In June, PCT and sponsor Univar Environmental Sciences hosted the second PCT Top 100 event, in Chicago. The event recognized companies in this year’s PCT Top 100, our annual listing of the 100 largest firms in the pest control industry, and included panel discussions featuring leaders from some of these companies. Capping off the event was a special awards presentation at historic Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Here is a slideshow of photos from this event.
Editor’s note: July PCT included a focus on fly control – including small flies and fleas. In the following online extra, Dr. Bob Cartwright, technical manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management, discusses an integrated approach to flea control.
As each summer day gets warmer, pest management professionals (PMPs) need effective ways to provide long-lasting residual control of fleas, which thrive in the heat and humidity much of the U.S. is currently experiencing. With diligence and the proper tools, PMPs can help homeowners successfully defend against even the most difficult infestations of these irritating warm-season pests.
Attack from All Sides
People and pets enjoy spending more time outside during the summer months, but high temperatures can lead to increased flea and tick populations.
PMPs should work with homeowners to ensure they take the proper actions to create an environment that is not susceptible to flea and tick infestations. The best way to eliminate hard-to-control flea populations is to recommend an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach that uses a combination of physical controls, on-animal controls and chemical controls.
Homeowners can reduce fleas in and around homes by treating infested pets with veterinarian-recommended products, washing pet bedding materials, vacuuming carpeted, tile or wood floors and pruning plants and weeds where fleas may be harboring. If these measures are not fully effective, implementation of a chemical control program will help provide more complete control of flea populations.
Archer insect growth regulator attacks the problem where it starts by preventing the development of flea eggs, larvae and nymphs, and causes sterility in adult fleas. Treatments should be focused toward pet sleeping areas, carpets, throw rugs and upholstered furniture. Additionally, tank mixing Archer with an adulticide, such as Demand CS insecticide with iCAP technology, will help control active adults. The combination of these two products is an effective approach for controlling both resistant and non-resistant adult populations.
Effective Solutions for a Pesky Problem
Fleas may be re-introduced into an area, so regular re-treatments may be necessary. Treatments with insecticides will greatly assist flea control efforts. These pests are worthy adversaries, but with effective and powerful tools at their disposal, PMPs can eliminate these nuisance pests and the irritation they can bring customers.
For more information about Archer or Demand CS visit www.syngentapmp.com.
|(Left to right) BASF executives Harald Lauke, president, Competence Center for Biological & Effect Systems Research; Markus Heldt, president, crop protection division; and Peter Eckes, president, BASF Plant Science Co., updated the business press on BASF’s R&D activities.|
At a two-day Agricultural Solutions Media Summit designed to update business press editors on BASF’s global research initiatives, company executives reinforced their commitment to sustainability and eco-efficiency through ongoing investments in research and development (R&D), while highlighting a number of new products developed specifically for the pest management industry.
Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, a member of the company’s Board of Executive Directors, said innovation provides “the path to sustainability,” which is critical if companies like BASF are to feed an ever-expanding global population, which is expected to top 94 billion people by 2050.
Driving that innovation at the world’s largest chemical company are more than 10,000 R&D personnel spread throughout the globe, including scientists working at BASF’s North American headquarters in Florham Park, N.J.; its sprawling Agricultural Solutions campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C.; and the company’s pest control “Center of Excellence” in St. Louis, Mo.
|Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer said innovation provides “the path to sustainability,” which is critical if companies like BASF are to feed an ever-expanding global population, which is expected to top 94 billion people by 2050.|
When it comes to feeding a rapidly growing population in a world with a finite amount of arable land, chemistry is often the “enabler” that transforms pure science into products designed to enhance crop yields, observed Dr. Harald Lauke, president, Competence Center for Biological & Effect Systems Research, BASF. “With continued innovation we get much more out of the land to feed the global population,” he said.
Despite these advances, however, the productivity bar keeps getting raised, requiring basic manufacturers to do more than simply discover “new molecules” to increase crop yields and control pests. More and more, manufacturers are focusing their energies on developing “functionalized materials and solutions” designed to spur advances in sustainability and eco-efficiency, according the Lauke, while meeting the product needs of customers in such diverse markets as agriculture, structural pest management and automobile manufacturing.
