Your questions answered

Every day the Rapid Solutions team are asked questions that we have encountered many times before but also unusual questions that reflect the diverse and complex nature of pest management.

The selection of genuine questions and answers listed below will we hope provide you with an interesting and informative read. The topics range from the future of the pest control industry through to the sleeping habits of bees and almost everything else in between.

As our client, if you ever have a question that you need answered, do not hesitate to get in touch and let us know how we can help.

 

 

Training Questions

Self betterment, online training and support staff training

I am a qualified builder and inspector. How can I continue to increase my qualifications to better myself?

Professional development through short courses, workshops, industry events and conferences are a great way to stay current and keep invested in yourself and your industry! There are always new things coming in and changes to old processes.

With the introduction of trainee pest technician permits in July of this year (by the EPA) and the decline of TAFE locations and courses, what other avenues are available to train trainee pest and termite technicians properly?

Rapid Training deliver the full certificate - CPP30115 Certificate III in Urban Pest Management  under the traineeship model and we are currently taking expressions of interest ready for our next intake. Register your interest at rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training/register-your-interest and we'll send you more information.

We’re looking to grow next summer and we’re wanting to train more staff. We’ve always used Rapid to train our staff in the past. When will training be up and running?

We are open now! Our processes have changed to support the industry. Complete the form at  rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training/register-your-interest

When will you be offering cert 3 in pest management as part of your trading packages? I have a new trainee ready to start his training.

Please contact our training department now as we have limited availability due to capacity. Further information is required to advise you. Please call 02 40 400 221 or use the the following link for further information rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training/register-your-interest 

We live in a remote area, Nhulunbuy, and we have been trying to recruit a pest control technician with good remuneration package and housing assistance, how come it is very hard to get someone? As an association, why can’t we write a letter to the government that it should be included in the skilled worker list? Do you agree that we have shortage on this field?

Yes there is a shortage for quality trained staff in this industry. Each state reviews the Skills shortage list and as a training organisation it is something with the association that can be raised. When we are faced with a skills shortage it takes time to build up a skilled pool of workers. Rapid Training will be releasing something soon that may help in your mission to employ the right staff member. Keep an eye on our website.

After 20 years of inspecting, reporting, quoting I wonder how can someone who does a three day course call themselves a pest controller?

Rapid Training are committed to quality training and will not compromise our product or courses to offer quick, cheap training options. Our product is developed in line with regulatory authorities and licencing requirements. Rapid Training will continue to grow and offer training that supports our industry that is benchmarked at the highest level. 

Why doesn’t this industry ownmake people work for other companies for a set amount of time before they can open their businesses and call themself an expert in the field?

Unfortunately this is not a requirement under government laws. All they need to do is employ a licenced technician. As an industry, if we continue to deliver quality training and professional development, then hopefully it will raise the standards and promote best practice across the industry.

Before employing my first technician, should I invest in using a HR consultant/ employment agency or go it alone?

To gain some business advice prior to employing staff would be a good way to understand your obligations and requirements. Another good place to start would be www.fairwork.gov.au/
An employment agency will just provide support finding the right candidate in the first instance.

I will be employing my son who turns 18 in January 2018, my question is, can he do the courses before he turns 18, so he is ready to go when he does turn 18?

Yes, he can enrol in the training course now. Please complete the expression of interest form at rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training There is also further information on this link as to the process now required to train.

Can I do the pest management course over the internet?

Rapid Training offer a range of  courses  and workshops that are offered online. We also offer face to face workshops in a blended delivery. You can register at rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training/register-your-interest

What would Rapid (as an insurance agent and training organisation) like to see with regard to training in the industry? Does Rapid see value in minimum training times, minimum number of jobs and a national framework where all states are the same? Would Rapid like a national body controlling pest control and pesticide application?

Rapid Solutions as part of the industry is committed to raising the standards and will support our industry through quality training and further professional development to enable growth and motivation throughout the industry. Training is monitored through training authorities and we are committed to quality training and ensuring our learners are supported to meet industry requirements. I don't forsee a national body or all states under the one banner however, I do believe a strong association and industry group will be effective in having a strong voice and raising the bar in industry.

Do you think it is too easy for 'cowboys' to enter into our industry?

Even with apprenticeships you will come across issues with 'cowboys' in the industry. My advice is to invest in yourself!

To build the industry we need to train to grow our knowledge and expertise. The traineeship is a great way of building a skilled workforce and training people up in your business over a period of time to meet your business expectations. Also, professional development and refresher courses are a great way of keeping in line with best practice. We can always grow and learn.

When you will be starting up the support staff training and how much it will cost?

Our support staff online workshops are available now. You can get started at rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training/short-course

When will you be commencing Units 8 & 10 Timber Pest Training again?

We are taking expressions of interest now. Please complete the form at rapidsolutions.com.au/pest-control-training/register-your-interest

How can pest managers get a building inspection qualification? Currently building inspectors can attend a short course and get a qualification to inspect for timber pests. Is a course being developed for pest managers to gain building inspection qualification?

Rapid Training does not currently offer this training and we would recommend a building consultant obtaining a Certificate IV in Building construction for insurance purposes.

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Insurance Questions

From protective wording through to drone cover.

Insurers should shift from protective wording to customer friendly wording in service contracts. Clients would be put off if they reading all the terms and conditions.

We often get asked about simplifying our policy wordings. Whilst we regularly review our policies in line with changing Standards and the operating environments of our Insureds, the fact remains they contain a variety of clauses that can be difficult to digest, particularly if you think you may have a claim. It’s why our inhouse Claims and Technical team are such a vital and valued part of our offering to customers – if you need some assistance interpreting your policy, or think you may have a claim, just give us a call or pop us an email and we’ll talk through it with you.

Having less then 12 months experience within timber pest industry will your company still cover that person?

In 12 months a good deal of experience can be gained depending on how much work is done with Timber Pest Inspections and work. So, we might cover them or advise them to gain more experience then offer cover.
If the technician has completed units 8 and 10, cover for termite management will be provided. If the technician would like to have cover for pre-purchase timber pest inspections, we would recommend at least 15 inspections under supervision, or going on-site with an experienced qualified inspector and doing an inspection at the same time as them and then comparing reports. If a technician has completed well over 20-30 termite inspections or treatments, our technical staff may approve cover for timber pest inspections after speaking with them, even though they may not have done 15+ pre-purchase inspection under supervision.

I’m thinking about using a drone to spray tall buildings that my normal sprayer won’t reach, so I’m wondering what’s the pros and cons with insurances and licenses.

Rapid Solutions does not currently provide cover for aerial applications. However, at some stage in the future, we are looking at covering the use of drones for inspection purposes. You cannot just go and spray with a drone. There are specific qualifications, licenses and permits required through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. 

Why is it so difficult to find an insurance company for pest control?

Over the years there have been quite a number of Insurers who have covered Pest Control work. The reason they have not remained very long is usually due to claims and the losses they make. They then drop out of the market for this type of insurance leaving very few insurers to choose from.
This type of insurance is specialised and the big insurers likely see it as a niche business they are not familiar with.

Ready for a quote?

Rapid Solutions is the only underwriting agent with access to the specialist professional indemnity and general and public liability insurance offered by Pacific International Insurance Pty Limited. We offer competitive premiums on a policy wording, which are specifically worded for your industry.

Technical Questions

Detection dogs, bed bug, termite pheromones and much more.

Do bees sleep at night?

