Tommy Powell, Technical Field Representative

Tommy Powell is the technical field representative for MGK on the East Coast. Before he started working with MGK he had over 15 years as general manager or technical director for three different pest control companies. He got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entomology from the University of Florida.

Ask the Experts about Shockwave® 1 Flushing, Killing & Residual Aerosol and cockroaches:

Introduction: Cockroaches have the potential to spread disease and are not tolerated by people in their workplaces, homes, or businesses. Cockroach control encompasses 20.7% (excluding termites) of the annual pest management revenue nationwide.

1. How important is a pre-treatment inspection?

A pre-treatment inspection is critical to a successful cockroach treatment. Without knowing all the conducive conditions, harborage areas, and potential water and food sources, you could be missing a critical piece of information leading to failure to gain control. You are basically shooting in the dark and hoping something sticks! Callbacks and unhappy customers are not worth the risk of treating without inspecting first. In the short term you may gain a little bit of time, but in the long run you will lose a lot more time and money trying to correct the mistakes you made if you had just taken the time to do a proper thorough inspection in the first place.

2. What are the best tools for cockroach inspections?

There is no one way to answer this. It depends on what you are comfortable using and your process of inspections. Everyone is a little different. However, there are a lot of common tools that you may want to consider incorporating if you don’t already. Some of these include, sticky traps, flushing agents, flashlight (may consider red spectrum/lens), heat guns (caution and experience a must), mechanic’s/dental mirror, a notepad for conducive conditions and general notes, and last but not least your nose!

3. Is it really that important to identify the species of cockroaches? Aren’t they basically the same?

No, incorrect identification can lead to treatment failure. Cockroach species differ in behavior, food and habitat preference. For example, while German cockroaches are rarely found outdoors, oriental cockroaches are found indoors and outdoors, and American cockroaches are often found outdoors around sewers and drains. Knowing the species’ behavioral differences helps to correctly identify the species and plan your treatment strategy.

4. What is the benefit of having multiple active ingredients in one product?

The active ingredients that are put together will influence the uses and benefits of the final product. Having different modes of action, such as an IGR with a pyrethroid, can help combat resistance if that is a factor. In addition, adding a synergist can help combat tolerance to an active ingredient. However, not all synergists are equal. One may have more of an effect on one species while another may work better on a different species. Even different active ingredients with the same mode of action can be beneficial. While one may have a flushing effect, like pyrethrins that don’t really have any residual power, you can combine that with another adulticide with the same mode of action that does have a longer residual to combine the benefits. Overall, combining active ingredients can give you a more robust formula that works in more situations enhancing overall control.

5. How involved does the customer need to be?

The more the customer is involved in the treatment strategy the better. Educating the customer on what you are doing and the reasons for it will help give them the confidence that you know what you are doing and are working hard to get the control that they need.