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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Ten Questions With a Pro! (AKA: Let's do science!)

Introducing the new series of ten questions with a pro. Every other month, I’m interviewing a “pro” to find out what they do, how they do it, and how it helps pest control efforts. Today, we are talking with the incredible Janet Kintz-Early of JAK Consulting!

1. Give us the quick version of what you do?

I provide regulatory affairs consulting and product research to pesticide manufacturers. I have been an expert witness for several pest control cases. I occasionally write blogs or review marketing materials for accuracy. I recently wrote some OSHA protocols for a pesticide manufacturer. Sometimes I get to train PCOs too!

Chelle - I always enjoy your training, you’ve got a great perspective that many folks don’t have.

2. What got you into this, how did you get into pest control?

I always wanted to be a scientist. I was the kid that constantly asked “why?”. I always thought I would be a geneticist (side story: I kept a scrapbook of genetics research in high school) but, as an undergraduate, I realized I could not stand being cooped up in a laboratory room day after day. I was going stir crazy! When it was time to conduct my junior year research project, I was at a loss as to what I was going to do. Feeling desperate, I asked a fellow waitress, who owned a tree farm, if she had anything I could write about on her tree farm. That was the impetus I needed. I immediately fell in love with ornamental entomology and pathology.

3. What’s one thing you wish people would know or understand better when it comes to pest control?

Are you referring to folks in our industry or the general population?

C – either? Both? 😊

· I wish the general population understood that pest control can sometimes be complicated and the solution might require them to make the changes before pest control will work.

· In the industry, I wish they understood how important their records and notes are. Good notes is a learned skill and all technicians and inspectors should be trained on documentation. Maybe I’ll create a course for that…

C – I like the sound of both of those, two very important things.

4. What do you think the biggest challenge for pest control companies is right now?

Working with their customers. They have customers that don’t understand how the pest control process works, they have customers who think they know all there is to know after doing some research on the internet, and then there are the customers who think that the industry is untrustworthy, uneducated, and poisoning the world. A lot of patience and skill is required to successfully navigate a pest control program with those customers.

C – Ten minutes of googling makes you an expert, right?! I run into this quite a bit and good communication skills are a must for pest control pros to be educators as well as pest control experts.

5. What changes do you predict in the next 5-10 years?

For better or worse, there will be a lot more online training programs. I also think we will see a rise in arthropod vectored diseases. The industry needs to think ahead regarding training instead of scrambling for training after a problem arises.

C – interesting!

6. You work on testing, explain that like you would to a five-year-old.

I help companies get permission to sell products in stores. To get permission to sell products, the products must pass some tests. Let’s say there is a person with a product named “No More Mosquitoes.” Before the person can sell “No More Mosquitoes” in a store, the product has to take some tests to make sure it works well and that it is safe for people. So that person will give me some “No More Mosquitoes” and I will give the product some tests. I might test the product to make sure it doesn’t hurt my body. Sometimes I figure out if only a tiny bit or a whole bunch of “No More Mosquitoes” is needed to make the mosquitoes go away. I will also see if the product kills some mosquitoes or all of the mosquitoes. Once my tests are over, I grade the tests. “No More Mosquitoes” must get an A or a B to pass the test. Products that pass the tests are allowed to be sold in stores.

C – I think we need to patent that name! I don’t think many people realize how much goes into testing products to make sure they are safe and do what they are supposed to do.

7. What do you think people get wrong about what you do?

I’m not sure that there are very many people who have any idea of what I do, partly because I try hard to diversify. If you asked my husband, I test products to see if they kill bugs, I send labels to EPA and the states, and my customers don’t pay me (they do pay me). My teenage daughter would say I have live bugs in the basement and sometimes I kill them on purpose instead of accidentally (side note: I know from personal experience that roaches die rather quickly when you don’t ventilate their containers, have the heat too high, or forget to give them food and water). Replacement roaches go for $2 to $5 per roach, so accidentally killing them can get very expensive. I’ve thought about telling strangers that I am saving the world, one bug at a time, if only to make the explanation easier on all of us.

8. All tools are affected by how you use them. What are your tips for pest control?

Dude. Moisture meters- everyone should have one, but you get what you pay for. The margin of error on the most inexpensive (aka cheapest) moisture meters makes the equipment no more accurate than our sight and sense of touch. Read the specifications before you make a purchase. The margin of error should be no more than 1-2% to be of real use.

C – that’s a really good point, particularly when we talk about pest control taking skill, our skills are also in the high quality tools we use.

9. What new “stuff” are you working on that we can look forward to?

There is a new, affordable, biodegradable mosquito trap coming on to the market soon. I’ve been testing a lot of 25b repellent products lately. The rest is top secret stuff.

C – more mosquito tools are always a good thing. Can’t wait!

10. If you were any of our pest species, what would you be and why?

Good grief. I guess I would be something I can’t kill easily. I don’t want to be an ant queen, that would be too claustrophobic. Roaches- read #7 above. Bed bugs are too hated. Mosquitoes and ticks are out because the host blood might sometimes taste bad. Maybe a flea… I get to spend time in some lovely dog or cat fur and I am resistant to many of the products people use to kill or prevent them, so I might get to have lots of flea babies before I croak.

C – that was very well thought out, I’m impressed! And fleas are very cool insects.

11. Any last words?

Yeah – my puppy keeps trying to eat my keyboard while I type these answers. So if there are any typos, it is the dog’s fault.

C – we need pictures of that.

Thanks so much to Janet for playing along with our ten questions series. You can learn more about her here. Stay tuned for our next “Pro”!

Urban pest consulting


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