It’s a whole new world for bed bug control in 2020. Here are some handy tips to help keep your employees safe.
1. Equip yourself. Pest control companies already require bed bug technicians to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as: B. Long sleeves, gloves, Tyvek overalls, overshoes and respirators, if required on the product labels.
To allay employee (and consumer) fears during COVID-19, many companies require technicians to wear additional equipment, such as: B. Face masks and / or face protection.
For example, in Fridley, Minnesota, Plunkett’s Pest Control now meets all of the PPE requirements set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to those required on product labels. The company will not do bed bug work in quarantined units.
2. Disinfect. ABC Home & Commercial Services of Austin, Texas, may be running a sanitization service prior to treating bed bugs to keep employees safe, said Alan Brown, an entomologist who heads the company’s bed bug and fumigation division.
“In some cases, we may be working in emergency shelters and places that may have COVID-positive patients, so we need to be very aware of this,” he said. As a result, disinfectants are used in areas where treatment is planned, which will kill the virus before bed bug technicians are potentially exposed.
If customers are at high risk for COVID-19 and have concerns about technicians catching the virus, the company will run a disinfection service after treating bed bugs and before the customer returns to the premises.
3. Make it fun. Tom Sieminski, a former high school teacher and coach, said his bed bug technicians do their best job when a small friendly competition is part of the inspection and treatment process. “I do it like a game,” says the owner of Team Pest Control in Sayville, NY
The team gathers on the construction site at 8 a.m. Each team member is assigned to a different room or area, and Sieminski presents challenges such as: “Who is the first to find a bug?” At 10 a.m. the team takes a break and it’s time to see who did the best job. This is determined by Sieminski checking the boxes on his quality control checklist.
The work remains exhausting. The employees are wearing full PPE and it’s hot. They lift mattresses, install cladding, move furniture and carry heavy garbage bags full of clothes. Nevertheless, Sieminski found that “gamification” prevents employees from focusing on the negative. “I’ve done it challenging and made it a little more competitive and my boys enjoy it,” he said.
4. Reconsider your protocol. Plunkett’s Pest Control recently switched its bed bug protocol from heat to conventional chemical treatment. This change has made things easier for employees in many ways. First, they no longer haul heavy heaters, fans, and cables, often up stairs. “Everything on a heater is heavy,” said Jeremiah Riopel, the company’s sales and marketing director for apartment buildings. Your risk of injury is also reduced. “Knees and back are expensive,” he said.
Driver safety has been improved because employees do not transport heavy heat trailers. “Towing a 7,000-pound trailer is dangerous, even if you are the safest man on the planet,” said Riopel.
After all, it’s easier for technicians to plan traditional bed bug treatments. “You have a lot more control over when this work is done,” said Riopel.
Its techs working on production can now make more money because they have the flexibility to schedule bed bug jobs and seasonal jobs into their existing routes. In comparison, the planning of the heat treatment is less flexible and “eats up a large part of your day,” said Riopel.