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Paris Conference Discusses Termite Threat in Europe

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A recent one-day conference organized by PestBusiness.com and held in Paris, France, examined how termites are now a threat facing Europe.

Frances McKim | February 15, 2010

Editor’s note: A recent one-day conference organized by PestBusiness.com and held in Paris, France, examined how termites are now a threat facing Europe. Frances McKim, editor of Pest magazine provided PCT with the following report. (Link to www.pestmagazine.co.uk)

The international array of speakers at the recent PestBusiness.com organized European Termite Market Conference held in Paris, France. (Photo: Frances McKim)
Event organizers at the recent PestBusiness.com organized European Termite Market Conference held in Paris, France. Rob Fryatt (left) with Rod Parker. (Photo: Frances McKim)

Termites have been the No. 1 structural pest in the United States for longer than most can remember, yet at a recent one-day conference organized by PestBusiness.com and held in Paris, France, it was made clear to the delegates that this is now a real threat facing Europe.

On Feb 4., more than 70 delegates from over 50 companies representing the pest control research, service, distribution, manufacturing and academic market sectors gathered at the first European termite market conference. Although the rise of termites possesses a threat its also provides a market opportunity for those brave and bold enough to offer termite services.

Rob Fryatt, joint organizer from PestBusines.com, opened the conference by declaring: “Termites are a growing and spreading pest across Europe. As organizers of this event, we felt the moment was right to address this insect and to bring together an array of experts from around the world to help us explore the biology of this pest, the market and the technologies available for its management.”

As the first speaker, Rod Parker of Agricultural Information Services, explained, this rapidly growing and expanding market is valued within Europe at over $20 million at ex-manufacturer level. And it is predicted to grow to $30 million by 2012. Seventy-five percent of the market is in France, but Spain and Italy are fast developing and there are soon likely to be significant additional markets in countries such as Greece and Turkey.

So what has caused this rapid growth in the market? As the second speaker, Fryatt, explained, this market expansion is due to a number of factors coming together all at once. Not surprisingly, first of all is the spread of termite infestations across Europe, perhaps in part caused by global warming. Second is the consumer’s growing awareness of the problems they cause, coupled with increasing intolerance of the problem, accompanied by a sharp rise in their disposal income, so providing the means to purchase treatment for a pest they may have been prepared to live with 20 years ago.

Over from the U.S. was termite researcher and trainer Dr Ted Granovsky of Granovsky Associates, based in Texas, Texas, who picked-up the professional theme. He stressed that client’s needs and expectations have been rising, so the experience of all technicians providing treatments must be first-class, and emphasized that knowledge was the key. Dr Granovsky said: “The old scenario of ‘Hire them quick, fire them slow’ was gone. It takes at least a year’s worth of training before a technician really understands the technicalities and knows how to handle a customer. Personally, I don’t feel technicians understand the importance of communication with the customer, nor the significance of tip-top paperwork. Both of these aspects are increasingly important as the industry moves towards green pest management.”

The seminar was lucky to benefit from three speakers who had come all the way from Australia. Steve Broadbent, technical director of Ensystex International, tackled the wide scope of the evolution and biology of termites; Peter May, of Brisbane-based BioProspect, explained the fascinating story behind the Termilone product his company is developing as a timber treatment, surface spray and also a barrier treatment against termites; industry veteran Doug Howick, representing the Timber Preservers Association of Australia, reviewed the positive impact and development of the Australian building codes on the quality of termite control work in that country.

Completing the international theme, international strategic business consultant, Raja Mahendran covered the Asian markets. Japan at $58 million is the largest, and is twice that of the next largest market – India at $30 million.

Summing up the day’s proceedings, Serge Simon, on behalf of Edialux, the event’s exclusive sponsor said with true Gallic flair: “It is passion that keeps me going in my job every day. And it will be passion that drives us to become the architects of this new market sector.”

So this event was certainly a wake-up call to the European industry. To help the industry plan for the future, the organizers have promised a second conference to be held in late 2011. In addition, a European Termite Market report has been prepared which is available to purchase at www.pestbusiness.com for Euros 500 or by contacting jilly@PestBusiness.com.
 

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