Residential pest management: a balance of tips between customers and PMPs
Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.
For an integrated pest management (IPM) program to work successfully, there needs to be an understanding of the obligations for each party. Easier said than done, but pest management professionals (PMPs) work at achieving this goal every day.
Below are some tips that PMPs can provide to their customers, and use themselves, as part of residential pest management.
- Feed pets during the day and put away food at night.
- Store pet and other food in tight containers. This reduces harborage and available food for pests.
- Store paper bags and/or newspapers in a sealed plastic bag.
- Pick up and dispose of pet waste. Peridomestic cockroaches, flies and rodents thrive on this type of material.
- Keep mulch thin to avoid attracting perimeter pests.
- Items in a garage, attic or closets should be stored in tightly sealed plastic containers.
- Avoid dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Take garbage out each night. Keep garbage can lids closed.
- Screening on windows, doors and soffits should be in good condition.
- Report leaks early for repair.Pest-proof pipe penetrations into wall voids and pipe collars (PMPs should charge for this).
- Keep clutter and cardboard to a minimum.
- Lift items up off the floor in a garage.
- Ask the customer if they have any special concerns or needs. This includes pest concerns and any occupant health issues.
- Communicate what and why you do what you do as a PMP.
- Analyze the account to assess if any pesticide is needed, as well as what other IPM practices should be incorporated.
- Be persistent getting into apartments you are having trouble accessing.
- When inspecting, be careful when pulling out gas stoves and refrigerators that you don’t destroy linoleum flooring or break gas lines.
- Schedule and charge for pest proofing in apartment complexes. This can be put under a maintenance budget.
- Visit the property at night if you are having persistent problems to get a better gauge of insect activity.
- Use granular bait that can withstand heat in attics as well as rain and heat outdoors.
- Use sticky traps to monitor for cockroaches or other crawling insects.
- If an apartment or home has a noticeable pest problem, schedule it for a follow-up visit. Don’t wait weeks to monitor for the next regularly scheduled service.
- Stay up to date on the best control techniques and new, emerging pests.
- Dress neatly. Clean up any mess you make.
- Exit on a positive note!
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that when you enter a customer’s premises, you are in their domain. Respect their wishes and work with them. That’s half the secret to a successful IPM program.
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