MONHEIM, Germany — Bayer announced on Feb. 24 its intent to divest the company’s Environmental Science Professional business (ES) as part of “plans to accelerate the strategy implementation of its Crop Science division.”
Bayer’s Environmental Science Professional business provides solutions to control pests, disease and weeds in non-agricultural areas such as professional pest management, vector control, industrial vegetation management, forestry, and turf and ornamentals. The Environmental Science Professional business had sales of more than $725 million in 2019.
In the professional pest control market, Bayer offers one of the largest portfolios of products and solutions in the industry, supported by a strong and experienced technical/sales team. The company’s product line includes such well known brands as DeltaGard, Maxforce, Premise, Suspend, Tempo and the Bayer Rodent Monitoring System.
Following the announcement, PCT and sister publication Golf Course Industry caught up with Gilles Galliou — currently head of commercial operations for Bayer Vegetable Seeds Americas — who has been tapped to lead the divestment of Bayer’s Environmental Science business.
Galliou said ES was a “special” and “profitable” business for Bayer, and it benefitted from Bayer’s technology, research capabilities and processes, but ES was “always on the side of the major business that’s the crop business.”
Bayer had long considered divesting ES, Galliou said, and the decision to do so now was based on “a focus on the transformation and the investments that Bayer Crop Science wants to do in the ag world,” and that for the investments ES needs to move forward, “maybe those investments are better placed outside.”
As leader of the divestment, Galliou will act as CEO of this new company. He said his immediate responsibilities will focus on separating ES from Bayer and structuring the business independently, then leading as CEO once the organization is ready to become independent. “It’s a marathon, it’s a long process. It’s not easy to separate a fully integrated division,” said Galliou, who added he expects the divestment to be finalized in mid-2022.
The Environmental Science Professional business will be based in Cary, N.C., effective June 1. The division conducts business on multiple continents and Bayer devoted significant time following the announcement communicating with employees about how the divestment will impact current operations and interactions with customers.
“This is not going to affect our employees and it’s not going to affect our relationship with our customers,” Galliou says. “This case is based on growth and it’s not based on cost management and, therefore, we will continue to fully engage our customers with the team that we have today. During the whole process our No. 1 focus will be to maintain the service and the product and the engagement we have toward our customers. It’s not going to affect that relationship. Our expectation is that it will maybe bring additional opportunities in the short and mid-term to those customers and employees.”
Bayer is one of the pest control industry’s strongest supporters and association partners and Galliou said this commitment will continue. “I can guarantee that our engagement toward the industry and industry associations, in general, will be very, very strong,” Galliou says.
While Galliou would not comment on potential suitors, he said, “We are looking to become an independent company, but again, we are at the very beginning of this process and we are preparing for all options.”
PCT will be providing additional coverage of this important industry development online (www.pctonline.com) and in the magazine. — Brad Harbison and Guy Cipriano (Golf Course Industry magazine)
In Memoriam: Bill Spitz
HOUSTON — Bill Spitz, who owned and operated Big State Pest Control, Houston, Texas, and was a former NPMA president (1971-72), passed away on Feb. 14. He was 95.
A Brooklyn native, Spitz enlisted in the U.S. Army at the outset of World War II. Serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Brooklyn, during flight school he distinguished himself and became the leader of 5,000 other cadets.
After the war, Spitz moved to Houston, Texas, in 1950, where he met his wife Joan. The couple launched Big State Pest Control, which grew to become a Fortune 500 company. Spitz became a respected businessman in the Houston community who made regular TV and radio appearances, according to his obituary on Legacy.com.
Bob and Judy Dold of Rose Pest Solutions, Chicago, were longtime friends and colleagues with the Spitzes. Judy Dold remembered Spitz as a charismatic, caring leader. “He was a big man physically, with a big personality, but never abrasive,” she said. “He loved spending time with his four boys and was active in his community and a leader at his temple.”
