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Green Pest Management - GET YOUR GREEN ON


Source: PCT Magazine 

Practical tips for what works and what doesn’t when marketing green pest management services.

Green: It’s ambiguous, ubiquitous and hotter than ever, even when consumers are pinching every penny.

According to the State of Green Business 2010 report by Greener World Media, green business activity not only survived the recession, it thrived. The report cited a study by Opinion Research Corp. that found four of five people still bought green products and services in the midst of the downturn.

Green, however, means many things to many people, which makes marketing green services a trickier proposition than you might think. It’s "far more perplexing than most marketers bargained for, requiring more complex and nuanced messages and value propositions," said Greener World Media Executive Editor Joel Makower.

Walking the Talk. The first hurdle: making sure you have an honest-to-goodness green service. Being accused of "greenwashing" — when a company spins its product or service as being green when it’s not — can be a marketing kiss of death.

"People lie," said Bud Brewer, vice chairman at Orlando-based Massey Communications, which works with Massey Services. They "set expectations that they can never achieve."

Environmental Health Services in Norwood, Mass., is careful not to "oversell" its green offering, said General Manager George Williams. The company has focused on managing pests through Integrated Pest Management practices since 1986. "If you’re smart about selling green services, you’re selling IPM," said Williams.


Your Thoughts on Green

PCT took readers’ collective "green" pulse in May 2008 and April 2010. Here’s what we learned: Seventeen percent more of you offer "green" pest management services and eight percent more are actively marketing these services in 2010 compared to 2008.

In 2010, more of you consider mechanical devices (+13%), EPA-exempt products (+12%) and Integrated Pest Management (+ 12%) as being green services. An increasing number of you also said green products are compatible with IPM programs (+9%), with low active ingredient content (+8%), low impact on human health (+8%) and low use rates (+8%).

Here are some results of the PCT online surveys:


In mid-1990, Massey Services changed its service protocol to focus on pest prevention, said Brewer. "It was an enormous departure" from the practices of the day, which often involved "indiscriminate application of pesticides in and around the home whether it was needed or not."

Since then, Massey Services has been recognized twice by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide and Environmental Stewardship Program, as well as by local organizations.

When the National Pest Management Association developed its GreenPro certification and a "credible, concrete process for conducting a green approach to pest management," Mark O’Hara, president of Anderson Pest Solutions in Elmhurst, Ill., decided it was time to make a change.

The company, which had eliminated the spraying of pesticides indoors for residential accounts years ago, became GreenPro certified last November. It also renamed its primary services Natural Choice Home and Natural Choice Commercial, which aim to "reduce and eliminate the use of pesticides if possible through eliminating conducive conditions," explained O’Hara.

Clark Pest Control in Lodi, Calif., — "ground zero" for the green movement, said Operations Manager Robert Baker — unveiled its S.M.A.R.T. philosophy and service program about six months ago. Standing for Sustainable Methods and Responsible Treatments, S.M.A.R.T. is a less-toxic, inspection-based service with products that are "generally regarded as safe," according to the company website.

The program’s had a "huge impact on our protocols" and product selection, and reinforces the company’s commitment to keeping pesticides out of stream and storm water, said Baker. The company won the California Department of Pesticide Regulations 2009 IPM Innovator Award for its efforts to find a replacement for pyrethroid pesticides for residential pest control.

S.M.A.R.T. was marketed internally for a year and quietly field tested before being unveiled to customers. It was important to make the program part of the company culture and know it was something "we could live up to" before promising it to customers, said Marketing Manager Nicole Kirwan Keefe.

"With every political pronouncement and product pitch, the green movement is getting too close to the edge of cliché and public skepticism," said Environmental Health Services Operations Vice President Sabrina Key. "We know we have to walk a fine line and offer a truly viable and tangible green service when the customer demands it."

Pinpoint Your Message. An October 2007 Harris Poll commissioned by NPMA found 61 percent of those who use a pest professional for their home say they seek out solutions they perceive to be, or are advertised as, green. More women — 69 percent — than men are likely to say they seek out green pest solutions.

