If you are fond of gardening and have a tendency to follow a â€˜greener’ way of life, how do you deal with those pesky bugs that enjoy your garden even more than you do? Pesticides certainly do the trick but as well as affecting some of your non-invasive garden inhabitants, they also contribute to the ever spiralling greenhouse gas issues. Short of catching each one individually, there seems to be very few reasonable alternatives. But now we have found a new ally in this war of balances, namely â€“ the smartphone! Both iOS and Android developers have released a number of apps that have been aimed at sorting out these annoying insect intruders. This article looks at these applications and lets you know if they are the real deal or not!
Bug Off Pest Control by App Express â€“ Free from The Apple Store
We get the ball rolling with this neat app from App Express, it is a bespoke piece of software that links the keen gardener up to â€˜Bug Off Pest Control’ , a chain of stores who fight the good fight against bugs and such. On first appearances it is a very easy to use application with a lot of useful features. As well as an easy way to contact the vendor, there are many snippets of information pertaining to your garden pests. It also features a messaging system where the company will offer you free advice regarding your issues. You can also pay for your services using this app and as long as you have PayPal your transactions will be secure. If you have a worrying critter in your home, simply take a snap and email it over to the good folk at Bug Off Pest Control for an easy ID. We love this app and your bugs will certainly rue the day you ever installed it!
Ultrasonic Pest Control by DevelopmentSquared â€“ Free from The Apple Store
This is a very clever app that can certainly back up its claims, and then some! The Ultrasonic Pest Control application uses an ultrasonic signal that automatically annoys and disperses many of those irritating pests that make our lives misery. As well as the usual insects that bug us, this device will also stop next door’s dog from barking and will send those annoying cats scurrying for sanctuary. The signal itself is of such a high frequency that it is near impossible to be picked up by human hearing. This offers a chemical and safe way to allow us to enjoy a nice quiet afternoon. You can also keep this app on standby for those night times when the mosquitoes come a-visiting. Just a few minutes of this treatment and you will soon be free of their bloodthirsty disgusting habits. The fact that this application is totally free means that it must be next on your download list. You really have no excuse the next time those varmints decide to ruin your â€˜quiet time’. Just unleash this beast and get ready for the sounds of silence!
Peace 2 Noisy Varmints 0
There we have it, 2 very different apps that have the same result â€“ zero bug tolerance!
Today’s featured writer, Kevin Ben, works for Alberta pest control services. He’s a fervent environmentalist and one of his hobbies includes gardening.
Consumers and pest control operators alike value their pest control technicians.
For the consumer, a skilled and attentive technician keeps their families safe from dangerous pests like stinging scorpions, poisonous Black Widow spiders, and disease carrying cockroaches. This VALUE is immeasurable but in terms of a monetary COST; it’s about $50 a month, depending on the size of a home, location, and treatment methods.
For the pest control operator, a reliable and experienced technician creates immense value for the company. A high-quality technician retains customers through their expertise and superior customer service. This value and monetary cost is a little more challenging to calculate, but really got me thinking: How much does it cost to replace an excellent pest control technician?
What It Costs To Replace A Pest Control Technician
Determining what it costs to replace a pest control technician is a difficult task, especially since there are so many different variables. These direct cost calculations are a very rough estimate. The dollar figures used come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates the average pest control tech makes $14.59 hour; and pest control manager makes about $50K a year. These are the numbers I went by.
Please note that these figures are direct costs only. There are many more indirect costs like: loss of productivity while other techs run partial routes, lost manager and supervisor productivity, and a drop of customer satisfaction due to a temporary loss of customer service or even losing their once favorite tech. These indirect costs are nearly impossible to calculate.
Want Ads. In order to replace an old technician, you need to find a new one. An online pest control technician want ad runs about $40.00.
Interview Process. Management must spend time going through applicant resumes and conducting 30 minute interviews. I estimate this to be about a half day’s work/ salary ($50K yr/ 260 work days yr/ 2 for half day = about $100). Multiply this by two, because two managers are usually present for interviews. $200.00.
