By Jaan Koel
Years ago, controlling pests, was the bailiwick of “baseboard jockeys” as they were called, who basically used sprays containing pesticides, rodenticides (rat poison) and a host of other substances to keep a food production facility free from insects, birds, rodents and other unwanted guests.
Today, that’s changed. Baseboard jockeys have been replaced by skilled pest control management specialists and service technicians, who regard prevention rather than chemical treatment as the priority. This makes good sense: if you can keep pests from getting into or around a facility in the first place, chemical usage can be reduced, even eliminated. And that’s a big plus in food manufacturing for obvious reasons.
That said, chemicals are still needed, and still very much a part of the pest control management industry, which in 2012 in the US billed $6.8 billion, consisted of 17,800 companies, and employed 125,000 service technicians.