Yet the concept still is a reach for many consumers, said Keefe. In focus groups, she found "people are skeptical." One participant called green pest management an oxymoron. Another identified green pest management as "an anteater." Consumers aren’t equally green in all areas of their lives. "They apply it to their Prius but they don’t apply it to their pest control," she said.

So why not market IPM, something professionals have been doing for years? It means nothing to most consumers, said Baker. IPM on its own has "zero marketing value."

The key is to define your green. The words "sustainable" and "responsible" in Clark Pest Control’s S.M.A.R.T. program are "clear cut" and convey what Clark is trying to achieve, said Keefe. Service tickets, press releases, door hangers and brochures explain how the service is different and why customers should feel good about working with Clark, she said.

Anderson Pest Solutions’ new tag-line, The Natural Choice, is a double entendre that implies both a green service approach and that they’re the best company for the job. A newly designed logo, website, residential and commercial collateral pieces, and decaled trucks send home the message.

Environmental Health Services uses the tagline, "It’s Your World, Protect It!" This implies consumers have an environmental obligation and that effective pest management is a partnership. "We truly are protectors of public health and the environment and this is the best message we can deliver," Williams said. Added President John Stellberger, "EHS was green when green was just a color!"

Tactics like search-engine and social media optimization, viral video, pay-per-click advertising and e-mail "help reinforce our identity and brand," said Williams. "So do our field specialists and office staff — they are our greatest resource for educating customers."

Massey Services’ "straightforward" message of prevention has "resonated" with consumers, said Brewer. "It’s not ambiguous and it’s not something we can’t deliver." It works: Massey has grown in each of its 25 years, with double-digit growth in 18 of them. Upscale single-family homeowners, mainly women, are targeted through broadcast and cable TV, radio, direct marketing and community engagement. The emphasis is on value, effectiveness and efficiency, said Brewer.

Consumers are more willing to go green when the benefits are personal and planetary, said Makower. They want products that "aren’t just greener, but better," such as less expensive, more features or better performance, more convenient, less wasteful, healthier for their families, or simply cool, he said.

They want to know green service is "going to deliver results," agreed Keefe.


GreenPro: One Year Later

It’s been a busy year for the NPMA GreenPro credentialing program. Not only will it have certified 100 companies by mid-summer, but it’s gained valuable "street credibility," said NPMA Senior Vice President Bob Rosenberg.

In December, the EPA presented NPMA with its National Pesticide Program Partners Award for GreenPro at the first-ever Honor Awards Ceremony.

GreenPro companies now are automatically qualified to become gold-level EPA Environmental Stewardship Partners, which gives them limited use of the EPA name and lets them make certain marketing claims they otherwise couldn’t, said Rosenberg.

It’s got some bottom-line benefits, too.

Credentials like GreenPro are required to bid in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mark-to-Market program, which makes Integrated Pest Management available to affordable housing, said QualityPro Executive Director Andrew Architect.

Others requiring certification include the state of Delaware, Canadian Department of Defense and the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.

A member in Virginia Beach got GreenPro standards adopted at the Department of Energy. This gave that member a "distinct marketing advantage" and access to business other companies cannot compete for, said Architect.

GreenPro is a voluntary program and members don’t have to provide GreenPro service for every account. Rosenberg estimates five to 10 percent of member accounts get GreenPro service. Commercial accounts have been faster to adopt the service than residential ones.

The GreenPro advisory committee consists of five PMPs and four industry outsiders — including the EPA and Natural Resources Defense Council. The industry’s commitment, Rosenberg said, has tempered outsiders’ skepticism. "I think they’re fairly impressed."

"It’s been a very positive experience" for NPMA, QualityPro and the industry, said Rosenberg.


Green Do’s and Don’ts. This should come as no surprise: When marketing green stay away from powder-keg words, advised professionals.

Never say "safe," said Brewer. Describe your service as environmentally responsible, like Anderson Pest Solutions, or having a minimal impact on the environment.

