Category

Mosquitoes

Educating Your Customers: The “Aha” Mosquito Moment

By | Mosquitoes | No Comments

Educating your customers starts with inspection

Captain Stan preaches that a proper inspection, on every visit, is the key to controlling most mosquito problems and provide you with the opportunity for educating your customers.  Be aware that most customers do not associate their mosquito problem with standing water on their property; they only know they are being bitten.

The “3 Ws” of an inspection

If you find mosquito breeding sites on a customer’s property, if possible show the larvae and pupae to the customer, explain what they are, where they are breeding and why.  Educating your customers has three areas.  I like to call them the three Ws:

  1. What you found
  2. Why they are there
  3. What the customer can do to help the situation

The customer may then have an ‘aha’ moment = “oh, is THAT what those are?  I see them all over the property and never knew what they were”.  At that point, make your pitch on what the customer can do to help YOU provide a better mosquito service and you may have a friend for life!

Educating your customers – Professional tip

One other hint – show the mosquitoes to any kids that may live in the house.  Educate them and the next thing you know, you may have some young ‘mosquito detectives’ to help!

Learn more about Captain Stan (aka the Mosquito Man) here: https://catchmaster.com/introducing-captain-stan-the-mosquito-man/

Discover how mosquito control tools from the Catchmaster® brand can help you grow your mosquito control business here: https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Learn more about mosquitoes from the National Pest Management Association here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

 

 

Mosquito Control Services 101

By | Mosquitoes, Uncategorized | No Comments

Mosquito control services are one vertical that many pest control companies have been on fence about offering. That is, until just a few years ago when the recent scare and media flurry over Zika, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya virus and more seems to have changed all of that. Homeowner interest in controlling mosquitoes and other vectors around lawn and gardens is at an all-time high. And a slew of national mosquito control chains have responded!

This has led many local, family-owned pest management firms to decide whether to pursue the vertical or not. Beyond that, small business owners wonder how can they possibly compete with these national chains, who seem to have unlimited marketing dollars and a nationwide presence.

It is possible to successfully compete with the big boys in the world of mosquito services. Here are five ways to own your local market when it comes to mosquito control.

Competing with the Big Boys in the World of Mosquito Control Services

  1. Keep an eye on your competitors. Start by taking a step back and observing what is happening in your marketplace. What marketing tactics are the “big boys” employing? What do their service offerings look like? How are customers reacting? As a small business owner, you can make quicker decisions, change up your offerings and move your marketing dollars around quickly.  As a result, you make be able to really own one marketing channel, like social media, instead of spreading your marketing dollars too thin. While billboards and TV ad campaigns may not be in your marketing budget, you can ensure you’re remaining competitive with the national chains by offering similar services to customers in your territory.
  2. Upsell Your Current Customer Base. You already have a great base of customers who trust your company to protect their home.  Chances are they view you as their pest expert. Ensure that you are making your customer base aware of your other services and up-sell them on mosquito control. Make it easy for customers to simply add-on this extra service to their current contract.  Let them know of this opportunity via email, door drops and having your sales person or technicians make the offering at the time of service. Incentive your sales people or technicians for every home that adds mosquito control onto their contract.
  3. Community Involvement. Go ahead and sponsor that little league baseball team, coach your daughter’s soccer league and get involved in your community. Offer a free mosquito service prior to a community event in turn for publicity. People love to support those they know and those who give back to their community.
  4. Deliver a Great Customer Experience. Customer service is perhaps the best way to stand out from the national chains. Train your employees to go above and beyond when servicing an account. Take the time to consult with homeowners on ways in which they can minimize mosquito activity on their property.  Offer handouts on overlooked mosquito breeding areas. Work closely with customers and respond quickly to complaints to earn that reputation of offering excellent service.
  5. Own the referral. Once you have a happy customer, ask for the referral and train your employees to do the same. Put customer referral programs in place that offer a free or discounted mosquito treatment to anyone your customer refers. Plan a block party and offer a discount to any block in your town that has three or more homes that buy into your mosquito services. Having more homes to service in a small geographical area will help to make your company more efficient and organically get the word out about your services.

Putting it All Together

While offering mosquito control services to compete with the “big boys” can seem daunting remember that you have tools at your disposal.  And the common thread in your tools should be how you differentiate your brand.  No doubt you have had success in differentiating yourself in other areas – mosquito control doesn’t need to be any different.

Mosquito control services are in high demand. Stay top-of-mind with customers in your territory and own your local market for mosquito services. Get started today!

