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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Full of Hot Air (AKA: I am not a fan)

I live in a fairly quiet neighborhood. Most of my neighbors are pretty respectful and there’s a bit of an unwritten rule that you don’t start any heavy outdoor work until after 10am on the weekend. So it was not a big surprise when I heard what sounded like a leafblower start up shortly after 10 on Saturday. Personally, I despise leafblowers: I think they are loud and just end up blowing stuff into other people’s properties and don’t actually do much. However, that’s not the point of this story.

I said I wasn’t too surprised, but it didn’t take me long to wonder: what are they thinking?!?! I mentioned it was Saturday morning and this is important. Starting at about 7am, we were under a wind advisory. By 10, the winds were literally a sustained 20 miles an hour with much higher gusts. And this was scheduled to go on until about 7 in the evening. With huge wind gusts, stuff blowing all over the yards and street, what good was using a leaf blower on one small property going to do??? Answer: absolutely nothing. Within minutes, the leaves and lawn debris were scattered back on my neighbor's lawn. But for at least twenty minutes, that lawn care worker was using the leaf blower and blowing stuff off. It was a complete waste of time, energy, and fuel as well as annoying to me.

I used the word "literally" correctly!

“But Chelle, what does this have to do with pest control?” you may be asking. Thank you for asking.

In the case of my leafblowing friend next door, they were paid to do a service so no matter how useless it was, they were going to do it without even thinking about it. In pest control, this happens too. However, if there is a regular service that is “due” and weather conditions make it impractical, it probably shouldn’t be done. Many times though, it still gets done. Doing outside perimeter treatments when rain is scheduled the next day (that will wash out all the product), or applying a dust when wind levels are high (that will blow away the product), just waste time and product. Not to mention unhappy customers because the pest is not dealt with.

When pest control services do this, (treat on a regular basis no matter what), it is a waste of time, product, energy, and it leaves unhappy customers with unresolved pest issues. In the example of my neighbor this weekend, they were unhappy that their lawn was a mess on Sunday and they called the lawn care company to come back a redo it. (I know because it is now Monday and the leafblower is at it again). So the lawn care company lost money and time that they couldn’t be out looking for new business because they were dealing with a callback. For pest control companies, it’s the same: losing money and creating unhappy customers.

If you are a pest control company struggling with how to break out of this cycle, there are many ways to do it. If you are a business that has concerns that their pest control provider is just treating you like a schedule and not addressing your problems, there are ways to deal with that. The first step is acknowledging the problem and questioning the process. Then means can be put in place to have a better, more comprehensive, and effective program. We can help with that.


Urban entomology consultants

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