For example, Lauke cited a concept car jointly developed by Daimler and BASF that features a number of technologies pioneered by BASF scientists, including high-performance foams, infrared-reflective coating, all-plastic wheels, E-textiles and a solar roof with transparent organic solar panels and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) modules.
To be successful today requires a commitment to enhancing a company’s “multi-disciplinary competencies,” Lauke observed. “Research is not just about lab-based work; it also means developing cross-functional teams to work closely with customers on the ground, in the markets,” he said. “It’s more than looking for just one molecule.”
“For us, teaming up with partners is critical to market success,” added Dr. Peter Eckes, president, BASF Plant Science Company. Such a go-to-market strategy allows the 147-year-old company to pro-actively address customer needs, while at the same time meet its financial obligations.
“Innovation and new technical solutions are the backbone of our strategy to reach our financial targets and goals,” said Markus Heldt, president, Crop Protection Division, a key driver in the company’s sustainability and eco-efficiency efforts. As a result, the division – which includes the company’s Pest Control Solutions business – continues to invest aggressively in various R&D activities, spending 325 million Euros ($406 million) annually on basic research.
In addition, BASF continues to invest substantial financial resources in property, plants and equipment, according to Heldt, spending $150 million Euros ($187 million) annually between 2007-2011, with plans to increase that investment to $200 million Euros ($250 million) annually from 2012-2016.
Corporate Commitment. BASF’s commitment to sustainability and eco-efficiency doesn’t stop with its Crop Protection and Plant Biotechnology operations. It also extends to its Specialty Products Division (SPD), which includes the Pest Control Solutions business, where the company is a major player thanks to the introduction of Termidor in 2000 and the acquisition of Whitmire Micro-Gen Research Laboratories in 2008.
Whether feeding an ever-growing world population or controlling pests in the most environmentally responsible fashion possible, “innovation is the pathway to sustainability,” observed Jan Buberl, director, BASF Specialty Products. “The pest control market is a strategic focus for BASF. We will continue to support the industry and our customers by bringing innovations that deliver value including products that reduce termite labor from 30 to 80 percent and reduce (GPC) callbacks by 15 percent. You can also expect to see one to two new innovations from BASF every year for this market.”
And while the bulk of BASF’s research budget is allocated to agriculture, the Specialty Products Division receives its fair share of R&D dollars, as evidenced by the recent introduction of Termidor HE, an extension of the company’s Termidor product line featuring a new molecular technology that creates an enhanced protection zone around structures requiring less water, smaller trenches, fewer drill holes and shallower minimum treatment depths, according to the manufacturer. “We have dedicated resources that do not compete with crop,” Buberl said. “We see pest control as a strategic business for us.”
“One way in which a company measures its innovative power is by the number and quality of its patents,” added Tom Hill, communications manager, Specialty Products. “In 2011, BASF filed around 1,050 new patents worldwide. Furthermore, we ranked first in the Patent Asset Index for the third time in succession. This method, which compares patent portfolios industry-wide, found BASF to be the most innovative company in the chemical industry worldwide.”
Focus on Sustainability. Not surprisingly, the Specialty Products Division (SPD) is also a key driver in the company’s sustainability efforts. “BASF defines sustainability as balancing economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility,” Buberl said, utilizing sound scientific principles, as well as respected third-parties, to make its case.
Towards that end, SPD recently conducted an eco-efficiency analysis of Termidor SC and Termidor HE, with the results of the year-long study validated by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The study was designed to determine the “environmental footprint” of two formulations of Termidor when treating 1,000 houses over a 20-year period. The treatments included:
- A traditional termite treatment utilizing Termidor SC (rodding/trenching)
- A PerimeterPLUS treatment utilizing Termidor SC
- A traditional termite treatment utilizing Termidor High Efficiency (HE) Copack
- A Termidor HE PerimterPLUS treatment
The eco-efficiency analysis measured six key environmental impacts for each of the treatment types: energy, raw materials, land use, risk, toxicity potential and emissions. After analyzing all of the data, what BASF learned is there is a “quantifiable and significant reduction in overall environmental impacts” relative to using Termidor SC with both the PerimeterPLUS and Termidor HE treatment options versus traditional rodding and trenching with Termidor SC.
