11 May 2018

Leave it to the professionals: Considering the bigger picture of pest control

Business practice | PPC91 May 2018

Director of Precision Pest Management Solutions and BPCA Executive Board Member, Mike Ayers, shares his thoughts on why it’s now more important than ever for BPCA members to mobilise and consider the bigger picture of pest control.

Leave it to the professionals BPCA

In my opinion, government and regulators often run on similar lines to any management executive. If it isn’t broken then there are lots of other more pressing things to do rather than try and ‘fix’ it. But when it is broken (or at least appears to be with big press headlines) then the tendency for the knee-jerk reaction kicks in and we get unworkable regulation that makes our lives difficult.

A good example of this is the response to the shooting of a bird in a supermarket which was splashed over the press. Questions were asked in Parliament and we now have more restrictions from Defra over what can be shot or not.

This is the same with the use of pesticides. Regulation and restriction generally come out of problems that have arisen because someone hasn’t done their job properly, either because they are cutting corners or just incompetent.

I have seen the codes of practice for pest control from the main retail companies get tighter and tighter over the years in response to failures to do the job properly. The most demanding on us as pest controllers were the 48-hour follow up regimes imposed by one, then other, retailers. This isn’t technically necessary but was a punitive imposition because pest controllers weren’t doing their jobs properly and not following up either at all or well enough to deal with the infestation. The cost of this blanket imposition to us as pest control providers has been enormous over the years. The problem here is not how often the technician visits but what they do each time.

In my job as a consultant, as well as a practising pest controller, I come across infestations where the follow-ups have been conducted to the letter of the ‘law’ but the mouse infestation has been persistent and getting out of hand. One site I visited had had over 150 visits over the year and nearly as many the previous year. This wasn’t good for anyone and runs a serious risk of generating tolerance to the active ingredients. We managed to clear the problem with a thorough weekly visit over two to three months. It is no wonder that resistance builds up because, remembering my lessons from John Bull of Rentokil, mice become resistant to poor service first and the chemicals soon after.

Fortunately I think the retail companies are seeing the light and the codes of practice are becoming less proscriptive on what we should do and more interested in the result. There are significant commercial benefits to being competent. Technicians work safer, more efficiently and more effectively. The competent pest controller will generally win and retain more contracts even at a higher and probably more realistic price.

As a board member I can say that BPCA, via the Committees and Working groups, is committed to improving the professionalism of the membership to enable its members to stand out from the crowd. We want to ensure that truly professional pest controllers are the first choice for those in need of pest control services. By delivering services ‘properly’ the pest control industry will prove more profitable, work safer, reduce the risk of resistance and further regulation.

It is important that members are equipped to be able to use language and visual aids to support this position, and is why the “Be Protected. Professionally.” campaign was created. Members should look to engage the BPCA logo in all that they do, but more than that, convey to the customer what being protected, professionally means.

To amplify our messages I encourage you to consider hosting the information below in and around your company’s presence, online and offline, and in conversations with customers. But, most of all, please consider the reasons why professionalism is so important to our industry – to ensure we can continue, and develop, our role in society of protecting public health with the appropriate ‘tools’ for the job.

Be protected professionally with a BPCA member

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Mike AyersMike Ayers
Director of Precision Pest Management Solutions
1 May 2018  |  PPC91

Source: PPC91

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