How Many Arrows Do You Keep In Your Pest Control Quiver?

baby with arrow quiver your hand if you’ve ever had a pest control problem that you’ve seemingly thrown everything but the kitchen sink at and still were not able to solve the problem. Excuse me while I type with one hand because the other is raised—Really high!!!

Now Raise your hand if in dealing with this problem you ‘over promised, unwisely committed, had diarrhea of the mouth, bought and tried products you never used (proved) before or just generally dug yourself a tidy little hole’ all right in front of your client and you looked more like a fool with each “silver bullet” and in the end, you’ve run out of things to try. Now how am I going to type? (both of my hands are raised–how do I still make these rookie mistakes?)

Have you ever heard the saying “Keep an arrow in your quiver?” This old saying came about referring to hunters or warriors and means you should always have an arrow (or two) in your quiver just in case you need it. Wouldn’t be good to have a charging bear or raging enemy attacking you and you reach back to grab a life saving arrow and lo and behold, you shot em all.

Arrow In The Quiver Is A Strategy

In the normal course of a pest control account, your chosen (proven) strategy is probably more than enough. However, pest control is not what I’d classify as a ‘normal’ job and so having options is always a good bet. Most of us use far more than just one chemical or product so I don’t believe we are short any arrows. What you may not have considered is perhaps the order of things that might work best. While this seems like a no brainer there are a couple of things you should consider when using this approach

Best To Use The Rule Out Approach

Never shoot all your arrows in one fell swoop. Have you ever gone to the Doctors or a mechanic when they’re having a little trouble figuring out exactly what the problem is? Do they rip your car apart or prescribe all kinds of medicines just to cover all the bases? Nope, they do what they call (at least Dr.’s call it this) Rule Out. They systematically begin to rule things out one by one till they find the cause and then can basically do just one or two minor things and the problems solved. Pest control is much the same. When we have a client that has ants let’s say but you never see them– instead of firing up the rig, fogging the attic and squirting non repellants and baits everywhere. We simply begin to rule things out, one by one until we think we have the problem figured out. One arrow at a time. This may at some point include your rig or need an attic treatment but if we do all of this all at once only to still have ants–well, that’s when the foolish looking paragraph I wrote about above comes into play.

It’s Usually Wasteful

I also find that shooting to many (or all) your arrows is draining on the pocketbook. Using the same ant scenario, how many times have you plopped down 10 or 12 of those little plastic ant stations thinking that’ll solve the problem only to come back (on a complaint usually) and find most covered in an oily Raid residue or baking in the hot sun on the window sill. Not to be a cheap miser but have you priced those things out? So many times that’s like throwing $5 or more out the window. Say you charge $50 for the regular svc. and besides all your regular costs–just subtract $5 more and throw in the frustration factor where the client now thinks ‘none of your stuff works.’ (plus you’re now there for free on a complaint) This is just an example of course but it might be best to try just a few tried and true methods and save those little stations for later.


I’m caught in this trap more than I’d like to admit and it’s the equivalent of shooting your whole quiver even if it’s all you do that day. Even when I preface my claim with, “this stuff works 95% of the time” and hopefully it’ll work for you too. All the person hears is “works” apparently and if indeed it’s one of those times where your magic bullet doesn’t do the trick— well then it doesn’t matter how many arrows you have left… you might as well have shot them all because a client loses a lot of hope at that point andarrow on target may start looking elsewhere. It’s best to take the time to set expectations realistically and maybe even on the low side.

“Four things come not back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life and the neglected opportunity.”

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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