Is Your B&G An 800 Pound Gorilla?

A few years ago I was part of a large group of bug men being led around a a large campus to give a bid for services. There were the big shot sales men from the mega firms, managers of medium sized companies, techs sent out by their bosses and even a little ol single operator,– me. We toured each building and got a description of what was expected and were able to ask questions.

Like any other time you get a bunch of competitors in the room you can’t help but kind of size the ‘other guy’ up. We puff out our chest a little bit, try and sound smarter than anyone else with our questions. And you’d always steal a glance at the different pest pros in the room and wondered, “How many trucks does he have?” Or look at someone else and think, “Who’d hire that joker?” For me, my glances and thoughts were those of “If I could only be!” I was by far the smallest guy there and most likely the one with the least shot of getting the bid, so I can only imagine what those folks thought about me. 20 years later and if they read my blog, the question is still the same.

Still, in this bid circus we were in, it wasn’t me who stood out but two gentleman who couldn’t be at any further distance apart in their approach to pest control. One was the owner of the company that currently serviced the account, (he wasn’t happy to have to be there because our bid escort relied on him for all sorts of ‘inside ‘information’ & asked him to answer a lot of our questions). The other was an owner of a small 2 or 3 man company who piped up with a comment on EVERYTHING and just had to be the smartest guy in the room. Besides his annoying interjections, the odd thing about this fellow was that he always wore a crawl suit wherever he went. Ceu’s, trade shows, it didn’t matter and this official inspection was no different. To this day me and a few colleagues still

At same college 20 years later-still infested with ants in the hall and rooms

call him Mr. Green Jeans. (you young-un’s will just have to google it)

Early on in our tour we were in a long hallway that has been plagued with trailing ants and wandering roaches etc. that would come in from any of the many exterior doors. Our guide made it clear that this (and many other places) needed to be treated and of course looked to the current vendor to have him explain how they did it. Visibly annoyed, he simply replied, “We use a hand pump sprayer.” Immediately Mr. Green Jeans piped up and said in an accusatory tone, “You use a B&G? I wouldn’t be caught dead with one of those things!” From there he gave us all a 3 or 4 minute diatribe on the evils of sprays and his version of a sound treatment. Needless to say we were all rolling our eyes, quietly fidgeting and waiting for our tongue lashing from this cover-all clad’d man to cease. Unfortunately the rest of the walk through was much the same but no one really took this guy seriously. But I wonder now all this time later. Has his vision of pest control taken over? Is the B&G a thing of the past?

Spend anytime as a tech in this business and somewhere down the line, you’re going to get ‘The Stare’. In years past it was always from a homeowner or person outside pest control who for whatever reason felt you were spewing noxious poisons with that tiny stainless steel can. In recent times this trend has increased and I must say, sadly it’s from more and more pest control “professionals”. This disturbing shift has me puzzled and it’s more pronounced with the advent of the internet. A post on a forum or an article on a blog all seem to lean to a ‘better way’ of doing things because to continue with how we’ve done it for more than a century is irresponsible, short sighted and going to kill us all. Even in popular TV shows like Billy The Exterminator, The Verminators or Infested you never see a B&G. Well, I take that back… When you do see the techs going into a home with one they’re always clad in plastic cover alls and space aged looking respirators. The viewer is left to think “just what the hell do they have in that thing?” and of course they’ll be wondering that too, when you show up with on in hand.

I guess I’m rambling a bit here but I have so much more to say. (I guess there’ll be a part two) But let me ask you this. Do you use a B&G? and if not what’s so wrong with it as a tool? I have 3 on each truck and use Demand, Suspend or Arilon (just to name a few) for most of my work. Aren’t these products tested?–Am I killing people with my shiny liquid dispenser? Am I not a professional? I’m a little thick headed but just how is 6 ml (milliliters) to a gallon of water a deadly combination? Especially since just one tank full can service almost a whole days worth of houses. Is it just the visual stigma you don’t like or the constant cry of the band wagoners too much to ignore? I’ve been honest with you–please give me your honest opinions and or facts. In any case, we as an industry have ratcheted up this problem and now we need to figure out–just what to do with this 800 pound gorilla in the room.

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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  • We use the b&g accu-sprayers. At first, I thought they were great but having to bend over for every little crack is a pain.

  • exterminatorsrock

    With your accumulated BASF bucks you can get huge Mother Earth stickers that have a serene waterfall behind the logo. It takes up a lot of real estate on the B&G. It instantly disarms that “stare”

    And on plus side, when I’m having a bad day, I take my B&G out to the park and gaze at the calming picture of the waterfall.


  • I only have enough B-bucks for the complimentary ‘recycled paper’ aerosol treatment straws…but I could put in the movie An Inconvenient Truth on my DVD and sip a coke with it– might not be the same effect though 😉

  • Those seem more like System III’s more than anything.. B&G hand pump sprayers are kinda like the mouse trap…after all these years you can’t really improve them much or make them more efficient. It’d be a shame to lose em…

  • We use B&G’s – it is just another tool in our tool box. Yes, I’m a big believer in using the new stuff but nothing yet is the silver bullet to retire the B&G. We use dusters, bait, back packs, power dusters and occasionally the power sprayer (for ticks or large Africanized Honeybees colonies/hives). The other thought is that aerosols or bait are a little more costly and with just a little (Termidor) I can treat for ants. So I don’t think the B&G is on the way out just yet – it works!

