Archive for ‘Training’

December 4, 2012

Stored Food Pests

by jteaton

      Stored Food Pests

By the time a stored food pest problem is reported, you may already be dealing with multiple generations of an infestation. It has always seemed to me that the tolerance level in a residential setting is higher than in a food production facility. A moth here and there isn’t a real problem for a homeowner, and is quite often mistaken for something else– that is until the larva start moving around in their cereal or oatmeal.

Pinpointing the source and zeroing in your treatments are the first part to resolving the problem quickly.  Your customer’s cooperation, or lack thereof, will determine your success rate.

Simply tossing out the infested product may not always yield results since some stored food pest larva will migrate away from the original infestation.

Giving a customer your “Preparation for Treatment” sheets prior to treatment or having downloadable forms is a good tool, but remember to keep it simple. Clear and concise checklists seem to work best.

Another effective tool is a passive monitoring system–simply put, a covered glue board (covered to protect from dust or accidental contact). These devices offer your customer peace of mind and give them the ability to monitor the success of your treatment. A covered glue board with or without pheromones will also catch other pests that may have not been seen or reported to you, like roaches or silverfish, which can lead to additional revenues if you include these pests in your warranty.

A trick that some PMPs have used in-between treating an infestation of moths was simply stapling paper glue boards near cracks and crevices in the rear portion of a cabinet.  This would catch emerging larva and is successful in catching flying insects in search of a resting place without getting in the way of your customer’s hands.

James Rodriguez

Territory Manager

J.T. Eaton Co.,  Inc.

April 17, 2012

Estimating a Rodent Job

by jteaton

Estimating a Rodent Job:

Fact: The better you get at writing an estimate for a rodent control job, the better your chances of solving a problem long-term and the more money you’ll make.

As PMPs we’re trained in chemical application, vehicle safety, personal safety, equipment maintenance, and insect biology to name just a few areas, but what about writing a great rodent estimate?

Have you ever seen a good body shop do an estimate?  The time they allot to performing a detailed inspection to find every imperfection and damage to every piece of trim or molding, and every screw or bolt, is amazing.  If they get it wrong the shop loses money, and they know it!  Taking this approach to writing an estimate for rodent exclusion, or a trapping job, you should mirror an auto body shop for several reasons:

  • Allot the right amount of time to do the estimate  and avoid rushing through the inspection
  • Noting all the different materials needed to complete the job keeps you from wasting time going to hardware stores
  • Allowing time in your schedule to review your inspection with the customer will give you enough time to lock-in the job
  • Having a professional-looking estimate sheet that you leave behind with the customer (covering the basic details of the job and the cause of the infestation) will help if the customer is getting multiple estimates
  • Leaving behind a basic diagram and writing neatly  goes a long way in representing you and your company
  • Remember:  some of  your customers may label this as a traumatic event,  so show a little empathy

Leaving behind estimate sheets is not  “giving away” the job to a competitor;  if you did your best and you didn’t get  the job, follow up to find out why so it helps you get the next one!

Templates for a Rodent Estimate Sheet are available at  Simply insert your logo and you’re ready to go!

Happy Selling!

James Rodriguez

Western Territory Manager

J.T. Eaton Co., Inc.

March 19, 2012

The WEB!

by jteaton

We have a lot to learn about spider silk–as we start applying its practical uses it will help humanity in many ways.  We’ll have better airplanes, amazing devices for the medical field, stronger bullet-proof vests for our officers and super high tensile strength rope to name just a few.

Whatever the uses may be in the near the future it will still not prevent us from doing the notorious “web dance” when we walk through a spider’s web.  You know the dance; the one that looks like we were peppered sprayed in the face, with arms flying everywhere, or like the Elaine Dance from Seinfeld!

Our reaction to the webs of spiders, and seeing spider webs around a home, evokes fear in most people.  As pest control professionals we must respond to spider calls as equal part psychologist and technician. Most spider mouth parts can’t penetrate skin and a spider’s venom takes around 14 day to regenerate so if we’re not prey to a spider its likely to run and hide.  Just remember that a little empathy and compassion goes a long way when dealing with this fear from our customers.

Ask any spider expert how to control spiders in a residential or commercial structure and the common reply is web-removal.  This said, every truck should have a web duster as part of their IPM equipment.  Not only do you make the property you service look instantly better, you lower the chances of re-infestation, so it’s a win/win.

