Closet Pest Control-Take The Poll

Pest control is a complaint business & I remember my first one. It was in my training and I was with the service mgr. on an ant call which was oddly enough not a regular service but a complaint. We couldn’t find ant one in this house even though we scoured every nook and cranny. The lady wasn’t happy at all but my boss handled it all in stride even though she had more than one rude thing to say. At one point the manager asked me to treat the 2nd floor and he’d handle the rest, (I think he was just trying to get me out of the line of fire) We left with no real success but since I was so new to pest control I was hoping not everybody would be like this.

I remember this complaint well because a few days later I was shown a letter that the eh emm, lady had written to my branch manager with a cc to corporate. She stated a whole bunch of things like how we sucked at our jobs and she still had problems etc etc. and the letter went on like that for about the whole page. The thing that most struck me however and a lesson I’ve never forgot but still have to deal with from time to time was this. She was very upset that I went into her closets and sprayed and how ridiculous that was because everybody knows there aren’t any ants in closets and now she had to throw out a bunch of things she couldn’t launder and triple washed all the rest.

Now being new I’m sure my treatment wasn’t all that and I did open her closet doors–I opened everything in search of even one ant and not knowing the layout of the home I had no idea which door went where. The impact of the letter and the years of dealing with this issue has led me to one conclusion and a question for you.

In my company I have made it a policy NOT to treat personal closets unless the customer requests it. In reality you can’t effectively treat a packed closet anyway except perhaps with a silverfish pak and people always give you a funny stare when you get around the closet door as if they’re hiding something that they don’t want you or anyone else to see. (I’ve seen some strange stuff) Others WANT the closets done and feel they didn’t get a complete job if this tiny packed room doesn’t get treated. I’ve found my policy is the most effective for me and quite often the look of relief on a clients face says it all. Even the ones who later say to include it seem to understand but;

My question to you is; Do you as a customer want your closets left alone or treated? And to the bug pro’s reading this, do you service closets at all as part of your regular visits or pass it by?


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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  • Hobblina

    Even though some of my closets are open, a lot of my closets are packed, I feel better when someone asks, for 2 reasons, I have pets, and I hide stuff in the closets.

  • Oh-are you hiding cats in there? Does ASPCA know this? lol

    You’re right, it’s always better to ask if you need to peek or treat but I’ve just adopted the policy of not doing them and waiting for the request. Keeps me out of trouble.

    Thanks for reading
    The Bug Doctor

  • Keith

    I have tried really hard to convince people that we can do a great job from the outside and prevent the bugs from getting in. I’m old enough to remember when people expected the stuff to smell and if it didn’t that meant that you didn’t do anything. I will go inside if there is a problem like silverfish or stored product pest and often times use bait in those circumstances. The use of the B&G allows the compressed product to become airborne and I only use that in a very limited basis.

  • So you’re against storing cats in the closet too? hahah–I’m in a weird mood sorry bout that.
    Your model of pest control is one that I know a lot of companies use. I was in a franchise years ago that sold exterior only and for awhile it went alright but I found more and more people asking me inside-which was of course no extra charge. Soon I didn’t have but a handful of exterior only customers that still believed or maybe were happy getting more (or so they thought). It’s difficult to change people and educate them. I think this is one example of why IPM never caught on.

  • Mel

    I have found found ants nesting or traversing in closets serveral times. Only once did I make anyone nervous. Its because the customer had a lot of money hidden in the closet. I simply told him. “Dont worry I am not going to steal it” and kept treating. I find more people worried about what’s under their beds. Keith, the crack and crevice tip is made to prevent aerosolization of the product.