  • You’re right Keith and wise to have all those tools not only that you use but that you’ve also mastered. Your point brings up another bug-a-boo of mine though and if I’m called a hypocrite for,it well, it won’t be the first time… I have almost as big a problem with those who use ONLY a B&G in their service….I put that article on my to do list.

  • stuto1

    If a B&G(or an generic alternative) is not part of your arsenal then one is not a professional. I love my B&G! I use dusters, backpack sprayer, bait, ect, but I couldn’t imagine pest control without it. I’d use a B&G on every home I treated if I wasn’t so lazy. I uses a lot less product with my B&G than my Birchmeier and feel I get the same results. Whats better for the environment? A hand sprayer or a power sprayer?

  • Well said! I was losing hope with the trend I’ve been seeing but alas’ the B&G lives!

  • Buguy

    I use either my B&G or my Chapin (not really a generic) on almost every account that I service. I have rebuilt both using B&G parts and they just keep on going. I use dusts, baits and exclusions also, but the chemicals that are out there now are alot safer then they were 20 years ago. I haven’t had one customer complain about the B&G when they see that after the first spray the ant or roach problem is either completely gone or totally controlled.

  • Great point– 3 of mine are 20 plus years old and besides a gasket here or there or a new spray head–solid as a rock….. I’d say that’s pretty earth friendly.

  • Dylan

    As much as academia and textbook pest controllers would like
    to see the demise of the B&G, those of us on the frontlines know it’s not going
    anywhere. It’s just like our bait guns,
    dusters, backpacks and trucks….it’s too valuable of a tool to let sit idle. Now
    don’t get me wrong, I’m as anti baseboard-jockeying as they come, but when a
    B&G is used correctly, it’s a powerful tool. I’ll go against the grain here
    a little and say I’m a big proponent of true IPM, but even I understand there
    are some pest problems you just can’t caulk your way out of. Now if you will
    excuse me, I need to go feed my 800 pound gorilla.

  • Great comment! BTW, what do you feed an 800 pound gorilla? lol

  • Jerry, Im guessing you heard some negative speak of B&G’s? Were you in a debate or read somewhere suggesting how to treat? Such as someone claiming baiting, aerosol, or dusting is better than spraying? I’m with the rest of you. Each tool has it’s purpose and place. We each have different preferences but usually end up with the same results. A satisfied healthy customer.

    I appreciate the pro’s who do a better job with the B&G than the guy with the pressure washer oops I mean power sprayer.. But I prefer a backpack for exterior maintainence, I dont have to pump it as constantly, or refill it as frequently and it clogs far less. I love the B&G’s crack and crevice/four way tips but that is about it. Lately I use a one quart sprayer for interiors. When I know I have to treat several interiors I actually prefer those cheap one gallon sprayers sold at Home Depot or Lowes because they do not clog as much as the B&G.. Before you ask, no Iam not using any WP’s. Shoot me if I have to use Timbor in a B&G.

    How to make it better? Less clogging so I do not have to mess up and enlarge the nozzle/spray pattern, an electric pump (rechargeable once a week) add an extra compartment and attachments so the B&G can double as exactacide or power puff duster.

  • Hey Mel,
    As I talk about in the story I’ve heard this from professionals more and more over the years & I do get those looks from people (usually at a commercial stop but some homeowners) as if I’m carrying a nuclear core rod…. I also peruse the internet and see the chatter / blogs which most often talks about ‘evil sprays’ but ‘sprayers’ are mentioned as old, antiquated and a thing of the past because green does it better yada yada. I most recently got the New Jersey Pest Association newsletter where the lead story was all about embracing the views in the book ‘Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. That threw me–Plus- I get many e-mails from techs and owners across the country who say they don’t want to use a B&G because they are trying to avoid ‘the stigma.” So I merely wanted to point out that the B&G is not an evil,antiquated tool and one we should embrace. Now if someone doesn’t use one because they prefer another method–(I know several companies who don’t) then more power to them..but the B&G is not an instrument of death and not something I believe the industry needs to be poo pooing. This happened just recently at a CEU from a state inspector who was conducting one of the classes (I didn’t write about that)

    I too use a back pack on the exterior and my B&G is mainly for indoor use–but I also have a tool belt that weighs about 10 pounds with all the stuff I carry–It’s all about being ready for any circumstance.

    I rarely have clogging issues but when I do it’s chronic–& then I know it’s time to clean it out, filter, tank and wand and then I’m back to clog free service for months. I’d love an electric one but I’d beat it up to much I’m sure. As far as the dusting feature–Great idea & you already have the space in the concave bottom….somebody could make that work I’m sure.

  • stuto1

    What are using in your B&G? Mine never clogs. I only use Tempo in it.

  • Stuto, I think Jerry hit the nail on the head. Rather than cleaning out the tank, filter, wand and nozzle for a thorough routine cleaning. I’ve been unclogging it, getting it to work for a job or spot treatment, and repeating the frustrating process.. The products typically used would be suspend, any of the bifenthrin products, phantom, etc. Nothing our of the ordinary. I guess I should listen to Jerry. They are great sprayers when working properly.

  • I hate doing the unclogging in the field–embarrassing & time consuming when it clogs again like you say. If I get repeated clogs I bite the bullet & take the filter out and rinse it and tip as well. Back at the shop I’ll deal with the tank etc… & just hope I get through the day.

  • phantom always clogs. grrr

  • I don’t find it works very well either