Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 90

21 February 2018

Back to school pest awareness

Feature business practice | PPC90 March 2018

Back to school with Dee and Natalie

Dee and Natalie usually spend time talking pest awareness to high-ups in food premises or the hospitality industry but sometimes something different comes along...

It’s always worth our time to explain what a professional pest technician does and more importantly, why. However, when we were invited to talk to 90 seven, eight and nine-year-olds at a primary school, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to ‘get ‘em young’ and spread our pest awareness message to a new generation.

It was a drizzly Winter lunchtime when we arrived at Hunters Bar Junior School in Sheffield. Despite the weather, every student was running around the playground, while Natalie was gently shivering herself to death from the chill. We had three back-to-back talks with different classes spread across the afternoon. Mrs Bridges told us that the talk was part of the children's animals topic. The aim was to develop educated opinions about animal rights and how that fits within the theme of 'how we survive'. They’d also had the RSPCA in to do a talk and watched a video about animal testing. In a later lesson, the children were to use what they’d learned to debate the motion, “animals should have equal rights to humans”.

Our talk covered a variety of issues including what is a pest, why we have to control them, and how humans and the environment are protected through the use of professional pest control. Along the way, we talked about how great badgers, bees and hedgehogs are (with the hedgehogs getting an audible ‘awww’ from the kids). We also spoke of the disgusting way in which flies eat their food – lovingly acted out by Dee, of course. That one got a big ‘yuck’ from the young audience, who thankfully had already eaten lunch.

Dee and Natalie sent back to school

The kids were challenged to point to the animal they thought would be more dangerous to people: a tiger or a mosquito. Impressively, most of the kids identified the mosquito as being the more dangerous creature and could even tell us all about malaria. Considering at their age Dee was struggling to get her shoelaces to work, we were pretty impressed!

Whether it was spreading diseases, causing house fires, or destroying our food and environment, we were frank with the kids that pests could be dangerous if improperly treated. We thought this might be a tough message for young kids, but they seemed to understand the importance.

When it came to how we control pests, we asked our audience what all animals need to survive. Our favourite answer was “food, water and love”. We added harborage as a fourth, unable to argue that love wasn’t important. We empathised that sometimes animals get ‘out of control’ and therefore it’s a PCT’s job to regain that control to protect people. This does often mean humanely killing pests, but pest prevention is an integral part of our role too.

Towards the end of the talk, we likened pest controllers to superheroes. I mean, what else do you call someone who spends their time protecting public health? We ended the talk with a simple question: if there's a pest problem in your neighbourhood “who you gonna call?” Pest controllers!

Kids say the funniest things

Our favourite answer was food, water and love

These kids were seriously bright. Between them, they know how malaria is spread, how fleas transfer diseases between pets and humans, and how plants are pollinated by insects. However, they did also come out with some corkers.

  • Have you ever seen a badger? “My grandad was bitten on the leg by a badger”; “My grandpa has a badger. He’s called Billy.”
  • Talking about flies: “A dog on my road did a poo, and all the flies ate it.”
  • Talking about rats teeth: “My guinea pig fell off a ledge and lost his teeth.”
  • On what pests need to survive:
  • “There was a rat on my slide, but I think he starved.”
  • Can you name some pests? “Rats, cockroaches and crocodiles” and, notably, “my dog.”


Do you know of an event, organisation or institution that would benefit from a visit from BPCA? Let us know...

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Scott-Johnstone-Staff-bubbleScott Johnstone
Content and Communications Officer
1 March 2017  |  PPC90

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