Environmental Health Services steers clear of non-toxic terminology, said Williams. Instead, EHS provides "eco-sensitive pest solutions." Clark Pest Control offers services that are "environmentally sensitive." Williams advises limiting or avoiding use of the word "green," because it is being overplayed in the consumer market. Brand your services so green is perceived, such as by using earth-tone colors and earth-friendly text and images, Williams said. Explain services clearly and drop the jargon, or the "scope of service is lost in translation," he added. Analogies can help customers visualize and relate to the treatment process.

And set realistic expectations, advised Brewer. Manage those expectations appropriately, especially when dealing with customers one-on-one.

Remember, professionals are subject to state and federal restrictions when advertising green pest control, said NPMA Senior Vice President Bob Rosenberg. About 20 states have taken "fairly serious enforcement action" against companies that have made health, safety or environmental claims over the last 20 years, with hundreds paying large penalties, he said.

Third-party green credentials like GreenShield and GreenPro let professionals communicate a different kind of service without the risk of becoming a target of enforcement action, Rosenberg said.

How Goes Green? At present, green pest management has mixed customer appeal. Anderson Pest Solutions’ commercial clients have quickly and enthusiastically embraced GreenPro service, which also appeals to a segment of residential customers, said O’Hara.

But a large number of residential customers remain neutral on GreenPro, and a small group prefers to continue conventional treatment, he said.

Environmental Health Services does offer a total "organic package" in addition to its eco-sensitive approach, but "it is not requested as much as you would think," said Williams.

PCOs remain committed to the shift. "I’m doing it because I believe in it," said O’Hara.

"Without a doubt" it is the future of the industry, said Baker. In 1999, Clark Pest Control launched a green service that failed. Green awareness hadn’t reached a critical mass, he recalled. Now, it’s becoming "hard to ignore."

In fact, 17 percent more professionals offer green pest management services and eight percent are more actively marketing these services in 2010 than 2008, according to online surveys conducted by PCT.

Future legislation is a wild card, reminded Keefe. Focusing on sustainability will help ensure the industry’s future.

For Anderson Pest Solutions providing green pest management now will "put us that much ahead of the curve," said O’Hara.

The author is a frequent contributor to PCT magazine. E-mail her at anagro@giemedia.com.


Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Las Vegas Pest Control Experts Blame the Media for Recent Outbreaks


Source: http://www.associatedcontent.com

Las Vegas pest control experts have seen an increased number of calls this season due to a number of factors; and unfortunately the greatest number of inquiries is due to bad information given by the media.  

For example, when a recent news report stated that termites were suddenly spotted within the region, phone lines lit up with hundreds of questions on how bad the epidemic was going to be. The fact of the matter is, termites cause millions of dollars annually to residential and commercial structures across the United States, and sloppy reporting has led our community to believe that the dry desert heat has made our homes immune to such damages. This species is relatively easy to control, and with annual inspections Las Vegas pest control workers feel comfortable guaranteeing that an infestation can be completely prevented.

Another insect the media is in utter denial about is bedbugs, although eventually it will become breaking news if residents do not take action soon. Las Vegas pest control professionals have seen their numbers explode within the past ten years, yet not a single word about their existence is ever mentioned since they were believed to have been completely eradicated from our continent back in the 1950's. Bedbugs are especially prolific breeders and extremely difficult to kill, so it goes without saying that Las Vegas pest control workers are ridiculously frustrated that a species that can not jump and only travels about fifty feet per week is making such an unnoticed comeback.

Rats and mice have also been a popular topic with Las Vegas pest control experts recently; despite being found within this area far longer than humans have been, residents seem completely baffled as to why their clean home has a rodent inside it. Although the media likes to portray these creatures as filthy, sewer dwelling animals, both of these species are great opportunists that only scavenge when other food sources are not available. If you spot a single mouse within your residence the chances are very good that twenty or thirty more are tucked away just around the corner out of view, and they can easily outbreed the best residential mousetrap ever created. Because of their tendencies to eat several tiny meals per day, poisons are also largely ineffective against rodents and professional assistance will probably be necessary.

