The qualifications needed to succeed as a wildlife technician are a bit different from those of a general pest or termite technician. As with any type of pest control, knowing the habitats, habits and preferences of the animal they’re dealing with is important. But PMPs generally look for a broader range of skills in their wildlife technicians — namely, familiarity with animals, a comfort level with ladders, and construction expertise they can apply to exclusion work.
“We ask right on the application whether the candidate has hunting and fishing skills,” says Jerry Swoboda of Swoboda Pest & Termite Control. “You can’t take a chance that a technician will be scared. They have to exude confidence or else the customer will be scared, too.”
Sheri Spencer Bachman says that Spencer Pest Services looks for hunters, too, and requires construction capabilities in the technicians they hire for wildlife work. “We call them ‘specialty technicians’ because they have these particular skills,” she says. “We pay them well for the work they do, but they know they need to do it right. We offer customers a warranty on our exclusion work, and if they have any issues with that work, the same technician has to go back out and fix it.”
Wildlife work demands unique gear and training, too. From gloves and traps to hand tools and ladders, to control poles, bump caps and full-face HEPA filters, PMPs told PCT they outfit their wildlife technicians with a broad range of equipment — equipment they must be comfortable using before they go out on a call.
“Ladder safety training is critical for wildlife technicians,” says Spencer Bachman. “We make sure they develop all of the necessary skills to set up and check their ladders, and to work comfortably from them. We also invest in the best equipment, including balancers and stabilizers, to ensure their safety.”
Dennis Mastrolia of Dennis the Mennis Pest Control believes in investing in high-quality gear, too, saying, “Equipment is one of the most important elements of a wildlife control program. We buy traps from companies that specialize in designing and building traps, not from big-box stores. And we provide our technicians with safe, well-made tools and appropriate PPE. This isn’t an area where you want to scrimp.”