Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 94

06 March 2019

Ask the technical team March 2019

Technical | PPC94 March 2019

Tricky insect ID's, managing complaints and bad neighbour bed bug management questions are all in the BPCA Technical team inbox this issue.

When you’re a BPCA member you can get technical support whenever you need it via our experienced technical team. Here are just a few of the latest questions posed...

  • If you’re from a BPCA member company our Technical team can help with tricky insect identifications
  • Don’t panic if your client complains about you to BPCA – the team is here to help you get the matter resolved, not punish you
  • For bed bug infestations originating from a neighbour, local authorities may be able to help with access via their environmental action team.

Ask the technical team anything

What do I do if I can’t identify an insect?

NATALIE REPLIES: Identification of insects is one of the biggest challenges that pest controllers can face, especially as we are not exposed to regular sightings of all of the potential species out there.

Most notably, stored product insects (SPI) such as biscuit beetle or Indian meal moth, and mite species can be tricky to identify. Knowing their origin can be just as important!

So, if you are struggling with an insect identification, pop it over via text or email an image to someone who can have a look.

The BPCA Technical team can help identify an insect for employees of a member company.

If the identification is still causing trouble then you may need an entomologist who can scrutinise it through a microscope. Some suppliers offer this service as do many BPCA Consultant members.

We do an awesome insect training programme if you want to further your own knowledge. Check out

Remember, there is no shame in needing help with insect ID – you can’t possibly know everything!

I received a complaint and am worried they may call BPCA. What does BPCA do with complaints?

NATALIE REPLIES: BPCA is not here to punish a member if we receive a complaint. We aim to establish what has gone wrong (if anything) and then work with you to put it right. In the meantime, also try to ensure your customer feels satisfied with any resolutions.

BPCA acts as a professional body and as a trade association for member companies who are involved in public health pest management. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, consultants and servicing companies.

The Association promotes, watches over, and advances the interests of such companies and encourages efficient service by them to their clients, whether domestic or commercial. The Association will look at any complaint in conjunction with the Code of Conduct and will try to mediate in any dispute with the aim of achieving a satisfactory outcome.

If this process fails, the matter may be brought before the BPCA Executive Board which will decide on appropriate action regarding the member concerned.

How do I deal with neighbouring bed bug infestations?

NATALIE REPLIES: Bed bug infestations can be a socially awkward topic of conversation as they are associated (wrongly) with unhygienic environments. We may have all, at some point, dealt with a bed bug issue that just won’t quite resolve. At this point, we turn our attention to neighbour properties attached to the rooms you are dealing with. There is a possibility the bugs are travelling in from a more heavily infested neighbour. If this is a possibility then it is important to address, which can be tricky.

These steps should be taken by your customer with your support:

  • Ask permission from your customer to talk to the neighbour and then try to access yourselves initially
  • The local authority may help via their environmental action team if you struggle
  • If the property is owned by a local authority then you can contact the housing department
  • Private properties may be more difficult, but try to speak to the landlord directly – in some cases, the local authority may issue legal notices to control infestations in properties occupied by uncooperative tenants or landlords
  • If a problem is found, discussions can commence as to how and who deals with it.


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