Learn more about how mosquito control tools from the Catchmaster® brand can help you grow your mosquito control business here: https://catchmasterpro.com/collection/mosquito-management-tools/

Learn more about mosquitoes from the National Pest Management Association here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

Bobby Kossowicz is a content creator for the Catchmaster® brand, learn more here: https://catchmasterpro.com/blog/bobby-kossowicz/

How Far Mosquitoes Fly: Implications for Control

By | Mosquitoes | No Comments

How Far Mosquitoes Fly

One of the factors that makes mosquitoes difficult to control is that they fly.  Therefore, even if a yard has been properly serviced, flying, biting mosquitoes may appear, much to a customer’s chagrin!  Let’s look at two scenarios to see how flight range and other factors may impact a mosquito control service.

Mosquito Scenario A

Location:  backyard in urban Louisiana.

Mosquito:  Asian tiger mosquito (ATM), Aedes albopictus.

Flight range:  Limited – 150 yards or less from breeding site.

Breeding sites:  Artificial and natural containers holding relatively clean water.

Control

The key here is source reduction = finding and removing or treating all breeding sites.  The female ATM lays eggs in as many places as she can find so you have to really inspect thoroughly.  Because of the limited flight range, adults are much less likely to re-infest the property.  Use non-pesticidal traps and residual sprays or mosquito bait on vegetation.

Mosquito Scenario B

Location:  coastal areas along saltmarshes in Texas.

Mosquito:  Black saltmarsh mosquito, Aedes taeniorhynchus.

Flight range:  40 miles or so from breeding site!

Breeding sites:  Salt marshes.

Control

Wow!  Mosquitoes that fly 40 miles!  Obviously, larval control will not be part of your service!  These mosquitoes are vicious biters, attacking during the day.  Use residual sprays or baits on vegetation along with ultra-low-volume spray, and good luck!

Learn more about Captain Stan (aka the Mosquito Man) here: https://catchmaster.com/introducing-captain-stan-the-mosquito-man/

Learn more about mosquitoes from the NPMA here: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/

On The Wing – Return Of The Mosquitoes

By | Mosquitoes | 2 Comments

Spring Mosquito Season

Mosquito season is in full swing in many parts of the country.  I was just in Louisiana last week and companies there are already out providing mosquito control services.  Do you ever wonder where mosquitoes ‘return from’ each season?  Some species spend the winter (or cooler months) as adults.  They hang out in buildings, animal burrows, under decks or other protected areas.  Then, when one of the first warm days of spring arrives (usually above 65 degrees or so), they emerge and look for something, or someone, to bite!

Other species overwinter in the egg stage.  These eggs hatch almost simultaneously with the spring rains and then 10 days later or so, huge clouds of hungry adult mosquitoes emerge.  This particular scenario is especially common in heavily wooded areas, swamps, forest preserves, etc.  Mosquito control personnel try to limit this emergence by applying mosquito larvicides, often by fixed wing or rotary aircraft, in the early spring before the adults are produced.

And remember that after each blood meal, a female mosquito can lay 150-300 eggs so the populations will build up quickly, regardless of how harsh the winter may have been.

Learn more about Captain Stan (aka the Mosquito Man) here: https://catchmaster.com/introducing-captain-stan-the-mosquito-man/

Top 7 Tips for Mosquito Inspections

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7 Tips for Mosquito Inspections

A thorough inspection is key to solving any pest problem, and this is especially true when it comes to mosquitoes. With all due respect to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, are you a ‘sure lock’ at investigating mosquito problems and providing reliable solutions to your customers? Read on for some valuable information and tips for battling these thirsty bloodsuckers.

