Editor’s note: The 9th International Conference on Urban Pests (ICUP) was held July 9-12 in Birmingham, U.K. Frances McKim, editor of Pest magazine covered this year’s event and provided PCT the following recap.
BIRMINGHAM, U.K. — There is no other event in the world that can match the International Conference on Urban Pests (ICUP) for its strength and depth of urban pest management expertise. Held every three years the 2017 event, which came to Birmingham, U.K. from July 9-12, attracted about 250 pest management academics and service professionals from across the globe.This was a truly international conference. Delegates and speakers came from as far away as Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Philippines as well as from many European countries. The U.S. was well represented with numerous papers presented on research work undertaken.
The opening plenary session, chaired by conference chairman Dr. Matt Davies, took a worldwide tour of climate change and the problems it posses to urban pest populations as the key theme. Albeit not at the ICUP event, this was extremely topical as U.S. President Donald Trump was also in Europe at the same time, announcing the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris accord on climate change just days earlier.
Partho Dhang, an independent consultant from the Philippines detailed how more than 50% of the world’s population now live in cities, often located near seas or rivers, yet this represents just 1% of global land mass. These conurbations provide ideal habitats for pests with an abundant supply of food, water and habitat. The predicted rise in global temperature by 2°C could cause radical changes for insects. As cold-blooded organisms their body temperature reflects the immediate environment and with the predicted rise in temperature they could experience one to five additional life cycles per season. Likewise rodent populations would also thrive.
This stark threat prompted a question from Dr. Mike Potter, University of Kentucky, to ask if the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) would be mounting some sort of national or international campaign, much along the lines of the recent Pest Awareness Day, on this subject. Also in the audience, Dr Jim Fredericks of NPMA said this was unlikely as this was primarily a political issue.
This paper complemented the very first speaker up, Matt Bertone from North Carolina State University, who outlined his yet-to-be-published work on the indoor distribution of arthropod communities in U.S. homes. This has now been extended to similar research in six further global locations.
As bed bugs made up a considerable part of the program it was only to be expected that such US experts as Dr. Dini Miller, Dr. Jeff White and Dr. Mike Potter also spoke and contributed during the bed bug workshop.
At times there were up to four parallel sessions running, so it proved impossible to attend them all but Corraine and Seth McNeill from Union College (Neb) reviewed their work on gender specific vision in bed bugs, while Dr. Michael Rust, University of California (retired), presented his work on insect growth regulators for cat fleas.
Mosquitoes, termites, house flies and museum pests all made appearances, as did rodents whose coverage was considerably expanded from previous ICUP conferences.While the scientific presentations provide the focus of ICUP events, the discussions over coffee and lunch prove equally important with a global exchange of opinions and friendships struck. Another unique feature is that both printed and digital copies of all the papers are presented as proceedings at the start of the conference.
The event was brought to a close by Dr. Bill Robinson, from the Urban Pest Control Research Centre, Va., who jointly with Clive Boase, from the Pest Management Consultancy in the UK, has masterminded these events since their inception in 1993. Robinson announced that the tenth ICUP will be held in Spain at a similar time of the year in 2020.