Yes bees do sleep around 5 to 8 hours per day. Their sleeping may not necessarily be all at night, but the bulk does occur during this time. There is good evidence to suggest that they get tired and do not function as well without sleep, just like us.  

Hi a customer of mine had a problem with flys what is the best chemical I could use?

Rapid Solutions does not recommend one product over another. You should use a registered product. We suggest you seach the APVMA web site https://portal.apvma.gov.au/pubcris.
Put "fly" (singular) into the first box and tick "pest" below. The search will give all products registered for the control of flies, their label and other information.
If you would like to discuss this process further, please call our office on 1300 309 169, and I can walk you through this extremely informative site.

Your doing a PPI and there no sub floor entry and during the inspection you find in cupboard the floor has been replaced do you try to lift it or has it been replaced because of termite damage?

When you are performing a Pre-Purchase Inspection, you are normally working for someone who does not own the property, therefore, you cannot do damage to gain access.
In your report you should indicate that you noted that flooring has been replaced and that this may indicate that there has been previous termite infestation. Recommend that they enquire about the termite history for the property from the vendor. You can also recommend that access be gained.
If your client is worried, they can go to the vendor and ask for permission for you to do a more invasive inspection.
In the instance outlined, that may include cutting traps over inaccessible areas, creating an entry to the subfloor or digging trenchs to gain acess to those areas.
If the vendor agrees and your client tells you to go ahead, you need the permission IN WRITING before proceeding. This permission should come from the vendor or their legal representitive (Agent or Solicitor). You should also have an agreement with your client regarding the extra cost involved.
Please feel free to call our office on 1300 309 169 if you wish to discuss this further.

What is the best breed,sex or age for detection dogs?

The best dogs for detection work for our industry are small confident dogs that love to retrieve. Gun dog breeds are ideal for search because we want them to do similar tasks, hunt for an odour, indicate an odour and then use the retrieve as a reward.  
I use Cocker Spaniels bred from pure working lines, no show dogs.  A small dog can go anywhere a big dog can go and further.  They are a non threatening breed for the public and have amazing drive to work all day.  
Larger breeds like Springer Spaniels are limited by access. The Cocker Spaniel is a wonderfully independent dog and will often ignore the handler to be obedient only to odour.  This means that less is missed, and the handler who often distracts the dog, is less of an issue.
Its best to raise the pup in the work environment and imprint the odour from a young age.  The dog should be confident in all work environments and be conditioned to the target odour from a young age. The best dogs I have seen have been conditioned to search for odours from a pup.  This allows us to create an independent search dog that will just naturally hunt for the target odours rather than a dog that has been taught a trick.  A good dog will search without direction or command, for anyone.
The sex of the dog is not important, qualities of confidence and drive are the behaviours to look for. (Shane Clarke, Dogwall)

I’d like information on the new A.S regarding termite treatments etc. and can I order the new paperwork through Rapid Solutions?

The latest standard is avaiable from https://infostore.saiglobal.com/en-au/Standards/AS-3660-2-2017-1952337/. Our technical team have also summarised how it will effect pest managers and this information is available on our website.  
In relation to our paperwork, our technical team is currently in the process of ensuring that all related items are updated. We expect to have the new versions available for purchase/download in the coming months.
In the meantime, all paperwork available through our client portal for download or purchase will be covered by your policy held by us. Please feel free to call our office on 1300 309 169 if you wish to discuss this further.

Would a ceiling void or low sub floor be classed as a confined space? If so should all technicians be trained in confined space safety?

A ceiling void or low sub-floor would not usually be considered a confined space unless a hazard existed. A confined space is determined by the hazards e.g. a subfloor or roof space could be considered a confined space if it is or is likely to be a risk to health and safety from:
– an atmosphere that does not have a safe oxygen level;
– contaminants, including airborne gases, vapours and dusts, that may cause injury from fire or explosion;
– harmful concentrations of any airborne contaminants;
– engulfment.  Confined spaces are commonly found in vats, tanks, pits, pipes, ducts, flues, chimneys, silos, containers, pressure vessels, underground sewers, wet or dry wells, shafts, trenches, tunnels or other similar enclosed or partially enclosed structures,
when these examples meet the definition of a confined space in the WHS Regulations.
Areas not considered a confined space include enclosed or partially enclosed spaces that are designed to be occasionally occupied by a person if the space has a readily and conveniently accessible means of entry and exit.
The essential thing to do is a risk assessment before commencing any work activity at a site. The assessment should be conducted in association with a set of specific circumstances and not just because work is performed in a small space.

What is the best way to repel geckos without killing them and how dangerous is gecko poo?

Be mindful that gekkos are protected. The best way to treat them would be to re-locate them.
Faeces of any animal can present a health problem in sufficient quatity, however, the damage it may cause and visual appeareance of it, would seem to be the greater problem.
Reduce the gekkos, reduce the problem.

A customer wants a preventative, non-repellent, “chemical soil treatment” carried out. They have 2 covered areas which are tiled with expensive travertine marble, so they refuse for these areas to be treated. Is it better to treat around these areas so the treatment is continuous, or install baits to form a “complete” treatment?

In this case, unless the tiled area is part of the house concrete slab forming a patio, treating around it would not make a continuous soil treatment. Therefore, the treatment would be incomplete. Soil treatments must be against the foundation which is the slab edge for slab on ground constructions. It would be best to install a monitoring and baiting system in this instance. 

Besides traditional pest management methods and non chemical methods, what other methods are being thought of or trialed currently to combat German cockroaches?

At the moment this is not likely to change but Bio Pesticides are being developed for agricultural pests and also mosquitoes. Such technology will gradually be adopted for general pest control where the chemical companies see a market for bio products.

What should I say to a customer who is really worried they have termites and wants me to go under their floor even though it is not humanly possible?

If your client is worried, they can give you written permission to do a more invasive inspection. That may include cutting traps over inaccessible areas or digging trenchs to gain access to those areas. You should have an agreement with your client regarding the extra cost involved.
If a more invasive inspection is not an option you may consider using or recommending the use of other methods, such as thermal imaging, motion sensing radar units or a pest detection animal.

How do I know if I have bed bugs? If I have how do I get rid of them? Are there any physical symptoms?

A way to identify if you have bedbugs and is that you can see spotting on light coloured items such as bedding. These will be in areas such as folds in the mattress. You may also see cast skins when the insects moult. Eggs may also be visible.
Physicla symptoms may include itchy red welts on the skin. If you have these signs, you may wish to consult your GP for advice.
For confirmation or treatment, I suggest you contact a pest management firm as they can carry out an inspection and let you know whether or not you have a problem with bed bugs.
You may also go to the AEPMA website and download the Bed bug Code of Practice at http://medent.usyd.edu.au/bedbug/bedbug_cop.htm, there is a wealth of information on bed bugs in this code.

Are customers really concerned about what species of termites have attacked their property?

Generally speaking, customers are not really concerned with the species, but rather the fact that termites are eating their home. However, in order to apply the best treatment method, you need to know what species you're dealing with. Different termites need different approaches. A termite manager should know his/her termites particularly in the areas the business covers. 

If we would be interested in expanding our business to cater for commercial weed control, doesRapid have the solutions to provide training and insurance covering agricultural chemical distribution control?

