I was born on National Hangover Day, Year of the Hippie. That makes me 52 years old as I write this.(gasp) I’m ok with telling you my age, because I look 30. My goal is to live happy and healthy, so when I am 70, people will think I’m 50.
A well lived life can be a blessing or a curse, and I’ve said a few (too many) curse words in all my years. I am blessed that I get to be part of an industry I love. Oh, yea, it’s pest control. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing otherwise.
AGE WILL CATCH YOU
I was touring a facility so I could give a bid for monthly pest control services. As I was taking notes, my company tour guide was intrigued. He pointed to an opaque square box on the floor, “I don’t know what those are.” I leaned to pick it up and I slid the top open. It was a mouse trap…. One that had the remnants of what was a mouse.
As I showed it to my guide, “Hmmm,” was the response. The stickers on the inside had dates that were more than 15 years old, and a barcode system had taken its place. “Upgrading your pest equipment will get you more efficacy,” I quipped, “and better data.”
The response, “I’m in favor of good data and less mice running around.”
ALMOST NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
Did you know that almost everything has an expiration date? Food, safety equipment, batteries, household cleaners, electronics, even boxed wine. It’s true. Food products usually get devoured, and safety equipment gets worn and broken long before that date comes. Household cleaners, including laundry soap, get used pretty fast, but manufacturers still institute that date.
I emailed Jessica Terry, a Sales Manager from Kness Pest Defense, and Liz Turner, a Regional Manager from Catchmaster, to ask if multi catch traps had an expiration date. I was surprised to find out they did not. The only recommendation from both companies was to replace a multi catch if it was damaged, excessively dirty, or otherwise non-functional.
Manufacturing processes vary by product and company. Some have the Date of Manufacturing stamped on them, including the initials of the person who assembled the unit. How awesome is it that humans do the assembly? That was a fun fact to know. Pest control is a human business that starts with an actual person putting together the equipment we use!
TO CATCH A MOUSE FOR YEARS TO COME
Would the constant influx of rodents going into a trap make it unusable after a certain amount of time? The sebum build up on the counterweight would make it gummy. I suppose that would require replacement under the sanitation category. (Why aren’t you cleaning it?) If mice are still attracted to a multi catch, it must be working correctly, right? Maybe, maybe not.
With the product manufacturer’s information in mind, I can’t help but question if there should be additional criteria on when to replace a multi catch. Well, I guess that depends on the environmental factors surrounding the placement of the device. Every multi catch location requires a why assessment of where because of what. That initial inspection will give the PCO answers about proper placement.
Dan Crew, General Manager for Kness Manufacturing, Company in Albia, IA advises the pest control pro to periodically check for cleanliness and functionality. “We’ve had traps in the field for generations that are still in use today,” he says.
Catchmaster multi catch products are made with galvanized steel and can be subject to rusting in environments with high humidity. Liz Turner recommends using the powder coated version for these placements, as they are rust resistant.
DON’T BE TRAP SHY
We all know the pest control technician who is only on a route for the commission sales. Maybe you’ve been that technician. I won’t lie… that was me. Of course, we all know better now, huh? Properly servicing pest control devices is crucial to client satisfaction. Those third party auditors appreciate a well oiled pest control program, as do our managers.
My first set of management didn’t really care about pest control for the facility I was originally trained for. I didn’t care either, but since 2008, I have learned a few things about catching a mouse. Clean, functional, well placed multi catch devices are just the beginning. Even the well intended pest control technician can’t be, or become, and shouldn’t be, trap shy.
IS IT TIME TO REPLACE?
Take a look at the mouse traps placed throughout your accounts. Are they really working? Is the counterweight stuck or missing parts? Have you cleaned them? Does the lid shut correctly? (An AIB auditor deducted points on me for this) Is the placement correct with holes to the back? Is it too badly damaged?
These factors and many others are some inspection items that should be completed. A quick way to assess all of these: Shut the lid: Hold it up: Look at the teeter totter: Can you see through it?
In Summary: It doesn’t matter what your age, it matters how you look and move. This goes for your multi catch devices, too. The more you know, the more you grow.