Although each of these misrepresentations by the media are frustrating to Las Vegas pest control workers, the worst of all has yet to be mentioned. Over 99% of all pests can be successfully kept from entering a residence with a simple pest inspection, some basic home repairs, and a little bit of preventative maintenance; yet each and every week the media reports a home that burns down because a squirrel chewed through an electrical wire in an attic, a business was condemned due to termite damage, or a resident became deathly ill from an insect bite. If the media would focus just a little more in protecting homeowners and just a little less on the latest celebrity in rehab, all of these problems could have easily been avoided. If you have any questions on how to better protect your home from all types of animals, contact a Las Vegas Pest Control expert today and they will happily help with any situation.

Note From Clark Pest Control:
To touch on this article, with this years extreme weather conditions all pest are looking for shelter from the weather. The key to resolving this issue is yes, an inspection by a pest professional and a good IPM to exclude these invaders. Clark offers free pest evaluations as well as termite inspections. If you suspect you have an infestation, contact Clark today!

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Video game teaches integrated pest management


By UNL Extension Friday, June 04, 2010

With a little bit of sleuthing, gamers can find all sorts of environmentally responsible ways to rid their homes and properties of unwanted pests with a new video game available from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.

"Pest Private Eye and the Case of IPM in Schools" uses colorful pest private eyecharacters like Pest Private Eye and his protegee Penny Poe in a classic detective story format with up-to-date video gaming technology to teach fourth- through sixth-graders that swatting bugs, fixing screens to keep mosquitoes out or repairing a leaky faucet to discourage cockroach infestations are really part of IPM, or integrated pest management.

"IPM is all about controlling common pests using the lowest environment-impacting methods possible and to use chemical pesticides only after these other methods have been tried since pesticides ultimately get into our environment and water," said UNL Extension assistant Erin Bauer, who helped develop the game for the UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture's pesticide education office.

These low- to no-impact methods include sanitation, exclusion, moisture reduction, mechanical controls, habitat modification, biological controls and low toxic chemicals.

"IPM reduces exposure to pesticides, increases human health and safety and protects the environment, concepts we want to teach people in ways they can relate to and easily learn from," Bauer said.

Which is where Pest Private Eye, Penny Poe and their dastardly pest foes come into play.

Game players learn about IPM through a virtual investigation of Eureka Elementary, a school invaded by pests such as flies, roaches, rodents, ants and spiders.

Sleuthing from room-to-room, players learn about and identify pests. They pick up and use tools along the way that assist them in helping Pest Private Eye solve his IPM problems while his trusty assistant, Penny Poe, helps players navigate the game and summarize the IPM concepts.

click here to read the entire article

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Ant Control - Keeping Invasive Species In Check


Source: PCT (Pest Control Technology)

The first time they were spotted in the United States, in 2002, it was clear that these insects were different. They looked different and certainly behaved differently - erratically. And then, these cargo ship stowaways began multiplying - exponentially. As thousands, millions and then billions of them scurried about foraging for food, we discovered the impending danger.

Houston, we have a problem.

Actually, the problem goes well beyond Houston today, as Rasberry crazy ants have pillaged their way through at least 14 Texas counties in addition to infesting the nation's fourth-largest city. Their favorite target? Electronics. Tiny enough to squeeze through minute cracks and crevices, these ants tend to cluster inside computers, shorting out circuits as they traipse over microchips. A major chemical company projects damages from this invasive pest to top $1 billion in its operations, and, had the Johnson Space Center not sought special consideration in its fight against the "crazies" in 2008, the critters could have feasibly brought NASA to its knees as well.

This is only one piece of a much broader story. Invasive pests are clearly a growing challenge to the pest management industry, and the more you know about how to handle them, the stronger your defense will be.


A good starting point for learning about invasive pests is reviewing the definition of "invasive species." A species is a specific population of organisms, morphologically and genetically distinct from other organisms, and capable of interbreeding. As opposed to a native, or indigenous, species, an invasive species is one that is introduced to an area from another place and then adapts to its new environment and spreads.