HR Administrative Time. After hiring an employee, a company must get them ready for the work force. This includes, collecting records, on auto insurance, gas cards, company phone, etc. I figure this is about a half days work ($50K yr/ 260 work days yr/ 2 for half day). About $100.00.
Background Checks. Make sure your new hire is safe to send into your customer’s homes. $36.00.
Driving Records. Make sure your new hire is safe on the roads. $15.00.
Licensing. Each new technician needs to be licensed. This is about $50.00.
Uniforms. Five shirts ($30 each), uniform hat ($40), uniform jacket ($60), protective boots ($100) and individual technician manual/treatment guide ($100). This equates to $330.00. Note: some PCO’s require new technicians to purchase these.
Training. A new technician requires 2-3 weeks of paid training. This training includes working on-site while a manager or supervisor is present. Calculating the paid training ($14.59/hr for 3 weeks @ 40 hrs a week = $1750.00), plus three weeks of a manager’s or supervisor’s time/salary (Approx $1000 a week for 3 weeks = $3,000), equates to $4750.00.
Technician Overtime. Overtime that goes to technicians who are covering the vacant route also need to be factored in. If the vacant tech was working 40 hrs a week, then I figure about 40 hours of overtime for all other staffed technicians, per week ($14.59 an hr @ time and a half multiplied by 40 = $875.00). If it takes a month to hire and train a new technician, you’re looking at $3500.00 in overtime paid to other techs covering the vacant route.
WOW! When factoring in direct costs alone, it costs $9021 to replace a pest control technician. That’s a significant hit! If the average technician makes $30,340 per year, the financial hit is about 109 days of a technician’s pay. This doesn’t even take in to account any indirect costs of losing a technician.
A first-class technician will do all of this, all while being punctual. You are busy and need a technician to be on time. An excellent technician is somebody you can trust; somebody you feel comfortable letting inside your home and around your family. They make you feel safe, and not just from the bugs. On top of it all, a good technician is somebody you have rapport with; somebody you can talk to about your day.
There is immense value in having a good pest control technician.
The Value Of A Good Technician To The Employer
We already determined the cost of replacing a good technician. It’s just over $9000. The VALUE of a good technician is something completely different.
Pest control technicians are the face and image of your company. They are face-to-face with your customer daily; customers who rely heavily on first impressions. Good pest control technicians create value. They are the first ones you send to service troubled accounts. They get excellent online reviews. They have high customer retention rates. They are reliable, dependable, punctual, and keep your customers satisfied.
Not only do good pest control technicians add value to your business, they are the backbone!
What It Costs Keeping A Bad Tech Too Long
We determined that good pest control technicians are extremely valuable to both consumers and pest control operators alike. It’s also a big financial hit to replace a technician ($9021); But bad technicians are equally bad for business.
We’ve all seen it before in the business worldâ€¦ An employee who is unproductive, burnt out, and ready for a change. For PCO’s these employees have both direct and indirect costs associated with them as well. Low productivity, bad company morale or culture, and lost customers are some of the costs that come to mind. Sometimes pest control operators hold on to bad employees too long, because they don’t want to have to hire a new tech (with accompanying costs). As for a direct monetary number associated with these bad pest control technicians; that’s another blog post for another day. I’m guessing it’s comparable to the costs associated to losing a good technician.
What It All Means
Pest control technicians are very valuable to both the pest control operator, and to the consumer.
For pest control operators, technicians are the backbone of your business. Maximum effort must be utilized to not only hire these good technicians, but to retain them. The old saying goes, hire tough, manage easy. Do this, and retain your technicians through compensation and motivation, and you’ll be one step closer to succeeding in business.
For pest control consumers, let your technician know how much they are valued. Give them a good review on Yelp or Angie’s List. There isn’t a lot of glory in keeping you free from dangerous pest, but these excellent pest control technicians show up everyday and work hard, so you can live pest free.
