Educational needs and customer service practice of retail stores that sell pesticides in Illinois

George F. Czapar, Marc P. Curry, Raymond A. Cloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A survey of 936 retail stores was conducted in Illinois to help understand how pest management recommendations are made, identify current sources of information, and assess educational needs. Overall response rate was 43%, and significant differences in the level of employee training, educational materials used, and customer referrals were noted among lawn and garden stores, home improvement centers, hardware stores, and general merchandise stores. While 72% of lawn and garden centers assigned specific employees to make pesticide recommendations, only 39% of hardware stores identified a specialized employee. Over 80% of lawn and garden centers referred customer questions to extension or Master Gardeners, while less than 20% of general merchandise stores made similar referrals. Improving customer service was the most important potential outcome of additional employee training, followed by improving the ability of sales staff to explain product labels. Reducing potential liability was identified as an important training outcome by 68% of home improvement centers. Fact sheets were identified by 60% of respondents as being very useful to store employees, while programs at educational centers were identified by less than 20% of respondents as being very useful. Retail stores that sell pesticides represent an important source of pest control information and product recommendations for the average homeowner. As store employees become more knowledgeable about integrated pest management, this should improve their ability to make recommendations and ultimately increase consumer safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Employee training
  • Master Gardener program
  • Pest management advice
  • Pesticide recommendations
  • Retail IPM survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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