We don't invite them. We don't want them. And, as a general rule, we don't become familiar with them until they're right under our noses.

Click here to read the entire article

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

City closes food producer because of mice, ants


March 24, 2010 6:51 PM

Chicago Breaking News

Mayor Daley's Dumpster Task Force has closed the American Accord Food Corporation, 9485 S. Ewing Ave., due to an active infestation of mice and ants and other problems.

Task Force inspectors were responding to general complaints in the area related to rodent activity when they visited American Accord which produces ready made meals, according to a news release from the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation. Inspectors found more than 200 mice droppings spread out across the food preparation, storage and receiving areas, officials said.

They also found that the main hand wash sink American Accord Food Corporation was not in sound condition, making it difficult to ensure that employees could keep their hands sanitized. Slime was found in the ice machine and 100 ants were spotted crawling near a grease trap. It was determined that management had not properly maintained a grease disposal container, according to officials. 

Click here to read the entire article 

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Darren Van Steenwyk - IPM Innovator


As you all know Clark recently won the prestigious IMP Innovator award, Darren,  Clark's Entomologist, is currently speaking on how we achieved this award and what we are moving to.

This award is awarded to those who take IMP to a new eco-friendly level. Clark is on the forefront of non-chemical based applications and is taking great strides towards greener methods in pest control.









Does S.M.A.R.T. and non-chemical applications work? Yes they do!



Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

IPM Innovator Awards


Yesterday Clark Pest Control received the distinguished Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).  This award is given to organizations that develop and promote methods of natural pest control that reduce the risks associated with using traditional chemical pesticides. 

This award was given to 7 other recipients, among us was ATCO Pest Control, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Central Cost Vinyard Team, the City of San Jose,Marrone Bio Innovations, Prather Ranch and Spring Mountain Vinyard.

Robert Baker, Operations manager of Clark Pest Control accepted this prestigious award from Mary-Ann warmerdam, Director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Clark Pest Control was also recognized by Senator Lois Wolk, 5th District and Dave Coghill, 14th District.

Congratulations to all of the recipients of this award and consider myself lucky to be there and part of this event.

Robert Baker and Director Warmerdam

Robert Baker and Senator Lois Wolk

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Rat Control - Bethesda school dealing with rats


By: Bill Myers
Examiner Staff Writer
March 9, 2010

Students in a Bethesda elementary school are getting a hands-on lesson in pest control as their teachers and principals find themselves fighting off a rat infestation.

In an e-mail to parents and staff, Burning Tree Elementary School Rat Controlofficials announced that they had found a rat's nest on campus and "two or Three [sic] dead rats."

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Dana Tofig blamed February's blizzard for the school's new tenants.

"The snow, just like with a house, makes schools attractive places to hide," he said. "It doesn't appear to be widespread."

School officials have laid 42 traps and caught at least two rats, principal Nancy Erdrich said in a statement, which was reported by The Washington Post.

"Your children have not been in any danger," Erdrich was quoted as saying. "Our building services staff has been working hard to keep the building clean and they are sanitizing affected areas."

Efforts to reach the school's parents association on Monday were unsuccessful. Rats are common, though unwelcome, visitors to schools - where there's lots of places to hide and plenty of crumbs to munch.

An elementary school in Saugus, Mass., was shut down twice in late January and early February because of rats in the cafeteria and in a kindergarten vent.

The problem is international in scope: A school in County Carlow, Ireland, was shuttered in February because of a rat infestation; a school in Wales was closed last summer after rats took over the school's cafeteria.

In late February, a school district in Edinburgh, Scotland, reported that school officials had summoned exterminators 625 times in a year to deal with infestations of ants, mice, rats and even squirrels.

Rats steal food, gnaw on electric cables and wires, tear up the inside of walls and carry more than 70 diseases, from leptospirosis, a kidney and liver disease, to the bubonic plague.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Bethesda-school-dealing-with-rats-86998372.html#ixzz0hoYu6vII


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