Rapid Solutions does provide cover for weed control including commercial weed control. We do not provide specific training for this work at this time. Training is available through TAFE, ChemCert, Smarttrain and some Agricultural Colleges.
Weed control is a specialist area and even with a Pest Licence further specific training is advisable. Even in commercial weed control knowledge of the weeds, their ecology and control methods is important.  

What's the best way to ensure that major defect and safety issues are not overlooked in reports?

The only way to ensure that you report all major defects and major safety hazards is to be thoruogh in your inspection, careful when taking notes and filling out the report and double checking the document before giving it out. There should be good methodology in place that you can follow every time.
For instance, always check the site first to familiarise yourself with the property. Always travel in the same direction when going around, through and under the property/structure when inspecting. Make any notes on your check sheet as you discover them. Always fill out your check sheet DURING the inspection, not after or when you get home. 

What are best products and techniques available for ant control inside & out in residential & garden applications?

As an independent insurance provider we do not endorse specific products. For ant control techniques, there are baits, gels, dusts, sand based granular products and pesticide sprays.
What is appropriate is determined by the species, the site conditions and safe use of pesticide inside and outside the structure. In order to determine these factors an inspection prior to treatment and knowing what your dealing with is most important.

It is common for some chemically impregnated sheet material installers to rely on following trades for the final placement/alignment of the product. Where such installations result in the sheet not being visible at the building perimeter, so that inspectors cannot tell if it is complete and continuous, will the installer still have insurance cover?

In short, possibly not. Your insurance covers YOUR work, not that of following trades. You should be installing the product. You cannot issue a Certificate of Installation if you didn't install it. You remain the responsible person for the installation.

What type of baiting program do you believe works for European Wasps? Our area is using durga traps and they are not working.

Rapid Solutions does not recommend one registered product over another. In relation to your question of what type of baiting programs are effective for European Wasps we can say that that control methods currently involve direct treatment of the nests by insecticides registered for them. Traps/baits offer very limited control as they are used for monitoring of wasps. A nest may contain 10,000 wasps, trapping etc will only collect a small number. 

Quite often when treating a house for spiders we spray around skirting boards and tiled areas. We often advise the client to be careful around these areas, as they may slip and hurt themselves. If they return and accidentally trip on a wet area are we liable?

If you pull the trigger then yes, to some degree you do have liability.
In the case of treating spiders, unless you are treating for something specific, such as white tail spiders, it is often not necessary to treat the skirting. Webbing spider treatment is usually limited to external harbourages, subfloor and roof void.
Also, pesticide labels say to apply up to the point of run off. If you are getting runs on the floor, it is being applied to heavily. Use a finer nozzle and/or check your nozzle for wear.
You are correct to advise them to be careful, but if the floor is wet from chemical it should be mopped up and warning signs put in place. A verbal warning is not enough should an incident happen.

With more customers developing allergies and a greater awareness of chemicals, how can we provide a "greener" solution to pest control?

You could try Integrated Pest Management (IPM). By reducing harbourage, food and water, you will create an environment less attractive to pests. This reduces the amount of product needed to control a problem.
You can also use the least irritating product for the chemical side of your management plan. For example, a wettable powder will release few vapours where as an emulisifiable concentrate will release more. Gels may be preferable over dusts.

When supplying clients with reports, quotes etc via email I like to send in a pdf format so they can't altered the document in anyway. I have some clients come back to me saying they can't open or print the pdf document, what is your suggestion with sending another format beside in a word document so the clients cannot change any wording so there is no legal repercussions down the track.

We believe that PDFs are the best option.
You can create different versions of PDFs and sometimes this causes issues if the recipient is using an older version of a PDF reader. This is especially true if you are using security restictions on your document.
You could try creating the PDF as an earlier version. If you are using Adobe Acrobat Pro you can do this by going to File>Save As Other>Optimized PDF and setting it as compatible with an earlier version. This may be different for you depending on what software you are using. Just keep in mind that if you are using security, such as passwords, an older version makes it less secure.

If we have sprayed under a house to apply a termite liquid barrier and a couple of years later the home owner experiences flooding under the house and this in turn weakens the barrier and termites infest the house are we liable? Do we have a responsibility to warn the homeowner of this even though this is an unexpected occurrence.

Certainly, if you are aware of a flood event in the area that you operate, it is best to pro-actively contact your clients and warn them of the possibility that their termite management system may be compromised and recommend that they have an inspection to check its status.
This applies to all systems, whether chemical, physical (inspection zone) or monitoring and baiting.
Rapid Solutions has on several occasions sent out advice to clients, recently those in Queensland, advising them to do this.
Your inspection would detect any wash away areas and, if necessary, your recommendation would be to have the treatment or system re-instated. 

What's the most cost effective approach to bird control in farm sheds (sparrows and starlings)?

When dealing with sparrows and starlings we suggest looking at proofing, as it is probably the most cost effect method of removing birds from situations where they are a problem.

The best chemicals and the latest treatment methods for fly control in residential ,commercial areas including dairies/animal houses.

As an insurer within the pest industry, Rapid Solutions does not recommend one product or business over another.
If you are looking for a list of all available products n the marketplace, we suggest the AVPMA website https://portal.apvma.gov.au/.
We also suggest that you recommend sanitation to your client as a preventive tool to help with control in this situation.

We have pest control businesses in the ACT saying Pre construction under slab handspraying complies with AS 3660.1-2014. Please explain?

Hand spraying is not illegal, however, it may not be used as a Primary Termite Management System (stand alone system). This is because AS3660.1:2014 aligns with the National Construction Code (NCC). The NCC give the life expectancy of a structure as 50 years. No chemical has a life expectancy of 50 years. So, if chemical is to be used as a Primary Termite Management System, AND the area will be concealed and inaccessible when the building is complete (under a slab fits this description), then the chemical must be replenishable via a reticulation system installation which will provide a complete and continuous distribution of the chemical in the soil in that area. See section 7 of AS3660.1:2014 for more detail.

If a homeowner has termites inside the property but only wants a external treatment done what is the best course of action?

If a potential client will not listen to your advice, our advice is that it is best to not take on the job.
An external treatment alone is no guarantee to control the termites even with non-repellent termiticides. Read the labels and they tell you this.
The pest controller is the professional, do not be influenced by clients, as it is you who they will blame. The treatment must be in accordance with as 3660.2 and the label of the product you use.   

How long does the termite pheromone stay on a piece of wood, and what can remove it?

We have not seen research on how long pheromones remain active.
Termites secrete several different pheromones from different glands for different purposes. Some of these are volatile and would not be expected to last very long, perhaps for the immediate task e.g. defence. Other pheromones are trail and sex types and likely last hours or up to several days. However, we cannot be absolutely sure about this.
Termites using a trail will constantly replenish it if the colony is using it as a feed source. There has not been any product developed for removing pheromone chemicals in the field, nor research done to show it could be a possible control method.  

When treating a residential house for rodents we are often asked to place rodent bait in lockable stations in sheds. Sometimes as the rodents eat the bait, they can bring out small fragments of bait from the station. If the home owners dog or cat eats this bait and gets poisoned are we liable?

There is always a degree of liability when you carry out any action.
For any job you should be completing a written risk assessment. On this you can inform your client that there is a chance that some bait may be carried out of the station by the rodents and that they should regularly check the area and sweep up and dipose of this material in an appropriate manner (as per the label). Your risk assessment should also note that lockable stations are being used to minimise the risk of baits being consumed by domestic pets. 

