The Professional Pest Management Association (NPMA) has designated April as National Pest Management Month to highlight the work industry professionals do to protect health, food, and property from the pest-related dangers and diseases, and to help homeowners learn more about insects and rodents. Here’s an inside look into the career of HomeTeam’s Florida Regional Technical Director, Dr. Hamilton Allen, and a behind-the-scenes take on what it’s like to work in our industry.
Q: Tell us about your role at HomeTeam.
A: I’m the regional technical director in Florida, which covers the area from Tampa to Naples. I oversee all things service-related for 10 branches, identify the best products and procedures, and implement service. One unique thing I get to do is assist with employee development, which I enjoy.
Q: How did you get into the pest control industry? Were you always interested in entomology?
A: I grew up in small town in South Carolina. I was always afraid of fire ants, but still fascinated by them. My uncle would have me set them on fire and try all these crazy ways to get rid of them, but they didn’t work. I studied biology in college, then taught seventh grade science for a year, but felt like I wanted more. So I went to graduate school and earned my master’s degree in urban entomology, which is studying insects in and around homes. I also received my Ph.D. in urban entomology. After all that schooling, I was able to determine why none of my uncle’s ideas to get rid of ants worked — ant mounds can be several feet below the surface, and they release an alarm-type pheromone when threatened and disperse.
Q: What’s it like working in pest control?
A: Pretty neat! Most people think it’s just about the application of products. But working in pest control is a little bit of a social science as well. For example, we get to change things in the environment and deal with fear, such as a person’s fear of a certain insects. I’d compare it to being a detective and looking for clues.
Q: What do you like best about working for HomeTeam?
A: What I love about HomeTeam is twofold. First, I get to show people the other aspects of insect biology. Second, I love HomeTeam because of their corporate values. Many companies just talk about their values, but at HomeTeam I’m able to see those values actually being implemented – especially the values around developing people and being a good steward in the community.
Q: What are the things people need to look for when choosing a pest control service?
A: You want knowledgeable and transparent employees and a company with a proven track record of taking care of employees and customers. The key is a true commitment to customer experience. What sets a good company apart from other pest control companies is how they make you feel, if they answer your questions, and if they solve your problems in a timely manner.
Q: What are the most common pest problems you see today?
A: Currently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing increases in rodent control due to people being home a lot more and increasing the amount of trash they have. We’re always dealing with spiders, and ants are the No. 1 pest control issue in America. Here in Florida, I see lots of carpenter ants, argentine ants, and fire ants.
(For help identifying and dealing with an ant problem, check out this blog post.)
Q: What are the most important skills for a pest professional to have?
A: I’d say acting as a sleuth by having detective skills and using those skills to help customers is pretty important. For example, if someone has bedbugs, I’ll ask which chair they sit in the most. Likely, you will find a correlation between people and their habits and pests. Another important trait is listening to customers and having empathy for them because people need to be able to feel safe in their homes.
At HomeTeam, we pride ourselves on our dedication to our employees and provide them plenty of opportunities for development and growth. To learn more about the benefits of working for HomeTeam and our current openings, see https://careers.pestdefense.com/.
Do you think you might have a pest problem? Visit www.pestdefense.com or call 877-461-7378 if you need help treating ants or other common household pests.