WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — About 500 industry professional traveled to Purdue University this week for the 77th Annual Purdue Pest Management Conference. Attendees heard from a wide array of industry experts on cutting-edge pest management topics; networked with colleagues; and learned about the latest technologies from vendors at this year’s exhibit hall.
This year’s conference was somewhat bittersweet as it was the first since the passing of Dr. John Osmun (in October at 94) — one of the most influential figures in the history of Purdue’s entomology program, which celebrated 100 years in 2012. Osmun joined Purdue in 1948 and went on to develop the first four-year curriculum in urban and industrial entomology.
Gary Bennett, coordinator for the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management, kicked off this year’s Purdue conference by paying tribute to Osmun, whom he (and many others in the industry) considered a friend and mentor.
Following Bennett’s opening remarks, bed bugs once again took center stage. Gene White, director of training and education at Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., spoke on the topic “Bed Bugs and Their Threat to Public Health.”
White noted that although human disease transmission has not been verified by our science, psychological and economic health has risen to the forefront of concern. In describing the mental impact bed bugs can have on people, White cited a quote by Sandy Rubinstein, a homeowner whose experiences with bed bugs led her to launch her own business, PestHeat: “You can kill the bugs in people’s beds, but you can’t kill the bugs in people’s heads.”
An interesting new development, White noted, is a human bed bug bite classification system created by Dr. Jerome Goddard, associate extension professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University. Goddard said bite reactions will fall into one of these four categories.
Usual —occur within an hour
-pruritic (severe itch)
-punctum (a minute round spot differing in color or appearance from the surround tissue)
Common — occur hours later
-pruritic macules or papules
-Erythematous - red
Complex (Bullous) — include immediate, late and delayed components
-persists for days or weeks
-pruritic, painful, may leave residual scarring and/or hyperpigmentation
-of 357 photographs from the Internet 6% (21) were bullous
-A serious allergic reaction characterized by rapid onset and may cause death
While acknowledging the challenges inherent with bed bug work, White is optimistic that the industry is getting a better handle on bed bugs thanks to new product introductions; university research; and a newer generation of service professionals who have been dealing with bed bugs ever since entering the industry.
“Bed bug work is an opportunity for us as an industry to truly enact IPM,” he said.
Other highlights from the Purdue conference include:
- Purdue recognized longtime attendee and conference support Bob Dold Sr., of Rose Pest Solutions, Chicago. Dold has been an active association member at the local, state and national level and is a past president of the National Pest Management Association. He and wife Judy are frequent speakers at industry conferences, including Purdue. Rose Pest Solutions is one of the oldest pest control companies in the U.S., whose history dates back to 1860. Company founder Solomon Rose even provided an early form of pesticide to the Union Army during the Civil War. Bob sr., joined Rose Pest Solutions after receiving his MBA from Denision University, rising through the ranks to become president. Rose Pest Solutions is currently led by President Bob Dold, Jr., the third generation of Dolds.
- Pi Chi Omega, the national pest control fraternity, held a membership dinner on Tuesday. The fraternity announced that it will be awarding a total of four scholarships in 2013. Three scholarships will be in the amount of $2,000; a fourth scholarship, the “Dr. John V. Osmun Memorial Scholarship” will be awarded in the amount of $3,000.
- A pair of pre-conference workshops. Purdue’s Fred Whitford reviewed safety issues related to measuring pesticides, ph of water used in mixes, leaking tanks and other current hot topics related to safety. Harvey Goldglantz, Pest Control Marketing Company, gave a presentation titled “How to Run a Small Business.” Goldglantz reviewed hiring, firing and other personnel issues and how these issues impact the success of small business.
PCT will have additional coverage of the Purdue conference throughout 2013.