According to the Western Australian Building Commission there is NO requirement for a Building Inspector in WA to have a building licence. Is there any legislation or legal requirement (pest manager licence) for building inspectors to carry out Timber Pest Inspections in WA? Is there currently a loop hole where building inspectors performing timber pest inspections in Western Australia don't have either a Pest Managers Licence OR a Building Licence?

In Western Australia a pest management technician's license has an endorsement regarding timber pests.
As far as Rapid Solutions is concerned, if a builder applies for cover to do timber pest inspections, we would ask for a suitably endorsed license. We do not control regulations and cannot stop someone who is not insured by us from doing them unlicensed.

Why add a growth regulator to a knockdown spray? It seems counterintuitive. If the spray has a long residual why add a different protocol? They should die from the knockdown residual and not have a chance to moult...so why do it?

The addition of an insect growth regulator is useful in the treatment of several insects, especially flea and cockroaches.
With regard to fleas, the knock down product will take out larvae and adults, but there's not much that will touch the pupae and egg. Eggs that hatch will not be able to pupate and pupae that come out will not be able to reproduce. It is an extra action which may be of assistance when doing flea treatments which are notorious for call backs.
It can be of assistance in a cockroach job as well because the egg case also protects the developing cockroach from the application. A few cents worth of chemical may save you hours of travel/treatment time that you won't be paid for.

When a termite chemical barrier is installed, does the chemical actually last and be active for the warrantied period in the ground.

Prioring to being registred all chemicals are tested to their limits. The life expectancy of the chemical shown on its label, is what can be expected under ideal circumstances.
Of course, there are many factors in the real world which can reduce this life expectancy. This is why you need to do regular inspections of the property.
If you suspect that there has been disturbance of the treated zone, you should recommend re-treatment.

How do I check bathroom walls for termites when nothing is obvious? House is on a slab, I have a moisture meter and termatrac device, both give false readings.

The moisture meter should be used on the other side of the wall, for example in the hall way or bedroom ajoining the bathroom.
In regard to the termatrac, training and experience using the device helps. When you obtain a reading on either tool, you should be very thorough in your visual inspection of the area.
One option is to strike the wall with the heel of your hand to see if anything falls inside the wall. If you choose to do this, take care and make sure there is nothing on the other side, pictures, etc., that may fall down and don't use so much force that you damage the wall.
Another option is to use a bionic ear to listen for any signs that termite activity may be present. This can be done even if you don't have that equipment, by pressing you ear against the wall and listening.
Ensure the roof void over the area is checked thoroughly. Sound all the timber in and around the area. If you have fair reason, you should recommend a further invasive inspection of the area.

What's the best method for spider treatments when they are around the corner of the house and up ceiling?

A spider job should consist of treating not only the exterior harbourage sites, but a dust treatment of the roof void and a treatment of the subfloor, much the same as for cockroaches.
A thorough inspection is always necessary to determine "what" and "where" before you start the "how" when treating any pest.

Will the cleaning of dried rodent urine and/or uric acid together with cleaning of rodent droppings and run markings, reduce future rodent activity in areas of past heavy rodent activity, for example in loading docks etc?

Cleaning the area would possibly help as well as improve the hygiene of the area but don't count on it. If rodents can gain entry and the environment is suitable for them, they will re-infest. 

With the release of AS 3660.2-2017 late last year, and no (that I can find) defined 'buffer period' in which you may continue to refer to the 2000 standard as there was with 3660.1. Is there a 'standard practice' or general 'rule of thumb' to the time it should take to integrate all practices to comply with the updated standard?

Generally when an industry changes work practices there is a settling in period, which can vary, as it can take varying periods for an industry to adjust.
For this Standard it appears to be taking a good 6 months to integrate the new requirements, though no one can define this. 

Advice on determining footing/slab construction method and slab inclusions when assessing termite entry points and subsequent management system proposed.

This will be a site specific thing and will depend on the evidence available from the builder, the home owner or your experience. In many cases there is no way of knowing unless documentation is available.  Determining entry points really starts at where you find the activity and work backwards and can involve invasive inspections.

Why can't you approach the Banks or Home Lenders to make it compulsory for people with new home loans to have termite barriers carried out as part of their loan requirement (protecting the Banks Asset) and would include Termite insurance from you for the homeowner?

Protecting a home with a termite barrier can be an expensive exercise and although the property may be bought with a mortgage, to make it compulsory would be similar to “third line enforcing” which cannot be done. The property is still owned by the individual/couple/company and what is done to that property is at their discretion. 

I am a small business owner in the Pest Control industry. When quoting for commercial contracts, especially when competing against the larger companies, what can be done to ensure that the quotation is competitive and the presentation of the business reflects professionalism and reliability?

When quoting for any type of contract the presentation of the operators as well as the truck and equipment, along with professional signage are essential.
For large commercial contracts ensure you have professional looking and sound Safe Work Method Statements prepared (see SAI  Global web site and Safety Culture SWMS).
If the business is for a kitchen then you will need to comply with the Code of Practice for Food safety. As well as having your business accredited with ISO 9001.
Make sure you have detailed paperwork for your inspection and proposed treatments.
Always meet the client on site prior to quoting and provide a pest management plan for what is being treated. 

How can we outline more the conducive conditions and the importance of them to the home buyer so that they are more aware of the conditions so that measures can be put in place?

If your report is clear in stating what the condition is, where it is, why it's a problem and what they should do about it (the 4W's) you can do no more.
Write clearly and fully as though you are speaking to the person. Do not use industry jargon, abbreviations, initials or other writing short cuts.

Should we always assume there is something dead when dealing with blow flies?

This depends on the number of blow flies present, thorough inspection is the key. There will most likely be something dead, at least nearby. Look for the source of the problem. This may be a dead animal in the roof void, wall void or subfloor (hopefully not in the house) or even due to a compost heap. Some people place items in them that blow flies may use. We recently had a situation where a cat hid a freezer bag of meat under a bed!

Why do you not provide a pre-purchase inspection report template that combines Building & Timber Pest Inspection?

These inspections and insurance covers are different. Therefore we supply different reports. Further, if a claim arises from the report, you may be asked to pay an excess for both the timber pest side and the building side, effectively doubling your excess. The reports are to different Australian Standards and have different requirements - they cannot be mixed into one. Though one report can follow the other and have common client details. 

If in the state of NSW a customer has a QLD pine flooring that has borer damage. Does that make it "anobium punctatum" or "Calymmaderus incisus"?

It could be either Anobium or Calymmaderus. If the building was transported from Qld.  It could likely be Calymmaderus. I have found this twice on the NSW FAR NORTH COAST when Queenslanders were transported to NSW and re-assembled. Where possible you should identify which one but if not the recommendation /treatment is the same. 

How much does it cost to obtain HACCP certification and does it expire or require further and continuous training, why is it so important to some but not required by others and will it become a requirement for all applicable venues?

The food industry code of practice for Australia and New Zealand are required to follow the code. If they are not it is at their own risk. Manufacturers exporting are also required to comply with the code. HACCP applies to the food manufactures who manage pest activities on their premises and many require a pest controller to meet these requirements and if they wish to become certified then they need to google HACCP accredited certification organisations.

Is there or could there be a chemical company that would supply chemicals and baits that can only be used by licenced pest contrôllers without suppliers selling them to anyone on the internet or hardware stores! It would be nice to use chemicals that are only available for licensed pest controllers?