“The PerimeterPLUS has a completely different footprint than the conventional solution,” Buberl oberved, as does Termidor HE. The “key takeaway” from the study, he said, is “Termidor HE PerimeterPLUS is the most eco-efficient alternative, while a conventional treatment of Termidor SC is the least eco-efficient.”
So what are the practical implications of PMPs performing more eco-efficient termiticide applications? Buberl said it’s significant, with the eco-efficiency savings over a 20-year period for a Termidor HE PerimeterPLUS treatment equal to the “total energy consumed by 40 residential homes in the U.S. for a year.”
While the environmental benefits of such a treatment regimen are significant, Buberl said there are also a number of financial advantages, including labor savings, lower fuel costs and more efficient termiticide use. Such a treatment regimen provides a “significant reduction in costs,” he said, particularly as it relates to fuel and water consumption.
Buberl said BASF’s technical staff will be presenting the findings of the company’s eco-efficiency study to PMPs throughout the fall and winter as it continues to roll out Termidor HE, as well as the newest product in the company’s pipeline – Termidor SI, a proprietary soil injection system.
Termidor SI will be on display at NPMA PestWorld in October and available to the broader marketplace “by the end of the year,” according to Buberl. The product was developed, in part, to address a number of common customer concerns, including the time it takes to complete a traditional termite job. “The Termidor SI System treats 10 linear feet in approximately 30 seconds,” so technicians can treat a home in a fraction of the time of traditional treatments, Buberl said. “That’s a game changer.”
In addition, Termidor SI eliminates the need for trenching, thereby limiting disruption to the landscape and reducing technician fatigue. An on-board computer also provides precise dosing and tracking of the termiticide, according to the manufacturer, enhancing the PMP’s record-keeping capabilities. “The customers we have tested this concept with are completely impressed,” he said. "A machine like this creates a key differentiator in the marketplace."
On April 13, the National Pest Management Association sent a letter to EPA outlining concerns about how new federal labels will restrict how pest management professionals apply pyrethroids.
Specifically, NPMA asked for:
- Clarification of environmental hazard statements. NPMA asked that EPA clarify whether or not certain label directions were advisory or mandatory;
- Clarification of the label statement: “Do not water to the point of runoff.” NPMA asked EPA to confirm that if the applicator does not water to the point of runoff, but the customer or another person does water the treated area subsequent to the application, the applicator has not violated the label directions;
- An amendment to labels allowing products to be used “to treat building surfaces for brown marmorated stink bugs, kudzu bugs, boxelder bugs, spiders, cluster flies, multicolored Asian ladybeetles, clover mites and carpenter bees, provided that the application does not exceed the point of runoff, and the surface being treated is above a permissible treatment site like a lawn, soil, turf or other vegetation, and not above an impervious surface or other use site that may not be treated.”
On May 21, EPA responded to these concerns in a letter addressed to NPMA Senior Vice President Bob Rosenberg.
Regarding the environmental hazard statements, EPA confirmed that those statements are “best management practices” and “not written to be mandatory, enforceable statements.”
In response to NPMA’s question about “watering to the point of runoff,” EPA responded, “If the customer or homeowner, subsequent to the PCO application and watering-in, waters the treated area creating runoff, the applicator would not have violated the label directions.”
In response to NPMA’s request that the Agency allow non-agricultural outdoor use pyrethroid product labels to be amended for certain uses, EPA denied that request, noting that it “believes that the flexibility inherent in the 2009 pyrethroid non-agricultural outdoor labeling initiative covers the scenarios NPMA has raised.”
Rosenberg said NPMA is still discussing this issue with the Agency.
