Editor’s note: Mike Bernskoetter of Missouri-based Art’s Pest Control recently was sworn in to serve residents of Missouri’s 6th Senatorial District. Vicki Wood, a freelance writer who also owns and operates Wood’s Pest Control with her husband Jay Wood, submitted the following article that details Bernskoetter’s service to both the pest control industry and his constituents.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Jefferson City, Mo. native Mike Bernskoetter’s life has taken a drastic turn during the past 15 years. (He and his wife Jeanette have owned Art’s Pest Control for more than 32 years.) I met Mike in 2004 during our company’s first year in business at the annual recertification conference in Columbia, Mo. Even back then, Mike worked the room with finesse and ease. One could easily see how his comfort talking to other owners and operators could translate into a political career.
His introduction into state politics likely was influenced by the proximity of his company’s office to the state capital, literally located across the highway, affording a daily view of the capitol dome.
Mike served as president of the Missouri Pest Management Association (from 2007 to 2009), where he lobbied for pest management and agriculture legislation. These experiences encouraged him to run for political office.
Mike appeared on the ballot for the first time in 2010, as a candidate for the Missouri State House of Representatives District 59. He won that election and served two terms through 2018.
As a state senator, Mike is a member of a number of business and civic organizations. He also served as president of the Missouri Pest Management Association and has received the John Veatch Award and Man of the Year Award for his work in the pest control industry.
State Senate committees he serves on include:
- Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources (Chairman)
- Economic Development
- Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics
- Small Business and Industry
- Veterans and Military Affairs
- Joint Committee on Legislative Research
- Joint Committee on Legislative Research – Revision Subcommittee (Vice Chairman)
- Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement
- MODOT and Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS) Board of Trustees
Jeanette Bernskoetter and the Bernskoetter family continue to operate Art’s Pest Control. Mike says he misses interacting with the pest control industry on a daily basis. “My wife runs everything there now, but there are some days that I wish I was just under a house in a crawlspace. You know, my wife and I started that business with a personal loan from our parents 32 years ago. Now, if I want to turn it over to anybody else, it’s a big deal, getting attorneys and other official departments involved.”
Jeanette has been a licensed pest control operator for 20 years. Mike’s son, Kyle, is also instrumental in operations with the company. — Vicki Wood
BPCA’s PestEx Event Held in London in March
Editor’s note: Pest magazine Editor Frances McKim filed the following report for PCT magazine.
LONDON — The biennial PestEx event, organized by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), was held at the ExCel exhibition centre in the old docklands area of East London, UK, March 20-21.
There was a definite cheerful mood at the event, despite confusion reigning in the Houses of Parliament regarding Brexit.
Actual visitors to the event were reported by BPCA to be up 11 percent compared to previous years and this included a large international contingent.
Within the exhibition the number of individual booths was 104, two fewer than in 2017, but still more than enough to make visiting them all during the two days a busy activity. Booths were taken by a wide range of companies from across Europe, but representing the United States were Orkin, AP&G Catchmaster, Bell Laboratories, Kness, ServicePro, Woodstream and Xcluder.
Running alongside the exhibition was a series of seminars, covering both technical and business-related topics. Attendees were issued headphones to listen to the talks so as not to disturb those in nearby booths.
In total there were 23 separate seminar sessions. Sessions on rodents always prove popular, as attendees are keen to keep up with the number of regulations already in place or on the horizon. Bed bugs and bed bug monitors were featured in a presentation from Dr. Jette Knudsen from Natarro, Sweden. Steve Broadbent from Ensystex, Australia, gave an excellent presentation on cockroach behavior and baiting techniques.
Dr. Matt Davies of Killgerm, and Ph.D. student Federica Boiocchi, raised interesting questions about the pathogens carried by arthropods in hospitals and homes. New work being conducted by Boiocchi on arthropods in homes is already revealing that non-pest species can carry harmful bacteria. — Frances McKim
NPMA Releases Vector Sectors List
FAIRFAX, Va. — In February, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released its bi-annual Vector Sectors list of the top 10 U.S. cities with the greatest risk for increased pest pressure from vector pests, including rodents and cockroaches.
In information it provided to the media, NPMA reviewed how pests have a negative impact on health. “From respiratory issues to food contamination, common winter pests such as mice, rats and cockroaches carry and transmit all kinds of bacteria and they leave behind hair and shed skin all over the house,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “It’s critical to get them controlled and out of the house for a healthier home environment.”
In alphabetical order, the top 10 U.S. cities named to the National Pest Management Association’s Vector Sectors list include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
American Vanguard Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary Milestone
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — American Vanguard Corporation, parent company to AMVAC Chemical Corporation, is celebrating 50 years in business this year. The milestone is being honored with new brand logos for both corporations and the tagline “An American Vanguard Company” added to all operating subsidiaries, reinforcing its continued commitment to technological innovation and business growth in the U.S. and in international markets, officials said.
“This is a milestone that wouldn’t be possible without our loyal customers, employees and investors who have made 50 successful years possible,” said Neil DeStefano, director of portfolio and marketing/e-communication management at AMVAC. “Our new branding elements symbolize both our past and our future as a global company. It’s an exciting time as we further align both corporations and move forward with plans for expansion that include acquisitions and organic growth.”
American Vanguard Corporation started in 1969 as a regional contract manufacturer of agricultural chemicals and has grown over the last five decades to a fully integrated producer of branded specialty products. The corporation is the holding company for eight umbrella brands, including AMVAC, which develops, manufactures and markets agricultural and commercial products for crop protection, non-agricultural and public health applications.
