species.

Under this agreement, entities and individuals seeking assistance with nuisance bird problems will continue to have the choice of using pest management companies or seeking WS help to respond to damage concerns. WS will not actively seek to become involved in the control of nuisance birds in areas where pest management companies have the established capacity to meet consumers’ needs. The MOU complies with the 2008 Farm Bill Manager’s Statement encouraging APHIS to enter into such agreements with private industries.

WS actively researches and develops contraceptive agents and other control techniques for birds, such as pigeons and geese, and will provide training to the NPMA on new techniques as they are developed. The NPMA, with more than 5,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to protect the public’s health, food and property.

Source: USDA

Pest Control “Calibration”

A new word for the Pest Control Jargon page is calibration.  Calibration can simply be defined as the comparison of desired output and real output; and that adjustments are made so that real output equals your desired output.

Calibration is very important to a Pest Control Technician.  Applying the chemical as efficiently as possible requires that his/her equipment be fully calibrated.  The effectiveness of the pest control treatments may have a lot to do with the technicians ability to calibrate chemicals and chemical applicators.  Calibration ensures that the chemical has been diluted and spread properly/evenly over a desired space.  Calibration also prolongs the use of valuable tools and equipment that technicians use by prolonging equipment lifespans.  At Bulwark we use Power Sprayers to treat the perimeters of our customers’ homes.  Non calibrated “rigs” would lead to motor burn out, hose damage, or nozzle failure.