Crazy Rasberry ants are becoming more and more of an invasive pest throughout much of the south and in Texas. They are even driving out the much dreaded fire ants. These ants go everywhere, invading homes and nesting in walls and crawlspaces, even damaging electrical equipment by swarming inside appliances. Moreâ€¦
Here is an interesting read about the history of pest control; from the 1800’s until today. Moreâ€¦
Gear Up For A Busy Tick Season In Maine
Ticks will be in full force this summer throughout much of New England. Here are a few deer tick prevention tips from the pest control professionals at Modern Pest Services. Moreâ€¦
Bugs are Pretty Too!
Not all bugs are creepy, crawly, ugly, and slimy. They can be beautiful creatures. They can be works of art. Moreâ€¦
Pest Of The Week: The Soldier Beetle
Extremely sought after by gardeners as a natural pest exterminator, adult Soldier beetles are an effective natural predator of garden pest insects; like aphids.
The Soldier beetle is sometimes referred to as a leatherwing, and is found worldwide. The insect got it’s name from it’s resemblance to a British soldier or â€œred coat.â€ Species in Britain are bright red. Typically, soldier beetles are black in color with orange highlights.
This beneficial insect will also eat nectar and pollen, along with it’s diet of aphids. If homeowners would like a healthy population of Soldier beetles to feed on aphids, just plant some nectar and pollen producing plants into your garden.
Bagrada bugs, sometimes called painted bugs, harlequin bugs, or cabbage bugs, can commonly cause pest control problems in select areas of the United States. They are very common in Southern California, where they were first discovered in 2008. Since then they have migrated to parts of Southern Arizona.
Bagrada bugs measure about 6 mm in length, and have a very recognizable shield shaped body. Their orange, black, and white markings also make the insects very recognizable. Those not familiar with bagrada bugs, sometimes mistake them for ladybugs; even though they are orange (not red) and are a different shape.
Bagrada bugs commonly harm garden plants like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip, and radish. When one of these garden plants are attacked by bagrada bugs, they can sustain significant damage. Bagrada bugs will destroy their plant host by inserting their needle-like mouth parts, and suck out the vital juices the plants need to survive.
Pest Control Links Round-Up For May 17, 2013
Glow In The Dark Scorpions At Neon Splash Dash
Bulwark Exterminating was a big hit with their scorpion trucks and glow-in-the dark scorpions at the Neon Splash Dash 5K in Scottsdale, AZ. Moreâ€¦
Beware of Cockroaches
Roach droppings can be dangerous, but the worst part of it is that the legs and feet can track germs throughout a home very quickly. This easily spreads very dangerous diseases. Moreâ€¦
The Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach
Wood roaches are common to wooded areas (not just in Pennsylvania), from late spring through summer, and live in hollow trees and stumps. Do not to store firewood indoors or against the side of your home as it can attract these roaches. Moreâ€¦
Controlling Mosquitoes That Find Their Way in Your Home
Rest Easy Pest Control offers these preventative measures this summer to ensure your home remains mosquito free. Moreâ€¦
North Carolina Braces For Cicada Invasion
The east coast is bracing for the 17 year cicadas, and the residents of North Carolina are no different. Here’s an informative Q & A article about the noisy cicada’s invasion of the Tarheel state. Moreâ€¦
As PCO’s, let’s issue a public decree this Earth Day:
Pest control professionals nationwide, make a pledge to join the hundreds of other PCO’s and go paperless!
A Plea For Paperless Pest Control
A single pest control technician can use upwards of 10,000 pieces of paper each year. With the average tree only producing 16.7 reams of paper, each pest control technician is responsible for using 1.2 trees a year just to do their job. With the number of pest professionals worldwide, that equates to some 178 million trees that are no longer part of our ecosystem.
Of U.S. manufacturing, paper production is the second largest user of energy and water; and third largest contributor to pollution. As a country, and as pest control professionals, we can help to change this.
