You can’t teach an old dog new tricks — it’s a line we’ve all heard before. Recite it in front of Terminix Service, Inc. Training Director Dean Burroughs of Columbia, South Carolina, however, and he might disagree with you. A 25-year veteran of the Sentricon® system, Burroughs has been installing in-ground stations since before they were commercially available. There’s almost nothing he doesn’t know about the Sentricon system — or so he thought, until new research about Recruit® AG FlexPack™ helped him rethink his business strategy.
The original strategy
Burroughs signed on to the Sentricon system sooner than most. In fact, he was already running field tests in April 1994, a year before the treatment was made commercially available. Terminix Service, Inc. installed the Sentricon system on a number of “nightmare properties” — properties they were having difficulties treating — and watched it work firsthand.
“They showed us study after study, PhD after PhD, showing us the results and the efficacy of the system,” Burroughs said. “But it was the field test results that showed it worked.” One particularly difficult-to-treat property was a manufacturing plant with sub-slab ductwork that couldn’t be treated without the possibility of liquid termiticides entering the ducts.
“That building had swarms for years until we put the Sentricon system in,” Burroughs said. “The year after, there was no swarming activity. In fact, it worked so well that some years after, we went back to that site and pulled up the very first in-ground station we ever installed as a souvenir.”
The system worked: Burroughs switched to almost 100% installations of the Sentricon system, using liquid termiticides only for spot treatments during active infestations. Still, Burroughs resisted incorporating another important component of the Sentricon system — Recruit® AG FlexPack™ — until the efficacy was proven by both research and field studies.
Improving upon a strong foundation
Despite the success Terminix Service, Inc. found with the Sentricon system, Burroughs had reservations about Recruit® AG FlexPack™.
“For many years we didn’t utilize Recruit AG FlexPack on a regular basis,” Burroughs said. “We’ve tended to view the product as a specialty situation when you couldn’t put liquid termiticides in the walls. We would treat live termites with liquid termiticide — you’d spot treat with the liquids and be done with it.”
Then came the research from Thomas Chouvenc, PhD, assistant professor of Urban Entomology. “In 2018, we were invited to the University of Florida for a termite seminar,” Burroughs said. “Dr. Chouvenc revealed research that indicated that liquid termiticides — as they killed termites — were creating a secondary repellency to baiting systems. Liquid termiticides aren’t a repellent to live termites, but they would tend to wall-off and forage in other areas, sending them away from the bait.”
After attending the seminar, Burroughs decided to incorporate Recruit® AG Flexpack™ wherever possible and record the results.
The benefits of Recruit® AG FlexPack™
The results were in: when it came to Recruit AG FlexPack, Burroughs was very pleased with what he was seeing.
“People really like it,” Burroughs said. “Our technicians like that it’s less intensive than liquid termiticides. And customers seem to like it a lot, too. One customer explained that they like that Recruit AG FlexPack is less intrusive to the home and is more environmentally friendly.”
As for profits? “Profitability-wise, it’s certainly been a major improvement in profit,” Burroughs said. “In terms of equipment, gas mileage and the number of tools needed … I don’t think there’s any way in the world we’d consider going back. We’ve come too far, and we’ve seen the advantages.”
Now, if there’s a termite problem, Burroughs has a standalone solution for the situation: the Sentricon® system. “To me, a standalone solution means that there’s no need to use a liquid termiticide,” Burroughs said. “The system itself is sufficient enough to treat subterranean and aerial colonies. You don’t need to use other products. I never like to say never, but I can’t think of any other situation where you’d need another product.”
Thanks to the benefits it provides, the Sentricon system with Recruit AG FlexPack has helped Burroughs boost his business and deliver excellent customer service, all while continuing to do what CSSs do best: protect the communities we live, work and play in.