Kurt Scherzinger had a problem: There was a termite infestation he did not know how to treat. Beneath his feet, underneath a road, were millions of termites invading the foundation of a nearby street corner building. Tasked with eliminating the colony, Scherzinger was up against a situation made nearly impossible by the uniqueness of the infestation. “You don’t want to be the technician who scratches his head and says, ‘I have no idea,’” said Scherzinger, president of Cincinnati, Ohio-based ScherZinger Pest Control. “You want to say, ‘It’s going to be a little different, but we’ll knock it out for you.’”

Fortunately, Scherzinger has dealt with a number of difficult termite treatment scenarios throughout his career. He has mastered the art of the “nightmare scenario,” and has advice for pest management professionals who want to improve their pest control game.

IDENTIFYING ‘ROAD’BLOCKS. Sometimes barriers to treatment are straightforward. Other times the difficult situation is a literal road — a slab of asphalt and concrete that prevents a pest management firm from treating termites altogether. “That creates a challenge where you’re not able to drill or core the road,” Scherzinger said. “We have a hard enough time drilling public sidewalks, let alone streets.”

This is not the first time Scherzinger has encountered a significant challenge in providing treatment. Two additional challenging infestations at this location involved mud tubes in the mechanical room of an underground parking garage, as well as an infestation in the concrete slab beneath a carpeted office complex.

“Those situations were difficult, too, but not surprising,” Scherzinger said. “Termites love dark, damp areas where warmth and moisture are present.”

Scherzinger

When determining which type of termite treatment to perform, Scherzinger studied everything about the account and considered various treatment options. “We couldn’t do a liquid treatment in the parking garage — if we did, we would cut right through the concrete and pour into the lower level of the complex. And in the office building, we didn’t want to rip up the carpet to drill and core the slab beneath,” Scherzinger said.

TERMITE TOOLBOX. To tackle the termites beneath the road, Scherzinger needed new tools. He decided on the above-ground component of the Sentricon system, the Recruit AG FlexPack. The above-ground stations offered immediate access to termites and were easy to install, he said.

“For these scenarios, we couldn’t use in-ground bait stations — how do you put an in-ground station underground?” Scherzinger said. “The above-ground stations, however, were just what we needed. We placed them on exposed mud tubes in the basement of the building beneath the road and were able to eliminate the colony.”

Recruit AG FlexPack bait stations were used for the other infestations Scherzinger encountered at the location as well. Stations were placed in the mechanical room of the parking garage and in the interior of the office complex.

“We saw immediate results. That’s good for the customer — these days, we try to apply above-ground stations wherever possible because they work rapidly to address areas of concern.

“Think about all the tools in your toolbox,” Scherzinger said. “We used one option, but you have so much at your fingertips. If you can’t tackle it, ask your manufacturer — it’s likely they’ve heard of the scenario you’re dealing with, or can provide you with research.”

In fact, this is how Scherzinger learned to treat the structure beneath the road: The ScherZinger Pest Control team contacted their Sentricon representative, who helped find the solution to the problem. “People are as much of a resource as a product,” Scherzinger said.

BUSINESS SUCCESS. Successfully treating a difficult termite infestation isn’t just a technical “win.” It’s good for business, too.

“Solving these kinds of problems restores the customer’s confidence in you,” Scherzinger said. “You can maintain confidence that you’re their go-to problem solver. When you say you can solve anything they throw at you, they believe you.”

A strong reputation follows your firm. Successfully treating difficult sites can lead to increased renewals and help achieve higher retention rates among customers. For Scherzinger, all three contracts — the road, the parking garage and the office building — have led to renewed pest control services. Some of these customers have even expanded their contracts to include general pest control services.

Finally, Scherzinger benefited from the advantages of Recruit AG FlexPack. For both challenging and common infestations, Scherzinger said the above-ground stations have helped his company streamline equipment checklists and optimize service technician routes.

“We’ve definitely reaped the benefits of smaller equipment checklists with Sentricon,” Scherzinger said. “On our residential side, our universal technicians have all the tools they need to perform both termite control and general pest control in the same route. There’s multiple benefits there: It’s nice for customers to see just one person, and we’ve cut down on the number of trips our technicians have to take.”

The author is a market development specialist at Corteva.