Pest control professionals nationwide, let’s make a pledge to join the hundreds of other PCO’s by going paperless!
Paperless Pest Control
As a way to go green, save on costs, promote professionalism, and increase efficiencies; many pest control companies are trying to go paperless. Some have made the jump. Others are reluctant, or simply cannot because of roadblocks set by state legislature.
One major barrier to paperless pest control is that certain states mandate PCO’s keep hard copies of records and reports. Other states say you must simply be able to provide these records if and when they are needed. What will it take to update outdated state laws nationwide, so that all pest control companies can go paperless?
With the progression of technology, and efforts on Capitol Hill, a paperless scenario is looking more and more like a reality.
Paperless Reporting: NPMA Legislative Day 2013
With the advances of technology today, many pest control companies have gone, or are trying to go paperless. Unfortunately, PCOs have run into a major hurdle. Some states require pest control operators keep hard copies of pesticide records, use reports, and consumer info sheetsâ€”Even if a company has invested a large amount of money to go paperless.
Pest management operators lobbied Congress last month at NMPA’s Legislative Day. Their plea for was for federal lawmakers to allow, not mandate, nationwide paperless pest control. Pest control operators hope this new legislation will give PCO’s the ability to keep records and reports digitally. Since each state’s laws are different regarding these records and reports, the issue needs to be dealt with on the Federal level.
Pest management professionals argue that many of these state mandates were written in the 1970s and 1980s before people could imagine today’s technology.
Keeping Treatment Records: Government Roadblocks
All states in the US require pest control companies to keep treatment records. These records typically include: properties treated, pests treated on the property, applicator’s license number and the pesticide(s) used. Depending on the state and the pest treated, treatment records must be kept for at least 2-5 years.
Many states are quickly coming around and accepting electronic submissions for these reports and a few progressive states are pushing forward for the complete digitization of invoicing and work orders. Most states, even if they allow a large portion of your records to be digital will still want a paper copy left at the customers location.
Some state’s laws simply say that a company must provide treatment records. This means a pest control company can store these records electronically, and then print them off when needed. Other states require pest control companies to keep hard or paper copies of treatment records.
As a PCO, work with your state and see if we can push these boundaries. Laws most likely state that a pest control company must provide a treatment record. Don’t just assume that you need to keep hard copies. Ask if you can keep digital copies, and print of these records when needed.
If not, pressure your state government to update these laws to better match today’s technology.
A Few Benefits Of Going Paperless
The benefits of going paperless are almost too many to count. Here are a few highlights:
Increase Efficienciesâ€”Going paperless not only saves a lot of time, but can also improve efficiencies. Time savings come from reducing the redundancy of work, meaning only doing something once. At first, a few minutes a day may seem trivial, but look at the actual data. In a pest control office with 5,000 active quarterly customers, nearly 8000 minutes can be saved each day across the company. Over the course of a year, that’s almost 50,000 hours!
Save On Costsâ€”Studies show, reducing paper by 60 percent results in an average savings per employee of $360. You also eliminate the costs of storing treatment records. The time savings and improved efficiencies alone can save a pest control company hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, depending on your techs hourly wage.
Organizationâ€”Paperless efforts help to reduce office clutter in your office. It’s a lot easier to find a record with the click of a mouse, versus digging through boxes or filing cabinets of paper.
Promotes Professionalismâ€”The appearance of using up-to-date technologies, like those needed for paperless pest control, gives customers the perception that your up-to-date on all of the latest pesticides and pest control techniques. It’s good business!
Helps Save Planetâ€”Reducing the use of paper by 60 percent eliminates 200 pounds of greenhouse gas annually. Like I mentioned before, one tech going paperless can save one tree a year.
