LIVINGSTONE, N.J. — Founded in 1941, the New Jersey Pest Management Association (NJPMA) has grown to more than 600 firms.
Leonard Douglen, executive director, NJPMA, reflected back to the founding years when his predecessors began to make the association into a leader among the states. “From the very beginning, the association’s founders put an emphasis on educating members by calling on entomologists and other scientists to address its monthly meetings regarding the variety of insect and rodent pests with which they had to contend.”
In those days, as the industry’s veterans recall, having a pest problem in one’s home was widely believed to be because it was not kept clean. “It was a source of embarrassment to have a pest control professional treat for cockroaches and other pests,” said Douglen, “and they were often asked to park their cars or trucks around the corner so the neighbors would not see it.”
As the emphasis on educating members grew, the Association established an annual, day-long conference of seminars. Aug. 18 will mark the 64th year of the conference, held for many years on the Cook College campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
In past years, to entertain attendees, the Association sponsored a “Cockroach Derby” that pitted two or more Madagascar hissing roaches, the largest of the roach species, against one another. This year the association will pit a team of bed bug sniffing dogs against technicians in a race to determine who can find them first. It’s being called the Doggone Bed Bug Contest.
“There have been many changes in the pest management industry over the years,” said Douglen. “The public has recognized its essential function in protecting their health against the insect and rodent species that spread disease, and in exterminating wood-destroying insects such as termites and Carpenter ants that can cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home or other structure.”
The loss of former, widely-used pesticides that were effective against termites and other insect species has been a challenge to the industry and Douglen cites the lack of a pesticide registered for use against bed bugs has been largely responsible for their rapid spread. “The industry, out of necessity, has developed a variety of other treatments.”
“The industry has come a very long way from 1941 and earlier years when no licensing and no annual certification was necessary to be a pest control operator,” said Douglen. “Not only have we welcomed regulations and standards, we have worked closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to develop them.” Douglen cited DEP rules regarding the protection of schools against infestations as an example.
In contrast to 1941, today’s pest management professionals have a wide array of products and technologies with which to combat insect and rodent pests, as well as feral animals that pose problems. One of the more recent additions has been specially trained dogs that can sniff out the presence of termites and bed bugs.
“Today’s consumer can count on being services by highly trained, licensed and certified technicians,” said Douglen. “Pest control has a long history reaching back to Medieval times when rat-catchers made their living in modest homes and the castles of royalty.”
For more information about NJPMA visit http://www.NJPMA.com