Unfortunately, we have no control over who purchases some products. However, there are products that are only available to PCO's.
Many of the products available to the general public are not as concentrated as those used by pest managers and are unfortunately often misused by homeowners (mixing etc.). When a treatment carried out by the home owner fails, they will call a professional.
We understand that this sometimes makes your job harder due to disturbance, chemical choice, etc., but you are the professional. If the job time or difficulty is doubled by the home owners action, this should be reflected in your costing.

How can we licensed pest controllers contribute to combatting encroachment of exotic mosqitos and the pathogens they will inflict on the Australian population as climate change progresses?

Pest Controllers can help by advising home owners to reduce the conditions in their homes that mosquitoes breed in. This includes:
- Clean and flush external drains regularly;
- Clean gutters and check they work correctly and do not pool water;
- Keep thick vegetation thinned and do not leave things like old tyres around to collect water.
As a pest controller, we suggest you learn to recognise the species that carry disease and what the Asian Tiger Mosquito looks like. You can collect samples and send to Biosecurity Australia if you suspect a exotic invader like the Asian Tiger Mozzie. Furthermore, we suggest you contact the Mosquito Control Association of Australia or visit the MCAA website and purchase their Mosquito Control Manual of Australia. 

How do IPM solutions support endangered insect species conservation?

IPM involves using a range of non-chemical methods as well as minimum use of lower toxicity chemicals for control. This decreases the risk to non target organisms and the environment.  

If you could pick any combo of products to complete a general pest control treatment for cockies, ants, spiders and silverfish what would they be and what procedure would you take? No massive problems just an annual treatment.

As insurers we do not advise on specific products.
For the treatments you describe it would be a combination of dust, baits and spray application. What you would use depends on the pest e.g. bait coastal brown ants, use non repellent treatment along ant trails for black ants and barrier around house as recommended on the product label.
Dust the roof void for cockroaches, ants and silver fish  etc. Of course these are only some of the treatments you would do for these pests.
There is alot of value in attending industry roadshows and conferences, where you will pick up a lot of information for carrying out pest work and the products to use.
Never just stick to one product for general pest work as this leads to pest resistance. So vary products with different modes of action, particularly on repeat jobs. 

What would be the first thing I would do if I had installed a termite management system and during the annual inspection, active termites are found in the house (or we were contacted by the owners to say they had termites)? How do I address that with the owner initially (what do I say on the phone?) and then who do I call?

We suggest the following when dealing with your situation:
1. When contacted by your client, arrange a convenient time to visit the premises.
2. Gather your file copies of all the relevant paperwork relating to your termite management program at the property and your inspection(s). Review them to refresh your memory of events to date. (Copies of all paperwork will be required by Rapid Solutions)
3. Contact Rapid Solutions Claims Department and advise them of the details of the possible claim. (THIS IS IMPORTANT and required by your Policy). They will further advise you.
4. Visit the property and carry out a full inspection and written report. Do not admit any liability to your client. Where possible locate and note entry point(s). Take photos but make sure to ask permission to do so first.
5. If termites are still active, contact Rapid Solutions and, if agreed to by your Claim Manager, perform any necessary remedial action to control the current activity. Arrange for a further visit to check your procedures in about 2 to 4 weeks’ time. If required, carry out further work and reinspect. Rapid Solutions may require a deed of release to be signed prior to this work being carried out.
6. Once you are sure all activity has ceased then carry out any re-application or additional applications of treated zones or any other necessary remedial treatment.
7. Arrange to reinspect the property within 30 to 90 days after the remedial treatment.
8. If the client is satisfied, then arrange to carry out a further inspection in 5 – 7 months after the remedial treatment.
9. If the client makes any demands on you in addition to the work above, then contact the Claim Manager at Rapid Solutions. Do not admit liability or agree to any repairs until you have spoken to the Claim Manager. Carry out any instructions given to you by your Claim Manager.
You should download a copy of the Termite Treatment Manual from the Rapid Solutions web site. It has this and much more information regarding termite work, including marketing tips.

Why do many of my competitors not encourage their clients to vacate their premises during and after a general pest treatment for spiders? Insecticides that we use clearly state to vacate until surfaces have dried. We are constantly educating our clients as to why it’s necessary.

In the instance of your work, you are recommending actions which are safe and fair. If the label has a re-entry period, the client needs to leave before they can re-enter. I cannot speak for others, but keep doing what you are doing. 

Other than relying on suppliers information how can we remote country locations keep up to date on new products?

There are a variety of avenues that you can monitor to ensure you keep up-to-date.
These include checking supplier web sites regularly as well as joining Facebook groups and following Facebook pages such as Rapid Solutions. You can also become a member of AEPMA who send out regular newsletters with current industry information not to mention, Professional Pest Manager Magazine, that has an enewsletter as well as a printed magazine. In addition, you can check out the websites for each chemical company. 

Does a company have the legal right to impose on a customer that their company must carry out the annual termite inspections so warranty remains valid on a system or treatment installed?

The short answer is no.
Under legislation there is no legal obligation on your client to have an annual inspection. However, if they choose not to have the inspection carried out, you should inform them in writing that their warranty is void.
The Rapid Solutions Termite Treatment Manual, clearly outlines the process for you and is available to download for free from the paperwork section of the client portal on our website.
When referring to the manual, see section 6. It shows the process you should go through, including keeping records of your contacts (e-mail, letter, phone calls, etc), what to do if if they don't have their inspection done and informing them of the consequences of their action (or in-action).

Safe Work Method Statements are so important in our industry. Can you please tell us if we need specific SWMS for each treatment or task we perform or can we have one that summarises our duties or tasks we often encounter ?

This may depend on what task you perform and the relevance of the safety issues involved. If you were doing bird proofing it would be best to have a specific SWMS due to the nature of the work. In the main general pests such as cockroaches, spiders and ants etc could come under the one. It would be good to have a specific one for rodents but it might be included in the one.

It is standard practice to drill and inject termiticide into native trees with evidence of a termite nest in the root stock. Do we have a duty of care to consider whether the poisons we are injecting into an unknown area are making their way directly into underground waterways?

It is fairly standard procedure to test drill trees, native or not, when trying to locate a termite nest.
When injecting termiticide into an area which you cannot see, you must alway use caution. In the situation of treating a nest in a tree, you need to be sure that it is in fact a nest or, apart from your expressed environment cercerns, injecting chemical into what is just a pipe in a tree is a waste of product, time and money.
You should also be aware of the soil type where you are treating and, if possible, where the water table is. If your client has a spear point bore, ask how deep it is. These are all normal risk assessments you should carryout anyway.
Generally the outer structure of a nest is to some degree water proof or at least water resistant. The termites do not want to be drowned if water levels rise.
For more detailed information take a look at the Termite Treatment Manual on the Rapid Solutions web site. There is a good foundation on all termite work, including the drilling of trees, in the document.

Do you provide training or information about the correct or most effective use of moisture meters, I use a Tramex Moisture Encounter Plus for pre purchase Inspections. My concerns are testing through different wall lining materials and the correct scale settings for gyprock, villaboard, ceramic tiles etc?

We strongly suggest you download a copy of the Rapid Solutions Termite Treatment Manual, available free of charge from the Rapid Solutions client portal under paperwork.
Section 1.3.5 gives detailed commentary on the use of a Trammex moisture meter. There is a lot more in this document as well, which may assist you with inspections for and treatment of termites.

What are some of the most common myths with termites?