Bulwark Exterminating Goes Paperless
Bulwark Exterminatinghas made many efforts to go paperless over the past few years. Faxes sent to the company are no longer printed out, but go straight to email. Bulwark’s service tickets are also emailed to customers. Customers have the ability to access their invoices electronically, as they are now emailed directly to them; saving even more paper. Additionally, sales contracts can now be completed electronically.
One of the most significant advancements for Bulwark’s paperless pest control efforts has been the company’s ability to carry out paperless routing. Bulwark Pest Control’s new propriety software uses smart phone technology to aid in service routing and customer satisfaction. This software has been implemented in all 12 of Bulwark’s branches.
Each morning, technicians receive an email on their smart phones. With these emails, technicians are able to access their routes, customer contact information and custom service notes for each customers. This eliminates the need to receive their daily routes via fax or personally stop at the office before work to print off and collect unnecessary paperwork.
With these combined efforts, Bulwark Exterminating has been able to successfully eliminate over 60,000 sheets of paper a month! Read more about these efforts,here.
Make Paperless Pest Control A Reality
Most pest control businesses have already deployed the majority of the infrastructure required to enable convenient electronic access, and a small investment will provide wireless and remote access.
The first step is to provide convenient electronic access to pest control documents, from anywhere at any time. Additionally, the use of paper needs to be made inconvenient. It is critical to do both. If paper use is made inconvenient without offering a great alternative, there will be loud complaints by employees and technicians within the company.
After all these years, and with the increase in technological advances, paperless pest control is almost within reach. Let’s continue to work together and make it happen!
Bugs like the praying mantis, dragonfly, spider, and scarab beetle all look menacing. These insects’ bark is worse then their bite. They are actually quite beneficial. Moreâ€¦
Beware The Bug: Fire Ants â€“ The Dangerous Home Invader
Fire ants pose a serious health risk, particularly to small children or family pets. They are known to have a strong, painful and persistent sting that often leaves a pustule on the skin. Left untreated, fire ant bites can become infected and in a few extreme cases, have been reported fatal. Moreâ€¦
Pest Control Tip: Beware Of Mites!
The microscopic mite can be found almost anywhere, just not outdoors. The house dust mite is the most common, but there are several other types of mites that can cause itchiness and skin irritation. Moreâ€¦
Pest Control: Mosquitoes
With the warmer weather just around the corner, the West Nile carrying mosquito will be making it’s dreaded appearance Here are some tips for dealing with the annoying pests. Moreâ€¦
Pest Control Tip: De-Grub Your Lawn
It is estimated that grubs cause more than $234 million in property damages every year. Grubs are the offspring of Japanese beetles. Before they set up shop in your trees, they lay their eggs underground. The white c-shaped larvae hatch and immediately begin feeding upon the root system of your turf. Moreâ€¦
Pest Of The Week: The Wolf Spider
One of the more common spider pests in the United States is the wolf spider. These spiders garnered their nickname not because of their large, hairy, wolf like appearance, but because they were once thought to hunt in packs like wolves. Wolf spiders are excellent hunters. They do not build webs, but patiently wait in underground burrows for an unsuspecting cricket or cockroach.
Wolf spiders are brown in color, and can reach lengths of well over an inch. Their appearance is well known because of the Union Jack (British flag) impression on their backs. Although intimidating in appearance, wolf spiders don’t usually bite unless they are in danger or provoked. Wolf spiders are venomous.
Homeowners will frequently see these wolf spiders in their homes during the cooler months of the year. They enter homes looking for other insects to eat, and refuge from the elements. Even though the wolf spider’s venom is not lethal, their bites can cause health concerns. Traditional spider control methods are need for wolf spider elimination.
Interview with Clark Pest Control’s Coach Robert Sperling
Many pest control operators wear multiple hats. This happens to be the case for Clark Pest Control’s Robert Sperling, who also serves as a high school football coach. Read his compelling interview here.
