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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

I'm Fine! (AKA: Painful realizations)


What causes you pain? There is physical pain (falling down the stairs after the cat trips you), and there is emotional pain. There is the pain of losing a customer because you sent infested products. There’s the pain of lost money when customers won’t stay at your hotel because of a review including bed bug issues. It could even be the pain from losing customers because your pest control service isn’t solving their problems. What can you do to alleviate this pain? Painkillers (the medicine or the drink!) aren’t helpful but there are a few things you can do to lessen it.

Know the plan.

When you get on the plane, the flight attendants tell you where the exits are, where the flotation devices are, and what to do when those funny little masks drop out of the ceiling. There is a plan for when pests are found. Go through the pest management plan. It should not only have information on regular service, but what happens when pests are found AND what to do about it. There should also be some type of escalation plan if issues continue to go unsolved


Know what you should do.

Everyone should know their role. One of the most common items overlooked is what to do if employees notice a pest issue. I had a situation in a large warehouse having an issue with mold feeding insects. The situation had gotten to the point that they were shipping out product that had insects in it, and legal action was being threatened on multiple sides. In talking with a few of the warehouse workers, I found out they had known about the beetles for some months, and one actually took me to a spot and said: “every time it rains, we have a big puddle of water here, the roof has been leaking for a couple of years.” On the other side, the technician servicing the account knew about it! Since it wasn’t a “covered pest” under their contract, it was never documented.

Know your thresholds.

How many bed bugs are ok with your customers? Guessing that number is pretty low! However, if there is a fruit fly or two in the bar area of your lobby restaurant, that’s probably not going to result in nasty one-star reviews. Talking about thresholds is a whole separate blog post (stay tuned!), so suffice to say you should know what pests are covered on your contract and establish thresholds for each. The next part of that is to DO SOMETHING when those thresholds are reached. A threshold is useless if there are no corresponding corrective actions.



Know when to call.

I got a call the other day from a customer that had a chipmunk. In her yard outside. (Okay, it was my mom.) I put on my best customer service voice and say “Ma’am, Mom, what would you like me to do?” She explains she doesn’t want the chipmunk there because it’s eating the birdseed and nesting in her rock wall and she needed “something” done. I explain that I am a four hour plane ride away and I’m sure she can’t afford my immediate service. She was not impressed and told me so. There are times when you are going to get that call right away, and there are times that you can wait until their next regularly scheduled service. This will depend on what industry you are in, what the pest is, and where it is. The other side of this is when a customer calls because the cockroach issues “suddenly” appeared. Yeah, right.


Know when to re-evaluate.

A friend of mine recently had some fruit salad and pretty soon was swelling up and having trouble breathing. Turns out, she was allergic to mango. Would you expect her to continue to eat mango or re-evaluate her choices and her food plan? When something changes, adapt! I was involved in a bed bug issue with a large hotel. We had found a couple “hot spot” rooms that had infestations, and we also found that the housekeeping carts for those floors were transferring bed bugs between rooms. Basically infesting other rooms. All the infested rooms were treated, the laundry carts were treated, and the hotel management was made aware of what was happening. A few months later, I receive another call because they now have bed bugs in numerous rooms again. Turns out, the housekeeping carts (after the first treatment) were never inspected or treated again because it wasn’t “part of the service”.


Don’t get a headache and stress about the emotional and monetary pain of pest issues. Follow the above tips to reduce some of that pain. Want more? Sign up for the weekly newsletter for more tips and info and ways I can help you alleviate some pest pain!


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