Turner Pest Control Promotes Six to Vice President Positions – PCT

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana – Pest control professionals gathered in person and virtually for the 86th Annual Convention Purdue Pest Control Conference in this week. One of the premier training conferences in the pest control industry, the three-day event returned in-person but also retained its virtual capabilities, developed last year in response to COVID-19.

Conference chair Carrie Campbell, owner of Hatfield Pest Control, La Porte, Indiana, welcomed the participants. Campbell thanked the conference planning committee for “keeping his thumb on the industry, taking his pulse and really diving into what we need to learn about in the climate in which we do business.”

A fitting way to kick off this year’s conference was a review of pest control issues for 2021, provided by Mark VanderWerp, Education and Training Manager at Solutions against rose pests, Troy, Mich. VanderWerp focused on three areas: medical, technology and pest control. One of the topics discussed by VanderWerp was new PLOS Biology Paper who cited lizards as a possible contributor to Lyme disease, which is more common in the north than in the south. That paper found that in the Northeast, black-legged ticks cling to small mammals like the white-footed mouse, which are notorious for transmitting the Lyme disease bacteria to the beetles. But in the south, ticks prefer to feed on lizards, especially skinks. Read a summary from VanderWerp’s presentation.

Other highlights of this year’s conference were:

SAFETY ON THE LADDER. OSHA Safety and Occupational Health Specialist Brian Bothast led a presentation on ladder safety best practices. He provided guidelines that employers and workers can follow to prevent injuries from falls at work, including:

OSHA’s General Mandate states, “Every employer must provide a workplace free of any apparent hazards that are likely to result in death or serious bodily harm.” If you have questions, report potential violations, or make a grievance, call OSHA at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA). Complaints can also be submitted on its website, www.osha.gov.

INVASIVE VERTEBRATE PESTS. Chuck Bargeron, co-director of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia, presented an overview of invasive vertebrates in the US Southeast. Although the pests he discusses are region-specific, all PMPs should take the time to understand the invasive risks faced by animals that are part of the natural flora and fauna. Examples he provided were:

  • A Burmese python that ate an alligator served as a “wake-up call” to how big a problem the invasive animal is in South Florida, Bargeron said. The diet of the larger species of snakes could explain the sharp decline in mammals observed in Everglades National Park compared to the 1990s.
  • Wild boar populations have increased significantly across the country in recent decades. In addition to the threat they pose to local ecosystems, they are known to destroy gardens and potentially transmit disease. Trapping and hunting are the best forms of control, but laws vary from state to state.
  • Cane toad sightings have been recorded primarily in South Florida, but their presence is spreading north. They typically grow 4 to 6 inches long, but smaller varieties are easy to mistake for native toads. They are toxic to humans and pets. The best control for them, Bargeron said, is gloved hand capture and euthanasia. However, never kill a small toad as it could be a native species of toad.

People in the US and Canada can use an application called “EDDMapS”. The acronym stands for “Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System”. People can use the website or the appropriate phone app to report potential sightings of invasive animals.

STINGING INSECTS. dr Kathy Heinsohn, tRain and Technical Entomologist, American plague, also spoke about the importance of ladder safety during her presentation on insect bites. For example, bald-faced hornets nest a few meters above the ground, possibly on the eaves of houses. Since PMPs regularly have to climb ladders to treat these pests, Heinsohn urged them to exercise extreme caution when doing so. Also, be sure to wear protective gear — they’ll hunt down suspected predators over 300 feet, she said.

Always make sure to remove the nests, even after the hornets have been mitigated, she added. That reassures the customer.

Carpenter bees rarely sting humans, but their habit of returning to nest sites year after year can be quite annoying. Heinsohn suggested PMPs use clothes hangers to destroy carpenter bee nests. Hangers can be maneuvered in these 5 inch long “galleries” to rupture the membrane walls separating the eggs. Apply a remainder in the gallery and wait a few days before returning to plug the hole, but always read and follow the product’s label for guidelines on when to plug the hole as they will vary .

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