Watch Out For Brown Recluse Spiders When Unpacking Winter Clothes
Brown recluse spiders are notorious for hiding out in stored boots, coats, and sweaters packed away in your basement or attic. While these spiders are not aggressive, they can be very dangerous if accidentally encountered. Moreâ€¦
Bulwark Pest Control Receives Prestigious Angie’s List Award
Bulwark Exterminating recently received the prestigious Angie’s List Super Service award for eight of their branches. They award is only given to the top five percent of companies reviewed on Angie’s List. Impressive! Moreâ€¦
Why Termite Inspections Are an Essential Part of Real Estate Transactions
No one wants to end up with buyer’s remorse, especially when a home is at stake. Before you finalize your closing paperwork, it’s important that the building you are buying is inspected for termites. Current or past termite infestation can affect property value, future expenses, and even safety. Moreâ€¦
Opossum Removal in Baton Rouge
For some information of why opossums are considered pests, how you identify them, and what to do if they get inside your home, click here.
Pest Of The Week: Armyworms
Armyworms are the caterpillar life stage of a moth. Also called Fall Armyworms, these pests have been discovered in most regions of the United States, and have increased in severity; over the past few years. These species of caterpillars are approximately 1.5 to 2 inches in length, dull yellow to gray, with stripes running down the length of their body.
The Armyworm’s name is derived from its feeding habits. Quite simply, this pest will eat everything in an area, and once the food supply is exhausted; the entire “army” moves to the next available food source. If left to multiply, Armyworms can cause widespread damage to agricultural grass crops, such as small grains and corn, and because of this; are regarded as a serious agricultural pest control problem.
Populations of armyworms are typically kept in check by natural means, though population booms can occur, generally after a drought. The best way to avoid lawn pests is to keep grass healthy Grass that is dense and deep-rooted will shrug off a bit of nibbling.
So it is farewell to 2012, andBlog Pest Controlwould like to express our gratitude for another remarkable year. We’d like to thank you the reader for your valuable support, comments, social media shares, and feedback throughout the past year.
This upcoming year, Blog Pest Control will continue to be your go-to source for all things pest control. We will continue to bring you informative news on different pests, pest treatments, and pest related breaking news stories from around the country. You can also turn to us for advice on running your pest control business; including informative pest control Q&A posts. Lets keep this platform alive for many years to come.
Bulwark Exterminatingand Blog Pest Control would like seize this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year 2013. May the coming year bring prosperity, joy, and happiness to all of you. We’re looking forward to your continued support through 2013 and beyond.
Happy New Year!
A fond farewell to 2012… or should that be ‘Au Revoir’?
Have you ever had a hose break on you in the middle of a service? Try having that happen when doing weed control and having the tractor dye spray all over a home. Hose problems can be a real mess, costing lots of time, and causing lots of customer headaches and dissatisfaction for changing routes last minute. Well here are 5 easy steps to keep your pest control hose it top shape.
Here are a few simple actions you can take to extend your pest control hose life and reduce chemical spills.
Clean hose exterior. When rewinding hose, run the hose through a rag to remove grit and debris that will reduce hose life.
Periodically completely unroll all the hose off the reel.Turn the power spray on to put some pressure in the hose. Rewind the hose. This will prevent the hose from becoming permanently flattened out, which can negatively affect system performance, especially on low pressure sprayers.
Reverse the hose. In the same way you rotate tires on a vehicle, reversing the hose regularly will even the wear and extend hose life.
Cut and replace bad portions early. Inspect hose, particularly the first 20 feet for wear and damage. If it looks bad, don’t wait for it to leak, cut it off. This will prevent chemical spills and downtime.
Make a hose repair kit a standard part of your pest control equipment inventory. The kit will allow you to fix minor hose problems so you can finish your route before having to return for a permanent hose repair or replacement.
These simple tips can reduce equipment problems, missed stops and chemical spills.
Andrew Greess is the President of Quality Equipment & Spray, which designs, builds and sells pest control equipment. Follow Greess on Facebook & Twitter. For more information or to share comments, check out www.SprayEquipmentBlog.com