Bug Trucks & Weed Whackers Just My .02

Waiting for the light to turn green at a busy intersection can be a place of great learning. It’s a brief pause and insight into the world that otherwise is passing by in all different directions and at all different speeds. You see these people and sorted vehicles who also begin to stack up at the light. Those across the intersection, the car behind you, the ones in the turn lanes and even those who’ve pulled into the corner convenience store for gas and some smokes. As you sit, the numbers increase. One by one they fill up the spaces around you and you can’t help but look around and notice the spectacle.

But there’s one vehicle I’m seeing more and more everyday and it’s truly very disappointing to me. I can’t help but feel a little sorry for its driver and maybe even a little more for the people whose driveway he’ll pull into later that day. Truth be told, and this is my opinion, I also feel that our industry too, takes a hit with this type of activity and there’s something about it that just seems so wrong.

What We See

Of course you can see the lady whose singing along with the rock group Journey and you know this because you can read her lips as she belts out “Don’t stop believing..hold on to that feeling..street lights,people, oooOOooo.” Ok, I’m not much of a singer but I think you get the idea. There’s the secret texter, the people who actually are talking on their phones, impatient people, oblivious people, cars filled with kids, the ones waving their hands wildly as they seem to gesture every word they’re saying to fellow passengers and so much more we see all at this brief interlude of our busy days.

But for me and dare I say just about everyone I know in the pest control industry, there is one other group of people/vehicles that catches our attention. In fact, once our eye catches them, we’re pretty much the oblivious to all others. That would be the pest control truck. Friend or foe it really doesn’t matter, when your eye catches the half hidden glint of chrome that is the rig filling anti siphon tube or the quick glimpse of a bubble rig. You know it right away and whether you gawk or try to be coy and just barely rotate your eyes from behind your sunglasses, you’re checking that vehicle out. It’s what we do.

What I’m Seeing Far Too Much Of

Now, this is my opinion and I’m not asking you to agree with me nor am I trying to besmirch the good honest tech out there who’s just doing what he/she’s gotta do. But it seems to me that I’m seeing far too many weed whackers, wheel barrels, shovels, and all sorts of yard equipment hanging off the back of pest control trucks these days. Whole rigs are swallowed up by tree branches and clippings all piled high and strapped down using the hose reel as a tie down. The techs behind the wheel usually are a sweaty mess and their muddy tank tops wouldn’t even come close to acceptable PPE.

I often wonder just how their day goes. Mowing a yard followed by weed whacking and then pruning around the home. Then once done, B&G in hand and they knock on the door and it’s time to kill your pests? What’s the customer think? What’s the rest of the industry think?

Now, before you write and tell me about all the divisions there are in ‘said company’ and how one doesn’t overlap the other. I already know. There’s the H20 division (sprinklers), the landscape division, (mowers and weed whackers), the stone wall installers, the grill salesman, the paver installers, pressure washers, sod layers, (usually used after they’ve killed a lawn) the handy men, carpet cleaners, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And one thing most in common with ALL these so called divisions is that they all, will have XYZ Pest Control on the side of their trucks and…… if you look real close you’ll see a B&G handle and hose somewhere in the midst of all that yard debris they’re hauling off. I’m sorry, I just think that’s a shame.

Now, I’m not at all against the bug guy who just happens to have another skill, I think we all do, and for him or her to put some extra cash in their pockets on occasion. But what I’m seeing and what most bothers me is the number of companies I see that set up shop as a pest control company but do very very little of it. It seems they do everything but!!

Where are these guys at our ceu’s? What association do they belong to and just how are they helping the image of the industry?

I realize the business strategy– “one call does all” and I also can’t deny it’s effectiveness. I’ve watched no less than 6- SIX, eh em, pest control companies emerge in the last few years that have gone from one truck to thirty or more all seemingly overnight. They all have their flag ship banner and official license as Blah blah Termite and Pest Control but you’d hardly ever know it looking at the HEAP of pruned plants weighted and tied down with ropes over their official Blah Blah Termite & Pest Control wheel barrel.

Is this the new face of the pest control industry? Will we soon have PCT magazine doing a side by side comparison of the Echo & Stihl chainsaws on an extension pole? Are we to believe that because our industry is pushing for Bmp’s and IPM approaches that somehow we’ll be more qualified to offer this service to the masses? Will the manufacturers get busy perfecting the perfect sprinkler head or pressure washing application tips? I surely hope not.

It seems to me that the anchor of any company should be its focus or at least its core. To me, if you’re a mowing company who happens to have a pest control license I think you should say so. An easy way to determine this is if your weed whacker gets far more action than your B&G or other pest control equipment….. perhaps you may want to rethink the name and nature of your business and get that weed whacker out of the back of your pest control truck. Thanks for reading. Just my .02.

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. Pestcemetery.com 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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