The majority of pest management service offerings focus on the control and management of what we frequently refer to as common household pests: insects, rats and mice that enter into a home or structure. These traditional services focus either on the direct control/management of these common pests, services that help to exclude these pests from structures, or services that help to reduce the conditions that are conducive to a pest infestation.

However, over the last several years, the number of customer concerns regarding the presence of nuisance wildlife, including squirrels, raccoons, opossums, birds and bats, has steadily increased. That’s why many companies are looking at the addition of a nuisance wildlife service to their catalog of customer offerings. Even though, as an industry, we are always looking for ways to meet our customers’ pest control needs, there are things that every company should consider before adding wildlife control as a new service offering.

LAWS AND REGULATIONS. Pest management companies are already well versed in the laws and regulations governing pest control. As a practice and to remain in compliance with those laws, companies require their technicians to hold state-issued certifications or licenses. Even though small rodents, like mice and rats, tend to fall within the same licensing category as general household pests, in most states, the control of other small mammals, such as squirrels and groundhogs, falls outside of that license’s scope. In fact, in most states, the control of nuisance wildlife usually falls within the jurisdiction of the state’s natural resource department, and depending upon the animal, jurisdiction for control may fall within federal guidelines. It is important to reach out to these various entities to ensure that when conducting any nuisance wildlife control strategies, you have secured the proper licensing and within the appropriate jurisdiction.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TARGET PESTS.Just like with traditional pest control, nuisance wildlife technicians also must gain as much knowledge of their target pests as possible, and learn the techniques and equipment used to control them. That means attending training seminars and classes that are relevant to the control of nuisance wildlife. These seminars often are provided by state natural resources organizations. In addition, Extension Services, which are associated with each state’s land-grant university, are also a great source of information. It’s also important to get involved with as many nuisance wildlife-based organizations, such as NWCOA (the National Wildlife Control Officers Association), as you can. The National Pest Management Association is also a great resource to help a business increase its knowledge regarding nuisance wildlife control.

PPE AND SAFETY. Personal safety must always be at the forefront of every nuisance wildlife control professional. Just like with our normal pest control operations, the hazards associated with driving, ladders, slips and falls, etc., remains. What changes is the additional risk associated with the management and control of the nuisance animals. The potential for disease transmission and bites is a very real concern when dealing with animals. The selection of gloves, based on the target pest, the appropriate respiratory protection when working in areas where the risk of disease transmission associated with fecal droppings, and the applicable fall protection when working in elevated spaces, are just a few pieces of equipment that must be considered. In addition, nuisance wildlife technicians also should consider updating their tetanus vaccination, as well as utilizing a prophylactic rabies vaccination, to help further reduce the potential for illness associated with any unexpected animal encounters.

BE PREPARED. The addition of nuisance wildlife control to your service offerings can be a great addition to your company’s bottom line. However, do your homework! Ensure that you have explored all your options and gained all the knowledge you can before jumping in. You’ll be glad you did!

The author is Rollins’ technical services director. She can be reached at kkelley@giemedia.com.