Jeff McGovern spoke after the morning break, beginning by asking how many technicians in the audience were carrying flashlights. Only a few. "How many flashlights do you carry in your truck?" he asked. Three, most answered. His presentation was titled "Tools of the Trade." Flashlights are essential, and not having a working one can make you lose an account.
McGovern started with Google Earth, zooming in on Florida where he lives, to illustrate how geography determines pest issues. He zoomed in further to find Palatka, where the meat-packing plant he would be discussing is sited. "You want to know a secret?" he asked. "Don't be their bug guy, or rat guy. Be a member off their team, helping to protect their assets." He zoomed in even further to look at the meat-packing plant and its surrounding area -- a bus yard, a wooded area, a railroad track, a retention pond. "What are the first four factors in pest control?" he asked, answering: "Access, food, water and harborage" -- mentioning a nearby homeless camp that keeps removing rodent bait stations. "You're a detective. Think.
What happens if a rat goes through that facility? That USDA guy's going to shut them down." McGovern, a 37-year veteran of pest management, insisted that salespeople price jobs accordingly, by the services rendered and not by the number of bait stations installed. He went around the plant using elevations to show overhanging trees and power cables, all rodent access points. "You have to look underneath, around, behind and top of," he said. "You're looking for access, food, water and harborage." Documentation is important, too.
"How many of you carry digital cameras?" he asked, telling the audience to take pictures and register those pictures' existence in the onsite logbook. McGovern mentioned a light-leak audit, at night to see what light leaks out, and by day to see what light leaks in. He also advised to make friends with the HVAC service guy and the sprinkler guy, because they can provide valuable information about rodents. "They can tell you where your problems are," he said. McGovern concluded by saying that the backbone of the pest control industry is the people out running routes in their trucks.
Rather than start by talking bed bug biology, entomologist Gail Getty began by discussing working dogs trained to sniff out bed bugs. Dogs have good days and bad days, and it's important to have a good trainer. Yadda yadda. Then she went into visual inspections, before mentioning that bed bug behaviors are cryptic, they are thigmotactic, or touchy-feely with each other, and photophobic, or afraid of light. Then she showed a pie chart on where bed bugs are most commonly found, and went into some animated recollections of personal experiences in hotel rooms. "They were just raining down on me," she described to much laughter.
Next up, traumatic insemination and how it makes female bed bugs run like crazy, thus dispersing the insects. Then she showed a series of slides from cases where she's served as an expert witness, and then she showed a series of slides from attorney Jeff Lipman's presentation on a Des Moines two-tower apartment complex and how bed bugs spread through the buildings. Then, the practical: bed bug monitors, mattress encasements, vacuums, traditional pest control materials, steam. "We know that it's always a function of time and temperature," Getty said about killing insects. She also went into heat remediation, a method of control that Clark Pest has embraced. Freezing, she also mentioned. "Not a fan," she said. "I love fumigation," she added. "I only care one thing about bed bugs," she said. "Don't bring them home." Getty's advice to customers: "Hire a professional."