Later in life, Spitz mentored seasoned business executives and novices alike for more than 30 years and was president of Silver Fox Advisors. — Brad Harbison
April to be Recognized as National Pest Management Month
FAIRFAX, Va. — National Pest Management Month (NPMM) is an annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events each April and the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the consumer marketing and public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), is encouraging the industry to get involved and celebrate. NPMM highlights the professional pest control industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the threats posed by pests — a role that has become even more crucial amid the global pandemic.
“This special designation has been recognized for more than 40 years, and with professional pest control deemed an ‘essential service’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for its vital role as a protector of public health, there’s no better time to remind homeowners just how vital these services are,” said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA.
With necessary social distancing measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic still in effect, many are noticing pest infestations as they spend more time at home, underscoring the need for a reliable pest control partner. With a concerted media relations and social media campaign, PPMA will focus its public outreach efforts during NPMM on reinforcing the essential role of professional pest control and the value of working with a licensed pest control professional among consumer audiences.
PPMA is asking pest control companies to join the alliance in devoting their social media pages to National Pest Management Month, using the hashtag #NPMM in all posts and interactions on social properties this April to help bring further awareness to this observance.
Mainframe subscribers also will have access to an exclusive toolkit of marketing materials that can be used as a resource in their publicity efforts. For more information about PPMA and its marketing programs or to subscribe to Mainframe, visit http://www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.
EPA Orders Amazon to Halt Illegal Pesticide Sales
SEATTLE, Wash. — The Seattle office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Feb. 9 that it has issued a “stop sale” order to Amazon.com to prevent sales on the platform of potentially dangerous or ineffective unregistered pesticides and pesticide devices making illegal and misleading claims, including multiple products that claimed to protect against viruses.
This action adds 70 products to a June 6, 2020, EPA order which contained more than 30 illegal products.
“Unregistered pesticides in the e-commerce marketplace pose a significant and immediate health risk to consumers, children, pets and others exposed to the products,” says Ed Kowalski, director of the Enforcement Compliance Assurance Division in EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle.
This is the third pesticide stop-sale order issued by the agency to Amazon in the last three years. Beyond the stop-sales, EPA has mounted other efforts to stop fraudulent products, such as partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop multiple imports of millions of illegal disinfectant products imported by or for sale on Amazon. EPA also has provided guidance to e-commerce companies on multiple occasions about their requirements to ensure their disinfectant products are legal and safe.
The agency advises consumers who have purchased an unregistered pesticide product or a misbranded pesticidal device to safely dispose of it in accordance with local, state and federal laws. This is especially important for consumers seeking to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA recommends that consumers only purchase products on EPA’s “List N of Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19).” EPA expects all products on this list to kill the coronavirus when used according to the label directions.
Under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, pesticides and disinfectants intended for sale in the U.S. must be evaluated for safety and efficacy by EPA and bear approved labeling with an EPA registration number and an EPA establishment number. In contrast, pesticidal devices must bear an EPA establishment number and conform to certain other requirements, but they are not evaluated for safety and efficacy by EPA before marketing. Source: EPA.gov
Documentary Details WSDA’s Hunt for Asian Giant Hornet
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) project to find and trap the Asian giant hornet is now the subject of a new documentary available to stream on Discovery+.
Last fall, a production crew spent six weeks in Washington filming beekeepers, researchers and WSDA staff for the documentary. The 90-minute production, “Attack of the murder hornets,” is available to stream via Discovery+, a subscription-based channel.
By chance, filming began the day before WSDA entomologist Chris Looney caught the first live Asian giant hornet in the U.S., with the crew capturing footage throughout the project, including when WSDA found and eradicated an Asian giant hornet nest.
In addition to documenting key developments in the quest to find an Asian giant hornet nest, the film also shows the extensive collaboration between government agencies and the public, including the widespread trapping work by members of the Mt. Baker Beekeeper Association and other citizen scientists around the state.
“This film is an opportunity to educate people in an entertaining way about the work that is being done to prevent Asian giant hornets from establishing in the Pacific Northwest,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist, said. “Viewers will see some great shots of these hornets and the film does a good job showing how important the partnership between government agencies and the public has been to this effort.”
“When it comes to preventing and stopping invasive species, we all have a role to play and this film demonstrates what can be accomplished through collaboration,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “We are excited to see how the film will increase awareness of invasive species with such a large audience.”
