Author: Philip J. Nichols
In the beginning, the sole Nuisance wildlife Trapper did it all. He trapped mammals, birds, reptiles, removed dead critters, cleaned up their messes and fixed the damage they caused. Some jobs needed more hands, and/or experience, in which case temporary workers or networking with a competitor filled the need. Other jobs are seasonal with a short window, such as the spring rattlesnake emergence on Montana range land. As the NWCO industry has evolved, so have protocols for equipment, methods and materials. Academia has joined the fray, and provides input to federal, state and local agencies to develop their own programs for how to deal with wildlife problems that are unique to their locale.
The example I will talk about is bat control. It used to be the bat colony could be excluded or destroyed as determined by the property owner and their needs. Maybe it was a daycare facility on a lower floor. Nannies there get very nervous when a bat shows up, or bat droppings appear as sprinkles on the donuts. It used to be simple....go in, kill them all and clean up. Then go to the next job in the queue.
There has been an explosion of bat research activity due to the evolution of “white nose syndrome,” rabies, declining populations and activist groups.
Bat With WNS (white nose syndrome)
Some localities have adopted measures for how a nuisance bat colony is dealt with. The bats now get preferential treatment with handling protocols defined as to the type of colony and species, the time of year, and the requirement for the nuisance operator to have mandatory bat education, costly (time and money) permits, insurance, and reporting obligations.
All this adds up to a greater cost to the consumer. Bat jobs are high up on the income scale. More than one NWCO made the decision to focus on these kinds of big ticket jobs, and stop doing all the time consuming, low (relative) income jobs such as removing groundhogs and skunks. How many $300 skunk jobs equal one $20,000 bat job? Not only gross revenue, but time has to be considered. Bat work in the northeast is pretty much a spring, summer, early fall activity. Meeting the budget income goal by September frees up a lot of time to do other things. Recent events have caused rethinking of many things, one of which is the balance between family and work.
Specializing requires special equipment. For the bat and chimney specialist, a bucket truck is way better than humping ladders, and over time your body will thank you. Many jobs in an attic can be leveraged into add-ons. Insulation is a big ticket add-on that is an easy sell to the customer. Show them a picture of contamination and explain the potential for the zoonoses and parasites it may contain. The TAP Pest Control Insulation system is one type of specialized system where the insulation contains a pest repellent. For information go to : tapinsulation.com
Chimneys are another potential source of leveraging an animal or bird job into more work. After removing whatever creature was in the chimney, you should tell the homeowner what caused the problem and any additional problems noted. Of course this means becoming educated. Many chimney supply companies also offer courses and seminars in addition to selling all the latest chimney related products. For information about expanding your chimney add-ons, go to: copperfield.com
There are many more areas where a specialist can prosper. Here are a few In no particular order: - wildlife removal from large “brown” sites (chemical, nuclear, etc.)
where all wildlife has to be removed before the cleanup can begin. There is a time period and handling protocol. OSHA, NRC and other alphabet agencies will be in the mix. - restorative work on old homes where any repairs or additions (e.g. exclusion barrier) must conform to original specifications. These structures may be part of a museum, park or historical site. - many old barns are being converted to living space. The pigeons, squirrels, raccoons, vermin and their waste must be removed before conversion construction can begin. In addition, deodorizing and sanitizing is usually needed. Once construction begins, the trained, observant NWCO can advise the builders on where wildlife will look to get back into the barn after construction is complete.