Probably one of the most common myths we hear at Rapid Solutions is that "if you have black ants, you won't get termites". While these insects will fight if they come in contact with one another, the termite will seal leads, even to the point of sacrificing some worker/soldiers, and block the black ants out. Then they will continue to do what they do, eat wood.

How can I get rid of German cockroaches for good?

Getting rid of or managing German cockroaches will depend on the situation you are treating them in.
In clubs or restuatrants it may be impossible to eradicate them, as goods are constantly being imported to the premises, however, it is possible to gain good control. If there are difficulties in getting good control there must be areas of harbourage that are not identified. This is often in things like the legs of work benches or temperature guages or a wall cavity. Also ceiling areas may be responsible.
Thorough inspection to ID harbourage sites and advice to the owners/managers re hygeine and fixing cracks, crevices, loose tiles, flooring etc. It is always best to ask what the cleaning procedures are, as your sprayed areas and gel baits may be being washed away.
Germans require regular servicing, frequent monthly sevicing is recommended in commercial premises.
Domestic homes may need 3 or 4 treatments to eradicate German cockroaches. Frequently, they are not just in the cupboards or cooking areas, but may be under lino, wallpaper, behind wall pictures and hangings - again a thorough inspection goes a long way to devising your treatment plan. 

How is the new Australian standard Pe construction termite protection affecting the industry in regards to services provided and training?

The Australian Standard AS 3660.1-2014 has changed the way chemical soil treatments are applied. The Building Industry and Pest Industry are affected as this Standard is called up by the National Construction Code (NCC).
The problem seems to be that many builders do not keep up with their own Code. Pest controllers get asked to do treatments that do not comply. Then both the builder and pest controller can run into problems with the certifier refusing to accept the treatment.
It is important that the pest controller be aware of what AS 3660.1-2014 requires. Soil chemical treatments must be replenishable unless it is an extra and does not form the main termite management system.
As far as training goes, it is up to the training authorities to adjust courses to accommodate the changes into the competency units. Training organisations like Rapid Training are not responsible for changing the framework of the modules and must wait til the modules are changed.
In reality, all pest managers should have copies of the standards that they do work to, so they know what they can do and cannot do. If they work to product label directions and product install manuals they have sufficient guidance to carry out the work effectively. 

Report Writer Questions

Digital reporting with Report Writer.

Do you have a digital app for your pads ie pad 2/B?

Yes, Report Writer is our app which offers a digital alternative to our pads (including Pad 2/B). The app is available on most devices, including iOS (iPad & iPhone), Android devices, and on your desktop computer. You can find out more by visiting reportwriter.com.au. A 1-month free trial is available.

Can you make your reports compatible with iPads so we can do the reports on the run?

Our reports that are in Word documents are not designed to work correctly on an iPad. They pre-date the release of tablets and smart phones and we are limited by the functionality available by Microsoft Word.
We do offer an iPad app that is specifically designed for reporting whilst on site, called Report Writer. This app will allow you to record issues that you find, take photos and make comments. You will be able to complete a report completely on your mobile device.
For more information, please visit www.reportwriter.com.au. A free 1-month trial is available.

Business Questions

Employing family through to the best way to protect your business.

We employ 5 family members in our staff, including management. I have heard that it is illegal to treat family in anyway different to other staff. Can you provide examples of what is not considered fair, especially with regard to mental health days and vehicle allowance?

Your question relates to the Department of Fair Work. Your award will also highlight what is accepted and minimal requirements. Please use the following link to read more information from Fair Work https://www.fairwork.gov.au/

I am a sole operator and I have been in business for 2 1/2 years. My questions is what would be a good starting point to employ another tech? Apart from turnover what would be other issues to consider?

I believe you need to look at your business as a whole. As you have said, turnover is not necessarily the deciding factor.
You should take some of the following into consideration:
1. The amount of work you have booked
2. Are you working 12 hour days to keep up with the workload
3. Are you working weekends
4. Is your family/personal life suffering because of your workload
5. Are you charging adequate rates for your work and have you had an accountant or business advisor determine the costings in your business and a proper hourly rate that makes you a profitable living. This will help determine the cost of adding another employee and what production is required from them to add to your profit.  
6. Can you afford a full time or part time employee – (check with your accountant as to other costs to be considered) eg wages, superannuation, annual leave, personal leave, workers’ compensation
7. Are you looking at a qualified technician or a trainee
8. Factor in the training costs and time both yours and his/hers for training
9. If you are doing termite work/ppi’s does the person you are employing have the qualifications to do the work
10. If the prospective employee has not got the qualifications for termite management, do you have enough general pest work to employ them either full or part time
11. Will you need to purchase a vehicle with equipment for your employee to use
12. Can you afford another vehicle & equipment
13. Ensure you check the employees driving record prior to employing (a bad driving record could increase the cost of your vehicle insurance considerably)

I have one of the fastest growing pest businesses in North Queensland, how do I ensure that all of my technicians are up to date with the most current treatment regimes and technologies available to the market in southern areas?

It is paramount to attend professional development and short courses to keep motivated and up to date in an ever changing environment. You can also stay current through subscriptions and industry magazines and regularly checking websites of major chemical companies for information and new products. Some of these companies even offer short online training courses and apps to identify pests or about specific pests.
Rapid Solutions is committed to our clients and is also providing information on changes in industry and Australian Standards. It is important that technicians attend roadshows such as Garrards and Agserv, as well as Conferences such as AEPMA and Rapid Solutions Conferences on alternate years. 

What advice would you give to someone like myself in a new business trying to get into an industry where negotiating and reasonable compromises seem to be completely off the table?

This is common in many industries and trades. Unfortunately, it will result in competitors offering unreasonable rates to capture the clients. Please remember these are not sustainable measures. Alot of these businesses are short lived. Whilst many are trained extensively in the trade they work in, they do not have the business acumen required to operate a successful business.

We all compete in business and my professional advice would be to back yourself and find your point of difference. Build on the service you provide and support your clients so they continue to return.

The price of the chemical is increasing every year but the big companies are reducing their service fee every year. How are small local companies like us going to survive?

You raise a good point that is felt across many industries. It is a competitive market and unfortunately the larger companies are always going to have the advantage. Find your point of difference in your target market and offer exceptional service so you secure repeat business. 

How can I get customers to pay on time or even on the day? How to hire staff and keep them in remote areas?

Great questions!
1. Have your invoicing clearly laid out and provide strict timelines.
2. Staff are looking for a full package - a good wage, flexibility and a good work culture. It is good to think about additional things like training, conferences, financial incentives etc - you will benefit as well if they are hitting their KPI's, clear goals, additional 1 week per year paid holidays.
Good staff should be acknowledged for going above and beyond, remember the business will benefit and it will help to keep them engaged.

Who can I contact regarding ideas I have for pest control products?

This may depend on what your ideas are. If you are thinking of a new rat trap, you might then go to an industrial designer to put the idea into a formal design that can be manufactured. You would also be looking at taking out a patent (can be very expensive). Also need to do some market research to see if there is a market for the idea.  

How do I get a proper work / life balance in this industry?

We suggest that work/life balance is a decision you need to make. Assuming you own your own business, these decisions can come at a cost, whether they be financial or otherwise. You need to decide what you are prepared to give and take to obtain the desired balance you seek. 

In an age of increasing litigation and consumer expectations that you can sue anyone simply to engage an insurance company to offer a payout, what is the best business/company structure to protect a business operator and their personal assets?

