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Policing your pest controller

Your first thought might be – why would I want to do that? But are you making the most of your money and ensuring you’re getting the service you think you’re paying for?

When you buy anything you want to get good value, therefore it stands to reason that if you know a little about the service that you are paying for, it will be easier for you to ‘run the ruler’ over it from time to time. It’s standard business practice after all, and comes under the banner of good housekeeping.

The consequences of ineffective pest control can be damaging and detrimental to your business, so here’s a few pointers to help you police your pest controller and establish if they are the real deal.

  1. Detailed survey

This should be undertaken before any work starts. A professional pest controller would spend time looking in all sorts of out-of-the-way places where pests could hide.

Ensure your contractor is taking the time to survey!

  1. Routine visits – make sure you get enough

The industry standard for routine pest control inspections/treatments tends to be eight visits a year. Common pests can reproduce every month or so, therefore a good inspection on a six or seven-week basis will find signs of new pests, and a ‘nip it in the bud’ solution can be delivered before the problems gets out of hand.

  1. Planned follow-up visits for infestations

If a pest problem is discovered on a routine visit, remedial work done on that visit should not be deemed ‘enough’ to cure the issue, and further follow up visit should be made a week to ten days later to ensure the problem has been dealt with.

The danger of failing to return for a follow up visit will make getting to the root of, and solving the problem, even harder.

  1. Regular inspections of all areas

This may include the cellars, roof voids, false ceilings, storage areas, back office, front of house and manufacturing areas.

This takes time, so please be prepared to pay a reasonable sum for a good quality job.

Beware and stay away from quotations that seem really cheap, because quite simply the job will not be done properly for such a small amount of money. It won’t be done for very long at that rate and the price will either be revisited fairly quickly or ‘extras’ which cost the earth will begin to appear.

  1. Inclusion of detecting devices/monitors

Good pest control is NOT about placing bait boxes – it’s about what is happening in between them. It’s all down to the ability to spot signs of pest evidence, therefore beware of a pest controller who arrives on site solely asking to be shown where the bait boxes are.

Bait boxes and insect detectors are important, but they have to be seen as a monitoring device that aids the pest control measures/regime and not simply the sole pest control measure.

  1. The contractor has a torch close to hand

Finding pests involves looking in dark, obscure places, so to do this properly your pest controller needs to carry and use a good quality torch. This is perhaps the most important tool of the trade.

  1. Wearing gloves

Pests are vectors for all sorts of diseases (e.g. Weils disease contracted from rat urine which, if it gets into an open cut, can cause some nasty illnesses including damage to the liver and kidneys, or lead to jaundice) so it makes good sense for your pest control contractor (who engages with pests and pest harbourages many times a day) to wear good quality disposable gloves.

  1. Regular reporting from your contractor

A legible report should be produced and discussed with the relevant member of your staff. Unfortunately, in many occasions the responsibility for the ‘report book’ falls down the chain and ends up with a secretary, a security guard or even a cleaner.

The contractor should raise the profile of the work that they are doing and ensure this file is kept with a senior person in your organisation – senior enough to authorise relevant remedial works to address pest problems.

The pest risks to a business change with the seasons and sometimes day to day, so there will always be something that your contractor could and should be advising you on to reduce pest risks.

  1. Professionally trained personnel

Look for evidence that the contractor you use (or consider) takes training seriously.

  1. Quality assurance checks

Check that quality is being delivered out in the field by periodic site checks made by the technician’s manager.

This should be an added benefit (within the cost) of the service agreement. Client satisfaction questionnaires can take place over the phone, often these will be towards the start of a contract period but good companies will repeat this throughout the business relationship.

  1. References

Have you been provided with references relevant to your organisation? Ensure these are current clients of the contractor. Most importantly, ensure your pest control contractor is delivering the service you’re paying for.

If you need  any  advice  and  support  with  policing  or  selecting  your contractor,  contact  BPCA,  or  find  out  more  at www.bpca.org.uk/advice

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