|Left to right: Rob Fryatt (CEPA Director General) with bed bug speaker Ole Kilpinen from Denmark with Gunnar Akerblom (CEPA President). (Photo: Frances McKim)|
|Dr Stephen Doggett from Australia, Dr Changlu Wang of Rutgers University and Mathew Kaye of Brandenburg enjoy time-out cruising on the river Danube. (Photo: Frances McKim)|
Editor's note: Industry representatives from across Europe met at Europest 2010 held in Budapest, June 14-15. Frances McKim, editor of Pest magazine, reports.
BUDAPEST, Hungary - Europest was organized by the European Pest Management Industry Association (CEPA) and the Hungarian Pest Control Association (MaKOSZ). In addition to European delegates, the event was joined by speakers from as far away as Australia and the U.S. In total, there were more than 90 delegates from 19 different countries.
The subjects debated at Europest fell into two halves. The second day looked at technical issues facing the industry. Whereas on the initial opening day, industry-related activities took center stage, so it was totally appropriate that Gunnar Akerblom, president of CEPA, opened proceedings.
Having canvassed opinions of the current membership last summer, there was unanimous agreement on the achievements made in the last four years – notably agreement on future strategy, the endorsement of the Rome Protocol leading to the CEN European standards project, the inclusion of new members accompanied by the establishment of a firm financial base. These key objectives will continue into the future, along with targets to improve both internal and external communication, in addition to lobbying within the Brussels community. A note of caution was sounded by Mr Akerblom when he explained: “It’s good to have high ambitions. But expectations within CEPA do not, regrettably, always match the available financial resources.”
Establishment of a European standard
One key objective for CEPA remains the establishment of a common standard for pest management service throughout Europe. Initiated with the acceptance of the Rome Protocol in 2008, CEPA is now working with the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to produce a European standard which will specify the requirements, recommendations and basic competences to reach a professional operation level of the services provided by pest management services companies, to meet the needs of private companies, public authorities and consumers. A bold move, but one which may well prove invaluable once the requirements of the forthcoming Sustainable Use Directive come into play.
Emerging pest problems
On the second day the spotlight was turned on two pests of ever-increasing significance for CEPA members – bedbugs and mosquitoes. The rise of bedbugs as a major pest of urban significance not only around Europe, but also worldwide, is now well recognized. Ole Kilpinen from the Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory, University of Aarhus stressed the importance of monitoring the magnitude of the problem, especially as control methods evolve. “Our knowledge of bedbug biology is increasing rapidly, but there still remain many unanswered questions,” explained Mr Kilpinen. “The more we learn about this pest, the greater our chances of controlling it.” He concluded by calling for coordinated EU research funding.
Moving away from Europe, Dr Changlu Wang of Rutgers University provided an American perspective. Just as in Europe, bedbugs pose an equal threat. He highlighted the public’s reaction to infestation – ranging from at one end people who throw away expensive furniture and then pay anything up to $1,000 to eliminate bedbugs. To the other end of the scale, with people living in multi-unit dwellings who either fail to report infestations for fear of eviction, or who are worried about the high cost of control.
Based in the Department of Medical Entomology at Westmead Hospital in Australia, Dr Stephen Doggett made an impassioned plea for improved communication and cooperation – not just within the industry but also on a wider scale encompassing regulatory authorities, the hospitality industry, public housing associations – the list goes on.
Similarly to bedbugs, mosquitoes are an increasing problem around Europe due largely to the effects of climate change. Increased rainfall and temperature levels have led to new and rapidly growing outbreaks of this vector-carrying pest.