• Chelle Hartzer

Houston, We Have a Problem (AKA: Story Time!)

Grab your favorite snacks, find your comfortable chair, and settle in for story time!


I was at a conference a couple weeks ago. I really enjoy these because you can always pick up tidbits of new info. There are university researchers, industry experts, knowledgeable vendors, and great attendees to talk with. This keeps me updated to help my clients with the best and most accurate information to help them improve their service and have happier customers. That’s the way it is supposed to work.

I was sitting in on one educational talk and the “expert” giving the presentation said something that made me perk up. In order to protect the (not so) innocent, I’m going to change some aspects of this story. On one slide that he read off, it said that you could use a pesticide bait to treat giraffes. (It wasn’t giraffes, stick with me here.) He also listed the active ingredient, let’s say it was lionocide. This was pretty exciting to me because I was not aware we had a pesticide product labeled for giraffes and some of my customers are having a big problem with giraffes this year.

So off I run to investigate! First stop: google. Yep, I use google, it’s a good resource. So I’m searching for giraffes and bait, giraffes and pesticides, giraffes and lionocide, and a few others. If you remember, he did not give any trade names, just the active ingredient. I found a few results that looked promising. One was an old product that hadn’t been available for years. Okay, scratch that one. Another wound up being a repellent. While I’m all for repelling the giraffes, that wasn’t what I was looking for either. The last one was a product that mentioned giraffes and had lionocide as the active. Success!

Well… not quite. I do what I tell people to do all the time: read the label. In reading the label, it was quickly obvious that this bait could only be used for monkeys and impallas. Giraffes were not listed. Had I stopped at the first page of that website and told all my clients that theree was a bait to treat their giraffe problems, I could have gotten them in lots of trouble. Digging deeper and reading the full label kept me from making what could have been a huge mistake.


End of story, right? You know me better than that! I went to speak to the speaker after he was done and (very politely in my opinion) asked him some questions:

Me: you mentioned there was bait for giraffes.

Him: yes, absolutely.

Me: great, what are they?

Him: Lionocide

Me: um, that’s the active, what are the trade names

Him: well, I don’t know product names just the active ingredient. (We are at a conference of pest control folks, not a scientific conference and he doesn’t know this???)

Me: hmmm...


Now at this point, I realize it is fairly hopeless and I don’t want to insult or embarrass this guy (okay, yes I do!), so I drop it. There are three morals to this story.

  • Trust but verify. You can take it a step further and don’t trust, always fact check. Also, know where your information is coming from. There are plenty of reputable sites to get information from, and some are…not so reputable. Check where you are checking.

  • Update your information. I get it, it’s easy to give the same old presentation you’ve been giving for the last five years. It’s not about easy, it’s about accuracy. Labels change all the time and if you aren’t constantly checking, you may be missing something. Something tells me this guy will be updating his presentation after this and if he isn’t, that says even more about him than our earlier conversation.

  • There are no pesticides for giraffes.

I put a lot of time and effort into my presentations to make them accurate, different, and engaging. That may sound like a bit of an ego trip, but it’s completely true and that’s what makes me valuable and very good at my job. I take care of my clients by taking the time to delve into products, labels, and more so they don’t have to. By making sure they have the most up to date and accurate information, pest problems can be solved faster, more economically, and have happy customers and technicians. Want some of this awesomeness? Contact us!*


*Giraffes not covered.




Urban pest consulting.

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