A PMP EDUCATIONAL UPDATE  |   JANUARY 2021  |  View online
DTY Rodent Management
Is it time for a rodent program checkup?

By Sylvia J. Kenmuir, MSc, BCE

Rodenticides for managing rats and mice are valuable tools in the technician's toolbox. But with the new California Ecosystems Protection Act of 2020 (AB1788) limiting most uses for second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), technicians can't just remove these products from their available options and go on with business as usual. This is the perfect time for companies to reassess their approach to rodent management services.

Reviewing certain key business components will assist in developing a well-designed rodent management program, wherein technicians are confidently trained and customers are educated about a new generation of products and services. To ensure the most effective, innovative tools are incorporated into its rodent management program, a company should consider checking protocols and procedures in the following parts of its business plan:

1) Products and Services

Reviewing products and services helps a business determine whether it should change or expand its existing offerings. Think about alternatives to your existing model, such as adding other rodent services to a package, and/or implementing a charge for services that were previously complimentary. Think about potential new services, such as site evaluations for conducive conditions, exclusion, trapping and baiting with rodenticides.

When it comes to baiting, consider two important tools: the bait station and the bait. Take time to review and research the various brands of stations and available options. Remember that bait stations come in many shapes and sizes, and with different safety ratings. Rats and mice also come in various sizes, requiring a bait station checkup to accommodate the fact that rats, in particular, can be picky about the size of a bait station.

Finally, understanding rodenticide "mode of action" is not just necessary for true product knowledge; it's also important when setting up service scheduling. The technician must be aware that some rodenticides have a "self-limiting" or "stop feed action" effect, and rodents may not consume as much bait as with anticoagulants.

2) Technician Training

To ensure a successful and sustaining training program, a company program checkup should include an understanding of AB1778, what to expect with any new rodenticides in the toolbox, and the new business streams you may be introducing (such as site inspections and exclusion).

Technicians may have to learn new concepts, such as an estimate of the rodent pressure to ensure the proper number of stations are used for low, medium or severe infestations. For some accounts, this may require more stations than previously used to, ensure the correct amount of bait is being used based on the rodent pressure. Under-baiting can derail a program and lead to bait shyness or population "bounce back."

3) Customer Communication and Education

Finally, having a robust and clear communication plan is an important step in your checkup to educate your customers about new service offerings, products and approaches to good stewardship.

Customers will have varying degrees of knowledge about AB1788. Or, they may have noticed changes to their previous rodent management program. Companies can prepare for customer inquiries by anticipating questions that team members may be asked. Consider brainstorming scenarios or soliciting anonymous questions from your staff to get a sense of what they don't understand, or may themselves have questions about. This will ensure that your staff is comfortable with the answers and the facts they will need to share.

An effective communications plan should also include changes to documents such as inspection forms, contracts and other consumer-facing platforms, including your website (if needed). You can ensure individuals have access to information/education and public health risks about rodents and rodenticides by linking to important Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) topics on your website. Share the most updated information available; what you provide will help your customers make informed decisions about the services you offer. This, in turn, demonstrates your expertise and your commitment to providing the most innovative programs to protect their families and properties.

When events like AB1788 fundamentally change the rodent management landscape, providing the best, most up-to-date products and services, training for your teams, and clear customer communication plans are the foundation for a company's success. Routine, comprehensive checkups in all three areas will ensure you stay on top of rodent (and other) programs you offer.

Sylvia J. Kenmuir, MSC, BCE is a technical services representative for BASF Professional & Specialty Solutions.

PMP's Direct To You provides pest management professionals with educational refreshers on timely and critical topics essential to operational success. Look for the content-rich PMP Direct To You archives at mypmp.net/direct-to-you-archive.

This newsletter was produced by North Coast Media's content marketing staff in collaboration with BASF.

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