The film begins airing as WSDA’s Pest Program continues to evaluate results from last year’s giant hornet project and plans for the 2021 survey season, which will begin this summer.
PCO M&A Specialists, William Blair Release December Pest Index
NEWTON, N.J. — According to the William Blair/PCO M&A Specialists Pest Index, which is a proprietary index of the monthly sales for 140 different U.S. pest control companies across 30 states, the total U.S. pest control index increased 8.8 percent year-over-year in December 2020. On a sequential basis, the index decreased 3.8 percent from November 2020, which is slightly better than the historical trend. The index declined 5 percent sequentially in December 2019 and 10 percent sequentially in December 2018. This index includes recurring and nonrecurring revenue for the residential pest, commercial pest and termite markets. It does not include residential door-to-door companies.
The 9 percent year-over-year U.S. pest index increase in December marks an acceleration from November (+7 percent) and October (+5 percent). The improving trend was driven by a step up in the residential pest market throughout the quarter, combined with stronger commercial growth in December, the report’s authors say.
“We are again surprised by another positive monthly report as trends continued to steadily improve throughout the quarter,” said William Blair Equity Researchers Tim Mulrooney and Sam Kusswurm, pointing to the work-from-home environment and favorable weather as factors supporting stronger residential volumes and retention rates. “Meanwhile, the commercial market appears to continue to recover as mandatory restrictions are lifted and businesses continue to reopen.”
View past reports at www.sellmypco business.com.
Pest Posse to Host Women in Pest Control YouTube Series
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Pest Posse will host its fourth annual Women in Pest Control YouTube series, sponsored by Target Specialty Products, each Monday throughout the month of March.
The Pest Posse, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is a weekly YouTube series, continuing training solution and consulting company dedicated to pest management professionals and owners of small- to medium-size businesses.
March is Women’s History Month, highlighting the contributions of women in history and contemporary society. The Women in Pest Control series will recognize five women who work in the pest control industry as service technicians, business owners or sales representatives. Each live episode will feature one of the women being recognized.
View the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Women in Pest Control series on The Pest Posse YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/thepestposse.
Learn more about The Pest Posse at www.thepestposse.net.
NPMA ELP Class of 2021 Announced
FAIRFAX, Va. — The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) announced the selection of the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) class of 2021 participants, which is designed to prepare professionals for association leadership roles and develop ambassadors for the industry, NPMA says.
“As proven with the previous four ELP classes, the curriculum presents a fantastic opportunity for these aspiring association leaders to grow professionally and personally. In turn, NPMA benefits by hearing fresh perspectives and establishing a pipeline of engaged members. It’s truly a win-win situation,” stated NPMA CEO Dominique Stumpf. “We are proud to continue this program with the support of WorkWave, and look forward to working with this new group of passionate participants.”
The six candidates of this class were selected through a rigorous application process. Applicants were selected based on broad criteria, which accounted for leadership potential, industry participation and commitment to professional development, among other factors, NPMA said.
The Executive Leadership Program Class of 2021 includes:
- Solomon Airhart, Aruza Pest Control, Charlotte, N.C.
- Austin Burns, Burns Pest Elimination, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Courtney Carace, Pest-End, Plaistow, N.H.
- King Jones III, CT Pest Solutions, Naugatuck, Conn.
- Rusty Prewett, Prewett Pest Control, Auburn, Ala.
- Mickey Thomas, Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, Ga.
During the two-year curriculum, candidates will participate in training sessions and courses designed to cultivate skills and knowledge essential to successful organizational leadership within NPMA and beyond. Training will encompass a comprehensive range of competencies including: the history of NPMA and its future plans, industry trends and consumer insights, inclusion and diversity training, executive etiquette, public policy and legislative issue navigation and community engagement, along with a suite of skills related to strategic management and planning.
The Executive Leadership Program is an NPMA initiative designed to find passionate, committed and engaged individuals from all parts of the country who want to enhance the association and the membership experience. Applications for participation will be accepted on an ongoing annual basis. Visit www.npmapestworld.org/elp to learn about the program and to apply for the 2022 class.