It is important to discuss how Integrated Pest Management or IPM affects equipment. IPM doesn’t mean doing the same with a natural product in your spray tank. Converting to a green pest control program requires a reevaluation of the spray equipment strategy to make sure it supports your IPM strategy.
IPM relies heavily on the principles of inspection, identification, monitoring and custom answers. Look at your equipment to make sure the tools are available to give your customers the service the company has committed to providing.
Design and layout. IPM requires more tools than traditional pest control. Is the equipment in the truck efficiently designed and organized so you can carry all the tools you need?
Storage. IPM requires additional storage (locking toolboxes, tool lockers, etc.) to keep materials separate and uncontaminated. Is there sufficient storage for needed tools and equipment? For example, an IPM program will likely use much larger quantities of glue boards and insect monitors, which must be kept clean and free from odor, so they should be stored separately from pesticides.
Cleanliness. Customers looking for green pest control are more likely to insist on professionalism and cleanliness. Cleanliness starts with the truck, equipment and technicians. Is the equipment designed so it can be cleaned easily, or does it build up debris and chemicals that contaminate equipment and technician uniforms? There are numerous design changes a good equipment provider can make to ensure equipment can be cleaned easily.
Safety. IPM might require multiple tools where one sufficed previously. For example, most traditional pest management professionals (PMPs) use one compressed air sprayer. Custom solutions might require multiple sprayers for multiple products. Is the equipment secured in the vehicle so it doesn’t come lose and leak, damage equipment or become airborne if a crash happens?
Multiple tanks. Custom IPM solutions might require multiple spray tanks for multiple products to prevent contamination. Some PMPs have used multiple tanks and one pump and hose. This type of contamination might not be acceptable with green products. Work with the equipment provider to design the best equipment solution for the IPM operations plan.
Custom solutions. Some customers moving to green pest control have required custom equipment solutions to support their programs. A little time invested in a conversation about your green program and operational needs might result in a new design that will save your technicians time or allow them to do a more effective job servicing your customers. Examples include custom storage, custom foamers, multiple tank units and specialized spray units.
Maintenance. Be aware of the impact of different products on your equipment. For example, some natural botanical-based pesticides are much harsher on rubber than traditional pesticides, which could cause o-rings and gaskets to wear out faster.Some borate products might require additional cleaning to prevent chemical build up, which might require you to update your preventive maintenance programs or store additional parts on the vehicle for quick in-the-field repairs by technicians.
IPM programs require you to reevaluate your pest and weed management equipment. Taking the time to ensure your equipment supports the IPM program will save you time and improve the green service you provide to customers.