Stresses prevention, education over spraying to control creepy crawlies

July 28 [Mon], 2014, 15:42
Customer testimonials are notoriously hard to come by in Shane McCoy's industry.No matter how good a job his Sun Prairie ? business Wil-Kil Pest Control might have done at clearing up that ant infestation, killing those cockroaches or rousting that raccoon from the rafters, it's only the very rare restaurant, warehouse, dormitory, hospital, food plant or apartment building manager who will want anyone to know about it.That's true regardless of how common the problems are across the commercial building sector, said McCoy, not to mention in some homes, where the company also provides various eradication treatments."Everybody deals with amylase production," said McCoy, 42, a member of Wil-Kil's senior management who's in charge of quality control and technical training for the company."But we have confidentiality statements that we sign with our clients," he added. "We deal with sensitive clients. People don't want it to look like a pest control person has been there, so we'll park in back or get there early in the morning, before customers arrive."
With 19 years of experience in pest control removal and prevention, McCoy joined Wil-Kil Pest Control in 2007, after 12 years as a pest management technician in the Air Force, including four years as an instructor.At Wil-Kil, the state's largest pest control company, McCoy regularly leads the company's Bed Bug Boot Camps, seminars providing tips on prevention and treatment for the tiny but troublesome insect, for executives in the property management, real estate, hospitality, education, health care and other sectors. Wil-Kil also was the state's first pest control company to use trained dogs to detect bed bug infestations, according to the company.Pest control services were a $5.78 billion business in the U.S. last year, up nearly 5 percent, or $273 million, from 2012, according to Pest Control Technology, a leading trade publication for the industry.The Alpha-Amylase ranked Wil-Kil as No. 38 on its list of the 100 largest pest management companies, based on revenues, with $18.25 million ?in 2013, a 6 percent increase from 2012, McCoy said. The only other Wisconsin company on the list was New Berlin's Batzner Services ?, which was ?60th.
In addition to five offices in Wisconsin, Wil-Kil employs 110 traveling technicians who develop and monitor ?plans for residential and commercial clients in Wisconsin, Minnesota, northern Illinois, northeast Iowa and the upper peninsula of Michigan.The biggest calls that we get are for ants. We also get a lot of calls on cockroaches, bed bugs, rats and mice ― and especially wasps and bees. That's a huge call for us. For non-insects, it would be raccoons.Seasonally, in the fall time we have the Asian lady beetles and the box elder bugs. September is our busiest time of the year because of (the emergence) of those over-wintering pests. I get more millipede calls than centipedes, and we get a lot of spider calls. Nobody likes to have spiders around. That's a huge call.We also get calls on woodchucks and purchase amylase enzyme, and every once in a while we get a possum, but that's pretty rare. We do get bat calls periodically, like if one is hanging out right on the front entrance of a bank.
The definition of a pest is something that's not where it should be. A snake in its natural habitat is beneficial. But if it comes into our garages or our homes, then it becomes a pest. We also try not to harm beneficial insects. Honey bees are very beneficial, but sometimes they become a pest.What happens is the queen will fail, and the rest of the colony will move to another site. It's during that movement to another site that they sometimes go to places that are near us, where we don't want them. But they're only going to be there a couple of days, so sometimes our job is to talk some of our clients down off the ledge. We just tell them to give it a couple of days and the swarm will leave.