What's your pain point (AKA: 5 tips for less hurt)
What causes you pain? There is of course physical pain (knocking your shin on the edge of the footboard at the same time you stub your toe on the leg), and there is also emotional pain. There is the pain of losing a customer because they were sent infested products. There’s the pain of lost money when customers won’t stay at your hotel because of a bed bug issue that was left on a review. It could even be the pain from general stress when you know you have an audit coming up but don’t know how your pest program is doing. What can you do to alleviate this pain? Painkillers (the medicine or the drink!) aren’t going to help much but there are a few things you can do to lessen it.
Know your 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 things go wrong. Go through the pest management plan and know what it says and what it means. Whether you perform your own pest management in-house or outsource to a pest control company, know what the plan says and what the service is.
Know what you should do.
Make sure that not just you, the person who has been tasked with this duty, but everyone on site knows what to do. 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.” However, they had never told anyone else, it was merely because I had asked. Ensure people know who to tell, or how to report pest issues. Preferably before lawyers get involved and millions of dollars are on the line.
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 results 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.
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 to “do something”. 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 want to call your pest professional 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.
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 psychological, even 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!