One of the challenges in growing a business is attracting and retaining the right people. All the legal advice and written contracts in the world cannot entirely protect you from an employee who’s determined to do the wrong thing, or avoiding legal proceedings when you’ve followed due process.
As an employer ourselves, we’re committed to building an inclusive, respectful work culture that attracts and retains the right people, invests in training and supporting those people, and ensures everyone on the team understands their role, their accountabilities and their obligations, including those around confidentiality, intellectual property and protection of client information.
Many customers we talk to are either single operators or owner/operators with small teams, and this often means not only are they performing the technical work, they’re also acting as managers, sales people, administrators and office cleaners! Wearing many hats as you build your business can make it difficult to remain motivated, particularly when you’re working alone out in the field day in, day out. Industry forums and professional development are just two ways we’ve seen many of customers work through demotivation and isolation. At our Rapid Conference and supplier road shows, we see the benefits of people in the industry coming together to share knowledge and learn new skills. It’s also why we’re so passionate about creating online and face to face training opportunities in Rapid Training, and will continue developing courses to respond to the needs of our industry.
Like you, its important we structure our business correctly to ensure it meets the needs of our operations and our shareholders. To achieve this, we build relationships with a range of external professional service providers, enhanced by some inhouse expertise in management, finance and legal. Starting out in business, this can seem like a difficult expense to justify, however getting the right people “in your tent” from the outset can save your business thousands in the long run.

Claims Questions

From responding to claims through to rating the risks your business faces.

When it comes to my business risk, how would (or should) I rate pre-purchase building inspections against pre-purchase timber pest inspections?

We suggest that the risk is probably proportionate with the experience and professionalism of the inspectors. From a claims perspective, all pre-purchase inspections, building and timber pest, are of a regular frequency, commonly due to issues associated with inadequate reporting methods and the 'changing of hats' from a building inspection to a timber pest inspection.

What should our first response be to customers seeking compensation?

I would suggest that you arrange an inspection to ascertain the nature of the complaint and take photographs. Then review your documentation. If you do not believe that you are at fault then discuss the situation with the client. If the client is not satisfied ask that they put their complaint in writing. If, after the inspection and review of documents, you consider that there may be a problem then contact Rapid's Claims Department to discuss the best way forward.

What complaints have you had in the last 12 months, why they happened and what was the outcome?

Claims with respect to building inspections vary from failure to reporting masonry cracking to leaking showers. Some of the complaints are related to compliance issues that are not reportable under the standard. In some instance the inspector will admit having seen a defect and just failed to include it in the report.

What is the best option for insurance cover for a new business starting up whilst getting established, keeping in mind it takes a good couple of years to make a reasonable income, and not wanting to end up going broke as there are a lot of costs to setting up a new business? Something affordable.

Insurance cover is based on a number of different issues and relates directly to the individual business. Items that will be considered include:
1. What type of work are you doing. If doing only general pest control you may not need as high a cover as someone doing termite management or pre-purchase timber pest inspections;
2. Look at if you have any contracts where a higher level of cover is required;
3. Look at the area you are working in – if performing termite management and pre-purchase timber pest inspections in Sydney or Brisbane perhaps a higher level of cover is required compared to working in a country town such as Bourke – this is based on the value of the properties being worked on;
4. Most government offices, schools, hospitals, shopping centres require a higher level of Liability cover;
5. A number of businesses performing general pest work only start out with only taking General/Public Liability cover. We would always recommend including Professional Indemnity as a claim could arise from a general pest control treatment using an incorrect chemical or mix, resulting in damage to property. The owner of the property could find you liable for damages because you failed in your professional duty;
6. Most claims from termite management or pre-purchase timber pest inspections are claims for professional negligence/errors/or omissions. It is most important when performing this type of work you have both Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance;
7. The lowest levels of cover we would recommend is $5m General/Public Liability and $500,000 Professional Indemnity.

Conference Questions

Why it's worth attending industry events.

How will investing my time into attending the AEPMA conference help me grow my business?

Attending conferences gives you the opportunity to see the latest products, techniques and innovations across the industry. These may result in you becoming more efficient in your inspections or treatments, and new products may save you time and money, lead to less call backs.
Additionally, these types of events offer great opportunities to network with others, which could lead to new business leads, new employees or perhaps mentors for your own professional development.

Customer Service Questions

What customers want and how best to meet their needs.

How should we respond to homeowners (where we installed the termite management system) when they say they have shopped around and want us to price match or they will get someone else to do their warranty inspection?

Unfortunately, consumers will often do this. Your warranty, and we stress that it is YOUR warranty, is normally dependent on you doing at least, an annual inspection. You should inform your client that their inspection is due around a month before its anniversary and follow-up with phone calls. If they don't have an inspection within 2 weeks of the expiry of the warranty, you should let them know that their warranty is void. This should be done in writing.
In regard to price matching, you have determined that your services are worth a certain amount, you can explain to them the value of your service. This said, some people will follow the dollar no matter what. Price is your commercial decision, however, you are in business to make money, not to simply be doing pest control.

What needs to be done to improve the quality and professionalism of our industry?

Customers want ease and expertise.
As a customer-centric industry ourselves, we’re closely watching the changing needs and expectations of the people we serve.
Like you in the Pest Management industry, we expect to see an increase in the use of electronic devices in the field, including for producing reports and taking payments via online apps and portals. Customers are increasingly wanting a seamless online experience, for booking in jobs, receiving reports and making payment. They’re also looking for the value-add, what recommendations and predictions you can make to satisfy their future needs, or give them peace of mind in protecting their most valuable asset – their home – from pest related damage, before its too late.
We also anticipate those Pest Managers who embrace technology will stay ahead of competition, such as the use of drones for hard to reach inspection areas.
With a low barrier to entry for new pest controllers coming in to the industry, we expect to see a continuation of highly competitive pricing, uninsured operators and a wide ranging customer experience in terms of the experience and quality. Whilst Rapid cannot directly impact this, we continue to apply a stringent underwriting process to our Insureds and promote the benefits of quality training, including continual professional development
In Australia there are currently no legislative requirements for use of many chemical applications, which means they can be sold to DIY customers, handymen and other consumers who are not qualified, licensed and appropriately insured. As an invested stakeholder in the Pest industry, we continue to advocate for the use of appropriately qualified technicians, including through our support of the Industry Association, AEPMA.
For the Pest Industry to adequately respond to the changing needs of customers and competition, we support ongoing professional development, consistent licensing standards and associations such as AEPMA that provide one voice for the industry to advocate for change and present a professional image to consumers.

Pest Industry Questions

From licencing regulations through to the generosity of pest managers.

How do the established pest controllers who have had to conform to strict licensing conditions feel about franchise pest controllers running their own business with a few weeks training at best and on a trainee/limited license, these changes were done in consultation with AEPMA?

Unfortunately, we cannot comment on what established pest controllers may think about this situation. To gain more perspective from active pest managers within Australia you may wish to consider putting your question to the Australian Pest Managers Network Group on Facebook.
We can outline however, that in NSW, legislation has changed to require new trainees to have more on the job training before they can obtain a license. Therefore, restricting their ability to operate a business and/or franchise early on in their career.
Furthermore, our understanding of SA requirements is that a limited pest management technician licence can be held by a technician who is in training and working under direct supervision of a full pest management licensed technician. Part of the restrictions on their license is that they must be enrolled in a course for Units 5, 6 and 18 as soon as practical, on issue of their licence and they cannot make recommendations or give advice concerning the use of pesticides. These technicians are considered trainees and can only work under indirect supervision on completion of units 6 and 18 AND have a "Trainee Skills Declaration” completed by their supervisor and submitted to the Controlled Substances Licensing section of SA Health and have a letter of approval from the Department.

