We asked Pest Management Professional‘s columnists and editorial board members to share what they consider the most challenging aspect of bed bug control. Here are some of the experts’ responses — including a few extra that didn’t make it into our August 2020 print edition.
Please share your advice in the comments below or send your comments to [email protected].
PMP‘s Regular Contributors
Greg Baumann: “Communicating the complexities of bed bug control. Customers need to know that it is possible that it could take some time for full control, depending on the methods used.”
Answering for Dan Baldwin: Dr. Richard Cooper, Senior Director Service, Terminix: “The challenge is client cooperation, and the solution is effectively educating the client. When it comes to bed bug infestations, more often than not, clients are very willing to carry out requests for cooperation if the request makes sense to them and they see the benefit that will be derived by carrying out the request. Also, when we make a request, while we may understand how to go about effectively carrying out the activity, the client often does not. These two things combined may result in the client either not carrying out the request at all, or not carrying it out properly. We need to always remember that what is intuitive to us as pest management professionals is not necessarily intuitive to our clients. By educating them in very simple terms about the benefit that will be derived by carrying out our request, as well as simple, clear instructions on how to carry out it out, we can overcome this obstacle.”
Bobby Jenkins: “The most challenging aspect of bed bug control is the customer. Successful bed bug elimination requires a working partnership between the technician and the homeowner. Lack of compliance with instructions for preparation, and not being open and honest with the technician about visitors, personal habits and other potential sources of reinfestation, can ruin a perfectly executed treatment plan regardless of the method — conventional, heat or fumigation.”
Pete Schopen: “It can be a big challenge is train technicians on how to properly inspect a home. Because bed bugs can hide in the smallest of cracks or seams, our techs must be able to dissect the home and find the bugs.”
Mark Sheperdigian, BCE: “Bed bugs can build resistance to pesticides. We overcome this by using desiccant dusts where we can (no known resistance) and never, ever relying on a single product for any given application.”
PMP‘s Editorial Advisory Board
Ryan Bradbury: “Getting a positive ID quickly. But there are new technologies out there to let you know exactly where and when bed bugs are detected. You’re not just waiting for a complaint or a quarterly inspection.”
Michael Broder: “One of our biggest challenges at times is the customer. Many are convinced the problem is only in their bed, and fight us every step of the way to inspect and treat other areas. We overcome it by patiently showing them why the other areas are such a concern, and many times actually find activity away from the bed.”
Doug Foster: “While there are many challenges with bed bug control, for us, the No. 1 challenge is clutter. We overcome it by educating the customer, sometimes helping the customer reduce clutter and, in some cases, using fumigation where other methods of control would fail.”
Paul Hardy: “Customer communication, inspection, the expectation of treatments, and follow-up on procedures. Overcome all these with a well-written agreement, and no phone sales without an on-site inspection before treatment, including a signed agreement.”
Frank Meek, BCE: “First is getting clients to cooperate with the prep for service. Second is clients understanding the time needed to see the control results. Both of these are addressed through education presented to the client before, during and after the service. That is the missing part, many times. The service is explained before it takes place, but we have to remember this is a traumatic experience for the client. What we tell them up front does not always stick, or even register at the time, so we need to keep repeating the message.”
Eric Scherzinger: “Getting customers to prepare properly. The best way to overcome it is to have them sign off on the preparation directions and walking through it with them.”
Kurt Scherzinger: “The most challenging part of bed bug control is the inability to forecast any trends with it for staffing levels. You have to overcome it through utilizing your teams in other aspects of the business.”