Harbison is Internet editor for www.pctonline.com.
Decisions regarding the future of pyrethroids will continue to unfold, so stay tuned to www.pctonline.com. Two other important resources are:
http://bit.ly/pyrethroid-update —Includes a link to the April 13 letter in which NPMA outlined concerns about how new federal labels will restrict how PMPs apply pyrethroids. Also includes a link to EPA’s May 21 response.
1.usa.gov/LN76TP — This page contains information from various EPA topic pages, fact sheets, and other sources that relate to pyrethroids and pyrethrins.
I’m a big fan of the performing arts. I look forward to Hollywood blockbusters like “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” (see page 52) just as much as the next guy. Cable TV boasts some of the finest dramas anywhere. And reality TV is a guilty pleasure. Who’s up for an “American Pickers,” “Swamp People,” or “World’s Worst Tenants” marathon? Count me in!
However, when it comes to the way pest management professionals (PMPs) are portrayed in the entertainment industry, I’m not such a fan. More often than not the PMPs I see on television or on the silver screen don’t look or act like anyone I know in the industry. While I’m not naive enough to think that every PMP is a paragon of virtue or presents himself or herself in the most professional manner possible, I am confident that the vast majority of our readers wake up every morning trying to do the right thing, projecting a positive public image in the process.
Perhaps because I remember the “old days” when PMPs were depicted as either spray jockeys or pompous losers (think John Goodman in “Arachnophobia”) that I’m particularly sensitive to the way our industry has been portrayed on TV or in films. That image is changing, thanks, in part, to the pro-active efforts of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and media-savvy PMPs who understand that perception often is reality, so it’s worth investing the time and effort to promote a positive public image.
It’s for these reasons I felt such trepidation several months ago upon receiving a request from Sony Pictures Television to feature PCT magazine as “set dressing” in season five of the Emmy-winning television show, “Breaking Bad.” “Briefly, ‘Breaking Bad’ stars Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston (‘Malcolm in the Middle’) as Walter White — a high school chemistry teacher, father and husband — a decent man whose life takes a dark turn when he discovers he has a terminal illness,” according to the release form from the production company. “In the midst of what can best be described as the world’s worst case of mid-life crisis, Walt embarks on a criminal career...Said magazines will be used to dress the set of a pest control company’s office. Please be advised that while the pest control company itself is a legitimate business, the people who run the company are involved in bad things.”
Mmmmm...bad things. That didn’t sound good. Ultimately, I decided to decline Sony’s offer, not because I objected to the content of “Breaking Bad,” which is one of the finest shows on television, but because I was worried about giving the industry another black eye after we’ve come so far. In responding to Sony, I wrote: “I’ve covered the pest management industry for more than 30 years and during that time I have grown to have a great respect for the people who wake up every day to provide professional pest management services to customers across the U.S. They’re very humble, salt-of-the-earth, hard-working people who do their best to protect the property and health of their customers on a daily basis, and to do so in an environmentally sensitive fashion. Unfortunately, the stereotypical view of pest management professionals doesn’t always align with my personal experience with this essential service industry...While I wouldn’t presume it is ‘Breaking Bad’s intent to portray the pest management industry in an unflattering manner, simply by the nature of the subject matter we would not want to do anything that could possibly reflect poorly on our readership, who have worked very hard to enhance the industry’s image over the years. Clearly, the producers of ‘Breaking Bad’ and its staff take great pride in producing an award-winning television series with a unique creative vision, one that has justifiably received praise from television critics and the public alike. And while we can readily acknowledge that a television series — particularly one as good as ‘Breaking Bad,’ at an aspirational level, is a work of art — we would not want to do anything that could reflect poorly on the pest management industry, even in the context of great art.”
What do you think?
What call would you have made? Are we being overly sensitive? Does Hollywood shape public perceptions of the industry or are we ultimately responsible for our own public image? Let us know what you think. E-mail PCT Publisher Dan Moreland at email@example.com. We’ll share our readers’ thoughts on this important subject in a future issue of PCT magazine.