Business Growth

Tithaney Bray: 'Insects can do whaaat?'

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Another in a series

By Eddie Wooten

Tithaney Bray's path into the pest control industry really followed more of a trail.

A trail of Pharaoh ants.

"They sent me out for that week to see if I liked it with an amazing trainer, Peter," she says of her start with a pest control company. "He put bait down for Pharaoh ants and told me about the pheromone scent they'll lay. He said, 'Just watch.' 

"The Pharaoh ants came trailing in, and it had me. I was hooked. 'Insects can do whaaat?'"

Bray became a technician, learning a role that continues to evolve for women in pest control but remains filled predominantly by men. More than two decades later, Bray is the service manager for Good News Pest Solutions in North Venice, FL, leading a team of technicians—14 men and one woman.

Bray is also putting her knowledge, built off her fascination with that first encounter, to work for Good News if a tech has questions regarding insect identification.

“I've got a couple of scopes, and I'll put them underneath," Bray says. "I'll do the insect identification part.”

Bray is one of 92 recipients of a 2024 Impact Award for Women in Pest Management, a National Pest Management Association program sponsored by FieldRoutes. They’ll be honored this week at the NPMA Women’s Forum in Atlanta.

Bray recently talked about her work with Good News Pest Solutions and about her goals in the industry. 

My position

Service manager

Good News Pest Solutions, North Venice, FL

"I manage 15 people; 14 of them are technicians for the pest control side, and one is a field supervisor. Before adding him, I used to go out in the field a lot if we had a technician out. I like to make sure I'm out in the field, not putting too much pressure on my other technicians to make them overwork.

"I am licensed in general household pests, in termite, and in fume. The only thing I lack is my certification for lawn and ornamental, which we do not do here.

"I do field inspections, checking to make sure we have good quality assurance, our termite monitors are being taken care of, our rodent boxes are being taken care of. I look through the products when there's something new that I want to change to."

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Years in pest control industry


A career I once envisioned

"I never envisioned pest control, but I was also one of those people who never envisioned a career. I didn't really know what I wanted to do.” 

How I got into pest control

“By the time I was 22, I had three kids. My fiance at the time had a friend who did lawn and ornamental. He asked, 'You mind if I come over, and I'll spray your house?' 

“So a couple of years down the road, that was a trigger in my mind, because here I am, a mother with three, and my schedule has to be flexible. So I decided to go on a hunt for a pest control job.”

What the pest control industry is all about for me

"Sometimes I'm amazed at how much I love it. It's just really crazy. I've gotten to meet a lot of amazing people along the way. I've seen the growth of the industry over the years. It's been an overall good 21-year run."

Why I was selected for an Impact Award for Women in Pest Management

"I don't know (laughs). I don't know. I went to two of the women (who nominated her) and said, 'What did you guys say about me? (laughs)' I don't like to put myself out there. I don't like to brag or boast about myself. I honestly don't know."

The biggest misconceptions about women in pest control

"The biggest misconception is that women can't do the job. And that we can't do it because we're terrified of bugs or we're not strong enough. I would definitely say 100% that they're wrong. 

"I actually find a lot of men who are as terrified of bugs (laughs) as women are. I was out with a technician, and he hates roaches. In this industry, we all have something we do not like. We get out there and we do it. I hate bed bugs. I'm sorry: You suck my blood, I hate you. But he hates roaches, and he's freaking out. I'm looking down the drain, and here's a bunch of roaches. Whether we're male or female, there's something that we don't like."

A mentor

"Jim Crowley was the one who, 21 years ago, gave me the chance to work in pest control. He was the one who said, 'Let's hire her.' 

“What made him want to hire me is I didn't stop. I was persistent. I kept putting in those applications. You're going to answer me one way or another. It's either a 'yes' or it's a 'no.' I had been through it, and I was getting the 'Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.' And he was the one who said, 'Let's do it.'

"The biggest takeaway, the one thing he wanted me to know, especially being a female back then in the industry, was never give them a reason to fire you. Do your job, do it right, and do it well." 

The benefits of organizations for or led by women

"On Facebook, I'm in the Women in Pest Control group. I went to one of their first conferences. I went to their second conference. And this last one, my plane decided it didn't want to fly (engine failure), so I missed it. But praise God, it decided before I got on it.

"I've met some really great connections. It's really hard for women. Men, I guess, are OK with joking around in a certain language and being mean to each other. As women, we're more loving and we like to work you through it. Meeting these women, it's allowed me to be able to reach out to some of them and say, 'Hey, I'm having this issue.' And then talk me through it versus talk down at me."

My biggest challenge

“Men (laughs).

"You hate saying that, right? Because then you seem like you're the one in the wrong. Working with them, just making sure they know that I do know what I'm doing and I'm not afraid of it. 

"I've had a few customers say, 'I don't want her; I want a man.' I got to have the biggest smile on my face when I returned to one of those customers' houses because none of the men could figure out what was going on. I got to go into the attic, find the issue, and kill it. So I got to have that."

My biggest opportunity

"I've always been a goal-setter. But I've kind of been in that stagnant part of my life where I really haven't set a goal because I've achieved so many. It's like, 'All right, what goal do I go for next?' 

"I would hope that at some point the biggest opportunity for me is to be a shareholder for Good News Pest Solutions. And if not, that the owner of Good News Pest Solutions would be willing to mentor me into purchasing a company and making that the first franchise of Good News Pest Solutions.

"I think the hardest part is financial. I am a mother of six. I was a single mother of four for the longest time. You don't have that opportunity to save. You're always very cautious of what you do with your finances. And it's not like, 'Hey, I'm going to go out and do this and take the chance of losing my home.' That's probably the biggest thing that's stopped me."

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A woman's superpower in pest control

"Our ability to care. 

"We have that motherly instinct, so caring comes naturally. When we're at a customer's house, we're able to listen, understand, take in, and converse with a certain vibe, and it really helps. Throughout the years, that's what I've heard the most about me, 'Wow, she really cares.' 

"It's the same thing in my role now. I really care about our customers. I care about the technicians that I manage." 

You also should know

"A lot of people have a fear of insecticides. And I want them to know – because they hear of all the lawsuits because of this product, that product – that if they were actually hiring companies to come out, put the product down, put the bait out, and not do it themselves, that the toxicity rates and the lawsuits and the illnesses would not be as high as they are now. Hire the professionals.”

My advice to a woman starting out

"Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough to work in the industry. Instead, show them why you are."

In Case You Missed It

Previous entries in FieldRoutes' Showcasing Women In Pest Control series:

Showcasing Women In Pest Control: ‘A Needle Moved’ (April 30, 2024)

Dominique Stumpf: ‘Women will just figure it out’ (May 2, 2024)

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