Here are some tips on using a web duster:

  1. Always spin a web duster to capture the web rather than sweep; this captures the entire web and prolongs the life of the duster
  2. Choose a yellow duster head;  this allows your customers to see the results after web dusting
  3. Have a clean stand-by for inside services
  4. Buy one for your good customers, it’s a great gift that will help your IPM program year- round

James Rodriguez, Territory Manager

J.T. Eaton Co., Inc.

(818) 640-4587

February 20, 2012


by jteaton

Roof rats are now staking a claim in areas where they haven’t been before–thus we’re forced to change our approach to rodent jobs. Knowledge of this specific rat has become vital to solving this problem in a diligent manner.
You must know the reproductive rates, food preferences and how rodents communicate. Whether it’s their urine, pelage, or fecal matter, knowledge of these basics will improve any pest control technician’s ability to eliminate an infestation in a timely fashion.
Roof rats are one of my favorite pests because of their elusiveness. They force me to think outside the box and ask myself the questions: “should I pre-bait this account?”, “seal the building first?”, “what would be the best food item for baiting my traps?”. Asking these questions is when training and knowledge become vital in making the right choices for the job. The more proficient you become at answering these questions, the greater the reward.

Rodent Notes:
• Rodents pass on food preference through the mother’s milk
• In three weeks a young rodent starts venturing outside the nest
• Mice have a bite pattern of about 2 mm; rats have a pattern of 4 mm
• Rodents differ in behavior from location to location; nothing is ever set in stone
• Block walls provide excellent harborage areas, never forget to inspect them

When the problem is solved, be sure to identify and communicate to your customer the sources that contributed to the infestation, and set an appropriate warranty to avoid losing money on possible call-backs.

James Rodriguez
Territory Manager
J.T. Eaton Co., Inc.
(818) 640-4587

January 9, 2012

Winter Weather and IPM

by jteaton

Winter Weather and IPM

Winter weather is the perfect time to promote your IPM program! At this time of the year, people understand the concept better; the draft under the door, the leaky window or cold burst of air coming from the garage door. All are areas that could allow insects or rodents to enter their home or building.

Here are some examples of why someone should seal their garage door:

• Saves them energy costs

• Keeps their garage warmer

• Help keep dust and leaves out

• Prevent insects and rodents from entering

• Protects their stored items from mice or rats

• Minimizes the use of pesticides indoors

• Provides long-lasting protection (value)

Selecting a durable material is crucial in separating yourself from the” weekend warrior”; so explore your options before selling an IPM job so you pick the best products for the job. Sometimes it could be adding a strip of molding to the side of a door, or metal flashings around garage door channels but whatever you do it needs to look right.

The goal of sealing, when you’re done with a job, is to make it look as if you were never there. “A natural fix” is a term I like to use. Take “before” and “after” pictures of your job to show other customers or to put on flyers to help sell future jobs.

By sealing a building, you’ve made your customer instantly happy, kept the house/building warmer and helped your IPM program by building the insects out.

Happy Selling! James Rodriguez Territory Manager J.T. Eaton Co., Inc. (818) 640-4587

September 7, 2011

Bird Control Tips

by jteaton

J.T. Eaton & Co.: Bird Control Tips

1 Aug, 2011

By: James Rodriguez, J.T. Eaton & Co., Inc.

*Published in PMP Buzz Online eNewsletter*

 Bird repellents have been a longtime staple in the pest control industry. They’ve contributed to many success stories — and just as many failures due to misapplications.

The goals of bird work are to keep the birds out of a particular location and prevent their unwanted droppings. This is of great importance not only for aesthetic reasons, but also health reasons associated with breathing the spores that come from the droppings.

Preplanning and calculating the materials needed to complete the job at the right price and with the right man-hours are key factors to any good job. So how do gel-type bird repellents come into these calculations?

You might think gels are appropriate when a customer doesn’t have enough funds to do a job that should require netting, spikes, shock tracks, or bird slopes. Don’t fall into this trap!

Misapplied or haphazard applications may cost you more in litigation (or a new paint job for a property), so sometimes it’s best to walk away until an agreement can be reached.

A likelier use for bird gels would be in hard-to-reach places, narrow ledges, gutter edges, curved surfaces, chimney, and nooks of the building or store signs. Another use is as a temporary solution over entryways and carports ledges, balcony rails or on monuments.