  1. NECESSARY TOOLS. All mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle so most of your inspection will involve looking for and sampling water sources. At a minimum, have a mosquito dipper (available from most biological supply companies); a plastic turkey baster for getting into small areas; plastic, resealable bags for samples; a small metal or plastic pan for examining samples; and a good flashlight. The tools will not take up much room on your truck and they are very inexpensive.
  2. INTERVIEW THE CUSTOMER. On your initial visit, interview the customer if possible. Ask about standing water sources on the property. Are people bitten mostly during the day, in the evening or both? Are there certain areas of the yard where mosquito biting is more intense? Do they get bitten inside the house? Do they have an irrigation/sprinkler system? This interview will provide valuable information to help guide your inspection and subsequent treatments. Also, look around the yard for evidence of mosquito repellents, candles, torches and other things a customer may be using to ward off mosquitoes.
  3. ELIMINATE TOP BREEDING SITES. Mosquitoes will breed in almost anything that can hold water, from a large, neglected swimming pool to something as small as a bottle cap, so take your time and examine the premises thoroughly. A partial list of common mosquito breeding sites includes tires, outdoor sinks, buckets, pet dishes, bird baths, bottles and cans, children’s toys, flower pots and drain saucers, tarps, leaky faucets, wheelbarrows, low spots holding water, decorative fountains that aren’t maintained and kiddie pools.Not all mosquito breeding sites are obvious. Be sure to look for water-holding plants such as bromeliads. Although these may only hold a small amount of water, they can produce enormous numbers of mosquitoes! Open and examine any in-ground drains for sprinkler and irrigation systems. Check corrugated plastic tubes used to draw water away from downspouts — frequently the ends of these tip up or curl and hold water. And don’t forget to look up during your inspection! Clogged gutters and tree holes are often the culprits. Also, while you are inspecting the premises, take note of any mosquitoes that may be attempting to bite you!
  4. TAKE SAMPLES. Sometimes, mosquito larvae and pupae (the immature stages) can be easily seen where they are breeding, such as in a bucket or plastic bottle. Other times they may not be so obvious. For larger bodies of water, use the plastic dipper for sampling, focusing on the surface of the water. For smaller spaces such as tree holes or plants, use the turkey baster to suck the water out. Dump the water into your plastic or metal pan (a light background works best) and look for the wigglers and tumblers. Tapping the side of the pan with your baster or finger will cause the mosquitoes to move around, making them easier to see. If you choose to preserve any samples, simply dump the water and mosquitoes into one of the resealable bags.Be advised that mosquito larvae and pupae are very sensitive to shadows and vibrations. If you cast a shadow over the breeding site or disturb it prior to sampling, the mosquitoes will dive below the surface of the water, where they can remain for a minute or so. Therefore, you may have to wait a short time before taking your sample.
  5. SHOW THE CUSTOMER. One of the most effective tools in your arsenal can be to show the customer the mosquitoes that you found as well as the breeding sites. Explain why the site is producing mosquitoes, what the different mosquito life stages are, and what, if anything, the customer can do about it. If you plan to treat any sites with larvicide or an insect growth regulator (IGR), explain that as well. Frequently, the customer may say something like ‘so, THAT’S what they look like. I always wondered what those were’ and they may then lead you to other breeding sites on the property that you didn’t find.
  6. DON’T FORGET EXCLUSION. Examine the structure(s) for mosquito entry points, especially if people are being bitten indoors. Look for torn or missing screens, broken windows, and doors that may be left open, propped open or don’t fit tightly. Mosquitoes will find their way inside buildings through the smallest of spaces! Also, some kinds of mosquitoes are highly attracted to light, so a change in lighting scheme may help.
  7. INSPECT ON EVERY VISIT. Under ideal conditions, mosquitoes can complete their life cycle in as little as 5-7 days. Therefore, if you only visit the property every 30 days or so, you may encounter several new or previously undetected breeding sites and there may be adult mosquitoes on the loose. Hopefully, if you have properly educated your customer, some of these sites will be emptied before you arrive. Regardless, take the time on every visit to do another thorough inspection of the property.

IN SUMMARY: Top 7 Tips for Mosquito Inspections 

Now that you have successfully found the breeding sites on your customer’s property, you can make decisions on which sources to dump or drain and which ones may need to be treated. However, do not dump or drain any water without first asking the customer, and always read and follow the label on any product you choose to use. It can also be useful to make a quick map of the property, showing where the breeding sites and any conducive conditions were for future reference.

What if you can’t find any mosquito breeding on the customer’s property, yet they are still having a mosquito problem? This is common due to the fact that some kinds of mosquitoes will fly significant distances, up to perhaps 40 miles, from their breeding sites before they feed. So, you may not be able to do anything about the breeding sites but you can offer a service to control the adult mosquitoes. And, it is always a good idea to explain situations like this to the customer.

Finally, remember that without a thorough inspection for mosquito breeding sites on each visit, your mosquito control service is likely to fail, resulting in callbacks, unhappy customers and cancellations. So, look hard and look often!

Now that you know the top 7 tips for mosquito inspections, learn more about Captain Stan (aka the Mosquito Man) here: https://catchmaster.com/introducing-captain-stan-the-mosquito-man/