PPC Magazine August 2015 Issue

BPCA publishes the Professional Pest Controller (PPC) Magazine four times a year to give the industry a magazine that informs, educates, challenges and promotes pest control.  The industry is vital to public health and the magazine is an ideal tool to promote pest control and the work the BPCA does.

Delivering an interesting and relevant publication is tricky as the main consideration is what will engage the readership. In the industry recently there’s been plenty of news in the form of the Rodenticide Stewardship and the recent approval by the Government allowing us to deliver news that will affect the industry readily.  However, our main readership are in the industry as private pest control companies, so delivering content that is relevant and beneficial to their businesses is vital.

This has been the driver behind delivering PPC80, the latest issue features:

  • Drones: nice toy to have or valuable tool?
  • Safety not Vanity: proper use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
  • Drowning Traps: can they be used in the UK?
  • Insecticide withdrawals: products about to be banned
  • The cost of sales: does a salesman actually add value to your business or harm it?
  • Update on Rodenticide Stewardship
  • Handling press enquiries: how to get your business in the media spotlight
  • News and new products
  • The cost of membership
  • and much more…

We have produced editorial in this issue to not only provide a voice of the industry but to challenge pest controllers to think about the way they practice their business.  Whether they need a sales team to drive their business or how the media affects the image of the industry and their business.

Whilst our initial target audience are pest control professionals, the magazine is a tool to educate the wider audience, for example, companies that require pest control contracts.  The magazine will also feature heavily in the future on our blog to extend the good work PPC does and you’ll be able to add your voice to the issue by giving us you comments.

PPC is a free subscription which you can register for on our the BPCA website.


How big is the pest control workforce?

The Royal Society for Public Health has carried out research which gave a figure of 15 million for the number of UK workers involved in the public health agenda. This clearly includes not just Environmental Health Officers (EHO).

On the pest control front, the SIC codes (used to define categories for the UK workforce) puts the number of pest control operatives at 8,080, with over 6,000 of these in England. The expression ‘lies, damnded lies and statistics’ always springs to mind when looking at industry metrics, but there’s a wider point on which we definitely agree. Without the support and active involvement of a wider workforce, no pest control management strategy can be effective. Whether it’s the night security guard spotting rats moving around in the car park, the cleaners noticing smear marks under a door sill, or a janitor finding his mop has been chewed, the wider workfoce has a role to play in monitoring for pest acrivity. And it’s not just in the sensing of problems. In a kitchen environemnt, the most successful pest control strategy is to clean up (and under) everything. That’s not the job of your friendly local pest expert – it’s for the staff to change their culture so every shift they are maintainin an environment that isn’t attractive to pests – if they can do this, their pest control costs are likely to go down, and a visit from the EHO becomes a slim possibility.

So when you’re making an angry call to your pest contractor regarding the sighting of a mouse infestation on your premises, to paraphrase JFK “ask not what your pest controller can do for you, but ask what you can do for your pest controller”

To read the RSPH research which inspired this article visit www.cfwi.org.uk/

Summer seasonal pests

There is a lot going on with the industry at the moment and there are exciting times ahead.  However, being we are in the summer months where better to start by posting our first blog discussing summer pests.

As the height of summer approaches there is an expectation that we will have a sustained period of fine weather. But it is not just humans that enjoy the warmth and the sun.

Insects are temperature dependant, and the better the weather, the faster they breed, and when insects are breeding rapidly, they can become a real issue in no time at all. Some of the pests we may come into contact with in the summer will be more of a hindrance than a health risk. The common black ant, for example, can cause many concerns for customers and business owners, who can be confronted by vast numbers of the insects foraging for food.  Garden ants are not inherently dirty, and are not known to transmit disease, but they may cross unsavoury and unclean areas when foraging, making them unacceptable to customers and homeowners.

Good hygiene practices will help to discourage ant activity and prevent the contamination of sweet food. But owing to the foraging nature of ants, nesting sites will often be many metres from the affected area, and thorough inspection and treatment by a professional pest control company is required to ensure complete eradication. If the nest is not found, treatments will simply discourage the ants for a short period of time and then the problem can return.

 Bats and the bees

Not all pests are as apparently harmless as the garden ant. Wasps have a reputation as a nuisance, but the presence of nests inside or close to buildings can have serious consequences.  Wasp stings can be painful and can be lethal for people who are allergic to the sting.  Wasps’ habit of seeking out sweet products can also encourage them into open drinks cartons and cans. The result of a child being stung in the mouth can be catastrophic, and so every effort should be taken to minimise wasp activity around premises.  Again, the key to eradication of wasps is treatment of the nest, and only a professional should tackle this pest as they will persistently defend a nesting site.

Bee activity also increases in the summer months, and nesting sites for the various species that inhabit the UK are often a source of concern for householders. But remember that bees carry out an incredibly important role as pollinators, and they are rarely aggressive, so if you have a colony, try to enjoy them rather than have them destroyed. All professional pest controllers will try to avoid controlling bees, but on the odd occasion where they are located in a dangerous area they can be dealt with. Where bees are controlled, it is essential that the nest is treated in a way that prevents other bees entering the treated nest, as this can lead to the contamination and death of other nests in the area. Always seek advice before considering any kind of treatment against bees.

Often in the summer months we tend to forget that rodents are pests, mainly because species such as rats are generally driven in to properties in the colder winter months. However, never forget that rodents are great opportunists, and if possible they will venture into properties to feed or to live, even in the warmer summer periods. In fact, some of the actions that we take in summer may indirectly encourage rodents and store up problems for the future.

Composting and compost heaps are useful additions to any garden, helping to recycle waste and feed the plants in the garden, and as we spend more time in the garden through summer, it is likely that we will increase our composting. But be aware that compost heaps retain warmth and are a rich supply of food, encouraging pests like rats in the winter months. If you have a compost heap, try to ensure that it is at the far end of the garden where pests are unlikely to move closer to the property. It can also be beneficial to have a layer of chicken wire beneath the compost to prevent rats burrowing into the pile.

When it comes to pests, remember it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you think you have a pest problem, or want to prevent problems before they occur, consult a specialist. By consulting a reputable company such as a BPCA member, you will avoid the risk of injury to yourself, your staff and your customers, and ensure that your business reputation remains intact.  You will also avoid prosecution by ensuring pest species are dealt with legally and humanely, and that non-pest species such as honey bees and bats are not harmed by reckless treatments.