Because most bird work is done at heights over 6 ft., consider all the safety factors involved. When bidding a job, will you need scaffolding, rolling scaffolds or a cherry pickers/bucket lifts — or simply need to rent a longer ladder? Not having the right equipment when the time comes to do the job will cost you time, money, and possibly the whole job!

Whether it’s a big or small job, the hazard of doing bird work is very real when it comes to cleaning up droppings, and handling and removing bird nests. The issues of biting insects like mites and fleas, respiratory illness, falls, clothing and enclosed environment contamination caused by dust should always be on your mind. You should be trained to identify the hazards and prevent them from occurring. The cost of injury or respiratory illness to you or employees, or to a bystander or customer, far outweighs the benefits of cutting corners.

Here are some tips for proper use of gels:

  • Apply gels (caulking tube type) in half-in.-wide strips to a clean surface, or try adding some removable tape to the surface before applying gel for easy cleanup once the birds are deterred.
  • Make sure the application locations are not in plain view, where dust will be visible.
  • Porous surfaces like stone and stucco should be sealed first because they can absorb gels. Use clear shellac spray, white glue or silicone solutions to seal surfaces.
  • For larger surfaces, apply about 1 in. from the edge so the gel doesn’t run over in hot weather.
  • On wide surfaces, create two lines of gel 1 in. from the edge, and the next row about 2 in. from the edge. Repeat as needed.
  • Calculate how many cartridges you’ll need: Each cartridge covers about 10 lineal ft.
  • Mineral spirits can be used to clean equipment immediately after an application has been completed. Use caution cleaning painted surfaces (or avoid applying gel to them entirely). Note: Mineral sprits may discolor or remove paint.
July 25, 2011

Send your techs back to School!

by jteaton

The amount of training that’s available is incredible! Give a homework assignment to your techs for fun, prizes or just to improve their knowledge. It’s a great investment and gives them a better understanding of the importance of their job in society.

Refreshing them with some of the basics of equipment, entomology, exclusion techniques, pesticide application, bird control and rodent control is a money-making proposition for all levels in your company–including office personnel.

To give you an example of some types of training, visit our web site at Discover our product training videos, or visit our webinar section that has information on food processing, gopher control or bedbug training. also has tons of programs you can check out at your convenience. Local seminars offered by your area distributors and pest association meetings are also fantastic resources.

Try pulling up University websites and give specific links to your techs to review about termites, scorpions or packrats and their
characteristics.  Knowledge of each can help speed up the estimating process on any given job.

The homework part: Give techs homework by asking them read over a particular page on a website and follow it up with a 10 question test (that you put together) the next morning. This will help them understand more about their industry. You should also give them a test after spending the time (and expense) of having them at a seminar to see just how much they learned.

Challenging someone to do better is good for everyone—your business, the tech, and the customer!

James Rodriguez
Territory Manager
J.T. Eaton Co., Inc.
(818) 640-4587

June 14, 2011

Keeping Your Customers Safe

by jteaton

Keeping your customers safe

As pest control professionals, we climb into crawl spaces, roam around in basements full of spiders–and at times–attics and garages filled with rodent droppings. I’m thankful that we’re required to be trained for these situations and that we have access to the proper protective gear; however what about our customers? Are they being made aware of some of the dangers associated with tearing into a pack rat, roof rat, norway rat or mouse nest?

If you’re called out on a rodent job, making your customer aware of the hazards of having rodents is one thing, but letting them know some of the dangers associated with breathing dust from a rodents is another. I don’t want you to scare the heck out of them, but opening up some kind of dialogue to prevent and illness or respiratory problems should be everyone’s goal.

A few examples to keep in your tool box of knowledge are:

• Mice can leave 3000 micro droplets of urine per day
• A rat has about 7000 psi pressure of bite power
• Rats’ teeth have a hardness rating of 5.5 (where iron is 4.0)
• One dropping about the size of period can have 5 million Hantavirus pathogens
• Rodents lose their entire pelage (fur) twice a year during molts
• Urine, mucus, saliva, blood and hair can contain pathogens

Offering the correct information will not only help you get the job, but also create life- long customers.

James Rodriguez
Territory Manager
J.T. Eaton Co., Inc.
(818) 640-4587 Direct.