Will there ever be licensing regulations brought into Victoria for building inspectors?

As we are not a regulatory body we do not know if regulations will be bought in. In this instance, this type of issue is determined by the Victorian Government and the Build Professional Board.
Change is usually bought about if they see the need for change and this happens when the industry lobbies for change or public pressure is put on them.

Are there any plans to make "pest management" a trade or a way of recognising a higher standard of pest management similar to other trades i.e master builders? It appears many pest management companies work to minimum standard and those of us that work to best practice don't get recognised.

Unfortunately this is an issue within the industry. All we can do is our best. I am not aware of any move to having Pest Control becoming a "Trade" as such. Bear in mind that while it would not necessarily be a bad thing, becoming a trade would involve having to do an apprenticeship of around four (4) years. If you have any ideas to put forward, you might try contacting AEPMA. They are always interested in advancing the Pest Management Industry.

Where do people see the industry heading with more people wanting to do DIY or happy to use the absolute cheapest treatment not actually a solution to their problem?

Unfortunately, it is up to each individual home or business owner to decide on the right course of treatment for their premises. In saying this, as the primary insurer for the pest industry we believe that the best way is for individuals to seek qualified and insured technicians to service their property.
It is for this reason that we offer industry leading training packages along with premium insurance coverage.
And while it may not be ideal for everyone to try to do their own pest control, professionals will be there if they fail and look for an expert on the situation.

Why have you not done something to make it possible for pest controllers to combine building with their timber pest inspections?

Currently, to be approved to do building inspections, Rapid Solutions requires the inspector to hold a Certificate IV in building with experience in the building industry or better (building surveyor, architect, engineer). Unfortunately, it is much easier for a Builder to qualify to do timber pest inspections than the other way around. 

Why are building consultants allowed to do pest inspection courses and get insurance?

Building Consultants are licensed builders who have extensive building industry knowledge, worked in the building industry and are experienced in building inspections. This gives them a good background for pre-purchase inspections.
Anyone can complete a pest course, whether a builder or not and if they obtain the relevant units of competency, we would provide insurance cover for the work they have their units of competency in.
For inspections only (annual termite inspections & pre-purchase timber pest inspections) for insurance purposes, we will accept a building inspector who has completed the relevant pest qualifications for the state they are working in.
This provides the basics of looking for termite infestation/damage. Many Builders also have experience in fixing termite damaged properties or replacing timbers in roofs/walls etc where required.
The main reason behind not providing pest inspectors cover for building inspections is they do not have the basic building/structural knowledge to be able to report on structural/building defects. They are not qualified builders knowing how to build a house, the standards required for framing etc and in many instances to determine if a fault is structural or not.
Cert IV in Building is a higher qualification than the pest control competency qualifications and if a Termite/Timber Pest Manager obtains the building Cert IV qualification and show 5 years’ experience in the building industry we would then offer insurance cover.
Our minimum requirement to insure a building inspector is:
1. Have Cert IV in Building and a minimum 5 years’ experience in the building industry
2. Have a builders’ license or be eligible to obtain a builders’ license
3. Be an Architect/ Building Surveyor

In an industry that is so competetive how is it that eveytime i meet other pest controllers they are so generous with advice and support. I'm continually amazed at the generosity of spirit with my fellow pest controllers.

It is terrific to hear this. Some people are genuinely interested in lifting the image and professionalism of the Pest Control Industry. It's great to hear that you have support from others in your area.

Rapid Solutions Questions

Why you should be with Rapid and what the future holds.

Does Rapid offer discounts on its training to policyholders?

Rapid Training and Rapid Solutions are committed to supporting our clients and industry. Whilst I cant share yet, there will be a release of new promotions and products in coming months. Keep an eye out for more information to come!

Is Rapid the best for pest insurance?

We believe Rapid Solutions is best for pest insurance and below are just some of reasons:  
1. We have been in the industry offering insurance to Pest Controllers, Building Inspectors, Agricultural Sprayers and Fumigators for over 25 years;
2. Rapid Solutions understands the business of pest control and the type of work being performed;
3. We have experienced, qualified Pest Controllers on staff who are able to provide assistance to all of our insureds, whether it is paperwork, reports or treatments;
4. We provide paperwork to our insureds which is continually being updated to align with changes to Australian Standards;
5. Claims are handled in-house, by people who understand the industry;
6. Rapid Training is also an integral part of our business providing national recognised, accredited training to the pest industry.

What does the future hold for Rapid Solutions? With the several changes over the last couple of years how can we be assured that you will still be there for us in the future?

Whilst Rapid now has new Shareholders, our future – and commitment to the industry we serve – has never looked brighter. We will continue to grow our market share in the pest and building sectors, offering tailored insurance and training products and risk mitigation services. This includes running our 2019 Rapid Conference, adding new training products and ensuring we’re meeting the changing needs of our industry.
We will add further insurance products to our portfolio, and look forward to the opportunity to be able to provide a broader range of cover to our customers.
The new ownership has not impacted our premiums or underwriting guidelines, however we continue as always in responding to market forces, including our claims experience with restricted business activities, and endeavor to be competitive, whilst retaining our unique, value add services such as inhouse technical support and risk mitigation services.
Whilst we moved into our new Broadmeadow premises in September 2017, we are again on the move as we consolidate our Head Quarters with Badger International’s Australian insurance interests. Based in Kotara, Newcastle, NSW, we will be co-located with our colleagues from AI Insurance from October 2018.

What are the benefits of remaining with Rapid Solutions for the long term versus other companies who may offer similar insurance options?

Rapid Solutions/Pacific International is more than just an insurance company. We understand your business, what you do and can provide information/knowledge that can assist you in your day to day business.
Our Technical staff are always assessing new products, keeping up to date with changes in the industry and provide information to our insured’s on a regular basis.
The staff looking after your insurances also understand the cover you require for the business activities you perform and there is always someone ready to assist with whatever your question may be.
Our paperwork is constantly being upgraded and the feedback of our clients is always considered and acted upon.

Why choose rapid insurance?

Rapid Solutions has been looking after the Pest Control industry for over 25 years. They understand the business of pest control and have a number of experienced pest controllers on staff.
Not only does Rapid understand the industry, having experienced pest controllers on staff can assist you with that difficult termite job or provide valuable information on how to avoid making an error that could result in a claim.
Our bi-annual conference is one of a kind for the industry with plenty of information and products on display from a variety of suppliers.
We have paperwork specifically written for the industry which meets the requirements of the Australian Standards and is available for our insured clients to use.
If you do unfortunately have a claim made against you, all our claims are handled in-house by staff who also have the knowledge and understand how damage can be caused by termites or how finding and reporting on termite damage may have been missed. These staff members are also available to discuss your concerns about situations that arise with respect to inspections or treatments before a formal claim commences. This is a service that is not provided by other insurers.
We also have experienced inspectors/assessors who go to the claimant’s property to determine liability.
Rapid Solutions also offers a Termite insurance policy (TimberSecure) for your clients so your insurance would not be affected in any way by a claim (either payment of excess or increase in premium).
Rapid Training is also available to provide training for new employees or employees wanting to enhance and upgrade their qualifications.