AMVAC’s product development capabilities include new product acquisition and/or licensing for U.S. domestic sales and worldwide product distribution. The company operates four manufacturing facilities in the U.S. AMVAC says it maintains a robust product registration function that has successfully maintained the intellectual property value of the company’s portfolio.
“Celebrating a 50-year milestone says a lot about the success of a company,” said Eric Wintemute, chairman and CEO of American Vanguard. “There is no better time than now to align our brands as we move into a future strongly committed to the international growth of our business and dedicated to the industries that we serve.”
Operating companies that are part of American Vanguard include: AMVAC Chemical Corporation, AMVAC Environmental Products, OHP, Envance Technologies, TyraTech, Greenplants Corp. S.A., AgriCenter S.A. and Defensive/Agrovant.
For more information visit www.amvac- chemical.com.
PelGar Launches New Brand Identity
HAMPSHIRE, UK — PelGar International announced the launch of its new brand identity at the PestEx trade show that was held in London, in March. Bringing together three diverse branding styles, the new design consolidates the full range of rodenticide and insecticide products available from PelGar, following its acquisition of Agropharm, under one clean, clear and distinct family brand, the company says.
The new identity delivers a coordinated, consistent, yet flexible style, which can be applied across the product ranges and labeling requirements for PelGar brands around the world, the company added. It employs a strong use of color to identify products in the distinct sectors of rodent control, insect control and plant protection. It builds on the existing palette used across Pelgar rodenticide products and retains the dark blue of existing consumer insecticides, introducing a new “sunset yellow” for professional-only insecticides and saving the green for its flagship range of pyrethrum-based plant protection products.
Alongside the soft rollout of the new identity was the launch of a new website. The company’s growing global reach means that customers and end-users need to be able to quickly find online the product information they need, the company says. Visitors to the main website will select the region they are from on a global map to be taken to a regional website where available products are cataloged, alongside labels and Safety Data Sheets.
As Gareth Capel-Williams, managing director of PelGar International comments, “PelGar has evolved as a British company which is now recognized as a key player in the global pest control market. We are keen that this new identity reflects that evolution, retaining key elements of our existing corporate visual identity whilst consolidating areas which were rather diverse following the Agropharm acquisition. I am delighted with the new brand identity, which will rollout over the coming months, and feel that it will help to strengthen our position as a leading player in a highly competitive marketplace.”
Annual Bed Bug Awareness Week to be Held in June
FAIRFAX, Va. — The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), is working on its annual campaign to educate consumers about the prevalence of bed bugs during Bed Bug Awareness Week, June 2-8. The designation is recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events and is celebrated throughout the pest management industry. Through various media relations and social media tactics, PPMA will work to educate the public on the need for diligent bed bug prevention, the signs of an infestation and the importance of working with a licensed pest control professional to mitigate infestations.
“Although bed bugs are active year-round, our research indicates that infestations tend to spike in spring and summer with the heavier travel seasons,” said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA. “Whether at home or on the road, bed bugs infest virtually anywhere humans congregate, making vigilance key to curbing infestations. The public misconception that bed bugs are only found in beds underscores the need for ongoing awareness efforts and we need pest management companies to share their knowledge to help to drive consumer education and limit encounters with these blood-thirsty pests.”
According to findings from PPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey released last year, the risk of bed bug infestations continues, with 97 percent of respondents reporting they treated for bed bugs the previous year. That number is significantly higher than 16 years ago, when only 25 percent of pest control professionals reported treating for bed bugs the year prior.
What’s more, 62 percent of respondents surveyed believe bed bugs are the most difficult pests to control, highlighting the inefficacy of do-it-yourself methods and the importance of hiring qualified professionals.
To drive this point home, PPMA is encouraging industry members to join the cause with the launch of various media relations and social media campaigns, including devoting their company social media pages to bed bugs throughout the week and using the hashtag #BedBugWeek on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
“In an effort to give back to the companies that help support our industry’s marketing initiatives by investing in PPMA, we have also developed an exclusive toolkit for Mainframe subscribers to utilize as a resource in their own publicity efforts throughout the week,” added Mannes.
The toolkit is available for download on PPMAMainframe.org, an exclusive digital marketing hub containing hundreds of custom, professionally designed marketing materials and assets for pest control companies to use to promote their business. The Bed Bug Awareness Week kit contains a customizable press release, suggested social media content, Bed Bug Awareness Week logos, high-resolution photography, media training documents and a list of video content that can be directly embedded on a company’s website.
For more information about PPMA and its marketing programs or to subscribe to Mainframe, visit www.NPMApestworld.org/PPMA.
Mainely Ticks Announces Franchise Opportunities
WINDHAM, Maine — Mainely Ticks Franchise Development, led by Bob and Barb Maurais, provides educational and scientific resources for Mainely Ticks franchises to employ community-based tick management strategies that increase awareness and protection beyond property treatments, the company says.
As infected ticks expand geographically, the threat to human and companion animal health intensifies, as must efforts to educate and service entire communities, the firm adds. “Our job is not to simply treat to protect one’s property,” says Bob Maurais. “Our job is to teach [how] to better protect one’s community.”
Mainely Ticks says its community-based model defines local advocacy, education and service. Mainely Ticks affiliates enjoy routine double-digit growth and command more than 90 percent recurring revenue year after year with compact neighborhood and community route densities critical to this much needed service, the company reports.
Visit www.mainelyticks.com/franchiseinfo to learn about franchise opportunities as well as Synergis-Ticks, the company’s approach to pest control using multiple strategies to reduce tick encounters.