Included as part of PCT’s Top 100 coverage is an interactive map. The map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of PCT’s Top 100 firms, all of the demographic data included on the list and live links to each of the companies’ websites.
FAIRFAX, Va. - The Professional Pest Management Alliance, which serves as the consumer marketing and public outreach arm of NPMA, has developed a COVID-19 industry impact infographic based on their artificial intelligence (AI) research.
Data from the infographic, showing increases and decreases from March 2020 to April 2020, note a large spike in engagement surrounding the topic of the likelihood of working with a pest control professional during this time. Results also show over a 50% decrease in engagement around the topic of pest's ability to transmit COVID-19, which may be a result of the PPMA's efforts to debunk the myth that pests can spread the virus.
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As the warm weather draws more and more Texans outdoors, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts want people to be aware of the danger ticks pose.
“Ticks are blood feeders in all life stages and can transmit pathogens that can lead to disease transmission,” said Sonja Swiger, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension entomologist, Stephenville.
“While we do see tick-borne disease here in Texas, our rates are much lower than many other states,” she said. “However, people need to be aware and vigilant. That is the only way to stop them.”
Where ticks are found
Swiger said since ticks can’t fly, the only way to be exposed to them is by entering their space or by catching them from an animal that has picked them up. Unfortunately, ticks can be found pretty much anywhere.
“Aside from if you’re in a concrete jungle, there can be ticks,” Swiger said. “They can be in overgrown brush, a field, forest, park, tall grasses and anywhere there is wildlife.”
Given that many people have been inside more than normal due to COVID-19 and social distancing, Swiger said we do not yet know what that will mean, if anything, when it comes to ticks. Most ticks only live outdoors unless they hitch a ride into a home on a human or animal host.
“Since people haven’t been outdoors as much, that may mean some areas haven’t been mowed in a while or brush hasn’t been cleared. We’ve also seen wildlife coming into some urban areas more during these periods while people have been staying indoors. Will that increase exposure? We just don’t know yet, so people need to take precautions.”
Ticks are something people need to be aware of year-round, although as the weather warms their populations swell, typically peaking in the summer and then declining in the fall. Swiger said we are at the start of their “plentiful season.”
Tick awareness and prevention
There are 11 common species of ticks found in Texas. The black-legged tick, brown dog tick, Lone Star tick, Gulf Coast tick and American dog tick are the species the average person is most likely to encounter. The TAMU TickApp for Texas and the Southern Region is a helpful tick identification and resource tool.
Ticks typically like to latch on to people’s head, hair, chest, armpit, groin, waist and back of the knees, so be extra vigilant when checking these areas. Headwear and light-colored clothing that protects as much skin as possible is also a good idea if you’ll be outdoors where ticks are present. Pants should be tucked into boots to minimize the odds of bringing an unwanted bloodsucker home.
“Check yourself after being outdoors,” said Swiger. “Also check your pets if they have been outdoors.”
Swiger said people who let their pets sleep in their bed with them need to be extra vigilant.
Around your home, keep lawns mowed, brush trimmed and weeds whacked. Be especially diligent about the areas around swing sets, sand boxes and children’s play areas.
Since rodents are part of the tick-borne disease cycle, eliminate places they like to live and hide. Try to avoid having brush piles and keep any building materials and gardening supplies off the ground.
If a tick is found, it can be removed with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the head as possible and pull straight out. If the head breaks off under the skin and cannot be removed, or if any pain, lesion or a rash develops, contact a doctor. If fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain or swollen lymph nodes occur within 30 days of a tick bite, you should also inform your doctor.
“We don’t want this holiday weekend to be a perfect storm for ticks with the warmer weather, a lot of people outdoors and perhaps more overgrown brush than usual,” Swiger said. “I don’t want people to worry, I just want people to be aware.”
Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
“These are difficult times and we feel it is our responsibility to do everything we can to help,” said Sean Knox, co-president of Knox Pest Control. “We hope that this effort will bring some relief to the Feeding the Valley Foodbank and the families who need their services.”
“We believe it is important to be involved in the community and this is an excellent way to help the residents in the same communities that we serve. We are pleased to support Feeding the Valley Food Bank and appreciate its dedication to providing hunger relief,” said Justin Knox, co-president of Knox Pest Control.
“Food banks across the U.S. are facing great demands due to job losses, furloughs and business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently assisting people who have never used a food bank before,” says Frank Sheppard, president and CEO of Feeding the Valley Food Bank. “Our food distribution has increased by 50%, and in the month of April, we distributed more than 1.4 million pounds of food to families in our service area. Financial donations are very helpful during this crisis, and for every $20 donation made by Knox Pest Control through this program, we can provide 120 meals to families in need. We are very grateful for our partnership with Knox and appreciate their commitment to serve our community during these difficult times.”
Feeding the Valley Food Bank serves West Georgia: Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Dougherty, Harris, Lee, Marion, Meriwether, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Talbot, Troup, Terrell and Webster
“After polling our past participants on their thoughts, it was clear that we had to proceed with hosting Academy 2020 in some format,” said Dominique Stumpf, NPMA CEO. “Academy has always been an important event where industry connections are made and leadership skills are gained, and we are excited to deliver the same experience virtually this year.”
NPMA’s Leadership Networking Community (LNC), the group that hosts Academy, has a mission to cultivate professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year. NPMA’s LNC and Corteva are working to create an Academy program that will engage past participants and open the door to pest management professionals who have not had the opportunity to attend this event in the past.
“With the online format this year, we are able to have flexible registration options so attendees can choose how they want to experience this event,” said Aric Schroeder, chair of NPMA’s LNC. “Participants will have the option to be placed on a team, similar to the original face-to-face format, or they can sign up a la carte for specific sessions that appeal to them and fit their schedules.”
Academy 2020 will take place virtually beginning in mid-July and run every-other week through early Oct. Each session will be approximately 90 minutes long and will include a variety of keynote presentations, interactive team building tasks and Learning Lab breakouts focused on business management. On Oct.13-16, Academy participants will be encouraged to join in-person for PestWorld 2020 in Nashville. Here the Academy champions will be celebrated and an exclusive Academy meet-up will take place.
More information and registration will be available soon at academy.npmapestworld.org.