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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Danger Will Robinson! (AKA: on my soapbox again)

This has come up multiple times in the last two weeks from current clients, potential clients, and friends. From clients, it has been a case of “we spray on every visit because that’s what the customer wants” and from friends it has been “the pest control guy was just here and he sprayed a bunch around the house, is it safe?”.

Let me start by saying that I know not every company does this. There are some of you that are certainly following an IPM model and only treat only when it is warranted. This is still for you, don’t switch channels just yet.


I think many of us understand that spraying inside structures (homes or businesses) every time the account is serviced is not needed and definitely not environmentally friendly. When there are no pests present and no indication that pests will become an issue in the near future, putting down a pesticide is a waste of product and a waste of time. Imagine what you can do with those 15+ minutes that you would have to fill the sprayer, put on PPE, walk around and spray, all while looking down and not inspecting. That’s right: you could be inspecting. Looking up and over and around to find conducive conditions that could lead to pest issues. You could be talking with the client and documenting conditions so pest problems are prevented. For the companies that tell me “but my customer expects this!” my response is always “but have you actually talked to them about it?”.

Sure you sprayed, but did you just push them further up the doorframe?

Applying pesticides each and every time you visit an account can actually create more problems in some cases. It can create resistance. It is often the same product and the same active ingredient that is applied each time which will allow insects to start becoming resistant. Just like bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, this means we will have to use different, often more expensive, and more powerful products to control the resistant populations. Another way this can create pest issues is by driving them further into voids and untreated areas. If there really is a pest issue and the same areas are being treated over and over, it will push pests into harder to reach areas. They will continue to develop and thrive in hidden areas that treatments have a difficult time getting to. And since conducive conditions typically haven’t been addressed, the pest populations grow, resistance increases, and customers aren’t happy because their pest problem is still there.

Repeatedly “spraying” is also causing exposure concerns. Particularly in commercial accounts like businesses, schools, food service, and others where there may be many people, there will be those that claim to be sensitive to pesticides. All that’s needed is one person to say they have a headache, or problems breathing, or a kid has a new rash and “the pest control guy was just spraying”. Now you are facing potential ramifications or at the very least some careful explanation that takes time away from doing your job of servicing other clients.

So to sum up, repeated spraying without needing to means:

-No inspections (because the tech is too busy spraying)

-No conducive conditions being addressed (because they aren’t being documented)

-Creating resistant populations (that are harder and more expensive to kill)

-Pushing populations into hidden areas (that are harder to get treatment to)

-Unhappy customers (and bad reviews).

As a homeowner, I can buy pesticides and spray them all over my house every week if I wanted to. As a licensed professional, I know that is not necessary and potentially harmful. I can explain to my customer what is happening, what they can do to help, and only treat targeted areas when needed. By spending the time inspecting and communicating with the customers, it actually helps to prevent pest issues from developing. It’s a crazy thought, but what would you do if you couldn’t use a sprayer for a week? How would service be different? We can help you get there, contact us!

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