“Unless you do a lot of small fly work, it’s one of those things that is easily overlooked in the training process,” says Kevin Lemasters, associate certified entomologist and president of EnviroPest in Colorado.
Lemasters figures that up to one-half of his technicians have never confronted a small fly problem on the job, since the service is mostly a problem that commercial customers deal with and his business is primarily residential. “When technicians are not seeing the issue or dealing with it, we can talk about it in a meeting or go over modules in new-hire training, but it’s not the same as exercising it in the field.”
Small fly control calls for an investigative mindset. Hands-on training should involve proper small fly identification and figuring out the root of the infestation. Because small flies fester deep inside drains, underneath floor surfaces, in pipes and underneath kitchen equipment, dealing with a problem can be a dirty job.
“You have to understand the bug, the biology and the treatment,” says Jim Saitman, operations manager, MadCo Pest-a-Side, Wildomar, Calif.
Saitman encourages his team to think outside of the box when managing small flies. “Be a problem-solver — that’s the real key,” he says. “And I always tell my guys, if you have a problem treating a pest, don’t keep it to yourself. Ask for help, do some research.”
He emphasizes that small fly control is not “production work” and requires more time, understanding and knowledge than most other pest problems. “It’s about understanding their behavior and biology and tracing the problem to its root,” Saitman says.
Technicians at ZipZap perform all services, so everyone needs a working knowledge of how to identify and treat small flies, Preece says. “Training is ongoing,” he adds, noting that small fly is not a “spray-and-go” service. “It takes experience and knowing what to look for.”