Insects Limited Celebrates 40 Years

Features - Company Profile

Since its establishment by Dave Mueller in 1981, Insects Limited has built a global reputation for its expertise in pheromone technology. Today the company researches, tests, develops, manufactures, and distributes pheromones and trapping systems for stored product insects.

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December 6, 2021

From above, clockwise: The first company sign from 40 years ago; the company’s late technical director, Alain VanRyckeghem, in the lab in 2016; Insects Limited’s headquarters in Westfield, Ind.; and Pete and Tom Mueller as children with their dog.

For four decades, education has been the cornerstone of Insects Limited. In fact, even before he established the company, founder Dave Mueller was sending out newsletters to share his knowledge with industry peers.

“Dave had been inspired by something his mentor John Osmun said when he was a professor of entomology at Purdue University: ‘Let’s educate, not regulate,’” says Insects Limited Vice President Tom Mueller. “That’s been our company’s unofficial motto since 1981.”

The first Fumigants & Pheromones Conference was held in Lubeck, Germany, in 1993.

Mueller also shared Osmun’s vision that nontoxic solutions would play a leading role in the future of pest management. This belief motivated him to look more deeply into the potential value of pheromones in pest management and to discuss their evolving role in the industry with, well, just about anyone who would listen.

“When Insects Limited began in the early 1980s, many pest management firms were skeptical of using pheromones to monitor pest populations. Some approached our products like they were a snake oil of sorts,” explains Insects Limited President Pat Kelley. “It took decades of our educating pest management professionals and selling them high-quality pheromones for that tide to turn. Now, nearly all pest management firms consider pheromones a reliable and valuable part of their IPM programs.”

Educational efforts led by Insects Limited take a variety of forms. Newsletters, videos and an expansive website are always available to those who want to learn more about stored product pests and their control. Over the years, the Insects Limited team also has delivered presentations at Purdue, the University of Kentucky and other universities, as well as at food-processing and quality-control conferences. The firm began holding its own conferences in 1986, taking those events global in 1993 with the launch of the biennial Fumigants & Pheromones International Conference, held that year in Lubeck, Germany. Since then, the conference has drawn more than 3,000 attendees from 60 countries.

“Our goal is to leverage science to not only educate the industry but also innovate within our own lab,” Tom Mueller says. “We start with the insect first: Once we learn its biology and preferences, we can develop and improve products to help solve stored insect problems. We want to provide quality information and products to companies that care about providing that same level of quality to their customers. As long as we’re able to do that, the past 40 years of hard work and dedication have been worth it.”

Inside Insects Limited’s offices in Indiana.